Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), the superhero novels Nobody Gets the Girl and Burn Baby Burn, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collection, There is No Wheel. In 2017, I'll be releasing a new superhero series, The Butterfly Cage. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public.




Monday, August 8, 2011

Burn Baby Burn Chapter One 5487 words

The following is raw first draft. I've not read a word of it yet. I'm posting it here only in an effort to keep myself honest about my word counts this week. It may also be of interest to beginning writers who wonder what a raw first draft might look like. And, of course, if you are a Noboby Gets the Girl fan and really, really can't wait for the sequel, here's your first peek at it.

A note on formatting: I'm in a hurry, so I'm not taking time to dig through and fix all the missing paragraph indentations. Sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully most paragraph breaks will be evident from context.

______

Teh quick brown fox jumped over a lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Sonof a bitch.

I can type.

Chapter One
How Sunday met Monday.

Ten Years Ago

Sunday Jimenez was fifteen years old when she killed her first nun. She was a relatively new arrival at the Trinity Life Solutions School. Her mother had recently remarried and to say that she didn’t get along with her new step so-called ‘father’ was an understatement.
Her mother’s new husband had accused Sunday of being possessed by a demon and/or demons. Sunday had an odd… well, ability didn’t seem the right word to describe it. ‘Ability’ would imply that she was ‘able’ to control what she was doing, and she couldn’t. For reasons she didn’t understand, sometimes she would get hot. Really hot. She wouldn’t feel any different when this happened. Her usual first clues were the faint odor of scorched cotton and, if the lights were on, tiny wisps of smoke. Usually, it happened in her bed. When she realized what was going on, she would jump up and find her sheets covered with scorch marks ranging from light tan to dark browns all the way to charcoal blacks that crumbled when she touched them.
The therapist her mother had sent her too had a simple explanation: Sunday was acting out, due to her stress over Phil (her mother’s latest Mr. Forever True Love). She was sneaking the iron from the laundry and burning her own sheets, then claiming ignorance of how her bed had been damaged. Basically, she was flat-out accusing Sunday of lying, though she did allow that perhaps Sunday was suppressing the truth from herself.
And… maybe Sunday wasn’t telling the whole truth. Because the first time she’d burned her sheets, she’d just experienced her first orgasm. This had only been six months ago, when she was still fourteen. Now, she felt as if she’d gained six years worth of knowledge, and couldn’t imagine what more there was to learn between now and twenty. She was a little embarrassed by her naiveté only six months earlier. She’d still been going to public school then, and one of the boys in her class had gotten in trouble when they called their teacher a ‘jerk-off.’ She was stunned that the teacher had taken offense. She’d heard the term since she was, like, in kindergarten. She’d thought it just meant someone was, you know, extra-jerky. Like, lift-off was when a rocket shot into space. Jerk-off was when someone was such a jerk they entered a whole new orbit of jerkdom.
So she’d gone home and used Phil’s computer to look up the term. What she’d discovered had both mortified her and intrigued her. That night, she’d touched herself with some of the images she’d seen bouncing in her head. She’d discovered a new thing that her body could do as a result. Two new things, technically, but her first orgasm, which under other circumstances would have been utterly fascinating, had swiftly lost its position of importance when she’d realized that her bed was almost, but not quite, on fire.
And, to be honest, the therapist was right, sort of, a little bit. Sunday was now deliberately causing the scorch marks. She’d continued her experiments in bodily manipulation, not for the feelings of pleasure the act generated, but for the feeling of power. Because, when her heart rate passed a certain level, she felt a switch click deep in the center of her belly, and suddenly heat and light would seep from her pores like glowing sweat. She couldn’t trigger this just by running, which just left her tired. She needed the growing internal tightness in her abdomen to trigger the effect. It was terrifying, of course. She dared not explain the truth to anyone. She was certain she’d be swooped off to some secret government facility where she’d be locked up and forced to masturbate in front of teams of stone-faced scientists in white lab coats who would probe her with horrible, horrible devices, long iron sensors covered with metal studs that would force their way deep into her belly to stare at the trigger of her powers with cold, mechanical eyes.
