Friday, July 16, 2021

1.2 Triggers and Tendrils

I triggered while staring at a bomb. The bomb and I were duct taped to concrete poles 30 feet apart in a crawl space under Winslow High. That evil bitch Sophia Hess, now proven to be Shadow Stalker, hadn't even bothered to blindfold me, regaling me with her sure knowledge that Greg Veder would be reviled forever in Brockton Bay as the mad bomber who blew up Winslow High School. She told me it would be a better fate than I deserved. At least I would be remembered because I was otherwise entirely forgettable, unremarkable, worthless and clueless."Asses to ashes and dork to dust. Amen," She said as she did a sloppy sign of the cross and laughed. She was still laughing as she left.

Thirty feet away from me the timer was counting down. It did so for three hours. When the counter showed ten seconds, I closed my eyes and began to babble at the top of my lungs. I will not embarrass myself by repeating my words.

As I babbled, eyes closed, I suddenly realized I was touching the wires, so I grabbed one and pulled. When the shattering pain and stabbing flames and the endless pressure quit washing over me, the rushing in my head and the pounding of my heart began to subside, I decided I'd better open my eyes. Everything around me was a smoldering ruin, there was no longer a building above me, just rubble and wreckage, yet I was not kaput, finis, muerto. The bomb had gone off, the building was destroyed but I was alive!

Oh and I no longer had arms. I had tendrils.

I found my bike in the parking lot, keys in it and a suicide note taped to the seat. In the note I confessed to every petty  crime and bit of bad conduct that had occurred at Winslow during the two and a half years I had been there. Since the Intruder was part of the evidence, it had been left untouched.

I stashed my stuff in the garage and used the garage entrance to get in the house. The car was gone and all the lights were on. I knew mom wasn't home so the first thing I did was take a shower. I was covered in crawlspace gunk, duct tape residue, and lord knows what I picked up during my trek across the Docks. The hot water felt good. It felt good to be clean again, and it felt even better to confirm in the mirror that besides my arms, nothing else had been changed, though I thought I had lost some weight generally. I weighed myself I had gained 30 pounds, despite looking like I had lost 20. My tendrils, it seemed, were denser than my arms. Much denser.

I grabbed a t shirt and a fresh pair of boxers from my dresser and put them on. When I sat on my bed to put on my socks, I realized I'd forgotten them. I turned where I sat and reached for the dresser with a tendril. It stretched the 10 feet to the dresser, opened the drawer and hesitated. I wanted a pair of my black ankle socks,  The end of my tendril suddenly bloomed out like an anemone, waving a small mass of tendril-fibers before moving down to hover over the drawers contents. I could suddenly sense the colors  and relative sizes, shapes of everything in the drawer. I could even sense the difference between the fabrics. I “knew” which ones were the black ankle socks I wanted and grabbed them, the tendril shrinking back to my normal arm length. 'Cool', I thought as I put on my socks.

I really needed to get back to the garage and start tearing apart the Intruder. I had a ton of ideas for fixing it, but I stopped in the kitchen and used the house phone to call my mom first, letting her know I was home, safe and in the garage fixing my bike.


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