I looked into the Abyss, and it Winked (Parts 3 - 6)
"I looked into the Abyss, and it Winked"
By Drunkfu with help from Trusting, and Diane Castle
Wednesday night, March 7, 2007
The platinum blonde beauty knelt on the thickly-cushioned bed, atop a quilted pink comforter. The curly haired brunette facing her was also kneeling, a soft blush of embarrassment warming her cheeks. Gulping, she closed her eyes and leaned forwards, puckering her plush-looking lips and waiting with a tenuous expectation.
Smiling pensively, the blonde leaned towards her, pursing her lightly painted lips until they met the brunette’s. The two girls kissed, one with a content purr, and a hand lifting up to brush against the darker haired girl’s cheek. They smooched intimately like that for long awkward minutes until the brunette gasped, and broke the kiss.
“H-how long are we going to practice kissing tonight, Suzan?” Becky pouted to the other girl, smoothing out her pajamas and looking flushed in the face. “Can’t I start trying it on boys, now?”
Suzan gave an exasperated sigh, rolling her eyes a bit as she sunk back onto her haunches. “I told you, Becky. You don’t want to kiss a guy before you know what you’re doing, do you? You want your first kiss to be perfect, right? We’ll just have to keep doing this until you get the hang of it.” A mischievous grin played at her lips. “And you still got a long way before you’re ready, Becky. I should know, right?”
Lifting a finger to her friend’s chin to tilt her face up, Suzan sucked on her lower lip a moment while she admired the brunette, a warmth stirring in her body and an urgency to her breathing. “Now hold still, alright?”
“Alright,” she pouted, closing her eyes and steeling herself.
As the two moved towards one another once more, the door to the teens’ room suddenly started to open. Like roaches on the kitchen floor with the lights suddenly turned on, the two jerked apart and turned to face the intruder, throwing up smiles like they were masks on bandits.
“Uh, hi mom!” Suzan said, sitting up abruptly.
“Hello Mrs. Chylds!” echoed the brunette, somehow looking terribly guilty.
“Hello girls! I was just checking in on you two,” said a slim middle-aged woman with a half empty (or half full, depending on how you look at it) martini in one hand, and a bag of cookies in the other. She didn’t appear particularly worried about the sudden silence that hung over the two children as she sauntered into the room and plopped the bag down between the two, and purred, “I made you two some cookies.” Then, with a giggle, “I suppose the Keebler elves made it first, though. They’re so darn cute.”
Suzan rolled her eyes a little. Far from being embarrassed at having her stepmom breaking up her slumber party make-out session, she was bearing the look of someone being very much put upon by the woman she’d called ‘mother’. “Yah, mom. Thanks so much for the cookies. Okay, you can go now.”
The mother figure pouted the way a woman her age probably shouldn’t. “Oh, fine then. Be that way.” She turned about with a swish of her dress, losing a few drops of her martini in the movement. “I’ll be with your father if you two need anything!”
While Becky contemplated the slumped sack of cookies with a worried look, Suzan muttered and got up to her feet, moving to close the door rather loudly behind her retreating stepmom. Turning with her back against the door, she looked to the meek brunette with a hungry smile, bearing her pearly white polished teeth. “Alright. Where were we?”
“W-wow Suzan, your mom is so sweet! I mean, she brought us cookies and everything!”
Suzan glared angrily at Becky in a way that made her cringe, and hissed, “Stepmom.”
“Right, um, your stepmom!”
She calmed, repeating in a purr, “And remind me where we were, again?”
Becky sulked, dearly wishing they could talk about what sort of boys they liked, or have a pillow fight, or play a board game, or do any number of those things she saw the girls on the TV and movies doing during their sleepovers. “Um, kissing practice. Again, I guess...”
“Riiiight,” purred the platinum blonde, flipping her hair back over one shoulder and then stalking back to the bed with a predator-like saunter, perching her perfect little behind on it and scooting over closer to her friend who had sat back up straight once more, sighing and closing her eyes. Suzan happily leaned back into her friend to taste her lips once more, hands touching her shoulders.
The brunette’s face scrunched up as soon as their lips touched, and they stayed together like that for a long moment. Then quite suddenly her stomach lurched, her cheeks puffed out, and she vomited miniature ears of corn and partially digested food all over a shocked Suzan’s face and torso.
“GOD Becky, what the hell is wrong with you!?” screeched the blonde, scrambling into the side bathroom along with the brunette who followed with a stumble. Becky went to the toilet to finish un-eating food, and Suzan went to the sink to wash her mouth out vigorously with every chemical she could find.
When she’d caught her breath again, Becky whimpered and looked up miserably from the toilet with sweat slick hair. “I... I don’t know, Suzy. I’ve been getting sick at weird times now.”
The blonde looked at her sharply, confused. “What?”
“And I... I’ve missed my period. For like, a week!”
That night, neither girl slept well. The dreams of young Suzan were particularly troubled, concern and fear for her friend tainting them with barely remembered shadows of a certain grabby math instructor. Beyond that, the more familiar, more feared, chilling whispers of a pale, ice-eyed, snowstorm-obscured body that pressed against the door of her consciousness and continued to insist in the same manner as it had the first day Suzan had manifested her detested mutant abilities that she let it in.
Her mother’s face filled her vision, and it was with a dim realization that Suzan knew it was going to be ‘that’ dream again, the one that had haunted her for the past long nine years. The funny thing about these sorts of dreams, the ones that played endlessly as you slept like bad re-runs of a soap opera you’d never wanted to watch, was that part of your tired mind knew just what was going to happen, expected it, knew it with the dull familiarity of a subway conductor who’d traveled the same rails for years of his life in endless circles. But there was nothing that could be done to stop it, change it, or skip it.
One thing she knew for certain, that this warm face looking at her with the kind green eyes and long red curls that framed her face like flames was her real, true, one and only mother. Not the self-absorbed, indifferent creature her father had married some years after. There was real love in this face that pulled at the light wrinkles about her eyes and corners of her mouth, and warmed a daughter’s heart with the pure stringless adoration that only a parent could bear. But, there was also something else, etched into those world weary eyes.
She remembered this place only vaguely, and the strangeness about dreams didn’t have her really questioning the sheer size and imposing nature of the steepled rustic ski lodge. There weren’t as many details here as there were in real life, it was more the impression, and the feel of the real thing that lingered in her dreams, like she was experiencing the idea of it all. Part of her knew that this was the ski lodge her parents had flown to one winter in Norway with the whole family, and screams echoed in the main room where there should have been laughing, chocolate milk, and people warming themselves by roaring flames.
They could both hear it, and see the roaring flames that had escaped the fire pit beyond any logic, spreading and taken on a life of their own as they flashed through the doorway like a loosed wild beast. Her father stood there, pressed against the door frame protectively, and she supposed he might have been guarding against something, watching for danger. The echoing laughter of a madman was also discernible above the screams and gushes of flame, the cursing in a strange language, as well, and the growing look of alarm on her father’s face told her time was running out.
Somehow, the light from the fires made her mom look more alive, angelic, flickering like the flames around them as she hugged the little blonde child hard and kissed her forehead; telling her in that firm voice that gave her courage to go, to run, to hide herself. A cackling ominous laughter was nearing, and her father froze in the doorframe like a deer in the headlights of a semi when the voice’s tone came to a peak, and said in a language she didn’t quite understand what sounded like a great discovery being made. Prey in its claws.
“Catherine!” her father’s voice urged in a hushed whisper.
The warm figure of her mom looked at her daughter with tears that melted in her eyes, and pushed the little girl out the back door, passing from the insanity and fevered calidity of the lodge to the chilling numbness and silence of outside. Solitude.
Her mother had whispered sharply at her before the door closed, “Go!” and the last Suzan ever saw of the strange, loving woman wreathed in flames was her back as she ran inside to protect her father against chaos.
Stunned at first at being separated from the warmth, her father, and loving mother, Suzan stood there with her eyes wide, hugging herself in the bright red down feather jacket. An explosion jarred her from her shock, and the little girl turned sharply and started to run through the fields of numbing white. It wasn’t nearly dark enough to hide. The jacket she had on was actually meant to be able to be spotted quite easily if she ever got lost, so it made it extremely difficult to hide oneself. Though without it, she knew she’d freeze to death.
Not even looking back, she ran as hard and fast as she could to get away from that scene of hellfire and suffering, the dim impression that she could still feel the warmth at the back of her neck urging her on further and further until the setting, vanishing sun giving its last gasps of illumination in the horizon shown nothing of nature she recognized, and nothing of man to give her direction. A gust of wind caused her to shrink back against a tree and curl in on herself, a snowstorm unfurling so quickly and loudly around her tiny quivering body it had felt like a furious, hyperborean lion’s roar ushering it in.
This was good, and it was also very bad.
It was good, because the snowstorm would make it hard to see her, and it would hide her tracks from anyone or anything that was trying to get her. Her mother had told her to run and hide, and that wasn’t so much of a problem anymore.
It was bad, because she might freeze to death before morning, and it lowered the chances of a search party or her parents actually being able to find her again.
She’d have run back to whatever fate had awaited her at the lodge with her mother and father just then if she could have found where it was; dimly her young mind acknowledged that she’d rather die with her family than die out here, alone.
The storm was so thick and insistent that it clouded her view more than ten feet in any direction, but as sure as she was curled up against a tree quivering, fighting for her right to exist, there was something else there. It wasn’t that blazing demon she was supposed to be running from, that her parents were trying to protect her against. It was a peculiar white cat with a stubbed tail.
Suzan had never seen anything like this creature in her life, and for the moment it captured her attention as it stalked past her with grace, its thick coat of fur protecting it for the most part from the bite of the chill winds. The sharp black-tipped ears on its head swiveled towards her, followed by a sharp pair of yellow eyes. It paid her only the briefest curiosity before returning its attention ahead of it and stalking back off into the snowstorm. Suzan’s eyes widened, and she scrambled up to her feet to follow it. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea to follow a strange cat that was easily the size of yourself in the middle of the snowstorm, but she was young, curious, and had nothing better to do, and no greater hope. Besides, this creature could clearly survive out here in the snowy wilderness; perhaps it had a safe place to wait out the storm.
This paid off for Suzan.
The creature led her through the sparse trees and blinding blizzard to the slivered mouth of a black cave. Hesitating at the entrance of it only briefly with her teeth chattering in her ears, the young girl tried to pierce the stark darkness of the jagged cave entrance with her eyes. There was little choice, however, as the bleached white fury of the storm whirled around her and chilled her to the bone, leaving no doubt to her that if she remained out here, she’d die. She could venture into the frightening unknown of the cave entrance, or remain outside with the certain knowledge that she wouldn’t last the night. The girl quickly chose the questionable security of the cave.
It was just big enough for her to crawl in, as she had been only slightly bigger than the large cat she’d been following, and a strange warmth enticed her further until the cave opened up a bit. Her eyes adjusted to a strange sight in a dim light.
The cave had swollen out to form a cavity the size of a small room, and Suzan found herself facing a matching pair of the strange tailless felines with the black-tipped ears and yellow eyes curled up together at the other end, staring at her unison. Stranger still was the woman’s feet they were curled against. Obviously the storm had driven quite a few lost stragglers into the safety of this cavern, though for the life of her Suzan couldn’t imagine how so tall a woman had managed to fit in through the ragged mouth of the cave entrance that she herself had barely squeezed into.
She was impossibly tall, though most of the Norwegians she’d met seemed that way to her. Oddly, she was dressed in no more than a simple, strangely elegant, gold trimmed white dress with long billowing sleeves, and a white fur coat draped about her strong shoulders. Her skin was pale, her nose strong and straight, her eyes cold and harsh as the chilling storm outside. When the woman turned her head from reading the strangely cut figures and weird marks that Suzan couldn’t understand in the far wall, it was a look of courtly amusement that the little lost girl was treated to. Even the woman’s long, straight gold hair had a pale, chill quality to it, a quality echoed by the matching white gold pendant that glistened around her neck and drew the eye like a fire in the night.
Even having dreamed this a thousand times, Suzan still didn’t know quite what to make of the woman. While the details of the lodge, the fires, the snow, and her own mother had been dulled and idealized over time, everything about this statuesque lady was sharply etched into her memory.
Words failed her as she stood there shivering, and the woman reached an inviting hand to her, smiling slightly. “Come, child. You are welcome. You have my protection, if you wish.”
Something about this woman felt motherly to her, and the two large cats at her feet weren’t quite as menacing as one would have thought they’d be. Nodding shyly, she crept closer to the woman and pressed herself against her side.
The tall pale woman in white was cold.
Cold, in the way you’d imagine a person to be cold while sitting out a snowstorm in a slinky white dress, but also cold the way ice cream was as it melted on your tongue on a hot summer day. There was something inviting, and comforting about this winter touch that spread through Suzan’s body and put her at ease, and she quickly found herself asleep at her feet along with the two oversized felines while a firm, soft hand stroked her hair the way her mother would never do again.
Suzan awoke to a cold chill in her room that was like a lingering breath from the ice woman in her dream. Her breath came in visible puffs of vapor from her mouth. It took her a while of sitting there, and breathing as if she’d ran a mile, to finally recognize the dimly lit confines of her girlishly decorated abode, and the happily snoozing girl at her side.
This wasn’t a cave, or a snowy waste, or a burning ski lodge, and she wasn’t in any danger.
That is what she had to tell herself several times before her nerves calmed down. It was painful to remember her real mother’s face, that look of love and concern she’d never seen since, and she knew how the story in her dream had ended. She couldn’t not remember now, the way when you tell someone not to think about sex, all they can think about is sex.
Miraculously she’d been found the next day after that incident, the cave’s mouth mysteriously clear of the fresh layers of snow the storm had dumped on them. Surprised rescue workers had been there when she’d crawled out of the small entrance, alive, and not the frozen corpse-sicle everyone had expected. They’d wrapped her in dull grey blankets and carried her back to the smoking ruins of the ski lodge where her father had been tearfully waiting for her, and her mother had been nowhere in sight.
I awoke with a groan, my sight blurred, feeling like I was late for something important, and moved to sit up. Only, I couldn’t sit up. Bleary-eyed, I took a slow, confused look down to either of my arms that so suddenly decided to ignore the imperious control of my brain’s sharp neuron reins. More confused now than I had been when I’d noted my arms and legs being uncooperative to my will, I came to the realization that they were bound in some inconceivable manner by tiny tentacle beasts, all with a large luminous singular glowing eye in the middle of their wriggling mass.
Considering all I had seen in the past few days, I took this in stride. However, in an effort to further test my willpower, it would appear that at some point during my binding in my bed and my waking up, that some creature or unseen force of the cosmos saw fit to relieve me of my pants. Also, my underwear. So it was then, bound with roving tentacle eyeballs on my own bed, and naked from the waist down, that I began to panic slightly.
However, there was a ray of hope!
Nestled contently and innocently between the thunderous thighs of Joshville and atop the mighty pelvic slopes, south from the hills of tummy land and nestled deep in the young sparse brush forest of OhmigawdIgottapube, was my penis. This was a grand occasion.
You had to understand that, just previous that day, some glasses-wearing inter-dimensional mental patient had decided my mighty (well, *I* thought it was pretty cool) man meat obviously had to be a lascivious leech larva, so she somehow mangled reality enough with the assistance of my friendly neighborhood tentacle fiend to switch out my outdoor plumbing for some indoor irrigation. Which, as you might understand, freaked me out when I discovered it. I had not looked forward to anyone finding out just what the nerdy kid some laughed at and called ‘girly boy’ was packing.
So yes, I was understandably relieved to see my old gear back in action and ready for traction. Then my relief caught in my throat and tripped over and strangled my hopes. Ecila was there, somehow, standing imperiously tall between my legs and dressed in bloody light green doctor’s scrubs. She had a mask on over her face, but the glasses and stature was a dead giveaway. Though the mousey brown-haired girl was towering above me, I was laying down, so it didn’t mean that she really was quite as tall as she looked just then. A snap of rubber gloves brought my attention back to reality, and the horror that loomed above my quivering crotch. Her voice was different, her tone arched and sounding Hungarian.
“Vell vell vell...” she spoke as her eyebrows lifted, and eyes narrowed. “...it vould seem that zee parasite hass RETURNED!” She snapped her rubber gloves again, holding them both up. “Ve have VAYS of making you dock.” Then her tone returned to normal, “...you know, of docking elsewhere! Because you shouldn’t be docking there AT ALL since you’re a parasite!” And then she was back to the Hungarian. “....A parasite zat MUST be yanked!”
I squeaked from my bed, my face going white. “Oh please no, it’s good where it is! Really! I... I kind of like it! A cute little parasite never killed anyone!” Erk. “Not that it’s little!”
It was too late, however! She’d gotten her mojo going, and there was no stopping the insanity train once it got chugging along. Cackling crazily, the blood-covered doctor stabbed both her rubber gloved hands into my pelvic region and yanked my boy parts out with an artistically bloody fountain that curled in the air in swirls and geometric patterns that formed stars and rectangles and stop signs of pain.
Then, predictably, I woke up. (Again)
This time I was screaming, and covered in what I dearly hoped to be sweat. My attention first went to my most immediate concern, making sure that there wasn’t a bloody sea of woe left between my legs. My clothes were on this time, but a quick grab and feel told me all I needed to know. I might not have had my usual modest baggage - I feared it was still lost at the airport - but neither was there a river of red running out from my nethers. With an exhausted sigh that sounded something like relief, I glanced up to look about my room and see what time it was.
Only, I wasn’t in my room.
Oh for the love of Raptor Jesus, let this be another dream.
Apparently I was groping myself up on the stage of a seedy strip club. No, I’ve never been to one in real life, but dangit I’ve seen them on the TV. The smell of cigarette smoke, alcohol, and cheap fruity body lotion was overpowering, and nearly as disturbing as the ring of surprised looking elderly women surrounding the stage with florescent green bills held up in their hands, and paused in the air mid offer. It got even worse! As I considered how bad it was showing up in the middle of a strip club that I was no where near old enough to be in, I glanced up, and saw hanging not inches from my shocked face the greatest of all space parasite leeches nestled safely within the comforts of a tiger striped banana hammock. Also, it was attached to a rather muscle bound fellow of dubious sexual orientation who had enough oils smeared across his biceps that the multi-colored flashing lights of the club bounced prismatic rainbows off his nipples.
I scrambled as fast as I could across the polished wood stage on my hands and knees, my face red. I suddenly found myself yearning for the days when I wandered into other dimensions and planets filled with starfish people that only endangered my life, not my pride.
Above the sounds of jeers, cheers, and queer sounds, I heard a rather loud and persistent “Psst!”
I looked around wildly, having recognized the voice behind that slow leak-like sound.
“Psst!” Ecila whispered once more, waving at me from where she was crouched under a table in a side booth.
