Shimmer #47 – “Broken Toys” (Part 6)

Next I knew there was a dimly lit room with pastel red walls and gold trim.

The arms dragged my feet inside and closed the door before. They placed me down on a four poster bed; the curtains were riddled with dust.

My stomach churned, still rolling with the blow that landed in the dark. A girl with blonde hair and green eyes leaned over me, fretted with teeth biting her lip, and lifted my head.

“Hey, are you alright?” she pressed. “Sorry, we didn’t mean… we thought you were-”

“I’m fine.”

My gut told another story.

Another of the girls opened the door a sliver and peeked through. She lingered like a statue, senses sharp and eager for the smallest move to trip them. Our fumbling pricked her ears and inspired a scoff, but she turned back to her watch without a word.

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Shimmer #46 – “Broken Toys” (Part 5)

My eyelids pried like old tape. Kicking from inside my skull pushed me through the haze. Every muscle whined as I rolled and planted my palm into the rug. The room was more dust than air and smelled like an attic.

I coughed and pressed against the ache until I was on my knees. From there I could barely make out the shapes against the dark. I reached out, ran my hand along fabric and pulled back the cobwebs.

“Ugh. Eww. What the hell?”

A sliver of amber spiked from the corner of the room, leading to the crack under a door. I pulled myself to my feet, nursed the thumping in my head, and hesitated when the floorboards creaked.

Where was I?

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Shimmer #45 – “Broken Toys” (Part 4)

My eyes were as much on my phone as they were on the street. I had to have typed the same message a dozen times without hitting send; probably drained half the battery with it.

“hay t. 4give me 4 bein a jerk???”

To send or not to send; that was the question. I mean, it wasn’t like I had anything to apologize for, did I?

An hour past midnight and a chill set under my skin. How long had I been walking?

The lines for the clubs had been replaced by the cue for taxis. Men smiling and reeking of alcohol leaned toward me as I passed them by.

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Shimmer #44 – “Broken Toys” (Part 3)

“Are you alright?” she asked for the millionth time.

“I wasn’t okay the last time you asked, and I probably won’t be okay the next time you ask.”

We sat in silence as I pulled my knees to my chest and stared at the dashboard. A town block had come and gone before Tanya opened her mouth again.

“You know your Mom’s an ass#$%&, right?” she said.

Instead of feeling validated I exhaled and buried my head. Knees made a hard perch, but at least I didn’t have to face the world.

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Shimmer #43 – “Broken Toys” (Part 2)

“I told you to stay out of my room!”

The Mom-creature rolled her eyes, pursed her lips and perched the bridge of her nose against her fingers. What was she trying to say; that she was disappointed in me, or that she didn’t want to start another fight?

Stacks of clothing landed into the suitcase, enough to last a week, along with pair after pair of shoes. They had to take up the most space, and I still hadn’t packed the vitals; make-up, toiletries, school books. It was bad enough that I had to leave my computer at home.

“Would you please be reasonable for one minute,” she pleaded. “You’re blowing this way out of proportion.”

I stopped, flailed my arms and squawked at her. “You came into my room without my permission! While I wasn’t here! Do you have any idea how violated I feel right now?”

“Justin, please stop acting like it’s the end of the world.”

“And stop calling me that! My name is Kaira! Kai-ra! Okay!?”

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Shimmer #42 – “Broken Toys” (Part 1)

The ice in her lungs pulled her breathing tight and cut it into gasps. For every two beats of her shoes on the ground her heart took five; the surge of adrenaline emptied her of any thought other than survival.

Cars shuffled by as she tore down the strip and waved her arms to catch their notice. No taxis, no police, no good Samaritans caught sight of her; that, or they figured she was somebody else’s problem.

Engulfed in a whirlwind of panic the woman threw herself into the open traffic, stopping short of the navy sports car that ran inches from her death. Horns blared, and she started again across the lanes.

She screamed at the passersby in a wreck of tears. “Help me! Please, somebody!” None could hear her, let alone see on the roadside obscured by shadow.

Her pursuer clicked as it closed in on her, and the woman struggled for an escape. Was she the only one who could see? Maybe she was; or maybe the drivers were smart enough to keep moving in spite of her.

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Shimmer #41 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 11)

As the sun set human life returned to Milestone City. The air was filled with a collective sigh mixed with the bitter tang of caffeine. Owners set out in search of their pets, on foot, in cars, and called out from all corners.

Through it all Max stayed by my side, never once going stray and always burying his face whenever I stopped. He looked up time and again, smiling through his drooping jowls; and something else, as though he knew…

Tanks rolled down the main drag as the national guard piled into their trucks. They along with the police dismantled the barricades, letting through the animal control groups whose work was only just beginning. If only there were more I could do to help.

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Shimmer #40 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 10)

Did you ever see the movie with the woman trapped in a room of swarming birds? Well, that was me; except I was twenty thousand feet above ground, and the birds had super powers.

Hitchcock, eat your heart out.

Like a bolt of lightning I shot through them, tearing through the wind and drawing the assault to the horizon. I zigged and zagged, up, down and all points in between, rounding off those that tried to break away at angles that were too sharp for the other birds.

In the heart of the swirl were the ‘freaks’; mutated specimens that had gotten the worst of it, with beaks like scythes and eyes that could swallow a person whole. They screeched and squawked like something out of B-grade horror, and pushed through the smaller of their number.

A bluebird, malformed from cosmic radiation, stabbed with the needle it held, and shredded the front of my uniform. Eagles, swallows, even pigeons wrapped their talons around my arms and pull to rend them free. If my flesh weren’t a hologram it would have been a goner.

“Easy!” I ordered, like I had any sort of control. Whatever; all I had to do was to keep them from the planes.

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Shimmer #39 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 9)

I watched the window tinted barricade as it stretched from the research center to the interstate. It wasn’t just cops holding the line, but men and women in fatigues with rifles perched over their shoulders. Weird to think it was the same road Tanya and I would drive along on weekend trips to the lake.

Professor Danvers smiled and cleaned her glasses. “Have you ever been in a limousine before?” she asked.

I turned, sunk into the leather and shielded my smirk. “Only a regular one; not a stretch hummer like this.”

She hummed. “You could say it’s a perk of the job. We’re working on a more eco-friendly model, but the boys at the top aren’t fans of machines without grunt.”

“Uh-huh.”

My eyes sat on the outside, taking in the mysterious lights and empty streets. Skirting by the hub of Milestone City was the chill of absence sometimes interrupted by a pack moving from alley to alley.

The vehicle slowed and we turned into a string of buildings. Beyond them was tarmac reaching to the near horizon, and a line of planes and jets of varying models sitting parallel by open hangars. Teams and tankers visited each craft, loading them with liquid cargo; an energy drink for the entire city.

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Shimmer #38 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 8)

Around 11:30am, according to official reports, several hundred mice traveling at the speed of sounds cut through the downtown area, mowing down pedestrians and causing tens of thousands of dollars in property damage. Max and I flew in to save the day; the mice were unharmed, even if people weren’t as lucky.

At 12:42 there was an attack on a bakery, when a colony of ants assembled into a cooperative body. It moved in the shape of a human, and fought like a soldier. Bystanders were severely bitten, and no matter how many times I blasted the colony wouldn’t be swayed; except by pastries.

Then, at 1:08 there was the boa constrictor that crushed and consumed an SUV… with a family still inside. The two moms and the three kids made it out, with the help of myself and Max, but the car didn’t survive. It was messy, and the less said about it the better.

The day was filled with small victories, but in their place another two disasters would spring up. How were we supposed to keep up?

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