I skipped a week with Mental State because I had a lot of stuff going on Friday. I did work two prompts into today’s edition of Moonrise: Inspiration Monday & #3WW. Also, to celebrate Independence Day, this is a double-length chapter at 2016 words!
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Anne followed Silas as he walked to a nearby bench occupied by a seemingly napping middle-aged man. The man had a newspaper folded on his lap open to the daily crossword puzzle. A cup of coffee sat beside him; the time dilation captured it still steaming.
“Not suspicious at all,” Silas muttered the kind insult. “Poor lad.”
“Who is this?” Anne asked behind over Silas’ shoulder.
“Our scapegoat of course. We can’t have you and Bree at the center of all this terror and fear.”
Silas pushed away the newspaper, grabbed the man by the arm, picked him up and threw his body like a satchel over one shoulder. Then he started back toward the crowd.
“He will wake up to be the most famous man in the good ole U.S. of A. Today, everyone will learn what he did, know his name and memorize his face. What glorious infamy, eh? Though it will be short-lived. I’m afraid that I envy him just a little.” Silas emphasized the word by holding his thumb and forefinger an inch apart.
Anne grabbed Silas’ fingers and fixed him with a steel gaze. “I can’t see how Major Globe is on board with this with Bree so close to it all.”
Silas clicked his tongue at her action but didn’t try to pull away from Anne’s stern grip.
Perhaps Globe had warned him not to try such frivolities with an enraged Anne, she thought.
Instead of escalating as Anne had expected, Silas calmly answered her.
“Perhaps you missed the Major’s speech.” He raised his eyebrows in mock concern. “You should head straight to youtube and check it out. It should have about a bazillion views now and be on every news channel. I hear they’re even translating it into different languages so no one’s left out of the message.”
“I heard it loud and clear,” Anne snapped. I just don’t want to believe he would fall this low as to use children for his ludicrous plans, Anne thought to herself.
Silas nodded. “Then you understand. The Major was very particular about such outbursts. They call these people ‘Supers.’ They’re very dangerous aren’t they? They’re trying to tear this city apart, and the uprising has just begun. These are merely their casualties.”
She glanced at Bree still playing with frozen objects. She hadn’t spoken much since Silas had shown up. At first, Anne thought the little girl was throwing a tantrum, but now she knew that it was Globe pulling the strings from afar. It made a twisted sort of sense to ask for Bree’s help with this demonstration. There were no living people in this city or the next who could annihilate so many people at once without spilling a drop of blood. These weak supers people filmed on their phones and shared online were nothing to fear. They were nothing but circus performers with small tricks up their sleeves. Magicians to entertain and wow the sheep-like masses. These sideshow clowns were very much unlike herself, Joaquin or Bree. To start an uprising, people needed a cause, and that was what Bree had just created. Silas was merely present to take them away without anyone’s notice and to provide a victim to take the blame. She needed to act sooner than anticipated, and that’s where Massey and Joaquin would come in handy.
“And what about us, Silas, are we part of the infection that needs to be removed? Are we a threat to this city too?” Anne hissed through gritted teeth recalling Major Globe’s speech.
Silas gave a small pull at his captured arm, and Anne released her grip. His eyes had changed to a different gray, one matte and cold.
“We have purity.”
That was all he said before readjusting the unconscious man on his shoulder and waded into the sea of Bree’s victims. Anne searched the grounds for the pink-clad mass murderer, who talked to Mr. Puss and showed him how to catch the frozen flies between his plush paws. Anne was flabbergasted at how quickly Bree could switch from infamous to innocent. Sighing, she followed Silas back to the amalgamation of frozen people.
“What’s his power?” She asked when she caught up with Silas. She hoped to draw more information out of him.
“Apparently, he becomes frigid once agitated sufficiently. Judging by his hospital record and mental evaluation he was having nervous breakdowns. Having a superpower is quite the stressor, ya know.”
“We could’ve taught him how to handle his power,” Anne retorted.
“Maybe,” Silas shrugged and adjusted the man over his shoulder. “But, that’s not what I was instructed to do.”
When they both stood a few feet away from the center of the ‘massacre,’ Silas dropped the man, making sure he stood on his feet and positioned him to face the playground crowd. His body shimmered while Silas adjusted his arms. The man’s right hand was outstretched with an open palm at the weeping mothers and children. The body froze once more when Silas let go of him. He must’ve noticed that Anne was about to say something, so he preempted her with a long, thin finger pressed to his lips.
“He is merely caught between active and passive. And he was subjected to a strong sedative beforehand that will be wearing out at just the right time.”
“I thought you said this manifesto had thirty more seconds,” Anne quirked an eyebrow.
Silas grinned back at her. The joyful glimmer had returned to his eyes, softening his expression. He pulled her away from the unfreezing scene with a gentle nudge. Following him around was becoming ridiculous.
“Thirty long, tedious seconds,” Silas declared and looked at his watch again. “Though it won’t be long now.”
Anne kept her pace even with Silas, who seemed to be distancing them as much as possible from the grisly scene but still maintaining his view of it.