The fact that she often came while the imagined probe drew near added to her sense that, just perhaps, she was a horrible pervert as well as a horrible mutant. When Phil had first brought up the possibility of demon possession, she’d shouted, “I am my own demon!”
Then they’d sent her to boarding school.
And then she’d killed the nun.
The nun’s name was Sister Cecilia. She’d taught algebra, and, though Sunday had been at the school for only a week, she’d already figured Cecilia out. The woman had obviously been a stoner at some point, a hippy-dippy flower child who had probably dressed in nothing but tie-dyes until some bad acid had frightened her back to the Lord. Her algebra lesson somehow always turned into rambling anti-drug lectures. She struck Sunday as slightly amusing, and mostly harmless.
Then, on her fifth day at the school, she’d gone into the bathroom near the science labs and smelled cigarettes. The back room was L-shaped, with a short line of sinks when you firsts walked in, then a long row of stalls around the corner, facing windows to the courtyard. Turning the corner, she found Anjelica and Moon standing next to an open window, their hands behind their backs. Sunday had made no friends since coming to the school, but she’d noticed these two girls in the science lab. Jewelry was strictly forbidden at the Trinity Life Solutions School, but she’d noticed a line of holes on Anjelica’s left ear that indicated she’d once had a whole row of rings or studs along the upper edge. Anjelica was tall and blonde but a little heavy set. Moon was thin as a broomstick, with straight black hair and dark bags under her eyes that always mad her look like she’d just been crying.
“You can keep smoking,” Sunday said. “I’m cool.”
Anjelica and Moon had relaxed. They’d already thrown their previously lit cigarettes out the window, but Anjela reached into her bra and produced the pack of Virginia Slim Menthol’s and a pink Bic lighter.
Anjelica popped one of the cancer sticks in her mouth and handed the pack to Moon while she struggled to get the lighter going.
“Almost out of gas,” she grumbled.
“Fag?” Moon asked, holding the pack toward Sunday.
“She’s on a British kick,” Anjelica said. “It’s their word for cigarettes. Don’t be offended.”
Sunday was slightly offended that Anjelica had thought she wouldn’t know that, but kept quiet. She took the cigarette and popped it between her lips.
“Fucking lighter,” Anjelica grumbled as the Bic continued to produce only sparks. “I don’t suppose you have one, do you?”
Sunday didn’t carry a lighter. But, she somehow felt completely at ease in the company of two fellow reprobates. So, she lifted her right index finger to the tip of the cigarette and … and something happened. She couldn’t really explain it. But, even though her heart wasn’t racing, and even though she didn’t feel the tightness in her gut, the tip of her finger flashed like a light-bulb. In the aftermath, the cigarette was half the length it had been, but what was left was smoking. She sucked in the smoke, then coughed violently. She was embarrassed to reveal she was such a novice.
She glanced toward the two girls, expecting them to be laughing at her incompetence as smoker.
Instead, they were staring at her, slack-jawed. Both were pale as ghosts, their cheeks flecked with gray ash from the disintegrated cigarette.
“How did you do that?” Anjelica whispered.
“Um,” said Sunday.
Such was the intensity of the moment, none of them had heard the bathroom door open. Sister Cecilia came around the corner, and both Moon and Anjelica froze, staring at her. Sunday looked over her shoulder, the cigarette still dangling on her lips.
She jumped back as the nun snatched the cigarette from her mouth.
“This is how it begins!” Sister Cecilia screamed, her spittle spraying on Sunday’s face. “Tobacco is the worst gateway drug! Do you want to be a crack-whore, selling your body to disease ridden beasts just to get your next fix? Do you want to die on some filthy mattress covered in your own vomit after you overdose?”
