There’s an ache across my back that almost masks the one in my elbow from the strike I sunk into the steel poll that refused to move. It’s the good sort of ache, a proof of purchased fitness. I haven’t felt it in a while.
I still don’t bruise. Something about lymphatics, we don’t form dermal hematomas. I know it’s something to do with the clotting agents in our bloods, and could look it up for specificity, but it’s better left vague, feels more like a superpower. I’ve often felt cheated. During twenty years of martial training I’ve never had a black eye or a bruise bigger than my thumb. Two car accidents and no black eyes. My ribs will bust before the capillaries in my skin.
That does make me wonder about Luke Cage’s powers. His skin is invincible, but what about his organs underneath? He’d never get a paper cut, but bricking him in the head should still give him a concussion. Yeah, yeah, and Batman would dislocate his shoulder if he swung from his grappling hooks like that.
I’ve a lot to do today and little focus. I could continue rambling, but I’d rather share a section of the piece on which I’m currently working.
Taken from chapter five of the working titled piece Adam Waits for a Train
The sound, after the first crack of his rifle clears his head, is of a brick thrown into soft dirt. Not quite a thud, the first half of one, the rest swallowed by a yielding, muffling something.
No movement. Maybe his rifle wasn’t even enough to wake it up.
Adam smacks his head against the column, causing a static grey blip, a grey, blank space where his map used to be, followed by a white, horizontal line scanning bottom to top, marking the hard reset of his goggles. The images remain unchanged thereafter. Same shit.
Adam scans the shape, but there’s not much to see. As soon as he’d registered it, he’d frozen, backpedaled. He hadn’t mapped more than a tiny fraction of the thing, but that shape, that sinuous curve, was not an architectural feature.
He’d superclocked his brain trying to think of a reason for it to be anything other than what it looked like. A broken wall, loading equipment, a fallen column, but nothing fit. Sixty feet of some organic sinusoidal curve, like hell was that a building component, but why didn’t it fucking move?
He picks a different spot from the one previous, something bright green instead of dark. A protrusion. Sight lines sink, lock, and he fires again.
The sound is entirely different, metallic, whirling, echoing. Metal on metal, the cartoonish after sound of a bullet whizzing off of something. Still no movement.
He fires a third. Fourth. Fifth.
Fuck you, you shit, do something.
He switches to burst and steps out from the column’s shield; shuffle, step, lock, firing as he moves in on the thing.
He’s almost back to where he was. Dozens of round spent. Nothing new from It.
Two soft vibrations.
His vision changes over. All his firing has etched brighter lines into his map. Not puddles, but slashes, cross-hatching of geography as the returning bullet sounds bounced off of the floor. Tiny bright cuts, like ant scratchings, farther in toward the dark center, but the Thing, the monstrosity, hasn’t moved.
Switching to full auto, Adam hip locks his rifle and marches toward it.
No head swivel, no side painting. He wants to see this thing for what it is, screw the rest of the room.
The single coil stretches, grows slightly from side to side, then rises taller, finally extends away from him.
He’s within twenty feet of it. It keeps building in the same way, but no movement.
Some giant dragon tail, colossal squid finger, fucking monster sleeping away, and –