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Mae heart Burns [eng]

FANTASTYKA
W odróżnieniu od literatury realistycznej, fantastyka jest literaturą bardzo aktualną. ~ Kir Bułyczow
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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 08 marca 2016, 12:38

5.
Teleporting with a passenger is even more tricky than when I do it alone. I need to take into consideration the passenger’s weight and height at least. Then – the distance I want to teleport through. Then some more things that I don’t even think about, but that I instinctively regard.
I say this to explain myself that I didn’t want to drop Agent from two meters. It just happened. If I intended on doing that, I wouldn’t fall from the said two meters myself, but instead I’d float over the ground or something.
Anyway, we fall from two meters, and I land on him, and hit him in the ribs with my knees, and hit my head on his.
“Damn you…” I groan, as I roll from him, pressing both hands to the head. He doesn’t respond. I glance at him, worried just a bit, since while teleporting I may also made the nasty mistake of taking a part of him with me, and leaving the rest behind. But no, he’s in one piece. He’s just shocked as a living being should be when they are taken from the center of NY to the center of nothing in particular, prairie state, in a split second.
I sit up and look around. I… must have missed the manor by miles.
“Get up, dumbass,” I say and set an example. “Shit, where are we?”
It’s getting dark and we’re like nowhere. I knew there is a huge area of nothing but grass going right through the U.S., but I’ve never really had the chance to experience it, not even when on my way to Xochi’s manor.
I hear Agent getting up. He dusts off his hair, his clothes. Unsteadily he bends to pick up his bag and gun. Wow. I really took everything with us. Adrenaline is a bitch.
He looks around and I hate him for his composure. The moment of shock is gone.
“Where are we?”
I shrug. He rubs his hurting ribs and observes the horizon to the west, as I turn to the east. The sun is setting, so there won’t be much to look at in half an hour, and I hear it can get rather cold out here. Nothing moves. Just a bird flies over us, giving a long cry.
“I take it was not in the plan?” he asks. And his calm sets me off again.
“Plan?Plan?! What kind of fucking plan are you expecting from me? Beyond the point where I save your mortal ass from getting turned to sieve, that is.”
He turns around slowly, still watching the horizon.
“We’ve been wondering how you got to China so quick.”
I freeze.
“What?”
“And I was wondering how you got to the hotel so fast.”
“Oh for crying out loud.”
I totally forgot I’ve never told them about teleportation.
“I guess your bag of tricks is much wider than we—“
I hit him in the face. He’s a big guy, but I strengthened the blow. He drops to the knee and spits blood. I go a few steps away. There’s no way I can grab him and try to jump again. I am strangely tired, I realize.
He gets up and dusts off his jeans again. And then he stands there, and watches me, but every time I turn to glare at him, his gaze wonders somewhere in the distance.
“My bag of tricks ends here,” I say and kick a stone. “I don’t know where we are.”
I fish out the agency phone I’ve had for all this time in my pocket. It has no signal, but I don’t want to call anyone. I smash the thing in the hand, then throw the pieces away. He’s still watching me without a word.
“I need to take a wider look,” I say and don’t do anything for a moment. I wonder if I mentioned that I can fly.
I wonder if I remember how to fly. God, I haven’t done that one in a while.
I jump a few times. There is some resistance when I’m midair and I focus, but I thought it was easier.
“Don’t tell me you can actually fly.”
“I can actually fly,” I say and fly up.
Being in the air, especially after such a long time spent on the ground, can be shocking. I sway to the sides, pushed by gusts of wind. I lose the height, then fly up too far. It’s difficult to figure out where is what. I fear for a moment that I could lose the sight of Agent. And then I fear something else.
I have a pretty good sight, and I can’t see anything around. Not a road, not a shed, not a ranch. Nothing. Only mountains to the west. Oh well, sleeping on the ground and teleporting to the manor in the morning it is then.
I descend rather uncertainly, looking for Agent, who’s waiting for me down there, and when he sees me, he gets up from the ground and comes my way. I’ve got swept to the side a little, but soon he’s at my side again. I tell him what I saw and he doesn’t answer. I go towards a huge boulder – god knows where did it come from. I sit under it, with knees propped up, and I rest my arms on the knees. I watch Agent coming closer, his eyes glued to the ground. Do I see reluctance in his walk? Regret maybe? Or is it just tiredness and lingering shock? He sits next to me, at arm’s length. We don’t talk at all. Soon I fall asleep.
When I wake up the next morning, I’m alone and there’s a shirt laid on my back. I can’t see Agent anywhere, but then I can hear him behind the boulder. Slow, measured steps, occasional kick and the sound of a rock bouncing on the sand. I sit up and yawn as loud as I can. He comes back.
“What time it is?” I ask and he glances at the watch.
“It says eight a.m.”
“Damn, that’s early,” I say and scratch my head. My stomach rumbles and I feel nauseous. That’s my reaction to hunger.
“We need to get moving,” he says as I get up. “You destroyed that phone far too late.”
“Yeah? So why I don’t wake up to a gun pointing at me?”
“Give them time.”
“Oh, we could wait here for them and then kidnap the chopper or whatever they arrive here in.”
He gives me a funny look and I think he wonders if I’m serious or not. Well, I started it as a joke, but now that I think of it, it’s rather logical.
“No, look,” I say. “I can’t pilot a chopper, but I bet you can, and all we need to do is hide you behind that rock, and then I take them down, and then you show up, and steal the chopper. You don’t even have to wait for me, I can meet you in the air.”
“I bet they start with rocket launchers,” he says, looking at the sun rising. “What do we do now?”
“Ugh. Another attempt at teleportation?”
He turns abruptly to me and for a moment there’s something looking at me through his eyes – some unidentified emotion that I’d never expect of him. And then it’s gone. He turns away and doesn’t say a word, although he must have something to say – he clenches his jaw, as if afraid that something may escape him.
“Ok, look,” I say. “I know it’s not the most pleasant experience in the world, but right now I can’t think of anything else. It’s either that or we stay here and wait for your ex-colleagues to come and get us. With rocket launchers, as you said.
He looks at the ground and gives a small nod. I wrap my hands around him, before he changes his mind. He puts one hand on my back and closes his eyes. I think intensively about the manor and where it’s supposed to be. And then I jump.
This time I didn’t miss the ground, but Agent did. He stumbles on something and falls on me, and I can barely support him, because he took me off guard.
“Geez, Agent, you really had to wait until you leave agency for that?” I ask, but he regards me with such a crazy look that I quickly realize that he has no idea what language I speak, let alone what I’m talking about. I leave him to regain his composure, and look around.
This time my aim was better. We’re still out in a prairie, but I can see a small grove at the end of a road, about two miles away – old willows growing around an old manor. Yes, this could be any manor, but I know that this is Xochi’s place.
“Where are we this time?” I hear behind me. I turn to Agent. He’s back to his self, let for the paleness on his face. I point at the house.
“That’s where I wanted to go.”
He looks in that direction and doesn’t’ say a word, as if he was considering whether to go there or not. I start off, before he can talk me out of it. He follows a moment later.
I feel strangely tired. I think about my stunt in China and wonder if I can exert myself through teleporting with a passenger. If my powers are calculated for one person, yet I try to jump along with someone, does that use more of my energy? Assuming that I am energy based.
I really wish there was someone who could answer my questions. And the scientist who had been experimenting on me for ten years don’t count. They don’t know jack shit.
We reach the house. When we go along the outer wall, the main door opens and Cad looks out. I wave at him and he waves at me. He disappears inside again, but leaves the door open.
“Something you didn’t tell me,” Agent says and this moment I realize that yeah, I totally didn’t tell him about Cad and Xochicoyotl.
“Ah, Reader’s Digest version…” I say and stop. He stops beside him. “They kidnapped your family, but they were sorry about it, and it was to get my attention anyway, and now I want to hang out with them and find out what are the others that they’ve talked about.”
Agent stares at me, waiting for continuation.
“Well, I told you they manifest some kind of powers. I want to see for myself what they know.”
He’s still waiting. I glance at the door.
“I don’t know anything more.”
He nods and goes first.
We find Cad and Xochi in the dining room. Agent does not seem perplexed even for a moment, although Xochi doesn’t make it easy for him and just floats there, in the middle of the room. Cad observes him closely, but turns his gaze away when he notices that I see that.
“So you’ve returned,” Xochicoyotl says.
“Yup.”
“And you’ve thought about what we said?”
“Double yup.”
“And what do you think?”
I glance at Agent. He’s so damn composed as if he knew what we are talking about. He stands with his hands brought together in front of him, like a soldier or bodyguard.
“I have a few ideas of my own,” I say.

I wake up in a room that I don’t recognize. The setting sun colors the walls red and through the windows I can see blackening shapes of the old willows. For a moment there I wonder what I woke up to anyway, and then I hear it again – a quiet knock on the door. I groan, roll to face the wall and decide to ignore it, whatever it is. And then I remember the talk we had this morning, when we reached the house with Agent. What I said to Xochi, and what she said to me. I roll over once again and nearly fall out of the bed. There’s another knock, more pressing this time, right when I reach for the knob.
“I woke you up.”
It’s his luck he stated that, not asked. I let him in the room and fall on the bed again. He goes to the window, looks out, then sits on the windowsill. Then stares at me, I can feel his gaze on my back.
“What you’re trying to do here…” he starts, then pauses. “Are you listening to me or are you asleep?”
“Asleep.”
“C’mon, this is important,” he says and comes to my bed. I roll to the side.
“No, this is important,” I say without opening my eyes. “See, I’m totally beaten. You’re one heavy motherfucker, and apparently I cannot port with too much weigh. Or rather I do it, but it exhausts me too much.”
“Which is why you fell asleep on the table,” he says.
“Exactly.”
He falls silent, but doesn’t get out. He goes back to the windowsill and sits there. Minutes pass and I cannot get back to sleep because of him there, even though he doesn’t make a sound – I can’t even hear him breathing. I roll to the back and look at the ceiling.
“What they want, basically, is to take care of other superpowered,” I say. He doesn’t comment on that. “Because there are others. They’ve seen them or they’ve heard of them. Xochi is in touch with some.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Ah, skepticism. I expect nothing less from you.”
“You’re not a fool, so stop pretending.”
“I swear I’m gonna port you to some place and leave you there.”
“I’m just trying to be reasonable here,” he says. “Because you clearly cannot.”
“Oh yes, wanting to team up with people like me is such a mistake,” I say, maybe too loud, and get up. I stomp to the window and look at the last sun rays that bleed among the willow branches.
“Listen to yourself,” he says. “Would you really want to team up with people like you?”
Touché, I guess.

