The Wonder – Chapter 5
Written by castor :: [Tuesday, 28 March 2017 02:22] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 28 March 2017 15:26]
Editor's note: As for Castor's request the chapters of this story will be published in the order they're writtern, rather than the correct reading order.
It was hot. The kind of hot that wasn’t meant for an Asphalt jungle, a city where it melted the oil slicks in the potholes, and the steam collected the failed chemicals used to ‘clean it. It create a horrible smell that moved like clouds on the windless day. The flies, strengthened by the garbage on the ground went up onto his forehead as he lied in his cardboard box.
He looked up into the sky with prematurely old eyes.
The women stood over him. He looked and saw sympathetic eye a sea of blue. She leaned down and handed him-not put it in his box, but handed him 20 dollars
she smiled. And then walked away on high kinda of awkward platform heels.
“Nice of you Diana” said her friend as they walked forward
“Well you got to make the world a good place” She said as she walked forward on shaky legs.
Etta chuckled pushing her short brown hair out of her face looking over the decay “One step at a time. How close do you think is that?”
“Closer than you think” said Diana drifting her eyes over the city “closer than you think”
Etta chuckled “optimism isn’t a bad place”
“A Fair place, A just Place, A loving place”
Etta moved into a full on laugh
“Your out of your mind”
Diana sighed pushing her black hair out of her face, framing her slightly frail face to pale for the hot sun. She didn’t have anything to say just walked in her formless grey business suit forward.
She whispered but couldn’t say ‘no’
“So do you want to go out with me tonight” smiled Rick.
“No thank you” said Diana looking up from her computer with her best fake smile.
“Ahh but i was going to take you to the movies, and to ice cream, and maybe some … um what’s some good ethnic food”
“Chinese” said Diana.
She briefly found the eyes of Etta. She was the company’s receptionist, who sat dead eyed at the front desk. Saw the sympathy, the creepiness-but also the envy. She wasn’t pretty enough for this-granted Etta Hated Rick, but still. Diana shook her head.
“To obvious-Thai” said rick with his suit somehow made in 2017 out of polyester.
“Hahaha” said Diana with her best fake laugh, which admittedly wasn’t that great
This was a game they played. Or it was a game that rick played. Cause he could.
Diana sat in the office of The Gaia Foundation feeling the chill of the overly strong air conditioner on her shoulder. Hot or cold. Pick one. She sat at her tiny grey cubicle smiling.
“Well anyway i want that report on the zoning ready for Cale on the desk by Thursday”
“This is complicated” said Diana.
“Were aware of it-but”
“Well this just want to … sure i can do that”
“Good sweet cheeks”
He got up and walked away and turned
“Man even under those frocks you where you can really see what a great ass you have”
“I’m sitting down” said Diana in a chair “You can’t possibly see”
“What an ass”
He smiled and walked away.
Diana grinned the grin of losing just a touch of your soul.
It wasn’t so much warm or cold in prison- but it felt like a temperature. The air had a way of not moving creating a stillness-yes there was odors and smells-but mainly the profound sense of stasis that got to him.
“Cizko?” shouted a guard
Edgar sighed looking up at the cell from his bunk. He knew hope. And hope was a dangerous thing.
“Time for your patrol hearing you psycho” said the guard with a smile.
“I’m going to miss you calling me that” said Edgar
“Yeah yeah” Said the guard “Get up”
he did. Edgar Cizko was just under 5 feet tall-a dwarf really as they called them though little person, midget-he didn’t care. But that wasn’t the thing people noticed. People noticed his stare, how he looked at you. For his body-for anybody really he had big eyes, huge eyes to look right at you and.
“Get going” said the guard “lets do this”
“So what do you think of Greek Food” Said Etta filling up her shawarma salad in big forkfuls into her mouth
“I dunno” said Diana amiably
“Been wanting to try this place ever since they started working on it” Said Etta “That feels like 6 months ago and now it’s open
Diana looked around the blue beige interior of Hellene the corporate greek chain. At least the air conditioner was nice if the Falafel she ate was mush “It’s okay”
“Whats got you down?” said Etta she poured more tahini
“Is it the report whatever?”
“I guess-it’s just trying to ramrod something- theory is it’s going to communicate our findings on environmental damage for this pharmaceuticals plant to the zoning board-but i donno … if i find anything actually wrong it’s going to get swept under the rug”
“Well did you?”
