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My Nightmare

“Do we! Do we know, when we FLY? When we, when we go, do we die?”
-System of a Down



I walk into the rooftop shack, tracking mud all over the concrete floor. Johnny is already at the counter waiting for me. He greets me with a timid grin. “What do you have for me Johnny?” I say as I look around the place. It reminds me of a mechanic’s workshop. The walls are made of wood, rotting away. The dusty rafters are currently being used as a place for storage. Except, instead of radiators, mufflers, and carburetors lining the walls, there are guns. “Ahem,” I’m pulled out of my reverie by the sound of Johnny clearing his throat. He hands me a small, brown package. I give him a slight nod and then walk back out into the open air. The building is an abandoned warehouse. It’s used as a meeting place and for underground weapons deals. I tear off the covering to the package and pull out a small handgun. It’s one of the new U22 NEOS from Beretta, perfect. I tuck it into my belt in the back. I back up and shake out my arms, loosening up. I take one deep breath and then start sprinting. I reach the edge of the roof and hurl myself into the air. Legs bent, arms wide, head up to scan my surroundings, I soar. I am not afraid to show my gift. I was never afraid. It was just more intelligent to hide it.
I’m flying over the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge to my left. The sun hangs in the sky right above me. The wind ripples my jacket and pants, but I remain on a steady course. Why now have I chosen to come out of hiding? I got sick of pretending to be something that I’m not? I don’t know who I am anymore? I realized you can’t keep secrets? I accepted the fact that no matter where I go, they will find me? I have no real reason to explain my actions. I am all too aware of the consequences that will follow, but I honestly don’t care anymore. Even when most people don’t go looking for trouble, trouble manages to find them. I will not stand idle to be found and dragged away like some kind of animal. I am no coward. I will face my demon. I will look him in the eye. I will laugh in his face. I will stab him in the gut and watch him bleed out. Or die trying.
As my thoughts reach this conclusion I spot a black jeep. Right on cue. He is stopped on the bridge, facing me. I feel the twang of intuition to confirm he’s one of them. I swerve and begin flying away from the bridge. I’ve almost reached the end to the water beneath me. I can see up close to the buildings and parking lots of the city. I can see the black glint of another jeep. He’s parked in front of a Verizon Wireless tower. I turn in a circle to view every angle of my environment. Several jeeps are here, watching me. All parked in inconspicuous places, but impossible to miss. A small smirk spreads across my face as the loud whir of a helicopter invades my ears. It approaches me from behind, keeping its distance. Another helicopter appears from behind the building next to the Verizon tower. They really pulled out all the stops. How the h*** did they find me so quickly? What do they have a whole team stationed in each major city? I shake my head in disbelief. I’m in the city now. Still flying casually. They’re only observing me, waiting for me to make the first move. I glance sideways, focusing on every rooftop. I count fifteen snipers in place. I can’t help myself, I start laughing. I spin around and clap my hands in the direction of the helicopter. I can almost sense index fingers reaching to grasp their triggers. “Well done! I love a challenge!” I shout back to the helicopter. I don’t know whether or not they can hear me, but I can see the puzzled looks on their faces as they draw closer. Without warning, I engage in a downward spiral. I hit the roof of a Casino at 80 miles per hour, running. I jump off the edge of the roof and use the momentum from running to fly faster. I’m already a mile in front of the helicopter. Bullets whiz through the air. Snipers rush to adjust their settings as I pass them. I develop a constant rhythm. Touchdown, run like h***, hurl myself off the roof, fly, kick my feet midair, touchdown again. Air rushes in and out of my lungs. I don’t feel tired or weak yet. Adrenaline courses hot through my veins. The thrill of the chase. They’re shouting at me now. The sound amplified either over the helicopter’s radio or through a megaphone. They’re telling me to give up, there’s no point in running. Come quietly, don’t make a scene. Fools. They should know better than to try that. Who knows how many pedestrians have already seen my antics? It’s going to be extremely difficult to cover this up. That was the whole point. Expose what they’re doing. They take people. Imprison them. They experiment on them, test their abilities and knowledge. Torture them. Break them. Brainwash them into thinking they’re one of them. Then the victims join them in the task to make the world uniform. No one different. No one with any special power. They are the only ones allowed to have power; they are the only ones who can truly use it. To control people. No one knows why they do it. They only know that they’re filled with hatred and evil. They live to serve their own purpose.