“We just want to help those of the superpowered who cannot take care of themselves. Those most shunned, without hope. We both cannot do that, but you can. You have the power to act. We – to observe. And advise, when needed.”
For the whole time, as Xochicoyotl is speaking, I watch Agent. And not only I – Cad also seems not to have taken his eyes off him. My ex-shadow took the armchair at the fireplace and haven’t honored us with a glance ever since. But he’s listening, oh yes, he’s listening to our every word, memorizing it, cataloguing, just to remind them to us at the very best moment.
“Yeah, wait,” I say when Xochi falls silent for a moment. “I know what you mean, and I cannot agree more. But I’m not very sure what you expect of me. From what you said I gather that you two will be looking for damsels in distress, and I will just have to go and fetch them?”
“That is correct,” Xochi says.
I glance at Cad. Forgive me, but he looks like a young Chris Tucker in a Men-In-Black suit. Minus the personality – he’s mute and kind of autistic. Never smiling, which, I guess, takes away the whole resemblance. Oh, but he’s a good driver, too.
“Well,” I say, trying to shake off those last thoughts. “I still don’t know what you expect of me. That I go wherever you say there’s a damsel, and what? Fight for them? There’s no way—“
“No,” Xochi says. Her voice is kind of monotone. I cannot say whether she’s pleased or pissed. “There would be no need. We don’t want that.”
“Are you sure of that?”
“Yes, I am sure.”
Xochi floats a few meters from me. Her figure is framed by the fire that burns on the fireplace. It looks fantastic to me. But maybe that’s just the wine they served me.
“It makes a bit of sense,” Agent says, and the three of us look at him, startled. I didn’t expect him to take part in this discussion. “You need to defend yourselves. Because no one else will ever do that or you. You just cannot endanger anyone’s life in this process.”
And that was all I needed.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:37

After four months of silence, I'm throwing everything in here, just to have it done. Enjoy.

6.
Teleportation enables you to get wherever you want, but you have to be super careful.
Yes, I know, I repeat myself, but there isn’t an upper limit for such warnings.
I port in right in the middle of nothing and immediately start to fall. When I look down, I see I am like a few meters from the ground.
“Shit!”
I do everything to pull myself up with flight, but that just doesn’t work. I need to exercise my powers more.
I hit the cobble stones and cry to heavens to repay me for my suffering.
I cut my howl short, when I realize I am on a small street, not far from the Old Town in Prague. Or at least I hope it’s Prague. There’s a man coming round the corner. He sees me, but doesn’t hasten his step. I get up staggeringly and check all the bones for any damage, but I seem to be fine. At least I managed to strengthen my body for the impact.
The man stares at me as I dust off my pants. He asks me something, but that’s in that silly sounds that they call language.
“Sorry, I just fell,” I tell him. He smiles apologetically and goes on his way. I pretend to be a stupid, clumsy tourist for as long as he’s in the hearing range. Then I reach to the pocket for the cell phone that Agent imposed on me. That’s not the same as we had, obviously, but still it’s some hi-tec. He said he got it from a nerd friend, who was more interested in checking out is toys in the field than playing along with the government. I trust Agent’s judgment, what else can I say?
“Heyyy, handsome, I’m in Prague. Yay!”
“In one piece?”
“So it seems.”
“Good,” he says, after which there’s a pause. “Xochi reminds you that the meeting point is a place called… U Kunstatu?”
His Czech is arguable.
“Yeah, I remember,” I say and go in the direction of the city hall in the middle of the square. “You have anything else for me?” I ask ad there’s a long silence. “I take it as no. So see you back in a few hours.”
I hang up and go to look for the pub.
It’s late evening, but there’s flocks of people around. I was lucky I ported in one of the less populated streets. Although I was aiming for a roof of some building outside of the old town, I admit. It would be much easier to crash there unnoticed and then all I’d need to do would be float or phase down to the street level. I sure do hope that one day I’ll be porting in the spots I want.
As I go through the main square, I cannot not look at the houses. Everything’s so old and low, and so fucking amazing I just need to stop and admire. People around me seem to be passing those views by, looking at them through the lenses of their cameras, hurrying somewhere as soon as they took a photo. I look at the town hall, then at the people, and for some reason I want to grab the closes group by their necks, point at the building and order them to admire it with me.
But then the feeling is gone and I just ask for the directions to the pub.
It’s in a cellar and it’s dark inside. I look for a free table, then for a familiar face, but everything’s booked and I don’t really know what my contact looks like. I thought that I’d maybe get a feeling, but just like I don’t recognize Cad and Xochi as supers, I just don’t see anyone I’d call super in this cellar. I go to the bar and order a beer.
“But I can pay only with dollars,” I say and show the barman the bill. He nods and pours me a pint. I look at it, sniff it, taste it and fall in love in it. Welp, we cannot brew a beer like that. Amen.
After half an hour, when I got to my second pint, a girl takes a seat next to me and orders two beers. She has curly blond hair and a pretty little face. I take notice of that mostly because she keeps on glancing at me the whole time as she waits for the beer. Finally, she speaks.
“You American?”
I nod.
“There, I have a table.”
I follow her. Because why the hell not?
There’s a young blond man at the table already. When they sit together, I see a family resemblance. I sit opposite to them.
“You always so nice to American strangers?” I ask. I still don’t know whether those are my damsels, even though I was told I’d meet two persons. No one mentioned those would be siblings, so I keep alerted. I really need to hint Xochi that a password, like in spy movies, would be in place.
“No. Rather not,” the girl says. She looks at the man, as if looking for help. Then turns to me. “Sorry, were you to meet with someone here today?”
“I’d say so,” I say, yet still I keep my guard up. What Xochi told me was that the two people I was going to meet are phasers. Meaning, they can phase through things. I can’t see why there would be a problem for them to stay elusive and away from the law enforcement organs with such an ability, but on the other hand they don’t have to have it mastered like I do. Because phasing has lots of benefits, like being able to escape prisons or avoiding bullets. True, the latter may be tricky, but still…
The two fidget and look at each other. I’d even risk a guess that they are twins, although the guy has straight hair, and the girl – curly. Plus, the matching abilities.
“You think you may want to help us get out of the town? Or country?”
“Sure. You have visas?”
They exchange the looks again.
“Never mind. It’s not like we’d go totally legal anyway. I mean, I’m a fucking criminal wanted in all states.”
And now they look spooked.
“Um…” The girl raises one finger. She looks as if she regrets already the whole coming up to others for help, and now just wants to go back home and live a life of a normal teenager. “Well, I don’t want to pray, but the woman I was in contact with, she said she could… teleport us?”
“She said what?” I say, almost shut. A few people at the neighboring tables look around at us. “Girl, I do teleport, but that’s one person line. I don’t take passengers.”
“But she said—“
“Well, we’ve known each other for a month now. We’ve never talked about my powers, so whatever she deduced, it was on her own, without my help, and probably wrong.”
The man sighs and drinks his beer. That reminds me of the glass in my hand. I drink too.
“So, what are your problems here anyway?”
The girl looks surprised.
“What?”
“Well, you don’t look much in distress to me,” I say and put the glass on the table. I look around to see if anyone’s observing us, but people returned to their business now. And I sit rather hidden in an alcove. “Even if you can phase,” I say and to the horror of the two and run my hand through the table and back again. “Or whatever your powers are, here you seem as anonymous as I am. Nobody’s watching you, searching for you or hunting you. You are not in danger at the moment.”
“How can you say that?” the man asks, for the first time breaking the silence. His otherwise pale cheeks are now red. “You don’t know nothing about us. You don’t know our story.”
“No, but I can tell you’re not in danger.”
I get up and go to the bar for another beer. This conversation is not leading us anywhere. Xochi said that I’d be helping other supers escape humans, but the two don’t look in any way endangered. That’s weird.
And just to prove me wrong, apparently, a sting of danger kicks me in the guts. As I wait for the barman to pour three glasses for me, I watch four men coming down the stairs from street level. They stop at the entrance, look around, say something to each other and then split. I take the beers and go back to the twins.
“So, you guys wanna tell me in what kind of troubles are you anyway?”
“Probably the same as anyone,” the man says, without much gratitude for the beer. He doesn’t even reach for it. “Secret service.”
“Ho! So Czech has secret service?”
He gives me the look as if I’ve just insulted his mother.
“Hey, what I’m saying is that super spy movies take place only in ‘Murica.”
He sighs again and reaches for the beer with anger, nearly spilling it.
“So it’s secret service that is after you? How close they can be? How many? Do they know you guys are here?”
“A minute ago you knew our story better than us,” he says.
“Watch it, friend, because right now I’m more inclined to smash your head in, rather than save your ass.”
“Well, we don’t need your help that much,” he says, louder, putting the glass on the table so hard it finally spills. His sister grabs him by the arm, trying to calm him down, but the pushes her away. “We don’t need your mercy, oh high and mighty.”
“Oh, cool then,” I say and sit back. I’ve already made myself bullet proof and I activated strength and ground standing. I observe the four men with my danger sense as they patrol the bar. The clientele apparently senses that something’s going on, because many people started leaving. The twins look at that with some surprise. The uncertainty that crawls on the man’s face is priceless. “Just one last word of advice – if you can phase-dodge bullet, be ready.”
The man curses and jumps off his seat, pulling his poor, confused sister in his wake. They make a run for the entrance, but at the same moment one of the four men emerges from a corridor and steps in their way. He raises his gun at them, they phase and dash to the left. The agent shoots and the bullet ricochets at the wall above my head. I finish my beer and stand up.
Remembering my last fight with the goons sent after Agent, I make sure to stay bulletproof. And strong. I dash at the man with the gun, duck and throw an uppercut at him. He lands on his back and doesn’t move anymore. I jump over him and go to the main hall. My twins are nowhere to be seen, but there’s another agent there, waving his gun at people who remained in the bar, and now are all crawling on the floor. I run to him, grab by the hand and hit his forearm. I break his arm and knock out the gun out of his hand by that. He yells and drops to his knees, so I kick him in the face. He’s down too. I hear a gunshot and feel something hitting me in the back. Then another shot. Man, I really need to work on my awareness…
The man shooting at me is hidden behind a column. When he looks out to shoot again, I pull the gun out of his hand and throw it away. He looks across the hall at me, confused. Apparently he’s never seen telekinesis in action before. I use the moment of consternation and knock him down, too. One left.
I hear more gunshots, but this time from upstairs. I jump through people still hiding under the tables and run out on the street. People there duck under the buildings, looking wildly in every direction, trying to figure out where the danger is. It takes me much less than them to find the agent. He’s at the end of the street, right before the square, and he raises the gun to give more shots. I tele-push him, then run to him. He gets up and tries to shoot me, but I wrench the gun, crush it, and then throw it away. I grab him by the head and smash his face on the knee. Then I look around.
Tourists, townsfolk, local city guards – they all stare at me. Some of them even make movies with their phones. Peachy. I look around but I can’t find the twins. And I didn’t ask them for the names, so I can’t call them.
A car stops behind me and there are steps, then someone shouts at me to surrender. Probably. Kapitulace is more the word they use. Sounds like they want me to give up after I solo-handled those secret agents.
I turn to face the police cars. I can see that they shiver when I look at them. Right now I want to show off, to do something flashy that would cast fear in their hearts. But I didn’t come here to play. I need to find the two damsels, and then take them back to the manor, as I promised.
There are some gunshots when I fly up, but none of them even scratch me. I’m not sure whether they are such lousy shooters or maybe they don’t want to actually shoot me. I fly to the town hall and land on the roof. I look around the square, at the people who get up from pavements and who turn their head to see me. And then I notice the two blondes. I fly to them. They step away when I land, and observe me closely.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I say and look back. The police cars are heading our way. “We need to leave. Now.”
“How can you have so many powers?” the man asks. There’s something like awe in his voice. Interesting.
“Later,” I say and take them by the arms. “You only phase, I take it?”
“Yeah…”
“Then let’s phase,” I say and do just that. They follow me. I can feel their uneasiness as I lead them, but they cannot pull away from me. I lead them downwards – through the street, to the sewers. I think for a moment to stay there, but they I notice a cellar a few dozen meters away from where we are. I pull the two behind me and we phase through ground and stone. I think they try to cover their faces with the free hands.
We emerge in a dark cellar. They gasp for air. I create a small ball of light, which confuses them even more.
“I guess you’ve never really thought about phasing through ground?” I ask.
They both shake their heads and look away from me. They’re pale and sweaty. I don’t think they even can phase through ground. It was too much stress to them.
“Anyway, we need to get back to Xochi. The place is in Texas, you know that? I cannot teleport with you there, though. As I said, I don’t take passengers. We’re gonna go back by plane.”
“How?” the man gasped. His gaze is crazy. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken them through the ground after all.
“Leave that to me.”

