The comforter lived up to its namesake, even in spring when all it did was sweat. It blocked the light and sound of the morning that hounded from beyond the windows. Whatever the day had planned would have to battle fabric and downy feathers to reach me.
I lay on my side and ran a finger along the neck of my night shirt. It was a flimsy thing, perfect for the season, with rock n’ roll girls in cat costumes decorating the front. Apparently it was a cartoon from the 70’s, but whatever; it was cute, and it was a garment not prescribed to boys.
So why did my hand continue to wander? Despite the gender of the shirt there were no breasts to fill it. Instead there was me. What the hell was I when ‘Justin’ invaded my life?
Maybe, I reasoned, I could get more sleep. Yeah, fat chance of that happening.
Suddenly the comforter was under assault; not by parents, but a shriek. I jumped up and searched the room; the danger wasn’t there, but out the window and across the street. Following the sound of panic I raced to the sill and peered out.
My jaw dropped, for despite all reason I found myself watching a tidal wave of cockroaches swell up so high that they were shattering glass, and carrying the neighbor to the asphalt. Hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of them swirled as a collective, directed by an unseen force, so that they could claim her home for themselves.
I blinked and raked my fingers through my hair. “That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life.”
A bolt of lightning shot from outside my window, and I jumped. On the floor I clutched my chest to make sure my heart was still in place, only to look up and see a cat floating in mid-air; a cat with long hair that stood on end, and sparks that jumped every time it swiped.
I sat and I watched as it fought against it’s flight path, and wormed its way as it started to orbit my bedroom. Every so often it would screech, and electricity would shoot from its mouth. On the third it shot at a poster, and traces of a fire started to spread.
Panic shot into my legs and launched me toward the hook on my door. I grabbed my winter coat and twirled it toward the wall. I beat and I beat the fire, extinguishing it before it became serious; but the ginger ball of fur was starting to hum, charging something with every ounce of irritation it had.
Driven by reflex I whipped the jacket at the feline and sent it through the open window. I ran, released the latches and slammed it shut just in time to witness the lightning as it struck the mailbox.
“What on Earth!?”
There was a knock at the door. Mom didn’t wait for an answer before bursting in. “Justin? Justin! Are you al-”
“Fine,” I told her. “Just… there was a cat and… what’s going on?”
Her face hardened. “Are you wearing panties?”
My heart stopped, one hand reached down to cover myself and the other to grab some shorts from the floor. Oh gods, could this day get any worse?
I screamed “get out!” She backed away while I pushed the door closed. A moment later I opened a crack to declare “yes! I am wearing panties! Is there a problem with that!?”
Of all the things to argue about in a crisis…
In a whirlwind I was dressed and marching down the staircase. Cockroach typhoons and electric cats; yeah, this was definitely a job for Glimmer Girl, but where would I start?
Mom called out as I gripped the door handle. “Where are you going?”
“I don’t think so,” she said. “Look.”
She gestured toward the television. Images flashed of animals running rampant in the street. There was fire, ice and debris, pavement cracking and destruction. It wasn’t just cats and dogs, but rats, weasels, pigs, snakes and birds, probably more.
“We’re seeing identical scenes throughout the city and the suburbs,” the newsreader announced. “For those of you just tuning in, Milestone City has been overrun with, and never in my career did I think I would have to say this; super-powered animals. We’ve seen creatures with enhanced strength, speed, elemental abilities, and more wreaking havoc over a reported thirty mile radius.”
I gasped, “you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“It’s no joke,” Mom hummed. “Did you see what happened across the street? All of those cockroaches…”
“Yeah, I saw.”
The news report continued: “Authorities are urging everyone to stay indoors, and to push all pets outside. This phenomena is not just limited to wild animals, but also affects domestic pets. Researchers at InfiniTech labs in cooperation with city officials are investigating the cause of the epidemic…”
“I’ll be back.”
Three steps later and my mother snatched my arm, forcing me to wrestle free. “You’re not going anywhere, young man.”
“Don’t call me ‘young man’!” I roared.
As soon as I turned into the kitchen and was out of sight I shifted into Glimmer Girl, shot through the window and into the sky. Maybe I couldn’t explain what was going on, but there were bigger things than her and I, and better things to fight about.
To be continued…