SP – The Evil Eye
Written by castor :: [Wednesday, 20 May 2015 14:59] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 20 May 2015 20:01]
If you where to look to the outside of the Hard Eight pool hall, you may shake your head and move on. You would think it was a smoky gin joint with a group of cheep hustlers and want a bes …
And well you would be mostly right, except it didn’t actually serve gin or booze. It was a smoky den, where people could play a round of pool for 10 bucks an hour, see through the occasional tobacco cloud, bullshit, get conned, and eat decent-ish nachos.
To Alexa Herenandez, it felt like home.
She came here about 4 or 5 nights a week, sometimes even in the afternoons on weekends. She liked to think of herself as a pool hustler, who made money from the gambling and the lifestyle and, well, if it cost 10 bucks an hour to play most nights she would walk out covering that and maybe buy a coke from the concessions. She was good, one of the better. Occasionally, she would get hustled – or the chump got lucky – but when you’re paying 30 bucks it wasn’t the end of the world.
She was good. She knew the eight ball, and how to use a cue. They graded players from A to C. She was probably a B on a good day or could compete with one at least. She played for the companionship. She had a lot of friends, some she bet with, some who wouldn’t but play with. A good game of pool was a better than Facebook and, if they where older and wiser, they reminded her of dad. In a good way. Till he went away for all practical purposes.
It was on a Saturday afternoon – a bright sunny one. A perfect day to go outside – to the beach, to the park, shopping, what ever – not go into a dark dingy little game hall. She looked up at the sun and smiled a bit as she did. But they had snooker.
She had a lot of energy recently, as if life was moving. It was a good feeling. As if she never got tired from the time she woke up to the time she spent in druggy at the hospital (she wasn’t cool like or a doctor or a nurse, she just ordered medical supplies) to the time at the hall. It felt an edge.
She bought a coke. It was a ritual. A good classic coke. Got a table and started to play. Usually she played a game by herself before anyone else came. Practice the craft, learns the table, wait to see who showed up.
That was easy. She was a pretty girl. People came to the table. She tended to wear low cut dresses, especially when she had time to go home from work. These did a good job of showing off her breasts, which were quite large and she was proud of (even if the rest of her figure was slightly full, ala Marylyn Monroe). People on the table looked at her boobs when they should be looking at the balls.
It was power and she liked it.
And this was a nice little red one.
The practice game went well enough: 3 turns and Frank showed up. Frank was an older guy: 60 at least. She played him once in a while, and took his money most of the time. 85% which was enough to make it interesting. He put down 50. He gave her a weak smile and with little words wracked up the table.
He looked at her and grunted. As he did, she realized something. She didn’t know his last name. She met guys most of the time, who were in effect paying her for conversation at the table. He wasn’t. He didn’t like to talk, just play. Normally that was okay, but suddenly she felt kind of vulnerable for a guy she had known for 5 years.
They racked and she cued. Being slightly distracted she got a bad break. The first turn she didn’t get a damn ball. He got 5 on a streak. The next ball she managed to sink one before he went in … And well finished up the run.
Best of five.
He won the next one to.
Damn, this was getting to her.
She managed to win the next round … but it was hard.
He was smiling now – the fucker. For some reason that’s what she thought. He was smiling and laughing a bit – not so much chatty, but as if the world was his oyster. This was 100 bucks – a good day for him. She didn’t want him to have a good day. He didn’t deserve it.
Pool is a mental game. There is an element of physicality to it, but not really. It’s not in the Olympics. It’s skill and the mind shaped by skill … and as she let him get in her head, she felt it slipping. In the last game she was down to the five balls and he looked: with one better stroke he would win it all …
She looked at him and he exploded.
Now people who played games a lot would occasionally see an odd thing: weird little delusions or illusions. Flashes of the eye and for a second that this was it was. Okay, she lost a game, no big deal. She would get over it, maybe play around with herself, then get friendly with someone and knock the pants off – you know – keep playing bad play was a million years ago. She shook her head.
Then the screaming started.
She turned around. There were about 30 people in the room and all of them were shrieking loudly. Most were running away in terror. She felt the dull nature of understanding and looked to see where Frank was … and it was where he was.
His upper body was gone. Burned away as if it hadn’t been there … his lower body starting with about 1/3 of his guts had fallen to the ground and was sprawling on the floor.
Then she joined in the screams.
She thought about running, thought about anything.
Then she looked at a pool table … and it was on fire.