Before I could get separated from my only possible ticket home and picked up by a few burly bouncers that were trying to muscle their way through a sea of horny and man-hungry house wives, I crawled on my hands and knees towards her so fast that I was probably bruising them. Frantically I made it under the table with her, and whispered with the strained expression of a man (you know, on the inside, if not inside my pants) that sincerely did not want to be where currently he was located, “What the hell! What the HELLING hell! I’m not even old enough to SMELL what the hell is going on in this place!”
Aghast, she hit me upside the head with a clipboard she’d apparently been keeping, and chastised me in a loud whisper, “Joshua! Language!”
Knowing better than to argue with her this time, I just glared and rubbed the back of my head where she’d struck me. “..Sorry.” Then I freaked out again, my voice raising. “Where the... FRELL are we!? What happened to the aliens, the weird planets?! There was a GUY on stage! And unattractive women were trying to give him monopoly money and they were giving me the LOOK! What gives?!”
Ecila smirked, as if the answer was obvious. “Well, yah. They’re called ‘reals’, the currency of parts of South America! And I TOLD you I was going to study the penis. Remember? To put that weird thing back on you? Well, I certainly can’t study this penis most anywhere else in the galaxy, unless you wanna let me slap in something more exotic! This place advertised having lots of penis. In flashing neon signs and symbolic imagery! If you can’t study the penis at Poncho’s Penis Palace, where can you, I ask?”
“You could have just googled it!” I hissed insistently.
A curious look met mine. “You want me to google? With people watching?”
“Or Yahoo! I don’t care!”
“Honestly, Josh. I don’t know how YOU get your ‘yahoos’, but I certainly don’t yahoo in plain sight of deprived elderly women.”
“The internet! You could have just tried the internet!”
The girl stared at me blankly, and adjusted her glasses in a long moment of silence. Frowning, she removed them from her button nose, eyed the lenses, polished them thoroughly, and put them back on at a smart angle. “...What’s an internet?”
That remark had me feeling somewhat ill, so I let out a whimper and hid my face in my hands. “Ugh... why am I here?!”
“I don’t know! Maybe someone thought it’d be funny making a nice smart kid with a horrible potty mouth.”
“I mean physically HERE!”
“You just like to follow me around, I guess,” Ecila murmured, flipping through the pages of her notes.
Squinting at them, I noted many assortments of stick figures, and figure eights with sticks exiting them and labeled in anatomical dialogue. More numerous then that, however, were the question marks filling the gaps of the two pages she’d filled with her ‘notes’. A little part of me died, then. Inside me. I think it might have been my hope.
“That’s ALL you wrote down?”
Defensively, my inter-dimension guide sniffed at the air. “I couldn’t see much from down here! All those hormone hopped up hausfraus were in the way! Besides, if you’re going to knock my methods, I’m just not going to help you.”
I winced. “Fine! Fine, do whatever you want! Now how do I get home?”
“I’d guess you’d have to fall asleep again,” Ecila said simply, and I had the impression she was guessing.
My face went a little white. “What? You mean I’m not asleep now...? Didn’t I just pop back those other times I ended up in weird places with you?”
Carefully, she observed me. “Yes you did, now that you mention it! Um. Maybe you fainted those times? I suppose they could have been fairly traumatic for a normal fellow. But I guess you haven’t figured out how to hop places while awake yet. Oh well, you’ll have to get home the old fashioned way, if you can’t fall asleep.”
“How the he-...heck am I supposed to fall asleep with all THIS going on!” Glaring at her, I waved a hand towards the packs of vicious man-hungry moms.
“Try to think of something pleasant,” she said with a reassuring smile. “Like... tea!”
Horrible flashbacks of a tea party-like event involving the kinds of creatures I could hardly comprehend gave me a cold reflexive shiver. “The horror... the horror...”
“Hmf. Not a tea fan, huh?”
“Can’t you just... whisk me off with you? Like that time at the tea party?” I whispered, rubbing at my arms nervously.
She tapped a pencil on a blank bit of paper on her note pad, trying to see across the room. “Josh, that place was my place, of course I could whisk you off if we were there. But you still had to be unconscious to get there, remember? Besides, it sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it...?”
I had the impression she was lying to me. “The purpose!? Of what? The purpose of leaving me stranded in some god forsaken house of the hung?! I don’t even know where this place is! I can’t just walk back home this time!”
“Actually, here, it’s ‘Que’!”
“We’re in BRAZIL!?”
“Sure, the only place where you can say you want a Brazillian, and it could mean a couple different things.”
“Take me home!”
Ecila leveled a look at me, her lips quirking. “You should like it here, Josh. They got a lake called Titty-Caca! You’ve got a dirty mouth too, as I recall.”
“That... first, I’m sure it isn’t pronounced that way, and ANYWAY, just bring me home!”
Giving the sigh of a person that was much put upon, the brown-haired girl folded her legs under the table and placed the notebook and paper in her lap. “Alright. If you can’t get unconscious to travel back, and you can’t figure out how to do it while awake, and you’re too lazy to just walk back, I guess I haven’t a choice.”
“It isn’t a matter of being lazy!” I said, practically frothing at the mouth. My mind pumped with far too much adrenaline to let it rest, I tried to take stock of my situation with a frantic glance back towards the flashing lights and the sea of wailing women waving cash at waxed muscles and wangs. Huh, why did that suddenly give me a head ache? Shaking my head, I tried to focus. I could think this through, I was a smart kid!
Okay, I was stuck in a strip club, in Brazil. And it wasn’t one of the nice ones, either. You know, with half naked women on the stage. No, this was a sausage show. My chances of sneaking out past the few angry-looking bouncers was slim. Even if I could get past them, I didn’t speak... whatever they spoke here. What was that, Brazilian? Huh, I thought that was a kind of wax. So if I did escape, and couldn’t speak the native tongue, I still ended up the possibility of being a wandering organ transplant, like in that movie where the tourists got chopped up and sold back to white rich people with bad livers. Perhaps my knowledge of this country was somewhat dim, if I was using horror movies as a basis of information. Thinking about all that, of course, was not helping me relax. By this point, even if I was lying comfortably in a bed, it’d take me hours to get back to sleep, and I’d be even later for school because of it!
Sighing heavily, Ecila started to take out her pocket watch, eyeing the hands. “Alright Josh. I didn’t want to do this, but I suppose I have no choice in the matter. If you like, I can knock you unconscious.”
I gasped, “Yes! Yes, do that!” It’s a strange day in the age of my life where I sat on my knees under a table in a Brazilian strip club asking a girl shorter than I am to beat me unconscious with a pocket watch. But then, sometimes you just have to adapt.
She wound up her watch, quirking her lips. “Fine, fine. Just turn around and close your eyes, I suppose. But we can’t keep doing this. Eventually I might knock something loose, and neither of us wants that.”
Wincing, I turned away from her and closed my eyes.
“I mean, these watches are hard to fix! If I knocked something loose from them, it’d take hours to get back in working order!”
Blinking, I opened my eyes, and was about to turn and give her a strange look. When, quite expectedly, I felt something smack against the back of my head and my world faded to blissful black.
The black generally faded into a warm, inviting violet light, and I found myself once again floating through the interstice, or whatever it was. Curious geometric figures and impossible shapes floated past me in dizzying arrays, strange lines of power swung past me and reached off into infinity. This time, I tried to make a conscious (well, semi-conscious) effort to steer myself back to home. Where before I’d just sort of glided and went with the flow of this place, this time I attempted to think of a particular place. A very particular place. It wouldn’t do to end up just in the general state of California, it had to be home. Focusing hard enough, I started to get the inclination that if I wandered off in the right direction, and thought of certain equations, tracing particular lines of power, I’d probably end up where I wanted to go. Following this thread of barely formed thought I started off after it in a nervous rush.
Violet light vomited me out from chill morning air onto cold abrasive asphalt that further bit into the palms of my hands and my already somewhat raw knees. For some reason, I was panting heavily. Slowly climbing up to my knees, I tried to figure out where I was this time.
God, I hoped it was this time. If it was another time, I was in a whole heap of beans that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with. Space beans I could deal with, but time beans scared the paradox out of me.
Luckily, I actually recognized where I was. It was the lengthy parking lot of the local church; tall pale steeples and dull stained glass windows jabbed into the grey of the midnight sky. The moon was still out, lazily shining down through slow-moving clouds.
Apparently I had to work a little harder on my aim. This was still my hometown, but it most certainly wasn’t my bed. Brushing off the bits of tiny black pebbles sticking to my hands, I started off on the four mile walk that would bring me home.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
For obvious reasons, when I awoke the next day I felt like I’d just hiked four miles. Also, I decided that the alarm was much too loud. Groaning, I rolled out of bed, slipped my glasses back on before I started seeing things I’d rather not see, and contemplated the dull stinging from my rather red hands. It was rather ironic that these days I was wearing glasses so I wouldn’t see things. The bottoms of my feet hurt too, but that was to be expected from walking barefoot for as long as I had. Ignoring the steady breathing of my backpack discarded on the floor that made it look like an artificial lung as it swelled and collapsed in on itself over and over, I winced as I stumbled off towards the restroom, walking on raw feet.
Lazily flicking the light switch on and swinging the door closed behind me, I positioned myself before the toilet in the manner that I had been accustomed to doing so over the past 14 or less years of having external genitalia and the potty training to use it. My eyes weren’t fully opened, but I had a pretty good idea of where to aim. However, I’d apparently forgotten I didn’t have quite the same equipment left to aim with.
Squinting with confusion as a wet warmth gushed down my legs and splattered against the floor, I slowly dropped my gaze. Of course, not a drop of fluid had managed to hit those placid clear toilet bowl waters. Dare I say, it was taunting me with its wide rimmed stare. Startled, I nearly fell over when once more I saw that shy cleft where once there stood a mighty (it was getting there!) edifice of masculinity. Also, I stood in a puddle of piss. Gosh, I hoped this didn’t become a reoccurring event, because this change was really taking the piss outa me!
Groaning in annoyance, I started to wad up hand full after hand full of toilet paper to clean up my little accident and flush it away. By the time I was finished, I was regretting those three mountain dews I pounded last night before bed.
That finished, I made my way over to the sink and mirror to wash my hands off and glare at the idiot in the reflection. On the brighter side, that black eye had faded enough that it was barely noticeable. It looked like I might have been sleeping with one eye open, so one eye was getting a little less sleep than the other. Though really, neither was getting much sleep lately. Dubiously I leaned in closer, lifting my glasses up to get a better look at those creepy inhuman black eyes of mine, and frowned. Were my lips a little... fuller than they used to be?
I’ve never been the sort of guy that would stand in front of a mirror for any great amount of time to make certain I was still the suave and perfectly proportioned piece of man candy that I’d been the night before. Perhaps if there was a little something more to look at, I might have been, but there really hadn’t ever been all that much of me to begin with. I was scrawny, and unimpressive. It honestly never took me more than a quick glance to ascertain every morning that I hadn’t changed in any significant way, so I never lingered for any notable amount of time before stumbling into the shower and getting ready for another day of doing my level best not to be noticed, or acknowledged, or to stand out in any significant way.
However, this particular morning, everything was not all as I had left it the previous day. There was in fact one very large difference that still had me in no small way freaking out. Somehow, that made all the difference.
Before, I could look down at my scrawny body, and my penis (hey, I didn’t look down at it often, but sometimes a guy just needs to make sure it’s still there and happy and hadn’t turned any funny colors), and say to myself, “I’m one scrawny and unimpressive guy, but at least I have a penis.” Now it appeared I couldn’t even say that. Without that one squinting one-eyed evidence of masculinity, all my other deficiencies appeared all the more obstinate. That strange bit of fat around my chest suddenly looked less like the results of a life spent playing video games, and eating fast food, and more like budding bosoms. It may have been purely psychological, but even my nipples looked a little bigger. As a guy, I can say I pride myself on the many times that I have NOT noticed my nipples. All these differences seemed ever so slight when I still had the right thing going on between my legs, but now that it was gone, they all seemed ominous and feminine.
It wasn’t as if losing my manhood was like pulling a cork out from my crotch and all the man juice had come rushing out. It was more like a kilt. You put a kilt on a burly man with a beard and a pair of legs more hairy than a hobbit’s foot, and everyone might remark on how manly he looks in it. You put the same kilt with the tartan pattern on a little girl, and everyone thinks “catholic schoolgirl”. My body was still the same unimpressive kilt it’d been early yesterday, but I suddenly had catholic schoolgirl parts inside it.
To my eyes, even my eye lashes looked a little thicker and fuller, and even my eyes looked a little wider than they had before. Perhaps it had always been that way, but my waist did feel like it was slimmer than it should look, and my hips just a little wider and, dare I say it, with a propensity for a certain roundness that while it may have just been my imagination, did not fit quite as smoothly into my pants as they had days ago.
And the body hair! Some of my classmates had turned into teenage wookies the second puberty hit, but my body had seemed much more reluctant to escape my boyhood. Honestly, the day I’d grown something resembling pubes I’d done a little Irish jig (that was a few months ago, as I recall). I had almost no body hair to speak of beforehand, other than the dreaded “peach fuzz”, and rather than boyish, it now looked oddly feminine, and smooth! The horror!
Trying to ignore the ominous impression that womanhood had its polished and painted claws already dug knuckle deep into my pubescent flesh, I shivered, and retreated into the shower. I developed the same defensive reasoning of dealing with bullies as with my va- my brief crotch error. That being, if you didn’t look the bully in the eye he probably wouldn’t pick a fight with you. If I didn’t look the girl part in the face, maybe it’d go away.
Dressing after I’d cleaned proved to be another difficulty, probably as psychological as the rest. I wasn’t possessed of any kind of illusions of sporting a great foot long hot dog in my pants previous to my accident, but after getting a good look at myself in the mirror I’d become self conscious. Surely, I told myself, someone in my P.E. class might happen to stare at my underwear and notice something was missing. There was also the off chance that I could bump crotches against someone, or something (completely unintentionally, mind you), and they’d discover my startling secret.
Pulling on my pants and shirt, and working my socks on, an idea occurred to me. It was a grand idea, I tell you. An idea of epic ingenuity! Smirking with pride at my own inventiveness, I rolled up one of the socks I was about to work onto my foot, and stuffed it down the front of my pants. Beaming, I took the opportunity to admire the smooth and manly contours this afforded my outline in the shower fogged mirror. Why, I should have been stuffing socks down my pants MONTHS ago!
Feeling somehow more confident about myself, I swept out of the room to devour a quick breakfast and exchange pleasantries with my parents at the table of eating.
Across a bowl of cheerios I beamed at them, and I must have seemed so cheerful that they thought it odd, because they were giving me back the oddest look. “Mom!” I chirped, “Dad! Don’t you two look lovely this morning!”
“R-right, yes. Josh, you certainly seem... happy,” my mother cautiously offered.
They looked worried.
Why would they look worried? Bah, I didn’t need parental worry, I had a sock bolstering my spirits! Helping my mood soar like an American bird of prey!
“Well, that was delicious! I’ve got school to go to, see you both at the end of another great day!” Confident, I patted my brother on the shoulder, and gave my mom a hug, and dashed off to my bike.
Watching me leave with worry etched in the features, my father leaned over to my mother and said in a shaking voice, “...Dear, did he have a giant bulge in his pants?”
My mother swallowed the last awkward bite of her breakfast, trying to avoid eye contact. “Yes, dear. I... I think they call it an erection now, though.”
“....That boy worries me!”
The creature living in my backpack was quite content that morning, and had shifted with the ease of flowing water from being a pampered black latex-like kitten to being a tentacle waving horror from the abyss of mankind’s imagination in the blink of an eye, but never when the parents were watching. It had grown wily in its scant few days of life. Something that came across as a “Goodnight!” echoed in my mind from its general direction, just before it had vanished into my school bag, turning the ordinary nylon pouch of books, paper, and the occasional lost skittle into a depth-less darkness.
Mysteriously, Ecila wasn’t there to walk me to school this morning and talk my ear off with explanations and conversation that never really helped me in the least. I’d hoped she was spending this time finding some way to repair the nigh irreparable genital damage she’d done to me, but with a creature like her, you could never be very certain. Deciding that she would have probably made things worse at this point, I counted my blessings and enjoyed a nice quiet bike ride to school in the brisk early hours of morning.
The kids at school were their usual, indifferent, self-absorbed selves. Gosh, doesn’t anyone care about me? By the time I’d biked all the way there, my hands, knees, and feet were still sore from my previous evening’s activities. Worse, my crotch sock was all sweaty. As per the usual, I made an attempt to shrink into the background of the school until the first bell rang, staying as out of sight and out of mind as I could. Which was the best way to avoid running into those would do my face harm!
While waiting in one of the out-of-the-way hallways, I reached into my pack for that journal of my great uncle’s that I stashed the previous night. Oddly, the gooey black tar cat hadn’t redecorated it in its sleep as it had some of my other books. That was a small blessing, as I’d discovered tentacle written hand writing to be rather difficult to read.
As I skimmed through the first few pages, attempting to discover a secret to aid my ventures, my mind wandered and I decided on a few minor goals to achieve by the end of the day, and hopefully before that Mathletes meeting that my mother expected me to attend much to the peril of my rapidly diminishing and perhaps non-existent reputation the next day.
Firstly, I should probably find Beth and apologize for running out on her like that after things had just started to get good on our date. I’d also probably have to postpone any future dates with her until I got everything down south working as it should be. The chances of someone like myself actually getting to the point with a woman like that where it would actually matter or not if I did have something between my legs was rather slim and distant, but I was an optimist when it came to the subject of my virginity and its eventual fate of being misplaced.
Secondly, I should make an effort to find that popular girl I’d fallen on, Suzan. Suzan Chylds was pretty, she was popular, she was probably smart, I could apologize to her for the whole mess up with my lunch and use it an as excuse to talk with her, and ask her to use her womanly charms to get that oaf Ray off my back for a while. It wasn’t particularly that I was afraid of him, I was just tired of having to run to keep from being violently disfigured! Nope, not afraid at all! The fact may be that I spent many an off hour dealing death in a video game world, happily hand-gunning down the occasion newb, and the much vaunted l33t dewd with my mighty imaginary shotgun, but in real life I was starting to realize I was somewhat of a mild (well, lazy) pacifist. Any intelligent person will tell you that violence never does anyone any good, or solves something or other, right? Defending yourself was a whole other matter, I suppose.
My thinking side railed as my eyes picked across a rather curious diagram somewhere more than halfway through the journal. The wispy hand writing of my great uncle hadn’t become any easier to read over the last several days, so my comprehension of the side notes was slow coming. I’d known the elder Gillman had been theorizing and experimenting with the logic of the higher levels of mathematics and the stranger regions of magical diagrams and circles in an effort to draw links between the two, so it wasn’t so strange to see the detailed outline of what I suspected was some strange summoning circle. The script and complicated algorithms, bizarre formulae detailing the lines and explaining the curves of the diagram seemed to indicate another of those trans-dimensional relationships I’d been having my nose rubbed in so much of late.