I’m suspended in mid- air when a bullet pierces my forearm. I feel the cold metal puncture my skin. It presses deeply into the muscle and stays wedged there, burning. Hotter and hotter the fire in my body burns. All of the heat concentrated on the site where the bullet entered the skin. I fold over, clutching my arm to my stomach. I can’t straighten out enough to make the landing. I hit the roof face first, knocking my head against the concrete. The Earth is shaking violently. The ground shifts underneath me. Still hotter the fire burns, spreading, melting the bullet, sealing the wound. My heart pounds in my ears. I can’t see straight. I can sense the helicopter catching up with me. I have to get up. This isn’t a game to me anymore. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to do this. I don’t regret it; I just think it was s*** crazy. I force myself to get up. My brain is chemical. Acid. I resume the endless running, this time slower. After a few minutes, the pain fades into the background. I develop a strong headache, but nothing more. I glance back, the helicopter has gotten uncomfortably close, but I can still outrun them. My eyes light up as fire shoots into the air. Huge chucks of the building behind me are blown off and fall to the ground below. Explosives? They must be getting desperate. This was becoming all the more dangerous. All the more reason to find a place to hide. I turn my head back around, searching. I’m coming up on a large office building, if I can distract them long enough to just…….. The ground directly behind me dips, then swells. I make one last leap before it goes up in smoke. The windows to the office building all shatter from the aftershock. As I fall, I grab onto a ledge and swing down through one. The broken glass slightly grazes my side, but otherwise I remain untouched. I crouch behind one of the overturned desks. The helicopter hovers overhead for several minutes. They drop lower to scan the building, firing a few shots into the levels above me. I can hear them recede. I wait until the loud whir is a safe distance away. I walk over to the window, leaning out and looking up. It won’t be such a far climb. The glass is the problem. I take my shirt off and tear it into strips. I wrap them around each hand, tying the ends off. I close my eyes, trying to talk myself into this. “Screw it.” I stand on the sill and hold the wall. I reach my foot outward into the void, turning to hook it around the window to my left. My body is pushed up against the side of the building. I let out a sharp breath and extend my body to grasp the sill of the window above me. Shards of glass in bed themselves into the pads of my fingers. I move my fingers even farther back until I have a complete hold of the lip. I let go, allowing my feet to dangle, holding on only by my cold fingers. I throw my head back. The breeze ruffles my hair. I pull myself up, grunting from the effort. I’m at level with the sill and straighten my arms to put my feet on the glass. Automatically, I reach up to grab the next sill, maintaining my precarious balance.
I heft myself up one last time, collapsing onto the roof. My arms feel like jelly. I lay there for a minute catching my breath. The sun is lower in the sky than I expected it to be. White jet streams stretch across the horizon. I stand up, untying the cloth on my hands and throw it over my shoulder. I had wondered why no snipers fired at me while I was climbing. Now I see why. They’ve all changed their positions. They’ve strategically formed a circle around me, trapping me. I hold up my hands in mock surrender. I can hear them talking into their radios. Homing in on my position. Where are those helicopters? I sense it before I hear it, or even feel it. Something huge is about to send me flying and not in my usual fashion. There’s nothing I can do to stop it. A blast catapults me off the rooftop of the office building. The last thought I have is: “A torpedo? Now really, was that necessary?” I hear a distant laugh, then there is only darkness.
“I’m dead. Please God, let me be dead.” My thoughts echo in the back of my skull. There is nothing. No white light, no noise, no sense of anything. “You’re not dead.” Someone answers me. “Who the…………..?” I don’t have time to finish the thought as my senses gradually return to me. I feel my body lying in water. I smell the fumes of gasoline and diesel, emitting from the cars on the bridge. I open my eyes. Everything is fuzzy, a mix of colors. I even regain my sense of taste, although it’s not such a great accomplishment considering all I can savor is blood. I can now hear the sound of my own breathing in my ears. I hadn’t realized my hearing was temporarily lost. I attempt to move my arm. It lifts easily into the air. I see a smear of metal on my bare arm from where the bullet wound used to be. Fascinating, a new ability and a very useful one too. I touch the metal and it reminds me of the cold and then the fire. The whole of what I’ve done hits me like a shot. I re-experience everything that’s just happened to me, all played back in my mind. I come out of it gasping for air. It’s too much; my mind starts to shut down again. I can hear the pad of footsteps coming across the grass, toward me. I am defenseless and losing consciousness fast. Panic overtakes me. My limbs thrash about, beyond my control as arms take hold of me from behind. My eyes roll back into my head. A woman takes her place in front of me. I can hear her talking, but I can’t understand what she is saying nor do I care. I feel my gun digging into my back. Aha, I’m not as defenseless as I thought. I struggle until they release their grip from me. I take my gun out of my belt and cock it. I don’t hesitate, I pull the trigger. I feel a needle go into my neck.
I stare into a mirror. The pictures show that my hair had once reached to just below my ears. It was a dark brown and extremely curly. Now it has all been buzzed off. Only a thin layer coats my head. I have black irises with deposits of silver along the edges. They have been etched into my eyes. I’m sure the pain must have been unbearable, but I don’t remember any of it. Parts of my body are covered in metal. It extends from my left ankle, up my leg, continued onto my other leg, wrapping around my right hip, across my back, and ending at my left shoulder. They could never explain why or how this happened. No one else suffers from my affliction, it sets me apart. They shaved off my eyebrows as well. I look undeniably inhuman. They will train me to become inhuman. There are many of us. We live together as one, as brothers. We all look the same, but hold different abilities. We don’t have pasts, only futures. We know that they are keeping secrets from us. I will lead us all. I will find the truth. Jamie said she would aid in this task. I have faith in Jamie. I have faith in myself. This, this is only the beginning……



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