Project Pyro – Contest Entry for Audiomachine’s PHENOMENA: Epic Heroes Event

Project Pyro, for Audiomachine's contest

Audiomachine has been a huge inspiration for me lately. Their music is epic, it’s sweeping and it’s completely mind blowing. I’ve been wearing out a Pandora station set on their music lately and their music has helped me while I’ve been working on not only editing Warpath, but starting on the ideas and drafting of the third and final book in the Second Realm Trilogy. When I saw their post on Facebook that they were having a contest for artists and writers, I nearly jumped through the ceiling in my enthusiasm.

Check out details of their contest here – and if any of my fellow writer friends enter, I would love to read your take on the song!

Their contest revolves around this beauty:

It’s incredibly difficult for me to cram an idea down into 1200 words. I’m always long winded. I managed to create an entry, available here, but as replies get buried over time, I thought I would share it here, for reference as well, properly formatted as it was meant to be (as italics don’t cross over well in comments sections, sometimes).

May I present, PROJECT PYRO.

Project Pyro, for Audiomachine's contest

Project Pyro – Contest Entry for Audiomachine’s PHENOMENA: Epic Heroes Event
by Melissa Vazquez
1195 words


She should have been dead.

There was nothing around her but rubble. Smoke still hung thick in the air, even if the fire had mostly died down. There was nothing left of the industrial facility she had once called home, nothing except for the young teenage girl with ordinary brown hair and startlingly amber eyes. She stood amongst the heat and the dying flame, unharmed by either and the thick smoke. Somehow, her small body had been stronger than the industrial-strength building, standing tall whenever the cement and steel had crumbled and melted.

She knew her name and what the Scientists called her. She was Sera, or PY003. Which name she was addressed by depended on which Scientist attended to her. The Scientists had never used violence against her, but they liked using well place threats to motivate her. Fear had defined most of her life in the burning building.

Oddly, Sera felt very little. No sadness. Confusion rose up, briefly. Why did she survive, when everyone else did not?

She hardly expected an answer. The Scientists never answered her. If they had to, it was curt, cold. Informative if necessary, but usually vague. They wanted nothing to do with her. That was, except for Rob, the son of one of the Scientists and a summer intern. She remembered him the most, of his summer blue eyes and the crooked smile he gave her. He was everything the Scientists were not – kind, caring, a friend, almost. The closest thing she had to a friend, in there.

Her heart ached when she realized she would never see Rob again.

He had been in that facility before the fire started, arguing with his father over her well being. His father had interrupted what little time they were able to spend together, when he told her of the outside world and how she should have been in high school, with other fifteen year old girls. He brought her trinkets sometimes, if he could sneak them in and if he thought that she could hide them. His father thought all their contact had been inappropriate. Rob asking him to let her out for a bit, to see the outside world had been an outrage. Their argument had gotten loud, fast. Heated.

That was when the fire had started.

The fire was unnaturally fast, laying waste to everything in its path. Nothing was spared, even things that were supposed to be fireproof. It blazed through the building, catching those inside by surprise. After its wrath had been sated, the fire settled, as it was now, with only Sera in the middle of the rubble.

She had no idea why she had been spared. Why her? Why not Rob or any of the Scientists?

A flash of what Rob had told her once whispered in her mind. “The people here fear you, Sera. Their cruelty is not because you’re evil, but because you’re special. Always remember that.”

She had no idea of what that meant. It didn’t help her any. She knew almost nothing about the outside world, except for what little education she had received and what Rob told her. He told her that they were out in the countryside, in a facility separated from the town they lived in. She had been educated, but had never experienced anything outside of the facility in all of the time she had spent in there.

Now, she was free.

The blare of sirens startled her. Something large and red was looming on the horizon, speeding towards her. Fear licked at her, motivating her to take cover behind a line of trees. Her bare feet hurt as she darted across hard, dry dirt and grasses, tripping over fallen twigs.

Men in strange yellow suits shouted at each other, an organized team with a purpose. She watched as they extinguished what was left of the flames with violent torrents of water. These men she knew from her textbooks. Firemen had come from the town to put out the blaze.

Two nearby men discussed the property and who owned it. One name kept popping up. Damien Muze, owner of Muze Enterprises. Sera had heard his name repeatedly in the lab, but had only met him once. She shuddered as she remembered him. He had been colder than the Scientists, regarding her as a matter of business, rather than a living, breathing being.

The thought of seeing him again was enough to get her to back away from the scene. She ran, as quietly as she could, out into the open world she had been denied all her life. She stopped when the breath razored through her parted lips and when her legs felt heavy and useless, collapsing in an abandoned warehouse some distance away. Sleep took her swiftly.

She awoke shortly after when her heart flickered with irrational fear. A startled, confused cry escaped her. Fire was here as well, spreading quickly. This was the same fire that had consumed the lab, unnaturally fast and strong. Tears prickled her eyes and made it hard to breathe, but that was when she noticed that again, the fire didn’t hurt her. She held up a hand, curious about this effect, and the fire seemed to nuzzle up to her, eager to greet her, as if they were old friends. It blazed up around her hand, sliding up her wrist in a warm, but safe swirl.

“So you are one,” a quiet voice behind her said.

She whipped around, still wrapped in fire. Rob was behind her, disheveled very much alive.

“Rob!” she cried, running to him.

He hugged her hard against him and his words were rushed when he spoke. “Thank God you got out of there. We have to get out of this town, Sera.”

When she asked him why, he held up a hand. His summer blue eyes glowed gold and the fire nearby ran to him eagerly, from Sera to him, until he was enveloped into it. Then, like it had never been there, the fire sank into his skin, gone.

“You and I are a part of a secret project Muze Enterprises was planning to sell to the military. There are others like us, Seraphina, but Damien Muze already has them. We need to rescue them. Will you help me?”

Seraphina. The name registered as power. Her true name. She nodded. She had no idea of what he was talking about, but she trusted him. He was like her, able to control fire. She knew he would keep her safe.

His gaze held hers steady. “Let’s go, then.”

They left the warehouse that night, running hand in hand. Rob told her of genetic experiments and of something called Project Pyro.

“That’s what we are,” he said. “Project Pyro.”

If there were others out there like her, they had to be found. Somehow, she didn’t trust Damien Muze or the company he ran. Others like her were in danger. If she could learn how to use her new found power over fire properly, maybe she could save them.

It would give her purpose, for now, as she ran out into a world unknown.

  • I really enjoyed your story! This would make a great full-length story… 🙂

    • Sorry about the late reply. Thank you! I want to expand on this idea now that the contest is over. Just one more project to file away.

      Also, congrats on winning the contest – your entry was inspiring! 😀