Once again, I sat on my couch with my cup of cream, sugar, and a hint of coffee. I had known I needed to find Mary the first second that ‘bad egg’ hit the ground. I had known not only because I loved her and felt a traditional sense of protection that those feel for loved ones but something more too. That hand inside me that kept ratcheting up the thermostat had seemed to tug and pull me towards her. Sort of like when a young child steals a cookie from the cookie jar, their moral compass is screaming “No! Go the other way!” Only now it wasn’t a moral compass tugging at my consciousness, it was a Mary compass.
I set down the half empty cup getting ready to leave, did I need to bring anything? I tried to think of anything that might be helpful. I never owned a gun and unlike my disgruntled friend in the brick house I wasn’t a fan of golf. Shrugging and heading out the door I decided that the glowing force field hand trick would have to suffice.
My Mary compass told me to head back into town, away from the egg. For a moment I paused, hand half way in the cookie jar, and looked toward the egg. Then headed back into town. The sun was getting ready to drop from the sky now, already long shadows were growing across the streets and covering the houses. The dust that had dominated the landscape was slowly moving on, taken away by the cool spring breeze.
The streets were empty now so I didn’t bother with the rooftops though I had thought about it. Instead I sped down along the road, the houses that I passed all revealed people crowded around their TV screens. Faces pale, eyes glazed. I longed for a radio. My phone had an app for that.
And then it dawned on me, my Mary compass was taking me right by where I had been when the egg crashed. Just my luck. As I approached the intersection near where I hoped my phone was I heard a scream.
A thought blitzed its way through my mind. Just one word but it bore though me like a mole through a hole. Mary.
I turned and leaped onto the nearest building. The scream came again. I flew in its direction, two rooftops later I was looking down at the most bizarre sight I had ever seen.
A foul collection of creatures, crawl-walked their way toward a family of four. A husband and wife and two young girls. The creatures were like none I had ever seen, they were long and thick. Some had four legs, some had three, others had six. Their skin ranged from grey to black, spotted and scaly. Their faces were grotesque malformed after thoughts of some cruel god. There were five of them and then a man all dressed in black, cloaked and hooded standing behind the five monstrosities.
The broiler lit up inside me. My hands were glowing and at my side a beam of light had appeared. Just a faint flickering luminescence at first but it was solidifying quickly. I must have been the strangest sight those little girls had ever seen, as they looked up toward me and their jaws dropped the mother straight fainted and the father wet himself. It might have been the monsters.
I stood there on the roof of a small dental clinic, khaki pants, red and black plaid shirt, and glowing as if I was a street lamp. Leaping down into the alley I put myself between the besieged and the besiegers giving the latter pause.
They sized me up, holding their position in the dark alley until a voice colder than ice and softer than snow slithered through all that stood in the dark alley.
“Kill him.” It hissed.
Reflexively I drew what was now a sword of white light from my side. I had never used a sword before, but let me tell you, it was like the first time you lay with a lover, exciting, nerve-wracking, and everything you ever wanted.
The creatures came forward and I stepped to meet them. The sword was light in my hand and I moved quickly taking the sword with me. It was my first fight since Bill Hamilton had knocked me down with a single punch in the ninth grade. This fight was over just as fast. The sword cutting easily through their oddly numbered limbs. They let out low grumbling moans of pain as they died. I danced around their limbs as they moved as if in slow motion.
A ragged claw came crashing down toward me as my sword ended the life of the fourth monster. The fifth the, six legged one had caught me off guard. It was after all my first time using a sword. I reached my left hand, my free hand, up and the glowing shield of light appeared again and the claw was turned away. I brought the sword up and ended his life.
I turned to face the hooded man with the whispering voice but he was gone. The family was already running away, the father had opened a gate into a neighboring backyard to make room for their escape. I stood alone in the alley, surrounded by creatures that were not of this world with a glowing sword and shield in my hands. Strange to think the day started with an unhappy bus ride.
I put the sword back at my hip where it promptly disappeared taking the shield with it. I felt the tug of direction again stronger now, urgent and distressed. The thought raced across my mind again. Mary.