Woke up late. The sunlight was coming through the window and hitting the bed—the uncomfortable heat was actually what woke me up.
Turned to check my alarm clock and found it smashed flat. My blurry vision instantly cleared up; I sat up and looked around.
Someone had been in my house.
I got up and put my pants on, then checked the front door. Locked. So were all the windows. No signs of forced locks, either.
And nothing missing.
So either someone with a key had something against my alarm clock, or maybe I had done it. But how?
Didn’t matter; according to the clock in the kitchen, I was already late for work. No time for a shower; I threw a shirt on and ran out the door. I lived on the second floor of a three-floor apartment building, and I almost always forgot. I don’t know why but every morning I was surprised to see a flight of stairs outside my door.
When I got to the bottom, I saw someone had stuck a flyer under my windshield wiper. As I got closer, I could see that they’d broken the wiper in the process. Bastards. It was some stupid school money drive for the local elementary. I wouldn’t be able to afford a new wiper, let alone some shoddy crap that you couldn’t feel good about buying no matter how much you wanted to “think of the children”.
Got into my car, and after several tries, managed to get the engine to turn over. The car barely worked on an average day, but it hated cold mornings like this.
As I put it in reverse, it stalled out. Took another three tries to get it going again.
Finally arrived at the office a half-hour later. Since I was late, I had to park in the farthest part of the lot.
Frustrated. As I got out I shut the door harder than I should have, and the window shattered. No time to worry about it. I just made sure nothing valuable was in view (as if I had anything), and left it.
After the ten minutes’ walk to the front door, I was finally at the front desk. But in my rush to leave the apartment, I’d left my ID at home.
They had to call my boss down to verify me, so there was no possible way to sneak in and pretend I wasn’t late.
On the way to my desk my boss diverted me into his office. Hard not to know what was coming.
“This is the third time you’ve been late this week,” he said. I acknowledged this with a meek nod. Playing dumb sometimes gets me through some tough situations. Wasn’t working today, though: “It’s Wednesday,” he concluded.
I explained to him that my alarm clock had broken—leaving out the details. He didn’t seem to care. He never put much stock in excuses.
“Come in on time tomorrow, or don’t come back at all.” He opened the door to his office, freeing me.
A threat like that isn’t really much motivation for a hard day’s work, but I tried my best. Not that I did anything important anyway.
Lunch came and went. Vending machine stole a dollar from me. In an attempt to get it to cooperate, I pushed the button extra hard—It cracked in half. I looked around nervously, but nobody had witnessed my destruction of company property. Back to my desk for more unimportant drudgery.
After five more hours, I was finally free. My first stop on the way home was the store to buy a new alarm clock.
On the screen where I signed my name for the credit card, I pushed a little too hard while dotting the ‘i’ and the glass cracked in a spiderweb pattern out from the stylus. The cashier didn’t notice, and I wasn’t going to point it out.
That night I had to program the clock, which turned out to be no simple matter. Finally got it set at 11:30, which didn’t leave too much time for sleeping.
Woke up on time, thanks to the new alarm clock.
Finally got that shower I missed yesterday.
And I made it to my car a half-hour before work. Plenty of time to get there.
It wasn’t quite as cold, and the car started right up. I hit the wiper button to clean off the morning dew. I’d forgotten about the broken wiper until a large scratch arced across the window.
I was almost angry, but I had already decided today would be different. So, I began the trip to work. Stopped on the way to pick up breakfast—it wasn’t every day I had this much free time in the morning.
As I was heading to work, I felt something sharp digging into my thigh. Then I remembered the glass from the day before. I stuck my hand under my leg trying to find and brush away the little cube of glass, but I couldn’t feel it with my hand—only my leg.
I braced my left foot against the floorboard, and lifted myself off the seat. I began to brush all the glass onto the floor. Stupid stuff wasn’t moving away fast enough, I brushed harder and faster, until my hand was bleeding, frustrated by the glass’ stubbornness.
Unfortunately, I was paying too much attention to the glass and I didn’t notice that I was bracing some of my weight on the steering wheel.