She screamed again … then turned her eyes to a lamp above it and …
… she noticed it. Things weren’t just going on fire, but for a split second something was coming out of her eye. It looked like a laser. A ray of concussive heat which, she supposed, was the same thing as a laser, a bit of red energy that filled her eye … and burned.
She screamed some more and fell to her feet.
What was going on? What was going on … what was going on with her?
Someone walked forward to her. She could hear there footsteps, but didn’t’ dare open her eyes …
“Alexa?” said a voice she had a hard time recognizing before thinking it was Jimmy. Pool was an old persons game at times. He was young and the kind cute that she occasionally dreamed about … but it never quite happened. Don’t sleep around at work.
“Yes.” she said looking for something anything familiar “Are you okay?”
“I’m … I am feeling strange … is this in my head?”
“What’s going on?” asked Alexa, though she realized as she said it there was no reason he would have an answer.
“Donno.” said Jimmy “What are you doing?”
“Killing Frank.” she sad with a certain matter of factness … for even as she added “I didn’t mean to.” she realized something in the moment she wanted to. The desire came to her …
She opened her eyes, looked at a jukebox and watched it explode into a million pieces
“Run.” she said to Jim and that, at least, she meant it.
Anger that was the key. It was like that movie she watched on a plane once.
And she felt very angry and, while she didn’t want to, the anger and fear in her welled up. They were her emotions and, as long as she kept them, nasty things would happen, to either the pool hall or her. Probably both.
She could hear the pool hall empty out. Even Jimmy left her … smart man. She knew that in a few minutes the police would come.
The logical response would be to try to get away from it, but she doubted the police would allow that. Run away into the afternoon. Maybe they wouldn’t ID her. Maybe she could get home. Maybe – hell – she could just go outside and say that she was just as freaked out and laser beam eyes … that was silly wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?
She didn’t think that would work.
There were news reports she saw a couple weeks ago about a superfast woman going around town and … well. Once you believe that, what you would believe …?
Oh yeah, she was superfast, bother that.
She got up. She did a survey of the place, her eyes functioning normally enough. She could see. Oh, she could see.
It was a large room and there wasn’t a real window in the place. On one side, behind a wall, there was a clothing store she had never been into and other … like office supplies? Behind there was a brick wall. This was important: only the front was an exit. This was not a room with a lot of natural light. This was useful. Cause Snipers. Guns.
And guns were important as now she was – for all practical purposes – one. Probably more powerful than anything short of a tank. Hell, maybe more powerful.
But – she scratched her hand with the other – it hurt. She suspected bullets hurt more.
Okay, what was next?
As it turned out, for like 15 minutes – not much – she was alone in the building, waiting for the response. If the police showed up they weren’t coming inside. Maybe she could have escaped. She didn’t know. She was in there and – for the first five minutes – she was terrified. Terrified beyond all measure.
The next five minutes she realized her heart was beating and she concentrated on it, at first to try to slow it down, then just unable to do anything else … just it was …
The next … just the dread. The pure dread of it all overtook her system. What was she? What had she become? Had some deformity happened to her face? She went to a mirror on the wall and looked at herself. She looked. The same, that was the thing. Hell, most of her makeup was in place. She was just a normal looking Latina woman who was scared and frightened and …
The bathroom door opened. A man walked out.
As she turned her face towards him eye blasts came out.
And then he was dead.
Two seconds after opening the door his upper torso had been incinerated into ash and his lower body had fell.
She had no idea who he was. Walking up and looking at him, he was just a random guy. Someone who came in to play a game of pool. Went into the john. Probably heard the commotion and …
She went to look into the guy’s wallet when she felt it. It was too fast to even comprehend it, but one second she was standing up, the next she was on the ground and there were handcuffs. Hell, a second was too long. It felt as if she had been teleported. Her face to the ground.
“What the hell is going on?” Said a voice she had never heard before but could identify.
“Are you Blip?” said Alexa.
“Yes.” she replied “What’s going …”
Alexa paused for a split second, then turned over. It took her a second to focus her eyes on the blue spandex-clad heroine in front of her. She thought she looked rather silly honestly. In the bar lighting it looked gaudy.
She focused her eyes to emit a giant blast of heat right at her. Not for long she would. As it erupted from her face.
She closed her eyes afterwards. It was so bright. The glare. It took her a moment to open and reprocesses to see she was gone. And nothing was there. Had she been …?
She turned, heard a noise from behind a pool table and she knew who.