“No” said Diana “But it’s complicated. The sites been in use since the 19th century for 10 things-all of which have seemed to ended badly”
“Well … no, just I am worried that there may be existing chemicals on the site that could have some kind of adverse reaction or something … it’s complicated”
“You’re always looking for problems” said Etta
“Well … it’s my job”
“that doesn’t mean you should agonize over it when you’re eating lunch” said Etta “Compartmentalize. Enjoy it-I’ll get you a desert-lot of honey cakes”
Diana looked up at the rather … festivity plump Etta. She looked down at herself. She had spent years-so many it seems working on staying in shape, training her body to be the example of muscle and strength and …
Honey candy. She didn’t need it. She didn’t even particularly want it.. Baklava they called it right?
There was a voice somewhere in her head telling her if she had to take something for herself she should actually want it. That was the problem with the world.
“Maybe some other time “
“When are you going to come back here?” said Etta
“It’s like two blocks from the office”
“So Mr. Cizko” said the leader of the board sitting at a desk. “What do you think of your time in jail”
She was a woman. Edgar hadn’t figured that. Other than the taunting magazines, and the TV they put on occasionally in the rec room he hadn’t really seen one in 4 years.a Woman. A female. A girl A dame. He wondered for a trick if that was a trick something to get him to make a mistake loose. He couldn’t allow that. He couldn’t. And seriously-no it was just chance. They couldn’t she couldn’t …
“It’s been a time to learn a lot about myself and how i feel about things-i also have done a lot of reading studying without the pressure of academia”
“Oh yes-you’re a grad student” said the parole with a smile-A Smile, the bitchy whore. Was.
He smiled. A little intently “Yes-i hope to get my doctorate-that maybe tricky now but that’s my goal”
“And that’s my next question-well actually my third but who’s counting”
She laughed. He smiled. Such a big happy smile.
“I think overall-it was just the pressure- I spent so long in school-it gets to you-and well …” said Edgar looking down the smile wasn’t appropriate but what was going to do with his face”i hope to learn from my mistakes. So many people i have met in here motivation was money, financial s-i don’t want that. I want to get out and benefit mankind again. Get a fresh start there. Maybe not immediately go back to college-but eventually”
“That seems reasonable” she said smiling
He smiled. She smiled.
They had a big overcrowding problem. The smile he gave. It could burn something. He could .She could tell. But the big overcrowding problem on a 3-5 year sentence and …
She would go out and wash her hands.
Meanwhile Edgar sighed hyperventilating at the effort to be with the woman.
Diana sat at her desk. Tapping a pen down with it. There was evidence of Carbon monoxide on site would it do anything.
“Ms. Prince” said a voice that took her a second to realize. She turned to see a face she rarely saw. Mr Dartvist speaking in his clipped french accent that she wondered was by now an affection in Gaia’s CEO “ I would like to introduce you to Ms. Cale. Shes”
She turned to look up to see a face she had seen in pictures googling. The face was gorgeous. The kinda gorgeous that comes from a regime of makeups to suggest exactly that. Gorgeous. Not Sweet, Not cute, Not Sexual, but a kind of striped down lines of blond gorgeousness. It was a face that smiled at her.
Diana smiled, trying to let it be genuine “yes you’re the head of Cale Pharmaceuticals”
“Ahh” said Cale with an accent that sounded the same as she looked “I see your researchers are doing the basic amount of effort needed-even if you stuff them in a cubical pool”
“It’s a good work environment” said Dartvist “Where a small team, you want them to be together so they can”
Diana smiled. He had a large office at the end of a hall. She saw him … maybe once a month when he was walking. He Was a Green washing company CEO who seemed to follow the philosophy of schmooze with the clients at expensive lunches.
“I can see that” said Cale “Heard that kind of talk before. Ms..Prince right? Any questions i can answer you- i hear it’s taking a while”
“Well it’s all in the files-it’s just-the sites had 10 different factories all doing--”
“This may not be in the file so I’ll tell you. City Land is not cheap anymore, so when six months ago i had the opportunity to buy 2 acres for a relative steal i jumped at it-i think if all said and done i wouldn’t- and it’s been a nightmare of review boards, city planners, soil problems with engineers”
She put a hand on Diana’s shoulder.
“What ever you find out, what ever you learn-it’s not going to surprise me”
The hand felt as cold as ice
“Thank you” said Diana “I can see the concerns-though i haven’t specifically found any total red flags”
“I like you Ms. Prince” said Veronica “It disturbs me-that for the money i am paying that you’re working in a dump like this-but in and off itself thoughtfulness is a good quality. How long is your report”
So. So. Cold
“Right now it’s 150 pages”
Cale chuckled “Thorough can you stand up?”