It wasn’t until I felt someone prodding my shoulders that I noticed that Beth had been trying to get my attention for who knows how long. The second I laid eyes on her, every one of my logical thoughts evacuated my skull and I was left with an empty head and a strangely warm feeling sock-muffled crotch.
“Are you alright? I’ve been calling your name for like, the past minute,” I heard her say with a worried tone.
Struggling to gather my wits, I nodded quickly. “Yah! Yah, just letting my mind wander.” Clearing my throat, I continued sheepishly, closing the book, “Um... sorry about last night. I really wanted to hang around, but something came up...”
“Something came up? While you were in the bathroom?” she asked with an incredulous look.
“Not... not THAT!” Sniffle. And, maybe, never again. “Honestly, I was having a real great time! But, I had uh... I had to be getting home, see? I... lost track of time, and forgot I had to meet the parents at home for, uh... you know, FAMILY stuff.”
She gave me a long suffering look, and then smirked. “All right, Gillman. You’re off the hook this time. But you better make it up to me next time.”
“You do intend to make it up to me, right...?”
“What? Yah! Yah, totally!” I just barely managed to say, finding my sudden luck a strange bedfellow. Not that I wanted to start bedding fellows just because I had a temporary change of parts, mind you! I was very much into the sexy blonde freshman girl, Beth.
Smiling at me patiently, Beth nodded. “Good, because I had fun too, up until you bolted on me. Maybe we can do something a little less intensive on the conversation next time. I like doing homework as much as anyone, really. Maybe we could... like, catch a movie?”
“That’d be great!” It would have been even greater if I could have found some means of avoiding Ray for the rest of the day, or of finding a way to convince him to back down before I did encounter him again. However, I was somewhat confident in my abilities to hide out and avoid the big oaf’s attention, at least when classes were in session.
However predictable it might seem, I found myself running once more to escape the inevitable. Not puberty, or fate, or anything as abstract or chemical as all that. No, my immediate concern was for the very state of homeostasis that my body kept with respect to the outside world (that is to say, all my insides inside and all the outside outside of it), that a large jock named Ray seemed intent on disrupting.
Backpack hugged to my chest, my Converses slapped a frantic repetitive beat on the concrete of the empty hallways that felt primal in my ears, like cavemen beating on drums made of pelts. Perhaps it was a matter of association, because there was in fact an overgrown caveman just a few breaths behind me as I turned sharply on a corner.
Why he was so intent on causing me bodily harm, I can’t logically deduce. No doubt the operable parts of his brain were those reptilian instinct driven chunks we hear about, and in the zoo that was the Russel High School, I’d given him the impression somewhere down the line that I was prey and he was the mighty and undisputed predator.
One day I’ll have to figure out how and when I gave him, or any of these jerks, that impression.
Meanwhile, I called over my shoulder as I turned another corner, “Suck my dick, you fat slow fuck! You punch like you run - like a girl!”
Yes, I realize the irony of those particular flung phrases. There’s a fat chance I was trying to overcompensate for my current and temporary deficiencies. You know. The sock currently taking the place of my errant penis.
I’d literally run into him between morning classes, and just when the bell had rung and everyone had been ducking into their classes, he’d decided he could squeeze in a quick informal meeting between my face and his fists. There were just enough kids still scrambling to their classes that the few people passing in the hallways probably passed off my running and his following as an effort to avoid being tardy.
A sharp growl behind me as I ran alerted me to the fact that not only had my accusations and suggestions struck home, they’d pissed him off something awful. It also suddenly occurred to me that he was an athlete, and I sure as heck wasn’t. I was a mathlete. What was more inevitable than my being chased by this large dork was him catching me quite soon.
Luck however was on my side! This once. Just as I raced past a classroom that apparently heard our impromptu chase during class hours, a door suddenly swung open and met quite violently the surprised face of my pursuer. A large wall-like woman wearing gym sweats (and believe me, they call them sweats for a reason) looked down with a confused expression at the sprawled, cussing form of Ray.
Making the mistake to stop and look back, I felt myself burst into a triumphant round of laughter. However, on seeing the enraged expression and the veins popping outwards on his face I quickly garnered the hint that this was the last thing I should have done. Something fairly similar to an ‘erk!’ and halfway to an ‘ack!’ croaked out of my throat when I saw the red-faced oaf quickly scrambling to his feet to resume his chase. Freaking out, I bolted in the opposite direction and dashed into the first open door I could find, hoping if I could get out of his sight he’d loose track of me. I mean, these guys track by movement, right?
That thought lingered in my mind for a few stale moments, when I realized I was standing in the entrance to a white tiled room, with a large smooth wall blocking me off from sight from the rest of the gym’s populace. Female voices echoed off the walls, alerting to me the fact that I’d somehow escaped into the girl’s locker room. A whimper choked its way off in my throat and I tried to back out, only to hear the shouts of that guy that I just remembered was trying to beat me to a pulp.
Threatened with imminent male violence at my back and naked women at my front, I think perhaps the primitive side of my own brain made a snap decision that I wouldn’t have made with hours of psyching myself up.
I rushed around the corner into the first row of lockers that was quite luckily unoccupied, and I immediately dropped my pants, and started to yank my clothes off. Hey, if they saw a guy walking in there, screaming might be the least of my worries! And I was still quite aware of my current trouser condition, so it might as well do me some good while it was that way.
Also, I’d get to see naked ladies if I planned this right!
I’d finally gotten the last of my clothes off when I heard something big and dumb explode through the door I’d just snuck through. My craw crept up my throat and stifled off any words I could think of, when I saw Ray and his many feet of height round the corner with fury and violence written into his features. By then, I had my shirt halfway off my head like a towel and managed to not have to fake a look of surprise and shock.
If I wasn’t completely naked, I’d probably have enjoyed that matching look of shock and surprise on his face.
He stammered, just standing there, eyes wide (though most certainly not averting his eyes to honor my feminine modesty). “Uh! Oh, shit, uh, I’m really sorry! But uh, did you happen to see a scrawny little dork run through here?”
Biting back my diminishing pride, I did my level best to scream in as high pitched a manner as I could, “Aaah! Pervert!” Just to drive the point home, I pointed at him, too. You could never specify too much in a case such as this. Huh, I could imitate an outraged female’s scream fairly well!
“What! Uh, no! No, this is a mis... a miss.... under... stooding... uh, mistake!” Suddenly, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and was tripping over his own feet and stumbled back out of the door to avoid getting caught, and ended up accidentally slamming into that large tile wall face first before even reaching the door.
Strange as the situation was, I couldn’t help but gloat. I’d finally scared the bugger off, and all I had to do was take all my clothes off! There’s no way I could describe my immense sense of satisfaction I had just then, sitting on the benches in the girl’s locker room ass naked, with the school bully running scared. Somehow, I’d imagined if I was ever in this particular spot that I’d have been a bit more, I don’t know... turgid. Or perhaps at the very least, attentive in some definition of the word.
It was surprisingly disappointing to myself when I looked down at a sight I wasn’t the least bit used to, and had realized that this was as close to seeing or being near one of these things as I’d ever been.
A sigh found my lips. I turned around to gather my things to dress back up, and get the heck out of there.
“Oh my god! Where is he?!”
“There was a guy in here?”
“I’ll go get the coach! Where’d he go?”
Three rather startled, and startlingly attractive women in various states of undress confronted me as I was caught part way trying to dress myself. Though they were looking at me expectantly, the most sound I could manage was a startled ‘yelp’. My eyes wide and insides suddenly cold and fearful, I grabbed my pack and made a B-line for the exit while half dressed and trying to pull the rest of my clothes on as I went.
Face first was the order in which I slammed into the tiled wall divider right to the side of and somewhat below a matching imprint in the dust similar to Ray’s face, and it took me a stunned few seconds to collect enough brains to get the rest of my clothes on and find the right way out of that place.
In a stunned silence, the three girls watched as the strange flat brunette ran away, terrified.
“Wow,” said one.
“Yah,” said the other. “She was pretty smooth!”
“She must wax.”
“Oh, you think she’s Brazilian?”
I waxed nostalgic as I walked into the men’s restroom during the lunch break, bypassed the upright, easy and quick urinals lined up along the wall, and retreated into the furthest stall from the entrance. Yes, I could remember a time when I didn’t have to sit down to pee. It was yesterday, I believe. What a fine day that had been before all the horrible things started to happen to me. Trying to relax, I let out a sigh and let my pants drop, and eased down onto the cold white porcelain throne, sulking all the while.
As I did my business, I hunched forwards and dropped my chin onto my palm, glaring down at my sentient backpack that was, and had been since this morning, napping contently. Tempting fate, I contemplated reading a book while I waited for my lower half to complete whatever sort of things it was biologically fit to do in this position. Cautiously I reached a hand down to unzip the mouth of the pack, and peeked dubiously into the palpably thick darkness. Squinting didn’t help me see any further, so I reached a hand in through the rows of razor-like zipper teeth. Wincing, I froze when I felt something gooey and tar-like, but unmistakably alive writhe and purr beneath my touch.
Several days ago I can assure you that feeling something like this against my hand would have been cause for immediate evacuation of my bladder and or bowels, but ironically I was already doing such an activity out of purely voluntary reasons, so it wasn’t so big a deal. In fact, I admitted to myself as I gave the happy-feeling goo sack another stroke, that it was almost cute. The unmistakable impression of contentment echoed in my mind from the little thing. It was hard to blame it for giving me a vagina, especially when it was quiet and calm like this, and not a whirling mass of tentacles attempting to explore my inner workings first hand via my backside. Besides, the whole vagina deal was Ecila’s fault!
“Yes, you’re a good little pocket monster, aren’t you?” I whispered to it with a smirk, petting it slowly.
“Play with it bro, don’t talk to it,” a stranger’s voice responded to me from outside the stall in the restroom.
Reflexively my lower parts clenched up, and I let out a groan of annoyance. There was no way I was going to be able to do this with other people around... listening! It was embarrassing enough! Sulking, I settled into my seat and waited for whoever was out there to finish his piss.
Honestly, I was just a little jealous. This guy was in there for maybe 20 seconds after I’d first heard him. The lucky bastard was using those stand up urinals outside, and once he’d done his duty I heard the front door swinging shut. Although not washing your hands did save precious time you could be using eating food, or escaping danger, I decided I was going to spend extra long washing my own hands once I got out of the stall, and I was going to remember not to shake anyone else’s hand for the rest of the day. Or, the rest of the school year.
Finally, I’d gotten settled back down and relaxed enough that I could get back to my intimate business here, when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up in the way that I dearly wish other parts of my anatomy might stand once more. Call it spider sense, or danger sense, or sixth sense, or not enough cents, but some sort of sense I had was being irked. With a wince of regret, my lower parts tensed up once more cutting off the flow of happy urine to a sad trickle.
I hadn’t heard anyone enter, so I just assumed it was my frayed and overworked nerves making my life a further hell. Seeing as how I wasn’t going to get anything done in here for now, I grumbled and decided to finish up.
I’d started to stand and pull my pants up when I felt and odd and uncomfortable moisture down betwixt my nethers. Now, I was a newbie at this sort of thing, so it was somewhat alarming when I discovered a bit of that moisture my body had been dumping might still be lingering around the, uh, pee exit. Once more, I envied that young man who’d managed to get his business in here done in less than half a minute. Knowing I’d have to do something about this, I sat back down and pondered the existence of my velvet-lined meat wallet for a long thoughtful few seconds, and came to the conclusion I’d have to dry it off in some manner.
Reaching over to the toilet paper, I grabbed up a handful and hesitantly lowered it down between my legs, unable to even watch it as my shaking fist neared.
“No no, that’s not how you do it at all,” a disappointed voice from up above said accusingly down to me.
“Well pardon me!” I muttered in annoyance, “This is my first one! You’ll excuse me if I didn’t read the ‘Proper Care and Feeding’ manual!”
“Oh, you’re excused. But you don’t want to dry it that way - try wiping from front to back. That way you aren’t getting butt juice all over your fun bits!”
Muddled and annoyed as I was, I took the voice’s advice and was as satisfied with the results as I’d ever be. It then occurred to me that I was obeying strange voices in a bathroom. My gaze jerked up, and I nearly choked when I saw the upper half of Ecila draped ever so casually over the top of the stall door. I hadn’t the faintest idea HOW she kept getting up there so quietly, but she managed to look as though it was as regular a thing to do as leaning against a wall. Except she was hanging in a bathroom stall, staring down at me with beady black eyes.
“ECILA!” I gaped.
She had a look of strange pride as she smiled down at me, and my vagina. “Oh, you remembered! Good job, Josh. Might wanna pull up your pants, you don’t want it getting cold.”
I stifled a yelp of surprise, my face turning crimson in no time flat as I stood up while glaring at her, pulling my pants up. Then I stopped to adjust my balled up sock, so people wouldn’t think I was growing genitals out of the side of my hips. “I told you not to come in here anymore, didn’t I?!”
Looking shocked, the woman responded, “No! You didn’t! At least, not exactly worded in THAT way.”
“Well don’t! This is the GUYS’ bathroom! You are NOT a guy! People might freak out if they see you in here!”
“Pff. You’re not a guy either, Josh. Guys don’t sit down to pee. Believe me. I’ve been watching them lately. A lot,” she whispered that last part, a shudder of horror and a shadow passing over her features.
I shuddered as well, and for nearly the same reason she had. “Right. Great. So, did you find a way to fix my problem?” I asked the girl haunting my bathroom stall, deciding I might as well sit back down (after flushing).
“Actually, I did!”
Caution inched into my tone. “Really?”
Eyeing her doubtfully, I crossed my arms and leaned back, and uttered words I regretted uttering within the confines of the men’s restroom almost as soon as they left my mouth; “Fine. Show me.”
A broad grin crossed her face that sent a cold shiver through my spine, and the girl reached behind her and yanked up a weapon.
I cringed, before I recognized it as a squirt gun. “That’s a squirt gun,” I said in a dry tone.
She slowly shook her head, a mischievous grin on her lips. “Nuh uuuuh.”
“...Then what is it?”
That same grin got wider, and she pumped it a few times to build up water pressure, while a dribble of something white and lumpy oozed out of the tip, “It’s a MAYONNAISE cannon!”
Groaning I quickly moved my legs out of the way of the white goo as it dribbled into the bathroom stall. “Somewhere down the line, Ecila, I think you latched on to a miscommunication and ran wild with it.” Knowing the girl the way I did, I hadn’t any real expectations for her to suddenly solve the horrible dilemma she’d forced upon me, but the results were still rather depressing.
Her expression was honest, and perhaps more disappointed than my own. “What? Really?” She gave the modified super squirter a look of betrayal.
Tossing the squirt gun behind her blindly, and somehow ringing it into the trash can, her previous zeal returned to light up her face as she dangled above my head. “That’s alright! That was really just a small joke to cheer you up. Honest! I didn’t REALLY think it was a... a... hehe... you know. But seriously, wait till you see the trouser snake I came up with, I think it’s really-”
“Agh, no! No animals! It isn’t a trouser snake OR a mayonnaise cannon, it was a penis! Male genitals! Do I really gotta show you pictures!? You were the one that yanked it out, you should know what it looked liked!” I fumed on the toilet seat.
“Uh... actually,” she grinned sheepishly, fixing her glasses. “Your little pet disposed of the thingy itself. It was damaged alien leech tissue, Josh! I sure wasn’t going to do anything with it.”
The corner of my eyes twitched, and I took a slow, long, horrified look at my purring backpack. “Di... disposed...?”
“Yah! Well, ate, I guess. It needed raw materials!”
Shaking, I got up. “I’ve... I’ve gotta go be by myself...” I mumbled, my face pale. Ecila hung there, draped over the top of the stall door oddly, and bumped against the wall when I swung it open and trudged out (after washing my hands, of course).
As disturbed as I was by the little penis eater living in my backpack, I paid no attention to another student who I didn’t really know, who had entered the bathroom and walked past me towards the recently emptied stall. He paused to give Ecila an odd look as she scampered off after me, concerned, and calling out after I stalked away from the restrooms, “Aw, Josh! Don’t be like that! Lots of guys somewhere (like in Germany!) probably have the same problem, it’s a little premature to get so excited about this! Gimme some time, I’ll have your weewee working like a porn star’s!”
The student raised an eyebrow, and looked down at the mayonnaise globs on the floor of the restroom stall he was about to enter, then back at the retreating guy and girl. A knowing look came across his face and he shook his head slowly, sadly, taking a different stall.
None of this I witnessed, of course, because I had walked rather quickly down the hallway in an attempt to avoid Ecila for the time being. At some point I’d have to try and set her straight on the mysteries of the male wang, but that point could wait until school was out. I had two more classes and one more day of school with a math club meeting my mom was forcing me to attend, and then I had a whole weekend to talk about genitals with the crazy girl.
It was with candid surprise that I almost ran into a few girls when I turned a sharp corner, paying more attention to my horrified thoughts than to where I was going.
“That little worm keeps squirming away! We’ve got to come up with some kind of trap to- Hey! Watch it!”
“Whoa! Sorry, uh...” I started to say, when I recognized the leading female, and the two girls following her.
The icy blonde with her two brunette friends could have only been one person, and I counted my lucky stars that I’d somehow run into her without the entire table of ‘cool’ kids in attendance to block me out. With extreme relief, I smiled at her, finding myself not being put in the usual catatonic state that I was usually forced into when facing attractive members of the opposite gender. “Suzan! You’re Suzan, right? Hey, I’m Josh! I was really hoping I could talk to you about something!”
The girl’s face twisted slightly, looking to me in a rather repulsed manner, and then moving to recognition when she actually looked at me. “YOU’RE that little prick that fell on me!” she said with a growl.
Not having expected quite that response, I sketched a hasty response, “Yah, and I wanted to apologize. It was totally my bad, and I’m really, really sorry about the whole thing.”
“I bet...” she muttered under her breath, her eyes narrowing and the two girls following her managed to look nervous for reasons I couldn’t fathom.
“Yah! And um, since we’ve kinda, uh, bumped into one another now and again...”
Her face twitched.
“...I was sort of hoping you could talk to one of those guys you know.”
“Guys...?” She gave me an odd, measured look. “What, you want a hook up...?”
It took me a few seconds to figure out what she was saying, and I almost choked on my words, “No! No, it’s not like that! Actually, that jerk Ray has been trying to chase ME down the past few days! I was hoping you could, I dunno, talk him out of it...?”
For more reasons I couldn’t fathom, she looked almost smug. “You don’t say.”
“Um, yah! You know, you’re friends with all those guys, and popular and all that. I just figured you could talk him out of it.” Despite my misgivings about talking to a person as well known and popular as all this, I wasn’t all that uncomfortable doing so. Maybe it was because she wasn’t being especially NICE to me. The situation was really quite ideal, in a way. There was no one around to actually see me approaching her and trying to strike up conversation, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her own reputation. Well, no one except those two girls she was always with.
“Right...” Her cold blue eyes narrowed somewhat, and she looked at me thoughtfully, smiling. “I think something can be arranged. Maybe we could all meet after school. To talk things out.”