Still brushing glass, I veered to the left. There was a large moving van waiting in the left-turn lane, facing me. My little junker was no match.
The left-front of my car met the left-front of the van, and mine spun around to the right, the rear moving into the right-hand lane, impacting another car.
The car should’ve stopped, being wedged in between the van and the other car, but the forward momentum wouldn’t let it. I was going much too fast—as I usually did—and the car, now perpendicular to the flow of traffic, left the ground on the left side.
The roof of my car came in at me, and then the ambulances showed up. Must’ve blacked out whatever was in between.
I pushed my door open, only to see the sky below me, and the ground above.
Looking around, I filled in what must’ve happened. There was a semi behind me, and it looked like it hadn’t been able to stop in time. Its large tanker was spilled all over the road. Luckily, it was just milk, but the sun was already making it smell awful.
With the added momentum of the semi, my car had been pushed into a stoplight pole. It was pinned between the semi and the pole, and the pole had impacted just behind my seat. Looked like my seat was the only real space left inside the car. I looked down at myself to see if I was injured. I wiped the blood from my hand on my shirt. Couldn’t find the cuts, though. Instead of a couple large ones, there must’ve been lots of tiny ones that I couldn’t see.
“Where’s the person that was in that car?” I turned to see the paramedic who asked. I told him that it was my car. He looked a little shocked, but recovered.
The paramedic escorted me to a waiting ambulance, and I was taken to the hospital with everyone else.
X-Rays showed no broken bones; they were astonished. Then they tried to draw blood.
A nurse tied a rubber tube around my arm and my veins stood out cooperatively. A needle was placed on my skin and I tensed up. I’d always hated needles. I looked away.
Nothing. No pain at all. Then I heard a snap and a metallic ping. I looked back and saw the needle had broken off, and the nurse was trying to pick it up off the ground.
She threw away the needle, and got a fresh one.
As I was looking at the small indentation the needle had made before it broke, she pressed the needle into another vein.
The pain surprised me, and I jumped a little.
“Hey, hold still. You already broke one,” she said.
After she finished, I was sent home. I told them I still needed to get to work, but they insisted that I go straight home. They even gave me a bus pass.
Once I got home I tried to call my boss several times; he never answered.
Again the new alarm clock worked well. I woke up on time, and got showered and dressed in record time.
Only to realize I had no car. Didn’t really have time to wait for a cab, but what choice was there?
Arrived at work almost a half-hour late. Luckily I had my ID with me this time, so there was a chance I could sneak in without being noticed.
I never got to my desk.
Before I got there, my boss found me.
“That makes four,” he said. “And that’s not counting yesterday’s absence.”
I tried to explain, I told him about the accident yesterday, and I told him I tried to call him, and about the cab.
“Enough excuses,” he said, obviously holding back his anger. “You look fine, so this ‘accident’ couldn’t have been that bad. You still could’ve come in with a note from the doctor. As it is, I have no reason to believe you were doing anything other than sleeping yesterday.
“Your things have already been boxed, and they’re waiting for you at the security desk.” And with that, he walked away.
I turned and stormed out. I kicked a garbage can, and it flew through a large window. The noise made me cringe, but I didn’t even turn to see who noticed. I didn’t care.
As I walked down the stairs, I punched the wall. Pieces of concrete chipped off and skittered down the stairs.
I kicked open the door at the bottom of the stairs, and it flew from its hinges. The security desk was adjacent to that door, and three men in brown security uniforms jumped out from behind the desk to investigate.
I spotted my box on their desk, and grabbed it. None of them had guns, but they pulled out their clubs and held them up threateningly.
It was at this point that the wall and the door sunk into my mind. Rage gave way to confusion.
The largest of them hit my forearm, knocking my box to the ground. I heard glass shatter. Coupled with the pain in my arm, the rage returned.
I turned toward the man, and he swung at me again. I closed my eyes and felt nothing. I’d assumed he’d missed.
Then the other two swung at me simultaneously. I didn’t have time to close my eyes. Both their clubs made contact: One with my arm, which was raised defensively, and the other with my knee. And still I felt nothing.
