Sunday, March 27, 2011
Flood of Darkness
...five months ago...
The night cast a murky shade over the downtown area. Jack Hanover scales the silhouetted city skyline after his mentor.
He gets to the top of the tenement. Jack reaches up to the corner of the wall he's climbing and the roof he's climbing to, grabs a good hold, and pulls himself up. Jack rolls over the edge and sprawls out on the roof, gasping, trying to get his breath back. His Sensei is on his feet next to him, bouncing back and forth between his right and left legs. He snaps into a sprint across the span of the rooftop. When he reaches the edge of the other side, his pace maintains haste. The Sensei leaps into the spread of empty space above the alleyway. He points his right foot out, almost like a kick, as his momentum carries him down. With the tucking of his shoulder, the Sensei rolls safely onto the next building. He comes back around to his feet and turns back for Jack.
Jack is speechless. It had to be some forty or fifty feet across. The Sensei waves his hand for Jack to follow him. He peers over at the alley gap and back at his mentor. Jack back-peddles himself over to the far corner, where Sensei started his run. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and remembers his training. Visualize the landing, attack the jump...
Jack opens his eyes and moves forward into a dead sprint. He runs as though the reaper himself was nipping at his heels. He reaches the edge and unlike the Sensei, Jack has a brief moment of doubt. Although auto-corrected by his stride directly after the hesitation, his momentum is thrown off balance as he flies into the air.
Gravity takes Jack and pulls his body down, slamming his side into the corner of the next building over. He is winded and can't concentrate on grabbing a hold. He slips off the edge and is grabbed by his Sensei who lunged over the side after him. He pulls them both up. Jack tries to get to his feet, after being saved by his mentor. He could feel his ribs were cracked. Each one, starting from the bottom, snapped itself back into place. And Jack could feel it each time. The healing inside him was not natural nor was it pleasant. It was random and specific, as if it had a mind of its own.
Jack had no doubt in his mind that the Divine Catalyst was inside of him. He had been thinking about it ever since his return to Afghanistan. He was the plant now. Did that mean he could heal others? What was the extent of its power? Jack bounced back up and brushed his shoulders off. He ran across the next rooftop and jumped before looking at the next building over. His feet left the roof and crossed into the empty alleyway space. Ahead of Jack was brick, a wide wall spanning twenty stories over Jack's head. He cringed his eyes closed and braced himself with a shot of shiver. In his mind he went back to his visualization of the jump, landing on the rooftop. The impact of brick wall shoves Jack's head into motion. The pain shakes out but the impact is no longer there.
The momentum shifts in a direction unfamiliar with his path. Matter pressing under the soles of his feet. Jack opened his eyes and found himself on the roof of the twenty-one story building. He fell to his knees. The air in his chest was lost. Jack panicked and blacked out. He woke up screaming, a concrete wall going through his shoulder. The pain was excruciating and in its blistering degree showed Jack control. He cringed his eyes closed again and launched himself into the alleyway.
There a man was being beaten up. Splashing around in a dirty puddle along with the kicking legs of his three attackers. Gang related violence, it was clear. Why is it up to Jack to prevent this? They are rats, separate two from fighting and they will just go on to steal. He felt no compassion for these thugs. They were no different from the scum he fought against in Afghanistan. Same criminal, different country. Jack cringes and changes location. He leaves the alleyway, and the beaten up man is left unconscious. His face submerged in the puddle, his body carved out.
Jack's placing shifts out once again and he moves on.
He gathered and was falling down a building side. Clawing at the rising river of brick, looking for a grip. The floor rushed towards him, about to gobble him up before he awoke one last time. Instead of the cold hard alleyway floor, he landed safely on his bed in his apartment. Dr. Randolph was just getting in.
He took off his trench-coat and walked over to his desk, placing a folder next to his computer. Jack caught his breath on the bed, mumbling to himself "...I can teleport..." And then got himself up to greet his friend, returning after almost three weeks of being away. When he stood up, Dr. Randolph was facing him, a grave look on his face.
"What's the matter, Doc?"
"I went home to Oklahoma to get the results of your tests. I had to be careful. As you know we did not have the proper-"
Jack grabbed him and asked, "Did you see my family? Did you see my wife?"
"Yes I did. They are fine."
"Thank god," Jack released the kind Doctor and he went on.
"The results of the tests..."
"No bullshit. Just give it to me straight, Doc."
"...well..." the Doctor stopped to find the right words.