Agent Finch was every inch the stereotype of a man in his position. He stood at six foot one, with square shoulders and a crew cut to match. Both eyes and lips were but narrow slivers on his face, while his nose and cheekbones were sharp enough to cut concrete. He wore an American cut black and white suit in tints and shades as bland as the rest of him. One glance was all it took to recognize his most prominent trait; that he was, as many had said, an irredeemable ass.
He, along with a convoy of black vans, sat on the roadside between the pines. Before them was an electrified fence surrounding a three story compound. The building was square and featureless save for the sparse warning signs along the ground level. Yet for all its drabness the building was conspicuous. An unsettling aura neither seen nor heard rattled the atmosphere. Not even birds dared to approach.
Soon they were joined by a second set of cars. Agent Finch didn’t smile at the figure in the passenger seat of the front car. He folded his hands in front of him and braced for the force of a ten foot woman compressed in a five foot body. The car pulled to the scanner, and the purple haired scientist reached to touch her card.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you inside, ma’am.” Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #25 – “Crossing Over” (Part 1)”
SOME NIGHTS AGO
Lovers of stories know the tale of Dracula, king of the night walkers. Once the world thought him vanquished in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Such presumption of his demise brought comfort to humankind, and who was the Count to rob them of that? Better thought a myth than an ever-present danger.
The ocean air blew with the taste of salt. A mortal man might have thought it refreshing. Though for the night king it was more awareness than sensation. The same went for the humidity of this South American villa. His flesh, more numb than cold, did not stick and did not perspire. He was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable in this environment.
All that sated him was life blood pouring direct from a host. But even that, after a time, became the property of the mundane.
With hunger muted by experience Count Dracula idled in a wicker chair. Staring at the waves he wondered what mortal eyes saw. Color, shade? Would the gentle hiss soothe them instead of sharpening their awareness? What irony that he should find enviable the existence of short-lived cattle. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #24 – “Shimmering Dusk” (Part 2)”
Tanya sat under a dark cloud for the better part of a week. She curled in her blankets. The sounds in her headphones alternated between new wave and podcasts. Every second meal consisted of leftover pizza, and the only time she left the dorm was to drag herself to class. How long had it been since she’d changed out of her pajamas? I couldn’t tell you, but the smell was too much.
Soon I was at my limit. “You need to get out.”
She presented the typical arguments; ‘I’m fine.’ ‘I need time.’ ‘It’s not that bad.’ ‘Don’t waste your time worrying about me.’ Next she offered distraction by reminding me that there was a city to patrol. Though all had been quiet since the reign of cats and dogs.
No more talking. I threw the duvet to the floor and dragged her by the feet. Tanya kicked and whined but it was no use. Tough love was the order of the day, followed by a shower and some real food.
I sat and waited for her while she was in the bathroom. Tanya had every reason to mope. Her first romance met with one disaster after another and fell on its face. It could be it was never meant to last, but even so, she was still a girl, and girls always remember their first. Or so they say in TV dramas.
But she couldn’t wallow forever. There was a life to live. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #23 – “Shimmering Dusk” (Part 1)”
You probably saw the news.
“-With reports coming in that the immediate danger has passed. Officials and the CDC urge citizens to stay indoors until a thorough sweep is conducted. Milestone Metro has decommissioned the subway network until further notice. Non-essential emergency staff are to steer clear of sewers and water systems.”
It turns out that aerosol dispersal only covered the surface of the problem. To be effective we’d have to force our way down, probe the dark corners of the city, and tackle what’s left head on.
I couldn’t leave. What if there were more monsters down there, bigger than the experts could handle? The emergency crews were more qualified, but didn’t have my firepower, or my speed. So, like a sucker I raised my hand to go another round. What could it hurt except my everything? Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #22 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 6)”
In a few hours the retrovirus was in production. Tanker trucks from all corners of the city migrated to the airfields. What a sight to behold; people coming from all over with a single purpose. Their collective world turned upside down when nature turned. They would do anything to put things back to normal.
I fought to still myself. The important work was in the hands of scientists and engineers while I stood guard. Meanwhile there was a city under siege. People and their children weren’t hiding from dogs and cats alone, but racoons, birds, rodents, and more. The animal kingdom was gifted power it couldn’t understand.
The convoy barreled down the winding dirt trail toward the grass strip. To one side was the gritty aluminium hanger, home to a range of museum pieces that passed for aircraft. Humble as they were, they were the key to salvation.
Dr. Storm explained, “the national guard are moving helicopters as we speak. In the meantime we use crop dusters and skywriting planes to deliver an initial payload. The sooner we start, the more effect it will have long term.”
My job, she said, was to keep them in the air. Sparrows had the potential of missiles, or worse. And who could say what other nasties moved between the clouds? Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #21 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 5)”
For the second time in as many months the staff at InfiniTech were audience to the impossible. First it came in the form of a disgruntled zealot folding the universe. Next was the evolution of Milestone City’s fauna. A process taking millions of years of genetic trial and error leaped forward in the space of a morning. How was such a thing possible?