All of them tossed their clubs down and lunged at me, the largest one wrapping his arms around my neck.
I couldn’t feel their weight. Instead I turned my attention to getting out of there. I just started walking toward the doors, without realizing that when they heard the door exploding off its hinges, they’d pressed a silent alarm which locked down the front doors.
I pushed on the door with the three of them still on me. It didn’t budge at first, but then I gave it a good shove and the door frame bent, the glass shattered, and the door swung violently open.
The two smaller security guards released their hold on me. The largest remained on my neck.
After stepping outside, I reached up over my shoulder and grabbed his jacket, in an attempt to dislodge him from my back. Instead of simply dislodging him, as I pulled, I felt his grip disappear quickly and he was flying through the air. Twenty feet away, he landed with a hard thud on the concrete. Blood came from his head.
I stared for a moment, and then started walking slowly away. Each step made a crunch as I walked over the glass from the window I’d smashed above, and the doors I’d just forced open.
Fear took over; I didn’t know what was happening.
I ran to the road and saw a bus passing. I tried to flag it down, but it didn’t stop. As it passed I slapped the side of it, surprised to see my fingers penetrate the metal and leave four narrow gashes down the side of the bus. The bus slowed and stopped, whether by the driver’s choice or by my grip, I didn’t know.
I released my grip and turned toward the door. As I approached, the door opened. I was actually surprised the driver would let me on after that.
As he exited he stepped toward me, holding the heavy tire-iron most buses carry. He never moved to attack, but he stood there like a guardian while the stream of passengers ran from the bus behind him. When they were gone he ran, too.
This was not what I wanted at all.
My rage was subsiding, and I was becoming more and more confused.
I heard police sirens coming toward me. From the left and the right, police cars came and surrounded me.
In defeat I shoved the bus from the side, but it didn’t move.
They fired rubber bullets and bean bags at me. I felt them all, hitting me in the legs, and the back, and even one to the groin. Then a bean bag hit me in the head and everything went black.
Sitting there in the cell, I stared at the bruises on my arms and hands. Rubber bullets leave nasty welts.
It was obvious that there was something happening to me. It seemed to be extreme strength or invincibility… Something. But the odd thing was that it seemed to come and go. The accident, the guards’ clubs, the glass, the bus, the police attack… But why would my strength leave me when I most seemed to need it?
I asked the two other people in the cell for a blade, and one of them had a razor. I began tracing fine lines on my forearm, slicing easily. Lines of red appeared and started to drip.
Still gone, it seemed.
The guy that gave the blade to me hit me in the head.
“Don’t do that, idiot.” He took back the blade. “If a guard sees that, they’ll know somebody has a blade.” He hit me again to make the point sink in, then threw a rag at me.
The pain in my arm disappeared. I looked from the guy that hit me to the cuts I’d made. They still looked bloody.
“Clean that up before someone sees it,” he said. I began wiping the blood away with the dirty rag, but instead of seeing fresh cuts, I saw smooth, unbroken skin.
They must’ve closed up when I noticed the pain vanish. I just didn’t see it because the blood was still there. But why did they heal?
I realized it must have been when that guy hit me. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. Maybe it was my anger, or frustration. Or just plain adrenaline that triggered it.
It made sense: I must’ve been startled by my alarm clock; and I was frustrated when I slammed the car door and shattered the window; the vending machine after the meeting with the boss. Every time something had happened, I was mad or frustrated, or in the case of the needle, scared.
I decided to try a little experiment. I concentrated on being in jail, and tried to make myself mad or frustrated about it. I thought about how I should be at home enjoying my new freedom since being fired. How they had no right to keep me here.
I grabbed the bars of the cell, and tried to pull them apart. They weren’t budging. I decided instead to use the frustration at not being able to move them. I pulled harder and harder, and actually convinced myself that they should be moving, which frustrated me. Then, they began to creak.
“What the hell are you doing?” whispered the other guy in the cell. I told him to kiss my ass, which I knew would provoke him.
He punched me in the kidney. The pain almost made me forget about the bars. But it worked. The anger or adrenaline or whatever took over, and the bars bent.