With a glass of champagne and a pack of salty nuts I can finally relax. I look through the window and observe the clouds floating below us. I can even ignore the whiz of engines. I can’t ignore the two blonds to my left, though.
“I can’t believe that happened…” the girl whispers and looks back in her seat.
“What’s your name again?” I ask her. She stares at me for a moment.
“I didn’t give you my name.”
“Yeah, that’s why I can’t remember it. So what is it?”
“It’s Dana.”
“And his?”
“David.”
“Ha,” I say and turn to the window again. “It won’t stand so much out in the U.S.”
You may be wondering how we got on the plane. One word: manipulation.
I don’t use it too often, because it requires tons of energy from me. I already feel sleepy. The empty glass hangs from my hand, so I put it away. But apart from that, all I needed to do was find the right flight, find the people who were supposed to be onboard of this flight, lock them in the bathroom, go to the clearance as them, and voila! Manipulation took care of everything else. We didn’t even need to give the names.
Agent took me once to have some ice cream on a hot, summer day. It was not long after he contacted me. Some part of his plan to befriend me, I guess. Not a bad plan too, but anyway. We sat down in a park, looking at bright lake spreading before us, glittering in sun. He asked me what I can do. Just a casual question, out of genuine curiosity. No interrogation. A question. I told him that I could do anything. He asked me what I meant by that. I said that it depended only on me. He accepted that answer. He’s never asked me that question again. I’m fairly sure that he didn’t file it in, too.
“Hey, wake up. Wake up,” I hear and feel something tugging on my sleeve. I open one eye and look at Dana, who leans over me. “Are you ok?”
“I’m dead tired,” I say and try to turn to the other side. It’s damn uncomfortable here. “Let me sleep.”
“You want to unfold the bed?”
I think for a moment. Ah, yes, we’re in business class.
I accept assistance from a stewardess who came to my help when she noticed that I have problems with the damn bed. Finally, I can lay down. I’m so tired I could sleep for a month. So tired, as if I’ve just stopped a mudslide.
“You kids behave yourselves,” I say to the twins. “The spell shouldn’t wear off when I’m asleep, but I can’t guarantee that.”
The next moment I’m asleep.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:40

7.
Is it just me, or are there more of them than anyone would think?
I mean my damsels. The superpowered. I was supposed to be the only one, yet right now there’s seven of us, including me. Xochi, who still claims that her only power is levitation and immateriality, and Cad, whose powers I still cannot figure out. Then Dave and Dana, both phasers. Then two kids from Texas and Nevada – a superstrong woman called Lilly, and Chan, who is a telekinetic.
And they’ve always been telling me I was the only one.
“And you’re surprised I’m freaking out? Of course I’m freaking out! I grew up thinking I was all kinds of special, thinking that there was no likes of me. I grew up feeling both alienated and proud of myself. And now?” I wave my hand at the manor which is lit with lights in every room on the first floor. “What the fuck is that?”
“I thought you’d be happy,” Agent says. “Finally, you have some friends.”
“Friends? No, no friends. They,” I say, pause, point at the house. Wave my hand, because I’m not sure what I’m trying to point at in particular. “They are not my friends, ok? If I have any friends here, it’s just you. Not even.”
“Thank you.”
I nod at him and walk away a few steps. The evening is still warm, but there’s a cold wind coming from the prairies. Funny. I always thought it’s deadly hot out there.
“They want me to go to Mexico,” I say. I sit next to him and we observe the sun lowering below the horizon. “Say there’s a guy shooting lasers from his eyes.”
“Can you do that too?”
“Nah,” I say. I’ve never used that, because it’s s impractical. For a moment, when you’re shooting the laser, you’re going completely blind, and there’s this throbbing pain in your head, as if something was trying to get out of your skull through your eye sockets. I hate it.
“You’re going there?”
“I don’t know. It’s a pain in the ass getting them through the borders. With Dave and Dana I had to fool a whole bunch of people, along with the passengers. Like, fifty people at least. You think this shit just does itself?”
“And how did you do that?”
I turn to him slowly, but he’s not thrilled by my humor. He doesn’t react even when I stare at him, without a blink, for a whole minute. After which my eyes are all sore.
“By getting in their heads and telling them everything’s fine. How else?” I say, rubbing the eyes. Serves me right, I guess.
Agent looks as if he’s mulling the thought about me getting in heads of ordinary people.
“And how do you do that?”
“Why, aren’t you particularly curious today?”
He falls silent. I cannot tell whether he’s mad at me, or my reply didn’t bother him at all. So hard to tell with a Man in Black.
Out of suit, actually.
“So you’re gonna go to Mexico?”
“You think I should?”
“I think you should. You started it. You joined them.”
“It doesn’t mean anything.”
Now he turns a bit to look at me, and that’s a strange look. Judging. Checking whether I’m serious. That’s a new one in him.
“Finish what you started,” he says and stands up. He goes to the house. I’m left under the trees alone. I watch the sun disappear below the horizon.
I really don’t remember promising them anything.

A few days later I’m in Mexico, the city of Mexico, to be precise, and I’m running through the streets with a bunch of armed gangsters at my back. They shoot at me and things around me explode at random – windows, pieces of walls, flower pots. It’s only a miracle that no one got hurt so far. I look at the idiot who caused all this – a teenage Mexican boy who is said to shoot lasers from his eyes, but apparently he likes it just the same as I like it, because he did it only once, and at the mafia boys no less. That’s why we’re on a run, in brief.
We pass a few low bungalows, then I push the boy right, we run to the end of the street and turn right, then jump over a dog that yelps in fear, ten I push the boy to the right again and we get in a small alley between rows of buildings. I look back only for a second. I hear gunshots and a desperate whine from the dog. I push the boy out of the alley and we find ourselves on a wider street. He stops to catch his breath.
He whizzes, saying something to me. He doesn’t know English, and I don’t fucking speak their stupid Mexican.
“Yeah, it’s your fucking fault for getting them at us,” I say, smack him on the head and pull behind me. People on the street stare at us unintelligently, but when they hear more gunshots, they hide in their houses. I rush the boy between the small buildings. We jump over a low fence and continue the run. “And how the fuck am I supposed to get you out of here? Huh, genius? You’ve got an idea?”
The boy glares at me and wipes his nose with the back of his hand. He runs zigzagging from wall to wall. I don’t think he’ll be able to run for much longer.
Xochi told me that if I could get two people out of the Czech Republic, it should be a piece of cake to get a boy out of Mexico. Just across the border. We could fly over it. Yes, yes we could – right before he decided that the best way to say goodbye to his old home is to shoot lasers at his oppressors!
I get hit with a bullet between the shoulder blades. I’m not even surprised. I shout to the boy to get down, but I don’t look if he listens to me or not – I turn back, pick up a stone and throw it at the gunman. He gets hit between his eyes and falls down. His comrades jump back and hide behind the walls. I observe the guy on the ground. As he’s lying there, without a move.
“Oh Jesus…”
I turn back, grab the boy by the hand and pull him behind me, even though he barely keeps up.
I didn’t kill the guy. I didn’t.
A car stops with a screech of tires and hits me in the legs. The driver shouts something at me, but when he sees I’m just standing there with a boy he gets out and shouts even more, gesturing like mad. He sees the bent-in bumper, he gets to the top of gesticulation and shouts. The boy shouts back, and I’m getting a headache from all this Mexican shit. I shove the driver aside, push the boy in the car and get in behind him. The keys are in the ignition. The driver jumps to the car and tries to open the doors, but I tele-push him and drive away.
The few people on the street run away from the car as I try to drive straight. I’ve never got around getting the driver’s license, though I do know how to start the engine. The boy says something, and I think he curses by driving skills, or maybe not, yet still, just in case, I smack him on the head. He falls silent and fastens the seatbelts. Good boy. I’m the one armored here, remember?
We leave the mafia behind us, but the traffic is getting heavier here, and soon I run into another car, and yet another furious driver tries to get me out of the car, and I begin to feel that this all was so not worth it.
But is it worth teleporting back with the kid? No.
I let the angry driver get me out of the car and I patently stand there while he gets his fury on me. When he’s done, I go to his car, check whether it’s empty – it is – I lift it and smash it on the ground. Then I go back to my car, get in, calmly start the engine and drive off, scratching a few more vehicles on the way. I don’t even look in the rear-view mirror to admire the impression I made.
Oh, the boy has finally shut up. I wonder why.