Dr. Storm and her team had theories, of course. They developed working models to explain animal cells adapting at an accelerated pace. To do so required incredible energy – no doubt from space – but the means to measure it evaded them. In hours men, women and others made incredible discoveries. Still few could determine the how and why of the event, let alone a potential resolution.
The doctor sat with knees propped on a chair, offering vantage enough to peer down a microscope. Her hazmat suit crunched as she reached for a recording device and held it to the clear plastic of her visor.
“Every cell – blood, platelets, muscle – have adopted metaplasic qualities,” she said. “It’s like watching a transubstantiation of species in real time! The formation of a whole new genus inside of a single subject! I love it as much as it scares the hell out of me.”
She shifted the focus and observed. Twisting ovals swam under the lens in ways alien to anything she’d seen before. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #20 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 4)”
There was a smile waiting at the end of the rainbow; or rather the end of red beam. It belonged to a short, stocky woman with wild, purple hair. ‘Bisexual pride’ badges littered her lab coat. She appeared younger than her cohorts, and beamed with every tooth in her mouth.
“Glimmer Girl! Holy wow, it’s really you!”
Together with a skeleton crew of engineers she backed away, giving me room to land. They surrounded a wide steel cylinder that stood at the height of a person. To one side sat fastened an engine. Snakes of power cables lead into the unassuming office building where they’d set up. On the other was the stenciled logo to which they belonged – InfiniTech Labs.
“Dr. Stefanie Storm,” she said, offering her hand. “I’m a huge fan. You’re on my underwear!” She retreated between her shoulders and winced. “That… sounded different in my head.”
I blinked. “There’s Glimmer Girl merch?” Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #19 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 3)”
Life on the underground needn’t be a struggle, or so said The Red Wraith. Sleeping in a warehouse is not ideal for many, but they hadn’t found the warehouse with luxury beds. The crew unfolded sheets of Egyptian cotton. Life on the street had the potential for luxury if only one knew where to look and daring enough to scoff at the law.
The Red Wraith kicked his feet onto an ottoman. Once it was the property of a Texas billionaire, now ‘lost’ in transit. He cut into his hundred dollar Kobe beef steak, served well done with a side of ketchup. All he had was in defiance of the so-called elite, set between the crates of a forgotten storage shed.
“It’s better like this,” he said. “You and I appreciate it far more than those fat, comfortable pigs.”
Mute sat on a canvas sheet. That was all the comfort they needed. His words rolled over deaf ears, though they were less for her than the sake of his own musing. Their pairing served as convenience more than anything else. For the promised reward there was little they would not endure.
Dipping the last of the charred meat The Red Wraith attempted a smile. Alas, not even the wasting of opulence could turn his mood. He clicked his fingers to summon one of the many hooded grunts. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #18 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 2)”
In an infinite universe all things are inevitable. Every beginning finds its end, but the energy behind it is never lost. Rather it takes a new and stranger shape.
Eons ago in a neighboring solar system drifted an insignificant planetoid. It never bore life. The white star whose orbit it followed was faint and cold. Born alone and light years from the nearest system, fate consigned it to idle.
The star was nearing the end of its life. Supernova was imminent. The lonely mass of stone, ice and other elements was doomed. Nobody, not even some far off astronomer would mourn its passing. The universe would not remember. To all appearances the planetoid served no purpose.
After an age of struggle the star tipped into oblivion. The fiery battle in its guts between ceded to gravity. Lingering mass quantified and collapsed on itself. When it did the mass unleashed a wave of force that rolled into the cosmos. No nearby celestial body could withstand its strength, including its planetoid progeny. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #17 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 1)”
SEVEN HOURS BEFORE…
I stood no against the ceramic cuffs, and wasn’t game to try. Any attempt to free myself meant game over for civilian life. And even if I managed to escape there were a slew of detectives ready to track me down.
There was still time for diplomacy. Ortega thought I was a kid, and responded with paternalistic condescension. Maybe if I cried I could milk him for sympathy. Crying came easy in that concrete tank.
Cold radiated from the walls and through the thin layer of my costume. The holographic material only protected me from nudity. Still I was glad they hadn’t taken it from me. Kaira Cade made for prison lunch meat, adept or not.
Captain Ortega entered the interrogation room with an aura of finality. He stood like a seven foot executioner ready to drop the switch. He didn’t so much as look at the guards when he gave the order for them to leave the room. His deliberate easing into the chair was like torture. I stewed in anticipation. He folded his hands, and frowned.
“I’m sorry that-”
“Don’t speak,” he said. “Listen.”
Resistance proved futile. I was the prisoner, and he was the gatekeeper. He and a few less sympathetic figures oversaw the path to my release. If they weren’t satisfied then I was be trapped.
“I need you to stage a breakout,” he said. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #16 – “Hero Complex” (Part 7)”