What I forgot to account for was the fact that these bars didn’t go from floor to ceiling; instead they were just sections of vertical bars welded onto horizontal supports and painted a dull brown. The bars I bent just snapped off the vertical parts, leaving a hole no bigger than eighteen inches.
“How did you do that, man?” said the guy behind me.
Without explaining, I used the frustration I had from the attempt, and pressed against the lock of the cell. It burst outward, bending a portion of the door as well.
My ears rang as sirens and horns blared all around me. I walked toward the exit, and ten guards stood in my way, pointing various weapons at me—one even held an electrical stun gun.
Unsure, I advanced. The guards with guns began firing, but the one with the stun gun had a significantly shorter range. Three of the guards ran out of ammunition and ran away.
Behind me, one of the other guys in my cell took the opportunity to escape and ran for it. Momentarily distracted by him, the guards stopped firing at me and fired at him instead.
Before he could get ten steps from the cell he had about fifty holes in him from shotguns, rifles, and handguns. He never stood a chance.
However, the guard with the stun gun took the opening and advanced on me. When he was in range for his weapon, he fired at me. Two small hooks flew through the air, trailing thin wires which carried ten thousand volts. The hooks went easily through my shirt and my undershirt, but couldn’t penetrate my skin.
An unsettling thing happened though: For the instant that the hooks contacted my skin, I felt the intense pain of being electrocuted. Like when you accidentally touch the prongs of a plug partially inserted into a wall outlet, only magnified hundreds of times.
The surprise was replaced by fear, then anger. But as I walked toward the man who fired the weapon at me, the hooks which were still lodged in my shirt brushed up against my skin again. They stayed in contact longer this time, causing immense pain, and brief paralysis. I had dropped to my knees before the contact broke.
When I could move again an instant later, I began clawing at them trying to remove them from my shirt, which unfortunately caused them to contact my skin again before ripping loose.
Three more steps and I had reached the line of remaining guards. Two more ran away. With a wide sweep of my arm, I knocked three of them against the wall. I had never had to learn to fight so I knew no graceful techniques for knocking guys around.
The only two left were the one with the stun gun—which couldn’t wind up its wires fast enough for another shot—and a guard with a shotgun.
I grabbed the shotgun barrel, intent on bending it in a curve like I had seen in countless cartoons, so the man would shoot himself. Unlike the cartoons, the metal tube just creased as it bent, and pinched closed completely. Then the man joined the others who had run.
Before the last remaining guard could finish winding his wires up, I grabbed his stun gun and threw it against the wall. Its high-power batteries and capacitors threw a few sparks as the device shattered against the concrete wall.
I grabbed the guard by his collar and dragged him with me as I smashed through several locked doors, and made my way to freedom.
In the parking lot, I spotted an armored prisoner transport truck. Slightly more elegant than stealing a massive bus, I thought.
None of the guards got directly in front of me as I made my way across the yard, but several fired at me from behind, and from surrounding walls and towers. They even began with the tear gas grenades. At first I feared I may not be immune to the gas, as I hadn’t been to electricity. But the only one who coughed was the guard I was still dragging.
As I reached the armored transport I dropped the guard, who had now passed out—either from the gassings or from fear. I got into the truck and turned the ignition. The pins in the tumbler sheared off as I forced it forward until the engine turned over.
No vehicles followed me from the prison, and I drove until both tanks of gas were empty. I left the truck in a ditch. I hoped it wouldn’t be spotted in the dark. That would give me some time.
There was a campground near the road which had laundry facilities. I snuck in and stole some clothes, leaving my tattered ones in a washing machine.
I spent the rest of the night walking down the road with my thumb out.
Woke up in the bed of a truck, with the sun high overhead. I sat up and looked around to see a rural area, full of crops and livestock—and lots of bare earth. I couldn’t remember getting into this particular truck. And I had no idea where they were taking me.
I was about to ask, when the truck turned off the paved road and headed toward a distant farmhouse.
It looked a bit run down, but it was large. The driver invited me in when we reached it. He told me his name was Carlos.
Carlos and his wife gave me breakfast. They watched television while they ate, and said very little to me—which was fine because I hadn’t had time to think of a reasonable story.
I wasn’t paying attention to the television until I saw a picture of myself. At first it was just the picture from my company ID, but then they showed security camera footage of me ripping open the cell door, being shot to no affect, ripping through fences like paper.
I saw Carlos’ wife look at me first, her eyes wide with shock, then fear. Then Carlos looked at me with what I could only call anger.
Carlos ran into the next room, while his wife continued to stare at me.
When he returned, he was carrying a shotgun. “Don’t move!” he said. “I just called the police, they’re on the way.”
I tried to tell him that I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he insisted on my waiting for the police to arrive. Out here, it could be an hour.
Almost immediately, I felt myself getting angry at Carlos for calling the police.
I wasn’t waiting around for the police to show up and take me back. This time, after what I’d done, they’d probably encase me in reinforced concrete deep underground. Not that I was entirely sure that would hold me either.
I stood up from the table, thanked Carlos for the meal, and stepped toward the door.
“Don’t move!” he repeated. “I don’t want to have to shoot you!”
Without a glance back, I reached for the doorknob. I heard the shotgun fire, felt nothing, and heard his wife scream. But her scream seemed cut short.
I looked back and saw his wife fall to the floor, bleeding. One of the shot from the gun had ricocheted off of me and hit her in the neck.
I ran back to her. But there was nothing that could be done. Carlos seemed to think it was my fault and fired another blast at me. A picture shattered from another ricocheted bit of shrapnel.
I raised my hand to try and calm him, but he was reloading the weapon. I reached out and grabbed the gun, wrenching it from his hands. I heard a crack and saw a bone break the skin on his forearm. He grabbed it and fell to his knees.
Before I could stop myself, I placed my hand on top of his head and turned his head so it was facing the rear. He dropped to the ground. No going back now.
Then I heard the police sirens. Must've been on patrol in the area. I tried unsuccessfully to find a back door; instead I began tearing through the rear wall, intent on making one.
As I emerged, several officers were already surrounding the house. They stopped where they stood and took aim at me.
Things were becoming difficult. Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?
I advanced on the nearest officer, and took her weapon from her before she could fire. I grabbed the front of her shirt and threw her out into the field. Even I was surprised when she flew over two hundred feet, thumping lifelessly and rolling another thirty.
I took the gun in my hand and fired its entire clip into my own abdomen. I was hoping it would discourage the remaining cops and they would leave. Instead, they opened fire. Just like the guards, they all had different weapons; more officers were coming around the corners of the house two and three at a time. When I saw one with an electric stun gun, I charged him. I didn’t want him to get a chance to use it.
I slammed my shoulder into his chest like a football player would have. I felt his ribcage collapse, and he was dead before he hit the ground. The other officers jumped out of the way of his sliding body. Twenty feet away, he stopped sliding.
The cops filled back in where they had just stepped away, and continued firing. They were much more organized than the prison guards: When the ones at the front would run out of ammunition, they would move to the back to reload, while others stepped forward and continued the assault.
But still I felt nothing, and I was getting angrier. I just wanted to be left alone, and I said so.
The clothes that I had taken the night before were now full of holes and barely hanging on to me.
I decided to be left alone no matter what. I began walking. I didn’t know where I was going; I just wanted to get away. Most of the officers moved, and I threw aside the ones who didn’t. They stopped firing when they feared crossfire. Once I was outside the semicircle they had formed around me, they began firing again. When I passed the first officer I’d thrown, many of them returned to their cars, and began to pursue me. Once the cars were in the line of fire, the rest of them got into their cars as well.
They tried putting three cars in front of me to stop me, but I threw aside one with surprising ease, and smashed another into the ground.
It was becoming frustrating. Every time I tried to go, they tried to stop me.
One officer drove past me until he was a hundred yards in front of me, and then turned his car to face me directly. I heard his engine whine as he floored it. I knew what he was doing. I got low, turned my shoulder into the impact, and dug my heel into the ground to brace the impact. I may be stronger now, but I assumed I still weighed less than a car.