“Very smart.” said Alexa.
She looked down at her hands. Focused her eyes and … the handcuffs were gone. She was getting the hang of it.
“You’re acting like something from a comic book.” said Blip.
“That” said Alexa “is rich. Very rich …”
“Point taken.” said Blip. “I have never actually done this though. And I don’t want to start.”
“Stay where you are.”
“Like forever?” said Blip “This isn’t a comic book, though Come on, the police are outside. You can’t escape. You can’t take me hostage or anything.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” said Alexa
“Are you bulletproof?” said Blip
“You’re not, I don’t think.”
“What are you trying to accomplish? Rob the 200 bucks in the till, a bowling trophy?”
“I am trying to get out of here. If you can convince the police to just let me go I won’t hurt anyone else.”
“I bet.” said Blip from away “That if I was a policeman I would be trained to say ‘sure’ … but that’s stupid. Come on. I am going to put handcuffs on you and let’s walkout side … I don’t … I don’t want to do this.”
“Nothing can stop me. I’m … imp—”
There was a pause.
She didn’t have a cool name.
She saw it because she looked for it. The movement. A blurring of the light coming out from behind the pool table. Huh. Well then. She shot out her ray, but even as she does she realized she may not be fast enough. Sometimes in pool the trick isn’t to see if the ball would be hit – which is easy enough – but hit where the ball would be. And while this was complicated physics in the game …
She turned her head from left to right as fast as she could, doing a giant sweep of her heat laser eyes at a thousand degrees moving in a giant arc, burning up the walls and destroying the fixtures of the place as fast as she could, up and down.
She did a very quick loop. As the lasers came at the speed of light, which was probably quicker then her.
She turned off her eyes and looked around.
She heard a light moaning from the ground.
God what had she done!
She turned, slightly dizzy, to hear the noise. Something was on the ground. She could see in the distance Blip on the ground. Her costume was burnt off in part to revel a serious burn on her surprisingly thin arm. She looked so frail and human more skinny than you think. She clutched it as she laid on the ground.
From the hospital she knew these were a large, second degree burns on her arm.. She looked at her leg. She had jumped down to the ground – a smart strategy probably – and in it had landed funny. Things that wouldn’t happen in a comic book, perhaps. In short, she was hurt.
God what had she done!
But there was no stopping now.
She walked closer she deserved that.
“You shouldn’t have gotten involved now.”
“STOP!!!” said a voice she was unfamiliar with. It was another female voice, but a strong one, a sure one.
She turned around. Her eye blasts extended out and burned the nacho machine.
“Missed me.” said the voice as she walked out from behind a column.
It was another idiotic superhero, this time with a domino mask that made her look like the Hamburgler and easy to target red suit and cape.
“Hello Ma’am I’m Whiplash.” Anita paused.
“You’re another costumed crazy person.”
“That’s what the courts tend to think.” said Whiplash “I know better, but it is funny. After all this started the cops let me right in here. Right in. Once these kinda things start … well things happen.”
Alexa paused. She could kill her in an instant. But …
“You’re invulnerable to lasers.”
“I never tried.” said Whiplash “Doesn’t matter.”
Alexa heard the moaning Blip behind her. She looked down unable to meet the gaze.
“I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
“No one ever does.” said Whiplash “From my experience none go out of their way to hurt people. That’s something you only see in comic books. Or Thomas Harris Novels. Same thing.”
“I’ve killed two people. They’re dead.”
“Such a pity.” said Whiplash.
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Don’t know. If you kill me and her … I guess in a couple of hours the SWAT team will come in. Don’t know their chances, but unless you’re invulnerable it’s a number game. Maybe you get lucky. Maybe they loose 1 or 2 from what I have heard, but you’re going down too.”
She closed her eyes.. She expected to get tacked, but when she stood up Whiplash was standing there, right in front of her, calmly as anyone she had ever seen in her life.
“I don’t want to die.”
Whiplash paused “I know. But that doesn’t give you the right to let other people die.”
“If this had just been … if this had just been different situation, I would probably … I would probably …”
And an eye blast came out and hit the chandelier
Whiplash stood stock still not a flicker of fear across her face even as Blip cowered.
“Why?” shouted Alexa “Why? Why?!”
“I have no idea. But if you calm down we can figure this out.” said Whiplash.
“I’m a monster. If I go out there I am just going to jail for the rest of my life or worse.”
