Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Outcasts, Part 3

The year was 2002. Hugh Scott had killed quite a few people during his time with the Outcasts. But this time, they’d gone too far. The bitch had gone too far.

Anne, leaning heavily on her cane, looked at Scott, “I know you don’t have a problem with murder.”

Scott stared back at her, loathing everything about her: her grayish, speckled hair, her wrinkling skin, her look of superiority. “Not murder. Killing people for the cause. But this, this is--”

“The woman you love,” Anne said, with a smirk that reeked of contempt.

“The woman I love,” Scott said, “She hasn’t done anything wrong. I’m not--”

“You’re not fully committed to the cause,” Anne said, looking down on him. That was another thing he hated about her, the fact that she never let anyone finish a sentence. Apparently, being a telepath made you impatient for people to finish a thought. “What you don’t understand is that she has done something wrong. A lot of things, in fact. She only joined this group for ‘kicks,’ as I’ve heard her think many times. That, and she makes you distracted, unfocused. She’s a pawn who thinks herself a queen, a thrill seeker who--when we’ve run out of thrills--will abandon us without mercy. Is this what you want, Hugh? A revolution filled with half-hearted revolutionaries?”

He felt Anne drilling into his head, going deeper than she’d ever tried to before, attempting to warp his mind, make him think things that were anathema to him. But she could never change his core beliefs, nor could she change his loyalty to Kecho. Perhaps that was Anne’s greatest weakness. She was so focused on changing things, she was sometimes unable to interpret the reality confronting her.

“Who’s side are you on, Hugh?”

“The side that doesn’t kill people on a whim.” As he said this, he grabbed Anne’s cane from her. The old lady fell towards the ground, and he saw her expression contort into one of pain. Using all the telekinesis she could muster, she floated off the ground and straightened her spine.

He was running away from her as fast as he could. He knew that soon the others would be coming.

It was a simple matter to find Kecho. He pounded at her door. She opened it.

“What are you--”

“No time. Run,” Scott said, grabbing her hand and racing through the metallic corridor. It didn’t last long, as a short man appeared in front of them in a cloud of smoke, accompanied by a tall man holding a samurai sword. Kecho had always been enraptured with the sword that Tatsumi--the samurai--wielded. Tatsumi had the power to bend metal, which was obvious when you looked at his sword, that sword which was constantly morphing, changing shapes, often warped and wavey, sometimes harder than steel.

Before anyone had a chance to speak, Scott pounced onto the samurai. Kecho, taking the cue, attempted to roundhouse kick the shorter man--Herbert--in the face, only to have him teleport behind her.

“You tread the path of betrayal with a great deal of lightness, Hugh,” Tatsumi said, manipulating his sword as he was falling to the ground, “Before I kill you, will you at least express your regret?”

Scott felt Tatsumi’s sword creating a single, long streak of blood on his back. He saw Tatsumi’s hand holding that warped sword, which winded from his hand to Scott’s back.

“My only regret,” Scott said, “Is that you don’t use bullets.”

With that, Scott threw his right hand behind him, grabbing the sword as he spun off of Tatsumi. Taking the sword from Tatsumi, Scott threw it down the corridor as he kicked Tatsumi in the face. Jumping up, he thrust his elbow into Tatsumi’s chest.

He looked around and saw Kecho with her arm wrapped around Herbert’s neck.

“His power works by touch,” Kecho said, “Wherever he goes, I go.”

Scott grabbed Herbert’s hand. For a moment, he thought the teleporter’s hand was bleeding. Then he realized it was his own. Choosing to ignore it, he said, “You know what I’ve done. You know what I’m willing to do. Get us out of here. Now.”

Seeing no other option, Herbert obliged.

The year was 2011. Hugh was watching television on the sofa, caressing Kecho’s soft white hair. On at that particular moment was The Jimmy Ferguson Hour, a talk show.

“It seems the man without a face struck again today, folks. A 35 year old man reports being on his way to work in the morning when suddenly he woke up in an alleyway at midnight. A man of his height and build was reportedly behind the taking down 15 of Godfrey’s men.”

“Now, there are a lot of folks out there who claim these super heroes--these vigilantes--are the next step of human evolution. But if that’s true, does that mean humanity’s future belongs to schizophrenics? If so, I guess Glenn Beck was ahead of the curve.”

Snowbird gave a weak chuckle to the television, as Hugh continued to gaze into the TV set, unfazed. Neither noticed Alex Gryzlov--perhaps more appropriately referred to in this moment as The Hunter--crouched in their lawn, hiding in a bush. He felt his heart pounding, each beat feeling like a boxer trying to punch his way out of the rib cage. Gryzlov could hear the television Snowbird and Hugh were watching. He could smell the trash that their neighbor three doors down had forgotten to take out today. He could feel the bird’s wings above him, shifting the currents of the air.

Rubbing his hands together, he couldn’t help but notice that they lacked wrinkles. He felt younger, stronger.

In leaps and bounds he darted towards one of the home’s windows. He burst through it, not even noticing the shards of glass that pierced his skin, disregarding the shards that pierced his feet. Instead, he turned towards Snowbird and Hugh.

Hugh, not getting up from his couch, said, “I haven’t killed someone in a long time. But let me tell you something. It’s like getting back on a bike: you never really forget how to do it. Either you’re a confused junky, in which case you should leave now. Otherwise, I’m going to kill you. Are you ready to die?”

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