Saturday, December, 12th, 2015
“The number you are trying to reach is no longer in service…”
Sasha cursed as she threw her phone onto the asphalt, watching it shatter into a hundred tiny plastic shards. What was the point in having it if the only person she called did not answer?
No. Even worse. The man had changed his number in order to avoid her. Her! His own flesh and blood.
Somewhere beneath the pain of his rebuff, Sasha felt something akin to relief. Telling him that she had seen creatures of inhuman ability, only to serve him no proof, could only deepen the hole she had made for herself. She was sloppy. She was careless. Still, she refused to think herself worthless, as he did.
She would have to make him believe what she had seen.
The sun had yet to rise and Sasha’s fatigue weighed heavily on her, but she still stood in the parking lot, looking dumbly in the direction she assumed Garrett and the lizard had gone. She should have gone after him, but she did not know how. He was too strong. Too fast. A frontal assault had so far been proven useless against him, but, if she were going to track him down, she had very few other options.
She needed help.
She needed to go after Garrett, find him, and take him to Summit’s home. If he could see evidence of the powers she spoke of, he would have to believe her. It could even mean his being so intrigued…so grateful, that he would invite her back to work for him. Sasha only needed to find a way to get Garrett to come with her…
“Sasha!” she heard his voice cry. Sasha could not see him until he rounded the corner of the motel’s furthermost wall.
As Garrett approached her, of his own free will, no less, she could not help but think, that was easy.
“It’s gone!” he continued, reaching for her.
Sasha’s tongue felt stuck, almost as if she could not form words. The behemoth looked bigger than she remembered when he was not bound to the floor. As she dragged her eyes up to meet his face, she noticed that he looked far too attractive for someone who had just been put through what he had. His blonde curls had come free of its tie and hung, damp, about him. His emerald orbs were crazed.
Sasha had seen many men in her life. Weak beings, bugs, hardly worth her time. Her gaze roved over the body before her, and the bulges of thick brawn pressing against his clothes. She chalked her attention up to sizing up the enemy, she would be bringing him to her father for dissection if she had to, but even she knew it was not true. Garrett Daniels was far from a weak being. She was intrigued.
He smelled awful.
When he grasped her shoulders, she managed to unfreeze and smack him away. Sasha did not know which question to ask first, so it spilled out without her mind’s permission. “How did you get out of the tub?”
“Who was that on the phone?”
“I do not negotiate,” she spat through her teeth. “How did you get out of the tub?”
Garrett sighed. “Does it really matter? Did you see that thing in there? What was it? What did it want?”
A lizard with a human voice. A creature that masked itself in someone else’s skin. She only wished that she knew what it was. “I do not know. But I plan on finding out.”
Sasha stalked back toward the open motel room. Garrett trotted after her without direction “What’re you doing?”
“Fix that door and get in here before someone sees.”
She did not know why he did it, or why he did anything she asked, but he obliged. While she pulled her meager belongings from the dresser, he set the door to rights. He looked her over as she threw herself around the room like the wrath of God, stuffing her clothes into a single bag. “Where are you going?”
“We are going to see my father.”
“Your father?” he repeated, staring at her strangely. As he shook his head, he continued, “Is he some scientist or something?”
“No,” she replied, throwing her belongings over her shoulder. “He is a man with a lot of guns and a lot of resources. I am sure he has a few on the payroll who could figure out what we are dealing with.”
“Why am I going?”
She did not have to think long to come up with a lie, they slipped off her tongue so easily now. “You have that picture. I am sure you want that question answered as much as I do.”
With the help of a few professionals, she hoped to find the origin of his supernatural powers. Where he got them from, how to replicate them, and how she could get her hands on them.
He followed her into the bathroom, handing her the first aid equipment that had somehow fallen onto the floor so she could stuff that, too, into her bag. “I could tell you that.”
“Tell me, then. How did you get out of the tub?”
“I have one for you, first.” He grabbed her arm as she passed, probing at her mask with his free hand. “Why do you wear this?”
“The same reason everyone wears a mask. Now mine.”
He shrugged. “I broke the rod.”
“How did you break the rod?”
“With my hands. If you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t take much effort for me.”
She dropped the bag, rounding on him with her arms crossed. “If that is true, why did you not escape earlier? I am sure you did not enjoy my questioning so why did you stay?”
“I wanted to talk to you. I wanted you to trust me.”
“I trust no one.”
“I could’ve left at any time,” he insisted. “I just didn’t want to.”
Sasha yanked at her hair. It seemed she had been wrong all those nights when she thought that things could not possibly get any worse. Her father was not answering, she was being chased by a lizard, and she was in the presence of a lunatic. “What is your story? What are you?”
“I haven’t been anything for a long time. Just Garrett Daniels. And I’m sure you knew that, you stole my license.”
