Friday, June 29, 2007

Spirit of Youth #0

Lily Tombs was a normal American teenager. Sure, she was a bit of an outsider at her school – a little too goth to hang with the emo kids, a little too spooky to fit in with the other smart kids, but still a little straight-laced to bang around with the freaks and burnouts. In all though, given that every high school kid has their own little social ups and downs, she was just a normal teenager. Until she was killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver while crossing the street walking home from school one sunny afternoon, that is.

Lily awoke one day later in a hospital morgue with no recollection of the intervening time. She only knew with certainty that she had indeed been killed, and that she should no longer be walking the Earth.

What was she to do? She was dead - she couldn't return to her family and former life, could she?

An encounter with a member of the morgue staff galvanized her hesitation to return to her "life". The man was panicked into a frenzied state by her sudden resurrection, knocking over tables and instruments in his panic to get away from her, and eventually took hold of himself enough to snatch a scalpel from a nearby tray and advance on her, intent on destroying this blasphemy before him.

Lily could feel his hate and loathing; his knowledge that she should not be. But no - it was more than merely reading his body language - she was inside his mind! As he lunged at her, she put her arms up defensively to cover her face, but the man collided with something just in front of her – was it a piece of plexiglass?? That wasn’t there a moment ago, was it? Had she done that?!?

Her split-second reverie was shattered when Lily realized that she could not only hear the man’s every thought, but that - with a mental push or pull - she could manipulate the flow and contents of the man's consciousness!

With a reaction somewhere between horror and fascination, she forced the shaking young man to halt in his steps, and with a little effort, and sorting, and prodding, convinced him to forget their shocking encounter and that he was in desperate need of a cup of coffee from the hospital cafeteria.

This immediate threat avoided, she slumped against a wall in mental exhaustion – and slipped right through it! She was now in a section of the hospital’s underground parking garage – and hovering a few inches above the sidewalk! Would this nightmare never end? What was happening to her??

As she walked the streets, passersby glanced at her with hesitation. She could feel their strange repulsion of her, and their confused thoughts about why a pretty young woman should make them so inexplicably uncomfortable.

She was lost, displaced, out of time. She did not belong here, in this place, among the living. But she didn't know where to go – there was no place for her.

She wandered for days, sleeping in abandoned buildings, eating food from stores or restaurants whose employees were convinced that she'd just paid. This thievery and deception felt wrong, but she really had no recourse - and hell, she hadn't asked for this to happen.

Lily wandered for weeks, utterly lost and alienated. Any others that were not subtly repulsed by her presence seemed to be the degenerates, the forgotten and insane that wandered the back alleys and subways, and worse, the depraved and malicious. To them her proximity was somehow tantalizing and hypnotic, almost awe-inspiring.

She was horrified and sickened, and in despair sought solace and isolation. The "normals" avoided her presence, and the outsiders and creeps wanted to be uncomfortably near. She could only find a modicum of peace in loneliness.

She considered suicide, but only the thought of that presence, that cancerous dark will waiting for her on the other side, stayed her hand. She was utterly lost. Where to go - what to do? Why even try? She feared she would go mad. Sequestered, she had only boredom and loneliness. Out among the others, the voices threatened to pull her
under like a drowning tide.

Sitting in an abandoned tenement one morning lamenting her situation, Lily realized that she was utterly without purpose. How can someone exist without a purpose?

It was at that moment that a tremendous crash resounded outside the building, against the wall she’d been leaning against. She reflexively called her shimmering “shield” around herself and quickly flew through the nearest opposite wall lest the hovel collapse on top of her.

The scene in the street was chaos. Cars were tipped over and light-poles sheared off and lying in the street. She turned the corner to see that super hero guy – the one that could shoot ice from his hands – being pummeled into the hood of a taxi cab by that mean robot bad guy. Quake-face, or whatever he was called – she’d never bought into the press’s fascination with the whole super community.

Ice Guy was bleeding profusely, and just lying there limp on the crumpled remains of the car while the hulking, terrifying super villain bashed his senseless body with berserk rage. Without thinking, Lily screamed, “Stop it! Leave him alone!”

Quake-o suddenly ceased his frenzied attack and turned to face her, staring. Moments passed and nothing happened. The street was silent, save the crackling from some downed electrical wires and streetlights.

Lily’s eyes widened. Tentatively, she said, “Go on – get out of here. Leave us alone.” To her amazement, the hairy spandex-clad freak blinked at her once, and sedately turned and loped off down a side street, out of her sight.

“Holy crap…”, she breathed. After a few moments of shocked contemplation, Lily ran off to flag down an ambulance for the fallen Ice-dude. Frosty-Man. Whatever.

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