I blanched a little, the thought of doing something as logical and civilized as discussing the problems face to face without a show of violence seemed unrealistic. But, having her there might force Ray to act a bit more civil. It made a sort of sense, and I was more than a little anxious to settle this dispute so I could go back to not being noticed at school, and focus on the more pressing problems with Ecila and the whole trans-dimensional bungle. Grudgingly, I gave a nod, “That... could work, I guess. After school then, outside the Earth Science class?”
“Sure,” she practically purred, smiling at me. It was comforting to see her so pleased at the opportunity to settle a dispute! “That’ll be just fine. See you there, Jase.”
Blinking, I did my best not to admire their forms as they walked past me and continued along the hallway. I whispered in a low voice, almost certain they wouldn’t hear me, “It’s... Josh, actually...”
She whispered in a satisfied but quiet voice, which I certainly didn’t hear with her walking away and all, “Actually, you’re dead meat, Josh.”
Friday, March 9, 2007
“So, Joshua Gillman is dead,” she said.
Suzan nodded stiffly.
The russet-haired female officer had to remind herself that the girl sitting across the worn metal table from her within the questioning room of the downtown Russel Police Department was in fact, still a little girl. There was a reason a person wasn’t considered an adult until 18. Children were still going through all those delightful hormonal changes, their judgment and decision making abilities often driven by rapidly changing, bubbling chemicals and their own personal satisfaction.
Still, she had to resist giving the platinum blonde girl a look of disgust. “And this teacher, you knew he was a mutant for the last year or so, and you did nothing. You knew he was raping your classmates and wiping their memories of it, and you didn’t tell anyone. Then they start coming up pregnant, and you still don’t do anything until your best friend finally gets hit. Is that about right, Ms. Chylds?”
The fierce female officer’s partner was her mirror opposite, a large graying African-American man with an encouraging smile. His tone was as soothing as the woman’s was cutting, and where she was leaning forwards in her chair like a hunting beast, he was maintaining every semblance of being at peace with the world, leaning back and managing to look worried for the young girl’s well being. “Let’s take it from the top again, Suzan. We want to help you get through this, and we can’t do that until we’re sure about what happened.”
There weren’t anymore tears left in her eyes after hours of repeating what she’d seen, and the usually-composed Suzan Chylds could only sink a little further into the rough, cold steel interrogation seat, her will all but depleted by now. The chair was very similar to the ones at school, and just about as comfortable. She’d been in this room for the last 12 hours or so, being interrogated first by several very intimidating MCO officers (under the watchful eye of the local police to insure she didn’t ‘disappear’), and then by this hard nosed woman with the ponytail, and her rotund but pleasant partner. “...Y-yes. I... you don’t know what it’s like, he found out what I was. I couldn’t let anyone know!”
Officer Stone folded her hands beneath her angular chin, hazel eyes studying the 15-year old coldly. “How did he find that out? >From what we’ve heard, you were doing a very good job of keeping your mutation a secret.” She glanced down at the sparse files they’d put together in the past day or so. The young girl didn’t have any kind of a record before this incident, but they’d pulled together information about her family, friends, even what enemies they could find.
The large man took a look at the files as well. They knew where her father worked, that her first mother had died in a mutant attack in Europe, and that her current mother was her stepmom. “From seeing your family history, I can see why,” he added sympathetically.
Suzan had never looked quite as small, drained, and defeated as she did just then, her face pale, eyes sunken, clothes charred beneath the grey wool blanket. “Because... because he tried it on me. Mr. Maxwell did.”
While the polite man winced, the older woman’s folded fingers flexed in response, knuckles cracking. She took a deep, controlled breath, before saying in a chillingly quiet tone, “Jesus, what is this place, Mutant High? So, he raped you, and you kept quiet about it. It’s interesting how the more we have you recount what happened, the more little details keep popping up.”
“Y-yes, well, no, he tried to! That’s how he found out, I think... he does something to your head, he makes you do what he wants you to do, then he makes you forget about it.” She twisted the corners of the blanket together in her lap, her fingers turning white with strain. As the officer’s voice had gotten quieter, her own voice sounded barely louder than a mouse’s. “That’s how he found out... there was something different about me, and he couldn’t make me do what he wanted. But... but I knew what he was then, and he knew about me, s-so he told me if I kept quiet about him, he... he wouldn’t tell everyone that I was a mutant freak.” She choked back a sob. “Or worse. But... but I didn’t know for sure that’s what he was doing to other people! I thought... I thought maybe he got scared when I found out, and stopped!”
A pained smile crossed Officer Stone’s pale unpainted lips. “You thought a mutant with no qualms about using his psychic abilities to rape little girls...” She quirked her lips, glancing down at yet another file strewn about the table. The teacher in question hadn’t been registered with the MCO either. Idly, she wondered what off-the-wall name the man would have chosen if he’d been forced to do so. Registered mutant names were getting to be like IM chat names, with the majority of the better ones already taken. She just couldn’t wait till Champion_69 showed up on her door step. Actually, no, she could wait for that. “...You thought this guy would just give it all up because you found out about it? Am I getting this right, Ms. Chylds?”
Officer Walters, her partner, butted in at just the right time. “He hasn’t been talking with us, Suzan. We haven’t been able to get anything out of him, either, which makes what you have to say that much more important. And that other boy you were with barely saw any of what happened.”
The little blonde gulped. “I didn’t know what sort of person he was! I would never, I mean... I... I mean I thought it was possible, but... girls get pregnant in high school all the time! I just didn’t figure it out you know, for sure, that it was him, until my friend Becky said she’d missed her period. And I couldn’t let my father-”
The female officer interrupted her with a sigh. “Right... he showed up a few hours ago.”
Suzan’s eyes looked up, a light of hope glimmered in their bright depths.
Officer Stone almost felt sorry for the kid, and exchanged a look with Officer Walters, before turning back to her and giving her a small shake of her head. “He... left almost as soon as he showed up, when we told him the gist of what happened.” She looked to the one-way mirror, and grimaced. It had been more like he’d shown up, called them all liars, taken one look at her through the interrogation glass to see her iridescent eyes in the dark room, the pale skin and hair, freaked and stormed out without saying another word. Without a legal guardian present to take her home, Suzan was stuck there until they could find a place for her.
The young girl’s softly glowing blue eyes sunk, and her body slumped into the seat as though her bones had all turned to jelly. She had an idea of how her father would have reacted when the cops had told him his daughter was a mutant, and part of her was glad she hadn’t been there to see it. Another part of her was dead though, knowing there was nothing she could ever do to make him proud of her ever again.
The female officer sighed, leaning back in her slightly more comfortable looking seat, and folding her arms. “Okay, let’s take this from the top. What exactly happened the day of the incident? Let’s skip the bullshit, this time through, please?”
Swallowing hard, Suzan leaned forwards against the table and took a deep breath, recounting the events of Thursday afternoon one final time.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Dusk was settling around the school, and Suzan smirked triumphantly towards the impatient-looking Ray, who was leaning against the stucco walls of the schools hallway with his arms folded and a scowl on his face. Her original plan was more along the lines of getting Josh’s ass kicked indirectly, and letting people just assume it was her who’d had it done. Though, being there herself to witness it and rub it in would be almost as good as long as no one else knew she’d been around.
She knew Ray wouldn’t talk except to brag to his friends, and imagined after this, Josh wouldn’t be so willing or able to talk either. It might be possible to win back a little of that vaunted respect she’d lost the day he’d dumped his lunch on her, or more importantly when she’d lost it and gone crazy. In front of everyone. The pretty little blonde clenched her teeth in memory of it, she still had absolutely no idea how it had happened, and still hadn’t remembered that it had happened at all, but she had a vague impression that somehow, some way, it had been Josh’s fault.
“I still don’t see why I gotta make up with that little twerp,” Ray sulked, breaking her concentration.
She let out a heavy sigh, eyeing the muscular reclining form of the tall senior. It didn’t bring her the same thrill, the same jolt in her insides that she had when she watched Becky, or any of the other girls. Honestly, she couldn’t see what anyone else could see in that blocky, curve-less form, or simple mind that could excite a person in the slightest. Still, it didn’t hurt to let the dumb block think she was interested, if only to get him doing what she wanted.
“Dolt. I told you, you’re not really going to make up with him. You don’t have to even say anything, if you don’t want to. Once he’s close enough where he can’t slip through your clumsy fingers, I’ll give you the signal and you just pound him senseless, and we’ll call it a day.”
“Then we go on our little date?” The tall muscular jock gave a leering grin towards her, giving her the sort of attention that had so many (or so he said) cheerleaders dropping their panties in the back of his mother’s van.
A silent chill passed through her spine, and she lowered her lashes enough to give him what she calculated was a coy enough smile. “Right, Ray. Then you get your ‘little’ date.” Her tone turned firm after she’d coddled his hormones enough. “So just stay there, and be patient. This little prick’s going to show up sooner or later.”
Ray’s brow creased as he thought it over, his eyes passing over the implied reward of the curvy girl’s very appetizing form, then gave an indifferent shrug. “Long as I’m not late for my ‘toons.”
The girl arched an eyebrow. “Your what?”
“My ‘toons. Ya know, cartoons?”
“I know THAT,” she snapped in irritation. “You still watch cartoons? You ARE in high school, aren’t you?”
Looking offended, the jock puffed up his chest some. “I don’t watch ‘em everyday. I got basketball practice half the week, and I’ve been chasing that little fag around the rest of the time, so I haven’t had no time for ‘em.”
“Huh. Somehow, I figured you’d be date-raping sophomores in your free time.”
“Shit, you ain’t short on bitch today. This guy must really be driving you crazy.”
Suzan twitched at the word ‘crazy’. But she had to admit she was feeling a little more edgy than normal. She didn’t like to be kept late after classes any longer than Ray did, as she could have been off shopping with Becky and that other girl she hauled around with her. For the life of her, Suzan still couldn’t quite recall what her name was, either.
Her train of thought was interrupted when none other than the very reason for the both of them having to lose out on their pre-weekend festivities walked up with an uncertain look in his eyes, and a worn backpack slung across one shoulder.
Well, it was me.
I nervously edged towards the other two students, trying not to let out how suddenly very doubtful I was feeling about the whole set up. Set up being the operative word. Had I been privy to the whole conversation the two had shared leading up to this point, I might have been cautious enough to have just ditched the whole thing. But, well, call it what was left of my optimism for the human race, as I was fervently hoping cooler heads would prevail, and logic would win out in the end and make off with the fair lady without further vicious beatings.
The large-framed boy leaning against the wall gave a small sneer, just as the curved blonde dynamo invited me closer, ushering me further into her cleverly spun web of deceit. Oh, how she would enjoy seeing the look on my face after Ray broke it. My face, that is. “Josh, hi,” she purred as comforting as she could. “As you can see, I convinced Ray to- you idiot!”
It hadn’t been me she’d been just accused of cerebral deficiencies, because before I had even gotten within arm’s length, Ray dove aggressively forwards in an effort to tackle the scrawny me in glasses before I could run. There was a reason she’d told the big lug to wait for her signal, I suppose (though she suddenly realized she probably should have gone over what exactly the signal was a few times beforehand).
I reacted with the precision and speed of a person whose nerves had been so very on edge and hair triggered of late, freaked out and bolted in the opposite direction, just narrowly avoiding getting sandwiched by the large flying idiot that hit the concrete where I’d recently been standing. Sad as it was to admit, I was starting to think I was getting enough practice in the last few days at avoiding this sort of thing that I was getting pretty darn good at it.
Suzan cussed fluidly in ways that would have had me staring in shocked that such descriptive and vulgar words could have exited so cute a mouth, and kicked at the confused Ray until he got up. Though I had the advantage of a head start, I heard her unmistakable voice behind me, “AFTER him, you nitwit! We can’t let him get away NOW!”
Dumbly the bigger man gritted his teeth, and the two of them took after me at a dead run, hurdling after me through the empty school halls. The chase didn’t last long before I found an open classroom and bolted into it on instinct. An open classroom meant a teacher, and a teacher meant safety! That thought was jarred as I frantically ran face first into the solid chest of an adult.
I felt relieved, and more than willing to let my dwindling masculine pride take another hit ‘for the team’ as it had so many times of late, by garnering a teacher’s help. Nervously I grabbed at the teacher’s shirt, and spilled forth my worries like verbal diarrhea. “Aw man, am I glad to see you! You gotta help me, these two kids are chasing me around the school! I can’t seem to lose them!”
“Alright, calm down. You said someone’s chasing you?” the man asked, somehow amused.
“Yeah! I was just gunna talk to them after class and clear up this misunderstanding we had, and they just started going after me like they wanted to kick my butt! You gotta help me, teach!” Mentally I was kicking myself the way I expected those two behind me wanted to do physically. It would probably happen again and again, but I vowed I’d try my best in the future not to be fooled by a pretty girl. Unless she was really, really pretty, and I knew I was getting fooled, but there was a pretty good chance she’d sleep with me. Yah, that sounds about right.
The adult frowned knowingly. “You don’t say. Hm, well, perhaps I could help you avoid this whole problem and give you a ride home, Josh. “
Gratified, I let out a sigh of relief, and bowed my head a little and allowing the teacher to guide me towards the door, drawing keys from his pocket. There was no way anyone, even Ray or Suzan, as popular as they were, would dare attack me with a teacher right there! It went against the school code, or something! But, if they did, well... I’d have a teacher as a witness! That might solve my problem right then and there.
“Thanks, Mister Maxwell.”
The aging math teacher gave a slight smirk, as he focused the peculiar qualities of his mind on my own in the way he’d done to so many other students my age. “My pleasure, young man. This is a lucky coincidence for me, I was actually just looking for you. There was someone I wanted to introduce you to, you see. You’ll come along willingly, of course?”
Flinching at pressure I suddenly felt exerting itself on my skull, I faltered a step. Granted in the last week I’d been exposed to all manner of bizarre and alien means of communication that stressed one’s very sense of sanity to the breaking point, and I’d gotten uncomfortably accustomed to a portable tentacle beast expressing its wishes and thoughts directly into my head in ways that would have driven more logical minds into gibbering hair-eating, toothpaste-sniffing frenzies.
However, the will I felt exerting itself on my mind then was different than all of that, because it was human. Well, it was mutant. It was unexpected, and it was the mind of a mutant who’d trained, and practiced, and learned the subtle and not-so-subtle ways to force those around him to do just what he wanted, and in most cases never remember they’d done it in the first place.
A strange compulsion was hammering itself against my consciousness and had my backpack coursing with movement against my spine. The graying man hauled me off with a firm grip on my shoulders, as my feet weren’t as cooperative as he would have liked just then. The teacher’s face tensed with increasing focus as he noticed my sluggish response to his compulsions, compulsions telling me I should be nice and quiet and go along with the nice man, and most certainly not make a scene. It took me moments to figure out they weren’t in fact my own thoughts, and I wish I could tell you the reason for this was that I always refer to myself as ‘Batman’ in my private thoughts.
That moment was the moment that his steps faltered as well, and he looked back down at me with an expression of confusion. “Hm. You seem to have some form of resistance, Josh. Impressive, for a kid your age.” Despite the fact that I was standing right there, I had the impression he was talking more to himself. “I haven’t encountered a resistance like this since Suzan. If her father hadn’t been an avid supporter and employee of the MCO, and she been so terrified of him finding out, I think I might have had to do something more direct to get rid of her...”
Oh god. He was. He was talking to himself. Worse, I think he was monologuing!
“...But your mind isn’t that wall of double thought that stopped me from affecting her. Your thoughts are... slippery, strange, but I believe with a little effort...”
I blanched, and not from discovering what I’d thought had been a sanctuary to be yet another trap, or from the excessive talking. It was more obvious now that I knew it was coming, when his mental will tightened onto my conscious mind like a vice. My legs turned to jelly, and I felt myself starting to slump against him and my world slowly blacked out.
Just then, a huffing Ray rounded the corner and burst into the room followed shortly by a young girl who most certainly wasn’t used to having to exert herself to exact her own vengeance. Both of them stopped just short of dogpiling on the nearly passed out Mathlete before they noticed the teacher glaring at me, lifting me like a rag doll. Though I didn’t expect either of them to come running to my salvation, I at least hoped they wouldn’t make things worse.
Ray was too dumbfounded to comment, but Suzan’s eyes widened when she saw who it was who’d captured their quarry.
I came to all of a sudden with the mother of all headaches, unsure of how I’d blacked out in the first place, or why I was hanging like a sack of very skinny potatoes in my math teacher’s arms. Not really believing that I was prone to bouts of fainting, I was understandably confused to come around to the prettiest girl in school screaming at Mister Maxwell in the abandoned classroom, her voice most certainly not reaching any ears but ours at this late hour. It was of small consolation that as I stood there with my head swimming, the local school bully Ray was looking equally confused as I was. The only two people that seemed to know what was really going on were the teacher and the hottest girl in school, and quite honestly, they weren’t making a lot of sense.
“You fucking mutant! You did it to Becky, I know you did! I’m not keeping quiet anymore for you!” Suzan screamed loud enough to make my skull ring.
An uncharacteristic sneer passed over my teacher’s face, and I gave a half-hearted effort to twist away from his grip that wasn’t in the least successful. His attention was focused squarely on her, and he didn’t seem to consider Ray nor myself much of a threat when he stood a bit straighter and squared his shoulders, hissing, “Suzan, this is neither the time nor the place for this. I don’t think I need to tell you what happens if you even try to turn me in.”
Balking slightly, the furious blonde spat at his feet in a distinctly unfeminine manner, balling her fists up at her sides. “I don’t care anymore! You messed with Becky, and I don’t know how many others! You might be able to trick a few of the cops with those weird mind powers of yours, but once I tell them about the girls, they’ll find out the truth!”
I felt the grip the elder teacher had on me tighten.
“I thought we had an agreement, young lady. You keep quiet about me, and I don’t tell everyone else, including your father, about YOU.” He finished speaking with a dangerous glare.
The girl flinched, her expression fierce. “You wouldn’t be able to prove it!”
Laughing, he scoffed at Suzan while holding me to his side like one of those scantily dressed women being manhandled by the barbarian in all those Frank Franzetta paintings. “Child, I wouldn’t have to have proof, and I wouldn’t have to convince anyone. I could just make someone believe it, remember? And once the rumor starts spreading, isn’t that all it would take?”
A grimace twisted at the girl’s pretty mouth. She knew he could do it, too. Worse, she knew he would do it.
“Yah, what the hell is going on here? No one said anything about no mutants. I thought we were just gunna pound that nerd,” Ray suddenly said, folding his arms.
It was strange that I felt betrayed by him at that moment, the only two of us that had been completely left out of the conversation. More so, I was starting to believe that there wasn’t anyone in the room who didn’t wish me bodily harm, and that wasn’t the most comforting thought in the world. I had some creepy child molesting man trying to abduct me, and I had two fellow students blocking my only way out, who were trying to beat me.