Sunday put her hands on her hips and tilted her head. “It’s just a cigarette. Chill out.”
“You, young lady, are the one who’s going to chill out!” the nun shouted, grabbing Sunday by the wrist. The middle aged woman turned out to have a grip like a gorilla.
“Let go!” Sunday shouted. “You’re hurting me!”
“You don’t know what hurt is,” Sister Cecilia said, dragging her forward.
“I said let go!” Sunday tried to pull away, but couldn’t budge the nun. She grabbed hold of the handle of a stall door, and felt her fingers slipping as the raging nun proved to be her superior in this tug-of-war.
Sunday wondered if she could make her wrist flash, the way she’d made her finger flash.
There was heat. There was light. In the aftermath, the nun lay dead, her hand completely gone, her arm nothing but blackened bone all the way up to the shoulder. Her clothes were on fire, and seconds later the sprinkler came on.
Sunday stared down at the nun she’d just killed. She suspected that a normal person would feel some degree of remorse at this moment. She instead felt that the nun had gotten what was coming to her. The nun had been the one to turn this into a physical confrontation by grabbing her.
She turned and found Anjelica glued to the far wall, eyes filled with terror. Moon, who always looked as if she’d just been crying, now was sobbing in a tight fetal ball at Anjelica’s feet.
She understood that the two girls would never be her friends now. All she would ever have was their fear. And, that gave her a little thrill, the thought of being feared.
“Tell anyone what you saw and I’ll kill you,” she said to them, though perhaps they didn’t here her with the fire alarms blaring, the hiss of the sprinklers overhead, and the sizzle and pop of nun-fat still burning behind her.
Of course, they took her to jail.
She didn’t stay there long.
She was placed in a holding cell by herself. She wasn’t sure why she was afforded the privacy. Obviously, they couldn’t put her in the same holding cell as men, and maybe there just weren’t that many women getting arrested at ten a.m. on a Thursday. Her first thought on being left in the empty holding cell was, “Good. I can finally pee.” Since, of course, her trip to the bathroom at the girl’s school had gone in a direction she hadn’t really planned on. But, even though she was alone in the cell with its single exposed toilet, she still couldn’t go, because there was a damn surveillance camera in the hall outside the cell that looked to be aimed directly at the toilet. Did the ACLU know about this?
The thing was, she really needed to go. She’d watched enough television to know that at some point she’d probably be given an attorney, but she doubted she could wait until she had legal representation who would defend her right to pee in private.
The camera had to go.
In the police car, she’d tried to melt the handcuffs. She’d mentally tightened every single muscle in her gut one by one to trigger the release of heat, to no avail. The problem, of course, was that her powers normally kicked in when she wasn’t thinking about them. Once you start thinking about not thinking about something, it’s all you can think about.
And yet… she went to the bars of her cell and reached into the empty hallway, pointing her fingers straight at the camera. In her mind’s eye, she could imagine jets of flame spouting from her fingertips and engulfing the camera. She furrowed her brow and clenched her teeth, her arm trembling as she willed the fire to come.
It never came.
After fifteen minutes, her arm was really sore. Worse, she was embarrassed by what whoever was on the other side of the camera was probably thinking. With her arm stretched up like that, they probably thought she was some kind of Nazi. The fact that she was still in her school uniform probably added to the effect. She didn’t mind if people thought she was a demon, she didn’t care that she’d soon be famous as a nun-killer, and she kind of liked that people might fear her, but getting branded a Nazi was too much.
She lowered her arm and walked to the toilet. If she kept her skirt down, really, how much could they see? She reached under the hem and hooked her fingers into the edge of her panties.
Behind her, a man cleared his throat.
Sunday spun around to find a man in the cell with her, leaning against the bars, his back to the camera. He had his arms crossed and he stared at her with a look that she made no sense at all. It was the same look her mother had given her the first time she’d brought home a report card that was all A’s. It was a look of pride.