We get out of the town not without some problems. As I mentioned, I cannot drive or I cannot drive too well, so we changed the vehicle four times before we got to the suburbs. I can hear police sirens whining somewhere behind us. It sounds as if they don’t know too well where we are, but that’s just a matter of time. It reminds me of that game where you run around a city and kill people for fun, and finally they hunt you with a tank. Or was it that you could steal the tank, and they just had the helicopter?
I look in the car. The boy sits there, wrapped in the seatbelts, grasping tightly at the seat, staring ahead. There’s a brass whistle on a string around his neck. It reflects the sun and the sun stings me in the eyes.
“Stop it, you little poser. It wasn’t that bad.”
But he ostentatiously ignores me and continues to do whatever he’s doing.
I go to the side and take out the phone. This cannot wait.
“You bitch,” I hiss in the phone when Xochicoyotl answers. “You’ve never told me this kid doesn’t know English, and neither that he’s been hunted by the mafia!”
There’s a long silence in the phone. And then Xochi speaks again.
“Does it matter?”
I swear, I want to choke her right now.
“Yes! It does fucking matter, as a matter of fact!”
“Sorry—“
“Don’t you fucking sorry me!” I shout. I know this trick already. “That’s not a thing you can be sorry about. But be prepared. When I get back with the kid, I’m going—“
But I never tell her what I’m going to do. An RPG targeted at the car explodes and I get hit by the car, and there’s flames everywhere, and my ears ring, and I cannot find the phone.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:43

8.
If I were an eight-year-old, I’d say I’m grounded and forbidden to leave my room. But I’m a grown-up teleporter, and I say I locked myself in the room and mope. I hear them shuffling their feet in front of my door, but no one dares to so much as knock.
Except for one person.
Lilly thinks she’s strong enough to stay in my room.
“Hi, um, we were wondering—“
She’s not.
I tele-push her out of the room and close the door. I hear her cursing behind the door, knocking at them, trying to get in again, but I tele-keep them closed.
Side-note – we don’t have the vocabulary for telekinesis. I tele-do something all the time. But fuck! How else can I put it? I keep the door closed with my mind? I am aware of the piece of wood that separates me from the rest of the house and I want it closed, so it is closed?
So yeah, I fucking tele-keep it closed.
“Mae, open the door!”
That’s Agent drumming with his fist. Or fists. Hard to tell. I stare at the door. I sit on the window sill, with my back against the dark glass. Darkness behind it. It’s not dark in the room – I keep the bedside lamp on. I hear the lock in the window open and I feel the window sliding up. That’s Chan, trying to get to me from downstairs, through the window. I wonder what they think…
I’m childish. Always was. I’ve never cared to really grow up and behave like a grown-up woman. It’s so much easier to throw a tantrum.
I throw a fire ball through the open window. I don’t aim at Chan. God forbid. If I were, he’d burn to death. Yet still he shrieks and jumps away, and shouts something, and then more curses come, addressed to me.
I want them all to disappear.
I just want them all to leave me alone…
I jump.
The midday sun shines right in my eyes. I lift one hand to cover them. The fresh green of the fields. Water I stand in. I go through the mud to the nearest path. When I get there, I go down the familiar hill, then turn on a side road and go along the hill. There are still traces of the mudslide, but most of it was removed. I find a mud-covered boulder and it on it. I watch the village down in the valley. I see the small huts, the small people going about their business. The small oxen pulling the small carts. I know they are there. If I focus enough, I can tell where Jia is, and where Jun and Quiang are. I watch them from afar, but I don’t dare to come to them, even though I know they’d welcome me with open arms.
Do I now?
Do I really know that they’d welcome me?
How do I know?
I hope.
Maybe that’s already too much, but still I hope.
The sun slowly rolls down behind the far hills. I watch it shrink, then disappear.
I sigh and look at my hands. I still clench the whistle in one fist. It’s deformed, more like a crumpled piece of brass. I open the fist slowly and let the whistle fall to the ground. Without much hurry I burry it in the wet ground next to the boulder. I look at the village once more.
Then I jump.

A teleporter porting without a warning in a room full of people is fun. If I knew earlier that it causes such a commotion, I’d never restrain myself.
They shriek, and jump off, and raise fists, and fall over the sofa. All of them except for Agent, whose reflexes are good for a man, but not good for a super. He looks at the others in confusion, then sees me, shivers a bit, and then he’s all composed. I actually don’t know who’s superhero here – the bunch that got scared shitless by my appearance, or this guy who doesn’t give a fuck, because secretly he was expecting it.
“You were expecting me like that, right?” I ask him and he nods. Agent. Try to not love him, I dare you. I look at the others, who come out of their hidings. “Fuckers…”
And then they all start their ranting that I shouldn’t just disappear, then the part about Mexico that I ignore, then that I shouldn’t fight them, then again something that I ignore, and I begin to remember again why I left a few hours ago.
Two phasers, telekinetic, pure strength and two people I cannot figure out.
Xochi floats closer, as if reluctantly. I noticed that she floats just as if she would walk. She’s not very expressive but to a trained eye she’s not such an enigma as she’d like to appear.
“Are you better?”
Can you see what she’s doing?
“Because that was not your fault.”
“Nobody says it was,” I say and go to the armchair at the fireplace. There’s fire burning, even though it’s rather warm outside. Inside it’s rather hot. But I don’t mind, because I do feel rather cold. They settle behind me. Not relaxed, though. I can feel the tension. Agent sits in the other armchair and observes me openly. He even shifted his chair to see me. Cad stands somewhere behind me. Xochicoyotl floats to the side, behind Agent’s armchair. Dave and Dana sit at the edge of the sofa. Lilly and Chan – on the chairs at the table. It’s the same room where I found Agent’s family in the first place.
I tell him that and he nods.
And then he says I should have been more careful with the Mexican boy.
That despite what Xochi says, that was my fault. My mistake, he calls it. Omission.
Xochi floats and says that this is not true and tells Agent to shut up, but he insists that if I decided to play the superhero for the super-oppressed, I should take the responsibility for my actions.
Dave and Dana try to cut in, and say that I’ve done terrific with extracting them.
Lilly says that she owes me her life.
Chan is not mad about the fireballs from earlier, because I got him out from a tight spot when he got locked in prison.
“You should have known they were coming,” Agent says. “You have the danger sense. You said that yourself. That you know when danger is approaching.”
Then again something from the rest that I don’t care about.
“Say that again.”
“You have his blood on your hands.”
I get up and come to him, and place my hands on the armrests. He just sits there, looking me in the eye like he always did. Challenging me. His whole posture tells me that I was a bad girl and that I should be punished for what I have or worse – have not done.
I can hear everyone’s heartbeat.
The house is dark except for this room.
The grove of willow in the middle of the prairie should be more eye-catching, don’t you think?
I am aware of Lilly flexing her muscles, Chen weighting a few metal balls in his hand, I’m aware of Dave and Dana ready to rush at me and pin me down. I’m aware of Xochi giving directions to Cad and Cad giving directions to Agent.
“You couldn’t help people, and you couldn’t help supers. What are you here for then?”
I sit on Agent’s laps and wrap my hands around his neck.
Now I am aware of their confusion. They are all confused, all of them.
I lean to Agent, press his face to my neck, I press the cheek to his head.
Now you see me, now you don’t.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:44

9.
Why? Why?!
WHY?
Because I’m not as stupid as you might think I am.
Although I do admit – I haven’t thought much about the place I was porting in. I was more focused on the mere process than the outcome.
We’re both fine.
I’m just sleepy.
“Wake up!”
A slap in my face.
I throw a fist upwards blindly, hoping to hit something. And so I must have done. I hear a muffled curse and then something slaps me again, this one harder. No, it’s not a slap. I get hit with a fist in the face.
“What the FUUUUCK?!”
As you can imagine, it’s Agent. Hitting me in the face, because he cannot think of a better way to bring me round.
I get up and in the process hit him in the face with the forehead. I rub the soaring place and not without some satisfaction watch him clench his nose.
He stands up and goes away, and walks left and right, keeping his distance from me.
I have sand in the teeth.
And sand around me.
And in places.
And there’s sand in the air, but this may be just Agent walking in fury.
“Sit down.”
He sits down, back to me, a few feet away.
I wonder if he’s aware of the events of the last few weeks.
“Do you know what happened?”
He says something about the past events, but also something about cotton wool, Venetian mirrors, and out-of-body experience.
Manipulation. I know because I do it. Though it was kinda lousily done if he remembers that much.
I watch his naked torso – his shirt is off and wrapped around his head. His shoulders and back are already red from sun. I can feel my face burning, too. It’s well past noon. I wonder how long we’ve been here. I see a handgun laying on the ground, not far away. Fired out. When I look up at Agent, I see he’s watching me too. He glances at the gun and then looks away again.
“I think I tried to shoot you,” he says.
Not bad a manipulation if he still tried something like that after getting out of range of the manipulator then. Good thing I kept my armor up.
There are seven holes in my blouse, where my heart is.
I want to be mad about this, but I cannot. Not his fault, nothing happened. I can’t throw a tantrum at such shaky reasons.
“Let’s get out of the sun.”
From prairies to savannah. My geography teacher would be proud of me that I can recognize those. My English teacher – that I can write them both.
We go towards the nearest trees. Two big giraffes and a small one observe us, chewing something methodically. I don’t remember if they can be dangerous or not. We sit under one of the trees, away from the animals. We don’t talk, because there’s not much to talk right now. Besides, the world keeps dancing around me. It wasn’t far to walk, yet still Agent had to support me.
The sun slowly rolls down the sky. The giraffes walked away, pursuing their own business. It’s getting cooler, but not cold. There are other animals that come and go, watching us from afar, sniffing at the air, as if to check whether we’re a delicacy waiting for them, or a danger. Also waiting. They all pass us by, though. Not even lions come closer. It was fun to see a pride of lions from this close. Agent got a bit nervous, but I would just raise us both in the air, if needed. I told him that.
When the first stars light up in the sky, Agent stands up and puts his shirt back on.
“So what do we do now?”
I tell him I could port us back to the States, but not within the next 24 hours. I’m not sure though about the 24-hours period – I just tell him that because I don’t want to go back to the States. I don’t want to face what’s waiting there.
And I have a pretty good idea what’s waiting there. I do.
He says we should look for water. He holds his hand and helps me up.