“Shut up, Ray! This is different! This asshole raped Becky and wiped her mind! Now he’s going to do the same to that little twerp, too!”
“You’re gunna RAPE me!?” I suddenly yelped, feeling like I finally had something constructive to contribute, mortifying as the subject may be. What was with the sudden interest everything and everyone has having with my nether region, anyway? Viciously I started elbowing and kicking at the old fart, trying to get him to release his hold on my shoulder. “Oh HELL no!”
“Will you quiet down!” growled the teacher. “I don’t do little boys! I’m not some sicko!”
Comforting as that was, I was still intent on getting my hindquarters far away from grabby teachers, school bullies, and tentacle beasts. Finally, I landed a solid elbow in the teacher’s stomach that weakened his grip enough to allow me to wrench free and bolt for the exit. Not fast enough however, I felt a hand reach out for me, and ended up with a grip on the rim of my pants. It yanked back hard, loosening my trousers and causing me to fall face first onto the ground with a dissatisfied grunt, my glasses spinning across the floor away from me.
Seething in annoyance, he started to haul me back up by my arm. “Suzan, leave now before what’s left of my dwindling patience is completely spent. If you could just calm down, there might even be a little something in it for you. I’ve been offered a substantial amount of money to deliver this young... man?” His voice trailed off in confusion, and it was only then I realized my pants were around my knees, and he was dangling me in the air by an arm.
“What the... wait, you’re a girl?”
I wasn’t sure which one of them had said that, but I was pretty certain I’d lost my sock.
Moving quickly, I tried to find some footing and yanked my pants back up with my free hand while my face turned interesting shades of red, and my teeth clenched. This was not the best day of my life to date, by far. Though, the day I lost my genitals runs a close second by virtue of pure humiliation.
Slowly the elderly math teacher’s head turned to look at me strangely. “Wait, you’re a girl?” he repeated, looking disturbingly more interested in me than he had before. “Well...” he started to say with a leer, “this may make the trip to your new instructor all the more interesting, wouldn’t you say?”
Ray was looking uncomfortable as he backed a step away towards the door. “Whoa, Suzan, I’m out. You never said nothing about no mutants, or teachers. I don’t beat up on chicks, even exceptionally geeky fugly ones.” He straightened up half way out the door and cast a confused look back at me. “Wait... was that YOU in the locker room?”
I do believe my face, at this point, had gone from beyond red to some shade of purple, and quite simply there were no words I could even think to say. For once.
Suzan gave him a dangerous look, grinding her teeth. She managed to tell him before he’d vanished, “Call the police, you dickwad!”
Mister Maxwell sneered at the blonde girl and pulled hard on my arm, reminding himself to clean out the memories of the boy who’d just left when he had the chance. He moved us towards the door while saying calmly, “Tell them all you like. I’ll be long gone by the time they get there. With any luck, I’ll be long gone, and rich.”
Faced with the prospects of being sold off somehow by my brain-invading pedophile math teacher and possibly abused in ways my mind refused to acknowledge before then, something in my head snapped. I wasn’t a girl, and I wasn’t the kind of guy who waited around for horrible things to happen to him without doing anything about it. My gloves and glasses were off, so to speak, and without my glasses shielding my eyes from the mind numbingly confusing clash of realities I’d been privy to, it all came pouring in. Through my eyeballs.
Things were worse than before, when I’d first started to see lines of energy coursing through the world, or the strange shadow beasts that swam as effortlessly through air as if it was water. It was different, also, than the simple understanding of pure logical mathematics of everything, of that double vision I had after waking from my stranger adventures that gave doubt towards the substance of the reality I’d lived in for the past 14 years. The frantic fear and panic shut down the logical part of my mind, and in that instant I achieved something as paramount in human history as the discovery of fire by so many drooling dirt-covered apemen freezing in the snowy wastes of an ancient world.
It was a clumsy attempt, and my first real conscious try at using that strange, ancient lattice of twisted reality that I’d been using every night for almost a week now while unconscious. You’d think after hopping worlds as many times as I had in my sleep up till this point, doing it while awake would have been a cake walk. But let me tell you, the opposite was true. The moment my mind, or whatever it was that was different about me that let me realize there was something else there and come in contact with it, touched what passed for the doorknob to this other-dimensional door, the world erupted into just and blazing cataclysmic vengeance.
It was lavishly decorated, as far as the sensibilities of a little girl were concerned. Everything matched, in the way that everything was soft, cute, predominantly pink, and something any child in the lower single digit age range might go all googly-eyed over. Wallpaper fell in line with this design philosophy, with bright hot pink stripes that unicorns and butterflies danced about, much as decorative cheerfully-illustrated animals patterned a small dresser, and a bulging toy box. The bed was much larger than a child would need, and comfortable, decorated with a pink quilted comforter with various wide eyed cartoon prints. At the head of the bed amidst a zoo of stuffed critters and dolls, nestled into big comfy down pillow blasted with hearts, a little girl rested her head.
Despite being surrounded by every happy and cute thing she could imagine, she was frightened.
She had no night light, and no talisman against the boogieman that had ever proven to work. The cheerfulness of the room was muted at night, the bright lights and innocent pinks turned grey and dull; the pink dresser looked more like a headstone, the stripes on the walls like the bars of a cage. It had never proven to help her before, but when she hid as much as she could of herself under the sheets, she somehow felt safer.
Even when she watched the lights flicker underneath the doorway, and heard the faint muffled footsteps down the hallway at the time of night when everyone in the house should have been asleep, she felt a little safer when she concealed as much of herself as she could under the big quilted comforter until only her quivering eyes and dark hair were visible. Somehow, she could tell that this was going to be one of those nights when the monsters came. Lately, she’d been unable to even fall asleep until every light in the house was off, until every noise was still as proof that not a creature stirred, and most certainly not a mouse.
The shadows moved before her door and stopped, the massive form of the beast behind it blocking out the light. Dread caused her to shrink even further into the bed.
The door knob jostled, and turned. Her body went cold with fear, and she ducked her head under the covers quickly to quiver in the darkness.
Though she could no longer see the eldritch beast, she heard it open the door to her room, and she heard its steps as the aching creaks across the floor and the weight of it got closer and closer to the side of her bed.
Shaking with fear, the little girl closed her eyes tight to pray, to hope with her all her might that this one time, maybe it’d forget she was there. She wished it to forget she was there. She prayed with all her might that it might forget she existed.
While she was busy concentrating, the noise of the monster moving about her room ceased near her bed. The light was dim in her room now since her door was open to the lights of the hallway, and even through the thick fabric of her covers, she could just barely see a certain darkness to her left, casting a shadow over her.
“Please don’t notice me... please don’t notice me,” she whispered to herself, over and over, repeating it like a mantra. More urgently than that, she begged, “No touching me... please, no more touching.”
Her covers stirred briefly, and she waited for what she knew was coming; the weight of the monster as it sat to the side of her bed, and reached up to pull her sheets down. She waited for the big, muffled hands to caress her in ways she knew right down to her soul and her tiny bones was wrong.
This time, however, none of that happened.
The weight of the monster’s foot steps left her room, creaking as it went down the hall.
Blinking, the little girl opened her eyes beneath her sheets. She waited as silently as she could, listening nervously over her own panicked breathing. When nothing happened still, she slowly pulled her sheets down and took a peek around her room. Light flooded in from the hallway, and she could plainly see the monster was no longer there. Relief blossomed in her face, and died just as soon as she saw the shadow in the hallway return, the steps nearing once more.
Reflexively, the girl ducked down a little when the monster’s shape moved to her doorway and walked in without pausing. The thing moved into her room carrying a rather large box, and passed by her without even hesitating, setting it down by her bed and turning to regard the room in a judging manner.
Confused, the little girl asked in a small voice, “Daddy?”
The man didn’t seem to notice her as he stroked his short beard, eyeing her dresser with a slight scowl.
Even more confused, the girl asked a little louder, “What are you doing?”
Finally, the grey haired man seemed to notice her, his eyes glazing over when he looked in her direction. “Hm? Oh, hello, honey,” said the man with a bland smile.
When his attention seemed to wander to the rest of the room again, the little girl sat up in her bed rather bravely. “Daddy, what are you doing?”
As if stuck in a dream, the man turned to face her again, his eyes getting that glazed over look that seemed to stare right through her. “Hm? Oh, daddy was just thinking of turning this room into a study, honey.”
She blinked again, a slight frown crossed her mouth when she began to get the impression that something very strange had happened. Shaking her head, she tried to get his attention again. “Um, daddy, d-don’t I have school tomorrow? I need to go to sleep right now, I think.”
Smiling to himself, the man looked down at the box he’d set on her floor. “What’s that...? Oh, of course, honey. We both have to be up early tomorrow, I’d almost forgotten. I can’t be late dropping my daughter off for her first day of school in the seventh grade, can I?”
Wordlessly and wide eyed, she watched her father pace around the room a few times as if to take some measurements, pick up a few of her belongings and give them strange looks, then walk right out of the room without another look back in her direction.
He had treated her as if he simply hadn’t noticed she was there.
Thursday evening, March 8, 2007
The room exploded as if someone had let a hand grenade go off, and the bitchy blonde was thrown out through the open front classroom door from the sheer force of it. Suzan was slow to respond after landing some ten feet away from the entrance and onto some dry under-watered school grass that had done very little to cushion her landing. She was unmoving and strewn about the brown grass on a bruised butt for long moments as waves of heat washed over her face and warmed her prone form.
Gradually she started to move, propping herself up on one elbow with a wince of pain. The school dream teen looked up with wide eyes, and unshielded surprise at the pillar of inferno raging within the classroom that had held both that kid she’d been trying to rid herself of, and that disgusting mutant teacher who’d managed to impregnate her very bestest friend in the whole wide area code.
Thoughts of escape ran through her head when she was confronted with the blaze that laughed at her in hisses of flame, as a quick glance about her informed that she was very much alone at that moment. There was no Ray, no geeky girl without pants, and no dirty teacher in sight. She hadn’t really held anything against that kid that would have warranted her actually wanting him physically dead, let alone exploded, but she had the sneaking suspicion the police wouldn’t be all that friendly nor understanding with a student who’d just let her teacher and fellow classmate burn alive without lifting a single finger to save them. It also wouldn’t have been that difficult for them to question a few of the students, and for them to learn she had some animosity towards the boy... well, the girl with the glasses.
Looking around, Suzan tried to find a fire extinguisher; but it was after school hours, and all the fire extinguishers were locked safely in the neighboring classrooms or completely out of sight. Worse, she knew the longer she stood there trying to find some other means to put the spreading flames out, the less chance anyone would survive to be recognizable, let alone living. So she certainly didn’t have the time to go running around the empty school screaming for help!
The school’s top bitch planted her feet in the ground where she stood, and focused her ice blue eyes on the roaring blaze with a resolved sigh. No one had come running and screaming towards the flames yet, and she didn’t expect anyone to do so anytime soon at this time in the evening. After all, it was Friday. Most people couldn’t wait to get off school grounds on a Friday.
Fire alarms kicked in suddenly and were ringing loudly in her ears when the sprinklers in the class room sputtered with a brief spray of water, and then choked off to an impotent trickle. Suzan cursed silently. Surely the school’s automated fire alarm would have alerted the fire department, or at the very least Ray might pull through and do something useful, like call the cops. So, Suzan knew that someone had to be coming, eventually.
Though, she had the feeling it would probably be far too late. She fervently wished that she was actually helpless right then, that there really was nothing more she could do, and that she could run home and avoid being caught up in what she knew was going to be a horrible mess.
However, that was not the case, as there was something more that she could do.
Years ago, Suzan began to have a reoccurring nightmare. It had happened once a week, almost, and it persisted to this day. On those nights she would relive, again and again, the time her parents had taken her on that fateful skiing trip to Norway. Weekly, she’d relive the time she’d hid in a strange cave and emerged to find her mother dead and gone. It had been when those nightmares began that she discovered she had a chilling ability that no one else that she knew had. Yes, she could give someone the cold shoulder like no other. Drinks would chill in her hand, rooms would go cold when her temper flared, or inexplicable patches of ice would form under the feet of the more abject targets of her fury.
She knew without a doubt that mutants were freaks and psychopaths, and that through some twist of fate the universe had decided that she was one of them. So she’d done anything she could think of to keep her family, and the world, from finding out, the moment she had found out she was one of them. She’d exerted every ounce of will to force herself not to use these abilities, and suppressed the ice woman’s touch on her life as best she could manage.
Confronted with the spreading, laughing flames that were no doubt eating away at the body of the boy she’d tried to humiliate in revenge, and the teacher whom she was honestly rather indifferent about watching burn, she released that trembling, fearful grip in her mind, and forced whatever it was inside her that did those unnatural things that terrified her so in a panicked push towards the fires.
As if by magic, the flames’ advance seemed halted by the crackling windows. Frost, and then thick ice, laced up the cracks that had formed in the glass, and bit into the ground where the spontaneous fires had found a foothold. A cool, steady breeze blew into the blaze and caused the fickle flames to flicker back in a hissing retreat.
Sadly, Suzan’s sacrifice of pride hadn’t been enough.
Suzan was exhausted using just that much of the mysterious power she’d shunned her whole life, and her control of the chill force she had thrust towards the heat slipped from her mental grasp. The fires crackled with a malevolence, then crawled and creeped back over the cold patches that ringed about it in a sudden surge of indifference, the ice quickly turning to steam in the vengeful advance.
At a loss of what to do, Suzan collapsed to her sore and scratched knees and stared at the fire helplessly, memories of a blazing heat decimating an impossibly tall steeple-roofed building in a snowy waste in a far off land eating away at her conscience.
The hellish flames cast a sickly orange light over the school, reflecting off the kneeling blonde’s face in a way that glowed eerily. Her eyes flashed a cold blue in defiance of it, and Suzan was only fairly startled when she heard someone speak to her as if they were right beside her, or perhaps within her, whispering in an ear.
“I can help you,” it said, distantly. The voice was familiar to her, and its breath was like a calming, chill winter’s breeze in the face of hell. Something about the voice reminded her of a lonely, primeval cave hidden like a black toothed mouth of a beast in the hills of Norway, of a woman of regal bearing clad in stark whites with a soul soothing touch.
“No, I...” she started to whisper back to it, feeling the heat hit her face as the fire from the inexplicable explosion spread to fill the class room, gaining strength. Sweat beaded on her brow as she watched it grow, and toss, and twist like a living thing filled with rage. She cast a nervous look around her, but part of her knew she wouldn’t be able to see the owner of that strange whisper.
Though she did not see the owner of the voice, no one else had come to stop the blaze either. She hadn’t even heard the hint of a siren in the air, though she couldn’t imagine how long she’d stood there, as her heart beat raced in her ears like a count down.
Suzan caved in, and her resistance collapsed to the calming touch that she thought might have graced her cheek in encouragement. “..Yes. Fine. Yes, I’ll... I’ll do anything. Help me.”
“You have my blessing, Suzan. You always have.” It sounded pleased, and its breath was like a winter’s breeze in her ears, cooling her body as she felt it seep into her very bones and soul, the way she knew it had wanted to have done ages ago if she’d only let it. Pure, cold power blossomed in her mind and flowed to her clenched fists, filling her naturally and pouring into her perfectly, the way cold water might fill a glass to the brim. The 15 year old girl felt a swelling strength giving her an unrelenting iron fury against this flame, and she was on her feet an instant later when a chill winter’s gust from behind her hit the inferno like a wall, slapping it back.
She drew in her breath, and threw another wave of the strange cold primeval power at it before it could recover, and a sudden snow storm burst through the shards of windows to kill the flames as quickly and anticlimactically as a child blowing out it’s birthday candles. Frost painted the room and icicles sprung up where the flame had been, mocking the fire that had blazed before with crystals shaped vaguely like a frozen pyre of licking blue flames mixed indecipherably from the broken shards of glass.
The power settled within her as if to make itself comfortable, a queen relaxing in her throne, and Suzan collapsed to her knees to struggle for breath. Despite what she’d just done, her head felt hot, her body taxed. It was only then with the roar of the burning muted, and the voice no longer chilling her mind that she heard the sirens surrounding her, and saw the raised guns of several alarmed police men and the hesitant faces of the firemen behind them.
His footsteps hit a frightened and frantic beat on the concrete hallways of the school. Mister Maxwell was intent on getting to his car and driving as far away from this place as he could, as soon as he could. The explosion had miraculously blown him out the back row of windows, and other than suffering from a few minor cuts and some charred clothing, he was in a fine enough state of health to know he needed to escape this place and start again in a new city.
Yes, everything had gone surprisingly well, except for him losing that kid he was going to sell off to one of his old criminal contacts, that is. However, this wasn’t the first time he’d had to leave town and set up someplace else. The unique aspect of his mental abilities made certain that doing so wouldn’t be too difficult. Surely, it was a loss (mostly financially) losing the kid to spontaneous combustion, but he could make do someplace else.
He couldn’t even fathom how that had happened. He was fairly certain it wasn’t anything Suzan could have done, and he knew for a fact it wasn’t anything he’d done! That kid was his meal ticket, and he wouldn’t have vaporized him like that even if he could have. So, the only possibility was that somehow, either the kid had had some sort of a burnout, or a meltdown, or a third party had hit some kind of self-destruct button they’d had on the kid. Shit, maybe he’d swallowed explosives thinking they were some kind of drugs. Kids these days did stupid things.
Stopping to a skidding halt, the graying math teacher cast an uncertain look down at a backpack he could have sworn had just scurried out from around a corner to block his path. Sirens were descending upon the school however, and he didn’t have much time to contemplate things he MIGHT have seen. More so, there was no one around to have thrown the darn thing.
So the man gave a mental shrug, shook his head, and started to run past it.
The last thing he’d expected was the flurry of vengeful tar-black tentacles that so suddenly exploded forth from the tiny backpack, and that took so sharp a hold of his legs that it caused him to fall face first on the cold concrete. And the last conscious thought Mister Maxwell had as insanity enveloped him and the existence of something he felt right down to the marrow in his bones to be alien, impossible, and utterly wrong as it invaded his thoughts and flesh, was not the type of thing a person would repeat in a polite conversation.
“Shitfuck PISS ass, Bob! I hope your ears turn into assholes and shit on your shoulders! Is the lens-cap off NOW? ...Oh, we’re ready? About god damn time! Chinga tu madre...”
“...In 3, 2....”
“Thank you Sharon in the studio! I’m Kayla Rodriguez, reporting to you live from the scene of what appears to be a mutant attack at our very own Russel Junior High School!” said a bright and chipper-looking Mexican woman. She was dressed for success in a smart light-brown business suit, and spoke clearly towards a stooped camera man while dramatic sirens and flashing police lights strobed theatrically in the back ground.