“Are you my lawyer?” she asked, smoothing down her skirt.
“Do I look like a lawyer?” the man asked, in a tone of mock offense.
Sunday didn’t actually know any lawyers, so it was tough to say. She’d assumed a lawyer would be wearing a suit, but maybe that was just on television. This man was wearing blue jeans and scuffed up Nike sneaker. He wore a white cotton button up shirt. She guess his was probably close to fifty, since his hair was mostly gray. His hair was kind of long, not down to his shoulders, but still kind of shaggy. He had a deep tan and, following his line about the lawyer, his expression had settled into kind of a smirk, and the wrinkles on his face hinted that this smirk was a common expression for him.
She asked, “So… are you a cop? Because this conversation can stop now if you are.” She’d been read her rights. She liked having rights.
The man shook his head. “If you must identify me by a career, I used to be a physicist working for the army. Then, I blew up the world. Then I rebuilt it. Now, though it doesn’t pay as well as I’d like, I guess I’m God.”
“I thought they had a separate ward for psychos.”
“Nah,” said the man. He glanced around. “But, man, they sure give nun-burners their space.”
As he spoke, three female guards burst through the door at the end of the hall.
“I’ve been spotted,” said God, reaching into his back pocket. He produced a small black Ruger LC9 pistol and fired three shots toward the guards. All three dropped instantly.
“Oh my God!” Sunday shouted, the report of the pistol still ringing in her ears.
The man shrugged. “There are better places for us to have this conversation.” He pulled a calculator out of his front pocket and began to punch in numbers.
Sunday felt her body began to fold at an unnatural angle. Before she fully understood what was happening, she found herself staring at the back of her knees.
Then her body snapped back to normal and they were standing in the middle of a vast, trackless desert. The sky above was full of stars, the air so clear that Sunday could see the Milky Way. She spun around, off balance in the shifting sand. She dropped to her knees, temporarily forgetting how to breathe. The sand felt like it had just been pulled straight out an oven.
“What just happened?” she gasped.
The man held up the calculator. “I moved us to the Sahara so we could talk in peace. This is my space machine. Like it? I can move anything I wish anywhere I wish by something analogous to a cut and paste of spatial coordinates. I should have built this years ago, but I got side-tracked trying to perfect a teleportation belt.”
“Who are you again?” Sunday asked.
“I used to be Nicholas Knowbokov, until that name was stolen from me,” the man said. “Now, I answer to Rex Monday. It’s a play on words. Get it?”
Sunday didn’t get it.
“Are you with the government?” Sunday asked. “Are you here because of my… my powers?”
“No,” said Monday. “I’m not with the government. Yes, I’m here because of your powers, though that’s just part of the reason.”
“Just part?”
“I’m also your father,” said Monday. “Your real father. I’m something of a quantum anomaly. You’ve inherited some of my broken laws of physics. It’s taken a long time for your abilities to manifest, but you apparently have the ability to generate tiny wormholes. Since the strongest gravity well in the neighborhood is the sun, the other end of the wormholes tend to congregate there. Thus, when you open these wormholes, you’re unleashing pure solar material here on earth. Keep in mind, these wormholes are very tiny. If you only opened one or two, we’d probably need sensitive instruments to detect the effect. Open a few thousand, over a diffuse area, and you get scorched sheets. Open a few million in an area smaller than the palm of your hand, and poof, dead nun.”
Sunday rose up from the hot sand, brushing her bare knees clean.
“If you’re my father, why has my mother never mentioned you?”
Monday shrugged. “I raped her. That scar on her right eyebrow? I gave her that. She probably doesn’t like to talk about it.”
Sunday felt her guts tighten. “You admit to such a thing? What kind of monster are you?”
