I woke with my arms shackled over my head to a large steel conductor. The weight of my body wrenched them down, and ached with every movement. Whatever Dr. Vortex had planned was going to be worse than the BDSM nightmare I found myself.
Through the uneven panels of corrugated iron I could make the slivers of his coat as he moved between workstations. He moved in slow motion as though trudging through a swamp; or maybe it was the haze looming from above.
Get it together, I chided. Escape required every ounce of wit.
Dr. Vortex rounded the wall and strolled toward my prison. With little care he raised my chin and shone a penlight into each of my eyes. Resisting him earned a firmer grip in which he yanked my gaze to meet his. Once the examination was over he left my face to drop.
“This next portion requires you to be conscious,” he said. “It will be very painful, but if it brings you any comfort try to remember that it’s for a good cause.”
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 decided. I had powers, and would use them for truth and justice. To do that there had to be some wrong to make right, and seeing as the kind of injustice you punch doesn’t jump out waving a flag I had to go looking for it.
The beetle wasn’t built for city traffic, but Tanya made the effort. We scoured the backstreets for the better part of a Saturday, peeking into alleys, and hoping for the best. In all that time there was nothing, save a few bad drivers.
I sat in the passenger seat wearing shades with a hoodie pulled over my head. It worked in place of a costume, at least for the moment. My only hope was the disguise read as female.
Tanya bit her lip. “Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way,” she said, and pulled to the curb.
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.”