Sunday, March 12, 2017
Alix Kincaid staggered into her apartment on Essex Street in New York City. As she walked down the hall, she removed her shoes, pants, and belly shirt, leaving them in a trail down the hall. She grabbed an oversized t-shirt in her room and put it on then collapsed on her bed. She had just fallen asleep when the alarm went off. She ignored it and let it beep.
“Alix! Can’t you hear that?” her mom shouted from the doorway. “You need to get up. You’re not missing school again.”
Alix slowly rose from the bed and stood up. She turned her back to her mother and removed her shirt, grabbing another one from the floor.
“You should really wear a bra,” her mother said.
“My boobs, my rules,” Alix said.
“What time did you get home?”
“I don’t know. Late.”
“What were you doing out so late?”
“Mom,” Alix looked straight at her mother’s eyes. “I’m not gonna lie to you. What’s for breakfast?” Alix walked past her mom and back down the hall where her clothes were still laying.
“Don’t avoid the question, Alix!” her mom shouted.
“Why does it matter where I was? Nothing bad happened and I came home.”
“It matters because no matter what you think I care about you and love you. I am your mother!”
“I know. You keep reminding me,” Alix rolled her eyes. “There’s nothing to eat here. Can I have a couple bucks to buy breakfast?” she asked, eyeing her mom’s purse.
“I guess. But just take the five. I want you to come right home after school, okay? I’ll make a good dinner and we can talk.”
“Talk? About what?”
“Just talk. We never talk anymore…” she brushed Alix’s short black hair from her eyes.
“We never talked before,” Alix interrupted.
“Regardless. Right after school.”
“So I’m beginning to think those pills Paolo gave us last night were fake,” Traci said, standing outside the stall in the girl’s bathroom at school. “I mean, I started coming down pretty quickly after I took them and normally I get a pretty good buzz going that lasts. Last night I just didn’t feel it as much as I usually do. Jesus, what are you doing in there?”
“They were real Traci, I can vouch for Paolo. Also,” she opened the door to the stall, “what the hell would I be doing in here?”
“I dunno. I’ve seen a lot of things happening in a bathroom,” Traci shrugged.
“Come on. Let’s go outside. I need a smoke.”
Outside, Alix and Traci sat on the basketball court watching some boys play basketball. Alix was slowly smoking her cigarette. “My mom wants to ‘talk’ when I get home. She wants to make a nice dinner and have a mother-daughter conversation,” Alix said.
“How dare she,” Traci said.
“It could be worse,” Alix said, exhaling smoke. “She could want to take me to the mall.”
The girls stood up and began walking back to the school. A basketball flew through the air and hit Alix on the side of the head.”
“Ow!” she screamed.
“Nice catch,” said one of the boys.
“That hurt, Diego!” Alix yelled angrily.
“Not like there’s anything up there to hurt,” Diego scoffed. A couple of his friends chuckled.
“Look Traci,” Alix held up the basketball, “we now have proof that Diego has at least one ball.”
Diego got in Alix’s face and smirked. “I didn’t hear you complaining a couple weeks ago.”
Alix took one last drag on her cigarette and threw it down. “I didn’t have to complain. The bored look on my face said it all.” And she exhaled the smoke in Diego’s face.
Diego stared at Alix as she smiled at him. “Bitch!” he said as he slapped her across the face. Diego turned around. “Come on, guys. Let’s go in.”
Alix felt the warm area where Diego slapped her and got angrier with every passing second. Traci walked over to her and held her. Alix began screaming and running toward Diego. She then punched Diego square in the back. Traci shuddered at the sound of the crack. Diego fell to the ground. Traci saw what had happened and began screaming.
Alix noticed what she did and began crying. She saw a couple of teachers and security officers running toward her. Alix began panicking and ran away in the other direction.
“If Alix comes home, please give us a call,” the police officer said, handing Alix’s mom a business card. “We need to get a statement from her. We’re not sure if the boy will ever walk again or if his parents are going to press charges.”
“Thank you, officer. I wish I knew where she ran off to,” Alix’s mom glanced at the card and sighed. The officer tipped his hat and she shut the door. She went into the kitchen where the table was set and dinner hot and ready. She sat down to prepare to eat. “Damn it, Alix.”
There was a knock at the door. Alix’s mom got back up and opened the door. There was a young boy standing in the hallway.
“Yes? Is this about Alix?”
The kid pulled a gun from his jacket and began shooting at her. Three shots were fired. One went into her leg, the other into her shoulder, and the third into her stomach. She fell to the floor and the kid ran away. Blood poured out of her wounds and pooled beneath her.
Alix ran into the hospital and into her mom’s room in the intensive care unit. She was sobbing and having a hard time catching her breath. “Oh, Mom! I’m so sorry. That should’ve been me. I should’ve came right home. I am so, so sorry. You’ll never forgive me for this and you shouldn’t have to. I am so sorry. Mom, I love you…” she cried on her Mom for several minutes until a nurse escorted her out of the room.
Half an hour later, Alix stood on the edge of a tall tenement, still crying and looking out over the city. Alix braced herself, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. “I’ll see you soon, Daddy,” she whispered.
“It’s not that bad,” someone said behind her, a hand on her shoulder. “Your mother will be all right. You are much stronger than you think. In more ways than one.”
“What are you talking about?” Alix asked.
“Come down off the ledge and I’ll tell you,” Dmitri helped Alix off the ledge and put a coat around her. “We’ve been watching you, Alix. You have a special gift which you demonstrated on that poor boy earlier today.”
“Please don’t remind me,” Alix said.
“I would like to enlist you into an elite team of superheroes. We need your powers to find and stop someone,” Dmitri said.
“What about my Mom? What about Diego?”
“The government will gladly take care your mom both in the hospital and out. She will recover fully. As for Diego, we will pay his medical expenses but we have convinced his parents that they shouldn’t pursue anything legal and we are currently infiltrating and disbanding the street gang that he was a part of. They are no longer a threat to your mom or the neighborhood in general.”
“Who are you?” Alix asked suspiciously.
“I am Dmitri Sylvester. Let’s find someplace warmer and talk.”