“Oh, the very worst kind,” said Monday. “There are two types of monsters. There are things that are less than human. And there are things that are more than human. I’m in the second category. You see, I created the world. Everything exists because of me. Everyone alive is alive because I created the conditions of life. And since I gave life, I feel no remorse about taking it away. What I want, I take, since, on the most fundamental level, everything is mine. I wanted your mother, so I took her. Now, I want you.”
Sunday gave him the fiercest look she could summon. “Touch me and I’ll burn you.”
“No,” said Monday, with a dismissive wave. “I don’t mean I want you like that. I want you as a soldier. I want to make use of your power in my ongoing war against my enemies.”
“Why should I help you?”
Monday shrugged. “Do you have a better use for your time? You’re a nun-killer, and, fair or not, you’ll probably get some of the blame for those three dead cops. For the rest of your life, you’re going to be hunted by the so-called authorities. You can’t go back to your mother. You aren’t going to be able to go out and get a normal job. You’re never going to have a house of your own, or a boyfriend, or any friends at all, actually, at least not in what you think of as the ordinary world.”
“So what?” asked Sunday. “Am I supposed to just kill myself?”
“No. You’re supposed to come live in the extraordinary world. You aren’t my only child. All of you have powers. I’ve already harnessed the power of two of my children, a boy who causes panic, and particularly nasty little freak I call Baby Gun. Since you set things on fire, I was thinking it would be appropriate to call you Baby Burn.”
“I’m nobody’s baby,” said Sunday, clenching her fists.
“Suit yourself. The name’s not important. All that’s important is your power. With one possible exception, I believe you’ve the potential to be the strongest of all my children. Given full command of your powers, you could reduce this desert to glass for a hundred miles in every direction. You could destroy cities with but a thought.”
“Maybe I don’t want to burn down cities,” said Sunday. “I didn’t mean to kill that nun.”
“You’re still young,” said Monday. “I’ll show you the world. By the end of the tour, you’ll hate all mankind.”
Sunday pressed her lips tightly together. She didn’t want to tell him she was halfway there already. She’d had a string of step-fathers, each more stupid and mean that their predecessors. She hated them all, and she hated her mother even more for being too weak and too foolish not to see the destruction she was bringing onto herself by falling for these losers. And yet, as she’d grown older, it seemed to her to be very much the pattern of the world. She could see it in all her schoolmates, each with their own unique mix of stupidity, cruelty, weakness and foolishness.
She crossed her arms. “I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. I can’t melt cities. I can’t even melt a fucking camera so I can use the bathroom in private.”
“Of course you’ll disappoint me,” said Monday. “Everyone and everything does. But, you can melt a camera. You just wouldn’t.”
“I tried.”
“I’m certain you did. But trying is the wrong technique. You first began to manifest your powers during the throws of sexual release, when your mind was utterly blank.”
Sunday wrinkled her nose. “How can you know about that?”
“Please,” said Monday. “If I can build a machine to take me anyplace in the world, don’t you think I can build one to let me watch anyone in the world? If you’d gone to the bathroom in the jail, it would have simply joined the thousands of hours of similar recording I’ve made of you since birth.”
“You bastard!” she said, pushing her hands toward him. She expected a wall of flame to sweep out and vaporize him. It didn’t.
Monday sighed. “Very dramatic. But also very cerebral. You’ve done very well in your studies over the years, despite a long history of behavioral problems. You’ve scored as high as 156 on certain IQ scores. I don’t really give much credence to these numbers, but there’s no denying you’re bright. You’re good at thinking. But, I need you to be good at emotion. I need anger! I need hate!”
“I’m as pissed off as I’ve ever been right now!” she screamed. But, was she? Often in her life, she felt like an actor on a stage. She always seemed to know her lines. But did she really feel them? In some ways, she felt as if she were just a little doll who lived inside her skull who coolly watched the unfolding show of her life as if her eyes were nothing but cameras.