As I predicted, the car slammed into me doing almost sixty-five and I was thrown through the air. I landed on one of the other cars, and went through the windshield. Then I got an idea: I wasn’t getting anywhere walking. I reached across the driver and pushed on his door, breaking the latch apart. Then I shoved him from his seat and took the wheel. Since the door was now useless, I pulled it from its hinges and left it.
It was impressive how much power the car had. I pushed down on the gas, and the car threw up earth and gravel as it accelerated across Carlos’ crops. It was then that I realized I was headed east. Three cars were following me, but the others stayed behind, either disabled or trying to sort out what had happened.
After an hour of driving across bumpy fields, I found a dirt road, and followed it to the north. Eventually it curved to the east, and I intended to follow it until the car ran out of gas—although the sirens following me were becoming annoying.
One of them pulled up to my driver’s side, and tried to push me off the road. I reached out of the opening where the door had been, and grabbed the tire, which fell apart in my hand. I took a firm grip on the rim, and the wheel snapped off its lug nuts. The bare axle and brake assembly dropped to the ground and threw out a shower of sparks. The sudden loss of control caused the car to veer into mine, but it lost speed quickly and dropped behind before it could force me off the road.
They didn’t try again.
Unfortunately, the car only had a half-tank when I’d acquired it. It was only mid-afternoon when it began to sputter. I had entered a small town, and there was a small gas station ahead. I wondered if I should take the chance to refuel my stolen car while the police were still following me.
I pulled in next to the last pump, and stepped out. The other cars stopped behind me, not getting closer than a hundred feet. They stepped out of their cars and watched me. They wouldn’t shoot, for fear of hitting a gas pump, and they wouldn’t approach me, for fear of their own safety.
I almost laughed out loud when one of them got back into his car and pulled it up to the first pump and started filling his own car.
When I’d finished filling up, I got back in and continued driving east.
They’d obviously called ahead, because the roads were completely clear. We just drove the rest of the evening, me and my two escorts.
I knew it might be a problem if I lost my strength, so I kept reminding myself of things that made me angry: getting fired; being imprisoned; being pursued when all I wanted was to be alone.
Dawn was just breaking when I saw something ahead on the road.
At first it just looked like another roadblock, but as I got closer I saw this one was composed of tanks and armored cars. To each side was a sandbag wall with a soldier. The cars behind me had disappeared when I wasn’t paying attention.
They’d called in the army.
It was obvious they wouldn’t leave me alone unless I destroyed them all. The anger and frustration were just growing and growing.
One of the tanks fired. The police car I was driving was obliterated; I had to peel the twisted metal off of myself before I could continue.
They weren’t holding back anything this time. After only a couple seconds of fire from the soldiers, the tanks opened fire.
Bullets don’t have much momentum, but cannons do. Every time one of them hit me, I was thrown back about five feet, and sometimes knocked to the ground.
Luckily, they took a while to reload after a few shots, and I had time to advance on them. Once I was next to one tank, the others wouldn’t fire (though they still kept their turrets pointed at me).
I still had no idea the extent of my strength, but I figured this was a good time to try it out. I grabbed the front of the tank, and tried lifting it up. At first it only lightened on its suspension system. But as I focused, it lifted a few inches. Meanwhile, one of the other tanks had acquired a clean shot at me, and hit me from the side, so it wouldn’t hit their own tank. I could’ve sworn I felt a rib crack, but any anger that was leaving me before had come back tenfold. I got up quickly, and thrust my weight at the tank, pushing at an upward angle. The tank flipped neatly over, without leaving the ground.
I stepped toward another tank, but it fired on me before I reached it, and I was thrown to the ground. The asphalt cracked and an imprint of my torso was left after I got up.
I punched at the tank and put a massive dent on the front of it. It slid backwards about ten feet without its treads moving, making a loud screeching sound.
All the while the soldiers had been firing on me. My shirt was nearly gone. Fortunately for me, they were aiming at my center mass, so my pants were mostly spared—except around the knees, which they were also trying to hit.