“As you can see from the wreckage behind me, an unexplained explosion took out one of the classrooms here. One student has been reported as injured, another missing, and the teacher who was present during this explosion was recently caught by police officers in the faculty parking lot. But this teacher wasn’t a normal man. According to sources, he was a mutant. A mutant that got off using his mental powers to rape young girls at this school, and to wipe their memories of it ever happening. In the incident that caused this explosion tonight, two students were confronting the teacher who was, apparently, about to kidnap another young girl! Here we have our witness, a student here at Russel Junior High School that happened to have been on scene during the whole mutant attack! Can you explain to us what happened here, Mr. Stanz?”
A tall kid with the build of a basketball star awkwardly shuffled next to the reporter, his hands shoved in his pockets as he cast a nervous glance over his shoulder. “Um, yah, my name’s Ray. I was just hanging out with, uh... my girlfriend here, and we were... like... gunna help this other kid, Josh, err... she’s another girl... with her homework. Also, we were making out! We were making out for like a WHILE and then she was like saying how good I was, but then we stopped. So when we came in, that teacher Mr. Maxwell was in there in his class room hauling her off.”
The reporter nodded with a trained expression of attentiveness, and quickly tilted the microphone away from his face to her own. “I see, and what happened then?” Smoothly she moved the microphone back closer to the startled youth’s face.
“Uh, well...” He shifted from foot to foot awkwardly, then suddenly became much more animated. “Well, we... um. I was like, ‘Hey, stop! You can’t be doing that, man! It ain’t cool!’ And the girl I was with, Suzan, she was like, ‘You’re that mutant who raped my girlfriend!’ Then, he was like ‘you’re a mutant too!’.” Ray managed to look somewhat worn out, then, shoulders dropping and his hands held out in supplication. “So I was all, ‘Duuuude, is anyone here NOT a mutant!’ Then I laid down the law. I told ‘em ‘You both are in big trouble, I’m calling the cops!’ So, I ran out, to go like, do that you know, because I totally could have kicked his mutant ass if I wanted, but I knew the right thing to do was to call the cops! So then the room exploded behind me! I think that teacher, Maxwell, he must’ve tried to blow ‘em up! Shit man, I’m... oh, can I say shit?”
The woman politely cleared her throat. “No Mr. Stanz, this is live television. I’d appreciate it if you’d refrain from cursing.”
“Oh, shit... err, I mean, shoot, sorry!”
She sighed. “Right... please continue, Mr. Stanz.”
“Shoot, I’m glad I didn’t get caught in that! But I kinda knew that teacher had to be a mutant. I mean, mutants hate us normal guys, right? That’s gotta be why he kept failing me. Oh man, am I gunna be on the news? They gunna play this over the cartoons?”
“Yes Mr. Stanz, I expect a heavily edited version might play on the evening news. Now, did you see the other young mutant, the girl who supposedly put out the fire?”
“Suzan? Well I think I saw some ice around here, and where that fire was, but I ran right when the cops... I mean, I ran to tell the cops what happened, so I didn’t see too much. Oh! But dig this! They took her off in a cop car, but they didn’t haul anyone else out of the classroom! There wasn’t no blood or guts or body parts or nothing! It’s like that other kid got disintegrated!”
“The young lady whose homework you said you were going to help with?”
The lanky teen straightened out, grinning. “Yah, that’s the one. Oh man! I’d like to give a shout out to all my peeps! Wassup Henry!”
“Uh, please don’t flash gang signs at the camera, Mr. Stanz.” She smiled politely at him, then faced the cameraman with a professional smile. “Now you’ve heard from an eye witness, let’s see what the local police department has to say about this incident. Ah! Excuse me! Officer Stone, if I might have a word with you!”
The camera man swiveled to point his public eye at a middle-aged woman whose apparent head ache could partly have been caused by how tightly her hair was pulled back and tied into a pony tail. She halted the conversation she’d had with a couple other officers, and gave the news reporter and camera a pained smile that creased her face and looked somehow difficult for her to pull off. “We don’t have any comments we can make to the press at this moment.”
“I understand that Officer Stone, but I wonder if you might be able to comment on the incident. Was this a calculated mutant attack on our schools, against our children? Were terrorists behind this? What’s the police department doing to prevent this from happening again?” Smiling blandly, the reporter all but shoved her microphone up the woman’s nose.
The corner of the officer’s eye twitched sharply, and she repeated in a voice that was stressed with the effort put into it to remain calm, “I said, we have no comments to make at this time.”
Turning her back on the camera, the policewoman stalked off behind a hastily assembled police line.
Looking somewhat disappointed, Kayla Rodriguez turned quickly back to the camera and flashed her polished pearly whites in a smooth grin. “Well, there you have it! A mutant rapist right here in our very own backward, teaching our own children! Did the school district knowingly employ this menace, did they know that among its very student body mutants were being taught right along side our own, vulnerable kids? If you’ll stay tuned, Married with Children is coming up next. Back to you in the studio, Sharon!”
The reporter sagged once the camera man gave the all clear sign, and immediately took out an abused pack of cigarettes.
Amidst the sea of police cars and ambulances, and the bored-looking fireman, an aged brown Crown Victoria back from the days when cars were more rectangular and indifferent to MPGs pulled up to the police line and a man stepped out.
In many ways the man who surveyed the crowd was like his vehicle, a fashion dinosaur decades out of place, but more an escapee from a James Bond film from back when Sean Connery was still rocking the laser pens and explosive cuff-links. He was confidently tall, with his grey and black streaked hair combed back from a face that was sharp like a well-kept steak knife bearing arched eyebrows that curled at the ends in strange ways, and he was dressed in an olive green British military turtleneck sweater and dark slacks.
The hard-nosed brunette cop was the first to notice him, and she approached the man when he began to cross her police line with a frown and a swift gait to her step that you wouldn’t expect from the rather squat and stocky build. She didn’t know what this guy’s deal was, but it was clear he didn’t belong where he was or where he seemed like he was heading.
She was fairly unamused when she saw him smiling at her with the slickness of a car salesman and beginning to reach inside his back pants pocket for a wallet. “Can I help you, sir? This area’s going to be off limits for a while to the general public.”
The sharp featured man’s face crinkled in amusement. He produced a slick black wallet and flipped it open for her perusal in a smooth trained flick of his wrist. “I was actually hoping I could help you, officer. I’m a doctor, you see, and I received a call asking if I could come investigate some odd reports.”
A stiff eyebrow arched over the woman’s sharp eyes as she quickly scanned the man’s credentials. “Doctor? Doctor who?”
“Ah, Deth. Doctor Deth, actually.” He shrugged at the odd look on the officer’s face. “My parents hated hippies,” he explained smoothly.
“Right. Well, we already called in the MCO when we saw what we were dealing with, sir. You don’t seem to be with the MCO. So I’ll ask you again, can I help you with anything, or am I going to have to have you escorted off my scene?”
The man who was apparently Doctor Deth shook his head. “Officer Stone, it was the MCO that alerted my friends to some peculiarities here that were more our specialty, and less theirs. I’m with the Arkham Research Consortium, and I was hoping I could help you out.”
“First I’ve heard of it.” She nodded back towards one of the other police officers on duty that had happened by, and asked him in a low voice to check on the strange Doctor’s claims. “So, why would they call in someone from the private sector?” she said as she picked at her teeth with a finger nail.
He smiled politely despite the hard-boiled policewoman’s sudden and profound discovery of last night’s pork chop dinner still lingering between her bicuspids. “My organization specializes in dealing with certain... paranormal activity. Normally, they wouldn’t have called me, but I was sort of in the area, and it was convenient. I’ve been receiving indications of the sort of activity in this area that wouldn’t be classified as your typical mutant oriented disturbances. We politely asked the local MCO to alert us if anything out of the ordinary came up.”
“Huh. Well, nothing here too out of the ordinary. Classroom is frozen over, teacher’s gone crazy, and we got one vanishing kid. Sounds like typical mutant craziness to me. Sorry to have bothered you, but I figure that us and the MCO can handle it.” She put on a rueful grin that indicated she might not be quite as apologetic as she’d indicated.
Doctor Deth cleared his throat politely. “Actually, I believe the teacher was what I was called in to assist with. From what I was told, he was discovered in an uncommunicative fashion?”
The female officer relaxed somewhat. “Oh, yah. The medics have him strapped down and sedated. They were just about to haul him off to the hospital.” She thumbed towards a parked ambulance behind her. “You’re welcome to whatever you can get out of him.”
He gave her a polite nod in response, and approached the paramedic van with the bearing of a shark in familiar waters. Smirking, the angry little woman glared after him to make certain he wouldn’t be going trouncing through what was already a heavily confusing crime scene. Then, she decided to follow him on the off chance he did get an angle on the situation and decide not to share it with her.
When he produced a pair of rather out-of-date looking black sun glasses that he most certainly wouldn’t have needed to be wearing at this time of night, Officer Stone gave him an odd look.
“Ah.” Doctor Deth tilted his head towards her politely, slipping the shades on smoothly, and tapping the rim. “Merely a tool from a while back that was provided to me by ARC. A rather useful item using lenses developed by a man named Tillinghast.”
“Oh?” snorted the gruff woman in obvious disbelief.
“Quite so.” The way he was poised with the glasses on, his hands on hips, had quite the theatric air. “They’re sensitive to tears and tremors of the extra-dimensional nature, and can be very useful when... oh dear.”
He’d gone still when looking at the man strapped in the back of the ambulance receiving emergency treatment. Despite herself Officer Stone looked intrigued and leaned in. “What?”
Doctor Deth lowered and removed the glasses, the look on his face rather pale. “Well, ah... here, you can see for yourself,” he announced, offering the black shades.
The woman looked dubiously at the plastic thing, then picked it out of his hand to examine, and cautiously put held them up to her face, not quite putting them on, but still looking through the dark lenses. She first turned her gaze towards the man on the stretcher, and drew back with a strange expression, removing the glasses from her face and looking down at them oddly. She then raised them to her face again, and surveyed the rest of the scene, looking back towards the classroom. “What the hell... there’s a... strange black distortion around the teacher, and back in the classroom... but no where else. Are these things real?”
“Quite!” insisted Doctor Deth, partially affronted that his word had been doubted. “I think you’ll be needing my help, Officer Stone.” He cast a pitying look down at the sedated teacher. “Though I’m afraid it’s too late for him. We can send him to my institute, there isn’t much a regular hospital will be able to do for him, anyway. At this point, he’s practically waiting to die.”
Mister Maxwell had seen better days. What the paramedics had managed to salvage of him was a shell of a man. A shell that had tried to claw his own skin off his own face with bloody stumps of fingers for reasons no one could quite figure out, because he seemed utterly incapable of intelligible speech. He looked more like a mummy now, bloody, bandaged up to his gills, and strapped down firmly to a gurney. A heavily sedated mummy.
“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” -George Bush
I cheerfully ripped my way through inter-dimensional space, cords of existence yanking and clawing at the self that was me before I could make the conscious corrections to slip through it the way I had when I’d been asleep. Somehow, it was more exhilarating when you were awake! It was also incredibly difficult, when you had to do the perilous balance of thinking and non-thinking to navigate where I’d ended up. The moment I’d cleared my way through the violet light of the interstice and come crashing head first into that other dimension, that in-between world that I’d smashed into like an awkward diver hitting the pool with the flat of his (or her!) body, it took me a bit of time to adjust and go from ‘ouch ouch ouch pain!’ to a zen-like, thoughtless drifting.
It’s a hard thing to describe in words, honestly. I doubt anyone could properly describe it in simple words without writing volumes upon volumes, but here I was. Despite the abruptness of my entry (or exit, depending on your perspective), I knew that being here with all its oddities and floating, curious forms of consciousness, and the formlessness of myself as I acclimated to the shift in reality was ten times better than being in the classroom back in real reality with my pants down around my ankles, a pedophile teacher grinning at me, and the school bully and school bitch ogling my lack of Mr. Happy.
Consciously, I floundered in this interstice while trying to regain my bearings, and to recall how I’d so easily and instinctively navigated myself while asleep. It wasn’t long, or it wasn’t too soon, or it was inevitable when I felt a familiar presence come bounding up to meet me. You know, more or less. The wherever-I-was version of bounding.
In an instant, I knew it was my little pocket monster friend. That infant Shoggoth-Lord that had attached itself to me and decided I was probably something like what passed for its mother figure. I also knew, in that instant, everything it was, and experienced, and had been, in the mind boggling manner in which I supposed its kind said ‘hi!’
I struggled for a moment, and then managed to give what passed for a ‘hi’ in this place (or, maybe it was a non-place?) right back at it, and I felt it quiver (or, what passed for a quiver) in pleasure. I was also greeted by memories of a recent snack it had had of something that was rather human shaped, and I tried very hard not to think too hard on the sensations of crawling around under another person’s skin while nibbling at choice parts of their internal organs before vacating through every orifice I could squeeze through. I didn’t even know what the hell all that was about! But the critter must have been keeping close tabs on me to be able to follow me around where I was just then.
That was all and well, but I was sort of just hanging in there. I decided that I should probably try to get back home, and get some nice solid comfortable real ground under my feet. Also, I should try to get some nice, solid, real feet to go with that ground. It was a clumsy effort at first, much as had been my initial conscious re-entry into wherever I currently was, but I slowly started to envision the thoughts and improbable calculations that would, or should, lead me back home. I felt a pull in a certain direction like an anchor and followed it.
Suddenly, the violet light was swelling in my suddenly-there eyeballs, and I fell to my knees with an ‘oof!’
“Pssh. It’s about TIME,” muttered a familiar and impatient voice.
I glanced up from a rather undignified position on my hands and knees, and saw Ecila sitting cross-legged on the ground playing cards with a pair of giant alien starfish.
I blinked in disbelief. This sure wasn’t where I’d been aiming.
Slowly, I sat up and began to take a nice, hard look around myself. Where I’d landed was familiar to me. Abyssal cyclopean towers of onyx black stretched into the sky as far as I could see to the horizon with a strange dead emptiness to them, and triple suns of varying color spotted the sky above me.
“Aw, crap.” I slumped down on my butt and folded my arms over my knees. Well, of course I’d recognize this place. It was that hellish alien city I’d somehow stumbled into the first night I started to have these insane dreams. Against my back squirmed something that quickly took the form of something much smaller, and skittered away.
The shoggoth-kitty lord looked up at me reproachfully from my feet with large mostly yellow eyes, and twitched its tail.
“Language, Josh! Geesh! If we can’t at least pretend to act civil around one another, we’re no better than monkeys!” Ecila mirrored the kitty lord’s reproachful look towards me, and then made an apology to the two starfish folk that were already gathering up the curious looking playing cards with dexterous tentacle like appendages and shuffling.
“Sorry, guys. He’s sort of new here,” she said to them with a shrug.
Suddenly, every inch of my body ached, and I leaned back hard against something smooth and cold. It felt like that anchoring sensation I’d had earlier in the in-between, and it was odd to find something in the real world that had the same solid feel as it did in the violet light. Making sure that I hadn’t sustained more than a few sparse burns and cuts here and there, and ruined my wardrobe, I glanced back up to eye the monolithic stone I’d landed besides. It didn’t look like an anchor. Or at least, it didn’t look like any anchor I’d seen with my own two eyes. But there was a peculiar quality about it that instinctively felt something like one, to me. Or, maybe more like an inter-dimensional light house, pulling in lost and untrained travelers to what was probably, for the things that used to travel this way, a safe haven.
At some point, I think I’d bonked my head against it, too, which was just lovely.
I got up with a groan, and a rub to the back of my head, and started to make my way over towards where Ecila was apparently playing a version of ‘Old Maid’ that I’d never seen before. “Yah. Nice to see you too. Lovely. So, where am I now...?”
“Josh, you don’t sound too happy to be here!”
“Oh, I am. I’m ecstatic. It’s so glorious. I am dazzled,” I managed to say rather dryly. What can I say, showing up in a place you hadn’t wanted to show up in and being instantly besieged by sanity-stressing horrors was starting to wear on my patience.
Ecila looked at me in surprise. “You should be! Do you have any idea what you did? You just traversed time, space, and reality while awake! Sure, you were a little rough on the launch, but you pulled it off! Go fish!”
She slapped down a card with a curious octopus face ringed by dragon wings, and grinned at the starfish twins that appeared to writhe and wriggle in distemper.
“...Right. Uh. Any idea why I’m looking the part of a dish of lightly charred steak tartare here?”
The mousey little girl paused briefly in her other-worldly card sharking to glance over me briefly, then sigh in indifference. “You didn’t carry the one, Josh.”
I stood there, dumbfounded. “The one?”
In a quick and off-handed manner Ecila sketched out something in the air with her finger, basically air guitaring the sort of complex trans-dimensional equations that would have had Einstein pulling out his side hair, and strangely her finger left a glowing line through the air that lingered there long enough for me to read it. Surprisingly, it was something I discovered I could follow. It hadn’t even occurred to me that it was surprising until I’d had a minute to mull it over in my mind and realize the whole thing was still there in my head, and that I had, indeed, forgotten to carry the one somewhere in there.
“Tekeli-li!” quipped the little tar cat at my feet, and I found myself glaring down at it. I suddenly decided I was going to name it Schrödinger. It looked sort of like a Schrödinger just then, and it didn’t look like it was going to be leaving me any time soon, so I might as well name the little bugger. Besides, there was a chance that it was already named Schrödinger and at the same time wasn’t, so it fit in a way that it both fit and didn’t fit. It makes perfect sense, honest!
“Hey, it was my first time! And I didn’t explode... mostly. I mean, I didn’t explode MYSELF. So, really, when you consider that, it wasn’t half-bad...”
“Yes, yes, half-bad is the pessimist’s way of saying not half-good, either,” Ecila tiredly commented as she shuffled the cards by throwing them up in the air. “Time to play 69 card pick up!”
“Right. So um, what do we do now?”
The young-looking girl paused in her mad dash to out-grab cards off the ground faster than the two aliens that had twice her limbs, and was quickly beaten in her efforts by the majestically moving tentacles the creatures she’d been playing against appeared to have in spades. “Huh? What do you mean? You just grab as many cards as you can, Josh. It’s a real simple game.”
Briefly annoyed, I made a sweeping gesture towards the alcove we were all perched in. “I mean, what do we do now? Is there some insane task you needed me to be here for? Monster baby births, Insane t... t...” I mentally flashed back to that meeting of entities that no sane mind could comprehend, of what might have loosely been considered to be a tea party of sorts, if a person wasn’t a person and was in fact an entity stretched across an infinity of time and space and wasn’t really a person any more. I shuddered. “...Tea party... Are you still going to be looking over my shoulder all the time?”
A pair of dark eyes blinked back at me blankly through a pair of geekishly thick glasses. “Well, yah, I guess.”
“Ugh. You guess? What, you don’t know?”
“Josh, Josh. Those who don’t know, teach.”
“What’s THAT supposed to mean?!”
She grinned at me impishly and reached over to pet the head of an appreciative Schrödinger. “If you have to ask, Josh, you’ll never know. So, do you want me to deal you in?”
