Billy has extraordinary powers but wants nothing to do with a super life anymore
| Billy Donovan couldn't help but sigh. It was all over. Years of fighting, bickering, and squabbling were now in the past. A small tear trickled from his left eye and slid halfway down his cheek before it danced down onto the clich grimy bar that he rested his elbows on. Despite the layers of sticky alcohol, the tear managed to pirouette and prance with such elegance that Billy almost smiled. Almost. And then, after one final leap and twirl, Billy made a flicking motion with his thumb and index finger and it almost looked as if the tear took a bow before finally joining the rest of the sticky liquids on the wooden bar top.
Another deep sigh and Billy stared at his whiskey. He still wasn't sure what he was.
With a squelching sound, he pulled his tired elbows off of the counter and slowly spun around. His bones hurt. It wasn't just from the depressing soreness that often comes with age but also from the many fights that he had been in. Too many knocks to the head had left him with concussions and he was occasionally unable to remember his name, or what he was doing. His ribs ached from all the times they'd been broken and his legs had been snapped like twigs enough times to make him envy paraplegics. Winter mornings were the worst though. Billy, alone, would often find himself crawling to the bathtub. Once there, comforted only by the coolness of the bathroom tiles, he would run a warm bath and remind himself that it wasn't time to die yet.
The bar was as depressing and dank as the countertop. Dim lights hid the few patrons' scowls and the constant thrum of traffic kept their low, whispered conversations private. Billy couldn't help but snicker at how he'd become a clich a stereotype, and faded into obscurity. His five minutes of fame were well and truly over.
"Same time tomorrow?" Trevor, the slender young man who tended the bar, asked.
Billy grunted and nodded.
He didn't hold a grudge against Trevor. In fact, he liked the guy - there was still a sparkle in Trevor's eye that he envied and, no matter, how grouchy Billy was, Trevor always greeted him with a smile and it was normally the only smile he would get all day. There was a time when Billy's wit was almost legendary, but now he was too tired.
"You need to settle you're tab," Suzie said as she pushed through the swinging kitchen door.
She finished wiping a viscous blue liquid off of her hands with a tea towel and absent-mindedly shoved it into a bewildered Trevor's pocket. Confused and too afraid to move, Trevor just stood there, hands clutching at thin air as he watched and listened.
Billy put both feet on the ground and stood up, his bones creaked.
"You can't keep drinking here if you don't settle your tab Billy."
Billy's shoulder's slumped and Trevor took a step backwards towards the kitchen. He pressed his back against the kitchen door and it reached out and cuddled him back.
Suzie was a pitbull. Short, nasally and with her hands on her hips, she stepped forward and leaned against the bar.
"Billy..." Suzie started.
A small dribble of saliva dripped from the corner of her mouth. Suzie stopped talking, cleared her throat with a cough and used the back of her hand to clean her lips.
Recomposing herself, she leaned closer to Billy until he could feel her warm breath tickle the hairs on the back of his neck.
"Drinking isn't free Billy..."
Another trickle of salvia slid from the corner of her mouth and clogged Suzie's words in her throat. It was thicker and warmer than before. She wiped it away, made a sucking sound and swallowed, but it wouldn't stop.
She was now clutching both hands to her mouth and crying from the corners of her locked lips. Her body felt cold and her head started to pound.
The kitchen door made a soft thudding sound as it swung back and forth on its hinge. Trevor had disappeared.
"Billy..." Suzie pleaded.
The other patrons had busied themselves in their own conversations as they obviously tried not to notice what was happening.
"I'm sorry," Billy sighed, exasperated, "I can, I don't know, have some money to you by next week?"
As Suzie's mouth turned off the leaky faucet, water slowly started to leech back into her brain cells and it rehydrated her. The drums in her head subsided and she took a deep breath. Followed by another deep breath.
"Is next week alright?" Billy repeated, as he turned around.
His eyes were swimmingly blue and yet hazy with a winter's morning fog. They met hers and Suzie nodded as she took a step backwards.
"How about half your bill by next week and we're square," her voice was squeaky and breathless.
She absent-mindedly rubbed her throat.
"I promise," Billy groaned as he walked outside.
Billy's white knuckles gripped his steering wheel. An acrid smell burned his nostrils but he was used to it. Strewn over the back seat of his 2012 Toyota Camry were clothes, some worn and others clean. A toiletries bag sat half open on the floor, mold festered on a half eaten sandwich next to it. When Billy bought the car it was already old but since then the metallic blue paint had withered and cracked, there were dents on the back of the rear passenger side and the bonnet had been pushed inwards enough so that when the car ran for too long, the radiator started to make a hissing sound.