Where there’s water, there are people.
It’s dark, though the stars seem brighter here than in the U.S. Agent walks carefully, and I warn him of any pitfalls or grabby bushes, or fallen trunks. We can hear hyenas laughing in the high grass. From time to time a lion or some other cat roars. Also, now and then Agent slaps himself, trying to kill a mosquito which apparently took a liking to him. The usual sounds of an African night.
The village is hidden pretty good, so it takes me a moment to realize what I’m looking at. At first I think it’s a bunch of strange bushes, but no, obviously not. There’s a campfire to the right and some voices come from there. I motion Agent to keep behind me, and we go to the light.
Squatting around a small fireplace there are five men which seem like a fragment of the darkness itself. They don’t have much on themselves, save for loincloths. I already feel like in one of those Discovery Channel shows.
They grab for spears and shout at us, and shake the spears (Shakespeare, haha, so funny). A few more people come out of the huts, and stand behind them, mostly older men and young men, all of them ready to attack us. They talk funny.
“No one talks English anymore,” I say. “What happened to Star Trek and every human being in the universe speaking English?”
They’ve surrounded us, but that’s ok. I agreed to that. One of the men, with a straw crown on the head and a purple blanket on his shoulders, steps in the circle and talks more funny words.
“Give me a day and I’ll be speaking that,” I say to Agent.
“We might not have a day.”
“You’ve ever seen X-Men? I mean, Storm’s origins? More or less?”
He gives me the look a father would if a child started talking about some comic shit.
“For the first time I wish I had some other powers, that’s all I’m saying.”
But the people around us fell silent when we started talking. Now they’re just watching us. I guess they’ve seen Americans before. Maybe Discovery did a show here some other time. But they’re not lowering the spears. Yet still not attacking us.
“Why are you saying this?”
“Because I thought I’d need to overpower them or something. Ororo became a rain goddess of some kind to a tribe of poor blokes like those, but I keep on forgetting that we live in a global village and a pair of whites in the black country isn’t startling anymore. Just unusual.”
The crowned man glances back at his comrades.
“I mean, I wouldn’t be fighting them. I’d just show them something for which they’d bring me a jar of water. Or something.”
The chief talks again, and we shut up. He talks a lot, and gestures a lot, and shows at his people, then at the darkness behind the huts, then he shakes his spear at us, and then waves some more.
“He wants us to leave,” Agent says.
“Maybe I’ll get to be flashy after all,” I say, step up to the chief with both my hands raised and a big smile on my face.
“You sure they won’t stab you in surprise?”
“I haven’t thought of that.”
“I can tell.”
The chief steps back from me and shouts something to the others, and they all get their funny spears and point at me.
“Ok, fine, fine,” I say, backing again, with both hands still raised. “Ok, no flashy things, no bursting into flames, no… explosions, or whatever. We just wanted some water, ok? We came all the way here from the U.S., within a second, no less, and then we spent the whole day out in the sun. It kinda gets in your head. And this guy here,” I say and point at Agent, “he’d been brainwashed for the past two months, and that rather intensifies dehydration.”
Too many English words. The chief loses it and with a battle cry thrust the spear at me.
I catch it with ease.
“You can’t say I wasn’t trying,” I say to Agent. He already stands back to me, facing the people behind us. “Flashy then.”
I do the trick with light coming out of me. The same that I do when I get really angry and which I cannot control at those times. The most flashy and the most useless of all my powers – a colorful aura. The only use I found for it is intimidation, but not even the mental kind – it’s not forcing others to listen to you. It’s hoping that bursting with light will scare anyone.
Works fine with superstitious African tribes apparently.
They jump back and sigh, and drop their weapons and fall to the knees, then on the ground. They murmur something incomprehensible. I glance at Agent, who scrutinizes me from head to toe.
“What are you, the equality flag?”
“Oh, Agent, you sonova…”
But the chief interrupts me. He yells something, and the others say it after him, and then he yells some more, and they repeat it, and boy, am I thirsty right now.
“Let’s find water,” I say to Agent.
“After you, Rainbow Dash.”
I swear, there will come a day…

It takes me less than twenty four hours to learn that language, which only proves my theory that my multi-language skill is more of a mental skill, like manipulation, than my real language proficiency. When I feel comfortable enough in using the language, I tell the chief that we are grateful for their hospitality, but we’re not gods and we don’t need the best hut in the village, lots of jugs full of water, all the food they found in the village, those two young girls sitting there under the wall god knows what for, and neither do we need those stone beads, incense, snakes in a bowl (again – why?!) or this satphone.
“No, wait, actually we might need that,” I say and take the phone from the chief. I try to turn it on, and to my surprise it works. “I’ll keep that.”
He smiles and nods violently. I give the phone to Agent and we leave the chief’s hut, which he generously gave up to us.
It’s already bright outside.
“I wish they had a pair of sunglasses. Yo, man in black, you always had sunglasses with you.”
“I lost them,” he says and stands next to me. The chief says something about all the goods they still can share with us if what they have already presented is not to our liking.
“Why’d they have a satellite phone anyway?”
“You said it yourself – a global village,” he says, turning the phone in his hands.
People gathered around the hut. They’re staring at us, with a mixture of awe and fear. That must have been the look on the Indians’ faces when whites first landed on their lands. Landed on lands. Good one, Mae. Good one…
I turn to the chief and thank him once again for their kindness. Then I grab Agent by the arm and lead him out of the village. The women give us bottles of water and fruits in cloths, and some other small packages. I take some of them, thank them for others. It takes a while before they stop following us.
Agent walks strangely stiff, with the small gifts in his arms. He’s even got a smaller version of the chief’s crown, for “the goddess’s consort”, as the chief said, and what I translated for him as “this big white man”. He said that’s racist and that I lie to him, to which I shrugged. Because what? Was I really supposed to tell him that they all took him for my lover and they thought we were having fun when they left us alone in that hut? Hell no.
“Better call whomever you planned to call before the sun gets too high,” I tell him. He barely glances at me.
“That went too well,” he says. “Did you manipulate them too?”
“Nope. That’s just the reaction you’d get from people like them when they need to face a being that is not quite like themselves.”
He doesn’t comment on that, because he knows that the only reaction I’d get from my fellow Americans are flashes of cameras when they try to take a photo of me fooling around.
We find a place to hide from the sun under some trees again. Agent takes the phone and calls someone, and I just lie down and observe the area for wild cats, and try to chill out in case I’m gonna need to emergency port us back to the States after all. But then I hear Agent agreeing to something, and confirming something, and I can be sure that he’s used his contacts to get us out of here.
Now all I need to worry about is lions.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Rejestracja: 22 lipca 2015, 12:02
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:47

10.
I’ve noticed that life loves proving me wrong. Just as if due to the mere fact that I have powers was enough a reason to put me in more and more trouble, because I will be able to handle it. They also say that problems in one’s life are cut to their abilities. I must have one hell of abilities, alright. I’ve seen even a better version of this saying – that if problems get bigger than you can handle, it means you leveled up.
This had better be one fucking level up.
One minute I need to worry about lions, and next – about a team of special agents, all men in black, just like Agent used to. Hell, why am I not even surprised?
I let them handcuff me (as if that would help them), lead me to the plane, take me back to the States. Agent talked with them the whole way back, and they were trying to be real quiet, but I’m super in everything. Woops, guys, I can hear you over the roar of the engines. I’m not even trying!
Agent tells them everything that happened since we disappeared from under the hotel. He tells them about the manor, about the supers, about the manipulation and how I got mad and took him to Africa with me.
Did I mention that he’s handcuffed too?
I must say that he also figured out what I figured out back in the manor. He tells the agents that the supers may have something else on mind than just getting their likes out of human hands. He tells them that they may be planning on fighting humans for lands. True, there’s not many of them, but if they cooperate, there may be some problem to humans to fight them back. Alone they are weak; together they are power.
But no matter how careful I listen to them, Agent doesn’t mention one thing that is the most important here. I wonder, he hides it on purpose or maybe he really missed that? Well, if one does not know the mechanics of powers, this little detail is not so obvious.
We land in some super-secret base a few hours later, they lead us to super-protected prison built specially for me, I guess, they lock us in separate cells. I look at the handcuffs, then at the walls. Cold, bleak concrete, grey, metal bars. The sterile-steel bench I sit on. Where’s the catch? My cell is just opposite Agent’s. I can see him sitting there, handcuffed just like me, looking at the walls and the bars. If they have anything against me, I say it must be something psychological. Maybe now Agent will be trying to talk me into cooperating with them? Are they stupid or something? His one word and I go there and kick those idiots’ asses for messing with me.
“So, Agent, what do you have for me?” I say. He looks up and then looks away again. “C’mon, don’t be like that. Your colleagues must have something. I don’t know, a magical powder that stops my powers. A gag of some kind. Maybe they found a way to kill me and they will threaten to do so? Or maybe they want to blackmail me with your death? You killed those two guys, remember? You’re disposable to them, I imagine.”
“Can you take off those handcuffs?” he asks, raising both hands.
“Which ones? Yours or mine?”
“Both.”
I’m not sure where he’s getting with that. I shrug, say that yeah, I can do both, and do neither, because I’m curious what’s his agenda. In the plane he sounded all certain that they will forgive him his sins and take him in again, for the price of my head. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
“Can you take them off?” he asks again, shaking his hands.
I sigh and tele-reach to his handcuffs. Or I try, but nothing happens. For a moment I just sit there, contemplating this sudden change of situation, but then it just dawns on me with the weight of an African elephant.
I look down at my cuffs. I try to phase them, them rip them, then tele-shred them. Nope. Nothing. I lean forwards and indulge myself in a minute of panic. Shit. Of course they must have found a way to stop my powers. And this asshole knew that, and called them, and let them do something to me…
I sit straight and look in Agent’s cold eyes.
“So you can’t do anything,” he says. I shake my head, and he sighs heavily, and leans forward, just as I did a moment ago, and places his head on both hands.
“You son of a bitch…”
“For all that it’s worth, I didn’t realize they were doing it until now.”
“Fuck you.”
“I’m serious.”
“Me too.”
I lie down on the bench and try to concentrate. But Agent just won’t shut up. He says that they were working on this method, but has never told him. They didn’t trust him, as he guesses. He was too close to me. He doesn’t know what this method is about, but he felt it could be a success, so he was glad when I decided to run away. This part I don’t believe, actually, but I don’t interrupt him. He says that he called them back in Africa, because he wanted to offer my help in getting rid of Xochi and the rest. Because he also realizes that they will cause troubles.
He goes on and on, and on… I don’t remember him being so talkative before.
Then he mentions Xochi and her farseeing. Oh, right, I think. It’s the far sight part. I was wondering why she could give me such detailed information about other supers, yet I’ve never seen her communicating with them in any traditional way.
I could stop a mudslide with telekinesis.
Can I figure out my kryptonite with far sight?
Can I do far sight with powers out?