I seethed there silently, rubbing a slightly singed chin. “I don’t know WHY you can’t give me a straight answer... but if I can go hopping around without being unconscious, I think I’m gunna have to give you a rain check on the crazy card game and get my apparently female ass out of here before you do anything else to it, like give it wings, or Icarus tattoos.”
Ecila winced (when I said ‘ass’, I think), and looked me over again. Hesitantly, she asked, “Really? I dunno, now really isn’t the best time, you know...”
I paused mid-step (though I wasn’t quite sure why I felt like I had to walk to get to where I was going, considering). An icy chill of foreboding skittered down my spine as I looked at her with a cautiously arched eyebrow. She had been at this longer than I had, and she no doubt would have experienced the sorts of trials and tribulations I couldn’t even fathom. If she had reason to give pause, it might mean I was headed face first into the gaping jaws of abyssal oblivion.
So I asked, “Why not?”
“Right! Sun spots, Josh!” She raised a finger and indicated the three blazing orbs overhead.
Though I winced when I looked up at them, I failed to see her point amidst the heavenly orbs, and I made certain to say in terms even she couldn’t misunderestimate, as a former president would say. “I fail to see your point.”
Smiling at me the way a parent might to patronize a young child, Ecila stroked the purring back of my rather un-loyal “child” Schrödinger that had found its way into her lap and explained. “They’re awesome here!”
The corner of my lip twitched, and I plopped down on the cold ground next to her. That struck me as odd. The strange rock this whole city was made of felt cool to me, but the three suns blazing hellish heat down on my body felt otherwise. Grumbling, I reached over to pet the irresistible little critter’s head as it grinned from ear to ear (literally, it was adorably disturbing) in Ecila’s lap. “...How awesome?”
Leaning over towards me, Ecila plucked the glasses from off my face, and tilted my head upwards, and I gaped.
Words cannot describe the ocular orgasmic view that my unshielded eyes beheld in the skies above, but I felt myself humbled, and in mind numbing awe at the sight of it. It was sort of like a person seeing fireworks for the first time in their life, without having ever conceived of anything like them before and having been blind up till that point or living in a cave away from the sky.
Ecila grinned impishly, and let her glasses slip down enough that she could watch them with me. “Yah... I love sun spots.”
“I, uh... I guess I could hang around for another day or so...” I stammered in distraction.
“So, important question.”
“Huh?” I asked in that ever so verbose manner as I got myself comfortable.
She held up a pale green lizard hamster that was oozing an odd white fluid from its singular nostril hole. “Want some sun block?”
The waiting room was shades more comfortable than the interrogation room, but then it wasn’t a cement box with foldable metal chairs and a heat lamp overhead that shined on her like she was french fries at a fast food joint. On that note, she had been feeling rather soggy, and tired. It’d been at least 24 hours since she’d been picked up at the school and questioned, and questioned, and questioned again, until she thought she’d fall apart at the joints.
Very little of what had been left of her felt like it was that confident, in-control, popular girl she’d been at the start of the week before the world had come crashing down on her head. That girl would have never been able to sleep on a plastic chair under the buzzing florescent lights of the Russel City Police Station, nor would she have put up with the way the police officers had treated her.
Everything she had been, and everything she had seemed to have had, had been stripped away from her in the space of one night. Her own father had refused to protect her, she’d embarrassed herself twice in front of the entire school, her best friend had gotten knocked up by a mutant rapist teacher, and even worse than all that happening to her, she’d outed herself as a mutant for absolutely nothing. The teacher had been blown out the back of the room through some windows, and the kid she’d tried to break, and then risked her ass to keep from burning to a cinder, hadn’t even been found. Not a bone, not a scrap of geek.
She was still bleary eyed, resentful and tired when one of the night officers walked up to her with a strange, scraggly-looking blonde man with oddly familiar eyes in tow. Now, Suzan wasn’t one to talk anymore, as far as appearances went. Not only had she not had a chance to shower in the past day, but she’d gotten a change of clothes in the form of some unflattering, baggy gray sweat pants and a t-shirt that read ‘RPD’ across the front in big block letters. Her hair was a mess, she no doubt had rings under her now eerily-glowing blue eyes from a lack of sleep, and she clutched her slightly burnt remains of the clothing she’d been wearing the night Josh had blown up to her chest like a life preserver.
A kind smile showed on the officer’s face. “Ms. Chylds?”
Confused, the young blonde glanced between the crisply uniformed cop, and the unshaven louse at his elbow. “Yes...?”
“Your guardian’s here to pick you up.” He gestured to his side.
Trying to look pleasant, the strange man held out his hand and greeted her. “Hi, Suzan. I guess we never had a chance to meet. You know, recently... I’m your Uncle. Uncle Bill.”
“Uncle... Bill?” questioned the bedraggled child. She vaguely remembered having an Uncle, on her real mother’s side. For some reason, her dad hadn’t talked about him much after her mother had passed away. Suzan looked up at the man again, frowning at his eyes and the way he was looking at her. That’s what it was. He had the same caring, soft eyes she remembered her mother having.
“Yah, or you can call me William,” he said sheepishly. He slowly drew back the hand he’d offered to her in greeting, and scratched at his stubble coated chin with it. “But I don’t guess Richard would have wanted to talk about me much. We sort of had opposing views on a lot of things after your mom... left us.”
Suzan blinked stupidly. Her mind dearly needed more than the few hours of sleep she’d stolen under throbbing florescent lights and on clunky plastic chairs. “Richard... you mean, dad? Why ISN’T my dad here...?” she asked, fearing the answer.
The man sat down besides her heavily, letting out an equally gravity-laden sigh as he sunk. “He’s spooked, kiddo.”
She winced, and shrunk away from him instinctively. There was something rough and crude about the man that caused her lip to curl.
“Look, your dad’s always been kinda... stubborn. You being a mutant isn’t the end of the world, Suzan. You didn’t do anything wrong. I think he’ll come around, but he’s... well, really... REALLY stubborn. So, he asked me to come take care of you for a while.”
A frown crossed her face, and she looked up at the officer doubtfully. “I’ve never met this guy before in my LIFE. You can’t seriously dump me off on him!”
Surprised, the cop waved a clipboard at her. “We sure can, he checks out. We called your father to confirm it, and he uh... well, he gave his ‘okay’. The guy’s a relative, and he’s who he says he is. For the moment, this guy’s your acting guardian.”
He lifted an eyebrow at her. “Ms. Chylds, this isn’t a day care. If you want to spend the night, we got some jail cells you can stay in, but that’s it as far as accommodations go.”
“...Uh, so Uncle Bill, huh?”
The man coughed a little and pulled himself up to his feet. “Hey, I know this is tough on you. But, we can talk more on the way home, alright?”
At the word ‘home’ Suzan perked up, and got up to follow. Who cared who this guy was, and where they’d dredged him up, as long as she could go back home. If she could go home, maybe she could explain all this to her father.
There was some light paperwork to sign, and the promises to be made that she wouldn’t be leaving the town any time soon in case they had any further questions, and then her new uncle walked her out to his truck.
Suzan stopped when she saw the thing. In some ways, the beat-up old Ford pick-up was a perfect match for her beat-up old uncle. While he looked like he could sit down on just about any curb, drop a can on the ground, and make a living off the pity of strangers alone without much change to his outward appearance, the truck looked like they’d just rolled it out of a junk yard. She couldn’t tell what color the thing used to be, but there were signs that at some point it had been painted baby blue. Or perhaps, it was a faded blue. There also might have been orange, or it might have been rust.
Her uncle paused when he saw her shocked look, and opened the door for her with a sympathetic smile. “What? I know it ain’t a limo, but it’ll get us where we want to go. Come on, get in.”
As repulsed as she was, she realized how little choice she had in the matter. Her lip drawn back in a sneer, the worn blonde primly picked her way into the passenger side of the cab and attempted to touch as little of the ripped pleather seat as she could while still fitting a seat-belt around her.
The scruffy Uncle Bill was less picky when he slammed the door behind her, and climbed into his side. She could swear clouds of dust kicked up when he bounced onto the seat. More amazing was the fact that he even managed to start the great behemoth up with less than three attempts (apparently there was a ‘trick’ to starting this dinosaur that involved turning the key, popping the clutch at the right moment, and punching the dashboard).
It sputtered and leapt off out of the police station parking lot and down the road, much to Suzan’s relief. The last thing she wanted after everything that had happened to her was to be seen, stuck in front of a police station in THAT thing. The sooner it was all over with the better!
Long uncomfortable moments passed, before her Uncle spoke up again, somehow managing to drive a stick shift and scratch at some thick stubble at the same time. “See, the thing is, after your mom died... your dad got kinda hung up on how mutants were the anti-Christ, and that’s when he joined up with the MCO, thinking he could make a difference. I don’t really blame him, but I know my sister wouldn’t have wanted it that way... she never told him, but she was a mutant too.”
Suzan made a startled gesture in her seat, and she turned to look at the stranger in disbelief, her jaw hung open. “What?! N-no way! She couldn’t...!”
“Yup. No, she couldn’t shoot lasers out of her tits, or anything.” The girl winced, and he made an apologetic expression. “Err. Well, she wasn’t as amazing as all that. But she could see what was gunna happen sometimes. Like a fortune teller. I figure she must have seen it that day when she pushed you out in the snow... that must’ve been the only way she could think to save you, kiddo.”
She sunk down into the seat heavily, a light cloud of dust kicking up and providing a dramatic smoke effect that was oddly appropriate for the situation. “My... mother was a mutant?” repeated the girl with wide, confused eyes.
“Yup,” said the disheveled man as he drove them further away from the police station and towards what was known colloquially as the “bad side of town”. It wasn’t rife with crime and drugs, but the rent was far cheaper in this area, and thus housed a significant portion of the more colorful ethnic families, and those who just couldn’t afford anything more expensive. “She knew who was calling before she’d pick up the phone, was pretty good with those scratcher lottos, and if she stared at a red light long enough it’d eventually turn green.”
She gave a frustrated sigh, and glared at the man. “Even if I believe you, why wouldn’t she tell dad? Why wouldn’t she have been registered, or… wait, this isn’t the way back home.”
“My home,” he corrected in a gentle voice. “Your father’s always been sort of a stick when it comes to mutants. I guess he was that way even before he met your mom, but it got worse after she died. As to why she never told him, well...” He gave a slight shrug as they turned into a large packed dirt parking lot filled with trailers. Mobile homes. Houses on wheels that would never go anywhere. “...It wasn’t really all that big a deal. I don’t think even she thought of herself as a mutant, and well, maybe she was afraid of what he’d think if she went to get tested and it turned out she was.”
Suzan’s mind had wandered from the subject of the possibility of her mother being anything other than the wholesome, perfect, loving woman she remembered, and drew back with abject shock at the sight that unfolded before her when her uncle did not pull through the dirt-filled trailer park, as she first expected he would, but came to a dusty stop right in front of a battered, aluminum walled can of a house.
“T-this... this...” she stammered, afraid to ask.
“Home!” laughed the man as he slid out of the truck without bothering to lock his door.
Shocked beyond words, the girl sunk down further into the worn seat of the old truck, trembling. “I... I can’t live in a TRAILER park!” she squeaked.
He looked genuinely confused at her hesitation, and walked around the vehicle to open the door for the trembling teen. “Huh? Why not? I’ve lived here for years. Sure, it ain’t a palace, but it’s my home, and the price is right. What are you making such a deal over?”
“No...!” wilted the blonde. “I... I can’t live here! I have a house, I have a room with my own bed!”
“Ah, look... this is probably just temporary, and it’s the best I can offer you until your dad takes you back, kiddo. I know this is tough on you, but it’s tough on me, too. I had to drop everything and come pick up a niece I’d never gotten to meet after I lost my sister, and I came running.”
“No!” she repeated in a hoarse whisper, and then begged. “T-take me home! Please...!”
He gave a pained sigh, and tried to put a comforting hand on the shaking girl’s shoulder. “Suzan, I can’t. I told you, your dad’s real shook up about this. He hasn’t even talked to me since you lost your mom, this is the first I’ve heard from him in years. Still, this isn’t as bad as it looks. I figured we could order a pizza, watch some TV, and maybe catch up on things. I promise, the couch is really comfortable.”
Really, she had no other choice. With extreme reluctance, Suzan gave a tiny, defeated nod, and let her uncle guide her out of the deathtrap of a car and into the horrid little aluminum shack she dearly hoped she wouldn’t be calling home for very long. Somehow, she couldn’t imagine a worse homecoming than this.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Mr. and Mrs. Gillman were somewhat annoyed when they went to answer the door. The person ringing it had been trying to push out a jazz tune on the electric buzzer rather than just giving it the customary few jabs and waiting. However, when they finally did answer the door, they’d been completely ready to chew out whoever it was out in a manner that was both abrupt and utterly forgivable for parents who’d so recently been informed of the absence of their son.
“What the hell is your…! Oh... oh, it’s you.” Mr. Gillman looked down at the chipper, diminutive girl in the rather out-of-date brown clothing.
“Hello, Mr. Gillman, Mrs. Gillman!” chirped Ecila, all bright and happy sunshine when she grinned upwards at the two adults, her hands folded behind her back respectfully.
Josh’s parents exchanged worried looks, and Mrs. Gillman put a comforting hand on the small girl’s shoulder. “Young lady, I’m afraid Josh isn’t here today. He’s... well, the police came here yesterday and told us he’s gone missing.” She had to choke back her tears to say that, and quickly buried her face in her husband’s shoulder, sobbing quietly.
Ecila clicked her heels together lightly, and nodded just as brightly as before. “Oh, I know!” Then her glasses slipped down her nose some with the motion of nodding, and she had to stop to fix it, pushing them back up with a pinky.
“Yes.” Josh’s father gave a heavy sigh. “But... we do appreciate you coming by, young lady. You’re one of our son’s better friends, helping him with his homework and walking him to school. You dress so smartly, too. If they give us any news about his whereabouts, we’ll be sure to tell you.”
“Actually, that’s what I’m here about, sir.” Her expression turned somber.
Mrs. Gillman unburied her face from her husband’s lapels long enough to cast an eye back towards the slip of a girl, and choked back another sob. “D... do you know where my baby is? Has he run away from home? Was it the cooking?!”
“Oh, no ma’am! Nothing like that! He hasn’t run off, or anything! I think he accidently took the wrong bus, though. Ya know, so to speak.” She hopped on her heels again, smiling from face to face.
Both parents looked at one another, and then at the girl with wide eyes, unconsciously leaning forwards in expectation.
When the young-looking, uniformly brown-clad traveler didn’t respond, but instead started to remove her glasses and start polishing the lenses with a handkerchief, the mother spoke up urgently. “So, you know where he is?!”
Blinking curiously, she carefully fit the arms of her glasses over her ears, and slid them back up the small button nose of hers to peer up at the worried mother through freshly polished glass. “Where who is?”
“Is this a joke!? Our son! Do you know where our son is!” barked the man, his temper decidedly short that day.
“Oooh! Yes, right, I almost forgot! Quite sorry.” She cleared her throat into a small balled-up fist, puffing her chest out.
She raised a finger with that fist, as if she were about to make a very serious sounding point, then indicated over her shoulder. “He’s right behind me, I believe. He’s still a little bit choppy on the re-entry, though.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gillman both turned their gazes past the enigmatic young girl’s shoulders to the empty walkway leading up to their house, and the somewhat overgrown lawn. They did stare for another heartbeat or two, before Josh’s father growled at the grinning Ecila Mason, “Young lady, this is NOT a matter to joke about! Our son is missing, and until you…!”
He was cut off by a shrill noise that seemed to pierce not just the eardrum, but the very fabric of reality. Shocked, he quickly grasped his startled wife to his chest protectively, and looked around wildly in search of the source of the ear-splitting sound.
Ecila stood calmly, hands folded behind her back, and smiled up at the two adults ever so politely when the barriers between realities cracked open, and a violet burst of light some twenty feet up in the air suddenly vomited forth a person.
It was Josh.
It was clearly his body that spewed forth from that interstice that neither of his parents could bring themselves to look directly at, nor quite turn their eyes away from. What was left of Joshua Gillman’s body looked charred, broken, beaten and bloody, and it flew out of a violet nowhere to splatter with a sickening crunch, face first, into the side of their house like a wet newspaper thrown by an indifferent intergalactic paperboy.
As the twisted form slipped down in and upon itself near the foot of the door to the Gillman’s house, Ecila’s grin faltered. She turned with painful slowness from the looks of choked horror on the faces of Mr. and Mrs. Gillman, and winced when she saw what lay in a heap of twisted, broken limbs.
For a long, awkward moment, the girl stared down at the obviously lifeless corpse that, despite the horrific damage done to it, could still be said to have been somewhat recognizable as the person it had been.
She then bit her lip, and turned back to look up at the whimpering adults, saying in a soft tone, “Um, my bad.”
And then, she added much more quietly, “I think he forgot to carry the one again.”
The confession of Dorothy Maxwell
Officer Stone leaned back in her seat set before the cluttered desk amidst the quite busy precinct office, hiding her tired face in her hands.
This case had turned into a nightmare.
Some officers swing by the high school in response to a fire alarm, expecting maybe some kids with some firecrackers, or a roll of toilet paper set on fire in a bathroom, and instead they come across a frozen-over room, a mutant daughter of an MCO worker, a teacher she claims has been going around molesting students who suddenly seems utterly out of his mind, and a missing kid that they had to assume to be dead if they believed anything the girl had said in the first place. To make a horrible headache even worse, somehow the news stations had picked up on the story and ran with it. The whole thing was blowing up in her face, and the only testimony she’d been able to pick up was from an abandoned little daddy’s girl whose story kept getting worse and worse every time she retold it, and some idiot jock they’d picked up running from the scene.
Groaning, the middle-aged woman eased forward in her seat and reached for a heavily abused bottle of aspirin and a cooling cup of coffee. She swallowed down a couple of the pills with the help of a mouthful of that bitter, cheap-tasting stuff they served at the station, and once more eyed the report she’d been filling out on the humming computer monitor. Her finger hovered perilously over the ‘enter’ button as she considered the case once more, and thought about submitting what she had and washing her hands of the whole mess.
They had a crazy man, a missing kid, and a mutant fire-fighting-woman (you know, a mutant girl that puts out fires?) that was quite possibly a liar. The worst of it was really that teacher they’d picked up. There’d been accusations by the young woman that he was raping little girls, sure, but they couldn’t exactly go around asking kids if they’d had any abortions they couldn’t account for lately. This Becky girl was the only one who still might have evidence they could test for on her, but with the pressure of the media, and the department breathing down her neck, asking for a test based on the testimony of one mutant girl that had admitted to trying to get rid of the very kid who’d disappeared off the face of the earth wasn’t all that much to go on, and could easily end up blowing up in their faces.
Officer Stone caught herself staring at the screen in annoyance, wishing she had something more to go on, when someone unimportant made their way up to her desk and waited by it patiently. She continued to wait patiently, until she realized Officer Stone wasn’t paying her any attention, so she politely cleared her throat.