As he pushed his forehead into the front dash, the layer of dust sympathetically moved aside. Billy took a deep breath and the cold winter air tickled the insides of his throat. He smiled and shivered a little.
The key turned in the ignition and the engine painfully stuttered to life. Billy was about to put the engine into gear when a loud bang perforated silence of the night.
His head shot up from his dash. He listened, waited but there was just silence. Could it have just been a car backfiring or a balloon popping? Maybe it was the sound of children playing with fireworks.
Billy's hand moved back to the gear stick when a second bang shattered his disillusionment and this time it was followed by a commotion. Shouts and screams came from Suzie's establishment, followed by another two quick successive bangs.
The Camry's engine cried and whimpered, it begged him to leave. The cold dew that lazily hung on the night's breeze tried to push Billy back into the car but it was no good. His feet flew over the gravel driveway and before he could rationalize or dissuade himself, he was standing in front of the open door to the bar.
Over the course of his life, Billy had seen many dead bodies, some were even because of his actions, but it never got easier for him. His stomach lurched and he could feel the bile as it clawed its way up his throat.
Trevor laid face up in the middle of the barroom floor. His eyes were vacantly open and a trickle of blood wept from a wound just above his right breast. To Billy's right, two more bar patrons that only moments ago were trivially getting drunk to their own merriment now sat lifeless and limp. Sulphuric smells wafted pass Billy and walked out of the door. He forced the acidy demon that crawled up his throat back into his stomach.
Oddly enough, there was no shooter, only silence and scared drinkers who sat huddled together under tables.
Billy quickly gathered himself, closed his eyes and focused. He snatched at the water molecules in the air around him. He thrust his hand into the gush of water that flowed through the pipes beneath him. He called out to the rainwater that was trapped in the clouds above. An audible thrum emanated from Billy and, as he pushed his hands forward, a thick mist descended on the insides of the bar.
For a moment, there was nothing then, as the mist began to settle, it clung to the silky outline of what looked like a man. He stood behind the cash register and was stuffing wads of money into his pockets. His face was still a vague vestige but there was no mistaking the thick smoke that rose from the pistol in his hand.
Anger boiled the blood in Billy's veins and he clenched his fists together. If the shooter didn't know that he'd been seen before, the feeling of heaviness that set into his limbs made him audibly gasp and, as he looked up and saw Billy's wild eyes, his head started to frantically swivel with all the grace of a bowling ball. The man tried to raise the pistol but his arms had become chained to his sides. First his knees buckled then his waist crumpled, finally, the wooden floorboards smashed into his head. As Billy forced every water molecule to repeatedly stomp down on the shooters spine, the man could feel the atmosphere crush him. He let out a whimper and suddenly there he was, in full visibility. His eyes were closed and his breathing was shallow. Billy opened his fists and the water molecules fled. Every other person in the bar tripped over each other as they ran for the door.
Billy knelt down next to the shooter. A small wispy moustache and the little patchy bushes of a beard told Billy that he was probably no older than twenty years old.
Trevor was nineteen.
"You did this to yourself," Billy softly said.
The shooter only replied with a pained murmur as a sliver of air pushed itself out of his lungs.
"Billy?" cried a female voice from the kitchen.
It was guttural and bubbling, as if the speaker was underwater, and Billy immediately knew whom it was.
He sprung to his feet and slammed into the swinging kitchen door so hard the hinges nearly broke.
Suzie had pushed herself up against a stove and she had both hands pressed into her lower abdomen. Tears ran down her face and there was a streak of blood on the floor from where she'd been shot.
"It looks worse than it is," Suzie coughed and bloody spittle splattered onto her arm.
"Just sit still, don't talk."
Billy stood in the middle of the kitchen and reached his hand outwards towards a kitchen tap. With purpose, he summoned a stream of water and shaped it into a wad of what looked like bandages.
"Suzie, when I say, move your hands."
Suzie groggily nodded.
"Now!" Billy shouted and as Suzie let her hands fall to her sides, Billy wrapped the water bandages around her wound. Like cement between bricks, he pushed it into the folds of her wound and held it there, a plug that was only barely preventing a dam from bursting.
Suzie weakly looked down, "thanks, but what now?"
But before Billy could answer, even though he had no idea, the sounds of sirens and the screech of tires shouted sweet nothings at them.
"Hands where I can see them!"
Billy's pupils yanked themselves open and he instinctively put his forearm up to give them a respite from the abrasive red and blue lights that were screaming into the otherwise dark night.
"All the way up!" came the voice again.
It was a female's. Billy recognized it.
Elizabeth Quinton was a lieutenant with the Enhanced Persons Task Force, or EPTF. With shoulder length blonde hair and artic blue eyes, she was wisdom, answers and obedience all wrapped up in a slender, muscular frame.