They come for us two hours later. I check the watch, then let them lead me out. All cool. I’m not showing them how being normal-human vulnerable freaks me out. They lead us both through concrete corridors, dimly lit. They all have sunglasses on. I wonder if they can see anything like that.
They shove us in a room and lock the door. The room is empty, save for a table and two chairs. White walls with a mirror, just to make it completely cliché. I sit down and put my legs on the table. I’m not freaked out at all. Being non-bulletproof is something one can easily get used to. I can do it all day.
After another quarter another agent shows up, and Agent gives a sigh. I don’t know whether it was a sigh of relief or of irritation. That worries me, but still I don’t get my legs off the table top, even though the agent scrutinizes me for whole ten seconds before he gives up.
The new agent sits down and puts two files before him. My Agent sits down on the chair next to me. I see a flaw in my logic when I did not ask Agent for his name thinking it was too private.
“You helped to gather a group of terrorists,” the agent says. Maybe they just don’t have names? I’ll call him agent Smith.
He watches us for a moment, ready for any reaction, but neither of us will indulge him. He goes back to the files.
“They have already attacked in two cities…”
He says they attacked in shopping centers, in New York and in Washington, at the same time. There are victims. A few people killed, dozens with gunshot wounds. The more I listen, the more I see a regular American self-justice rather than superpowered taking over the world. I can’t keep the poker face. I glance at Agent and he’s looking at me too.
“And how do you connect that with us?” he asks.
Agent Smith pauses reading to glance at us. He takes photos out of the file and passes that to us.
“Recognize those?” he asks. “They are printouts from security cameras.”
“No,” I say and pass the photo to Agent. “I don’t recognize them.”
“Don’t lie.”
“Agent?” I turn to my Agent. “You recognize any of those punks?”
“No,” he says and returns the print-outs to agent Smith. “Those are not the people from the manor.”
Agent Smith takes the photo from Agent.
“You,” he says, pointing at Agent. “You mentioned that one of the supers could manipulate people. We think that’s what happened there.”
“Ok, I see where you’re going with this,” I say and take my legs off the table only to lean forward and look him in the eye. Stay cool, Mae. You’re doing great. “You want to blame Cad for manipulating those punks and thus blame us for unleashing a super-threat. I disagree. Cad cannot control two people in two separate cities, at the same time. He needs to stay in contact with his victims. I estimate his range for one mile. Before you suggest this, I also rule out Xochicoyotl, because her influence is also limited. So, in short – you’re trying to blame a regular shootout on us.”
“How can you be so sure about them?” the agent asks. I snort, fold my arms and sit back.
I’m not telling them anything about the rules of my powers. I don’t know all of them, that’s one. Two – they already have to know something if they stopped them. I won’t be getting jobs from any poor blokes who even right now may be biting their nails, staring at charts and tables, or whatever, trying to figure out if their little system works or if it does – and it does – for how long.
The second question is actually my question, and I’m trying my best to figure it out.
The agent collects his notes and photos, and puts them back in the file. He looks at us – and smiles.
“You do realize what kind of threat those individuals pose?”
“I do. Individually – none. Collectively – pretty much the same as I do, plus the attitude.”
“What does it mean?”
“She wouldn’t hurt people. They would,” Agent says. Smith turns to him.
“And you say that as her guardian?”
“Put it in the report if you must.”
Ah, the famous agency plays. Agent never told me about that, of course, but I’ve read enough books and watched enough movies to figure out that special agents have a special sense of humor. I’ll let them play the charade.
I try to make the files in front of the agent move. Just a little bit. I imagine it’s the feeling humans have when they try moving something with their willpower. You just stare at the object and wish it to move. I lack this additional, metaphorical hand I always had somewhere. Yet still I stare at the files, begging them to move. I feel stupid, like anyone would. It makes me furious. It makes me want to stand up and shove the files off the table, kick the table, overturn it. It makes me…
It makes me want to lose control.
They lead us back to the cells. I lie on the bench and stare at the lamps on the ceiling. Agent tries to talk to me, but I’m not listening, so he gives up. I listen to the low buzz of electricity running through circuits. I listen to the ring in my ear, the kind that appears when there’s complete silence. “Silence ringing,” isn’t it what they say in books in situations like that? I listen to all that and build up my composure. I am an oasis of peace. Fucking relaxed lotus flower on the surface of a lake.

They want me to find those people and stop them, and I agree without discussion. They glare at me, all three of them, all big agents, in expensive suits and sunglasses, and with bold heads and tightly-looking neckties. I guess they’d gladly throw me off this chopper, but the little pale guy behind their broad backs still didn’t give them the sign that he turned off his little device. When we got on the helicopter, Agent elbowed me in the ribs and gave a tiny nod at the box in the back of the cabin. I got just a quick look at it, but I understood that this is what they’re using to subdue me. I even know how it works. It took me the whole night to figure it out, to realize the pattern and the connection to my mental safety-lock, so to say. If you ask me, I say I used the same mental capacity I use to learn languages. Powers on or not.
One of the agents tries to shout over the roar of engines and tell us that they’re gonna drop us near the manor (yes, we told them the coordinates), and that we are supposed to rush in there and make everything quick. I ask them why would they send Agent with me, and they ask me to repeat that, so I shout louder, and they still want me to repeat that. I realize they’re mocking me. I look at Agent. He leans to me and says they don’t actually care what happens to him. I say that in this case I’d rather do this my way and he asks what way it is.
“It’s the path of the furious,” I say. The other agents try to keep up with our conversation, but I think I lost them at the beginning. But not Agent. I think he knows what I mean, because he turns back and checks the parachute that hangs above his head. The agents smile their stupid smiles and put their hands on the guns. The little geek behind them also smirks and pats his little box. “What did you call me last time?” I turn to Agent.
“Rainbow Dash,” he says. Yeah, he knows what I mean.
The little box that the little geek keeps emits a sound that is inaudible to others or me, and which stops my powers and doesn’t affect others. But it has a pattern. A pattern that mostly relies on my emotions, on my crazy attitude towards the world, on my wreaking havoc and throwing tantrum everywhere and over everything. And for the last twelve hours I was calm like after a horse dose of tranquilizers. So if I do something crazy now – whoosh!
“For the Queen!” I yell and throw myself at the agents. My Agent grabs the parachute and lunges to the door, opens them and stands on the skid. Agents grab me and pin me down.
I’m a fucking lotus on the lake.
“By the power of Grayskull!”
Whoosh.
I burst with red light and I feel the rage rising in me. I want to drop this chopper to the ground, I want to crush it. I throw the agents off my back, and I push them at the geek in the back. Poor little humans thought they could overpower me with a little music toy…
“C’mon!”
I turn to Agent, who stands there on the skid, with the parachute on his back. One hand on the handle, the other extended to me. I hear the music play, but it’s in dissonance.
I take his hand and we jump. The chopper gets smaller and smaller, and then it disappears. Then there’s the canopy extending over us, but it cannot handle two persons so Agent lets go of me and he too stays back, high above me, smaller and smaller. I look down, or up, the directions are all wrong, I fall head first. Shit, the ground is getting real close and real fast.
I do a flip and hover in midair. I float to the side to let Agent pass, then follow him. We’re already over some prairies and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were close to the manor. But even though we told them where the house is, I didn’t tell them one thing – that the supers are long gone.
We land on the ground and Agents tries to free himself from the belts. We look up at the chopper which circulates to get closer to us. I see them readying guns, but they are still out of the effective shot range.
“You think they put any tracking devices on us?” Agent says.
I raise my hand to him, and he glances at it, and then takes it in his. I phase, scanning for any alien objects. There is one on Agent. It drops to the ground. I phase back to normal. Agent is dazed, but otherwise he takes it rather well. And yes, apparently I can do that too.
“Now I see how you got rid of the devices I put on you,” he says and he means the ones I left in my old flat when I first set off on this journey.
They start to shoot at us. Agent kneels on the ground and kinda hides behind me. Smart one.
“You handled it well,” he says. “But you do have a plan, right?”
“When have I ever had a plan?”
“If you jump us randomly again, we lose another day for your recovery.”
“I know, I know…”
The chopper is close to the ground now. The agents lean out and shoot at us with whole series. Sand around us explode, and Agent covers his head with hands. I wish I had some kinda shield or something, but we need to rely solely on my bulletproof-ness. I cover my eyes, because I don’t like bullets in my eyes.
“You can fly the helicopter?” I ask. Agent gives me a funny look. No, I didn’t surprise him. It’s more like he’s saying oh, so that’s the one you chose. One of the options, you see. I could also blow them up and go all the way back to Arizona on foot.
I rush at the chopper, pull the blokes out of it, kick the geek out of it, push the pilots out of it – all that in five seconds. I jump out of the helicopter and disarm the agents. My Agent gets in the machine in the meantime. He starts the engine and flies up. One of the agents takes out a handgun and tries to stop us even now, but I fly up and get in the chopper. I sit next to Agent and put on the earphones, because the roar is deafening.
“So where to now?”
“I wish they just asked me to fight for them. Nicely. I was going to stand against Xochicoyotl anyway.”
“Arizona?”
“I can be nice. Really. It’s just that people immediately think that I’m a mean bitch and they don’t even try. But I can be real nice.”
“Hey, nice girl, focus. Where to?”
“I always wanted to visit Louisiana.”
“Louisiana it is then…”
He turns the steer and the chopper swoons to the side.
“But they really, really had to go to Arizona.”
Agent turns the chopper again. He doesn’t say anything, just clenches his teeth.
“Who would want to go to Arizona when—“
“If you make me turn this machine one more time, I’ll make you fly behind it.”
I snort and pat him on the arm.
“I’ll get some sleep. And check whether I’m right about Arizona. You wake me up if you’re tired. I can’t fly the chopper, but I’m pretty sure I can lift it.”
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:48

11.
I admit I haven’t realized there was a game that Xochicoyotl was playing. I really trusted that we’re getting supers out of the hands of humans. You know, having experienced it myself, I didn’t like the idea of other persons going through the same. Well, what can I say… Errarum humane est. Figure out where I learned that.
But when I got back in the manor, after what happened to the Mexican boy, after I had to go as far as China to find the peace of mind, everything immediately became clear. Agent’s weird behavior, the topics he’d tackle when we talked alone. Back in the manor he was more interested in my powers than he had ever been when still working for the agency. And the fact that I couldn’t figure out Cad’s or Xochi’s powers. I haven’t thought for a moment they could have my powers.
Individually they are not a threat, but collectively – they are like me.
I’m not sure how they came to being or even how I know I’m right. I just know. Maybe on the similar basis that a bird mother knows which chicks are hers. Something in the air, something in the voice. But that’s a futile discussion. I would have to start with the origins of my powers, and I’m well over that. I don’t care anymore.
We go to Arizona. I know they are in Tucson just the same way any human being would know that their husband is at work or mom went shopping. I remember acquiring the information, even though I cannot tell how I know it. It’s the far sight part, the same as Xochi was using to locate other supers. I’ve just never thought I could use it for that.
Agent pilots the chopper to the east borders of the city and lands it in the suburbs, watched by curious eyes of the locals. We get out and as if it was totally normal for us to park a chopper on a parking in some city, we just go towards the bus stop a few meters away, whistling and swinging the keys. We stand on the stop and wait for the bus that would take us to the city.
The bus comes before the locals can call the police, so we get in and ride on it, and think about the next step. Obviously, if there comes to a fight, it would better not be in a city, but if I can’t help that, what should I do to minimize the damage? Agent seems content that I asked about that.
“No, seriously, you thought I’d just go rampant and destroy a city in the process?”
“To be completely honest, based on what I’ve witnessed for the eight years I spent with you, yes, I’d totally say you’d do that.”
“Unbelievable…” I say. “And you said to that agent that I wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
“I didn’t use the exact words.”
“But that was the gist.”
“You did destroy a building.”
“That was under construction and empty when I did it. I made sure no one was in there. I flew around it a few times and scanned it.”
“You still destroyed it.”
I groan and look through the window at the city. Raised in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by desert, it has little to offer. Low buildings with just a few skyscrapers in the center, flat as a table. Looks like one big copy-pasta of itself. Even though we drive through various districts and we pass by a diversity of shops and houses, I still feel as if we haven’t gotten far from the chopper. Yet it takes us forty minutes to get to the center, which is quite enough for me to realize where the others are.
“Why would they even come here?” Agent asks when we get out of the bus and stand in front of a supermarket. Involuntarily I am reminded of the two shootouts that agent Smith was trying to blame on us.
And then I remember that I called him with the code name reserved for the head of the organization. Bravo me.
“I don’t know. I asked the same back in the helicopter.”
I think Agent thinks about the same as I think. I mean the shootouts. He looks around, watching passers-by.
“They’re not in there.”
He glances at me.
“What are we doing here then?”
“We got out of the bus,” I say and lead him across the street.
I want to leave him somewhere. And that’s what I’m going to do, but I haven’t told him yet, because he’d try to talk me out of it, and I don’t have time for arguing with him. I just need to leave him and have a headstart of five minutes, that’s all.
We go to a café. We sit at a table and order coffees. True, it’s close to where I expect to meet the others, and I’m fairly sure Agent will figure it out and try to rush in and help me, but I also plan to finish this farce within minutes, before he gets to me. Or to us.
I excuse myself and go to the toilet, and then phase to get outside. I’m on a parking lot, surrounded by three buildings in which there are the supermarket, a restaurant, and the café I came from. I go along the wall, enter the supermarket and go through it to the other exit. There are rows of houses on the other side of the street. And they are in one of them, waiting for me.
I stroll along the houses, listening to my feelings. People look strangely at me as they go by. And I wonder if Xochi found a firestarter. If my theory is correct, there should be a firestarter somewhere in this world. And a teleporter, too. Maybe she found both. Maybe she found neither. She didn’t have much time.
Plan, plan, I need a plan!
With every step I feel I’m getting closer. When I came back from the manor for the first time and was drinking coffee with Agent, I told him I don’t recognize them as supers. Well, I do now. Any time during a day, you don’t see your nose, but when you focus on it, remember that you have it – oh, there it is! That’s kinda like it for me.
Eventually, I stop in front of a house – a house like any other in this area – and know exactly that this is it. I wonder what awaits me. I still don’t have a plan other than minimizing the collateral damage, and that’s only a concept. This is gonna be so bad.
I take a deep breath and go towards the house.
Everything stops here. Everything starts here.
I knock.