I re-approached the tank with the dent, and hit it in the same spot with only my finger, hoping to break through the armor. My finger did break through, but I was temporarily blinded by an explosion of part of the tank’s armor.
I pulled my finger to one side, and the hole widened up, while the tank itself slid to the left about a foot. With the extra room, I put in my other hand, and pulled at both sides until the hole was wide enough to climb in.
As I tried, one of the tank crew had already pointed his gun at the hole and was emptying the clip. I grabbed the barrel of his gun and threw it outside. To my surprise, he didn’t have time to let go and flew outside with it.
One of the other two soldiers inside ran past me and jumped out the hole on his own.
The final soldier just sat in his chair under the gun turret. He was petrified and didn’t know what to do. I reached up and pulled him down, dropping him onto the floor. Then I climbed up into the seat, and played with the levers and buttons until I figured out how to aim the tank. When I did, I pointed it at the last tank and fired. The damage was disappointing, but it seemed to work, as the tank didn’t follow me with its turret as I exited the tank I was in.
The soldiers had meanwhile run out of ammunition, and just stood around looking at me, shifting nervously.
I disabled two of the armored trucks, and got into the third. This would be the second time I had driven an armored truck.
I continued heading east until this truck had run out of gas. Again.
When the truck was useless, I left it in the middle of the road, and began walking. From now on, I’d be hiding, while I tried to keep going. I still didn’t know where I was going, but maybe if I got to a city or town, I could get a job and try to have a normal life again.
I kept moving through the rural area throughout the night, ducking into ditches whenever a car would come up the nearby road.
Near sunrise, I found cover in some bushes, and slept for a couple hours. When I got up, the sun was high, but it was behind clouds, making the heat manageable.
I walked near a dirt road, thinking how I must look in my tattered clothes. I ditched what was left of my shirt, and tore off my pants just above the knee. Normally the sun would be a concern, but my invulnerability seemed to apply to ultra-violet rays as well. And I noticed that my chest and abs seemed to be larger and more defined.
Very few cars passed on this road. I had no idea where I was, but it didn’t seem to be very populous.
I remained frustrated, at this point because it was proving harder than I’d thought to find a town to settle down in. I’d hoped I could find a diner down the road somewhere, and work for some money, save it up, and move on to another place. It had been two days since I’d eaten, so maybe I didn’t need to anymore. That would make it considerably easier to save money.
Around noon I spotted a few buildings. Nothing much, just a gas station and a mechanic’s shop. It was a start.
Nearly an hour later, I arrived at the mechanic’s and looked around. Nobody was in sight, but one of the cars out front looked perfectly operational. Unlike the police car, I left the door on. Drawing attention to myself would only cause more problems.
Instead, I just broke the window. Which would only appear that I’d rolled it down. I reached in to unlock the door, which, to my annoyance, was already unlocked.
I cursed myself as I opened it and got in. Leaving the door open, I put it in neutral and pushed at the pavement, rolling the car backward onto the road. Then, I pushed it forward, which was a bit more awkward while sitting down.
When I was out of earshot, and over a small hill, I started the car by forcing the ignition. Hopefully, nobody would notice the car was missing for a while. At least until I could find another one.
At this rate, though, I’d be in New York before I found a place to get a job.
The dirt road finally intersected a freeway, and there was a truck stop there with a small diner. I entered and asked if I could work to pay for a meal. After eating, I washed dishes for an hour and a half. The idea was to find out if they were understaffed at all. They were, so I asked if I could continue working there for a few days to make some cash. The manager seemed to welcome the idea.
Afterwards, I left and drove farther along the road. I flipped the car over into a ditch, and then covered it in bushes I’d uprooted.
I got back to the diner around dusk, and found a covered dark place in the back to sleep.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up, work, get cash. And the next day. After that, who knows.
Maybe my temper will get the best of me, and I’ll have to leave again. Maybe not. If not, maybe I can have a normal life again.
Normal. Not likely. Nothing’s going to be normal again.
As I lay here, waiting to fall asleep, I can’t help but wonder if there are others out there like me. Am I the only one?
© 1996–2009 JCRogers