Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bump In The Night Chapter 1 - They're Real

This is just a little something that I've been toying with, and thought I'd share with you kind readers.  Please enjoy!

“What do you mean, ‘They’re real’?”
"Haven't seen one of those yet."
Kyle stood in the smallish living room of his shared hotel-converted-apartment trying to will his voice to sound sane.  Instead, he was within one standard deviation of certainty that he sounded exactly the way he felt: moderately schizophrenic with slight delusions of grandeur.  It didn’t help that he’d taken three semesters of psychology and sociology before kicking those habits.  His own life had enough drama as it was, and helping other people with their various power-struggles and anxieties seemed more like a burden and less like a career.

Now he was one of the finest baristis in all of Southern California, pulling down just slightly better than minimum wage (plus tips) and trying desperately to make a go of being an unappreciated-in-his-time writer.  Unpublished, of course, because then he would just be another failed author who should give up the dream rather than a struggling artist who never got a shot.

He was faced off against his roommate-and-best-friend, Ashley, who sat on their garage-sale bargain couch, and looked at him with eyes that could have cooled nitrogen into a solid state.  Today, she was wearing denim overalls, with a faded pink tank-top underneath and the cuffs rolled almost to her knees.  Her legs were perched on the toy box that served as their coffee table, nails painted a bright red that he had never, ever seen chipped or scratched.  It wasn’t quite the only feminine thing about her, but it was just this side of.  Her hair was pulled up into a severe bun that gave her a schoolmarm look of no-nonsense, and her horn-rim glasses (actual vintage horn-rims they’d found in an antique shop) completed that image.

Not quite hipster, but near enough to be mistaken for one.

“I mean vampires, werewolves, zombies, everything, they’re all real!” his voice was near panic, but hers remained, as always, irritatingly calm.

“Witches?” she asked.


“Mermaids?” she asked.

He paused.

“Haven’t seen those yet,” he admitted.

“Hmm,” was her only reply.  As if, without mermaids, the world was still normal. “What about powers?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you have powers?”

“No.  Why would I have powers?!” The tinge of panic re-entered his voice.

“In the stories someone always has powers,” Ashley lifted her thumb and started to count off names with each finger, “Luke had powers, Harry Potter had powers, Wolverine had powers, Buffy had powers, Batman had powers . . .”

"Batman didn't have powers. Bane broke his back!"
“Batman didn’t have powers,” he corrected.

“He had extreme wealth.  That makes someone powerful.”

“Don’t be pedantic.  ‘Power’ and ‘powerful’ are not the same in this context.”

“Fine, but in addition to extreme wealth, he had extreme intelligence, extreme creativity, extreme physique, extreme dexterity . . . if it had been D&D, he’d have had nineteen-plus for every attribute, and all his gear would be plus-five against bad guys.  If those aren’t powers . . .”

“Batman didn’t have powers.  Bane broke his back!” Kyle stopped and self-corrected.  “Wait, why are we even having this argument!?”

“Lestat had powers,” she said, as if she had already won on the question of Batman and was moving right along.

“Lestat was a bad guy!”

“Mmmm,” she mused with a dreamy look in her eyes, “he certainly was.”

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