Lab Rat part 74

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

Enjoy a double post. It’s my way of apologizing for my craziness and laziness.

My prone position under the air conditioner doesn’t provide much of a view. Through the tiny rectangle, I can make out the storefront of the electronics store, as well as a sliver of parking lot. It’ll have to do, because the helicopter is circling. Hopefully Dad and Jennifer are either properly hidden, or completely unrecognized. I don’t have long to wait before I hear cars screeching to a stop. No sirens though. They must still be trying to sneak up on me. It’s a wasted effort, and not just because I’m setting them up. The black helicopter isn’t exactly a fixture of the city skyline. Everyone in the area has to know that something is going down. Hopefully Parish’s guys don’t make the connection. It’s a stretch, but my luck has been running pretty bad lately.

I watch as the tiny piece of asphalt I can see is swarmed by a fully equipped SWAT team. Bringing up the rear is a pair of guys in suits. The DOD’s guys for sure. I check the position of the helicopter. It’s floating overhead and away from me toward the strip mall. I creep forward to my spy hole on my elbows and belly. If this were my shirt, I’d be upset about shredding yet another one. As it is, I promise myself that I’ll feel bad about ruining the ill-gotten shirt later. I press my face up to the gap. I count ten guys in full tactical gear and the two agents. One of them turns back for just a second, and I laugh. It’s Johnson, and he’s got a big butterfly cast over his face. I did kick him pretty hard. I don’t feel bad about that for a second though. I hope he still looks like a raccoon. I scan around for a government sedan. There are a couple of them parked at the entrance to the lot. I suppose that’s the favor that the retaining wall did me. I don’t have far to walk. The chopper is still at the other side of its circle. Time to move.

I scramble over to the edge of the building. I’m not exactly graceful on all fours. I roll myself up over the wall, and hang down. It’s kind of a long drop, but I’m already committed. I push myself out from the wall and let go. I windmill my arms as I fall, and the ground is far enough away that I have time to feel like I made a huge mistake. This is far stupider than my wannabe parkour maneuvers from last week. As I hit the ground, I feel the shock in my soles. It hurts. I instantly let my knees go doubled and roll forward. I somersault forward and come up on my feet. I stagger. Not exactly gold medal material, but that went astonishingly well.

I head to the mouth of the alleyway. The car I want is maybe twenty feet away. I do something I’ve only done a few times in my life and check the injector to see that the power I want is chambered. I’d be prouder of myself for my foresight, but I’ve only read about the thing I’m about to try. I scan the street again. All clear. Like, entirely devoid of traffic. They must have it blocked off. These guys are hellbent on containing me. I hate to disappoint people, but I don’t plan on making it easy. I keep myself low as I run across the street. About halfway to the car, I hit the injector. My boosted pulse sucks the fire through me faster than usual, and I grin involuntarily. I was wrong about it never feeling good, apparently. I’m almost to the car when my vision blurs.

Suddenly, I’m in the lab watching myself tape cartridges to the inside of the vest. I look around. Taryn is standing at her work station pounding away at a keyboard. The world blurs again, and she’s gone. I’m still in the lab. I spin around, and I find her filling cartridges from vials at a bench. There’s a loud thump, and my head starts to hurt. I’m lying beside the silver sedan that was my goal. There’s a dent. I ran into the car. The world shimmers again, but I visualize myself, right here right now. The world blurs, and I’m standing in a store in the mall. I’m buying pants. Shit. I bite my tongue. The clothing store melts away, and I’m looking at the car again. The car continues to shimmer, but I stay grounded in the present. The power is called psychometry. I can trace events tied to objects and people. I was reading the cartridges in mid-run. Brilliant.

I crawl to my knees and place a hand on the car. The world shimmers and blurs out. I’m standing in an assembly plant. My hand is resting on a bare automobile frame. The sounds of heavy machinery and yelling in Spanish fill the air. Way too far back. I take a deep breath. I focus on the car as it is right now. Metal and plastic sprout from the frame and the colors shift to match the silver and dirt of the car’s current state. The driver’s rear door caves in noiselessly. I’m now standing there looking at myself reading the car. Freaky. Okay, now to go backward. I watch the dashboard clock on the car stop and start counting backward. My former self lies down, then falls upward and un-dents the car door with his head. He runs off into the alleyway backward. I need to go faster. The clock obliges and speeds up. Johnson and his partner sprint backward toward the car and the SWAT team cruises into their vans in reverse. I feel like someone should be playing “Yakety Sax.” My head starts to hurt.

My good luck holds, and agent Johnson jumps into the car I’m reading and tears off backward down the street. It’s surreal to watch the road moving under my feet. I’m still crouched and motionless, but the street signs whip by. Shit. I need to be watching. I watch as we head downtown. I stop worrying so much about watching road signs. Johnson is already going to know where I am, so there’s no reason I can’t just use the navigator on my phone. I relax a little, and speed up the read. The city blurs. Johnson is shouting into his cell phone, organizing his attack on my last known position. I try to eavesdrop, but the accelerated Johnson sounds like an angry squirrel that swallowed a helium balloon. I’d slow down the reading, but I have no idea how fast time is going in reality, and I need to get to the end of this road before I get caught.

There’s a reason that I didn’t post yesterday. See, after practice, I got to drinking. A lot. I don’t remember one hundred percent of what happened. I didn’t wake up sticky or naked and all my friends are still friends, so I’m not too worried about that. Still… Wow.

The good news: I am back to writing with a vengeance. More good news: I killed the job interview. I’m expecting a call from the DM in my near future. It would be nice to rejoin the workforce.


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