Mutant Powers by Lauren Lavin

My heart is breaking and so is this motherfucker’s face, because he made this all happen. My fists aren’t making any noise, or is it because my throat is bleeding, because I haven’t stopped screaming since I saw him and I guess that could be making my whole neck feel this raw and torn, maybe. Yes, that’s it, my own ears are protesting to the ordeal my lungs, diaphragm and anguished vocal chords are putting them through, and this man’s eyes are wide in fright because of it. He screams, “I’ll do anything, I didn’t know, OH GOD JUST STOP!!” Now he only has one eye, the other’s going to be swelled shut for sure, my fists can’t stop and I never want them to, I have found my purpose and it is sapping away this creature’s life with my own calloused hands until he no longer resembles anything human, until he’s lying in pools of his own spinal fluid on the side of the road and shards of his bone are scattered around him like a mosaic.

He’s curled up on the ground and my boots are smashing his hands into little useless bits of human debris. He yowls desperately, “Oh FUCK, I didn’t mean to, please stop, PLEAAASSE.” Those hands will never work again, but what the hell does it matter? I am killing him, and a wave is washing over me, my nerves are singing a glorious praise chorus and the hairs all over my skin are standing straight up in salute. It’s like the most sickening orgasm, like radioactive waste massaging my every tendon, like my bones are dancing and smiling and vomiting, and now I’ve moved on to his arms, which are too much intact. I never want this feeling to stop.

Suddenly I’m seven years old again, reading X-Men comics and believing without the merest shadow of a doubt that one day my dormant mutant powers will surge tremendously through me and I’ll become a hero. I realize, at the same moment the writhing mass on the ground yelps louder than ever, that this is my power, that if I can just keep up the destruction, then I’ll be able to rewind this all. I’ll be able to go back.

My elbow shatters the man’s nose and he pukes all over himself, steam rising off of him in the brittle night air. The girl, whose name is too precious to mention in the presence of the man on the ground, repairs herself. The glass glides smoothly out of her body and all her myriad lacerations close. Her organs work again. Her mouth opens.

My leather-clad heel stomps his mouth, and perfect pearly teeth clatter daintily to the asphalt. The girl’s lungs work and she breathes. Her choppy hair is back the way she loves it, held in place with my golf cap, and her jeans are untorn, her thin t-shirt still somewhat clean.

I’m losing it, a little. I’m crouched down over the man and just grabbing his face, with everything in me. I bellow but no words. My powers seem to be flickering, did I imagine them? I can’t bring myself to turn and face the wreckage, but my yearningly curious peripheral vision tells me that there is a girl there, or something that used to be a girl. The form is twisted and broken and the rough freeway floor is stained deeply with what must be her blood, but there’s just so damn much of it.

“I have to try harder!” the first words I’ve spoken to my tormentor, my victim. The words are strangled by rage and choked with sorrow. He gurgles, and even through the vomit, bile and blood, I can smell the alcohol, in its entire stainless-steel-eye-stinging-sterilizing furor. This helps.

I pound his face with my tattered knuckles until his jaw pops sideways, dislocated. There it is, the feeling, the energy: it's frenetic. The car this man was driving is unfolding away from mine, the wrinkles in its flimsy skin smoothing out. It’s speeding backwards, far from us, on its way from who knows where. The girl is gliding through the windshield as it comes back together into an unbroken pond surface. She lands daintily in her seat, leaning back and sleeping softly, her seat belt weaving back and forth uselessly beside her. And I am there, watching her, knowing I’ll never let any harm befall her, because she is mine and she is the most fucking wonderful girl, ever.

The man beneath me is silent. I turn around at last, waiting to see my vision become a reality. But of course not. No. Never. Her face looks the same, and her skin glows, suddenly illuminated in blue and red lights. But she’s still just as gone as when she made her quick journey through the windshield, breaking into pieces.

That feeling, that rush, that fever, it’s gone. I’m drained. I can’t feel anything. Nothing at all. Just take me away. I don’t give a shit. I try with everything I possess to hold on to that image of her in the car, just moments ago, but already I’m sucked into the next moment, dragging the drunk from his car and into the side of the road, where his destiny awaited him, where mine had abandoned me.

Lauren Lavin had a short story published in the Suisun Valley Review last year, and a poem in the Anthology of Young Poets when she was in 5th grade. She lives in Davis, California and is making her way through junior college.

14 comments:

David Barber said...

Really liked this one, Lauren. I was reading it and then 'WOW' it hit me. Very well done. A fine debut, indeed.

cb said...

awesome!

Jenny Dreadful said...

LOVE THIS.

kurtnewton said...

Well-written, intense, perfect pacing. Awesome is right.

Jesse Lee said...

I read this as I listened to "November Rain", by Guns 'n' Roses. I must say it matched perfectly!

Chip Burkitt said...

Pretty good.

Dan said...

You're improving...

Dammit.

>=]

Bone D. said...

Meh, it's alright.

Benjamin Sobieck said...

Great first line. "My heart is breaking and so is this motherfucker’s face."

Chris Rhatigan said...

That's a bruiser of a story. This shit is alive!

Bill Baber said...

gritty, mean stuff...

Paul D. Brazill said...

This is punchy stuff. I can see why Fiction Daily picked it up.

Michael Solender said...

hardboiled all the way. rockem - sockem! a tough tale.

Thomas Pluck said...

Love the ending. Great work Lauren.