“Where are those Smith and Wessens of yours? I’ve heard so many stories about them,” Silas asked with a smirk and a wink.
Anne kept her hands crossed on her chest as she walked.
“Ask me again and you’ll find out soon enough.”
Silas chuckled. Given another chance, Anne would have revealed her concealed guns and put a hole in his forehead ceasing his chuckles and smirks. He seemed to be full of them. Anne hated men who thought they found her amusing in this demeaning way. They didn’t even deserve a death by her power. The machinations of man would suffice for the likes of Silas and his ilk.
The gaunt Silas picked a bench conveniently located at the entrance to an alley in direct view of the ‘massacre.’ He sat, stretched out his legs and called to Bree. “Hey little princess, come here. I’ve selected the perfect spot for you to behold your work and mine.”
Bree forgot all about the scattered toys and people now returning to normal. She ran to join Silas on the bench.
As the pink-clothed girl skipped toward them, Silas patted the bench next to him for Anne to sit. She ignored his petty flirt but observed how the killer and the cleaner awarded themselves the best seats in the house to watch the death play unfold. Anne still wasn’t sure what his end game was, of what was this demonstration for. She needed to find out before it all went out of control … her control. She turned her attention back to the smirking man in awe of his own power manifesting atop one of Bree’s.
It was annoying Anne how Bree seemed so relaxed around Silas. It was apparent that she had spent time with him no doubt at Globe’s request. Demands didn’t work with Bree, but if you could convince her with a simple request and then build on your progress, you could get her to do just about anything. Despite the enormous power, the little girl wielded, she was just a naive child. Strange enough, it made Anne feel a tiny bit jealous that Bree had someone else to play with. It also made her worry that Bree might soon tire of her. Watching Silas’ power at work, Anne felt her fear intensify. Bree hated boring things, and Anne’s power wasn’t one for entertainment anymore. A trick viewed too many times loses its luster. Part of Anne craved that little bit of luster.
Pieces of the scene began to kick back to life. The prolonged distorted sounds of car tires screeching on the asphalt sped up to real time; the joggers’ echoing footsteps on the gravel reverted to normal, quiet steps. The dogs barked loud and continuous and the flies buzzing no longer glitched above their heads. It was nearly time for the grand reveal at the center of the massacre. There would be violent screams, a lot of running around, and plenty of fear. Anne knew these facts from past performances. Only back then, it was Anne who orchestrated the scene.
“Such sad, sad headlines we will have tomorrow,” Silas murmured in an almost reverent tone. “They will turn the victim’s names into numbers and him into a legend. But in truth, he’ll just be an angry and unstable man who lost control at the wrong time in the wrong place. Look how many people he killed. And children too, how…”
Anne tuned him out before the culmination. He sure likes to hear himself talk, Anne thought. Out loud, he asked of Silas, “Now why is it that Globe hasn’t mentioned you to me before?”
Silas shrugged her query off like the question was boring. He fished for a coin in his pocket and tossed it in the air. It spun freely and dropped to the ground with a loud chink! He bent down to pick it up.
“I suppose there are some things you’re not allowed to know until it’s needed, Anne.” He looked up at her, sizing her, measuring her patience … and her breasts, Anne noticed with a scowl on her usually perfect face. “That or the Major doesn’t trust you completely anymore.” He quickly feigned disinterest again and inspected his coin.
“Is Doctor Globe angry at Aunty Anne?” Bree asked.
Was that genuine worry in her voice that Anne was hearing? There were moments when Anne wondered whether Bree wasn’t compelling her to feel things.
“No, how can someone be angry at something so lovely. Your Aunty is just being silly.”
That was good enough for Bree, but Anne interrupted him again.
“Bree, honey is doctor Globe still watching?”
The girl nodded but then the toothy grin disappeared from her face and was replaced with a frown. “I wanted there to be more people, but this is good enough for now, I guess. Doctor Globe won’t be disappointed.”
“No,” Anne said, “he wouldn’t.”
Anne allowed the falling silence between the three of them to deepen. The people here, the people of the city wouldn’t know it was an innocent looking girl who did this. But even if indirectly they’d recognize that a greater evil was upon them; even if today it wore the face of the blamed man, they would fear and run or perhaps go mad and fight till everything was crumbling ashes.
The world returned to normality, time in rhythm again, resuming mere seconds after that unruly little boy had pulled at Bree’s ponytail. There were no violent screams. There was nothing, just people crumbling down into a heap of lifeless bodies. They were dead the instant Bree had decided it so, perhaps even before darkness encircled Anne. Snap! Anne mentally snapped her finger. That’s all it took for them to succumb to her power.
“Booooring!” Bree yawned and stretched her little arms. “I want to go home now. Mister Puss is hungry and tired and needs a bath.”
Bree took Silas’s hand. Anne followed behind them, queasy anticipation at what she would hear.
Now rose the screams. Churning, thin, out of breath screaming; it was weak from men, weak from women, outraged and animalistic. And it wouldn’t stop until Globe was dead and buried.
Next: Allies and Adversaries