“We can figure this out.” said whiplash.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“I believe you.” said Whiplash “And I don’t want to have to stop you.”
“Do you think you can now?” said Alexa
“Whether I can or not … then you are a monster.”
And Alexa started to cry. “I just can’t. They’re just going to lock me up the rest of my life and cut me open and …”
Over the wall she saw a large dingy mirror. She extended up her eyes towards it and let loose the heat like lasers. This was basic physics. This was …
The mirror melted into sludge in a second, damaging the wall behind it.
She fell down on her ground and sobbed.
Whiplash came around her and hugged her close to her patting her back.
Blip paused getting up, it hurt to walk, but she could do so. It hurt. As she watched Whiplash gently comfort Alexa. She walked and patted their shoulder as she watched them.
About an hour latter Blip and Whiplash stood outside. In comics this would be on a rooftop or an alley, but it was really in the back of a busy parking lot. Still the lots of people gave them space.
Blip was standing around it. It was curious for her. This was her first real time in the two weeks – since this really started – that she was just … around in her costume. It hurt to walk around and she thought about disappearing … but, well, she would have to think about it. Meanwhile she just felt strange. Stranger still … people looking at her awkwardly, even as the police surrounded her and gave her space. They weren’t even really asking her questions. It just happened. One person looked as if he wanted her autograph, but as he came up someone with him stopped him, knowing better.
She was the superhero, they were the cops. That’s how life worked now. She wanted to call her hubby and just talk to him but, well, she was a superhero. Secret fucking identity.
The people outside, the people inside they had to go to the hospital, though no one seemed that hurt. One of them was really crying. He was nice looking young man … perhaps her boyfriend? She sighed.
Her super career had been one fantastical emotional. 3 months of giddy preparation, followed by 2 weeks of the joy of action watching herself zip around town doing this or that, become a household name the figure on TV who did stuff a hero. How well the world actually treated her had been astonishing to her and this – she suspected – the press would build up as her greatest accomplishment yet. Fighting a supervillian with heat vision. ‘Cause, well, that’s what superheroes do. But now she felt as if she had stopped. A painful note of reality.
Whiplash though she seemed as if she was born to do this. She had read about her in the paper, but this was her first time seeing her. They were a little vague on what she could actually do … but whatever She was confident smooth and in control.
“You did well in there.” said Blip.
“You to.” said Whiplash
“You’ve been doing this longer then I have.” said Blip.
“Does it …” said Blip “Does it get any easier?”
“What?” asked Whiplash with quiet strength.
“Things like that. People. Poor souls with superpowers trying to kill you … kinda.”
Whiplash shrugged “Well, it’s always an element of chance. You never know When they are going to get lucky could be them … could be some punk on the street.”
“Not physically.” said Blip “Just … I guess … emotionally. Is that the word?”
Whiplash smiled at Blip and hugged her. “You have a heart. When I heard about a superfast speedster in the city my first thought was: ‘wow I hope she isn’t evil, cause we would just end up doing one of those big two superpowered fights that no one wins and seems to be the plot of the new superman vs batman film’ … what did you think of the trailer?”
Whiplash giggled. Blip smiled
“The point is … the point is in things like this afternoon it’s good that you have a heart. As long as it hurts a bit that shows that you care, have compassion and are well …do you ever worry that you’re not human any more?”
“Well as long as it hurts you are.”
Blip smiled “I am glad that this city has a powerful champion like you to protect it.”
Whiplash nodded “I am glad it has a good one.”
Latter at the hospital Alexa laid on the table. There were policemen in the room as always in the last 36 hours. Not that it would save them. Not really. If she wanted to she could have burned them to hell. Escaped maybe … or maybe she would get shot. Or maybe …
“Are you sure you want to do this?” said a doctor “You said you can control it.”
“Yes.” she said “God yes. A thousand times yes. I can’t control them. This is the only way.God please …”
And the doctor put her under. They gave her that courtesy
Then surgically removed her eyes.
Alexa Hernandez was tried for two counts of murder but, with evidence of her self-induced surgery and her story, she was able to pleas for one case of manslaughter and one case of murder in the second degree. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison, though she was told that with good behavior she was likely to serve 5.
They sent her to a special Texas ward – not for those with superpowers as they didn’t have anything like that – but for the blind. There she learned Braille and coping with loss of sight, but spent most of her time in her cell listening to music. A quiet person lost in her own small room.
She didn’t tell them though. She never did, as she realized it would just get her in more trouble.
She could still see.