Story: Give Me One Reason (chapter 1)

Authors: A Markov

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Chapter 1

Title: Green Suede Boots, One: For the Money


I was in my room. Well, it was the room I stayed in when we were at the tower. I was so pissed off; I thought I was going to explode. I tried to let out my frustration by screaming. I screamed as loud as I could for as long as I could. And when I wound down, I took a deep breath and screamed some more. I couldn’t believe he had done it to me, again. My own brother, taking the word of some idiot flatfoot cop over mine, acting like I don’t know what’s going on… again… making me feel like I’m clueless… again… embarrassing me… again… just thinking about it made my hands flicker. I squelched the urge to blast through the walls of my room and set fire to the big, fat, slow, stupid, idiotic, puerile… Ha! He probably didn’t even know what “puerile” meant. The big, fat, slow, stupid…

My profound thoughts were interrupted by a light pounding on the door to my room. The officious jerk knew better than to come barging in here. And after what happened last time, I was guessing he was standing off to one side of the doorway, just in case.

“Hey! Uh… Sis…”

What do you want?” I said calmly, in my loudest most shrill voice.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong?” I couldn’t believe my ears for the second time in less than an hour. “What’s wrong?” I repeated. “WHAT’S WRONG?” I yelled, yanking open the door to my room. He was standing a several feet down the hallway; I guess he had learned something from the last time. “You!” I hissed at him. “You’re what’s wrong.” I closed the distance between us rapidly and buried my finger into his chest. “You. Are. What’s. Wrong. With. Me.” I shouted every word and pushed my finger as deep into his chest as it could go with each syllable. I wasn’t nearly as strong as he was, but I was still wearing my claw tipped gloves and I knew from previous arguments that they could penetrate his thick hide, at least a little bit. Too bad I couldn’t figure out how to penetrate his thick skull.

I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and I knew that the others were watching the exchange. They were probably rooting for me, but all three of them were too cowardly to stand up to the overbearing oaf. Useless. Every single one of them was useless. “You’re all useless!” I yelled, turning toward where they were hiding at the end of the hallway.

“You take that back!” The big stupid one said. “We’re heroes! This city relies on us!”

“Well, it doesn’t rely on me any more. I quit!” I turned away from him and stormed into my room. I guess I forgot to slam the door behind me because he followed me in.

“You’re not quitting!” He shouted at me. “You’re part of this team… part of this family…”

That did it. He finally managed to push my last button. Our family had been destroyed years ago. Mom and dad were taken from us by the same stupid comet that made us into freaks of nature…

I guess that’s when I knew I couldn’t stand it any more. I’m not really sure what happened next, and Mike and the twins swear they didn’t see it either, but sometimes I see that look of satisfaction in their eyes that lets me know they’re cherishing something special when the topic comes up. All I know is that from that moment on, I was free of Hector’s overbearing crap and he had to go to the hospital to get that boot removed. Even though I can’t remember exactly what happened, I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it. There isn’t much that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside any more. Maybe the thought of a complicated job done well, or the feeling of landing a good solid punch on someone, you know, the shock of the impact traveling up your arm, the satisfying sound of flesh on flesh and the dumbfounded expression of a class ‘A’ jerk-off, who has just realized he got his ass kicked by a girl. That’s a warm fuzzy feeling right there.

All I know is that when it was over, I was standing outside the tower and Hector was being rushed to the emergency room. I stood there for a while trying to figure out what to do next. I knew what I didn’t want to do and that was: see, talk to or interact with the big jerk-off in way shape or form. I wasn’t a hero, I never wanted to be a hero, and just because I was a freak of nature didn’t mean I had some deep rooted obligation to become a hero. “With great power comes great responsibility?” I don’t think so. Maybe with great power comes green skin and a life full of ridicule and rejection. I cashed in a couple of favors and headed for the one place I was pretty sure Hector wouldn’t be able to follow me; Norway.

I never got there, of course. And the whole trip ended up being a harsh lesson in real life. You see, the people who were willing to help me without letting my idiot brother know where I’d gone, weren’t exactly upstanding citizens and I ended up stranded in the Yukon after one of the low-life scum tried to force me to have sex with him as payment for the lift. “A ride for a ride.” He leered at me, like it was clever or something. I’m not sure what he expected, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a plasma laced fist to the face. The worst part was that he caught me by surprise in the small space of the truck’s cab and managed to push me out, before I could do any real damage. And back then, I was still soft, I didn’t have the heart to torch his rig, so I let him drive a way with all my stuff while I just stood there blasting random shit until I got my mad out. Then I sat down on the side of that desolate highway and cried, like a little girl.

After a couple of hours, I realized no one else was going to come along. I’d been asleep in the truck until my would-be rapist woke me up and I had no idea how far I was from anywhere or how long it would take to reach some kind of civilization. I figured, I’d head in the direction we were going when he tossed me out for a few reasons. First, the bastard had to be heading somewhere. Second, maybe he’d still be there when I got there and we could continue our discussion, this time in a large open space where, hopefully, there would be lots of witnesses to see his humiliation. And finally, the sun was going down and I had to make it to Nova Scotia anyway, if I was going to get to Norway at all.

