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Falling Sky: Fix This

By Bob Frendt

 

 

            Victory. The rush of success always made the pain, the struggle worthwhile.  The assembly of heroes all around him welled his heart with pride.  Despite all the evil in this world, every once and a while he was reminded that this, Paragon City, was indeed a city of heroes.  For a brief fraction of a second, no force could stand before them.

            Then it changed, the feeling was lost.  The look on everyone’s eyes altered from victory, to surprise.  Immediately this was followed by a tugging.  Something pulled at his back, dragging him away from his comrades.  The man nearest him, Brinkman, reached out, grabbing Fixit’s hand with his own.  He tried to stop, even slow, the other man’s backward motion.  Instead, the swordsman, lost in time and space, was drawn inexorably towards and into the cold, blue light.

            For a split second, a cerulean glow filled Fixit’s vision.  The hero could see Psirene, the woman that he was pretty sure he loved, was screaming, but he could no longer hear her.  Then there was nothing but the light.  Had it been years, or only a fraction of a second?  Time had never meant much to him.  His life flashed before his eyes.  Years, ages, millennium passed him by, just as they had passed him by in life.  But at the end, in the last few years, things had mattered, he had mattered.

            These moments were worth watching again.  He saw the events that had led his near immortal life to this day.  He re-lived the day he made the decision that would ultimately end his life.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

            The wind felt good on his face, in his hair.  The rumble of the engine soothed his nerves.  When he closed his eyes he felt as though he were flying.  The open road always held this joy for him, and far too long he had been away from it.  He opened the throttle a little more, helping to release thoughts of everything that had gone so wrong lately, as if the wind grabbed his memories as he went speeding through it.

            Twice already he had been pulled over for helmet violations.  Twice he had tried to explain that he did not need a helmet, and twice he was ticked anyway.  What bothered him the most was getting out of the wind when he was pulled over.

            Ten hours ago, he was living with Mikel.  She was a wild, fierce spirit, but also a huge pain in the ass.  Her deep green eyes, long, wavy, dark hair and voluptuous body flashed through his mind’s eye.  When things went south, they went fast.  He couldn’t even remember what small thing had ended their affair on such a sour note.  John really didn’t care.  He had proven time and time again over the centuries that there were always more women in the world.

            That broad was probably still wiping her eyes with snotty toilet paper while watching some romance chick flick and receiving consolation over the phone from a friend of hers who never liked him anyway.  Seeing her that way in his mind’s eye brought a small grin to his face.

            But that was all behind him now.  Once again, he was on the move.  With only a change of clothes, a toothbrush and his trusty Harley-Davidson, he was crossing a thousand miles in record time.

            Finally about sunset, John could see the lights of paragon in the distance.  He was not sure why the glow seemed so red, but paragon was a city known for excess, so the biker wasted no more energy contemplating the coloration of the sky.  Giving the throttle yet another yank, feeling his iron horse surge with power beneath him, he hurried toward his destination.

            It was obvious to John that something was dreadfully wrong, when, as he neared the city, he could see he was the only one heading into Paragon.  The road was congested with throngs of people trying to leave.  But he had set his mind to spending time in the big city, and now that he was here, he sure as hell wasn’t turning around.

            The road weary traveler had not been in the city more than a minute when all hell broke loose.  He narrowly avoided a beam of energy fired from a strange looking humanoid with a rather large gun by dropping his bike, gritting his teeth against the road rash, and leaping back up as the machine slid right to the feet of the attacker.  Thrusting both feet into the alien’s face, he then flipped into the air and came down with an elbow to what passed as his attacker’s forehead.  As the monster fell, John grabbed the firearm from him and pulled the trigger at point blank range until his motorcycle was avenged.

            “Yer lucky I was gonna paint the damn thing anyways, or I’d have really gotten nasty.”  He barely had time to spit a taunt at his fallen foe when the first of the large airships came crashing down nearby.  Smoke, debris, fire and dust billowed out from the fallen goliath as it hit the ground.  A red white and blue hero, the cause of the explosion and crash, flew off; leaving the panicking masses to fend for themselves.

            “That asshole is worse than the aliens!”  He shouted to no one as he found a secure hiding place for his damaged ride.

            When the third ship fell, it was practically right on top of him.  He saw that people had been trapped under the falling airship.  Though the dust and heat he raced to where he had seen a family.  When he arrived, there was only one man visible, trapped under rubble.  Without a second thought, John rushed to his side.  The chunk of metal was so hot that it blistered his hands the second he touched it.  Ignoring the searing pain and smell of burning flesh, he lifted with all his might.  Using his dense muscle mass he sprung the hug e shrapnel aside and pulled the victim free.  Distraught as the victim was at the loss of his family, it came to John as no surprise when his hand, meant to encourage, was brushed aside by a manic man with wild eyes.  Watching him run into the dust and fire, he remembered how he felt the first time he lost a family.

            As the evening became night, the fighting became both more desperate and more organized.  John had taken up a post, creating a front line, which he used every trick he had learned in countless battles to move forward.  With every forward movement, more wounded and dead were found.  Men and women fought, and died helping one another.  Screams, shouts, explosions and crying were heard everywhere.  John’s small battalion battled aliens, fatigue, falling buildings and fellow humans with ill intent or crazy with bloodlust.

Shouting orders and leading from the front line, John asked no more of any man than he asked of himself.  Every forward push began with a hoarse battle cry and his own rush for the next defendable position.  And by dawn, he and most of his followers were still alive.  He had helped lead many refugees and hapless citizens to various shelters throughout the city.  As the first rays of light touched the embattled city of Paragon, he could finally see the extent of the devastation.

            Smoke billowed from a thousand fires, countless dead and wounded on both sides, skirmishes between human and alien raged everywhere.  This was one of the few times in John’s very long life that the world was going to change drastically in a very short period of time.  He couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to the world now.

            Perhaps, he mused, he should stay here.  Men of power are likely to be in short supply.

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