It’s not going as expected.
I was going to come in there, have a nice chat with them, maybe figure out how to separate them so that I don’t have to fight them all at once. Apparently they never thought about negotiating with me. They needed me only to gather them from all the distant places, because they didn’t find the teleporter.
This must be it.
I duck behind a car, which a moment later is hit by another. And then another. That’s Chan. Then Lilly appears out of nowhere and hits me with a stop sign. I stagger out of my cover and get smashed with a bike directly. Then the twins – they phase out of the ground, grab me by the legs and phase me down and leave there. For a moment I choke on the sand before I turn on my own phasing.
God, all I can focus on right now is keeping my armor up.
My head hurts. That’s Xochicoyotl and Cad, trying to mess with me. I get out of the ground and try to get up, but then there’s another car thrown at me. I stay under it for a longer moment, trying to catch my breath. I haven’t thought of that. I said that individually they are weak, but when cooperating they can be like me. Wrong. They can surpass me. I can focus only on one or two things at a time. They have most of my powers, and they need to think about one power at a time, because that’s all they have. Stupid me. I should have known…
Chan lifts the car off me, then smashes it down again, and again, and again. Car parts fly around me, my ears are ringing. I crawl up, covering my head with arms.
I need to think about something. Fast.
What don’t they have?
A teleporter and a flier.
And a firestarer, and a Rainbow Dash.
But I can’t focus to do any of that shit! I keep on hearing Xochicoyotl telling me about the Mexican boy, about his family, and about his life. He was sixteen years old, an orphan, who was doing his best to raise his baby sister. He got mixed with the mafia, because they needed money, obviously, and the mafia wanted the girl, but the boy – Jose – promised them he’d be stealing for them. He was good at that too. Never told them about the lasers, but never had to. But then they came and took his sister, and he wanted to get her back, and killed some of them with lasers, but that shit is dazing like hell, so they killed the sister and he barely got free. He was hiding, and that’s when Xochicoyotl found him and sent me in.
I try hard as I may to ignore that and probably I would if not for Cad – Cad and his manipulation. He pushes emotions at me. The kind of emotions I’ve never really knew how to cope with. The car smashes on me one last time and falls apart. Lilly grabs me off the ground and throws me at buildings. I hit the wall and fall to the ground. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just confusing. She dashes to me, grabs me by the throat and starts to strangle.
I feel her rage as she clenches her fingers over my neck, and Chan’s rage as he pulls another car, and I feel the twins’ irritation as their powers prove totally not combat-capable. And then I feel Xochicoyotl’s joy that she wins, and then I feel Cad’s emptiness. The empath always has it the worst.
That’s where I shall strike first.
I hear a gunshot, and Lilly screams and lets go of me. I drop to the ground and for a moment my head is clear. It’s Agent – he stands there among the people running away, against their living tide, with a gun in his hand, looking for another target. They all know he’s here, I hear Xochicoyotl telling them this. But this moment of clearness is all I needed.
I push the emotions back at Cad and use him as my loudspeaker. I can see their confused looks as they are attacked by others’ emotions.
Then I do the Rainbow Dash, because that’s the one power I don’t have to think about.
Locals start running even faster, taking Agent with them. I fly up. I can hear Xochicoyotl getting in my head again, but without Cad at her side she cannot do this with such a force as at the moment when I crossed that door. I observe as the street finally gets clear. There are police sirens in the distance. And I burn like a giant prism in the sky.
I locate Xochicoyotl. She’s still hiding in the house. I fly there, followed by the rest running on the ground. I fly in the house and go through the rooms. The one to the right is empty, the other to the left too. When I get back, I get attacked by Lilly, but right now I can block her hit. I kick her out to the street, at the twins who were right behind her. Chan lifts something off the ground, but I don’t wait to see what it is. I run upstairs.
At the top of the stairs I get kicked in the face by Cad. I balance on the steps, fall back, but manage to float. Cad jumps at me and we both fall down. There the rest is waiting and they pin me down. I phase to the cellar, but the twins phase behind me and start throwing things at me – bottles, crates, some metal parts. I phase-dodge them and fly up, phasing through everything and everyone, like a ghost, trying to locate Xochicoyotl again. It’s getting on my last nerve…
A sudden burst of an emotional mix from Cad throws me off my phasing and I get stuck in the ceiling. I scream, because bulletproof or not, suddenly getting concrete shoved in your stomach hurts like hell. I try to phase back, but I can’t – the pressure is too much. My legs still dangle from the ceiling, and my torso stick out of the floor upstairs. This could be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
Technically speaking, I have the parts of the house assembled in my organism right now. Every time I breathe I can feel concrete dust in my mouth.
Xochicoyotl stands above me – or rather floats above me. I realize that she might be the flier.
“Would you please stop making it so difficult?” she asks.
Here’s a lesson, folks – not always the ones who are nice to you mean you good. I reflect for a moment on all those moments when Agent would come to my flat and silently sit there, like a father highly disappointed in his offspring, yet also a father who is far above yelling or lectures – he’d just sit there and shake his head lightly.
Fire is anger based, mind you. And I feel Cad’s anger that I threw him off balance back there.
I light a spark in the cellar and in the kitchen, and in the rooms, one per room, and on Xochi’s burqua. I’m pyrokinetic apparently. One learns new things every day.
The rest of the gang climbs the stairs and they all stand around me, and look down at me, and ask Xochi to let them kill me in this or another way. Ungrateful bastards, and I’ve helped them all get away from humans…
Cad drops his pressure when he smells the smoke coming out of one of the rooms. Again, that’s all I need. I phase down and land on my ass on the corridor. I hear their shouts and curses, and steps as they run down. I can feel Cad trying to grab me again. I run out to the street.
Right in front of the barrels of a dozen of police guns.
The guys run behind me.
There isn’t a warning or anything. No “hands up or we shoot” shit. There’s just a harmonic salvo.
The pressure on my mind disappears immediately, though in a flash of pain so great that I kneel down, pressing both hands to the ground. Then there’s another salvo, and I feel as if a handful of peas is thrown at me. I get up and run back in the house, the walls of which are riddled with bullet holes. I stumble upon soft shapes. Something tries to grab me by the leg, but I kick it and run upstairs. Xochi is not there. I run through the rooms and see a half-closed window. I lunge to it and look out. There she is, floating over lawns and fences. I focus and light up a fence right under her. It burst with flames and she swoons to the side, disappearing behind a house.
I fly there. Right now I don’t even have to see her directly – she shines like a new star to me, all the way across the walls and trees, and other obstacles. I can fly with eyes closed.
I land on the lawn. I can see the people inside the house, peeking from behind the curtains. Then they disappear in a rush. I go to the house and phase inside it.
I find myself in the living room. The people – two adults and two kids – are lined up against the opposite wall. To the side is Xochicoyotl. The people seem calm, absentminded, just like Agent’s family during our first meeting. I thought it was Cad who was doing it in the first place.
“You want to keep it non-lethal?” Xochicoyotl asks.
“I will keep it non-lethal,” I say. I can see the gun in the man’s hand, and I see it moving up as he raises his hand toward his wife’s head. All in slow-motion. But the thing I see the clearest is the light of Xochi’s power. It’s like a lightbulb. You squeeze it, it crashes. Hurst your hand, but goes off.
I step closer to Xochi. She still observes the man, still didn’t notice me. I’m moving master than that. I do it with premeditation, I admit, it just gives me more pleasure than it should. Finally, feeling on top of the world, for the first time in two months. Again, I’m alone. Just this one obstacle, and I’m alone.
I grab for Xochi’s power and I put it down. She falls to the ground and I fall beside her. The pain is greater than from a cut hand.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Martys
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 15 lipca 2016, 12:50

Przepraszam za długość całości i za angielski, ale to już ostatni rozdział, więc gratki dla tych, co wytrwają do końca.
Enjoy.


