Special Agent Jack Deakin watched as the setting unfolded in slow motion.
The cake on the picnic table suddenly exploded in a shower of pink and purple frosting as the birthday party erupted into a brightly painted crime scene.
His feet were rooted in place as lovingly wrapped boxes went flying, chunks of sod and soil kicked up from the ground, and a sparkling trick candle bounced off his chest.
Time fast forwarded as his brain registered the events playing out in front of him.
He frantically searched the small yard until he saw a flash of blond pigtail as it disappeared behind the table.
Scanning the skies, he spotted a man hovering above everyone's heads with his arms spread wide like an over sized marionette puppet.
He met Jack's gaze with eyes wide in a manic trance as crackling red energy spread up his arms from two tightly banded cuffs on both of his wrists.
When the field of energy reached the man's shoulders, he thrust his arms forward, pouring crimson lightning from his fingertips.
The man began to seize in mid-air, sending the lightning dancing in every direction before he plummeted to the ground.
As the man crashed into the rose bushes that framed the modestly sized house, Jack's feet finally broke from the grass, allowing him to approach the too quiet picnic table.
Heart clenched, he slowly made his way around the splintered table, chanting to himself
Read the rest via the link in the description!