“I did know that. What I do not know is why Mr. Garrett Daniels has this nifty little ability to heal himself no matter what I do to him. And lift things over his head like no human I have ever seen before,” she growled. “Would you care to explain that, Mr. Daniels?”
“That’s not all I can do.”
Sasha saw out of the corner of her eye that the red water she had left in the tub was climbing out of it. Puddles rose into the air, floating, twisting, and bending in her direction. Bubbles caressed her cheek. Some unseen force dangled them overhead, as if from strings. “Yes,” she said, eyes wide. “That, too.”
“I have powers.”
“Amazing,” she mocked. “I had no idea.”
“Well, what do you want to know about them?”
“I guess what anyone else would want to know about it. How did you get it? Why did you get it? Let us begin with that.”
“They were given to me. You have to know the rest.”
What did that mean? The sound of passing drunks made Sasha jump, despite how common that occurrence was in Rahway, where she had taken up residence. She looked toward the door, nearly expecting it to be knocked over by a new intruder. It was not.
She turned back to Garrett. “You will have to explain in the car. That thing will come back and we cannot sit here waiting for it. I do not know what it can do.”
“Good idea. You have a car?”
It was the only possession of value she was allowed to keep after the falling out with her father. It was a sleek, black number that she kept in the parking space closest to her room to ward off potential thieves. The gas tank was full, she always kept it full just in case of emergencies, though not quite as…unique as this. “It is out front.”
He took her bag. “Is this all?”
The water he had been manipulating over her head splashed against the floor. “That is all. I do not keep much.”
“You used to.”
“Jesus,” she snapped, “what is your problem, Daniels? Why is it that everything you say has to come to that?”
“I’m just trying to understand! Same as you.”
“Understand what? If I am your wife? I swear to you, I am not. I think I would remember it. I will prove it to you the moment we arrive at my father’s home.”
He shook his head. “You have to be. There’s no way you aren’t; you look just like her!”
“Get in the car.”
“Hear me out, please.”
Sasha did not have time to hear him out. She took her bag from his shoulder and started toward the door. “You will have to fix this on our way out.”
“You’re not going to listen to me?”
“I would rather not, but if you are going to insist then at least tell me in the car.”
She had to fish for her keys beneath the mattress of the bed, but she was glad to have them in hand again. It had been months since she had last used them. She missed them. They reminded her of better times.
“How far is it?”
“Just a couple of hours, then we are home free. Just lay low. Go straight to the car and lock the door.”
“I don’t think a lock is going to hinder that thing all that much—”
“I know! I know, just do as I say. Hopefully, it will be enough.”
“Alright. Are you ready?”
Sasha clutched the doorknob. “Prop it back up on your way out.”
“So they will not notice we are gone. We need to keep ourselves as far from the cops as we can. There is blood everywhere, do you think they will not come after us for this? We are safe with my father, but, until then, we are just criminals.”
“You are a criminal. I was a victim.”
“And if that thing dresses up like a cop again, do you think she will say the same thing? By all means, Daniels, if you want to run, I will not stop you.”
She would cut him into pieces and drag him there if she had to.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Sasha could not help but wonder if this could turn out in her favor. She did not know anything about this psycho’s wife or what happened to her, but it could not hurt to have the loyalty of a superhuman. She nodded, smiling. “Good.”
She opened the door and sprinted for the car. Her head whipped in every direction, searching for those amber eyes. That child. That cop. There was no doubt in her mind that there was no coincidence in seeing those same eyes in three faces on the same night.
What was it?
She threw herself into the driver’s seat and started the car. By the time the engine roared to life, Garrett was pulling himself into the passenger’s seat and locking the door behind him. She did not bother to look around as she peeled out of the parking lot, leaving her home of two months behind.
“Why’d you stay there, anyway? Doesn’t look like a great place.”
“It is not. It is better than being homeless.”
The highway was a five minute drive away. Once she was there, she doubted their new friend would be able to find them even if she followed them. As she grew closer to the on-ramp, she surveyed the car she loved so much and froze. “What the hell?” she whispered.
Sasha’s glare flickered between her passenger and the gauge on the dashboard, telling her that her gas tank was nearing the halfway mark. She frowned. She had filled the car with gas months ago, but she knew that it had been full the last time she used it. Garrett shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “What’s wrong?”
Sasha frantically looked into the rearview mirror. The long stretch of road behind her was marred by a long line of shiny, black fluid and she knew immediately what it was. The gauge was dropping with every passing second. Soon, they would be out of gas and vulnerable to the lizard creature she knew had sabotaged her car. “We are out of gas.”
“We can’t be that far from a gas station—”
“We will not make it.”
His eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”
“That thing tampered with my car. I will have to pull over.”