12.
I need to find a job.
I shake the breadcrumbs off the newspaper and skim the job column. What am I good at?
Mow the lawn, paint the shed, take a dog out on a walk. Summer jobs, because we have summer now. I know I’ll be fighting hordes of other college graduates over those jobs, but what else can I do?
I call a number, then another, then yet another. Everything’s taken. Finally, I find a lady who needs help at home. Sure, why not. Cleaning this house or someone else’s – what’s the difference?
When Agent comes back in the afternoon, I tell him that I start tomorrow. He asks me why I don’t want to stay at home, and I remind him of the times when I didn’t have to ask him to allow me to go anywhere. He shuts up and puts a pizza in the microwave.
Summer in Lafayette is a bitch.
We’ve been here for a month now. Not that long, but still the longest that we’ve ever stayed anywhere. Agent keeps on changing jobs and his names. Now he’s Rick Barrows, and he’s my widowed father, and I’m Marelle Barrows, and I’m blond. I don’t have to worry about school anymore, and when someone’s asking me about my studies I say we can’t afford it. I catch various part-time jobs, just to pay the bills.
We haven’t heard from the agency since the incident in Tucson. That’s what Agent calls it, and that’s what I took up from him. An incident. An incident that involved all the local police departments and some of the special agencies. Including ex-ours. Agent Smith gave us a day of a headstart – Agent stole me from the hospital and we’ve been on the run ever since. I ask him from time to time what happened back there, because I don’t remember much after that light and pain that Xochi bid me farewell with. But he doesn’t tell me much, except that it was two months ago. Three months ago. If I ask him now, he will tell me it was four months ago, and that I should stop thinking about it finally.
I’m not taking up too many jobs. I usually stay at home, cook, clean up, do some shopping. I’m the housewife, even though my papers say I’m his daughter. I asked him once why I can’t be married to him, and he said it would be too suspicious with our age difference. I didn’t argue.
The main reason I don’t work too much is that once I used to be a kind of celebrity. People may know my face, even though I changed my hairstyle, my dressing style, my face – I had to learn to use makeup. I should try to become an actress, I’m sure I’m pretty good at that.
Agent doesn’t forbid me to go to the lady the next day, so I go there at the agreed hour. When I knock, there’s a call from behind them that it is open and that I should come in. I do come in.
That’s one of the small detached houses, so typical for the suburbs. Not far from my own place too. There’s a living room to the left, another room to the right, and a kitchen opposite to the door. There’s stairs to the left, but when I see the lady on the wheelchair, I doubt that she uses those rooms anymore.
The lady is called Mrs. Chipman and she has MS. She gives me a tour around, and tells me that upstairs is mostly a warehouse of everything that doesn’t fit here. That I am free to go up there and look for anything I like. I’ll work eight hours a day, helping her with the basic domestic stuff, like cleaning, cooking, shopping, going for a walk…

I sit in the kitchen and have a coffee as Mrs. Chipman takes her afternoon nap. I watch the silver spoon lying on the table and I try to move it. I feel like an idiot, and it reminds me of that moment back in the secret base when I was interrogated by special agents, and when I look around and see this dull kitchen with dishes in the sink that wait to be washed – I feel in place. Strange but true. Back then, with powers stopped, I was not in place – not in a secret base where they want to test your blood for any DNA changes. No, right here is fine.
Still, I stare at the spoon and tell it to move. Just a bit. Just shiver or something.
In the evening I tell Agent that nothing happened, that the lady is ok, and that she has some strange shit upstairs. I went through her boxes a bit, out of curiosity, after I couldn’t move the spoon. Old furs, skiing set, lots of books. I took some and she said it’s ok to keep them. They’re in German. I don’t mind, even though I can’t learn a language overnight anymore. There’s a dictionary among them, so I’ll be fine.

And the days pass like that.

I cleaned up the house roof to basement, because it got rainy and we couldn’t go out on walks anymore. Stephanie Chipman is a widowed German and she teaches me German when we’re both bored to death. I watch her struggle with the health care. They don’t want to give her a full-time nurse, that’s why I need to be there for her, even though I have no qualifications. But she says it’s only for the summer, because in September she’s going back to Germany where she will have much better conditions. I say it’s fine.
I watch the spoon every day at the same time, when Stephanie naps.

When Agent comes back one day and says we’re leaving, I say I cannot leave Stephanie like that and he gives me a day to find a replacement. I go to her and tell her we need to leave and she’s exceptionally fine with that. Says it’s only two weeks before she goes back to Germany, so she’ll be ok. She says I worry too much. She pays me for the few days I worked this month, gives me another German book and makes me promise to visit her someday. I say I will.
I worry too much, she said.
We end up in New Orleans. Not that far from Lafayette. I cannot figure out Agent’s escape pattern. Maybe that’s good – maybe they cannot figure it out neither.
I don’t take another job, because I don’t want to start anything that would have to be disrupted by a sudden move again.

“You’re eating that?”
I pass my plate to Agent and he takes my pizza. He watches me as I stare at the plastic knife in the pizza box. We’ve talked about this a hundred times, over and over, like a mantra, a like a family anecdote, but neither of us came up with a plausible explanation and or solution to the problem. He tells me to stop moving things around. I tell him it’s not funny.
We’ve been over this just as much as we’ve been over his reasons to follow me, or rather to pull me behind him. Both conversations proved to be bottomless and futile.
He takes the box, leaving the knife on the table, and goes out to throw it in the bin outside. I can’t get my mind off the knife. I keep on thinking about it, its weight, its mass, its texture, color, the material it’s made of. I keep on weighting it in my mind, imagining weighting it in my hand. I throw it around the kitchen, just in my mind. Then I put it away, on the table, just where it really lies, and I give it a little flick.
The knife moves.
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Kruffachi » 18 sierpnia 2016, 15:45

Planowałam przeczytać początkowo całość i odpowiedzieć jednym komentarzem, ale bez przerwy coś mnie rozpraszało, przerywałam, potem zaczynałam od początku parę razy, więc zmieniam taktykę i jednak będę kawałkować. Bo mam pewną trudność z czytaniem po angielsku i jest to nie tyle język nawet, co zwyczajne przyzwyczajenia - sposób zapisu dialogów choćby. I z pewnym kłopotem odnajduję wzrokiem miejsce, w którym urwałam. Na początek dwie pierwsze wstawki zatem.

Fakt, że piszesz po angielsku wzbudza mój podziw - zawsze będzie - ale też trochę utrudnia komentowanie. Nie mam żadnych kompetencji, więc ani o sposobie pisania się nie wypowiem, ani o stylu, ani tym bardziej o ewentualnych błędach. Zajmę się więc tylko fabułą i bohaterami.

Podoba mi się to ujęcie tematu :D Nie powiem, żebym się nie spodziewała - tak właśnie przypuszczałam, że jeśli Martys weźmie się za superbohaterkę, to zrobi to przewrotnie i z potężną dawką zdrowego rozsądku, który każe zadawać podstawowe pytania, tak łatwo pomijane w kolejnych odsłonach motywu. To sprawia, że jest lekko i zabawnie, owszem, ale jednak człowieka w mózg swędzi, kiedy zacznie się zastanawiać nad mechanizmami społecznymi i ciągłym napięciem między dobrem publicznym a dobrem jednostki. I nad przypadkowością talentów też. Nad tym, jak czasem zdają się trafiać kompletnie nie tam, gdzie powinny i gdzie są pożądane.

Nie wiem, czy lubię Mae. Jeszcze nie wiem. I, żeby było jasne - mówię tylko o jej charakterze, nie o postaci, bo postacią jest świetną. Chyba musi pokazać mi coś więcej niż tę pyskatą i zbuntowaną twarz, ale będę bardzo zdziwiona, jeśli tego nie zrobi. Natomiast poczułam pewną irracjonalną sympatię do Agenta, może przez sposób, w jaki go pokazałaś - jej zresztą oczyma, a w to, kto tu zdecydowanie nie jest naiwny, wątpliwości na razie - na razie - nie ma, więc Mae wierzę.

Tyle skromnie ode mnie ;)
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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 23 sierpnia 2016, 13:20

Kruffo!

Dzięki wielkie za komentarz :) Jak już wspominałam, wiedziałam, że jest ryzykowne wrzucać tu cokolwiek po angielsku - raz, że nie każdy czyta; dwa, że w zasadzie nikt nie ma kompetencji, by ocenić, czy piszę dobrze, nawet ja sama. Tym bardziej ślę podziękowania, że przebrnęłaś chociaż przez dwa fragmenty.

Cieszy mnie, jak odbierasz ten tekst, a w zasadzie postaci :) Mam nadzieję, że Cię nie zawiodę ;)
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Kruffachi » 26 sierpnia 2016, 15:24

3. i 4. przeczytane takoż ;)

Początek 3. rozdziału rozłożył mnie na łopatki XD
Sporo się dzieje na metr kwadratowy, przyznaję. Cios za ciosem (przenośnie, rzecz jasna), wydarzenie za wydarzeniem, praktycznie bez chwili oddechu, co sprawia, że na razie trochę trudno mi te kolejne punkty ułożyć w hierarchii i przez to dostrzec strukturę, czy też raczej - główną oś fabularną. Wydaje się rozbijać właśnie na pojedyncze wydarzenia - krótkie zestawy kilku z nich, a potem kolejny temat, choć też jeden z drugiego wypływa. Trochę jakbym czytała tekst w odcinkach, przy czym odcinki te niekoniecznie pokrywają się z rozdziałami. To nie zarzut - przynajmniej jeszcze nie, wszak dopiero cztery rozdziały za mną - ale obserwacja.
Natomiast podoba mi się kierunek, w którym zmierza relacja Mae i Agenta :3 Ale to było do przewidzenia. "Oczy niebieskie" już ze mnie wycisnęły kilka wyznań względem upodobań. Owa tajna paczka przeciętnych inaczej też zapowiada się szalenie ciekawie i totalnie kupuję tutaj Mae, która wchodzi w to bez głębszego zastanowienia, no bo kto inny mógłby ją rozumieć? Tak nawiązując do poprzedniego posta właśnie - chyba widzę, gdzie jest jej słabość. I chyba już aż tak nie ufam jej osądowi sytuacji, bo ona wyraźnie szuka wyjścia z braku normalnych relacji. Nie robi tego świadomie, oczywiście. Trochę się boję, że to się obróci przeciwko niej, ale boję się ja-czytelnik, który zaczyna odczuwać do niej rosnącą sympatię, nie ja-komentująca ;)
Jestem konfundującą fajerą w stuporze.

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Re: Mae heart Burns [eng]

Post autor: Martys » 29 sierpnia 2016, 08:54

Dzięki, Kruff :)

Ale to nie oznacza, że umiem w akcję, nie? ;) Akcja jest dla słabych!

Uspokoję, że główna oś fabularna gdzieś tam jest, ukryta - ale jest. Do czegoś jednak zmierzałam z tym tekstem, nawet jeśli było to naprawdę radosne walenie w klawiaturę na odstresowanie i udowodnienie sobie, że jednak umiem. O strukturze wiele tam nie myślałam, przyznaję. Wyszło jak wyszło, chociaż potem chyba próbowałam nadać temu większy sens. Albo po prostu akcja zaczęła zmierzać ku końcowi ;)

Mae i Agent - no cóż. Relacje spod znaku firmowego Martysa ;) A "Oczy" czekają na skończenie i brakuje im tylko jednego rozdziału i redakcji, i znów mi przypomniałaś, jak wielka porażka dla mnie to jest, że ten tekst tak sobie leży, chociaż jest boski *wtorb*

Cieszę się, że czytasz :)
"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
"What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?"
Philip Roth, American pastoral

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