Sunday, February 5, 2017

Resurrection (super people)

When your mind is clear and your thoughts fall silent, you can, sometimes, hear destiny calling out to you.  Sometimes.

The call is faint, and it takes effort to follow, but the very act of making the effort can fill your mind with thoughts, second guesses, predictions, hopes, fears, and all the noise that would drown out the quiet call of destiny.

The larger problem, though, is that the call of destiny sounds a lot like the call of someone with mental powers baiting a trap.  One shouldn't ignore the call of destiny.  One shouldn't walk into a trap.  The inability to differentiate the two made such "should"s very weak guidance indeed.

Alyssa followed the call as cautiously and quietly as she could.

When she realized where she was being led, possibilities flooded her mind and she couldn't hear the call anymore --not that she needed to.  It wasn't the sort of place one forgot.  The memorial had been built blocks away --in a more convenient place, they said-- and now there were any number of people who thought that was where it had happened.  But she remembered.

The call was leading her to where a hero --the hero had died.  A poetic place for someone to try to kill her, but also a place with various potential uses in all sorts of things.  Could be a trap, could be a true call; impossible to tell.

The city had changed, so had she, but as she kept moving closer memory started to mix with perception.  She'd been a lot shorter then.  Angles were different.  It was still so familiar.

As she turned onto the right street she looked up and to the left.  The building didn't exist anymore --a dated one that was meant to look "modern" stood in its place-- but she still knew exactly where he'd smashed into it.  Such a glancing blow that instead of being forced through the wall he skipped off of it and continued down to the street ahead of her.

At the time the idea of anything other than a helicopter landing vertically was either science fiction or supervillainy.  There weren't any other options except, perhaps, "both".  She remembered sound the main craft had made as it landed on top of cars.  The four smaller ones waited for panicked drivers to clear the street before they landed.

The drivers might have evacuated, but pedestrians were another matter entirely.  They were drawn to the spectacle and it was only because of bad guys with guns --scary looking ray guns-- that they didn't crowd into the street.

Her parents had tried to keep her back, of course.  But she'd been a five year old and there was a real live superhero nearby.  She remembered how she'd slipped her hand free and instead of going away like they wanted, pushed through the crowd until she was at the very front.

By then the hero was starting to recover.  Standing.  He was getting to his feet.  She remembered being so excited; she was about to see a hero bring the bad guys to justice.

The fight was short.  The other sidewalk quickly cleared as hero and villain alike were tossed into the buildings on that side.

The hero was bleeding, he never seemed to bleed.  The ray they'd fired had barely grazed him.

One of the villains was in power armor, as a child Alyssa had thought he was the only real threat, she didn't understand the significance of the ray or the blood.

The armor was sparking and failing, the fight was about to end.

Alyssa knelt where she'd stood nearly thirty years ago.  Her eyes about the same level as they'd been when she was a child.  She'd been right.  The fight was about to end.  But the power armor had enough energy left for one last move.

An exposed I-beam was wrenched free of its building and thrown across the street.

The throw was too fast to track.  One moment the beam was in the villain's hand, the next it was inches away from her face, filling her entire vision.

She'd flinched back and then saw the hero, kneeling just a bit to her left.  He'd caught the beam and saved her life.  Their eyes met.  He died.  Chaos was unleashed.

The call of destiny was getting louder, cutting through her memories.  She was beginning to a get a sense of what was going on.  Metallic taste, metallic smell.  Blood magic was at work.

The air developed a swirl around an area not far in front of her.

Then it happened.

The street seemed to ooze with blood, then the blood took form: a man with one knee on the ground, the other leg bracing to stop him from moving forward, arms stretched out to catch a beam that hadn't existed for decades.

"It can't be," Alyssa said, mostly to get the words out of her head.

A moment later and he wasn't blood.  He was an ordinary a person --naked-- in the street.  He collapsed and she caught him before he could hit the ground.

"Am I dead?" he asked.

"Not anymore," she said.

* * *

"You're lucky that I like coats that are too big for me," Alyssa said.  He was still naked underneath it, but it was a start.  "We've got to get you inside."

Soon they were walking, she had to support him to keep him from toppling over.  If she were lucky, everyone would think he was too drunk to stand, if not. . .

"I won't be the only one who sensed that something happened," Alyssa said.  "Magic powerful enough to revive you after three decades will have attracted a lot of attention."

"Three . . ."

There was the coherent and eloquent hero everyone talked so much about.

"Thirty years, or will be come spring," Alyssa said.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Not entirely sure," Alyssa said.  "The only thing I'm intimately familiar with that can raise the dead involves soul selling, is always presented in a 'never be stupid enough to try this' kind of way, isn't blood magic, and only works if the soul is still in the body."

"I mean, after I . . ." the silence dragged on for a while.  Eventually he said, "Died."  More silence.  "After I died, what happened?"

"The bad guys were so caught up in self-congratulation and poking your corpse that they forgot about crowd control," Alyssa said.  "The uncontrolled crowd mobbed them.  Probably would have killed them but someone with a cool head and a really loud shouting voice reminded everyone that you wouldn't want them murdered."

