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 #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.”


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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Shimmer #37 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 7)

Max barked, jumped, laid his paws on my chest and lunged to lick my face. Amidst the sea of animals who’d gained a new level of dangerous it was a change to find one who was a friend.

“I’m glad to see you too, boy,” I grinned. What would Mrs Stevenson think if she could see him now?

The rhino began to stir and planted a hoof in the dirt. Before long it would be up again, charging at the tigers, trying to stomp them out like a jungle fire. Even at full power I couldn’t hold the beast down; what else could I do?

Max jumped in front and started to growl.

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Shimmer #36 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 6)

Finding my way around the zoo wasn’t hard; all I had to do was follow the shrieks.

Shooting over the enclosures I entered the reptile park, past the house and to the pool inside a chain link fence. The sign and the picture said ‘alligators’; combine that with powers and you can imagine the hairs pricking on my neck.

The atmosphere was full of swears, and somewhere in the middle was the cry of “get me the hell away from this thing!”

I jolted to a stop and searched for the voice. Across the way, high on the branch of a tree, a man with blonde, curly hair danced away from snapping of jaws. The gator was inches away, given new reach by the long hind legs that supported it upright.

He turned and squealed. “Glimmer Girl! Thank you! Come get me!”

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Shimmer #35 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 5)

The TV said the city was working with InfiniTech, so that’s where I had to be.

SWAT teams lined the perimeter of the abstract buildings. They trained their rifles in my direction but didn’t fire; probably to protect from flying predators that followed. (At least that’s what I’d like to think.)

I picked a building and phased inside. There I was greeted by wide eyes and slack jaws in lab coats. They stopped their work and stared. It was almost as if they’d never seen a superhero before.

Moments dripped away before I cleared my throat. “I, uh… hi.”

They looked at each other, but still said nothing.

Collecting myself I placed my hands on my hips, pushing an aura of resolve. “I heard you’re having problems with your pets. I’m here to help.”

One lab coat remarked to the other, “we should call Professor Danvers.”

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Shimmer #34 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 4)

The MSPCA, or the Milestone Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, is famous for serving the community for nearly a century. Every year they find hundreds of new homes for cats and dogs, if you believe the commercials anyway, treat countless strays, and provide them with shelter.

Then the animals got super-powers, and all hell broke loose. I was halfway to the cat pen on the west side of the city and could only imagine what kind of carnage they were wreaking. Were they like the electric kitty I’d faced, or worse?

I planted my feet on the grass outside and watched cracks run along the bricks on the front wall. Meanwhile, an endless torso stretched around the yard, looping back into itself as the front end of a white cat sprinted around for another lap. It seemed to go on forever.

Hissing and growling drowned all other sound. Were these cats, or were they lions? There was only one way to know for sure, and I was inching my way toward it.

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Shimmer #31 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 1)

Anyone who’s been a teenager knows money is hard to come by, and it was no exception for me. What passed as allowance had suddenly dried up, probably because my parents thought I would spend it on reassignment surgery or something; who knows? They weren’t really talking about it.

Still, if I was going to have any kind of life I needed a way to make cash.

“Dog walking, huh,” Mrs. Hirschfeld grimaced.

“Are you sure? Queenie can be a bit of a handful,” Mrs. Thompson hummed.

“I can’t afford to pay you very much,” Ms. Simms reasoned.

“I’m juggling three kids and the hubby isn’t home ‘til nine,” Mr. Gonzales exclaimed. “Honestly, a dog walker would be a godsend!”

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