The officer made a non-committal noise as she re-read her deposition on the case for the nth time that day. “Hm?”
She looked uncomfortable, and the young girl pulled up a chair and sat next to the woman’s desk, her hands folded in her lap. “Excuse me, I have something important to tell you. It has to do with the case you’re working on.”
Her brow creased, and the hard woman gave a passing, uninterested glance towards the unremarkable girl before returning her attention to her screen. “Oh?”
Sighing, she nodded. “Yes, you see, um... I was there the night that room exploded.”
“I see,” Officer Stone muttered indifferently.
“I’m also a very good friend of Suzan’s... I was thinking you might wanna like, take my statement, or something?”
She might have been more interested in what the young teen had to say if she hadn’t seemed so very unimportant to the hard-nosed cop’s finely honed senses. So instead of listening, she looked down at her empty coffee mug and considered getting a refill.
This seemed to annoy the young woman of no particular importance, and she leaned over Officer Stone’s desk with a scowl. “This is so annoying... Officer Stone, do you keep a tape recorder? For interviews?”
Without really thinking, the officer shrugged and said, “Sure, in the top drawer. But I’m sort of busy right now, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t bother me.”
Apparently somewhat used to this behavior, the girl whose name wasn’t particularly important reached across the woman’s desk and retrieved the recorder from the top drawer, then set it on the desk and took a moment to find the record button.
The police woman hardly even appeared annoyed at the invasion of her space. Distracted, she glanced up at the clock on the far wall and considered going home, when the young girl started to speak to her again. She was almost surprised she was still sitting there, but gradually Officer Stone’s attention shifted to the utterly unimportant girl.
“My name is Dorothy Maxwell, and this is sort of all my fault,” she began, talking more into the recorder than she was to the utterly uninterested officer. “My father’s the teacher you have locked up in your cells here, or hauled off, or whatever you did with him, and like him, I’m a mutant. That’s why you won’t remember how this got on your recorder, I think. Or, maybe you just won’t care until you hear it.”
Taking a moment to compose herself, the girl continued speaking into the recorder. “Everything Suzan’s been telling you is absolutely true. My father had been having his way with every girl who’d caught his eye at the school since he started teaching there, and then he’d make them forget they’d ever done anything. I know this, because he was doing the same thing to me when I was growing up. He didn’t bother to wipe my memories, though... I think he wanted someone who’d remember him doing it, but couldn’t do anything about it, or maybe he didn’t have the heart to wipe the memory of his own daughter... I think that’s why mom left us. When I was younger, I tried telling my teachers, or my friends, or any adult who’d listen, but he’d just make them forget about it.
“That’s kinda how I found out I was a mutant. It was just him and me when I was younger, and we moved a lot. I guess sometimes things would get a little hairy, and he’d have to pick us up and move on in case he’d get found out. Well, he liked to come into my room at nights... and... touch me. You can probably figure out what he did. One night, when he was about to come in again and, um, I mean, come into my *room*... to do those dirty things to me, I was so afraid that I wished and wished he wouldn’t notice me anymore.
“Well... it worked. Sort of. Too well, I guess. Ever since that day he wouldn’t notice me unless I spoke right at him. The problem was, I discovered, no one else noticed me either. I couldn’t turn it off!”
“Hello, I’m nobody!” is what I told my father as I walked in through the front door and made my way to the kitchen. He didn’t look up from his grading, or whatever it was he was doing off in the living room, but I didn’t really expect him to do so. Sometimes it was nice to hear the sound of my own voice.
It wasn’t that he was trying to ignore me, or that he was a horrible father. Actually, I take that back, he was a horrible father. Child molester, pedophile, all these words do an ample job of describing the unhealthy relationship my father and I had shared a long time ago, after my mom left us. You could say that part of the problem was that he gave me a little too much attention and love. You could also say that most of the problem was that he was a sick and unrelenting pervert, content to vent his sexual appetites in private on his own daughter. Sure, he’d take me out on shopping trips to try on cute clothes, and he got me gifts almost every day, but he’d usually insist on putting the clothes on me, and I always had to ‘thank’ him properly for the gifts.
This might have gone on until I started to attend school, and told the teachers, and the police officers and case workers they called, all the horrible dirty things he had been doing to me, but my father was somewhat different than most of your garden variety pedophiles. He was a mutant.
Why God decided to give a man with as twisted moral values as my old man the ability to control other peoples minds, I can’t fathom, though it’s made me consider atheism on more than one occasion. Then again, maybe it was the other way around. Maybe when he was a kid like me, and figured out that he could change people’s minds on his own, the power was the thing that warped him. Gosh, that rather sounds like I’m trying to justify his behavior, isn’t it?
Well, suffice it to say, I couldn’t get anyone to believe me after that. So there I was, a little girl trapped in a home with a dirty molesting father whose affection and attention I very much did not want. Teachers and investigators would come to visit him, and leave wondering how a little girl like me could tell such terrible lies about such a nice man. Then, before people could question anything else or wonder at the paper work they’d forgotten, he’d pick us up and we’d move. This would have gone on until I was old enough to run away, maybe, but it turns out that like dear old daddy, I was a mutant too.
One night I wanted him not to notice me anymore, and that’s pretty much what happened. One day he bumbled into my room ready for a rousing game of grab ass, and the next he’d almost forgotten I was there.
At first, I was just the happiest little unmolested child you’d ever seen. Someone up there had heard my prayers, and given me the power to hide from my father’s baser appetites while standing right in front of him!
But like most gifts of this nature, it was somewhat of a double headed axe. Um, or a double edged blade? Right, that. Well, sure, dad no longer seemed to care I was there, but when I went to school the next day, hardly anyone else noticed I was there either. I had to yell just to get anyone’s attention, I had to push people on the playground to get them to stop ignoring me, and I had to nearly feed myself at lunch, because the lunch ladies didn’t seem to think I was important enough to feed anymore.
So, sure, I seemed to have been blessed with the power of non-father-rape, and he’d hardly look my way anymore unless I said something, but neither would anyone else. It wasn’t that I was invisible. People knew I was there, they were aware enough of me being there to avoid bumping into me in the halls or taking my seat while I was sitting somewhere, but they just didn’t care anymore.
I’d made my dad ignore me along with everyone else in the world, and now I simply couldn’t turn it off.
As you might imagine, this had a rather peculiar effect on my early development. I’d gone from being loved a little too much, to being dismissed, and ignored by everyone and anyone. No one would talk to me, unless I started talking to them first, and even then the responses I got were clipped and annoyed. For a little girl, this was nearly as bad as being felt up by my own dad on a weekly basis.
At first, I reacted the way you’d expect an abused child to act when suddenly ignored. I acted out. I started to steal money from people in plain sight, I’d walk away with their lunches without a single person thinking it was that big a deal, and I’d spend the night wherever I wanted. No one cared, no one stopped me. The only reason I even went to school anymore was to see kids my own age. That, and apparently though I wasn’t important enough to call on in class, if I wasn’t sitting in my seat the system would at least notice I wasn’t there. You rack up enough absences, and people start to call home, wonder where this little girl is, bring up awkward questions.
So I went... for the system! It at least missed me!
Now, as I said, I wasn’t invisible. I suppose my father still knew I was there, he just didn’t care anymore. No more shopping trips, no place set at the dinner table for me. Any attention at that point would have been at least something. Children in these sorts of situations (well, I doubt many kids have been in my exact situation), where they felt ignored by adults, tended to act out to get attention. I suppose I just liked to be around kids my own age, and even if I did have to steal the money for my lunches (and other things - a girl needs new clothes eventually), it wasn’t as though I was trying to be a bad person. Also, even if the teachers didn’t ever talk to me directly, if I turned in the class work along with everyone else, they tended to grade it and pass it back to me! Oh, what bliss, to receive abysmal grades. That red ink, those frowny-face stickers!
I suppose things might have gone down hill from there. The height of my social interaction was receiving bad marks in school and staring at myself in store surveillance cameras. At some point, I probably would have tried to do something really horrible to get someone to pay attention to me (I mean, more so than the bad grades I was getting on school work, and the petty theft), and gotten in big trouble with the MCO, and ended up in jail for the rest of my natural life.
Luckily, around that time, I discovered the internet.
Apparently whatever it was about me that made people just not care that I was there, that I couldn’t turn off, was something that required that I be physically there. On the phone, and on the internet, that didn’t seem to matter. I could join chat rooms, post on forums, and people would actually respond! This became another reason for me to attend school. They had computer labs, and there was no way I could get my dad to buy me a computer at home when I had do my own wash, prepared my own food, and pretty much take care of myself, by myself.
So, in a way, I was saved. If I couldn’t have a real life, I might as well have an online one, right? It was really my own option then, and I quickly took to a life off instant messaging and omgs, bbqs and wtfs. It wasn’t much, but it was all I had left.
“I could walk right into a person’s home while they were there and eat their food, sleep on their bed, and they just wouldn’t care. I’m not invisible or anything... they can see me, and stuff. I’ve seen myself on cameras and photos. But it’s like I’m just not important enough to care about in person, like I’m a nobody. That’s kind of how I became friends with Suzan.”
Now, if no one looked at you anymore, how much care do you think you would take with your appearance? I’d long outgrown all the little dresses, ribbons, and tiny slippers my father had bought me when I was young. Lately I’d come to respect the comfort and ease of wearing simple, baggy clothes, like loose fitting pants and t-shirts. They didn’t cling anywhere, you could fit wallets and keys in them, and in SoCal a person had to consider the heat. What about make-up, you say, or all those other things teenage girls my age crammed in their purses? Well, I didn’t really worry about that back then. As I’ve said, nobody notices me. There’s not a soul who really looks at me, and that would care if I looked terrible, or if I gussied myself up to look like the school tramp. So, I’d started to cut my hair short and wear airy clothes that while they did nothing to advertise my figure, were exceedingly comfortable. Everything I absolutely needed I could fit in my pockets. Besides, the people I chatted and interacted with online didn’t care WHAT I looked like.
So, I was quite surprised when on a day like any other day for me, I was typing away in the school computer lab and keeping a eye on the time to make sure I didn’t get locked in once more, that someone not on the sickly glowing computer monitor before me said something.
“God. You’re disgusting.”
At first, I didn’t quite catch on that I was the one being spoken to. After all, no one had even so much as smiled my way since I was like 12, without me having to jump up and down in their face.
“Ex-CUSE me, you little gutter rat. I’m talking to you,” hissed a rather haughty and annoyed voice.
Confused, I looked around at the passive faces of the other students sitting around the computer lab, before I noticed a gorgeous blonde girl sitting right next to me and eyeing me with particular disgust as she painted her nails.
My heart skipped a beat.
What? No! Hey, I’m not a lesbian (I’ve stood in my fair share of boys locker rooms lately, just to, um... observe), and I’m certainly not into any kind of a masochistic relationship, despite my upbringing! I stammered for a moment, my social skills unprepared for a response.
“And now you look like a dead fish. That’s ever so attractive,” sneered the rather pretty blonde girl, who was reclining in the seat like a queen, ignoring the computer assignments (and the computer) the rest of the class seemed either diligently working on, or ignoring to see how much porn they could sneak past the school’s internet firewall.
“W-what? Are you talking to me?”
“Hah. Do you see any other dirty looking little rats here? Of course I’m talking to you. You could at least wear a hat if you’re going to completely ignore your hair like that. It looks like a stack of straw.”
For the first time in years, I felt self-conscious, and ran a hand through my unkempt mop of black hair.
“And staying in a computer lab like this isn’t doing much for your complexion, either. Go outside much, Casper?”
I tried working my mouth again to come up with something to say, but this had been the first face to face conversation I’d had with a person since I’d been too short to steal cookies from off the kitchen counter.
She rolled her eyes some, and turned her gaze down to her pinky, dashing a bit of bright hot pink paint on the nail that gave it a rather cute flare. “I’ve seen you here, hiding in the back for like a month. In fact, I barely see you anywhere else. You’re going to turn into a troll hiding in this cave all day, girl. If you were ugly, I could understand. But you’re not.”
I blinked my eyes, staring at her, trying to figure out what the hell she was. It’s quite possible she was a hallucination, and I was going stark raving mad from too many hours chatting in #emo_girls, playing those shooter games, and writing Cinderella like fan-fics where a certain glittering pirate vampire named Robert Robin took notice of a mousy girl whose description was suspiciously close to my own and did things to her that would have rated a slightly higher rating than ‘For Teens’. Hey, I’m not SO terrible! There was a guy in my fanfic ring who wrote nothing but drow and spider sex stories! Though to be fair, I’d learned more about the anatomy of a spider reading those things than I’d care to relate.
“I... I’m not?” I whispered, not able to resist the urge to poke at her shoulder, to make certain I wasn’t talking to myself again.
The poke awarded me a sharp glare from the pretty blonde girl. “Excuse me. I’m trying to paint my nails, here. You’re not helping much, rat hair.”
“O-oh, geez. Um. S-sorry.”
“Suzan Chylds! How many times do I have to tell you that the computer lab is NOT the place to be doing your make-up?” huffed the slightly overweight lab teacher, as he waddled up to her vengefully.
She rolled her eyes at him. “Geez, who really cares about all this computer stuff, anyway? I’m not gunna be some pervert hiding in a closet with a laptop and a bottle of lube when I grow up, teach. I don’t need to know this stuff. This is geek stuff”
A closet pervert? Is that what she though I was?
The teacher pressed a hand to his forehead, sighing. “Suzan, go to the office. I’ve had it with you and your attitude.”
She got up with a certain grace that I had to admire, and scoffed lightly at him, scooping her purse up. The graceful blonde looked at the teacher like he was beneath her, and said condescendingly, “What-ever.” Then she stalked out of the room.
I was still gaping when she left, staring at the empty doorway.
She’d noticed me.
She’d insulted me, but she noticed me!
I felt a sense of urgency when I realized she’d left, and suddenly scurried off after her, to the rather expected non-responses from the teacher and the rest of the room.
It wasn’t much to go on, but I was craving any kind of a response from an actual person, even if all she’d said to me thus far had been what most would have considered to be humiliating. If I could get her attention again, I’d do anything! I’d dress how she’d want me to, I’d style my hair, I’d get a purse!
Moments after I left, the teacher strolled down the isles of computers, checking up on the work of the rest of the class. He paused at an empty seat with the monitor still on, a writing program left open with a hefty amount of text left in it. Briefly, he read through the first few lines, and blanched. The slightly overweight man stood up straight, crossed his arms, and glared at the rest of the class in the hopes of humiliating whoever had written this into shape.
“Okay. Who’s been writing Twilight Pirates slash fic on class time?”
She glanced up at Officer Stone who was watching her vaguely, until she stopped speaking, then turned her eyes back to her computer. Frowning, she reached across the table to touch the woman’s hand to try and keep her attention, before she continued. “There was something different about her. She could never remember my name any more than anyone else could, but somehow she could tell I was there, and she could actually remember I was there. I guessed she was a mutant like me, even back then, and it was kind of cool being the only two mutants in school... even if she didn’t know I knew. She’d even talk to me without me having to get her attention. So, I figured... better to be attached to someone who everyone notices, like the most popular girl in school, than just be alone and ignored. And hey, being a ‘toady’ ain’t all that bad. You get all the perks of being popular, and no one targets you!
“Well, my dad didn’t look like he was going to stop raping little girls anytime soon. It was the day he tried to do his thing to Suzan that I decided I’d try to get rid of him. But... it was tricky. He could change anyone’s mind to anything he wanted, and I couldn’t even get noticed. So, that’s when I learned I could do something else... you know, something else other than be ignored by everyone. I could give people little... nudges. I couldn’t make anyone do anything they didn’t want to do, like daddy dearest, but I could sort of guide things along if I wanted, but only if it was something the person might do anyway.”
At this point the unremarkable girl’s throat was getting a bit dry, so she stole a bit of the cooling coffee off Officer Stone’s desk. “Yuck... you guys should really consider getting a Starbucks in here.
“Um, anyway... let’s see. I convinced Suzan to freeze up the ground under Jessica’s feet at the party last week. Really, I figured she wouldn’t get hurt that bad, and I really do like Suzan. She’s my prize horse, you know? Well, I also kind of got Josh involved in all this after I figured out my Dad was after him, though I didn’t know he was a girl until Friday night... geez, that was weird, but I guess that was why pop was after him. Er, her. Anyway, I kinda nudged, convinced, whatever one of the jocks at our table to trip him, so he’d get Suzan’s attention. Then I gave Suzan a nudge at lunch time on Friday so she’d run into him, um, her in the hallway, where I gave well, her, a little nudge so she’d agree to meet Suzan and that guy after school. Josh was a smart kid, I don’t think she would have met them like that alone if I hadn’t prodded her some. Now, I figured if I could get Suzan to confront her, there’d be someone who he couldn’t use his powers on that might be motivated enough to finally turn him in to the cops! She could warn them about what he could do before he could do his brain whammy thing to them!”
The girl slumped some in her chair, and Officer Stone made no movement to comfort her. “That’s when things kind of blew up in my face, if you’ll pardon the pun. Suzan and that big guy, Ray, cornered Josh in Mister Maxwell’s classroom after I sort of steered him there with a little more prodding. He um, dropped his pants trying to get away. I guess he was a girl in drag, or something... but after that, Ray ran off and the room exploded before I could do anything to stop it. I still don’t know what happened... I was pretty sure my dad didn’t know how to do anything like that, but I guess he could have brought some explosives, or something. That sorta sounds like something he’d do. He has blown up offices he used to work in, in the past, right before he moved us, to get rid of the evidence or something. Um, after that... I kinda did a little more ‘nudging’... Suzan’s always been really freaked out by her own powers. She was really on the fence about hiding them, or trying to save my dad and that kid that vanished. So I sort of nudged her into cutting loose with what she can do, and that’s when your guys showed up. Just after she iced the whole fire down.”
Sighing to herself, the unremarkable young girl stood up. She paused to consider the officer’s lack of interest in her, and waited for some sign of recognition or alarm. No argument was given as she made to leave the station. When a thought had occurred to her, she leaned down to speak very clearly into the recorder’s microphone. “Suzan didn’t do anything wrong. She tried to save my worthless dad, and that kid. Becky’s the one you need to test for my dad’s DNA, before she gets that thing he left in her aborted. I’d stay around and show up at any trial you wanted, if I thought it’d help. But this is the best way I could come up with to help Suzy out. If you think this is some kind of joke, just look at the security cameras here.” She stopped to turn towards one of the cameras in the office room and wave at it with a little smirk.
Pressing the stop button on the recorder, the girl, whose name Officer Stone wouldn’t be able to recall until much later when she studied the surveillance camera’s footage in the station, wrote out a simple note reading ‘Listen to me’ on a post-it, left it on the recorder, and pushed it towards the rather distracted looking woman.
It wasn’t until long after the nameless girl had left that the brunette cop accidentally nudged her elbow against the recorder. Unable to recall why it was even out, she read the small note with an air of confusion, and listened to the recording.