* * *

". . . which is more or less how things got the way they are today," Alyssa said as she opened the door to her apartment.

She helped him to the couch, and helped him sit down when he got there.

"I had a roommate once upon a time," Alyssa said.  "Turned out he was an asshole.  When that part of him had a chance to shine, it ended in him leaving in a huff.  Didn't even take all his crap with him.  I boxed up what he left behind, but it's been years, so I think it's yours if it fits you."

He just nodded.

When she came back with clothes in hand, Alyssa asked, "You ok?"

"I have no idea how to answer that," he said.

"Well, you've got 30 years of culture to catch up on, we didn't solve all the world's problems in your absence, and you've been raised from the dead," Alyssa said.  "What's bugging you most?"

"I don't remember anything," he said.  "From when I was dead.  Thirty years and I don't remember anything.  Maybe--"

"Nope, not the case; no need to worry about that," Alyssa said.  "For some reason revived people aren't allowed to remember the afterlife even though we now know that there is such a thing, so it wouldn't seem like there are any great secrets they could divulge."

"You know that there's an afterlife?"

Alyssa nodded, then said, "Might not be one you like though.  You're Christian right?"


"Well, given that Christianity has that whole, 'The first shall be last' thing going on and you were never all that meek, it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't grab your soul right off and instead the fact you fell in valiant battle had you hanging out in Valhalla for the past thirty years," Alyssa said.  "I imagine that would be quite a culture shock for a God fearing baptist like yourself."

"I don't fear God," he said.  "God is love, what's to fear?"

Alyssa looked at him quizzically.

"What?" he asked.

"Did you fit in in your own time, because you definitely won't fit in now."

He shook his head.  "Why do you think I chose New York City over farm life?"

"Hay allergies?"

For the first time since his revival he laughed.

Alyssa let out a slow breath and a facade she didn't even know she'd been keeping up dropped.  She only now realized that she'd been trying to to be cheerful enough for the both of them.

"I was there, you know," she said, even though he wouldn't know.

"I was there when you died," she plopped down on the couch beside him.  "It's my earliest memory.  My vividest.  It was the first time I saw anyone die.  I was there."

"A lot of little girls were there."

"I wasn't one of them," Alyssa said.  "I was a little boy."  She ran her fingers through her hair and then realized she should add, "A little blonde boy."

There was silence for a while.  Alyssa started feeling defensive.  "What?  My hair changed to brown as I got older.  It happens."

A few more moments of silence.

"I remember you," he said.

* * *

"The clothes fit ok?" Alyssa asked.

"Well," he said, "I haven't burst any seams and they're not cutting off any circulation."

"Where I come from we call that a win," Alyssa said.

"Did he --did your roommate-- leave because you're . . ."

"Because I'm me," Alyssa said.  "Yeah.  You wouldn't believe how much effort goes into being me.  I tried a spell once, it was supposed to make me into 'the person I was meant to be' or some such.  Utter failure."

Alyssa shrugged.

"On the other hand, it did give me super powers, so I'm not exactly complaining, but damn was it a let down at the time."

"My father always told me that when my mother found me I was a little green man," the hero said.  "My mother says I was more of a blue.  I've never known what I was meant to be.  I just try to be Charles."

The hero, Charles, offered his hand to Alyssa.

She took it.  "I just try to be Alyssa."  She shook his hand.  "It's good to meet you when you're not dying."

* * *

"Ok, magic is definitely not my thing," Alyssa said, "but from what I was able to work out, I don't think we're going to get an explanation on why you're alive in the near future."

"What do you mean?" Charles asked.

"Given the amount of blood that had to be shed to summon you . . . if the people who did it are still alive, they're probably comatose," Alyssa said.

"What if the ones who brought me back weren't--"

"No, this was definitely a case where the sacrifice had to be willingly made," Alyssa said, "and magic tends to be able to understand that things done under coercion aren't done willingly.  Several people thought the world needed you so much right now that they were willing to risk death to bring you back."

"Is there any way to know if they did die?" Charles asked.

"Find someone who is magic and get them to analyze things and maybe they'll be able to work it out," Alyssa.  "I'm more concerned about their reasons.

"Don't get me wrong, I prefer people to be alive rather than dead, but either they're already receiving medical treatment or it's too late for them.  There's nothing for us to do at this point.  Why right now, of all possible times in the last thirty years, is when people decided to do magic so risky no one else has ever attempted it --and people did try to revive you before-- is what I want to know."

Charles nodded.  "It doesn't seem foreboding at all."

"Not in the least," Alyssa said, finding that their sarcasms got along.

I've talked about doing this story for a long time.  The only truly thought out bits being:
  • The hero's eyes meeting blonde boy just before he dies
  • Adult woman who was once that boy being the one to recover him post-resurrection
  • Her response to the pause after correcting the "a lot of girls" statement being a comment about changing hair color
  • The pause actually being his realization that he does remember her
    (she was after all, the last thing he laid eyes on)

1 comment:

  1. OK, this is extremely cool -- you left me *really* wanting to know more! :)