In one fell swoop a home had its soul carved out, leaving only a husk and old furniture. The wind blew cold through the ghosts of my family, who on better days might have been found streaming movies on the flat screen. There would be no more picking apart the special effects if Dr. Vortex has his way.
Poring over the shelves I pulled a photograph behind a black, wooden frame. In it was a boy with my parents crouched and smiling on either side. I remembered that Summer, and being jealous of the other girls. Instead of a bikini I wore a t-shirt and swimming shorts.
Still, the vacation wasn’t a whole wash. There were jet skis, dive bombs, and a whole lot of other fun had by mistake; you know, the stuff that actually matters. A life lived, and an experience shared.
Death from above was inevitable. Frozen in a split second I traced the path of debris to the fallen railway car. Things were going to get bloodier if someone didn’t act, and fast.
Casting off the panic I lashed out at the oncoming destruction. Wide, unfocused blasts swatted chunks onto a new course away from the passengers and onto the front lines of the barricade. Every piece struck without forgiveness, and sent tremors through the crowd; as though they weren’t shaken enough.
It was only as the dust began to settle that I realized what had happened. Fear drove everything from the paramedics checking on bystanders to the gridlocked drivers abandoning their vehicles for cover; and there I was, floating in the middle, trying to rein the pounding in my chest.
Nearly two hundred individuals had been displaced during the InfiniTech incident, each of whom was catalogued in folders sitting on Theodore Fellow’s coffee table. He sifted through them in search of this mysterious ‘Glimmer Girl’ figure, and matched profiles based on sex, skin tone, height, and build. So far the search had bore no fruit.
The doctor collapsed onto the unmade bed, and scowled at the motel ceiling. Within days of the phenomenon the adept made had her debut as a ‘hero’, and had been active since. Surely the proximity of the two events was more than coincidence. If the opening between worlds imbued another with extraordinary ability then it was his duty to know, and perhaps possess it for himself.
Between liquid meals the doctor downed mugs of coffee almost by the dozen. Though it did little to satiate the nagging in his belly, it kept him from becoming sluggish. With outside forces moving in there was little time for rest; and though it may have taken a toll on his relative short-term sanity Dr. Fellows knew himself to be a reasonable man, always, without question.
It was the best truck stop sandwich I’d ever eaten. The bread was stale, the lettuce wilted, and gods only knew the deal with the egg salad, but it was solid enough to keep me from shaking to pieces.
I sat in the corner of the Sheriff’s office and pulled the blanket they’d given me tight. Everything leading up to that point circled in my head; one moment I was being held at gunpoint, and the next I was in a ditch, screaming my lungs out. Between them were several hours and twenty miles into the next county no-one could explain.
Tears pricked as I curled into my lap. Every part ached for the familiar; my own bed, and my family. Whatever that strange light it ripped them away, and cast me into the unknown. Something greater than myself looked past where I stood, and blew the world into frightening proportion.
The Sheriff knocked on the glass and peered inside. He mercifully ignored my sobs, and cleared his throat. “Son, your parents are here.”
Mirrors aren’t known to be forgiving, but with some effort they can warm to you. I laid out my brush and straightener, foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and lip gloss; they were but a handful of tools required to scrub the ‘boy’ away.
It was by luck and her Mom’s difficulty with stairs that Tanya landed the master bedroom, complete with walk-in closet and bathroom ensuite. The running joke was she had more space than she could use, and no incentive to leave for college. For a high school girl and her not-cisgender friend, however, it was the ideal refuge.
An hour and a half over the vanity only saw the start of the transformation; only halfway to girl with some encouragement. Maybe it was his face burned into my retinas, or his dimensions spread across my shoulders, but it seemed nothing could remove the nightmare living in my skin.
Tanya’s reflection smiled from the bed. “You look great.”
It started with a bang; not an explosion, but atoms accelerated toward infinity. That was the end of my so-called ‘ordinary’ life. Maybe it was fate that guided me into the line of fire, the same day a madman sought revenge for his bruised ego.
Once upon a time there was no such thing as Glimmer Girl, or even Kaira Cade. This is my story.