by J.R. PETE
Matthew is facing many new changes and a clean start
After Matthew reached Misty's house, he went into the garage, made himself visible, and closed the door. He was going to let Misty know of Joe's decision and his plans. She will be crushed because she loved him like a real uncle. She grew up with Joe and Erin always being there. She would take this pretty hard.
Misty was in the living room alone when he entered the house as the girls had gone to bed earlier.
"Good, you got cleaned up. You look great in the new clothes. You need to give your delivery man a raise."
"His name is Ryan Brown. He is a good guy. He is the one that got me started on being a hero. You should date him. I can set you up if you want." Matthew stated with a smile.
"Uh, no thanks, dad. I am taking a needed break from relationships and focusing on my family and my photography career. So, what did Joe have to say? What does he think of your recent exploits?"
"Not much, he wanted to talk about some other things." Here it comes.
"He wanted me to heal him. His cancer, gall bladder, and restore his leg."
"Really? Do you mean he will be finally cured of cancer and be able to walk again? That would be great! When will he be over or when can we go see him? The girls will be delighted to be able to play with uncle Joe outside."
"Wait, I'm not done. He wanted to start new, fresh. He knew if I healed his leg, he couldn't stay around here without lots of questions. He decided that because Erin is gone, he has no ties here besides us. He is moving to Alaska. He was packing tonight and is selling his boat, the 'Beloved'."
"Alaska? No ties? We're his family. You've known him longer than anybody. He practically raised me, after you and mom. The girls adore him. How could he say that?"
"I think it has something to do with Erin. He has never gotten over her death. I believe, and I may be wrong, that he blames himself. I think he feels he could have done more to keep her here. I know when your mother died, that's how I felt. It took a while for me to come to terms with her death. I don't think Joe ever has."
"Is that why he is leaving? Because he can't deal with it so he wants to leave the place that reminds him of her. That's sad. Poor Joe. When is he leaving?"
"Tomorrow, I will be going over about eleven o'clock or so. I need to check and see how he is doing. I am not sure if it is even possible to grow a leg back. I also want to talk with him more about his decision to push us away. To be very honest, I agree with him not staying around. People would question his brand-new leg. It's just that it sounds like he wants to be left alone. As you said, we're family. He's closer to me than my brother."
Misty thought for a moment and then offered, "Dad, maybe he just needs time to himself to get his life back together. He might think the best way to do that is to leave. Did he say he didn't want to see us anymore?"
"No, but he did make it clear he wanted to start over."
"Speaking of changes, I am changing my alter-ego's name. It is now just Defender. I rather not explain why, just that it has been changed."
Misty knew by the tone of her dad's voice that this was something he would not discuss. Secretly, she was glad he dropped the "In Green" part. Easier to say and more mysterious.
Later, after Misty went to bed, Matthew felt restless. He wasn't in the mood to watch television and he wasn't tired. He decided to go and patrol.
Once outside the garage, even though it was dark, he decided to become invisible and walk. He began listening for any trouble nearby. He didn't hear anything, so he used his super hearing. He immediately heard snoring, televisions, people talking about their day, a cat, someone at the laundromat, and countless other night noises. He tried to sort through the noise to determine if anything was happening illegally. Nothing was happening and no conversations about illegal activity. He needed something to get his mind off of the day's events.
He soon found himself on the main street downtown. He kept walking until he came to a bench. He decided to sit down and think about being a hero and, more directly, why this change happened to him.
While he has done good deeds, he didn't feel as fulfilled as he initially thought he would be. While his body was near perfect, his mind was still a seventy-five-year-old man from a different period.
Maybe Joe had it right. Go somewhere and start over. While Joe could do that, Matthew couldn't. He would never fit in anymore. He would be seen as an outsider. All because of that window, the strange beams of light, and the statue. Where did that window come from and where did it lead? He decided to do something that should have been done right after he left the hospital.
Using super speed, he arrived at the park. He easily found the tree that he was flung into. He examined the damage he made when thrown against the tree. How could he have survived? It had to have broken his back and caused fatal internal damage. He remembered he was advised by a nurse at the hospital that the paramedics stated his back was broken; however, after an MRI scan, they found no damage.
Matthew tried to remember where he saw the window or doorway in the air. After searching for twenty minutes, he believed he found where it was. There was a slight scorch line on the ground about three feet long and an inch in width. He lined up the scorch mark with the tree and it made a straight line.
As he stood where the window had been, he began to remember that day. He had the feeling of being cool as if a cold wind blew on him. He then heard a sound resembling a crackling noise coming from in front of him with an acrid odor, followed by beams of blue, green, and yellow lights with an air distortion coming from the window-like opening. Before going unconscious, Matthew saw a red-orange glow coming from mid-air, with someone standing in the foreground looking at him. He was not aware of anything else until he woke up in the hospital.