When the sun went down, I realized what a mistake I’d made. The temperature dropped pretty fast and I didn’t have anything to wrap up in to conserve warmth. Now, I’m fairly warm-blooded. Since that damned comet hit me, I’d only been cold once. I was accidentally locked in a freezer down at one of the fish processing plants by the lake. Some idiot calling himself the “Tug of War” made a bid to take control of the harbor and I chased him into the damn cooler, like an idiot. Sad part was, the teamsters handled the whole thing and we didn’t even need to show up. Hector got to talking with the press, trying to take credit for everything and forgot all about me until the next day. I didn’t have the kind of control over my plasma that I do now, I was still kind of limited in what I could do. Besides, Hector had pounded into my skull how we weren’t supposed to damage other people’s shit indiscriminately. Of course, he didn’t use the word ‘shit.’ I don’t think he would swear if you put a gun to his head. He also didn’t use the word ‘indiscriminately,’ he has trouble with words that contain more than three syllables. But the message was the same and I sat inside that damn freezer, trying to keep warm for about fourteen hours until the next day’s shift came on and someone unlocked the freezer from the outside. Even with how long I was in there, and how cold it was, it was nothing compared to being out in the open in the Yukon at night. I was pretty sure that this time I was going to freeze to death.

Luckily, I got attacked by a bear. Yeah, when was the last time you heard someone say they were lucky to get attacked by a bear? Anyway, the thing came out of nowhere and ran at me like a… well… like a great big bear coming out of nowhere and running at you. How much more descriptive do you need it to be? I reacted instinctively and hit it full on in the chest with a pretty powerful blast. Now, I’m used to being upset. I’ve lived my life up to this point in pretty much a constant state of pissed off, but this thing scared me and that did something to my plasma. It came out in an intensely hot focused beam and pretty much sliced the bear in half. And I looked down at these two halves of steaming bear and I realized it was steaming because it was warm. And I thought about the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” where Luke climbs into the lizard-horse thing and stays warm. And I figure, if it’s good enough for Luke Skywalker, it’s good enough for me and I climb into the bear and it’s pretty much the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done. Mind you, I’ve done Hector’s laundry, and this was worse. Not a lot worse, but still, you get the picture.

And what do you know? It works! I actually managed to get some sleep too. Not too much, just dozed off a few times, but what the hell, sleep is sleep and when the sun came up I started following the road east again. About ten in the morning I hear an engine. I’m looking around until I see this SUV coming up from behind me and I start dancing around waving my arms like a lunatic, until I realize it’s an RCMP truck but then it’s too late. The thing screeches to a halt next to me and these two guys hop out all dressed up. Fur coats, big fuzzy hats, gloves, boots… you name it. Here I am, wearing a light jacket and jeans, tennis shoes and completely covered in dried bear guts… ‘Course I forgot about the bear guts until they both do a double take. One of ‘em kinda puts out his hand to ward me off while he reaches for something at his belt. At first I thought it was a gun, but then I remembered, the Canadians don’t believe in guns.

He starts jabbering into his radio while the other one approaches me like I’m some sort of ticking time bomb… which, I guess I was, even if I didn’t know it at the time. And he’s got this funny accent that makes it hard to understand him. “Wut yoo dooen oot here, ay?” Now two minutes ago, I’d’ a been willing to drop down on my knees and blow a busload of lumberjacks to get somewhere warm, but something about the way this guy is looking at me trips a circuit breaker in my head and I can’t stop myself from a sarcastic retort. “Trying to find Dudley Do Right. What are you doing oot here?” It was probably the “oot” that pushed him over the edge. Remember how I said the Canadians don’t believe in guns? Wrong! The RCMP boys are well armed, apparently, there are these great big bears wandering around all over the Yukon and they carry shotguns to protect themselves. Dudley Do Right grabs one out of his truck and points it at me. He starts spouting off about poachers killing bears and finding a bear corpse a few miles back that had been cut in half and mutilated and did I, (you remember me, the girl covered in bear guts) did I know anything about it.

And I’m thinking, “Yes, sir, Officer Opie. I can not tell a lie. I put that envelope underneath all that garbage…” but even with the sun shining, it’s damn cold and I’m covered in frozen bear guts and I just want to go somewhere warm and take a bath. So I try to tell him what happened and the bastard doesn’t believe me. I’m tempted to demonstrate my “weapon” on his SUV, but that probably won’t get me any closer to warmth or running water, so with super-human effort I zip my lip and allow myself to be herded into the back of the truck. Now, on the surface this might seem like an improvement, it being warm and all, but that’s before you take into consideration the fact that the warm air is defrosting the bear guts. And damn! I must a’ hit the things intestines or something, cause that was some rank-smelling bear leftovers. Fifteen minutes into the ride they had all the windows open. I wasn’t warm, but at least I was traveling a lot faster.

They dropped me off at an institution. There was a lot of discussion about whether the matron was going to accept custody of me in my current condition and eventually they solved it by having me strip down and hosing me off in the courtyard. Fortunately, by now it was early afternoon and the temperature was easily into double digits. And even though they’re measuring it in Celsius it’s still damn cold. But after the matron was satisfied that I wouldn’t stink up the place, she wrapped me up in a thick wool blanket and sent me into take a warm shower. Not the bath I wanted, but still not too bad. An hour later I was clean, warm and well fed and, even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to meet the woman who would change my life forever.

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