Wednesday, 30 November 2011

84) By The Bridge

    My legs were cramping, my ass was cold and damp, my mind was wondering. I’d been sitting the same cramped position in the second basement car park under some middle American mall for the last eight hours. I didn’t know what city I was in, let alone which state. And as a professional super hero I only have myself to blame for my situation. Today’s big baddie was supposed to come through this particular parking lot sometime today. I should have asked for a more definite time window. I wish we could read a book on these things.
    Unprofessionally my mind was wondering and I remembered the first time my powers manifested. I was twelve years old and walking back home after school with my friend Mark. Thing you gotta know about Mark is that he was that kid who would run after you with poo on the end of a stick just to hear you scream and then earnestly wonder why you were mad at him later. Yea, a real joker.
    We went to Blossom Hill Middle school, a couple miles from home through a small forest and several housing developments.
    About halfway through the tiny forest Mark motioned me over to the edge of the trees where a small bridge crossed a mostly dried up river bed. I was a little shy but he kept motioning me over. I had a new video game waiting for me at home and cold chocolate milk and a cookie and Mark wasn’t really to be trusted.
    “Come on, it’s really cool, I swear.” He said.
    I frowned, but eventually gave in to curiosity.
    Down by the small stone bridge, tucked in behind the brambles was what looked like a pile of filthy clothing.
    “So?” I said.
    “It’s a dead body, you dummy.”
    And like those hidden 3d pictures where first you only see noise and then a picture of a shark or a building will pop out, it was like that. That weird bit of grey shadow became a a pale dead hand, that dark lump of cloth was actually a ragged tangle of hair. I gasped and vomited a little in my mouth, but I couldn’t look away.
    Then two things happened simultaneously. Mark, the ever sneaky prankster, screamed out loud, and I saw something glowing from the body down below. Mark ran off, still screaming and I took a step towards the strange thing down below.
    Then I heard a rustle. I was old enough to have seen more than my share of zombie movies, but I knew that was just fantasy, just made up stories. At least I thought there were only stories until I saw that dead man’s arm rise up out of the brambles and head right towards me. His fingers dangled limp and bloated at the end of his rotted limb and something from inside his forearm glowed brightly.
    I screamed, turned tail, and ran after Mark. After only a few steps something heavy and fleshy hit me in the back of the head. I pitched forward and landed face first in the wet dead leaves. The strangest thing is that I could still see the glowing from earlier behind me. It’s really hard to explain. It’s kind of like hearing and smell at the same time. It’s like hearing because I can focus on it, but it’s like smell because it hits me all at once. Maybe that’s not the right way to put it either. Regardless, I was still freaking out. I got up and tried to run, but this thing kept bumping into me. Eventually I turned around and it was the dead man’s arm hovering a foot or so above the ground like an excited puppy.
    What would you do?
    I fell over again from shock and tried to back up away from it, but it kept following me at a friendly distance. I screamed some more, but it continued to float there. I gave up and yelled, “Go away!”
    And it did. It flew back away from me and splatted into a tree.
    Shaking I stood up and walked back home alone, my nerves jangling and heart racing. When I got home I was so relieved that I forgot about the whole episode.
    It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning and my whole house was glowing in that same way that I was really concerned. As I took my morning shower and looked at the nozzle and the knobs it finally clicked. I could see the metal all around me.

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