With this renewed memory, he needed to concentrate on who was looking at him and why. Where was the viewer from? Was there any way to trace them? If so, how? What was he missing?
He was becoming increasingly frustrated and angry at himself for not paying closer attention. He wished this never happened to him. Out of frustration, he rubbed his face and eyes with his hands. Without consciously willing it, the Third eye opened. Matthew could see where the original opening occurred. He could make out the sides, top, and bottom borders. After he opened his other eyes, he discovered he had somehow reopened the window and could see into it. He got as close as he dared without stepping into it.
The scene had changed. The colors in the background remained the same but the view appeared to be within a cave or spacious dwelling as it had walls and a ceiling. As he walked over to the window, now five feet above the ground, he could see a three-dimensional world. He saw strange ferret-like creatures the size of a ten-year-old walking on their hind legs like humans, but faster. They were carrying rudimentary bows and, what looked like, arrows, with them.
He noticed if he walked behind the opening, he could see in the opposite direction. From this point of view, he saw a cage with black bars. Encaged within was the statue he had seen on the day he was transformed. However, the statue was walking around within the cage.
Matthew was fascinated with what he was watching. These were alien individuals he was watching. As far as he knew, this was the first contact Earth made with a new life form. He was amazed at the differences between the species. He wondered how long Earth had been observed by the different life forms before the window was seen and blown up.
Matthew believed they could not see him as no one reacted toward the window he created. He focused on the one in the cage he had previously seen. It was made of a hard-looking substance with moveable joints. There were two hands with four fingers each with two large-sized legs. The head was square with a pointed top. There was no mouth or nose he could see. They had two smaller eyes with a much larger Third Eye.
The one in the cage seemed distressed and it was crouched in the center of the small cage. It was a dull grey. If it once showed more brightly, it wasn't now.
Matthew felt he needed to help the prisoner. He didn't believe the creature was hostile as it did not look defiant. He tried to whisper to the prisoner through the window. He thought he had been heard because the prisoner looked up toward him and the window, went to the edge of the cage, and tried to put its hand through the bars. The cage must have been electrically charged because the prisoner was thrown backward and appeared to be in pain.
Before Matthew could react, his third eye shot forth a green light toward the prisoner. No, it hit the cage instead and shattered the bars. Black shards flew everywhere, and the concussion-like force knocked all the ferret creatures down along with the prisoner.
Everyone seemed knocked out. Matthew felt terrible because he had no control of his third eye. He didn't know how it was activated as he did not attempt to focus the power. It must have reacted to his emotions and thoughts.
The black shards could be seen scattered everywhere beginning to glow green. As with the glow, the shards began to change color into a dull, darker green. Soon the glow began to subside until all there were green shards.
Soon, the ferret-like creatures began to move, along with the prisoner. It regained its feet and closed its eyes. Soon, a soft shimmering light appeared around it and then disappeared.
The prisoner looked at the green shards and tentatively picked one up. After a moment, it dropped it. As the prisoner looked directly at Matthew it stood still and just stared at him. Matthew raised his hand in a gesture of peace. The prisoner copied the gesture and nodded. While they were staring at each other, the prisoner suddenly looked to its right and began to run in that direction.
From behind the Defender, someone yelled, "Hey! What are you doing there? What are you looking at?" A flashlight beam shined on Matthew. This startled him and the window disappeared. He turned around to see someone with a small dog and a flashlight standing there.
"Holy cow, you are real. You're really real. I thought the news just made you up, but you're real. No one will ever believe me that I saw you. Say, can I have you sign something, Mr. Defender in Green? My name is Ed. Ed Reat."
"Call me Defender. I am dropping the 'in Green' title. Do you have something I can write on and with? I don't have a pen or paper."
"Yeah, sure. Just sign my newspaper. 'To Ed, from the Defender.' Can you sign it like that?"
"Sure. There you go. Now, I have to go. Crime waits for no man." The Defender then flew away without turning invisible. What a dumb thing to say, 'Crime waits for no man'.
After making sure Mr. Reat saw him fly off, Matthew turned invisible and flew to Misty's house. After landing and going into the garage and shutting the door, he turned visible and entered her home.
Matthew needed some quiet time. He suddenly felt tired and knew he needed to lie down. As he lay on the floor, he replayed what occurred that evening. He felt, though it seemed like he didn't initiate the cage being blown up, that he did something good that night. While he didn't sleep, he still managed to relax and think about Misty and his granddaughters.