Monday shook his head sadly. “Pathetic.” He pulled out his calculator once more. “If you can’t use your powers, you’re of no use to me. Unfortunately, I’ve revealed too much about myself to let you live.”
“For what it’s worth, I haven’t understood half of what you’ve said.”
“No one ever does,” said Monday, punching in a series of numbers.
Suddenly, there was an old man standing to his right. He looked like a bum, in worn and dirty clothes, his thin hair unwashed, his face covered in gray stubble. He stank so badly her eyes watered from ten feet away.
The bum dropped to his hands and knees and let out a loud retching sound, though nothing but a long line of spit came from his mouth.
“Christ almighty,” the bum whimpered, wiping his mouth. “No disrespect, Mr. Monday, but can’t you give me at least a few second warning before you do that?”
“Stop whining and get on your feet. I need you to eat my daughter.”
The bum rose on wobbly legs, eying Sunday with a look of confusion.
“Your daughter?”
“Eat her,” said Monday.
“Excuse me?” said Sunday. “Is this some kind of weird not-quite-rape threat?”
“No,” said Monday. “I found my associate here working at a carnival in Mexico. He’s a geek; if you’re unfamiliar with that particular act, it means that he was the wild man they would put into a pit where he’d bite the heads off chickens. Only, he had a bit more of an appetite, and for his act he’d suck down an entire goat in one bite. They called him El Chupacabra. He doesn’t remember his real name. I’ve taken to calling him Pit Geek.”
“And, just so I’m straight on this, you think he’s going to eat me like he ate a goat?” Sunday really wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be menacing, or just the strangest joke she’d ever been part of.
“I’ve watched Pit Geek swallow an entire crane before. He can handle you.”
“Crane? Like the bird?”
“Like the think they use to build skyscrapers.” Sunday’s confusion evidently showed in her face, because Monday added, “For some reason, he generates space warps as he chews. I’m still puzzling out the exact source of his powers.”
“He looks too old to be your kid,” said Sunday.
“Indeed. He’s a mystery. And one day I’ll solve that mystery for him, as long as he obeys me.”
Pit Geek sighed loudly and scratched his head. “Well, see, I don’t know much about myself. And I’d really like to know who I am, or who I used to be. But, one thing I do know about myself, Mr. Monday, is that I’m not going to kill a little girl.”
“She’s no longer a little girl,” said Monday. “She’s been menstruating for almost four years. She’s biologically as much of an adult as you are. Eat her.”
“Can we leave my biology out of this?” asked Sunday.
“Fucking useless goatsucker,” Monday mumbled as he punched in more coordinates. He pointed toward Sunday in with a rather melodramatic pose and shouted, “Crush her!”
Sunday looked up. There was now a two hundred foot all baby doll standing next to Rex Monday. He had a flabby toddler body, and jutting from his shoulders where his head should have been there was an old fashioned revolver the size of a school bus.
“You must be Baby Gun,” she said.
There was a flash of light.
A loud boom followed instantaneously, followed by the tink tink tink tink of a thousand bits of shrapnel landing on the black glass around her. It was suddenly daylight in the desert. Sunday had her hands raised over her head. She’d just blown a bullet the size of a sports car to smithereens before it had touched her. She’d vaporized her clothes as a result. But, since both Pit Geek and Rex Monday had their hands over their eyes, she was apparently glowing too brightly for them to see anything. Which was good, since in addition to being naked, she’d also lost control of her bladder.
Above her, the giant revolver cylinder clicked to the next chamber. She ran, still glowing, but uncertain she could blow apart a second bullet when she really hadn’t even seen the first one. She was thrown from her feet as the bullet slammed into the ground behind her. She crashed into the sand seconds later. It splashed like liquid as her heat melted the ground into a goopy bubbling syryup.
She struggled to rise in the molten slop as the hair rose on the back of her neck. She looked up to see Baby Gun’s enormous foot falling toward her. She lifted her hand and touched his heel as it fell. It felt like it was made of rubber. And then it wasn’t made of anything, as the solar flare that spilled out of her fingers tore the leg into a slurry of elemental particles. The giant toppled over, crashing into the sand.
