Into Death's Arms (Part V Final)
I was staring at the cars in the parking lot. Except they didn’t look remotely like cars anymore. Nor were they parked for that matter.
They had been flipped and their bodies twisted inward, deforming them into masses of metal and plastic. Glass layered the ground and I heard people screaming and yelling near the hospital entrance. I looked up to see men, women and nurses pointing at me with horrified expressions as I stood, dumbfounded in my bloodstained clothes. Dozens of car alarms were going off, combining into a loud jumble of sirens. No, this did not look good. Not at all.
My legs froze. I couldn’t leave. Not while Serena was still here. But I couldn’t let her see me like this. I couldn’t let her see what I had done.
I was paralyzed with shock. Had I done this? My mind couldn’t wrap around it. This had to be some kind of dream. Perhaps I would wake up in the hospital bed with Serena snoozing by my side. Perhaps I would wake up on my bathroom floor only to realize that I’d had a serious case of food poisoning. Yet the sight of the twisted metal and glass shattered those hopes. I took a step back and cringed. My heel stepped on a shard of glass and caused me sharp pain.
Police sirens could suddenly be heard. I had to leave. The crowd of people was gathering in numbers, not quite sure how to take in what they were seeing. But all of them were staring at me with expressions of accusation, fear, and bewilderment. I had to go.
Rain continued to fall. The last thing I saw before I turned was Serena forcing her way through the crowd, yelling my name. My heart ached for her, because it was then that I realized how much hell I must have been putting her through. I swore under my breath that I would make it up to her, somehow, in some way.
Then I ran.
Except that this plan didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.
A police car cut me off, siren screaming. My damp hair fell into my eyes, and not really planning it, not really knowing what I was doing, I held my hand up towards the car and spread my fingers.
It was as if an invisible wrecking ball had hit the side of it. The vehicle slid away from me and then flipped with a crunch of plastic, glass, and metal. I stood, stunned. Slightly dizzy, I lifted my palm and stared at it.
Horrible pain exploded in my arm and blood spattered. I screamed and collapsed to the ground. The gunshot echoed and I heard Serena’s shrieks somewhere in the distance. The cop behind me was moving forward quickly, aiming the gun at me.
“DON’T MOVE!” he boomed, his badge glinting red and blue from the lights of the car I had just flipped. Anger coursed through me, and I gritted my teeth.
His gun flew out of his hands and into mine. He jumped back, surprised, as I heaved myself off the ground and pointed it at him with one hand, my other lying limp at my side and dripping blood.
“Don’t sh-shoot,” he stammered, holding his arms up as a gesture of surrender. But my fury consumed me. Everything was happening too fast. I felt like a dog cornered and helpless.
“What’s happened to me?!” I yelled at him frantically, as if he knew the answers. He shook his head desperately, eyes wide as I jabbed the gun towards him.
“I don’t know, I swear!” he said, backing away. “Just don’t shoot me, please.”
I gave him a look of disgust and let go of his gun. It dropped to the ground.
And then I was suddenly frightened. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. It all felt like some bad dream. This couldn’t be happening to me, it couldn’t be.
I backed away from the cop, my eyes burning. Tears welled up and blurred my vision. I wanted to go home. I wanted to see Nia. I wanted her here in my arms. I wanted to hear her voice and see her smile and I wanted everything to go back to normal.
But I’m not normal.
A voice in my head screamed and rage flooded me. Why? Why was this happening?
I roared and held my hand out towards the parking lot. The concrete split in a long crack, throwing up chunks of black rock. Then I whipped my arm upwards as if I were flinging an invisible ball in the air. The car closest to me jerked up about forty feet and came slamming down into the ground with a horrible crash. More glass shattered and the cop in front of me ran. I stood there, my chest heaving until the anger subsided. People were screaming now, running back inside the hospital, pushing and shoving. Everyone except one person. My heart fluttered and my gaze sought hers.
She wasn’t moving. There were a dozen emotions written on her face, but it was mostly the shock that showed. Both of us stayed motionless for several moments as the silence fluttered down. I swallowed a lump in my throat and walked forward. Fear flitted across her features, but she did not run.
“Help me,” I said hoarsely. “I don’t know what’s happening.”
Serena shook her head, backing away.
“Justin, what have you done? How—?” She sputtered and her tongue stumbled on the words.
I stopped walking forward, hurt. My eyes pleaded with her.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” I repeated. “Please, Serena. I’m begging you. Help me.”
She surveyed the split blacktop and the crushed remains of the cars around with growing trepidation.
“I-I can’t. I can’t even believe w-what I’m seeing right now.” She looked on the verge of passing out. Like me, she couldn’t find the words to explain what was right in front of her. She took another step back. “Just s-stay away.”
I froze. My stomach caved inward, as if I had just been punched. It had been one thing to lose Nia, the love of my life. My reason for living. But to have my best friend, the very last person I still had in my life…to not want me anymore?
My lips trembled and Serena’s eyes went wide.
“No, Justin, wait I didn’t mean it!”
But I was already gone. I was sprinting across the parking lot, ignoring the sharp glass slicing into the bottom of my feet. Tears burned down my face and I let out a strangled sob. Rain soaked me as I ran past the wrecked cars and past the green grass at the end of the lot. I could see the dozens of headlights cruising by on the highway ahead and I forced my legs to move faster.
You’re going to find out something about yourself someday.
“You were right,” I choked, blinded by the downpour. “About everything.”
But now it’s too late.
I had achieved a power. An incredible, wondrous gift that I couldn’t comprehend. This much I knew to be true. But what I also knew was that this amazing power would be wasted in a matter of minutes, possibly seconds. Because in that moment I finally decided to finish what the pills never could. I decided to finish the job right.
The highway was close and I was wheezing. My thoughts drifted to Nia and I let out another choked cry. In the midst of losing her, I had found something about myself that I had shared with the world. Except that the world didn’t want me. Just like she didn’t want me.
I stumbled into the middle of the highway and stared at the blurry lights racing past me. Car horns blared and rain poured and my heart pounded…and still I sobbed.
I held out my hands and swiftly moved them in a circular motion. The car coming my way swerved off the road, as did the next one and the next one. I wanted something bigger, something that would get the job done right.
Light filled my eyes as I saw the rig roaring my way and I smiled the same smile I’d had in the bathroom, alone in the dark, staring at myself in a tainted mirror. I thought of Nia and Serena. I thought of memories I held close to me and I clenched my jaw before I held my hand up and used my power to freeze the driver’s steering wheel. Snapping my fingers, I made his gas pedal automatically press down.
The rig sped up, and I could see the driver’s horrified expression as he tried to move out of the way. The blare of the truck was deafening.
There are some things worse than death. Yet there is nothing better than life. In the twenty year span of my existence, I’d seen and done things that I never regretted. I’d lived a good life, a life filled with meeting people and chasing dreams. The worst part was knowing that the future held nothing in store for me anymore. It was knowing that I’d discovered a remarkable part of me less than ten minutes ago and that this part would never survive to make any difference in the world. Instead it would fall. Fall straight into death’s arms.
Serena’s frantic screams came from the side of the highway, where she came to a stop, cut off by a passing car. I smiled at her, a warm one. And though the rain continued to fall, I felt a single hot tear burn my cheek as it slid down.
“I love you,” I whispered.
The blare of the truck horn surrounded me. Lights blinded me. Pain crushed me.
And then I was gone.