Diana did so.
“Take off your glasses”
Diana paused but she took off her reading glasses and looked at her.
“What?” asked Diana
“I am just asking”
Diana paused. There was the aura of a command that realized it was a command.
Diana stood in the middle of the office and extended her arms a bit bring them in, for a second and then out, doing a kind of ballet like pirouette as she spun around. Her bun like hair got loose and floated around flying through the air, coming in long waves loose It reminded her of something and for a second she was free..not like she had been in a long time.
Cale chuckling brought her back
“Nice” said Cale “Nice”
Diana looked at herself, her long black hair around her arms floating and looking like some kind of jungle child in her now rumpled suit, the sleeves of her bluenose pulled up over her large metal bracelets. There was a dozen eyes looking at her.
Cale looked over “It’s a little test i like to do of people-it’s an eccentricity-but for some reason it shows something to me”
“What?” asked Diana
“Power” said Cale. And before she could elaborate she seemed to push Dartvist away and towards the hall and ignored her talking at length about things that Diana couldn’t quite make out. She heard them arguing once they left the office.
She wondered-well this was Cales power over her-but was it?
Diana went to the bathroom embarrassed a touch to be scene redid her hair, pushed down her suit and went back to work.
The night came and it was still same sweltering hot with barely and relief. If you watched the sidewalks you could still see the faint haze of steam coming off
Diana walked to subway home Feeling-something, she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something still. Hard, strange.
She wasn’t paying attention as she got on the old elevated train station waiting for it to clank a train was coming into a station for her that was good. It seems crowded though she barely paid it any mind
When she felt something. It was a man brushing up against her on the platform. Her eyes got him. He was large-not in the muscular sense but in the fat slug like large way 6’6, maybe 300 pounds . she saw his eyes … but they weren’t on her, but on another woman next to him on the other-side from her-a small frail looking girl who had a look of disgust as he grabbed her thigh with a grin.
And Diana clocked him.
Somewhere inside of her came a punch-an honest huge punch she didn’t remember she had. A terrifying blow of might as muscles underneath her suit welled up and connected with his jaw.
He staggered back hurt obviously, but just pushed back. He shook his head “Hey” then looked at her.
Diana for a second-just a second felt fear panic-what the hell had she done.
The girl next to her now screamed-screamed fear-but not at her she realized him.
And Diana leaned in and did a slap against his side, feeling her large metal bracelets as metal-as hard stuff against the edge of a body.
Her body formed a combat stance she remembered, as he came at her with some kind of overhead punch that she dodged instantly, but used the opportunity to uppercut him up into the jaw then knee him right in his fat stomach till he keeled over
She grabbed his head with both of her heads, and felt her muscles-she felt her strength come into her body, some kind of power.
And pushed him to the ground face first.
Diana looked around the woman was next to her as well as half dozen other people-one of which she saw was guard of some kind-but the door to the subway was now open. She grabbed the girl and pushed both of them into the train as the doors closed behind them.
the train pushed out of the station as Diana saw the girl beside her a guard in a window and a dozen people who had seen it.
They started clapping, in a kind of low deleterious way people in the city do when they see something. A kind of slow clap
She looked to the girl “I’m sorry”
“Thanks “ said the girl “Thanks-I’m I … am a stripper and i get that kinda stuff-i know him kinda he’s a regular … but well I’m going home”
Diana found her gaze and offered a weak smile to it.
Veronica Cale sat in her office looking out at the window to the city. Looking When she picked up a phone
“I visited a company today. Gaia foundation.”
“Yes” said the voice on the other end.
“The Anderkone project. They have a woman there. Her name..is Diana Prince i believe. I want to hire her, to lead it. She was working on a report on our factory”
“Won’t that look a suspicious?”
Veronica paused. “Bother that. In any case bring her on”
Diana found a seat in the train and looked out through the window at a the city in twilight moving a hundred miles an hour on the elevated track.
Wait a second somewhere along the way she had lost her glasses. Screw it. Dammit what the hell was into her. Her dress had torn. She realized that her biceps of her shoulders when she fully extended was a bit much for the cheap silk to contain. Great. More expense
Diana felt her hands they felt okay. No bumps no bruises
She looked at her bracelets with their intricate inlays of pasterns-they where very large for the modern styles-bracers really-carved with symbols and patterns that she barely understood and for a second as she watched them riding in the subway … she felt a wonder over her.