Sunday sat up, studying the flickering plasma that sheathed her. She giggled. “Not half bad! Bring me another nun!”
Rex Monday stomped toward her, pressing a button on his belt. By the time he reached her, his clothes and face were coated in a thin sheen of what looked like Vaseline, thought Sunday was pretty sure Vaseline would have burned.
Monday grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her back to her feet.
“Sorry I broke your doll,” she said, in the most taunting tone she could summon.
“You ran from the bullet!” Monday screamed, and slapped her.
Sunday placed a hand on her cheek as the flames around her grew brighter. Monday didn’t seem to feel them.
“You should be able to fly!” Monday snarled, striking her again, this time with his knuckles cutting into her eyebrow. She raised her arms to block further blows and he kicked her in the gut. “You think half good is good enough? You should be able to shoot into the air like a rocket! You still aren’t in control!”
“Make up your damned mind!” Sunday screamed. “You told me I needed to lose cont—” Her protest was cut short when he slammed his fist into her lips. She fell back on the sand, blinking away tears. He drove his foot down on her left breast and with such force if felt as if he’d bruised her heart.
She could barely breathe as he leaned down and grabbed her by the hair. He pulled her into a seating position and raised his hand to strike her face once more. Sunday closed her eyes.
The blow never came.
She opened her eyes and found that Pit Geek was holding Monday’s arm.
“Mr. Monday, calm down. You told me she was your flesh and blood. You can’t kill her!”
Monday responded by pulling the Lugar out of his back pocket and shooting Pit Geek in the center of his chest. The old bum flopped back onto the sand, limp.
“You killed him!” Sunday said, though why she felt shocked by this she couldn’t quite say.
“I wish,” grumbled Monday, as Pit Geek flopped his arms around uselessly. “As near as I can tell, he’s immortal. He’s shrugged off worse than a bullet.”
Monday glared down at Sunday. Then he smiled. “With your face bleeding like that, you remind me of your mother.”
Sunday growled. Monday disappeared in a maelstrom of swirling light. The radiance was so great that even she couldn’t see what was happening. Three seconds later, when the flash of fury she’d felt faded away and her eyes adjusted, she discovered she was roughly three hundred feet in the air. Pit Geek and Rex Monday looked like little bugs. To her disappointment, Monday was unscathed by the maelstrom she’d unleashed, though Pit Geek was now rolling around in the scalding sand, trying to put out his clothes, which were now on fire.
Rex Monday looked up at her. Once more, he beamed with pride. He gave her a thumb’s up.
“Welcome to the family,” he shouted.
She wiped away the blood that trickled into her eyes. Flying felt… well, it felt like sitting on a really, really under-inflated air mattress. The slightest motion of a limb sent her skittering across the sky. She felt insanely unsteady and unsafe.
She looked around the heavens until she found the Big Dipper, and used this to find the North Star. If this really was the Sahara, she need only fly in that direction to make it to Europe. In fact, she might even wind up in Spain, and she spoke Spanish, at least a little. Maybe Rex Monday wouldn’t find her there. Maybe the cops from back home wouldn’t look for her.
Or maybe she should try to land and talk more to the man who’d known she could fly. The giant doll’s leg looked like it was growing back. Pit Geek was back on his feet, looking barely inconvenienced by a hole in his chest and third degree burns to his legs.
This had all been a carefully staged lesson, designed to teach her how to use her powers. What more might she learn?
Bringing her arms closer to her sides, she reduced the thrust that held her in the air and dropped back down toward the man who claimed to be her father. Whether it was true or not didn’t matter to her. She knew he was violent psychopath with delusions of grandeur. She’d never trust him. But, on the other hand, how do you turn your back on a man who taught you how to fly?

5487 words

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