Lab Rat part 58

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

I check the label on the cartridge I just dosed myself with. I go through the checklist of number and letter codes. Any other time, I’d be grousing about how Taryn won’t just write what something is supposed to do on the label, but recently her paranoia doesn’t seem so crazy. I’m having a hard time thinking clearly, but I think this was in the same category as flight and the relative gravity thing. I look back at the gathering storm of junk behind me. My best guess? The debris is being pulled by my own gravity. I concentrate and fly faster. I really don’t want to sweep up anything living in this, but I think I have my solution. My left arm continues to burn. Pavement under me buckles and surges upward. I can see buildings rattle and lean into me. My vest squeezes against my chest. I fly upward and rise above the rooftops. Deep breath. The fire in my arm is creeping into my chest. I let out my breath slowly. I need to be calm.

I can feel my vest and clothing unclench. I look back and the trail of junk has dropped off. The rockets are closing in again. I fly faster again. I can still feel the adrenaline surging in me, but I have control of it. I climb higher into the sky. I look down. I pick out a rooftop, and unstrap my body armor. It won’t stop an explosion, and I don’t want to destroy the precious cartridges taped to the inside. As the rockets close in again, I dive down between them. I can see the chopper to the northwest, and a news helicopter to the east. Oh, good. I’m going to be on the news. Better yet, my family is going to see me flying and then see me shot with a fucking rocket. I swoop low and drop my vest on a rooftop. With any luck at all I’ll be able to come back for it.

I pull up again, and look back. The rockets are pulling loops to reorient on me. I scan the city and spot the automotive row. It’s a long line of car dealerships. Every city I’ve ever been to has one like it. That’ll provide some armor of sorts. I beeline for the shining rows of new cars, and let my gravity well bloom. My pants clamp down on my legs. I can still breathe now that I’m not wearing the vest. I pick a red car in the center of a lot and dive for it. I look back and the rockets are closing fast. My own pull is giving them a boost, for sure. The fire is finally spreading through my whole body, and dissipating. I close to about a hundred feet of the red car, and it lifts clear of the parking lot as if to greet me. I pull up, and all of the cars around it start to rise as well. I climb straight up. My legs are going numb from my jeans squeezing me so hard, but it has the accidental effect of keeping my blood from pooling as I pull an unknown number of G’s with the sharp turn. If I survive, I’ll have to document this for Taryn.

A cone of quality new and used cars climbs into the sky like an upside down tornado, with me at the tip. The rockets are closing again. I climb faster, and pull harder. There’s a popping somewhere low in my body. I suspect that when my pants stop clinging to me like they weigh a ton, something is going to hurt. The column of cars towers to five hundred feet, and I bank left and dive. The lead car follows like the top of a wave, and the tower leans over me. The rockets plow through the maelstrom, and I hear one blow up in the mass of cars. More are coming up off the lot in a swell, and I can see a sea of floating metal and fiberglass roiling under me. I pull harder and fly faster, and the red sports car finally makes contact with my boots. I can feel the roof cave as though I landed on it as every part of the car crowds to get as close to me as it can. I can no longer see the last rocket, but I know it’s still coming. I pull harder, and cars crash into each other in an attempt to get to me. I laugh out loud and dive again. I’ve become a flying car accident. I wonder whose insurance is going to cover this. They’ll probably try to get the money from me. If I live. I’m sort of doubting it at this point. I can’t see the ground anymore, so I ease up to a hover. Glass breaks and shards of it shoot into my skin. Metal squeals and fiberglass crackles. The rocket hits. I feel the shockwave and fire washes over me, followed swiftly by darkness.

My friend Brandi is concerned that my “machine” will take over. There is some part of me that will carry me forward long after I’ve given up on myself. It isn’t nice. It doesn’t care about anything but keeping me alive. I call it the Machine. When I close myself off to the world to stop the hurt, frequently I let this monstrous autopilot take control. There is no way for me to predict how much I can take before this happens. It was nearly certain to be the case up until yesterday night. Now, we’ll see. There will be more discussion of Gulf Wars, Megan, and the Machine. For right now, my life isn’t going to rebuild itself.


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