Chapter 11: Mama certainly didn’t say there would be days like this.
I heard Frank’s voice and I thought I was dying or hallucinating. It had been a really long day and that day had started with me recovering from being a human lightning rod and gone downhill quick.
That’s kind of a good description of my life for the past year and a half. That’s saying something, considering it started by being abducted by aliens who played with my DNA and turned me into a superhero.
My vision was blurry, but I could see the Toronto skyline plummeting towards me… or was it the other way around?
“Frank, you’re dead,” I managed to mumble.
“No, I’m not, but you will be soon if you don’t snap out of it.”
All I was able to do was give a weak, “Okay.”
Somehow despite the pain, fatigue, and exhaustion, I managed to use what little energy I had to slow myself down at the last second. I landed comfortably in a dumpster and fell asleep.
If you’ve never slept in a dumpster, I don’t recommend it. It’s stinky and filled with both sharp edges and gooey bits. For me, the awkward part was that I wasn’t alone. I woke up snuggling a raccoon who, thankfully, didn’t mind the attention.
My mouth tasted funny, I ached, and worst of all, I was naked. I climbed out despite my muscles’, and bin-mate’s, protests. It was early morning and I had no idea how long it had been since the storm. I looked around and saw I was near the comic book shop. I ran through some back alleys, but this early no one saw me.
The back door was locked, but I forced it open. I felt bad, but could pay for it later.
My first week on the job I had a disagreement with the iced coffee machine. I wanted to stay clean and give a customer their order, it wanted to splurt iced coffee everywhere and give me a bath. Between that and the busses in slush season, I had learned to keep a spare set of clothing in my locker. The good thing about where I worked was that the uniform was a geeky t-shirt with clean pants. I would have taken anything at this point.
I snuck into the break room, grabbed my bag of clothes and locked myself in the washroom. No one saw me since they were getting ready for the early morning coffee rush.
Halfway through a sink bath I remembered what I’d done in the fake hospital and put my clothes as far away as the washroom allowed. I increased my inner temperature and watched as all the literal garbage turned to ash on me and fell to the floor. I felt cleaner but the floor was now covered in ash and had two footprints burned into a tile. I wiped the rest of the ash off me and washed with soap any smelly areas.
I was now just missing my cell, ID, and shoes. I went to my boss and told him, “Hi Jon. I’m in some trouble and I lost my phone and don’t have any cash. Can you lend me some money?”
His red eyebrows raised and he looked around dramatically before he took me into the back office. “Sam, you shouldn’t be here. Everyone is looking for you. You need to lay low.” He then gave me a suitcase. It was my GTFO (Get the F out) suitcase. I looked at him with confusion and he replied, “Did you think you’d fooled a comic book store owner? I’ve known for months. Mel dropped off your suitcase just after the storm. She looked terrible; the storm killed over a thousand people and caused billions in damage. She said she was going to take responsibility for it and then this morning the Thorns were taken by RCMP.”
“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” I asked.
He stroked his red beard and nodded sagely before saying, “I listen, I watch, and I make friends with people much smarter than me. Trust me when I say they’ve all been taken and I know where.” He gave me an envelope and finished by saying, “You’d better go out the back. Don’t worry about the door.”
I left the same way I went in, only this time there was a shadowy figure watching me. I walked a few blocks and through the back alleys and busy streets, but I couldn’t lose them.
Finally I turned and said, “Who the hell are you and what do you want?”
Frank, looking older in the way a soldier looks older coming back from war, the way the rest of the group looked older, walked forward with a fast food bag and tray. “I got you a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Can we talk?”
“Four, and a donut.”
I took the bag and leaned against the brick wall next to me. I inhaled the first two hash browns. Have I mentioned that our metabolisms had increased? Frank chuckled in a way that made me want to run over and hug him.
“You were dead.”
“Mostly dead. They were able to restart my heart and bring me back.”
I sighed, “Who are they?”
“Shady government organization, calls itself CPL, Canadian Protection League. They pretend to be RCMP. They trained me to use my powers and used me to run operations all over the world. When I figured out they weren’t cool, I escaped.”
I threw myself at him and hugged him. We’d never been huggy before, but that was because I didn’t want to give away how much I liked him. “I’m sorry we left you. I had no idea you were still alive.”
“If you hadn’t I wouldn’t be. I’m not sure I deserve that apology after everything I’ve put you through. You know I’m…”
I stepped back and punched him harder than I should have. “You’re an idiot. What the hell was that all about?”
“I was sure they were watching me and this was the easiest way for me to see you…” He trailed off and gave me puppy dog eyes.
“That’s messed up. You killed people.”
“The moment that happened I stopped. It went too far.”
I sighed and finished my meal. I was still hungry. Mel would say that I needed to recharge. “I have to save them. They don’t deserve to be locked up.”
“I know. That’s why I’m here. I want to help.”
What could I say. My dead crush was my enemy but not really and now wanted to help. His powers would make the difference between succeeding and dying trying, I couldn’t say no. Hopefully he wasn’t planning on double crossing me. I did have another issue, “What about drone-guy?”
“I figured out who he is. His name is Bruce Gordon and he’s the one who trained me. It was all a ploy by CPL to have us expose ourselves.”
My day started naked cuddling a raccoon in a dumpster and now I was going to team up with a supervillain to save my friends from an evil government organization. I’m not sure this was an improvement in anything but smell.
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: