Midnight: Earth, Chapter 2

I haven’t decided a naming scheme for the chapters yet, but I think it’s kind of cool to just let the titles come naturally. This one is an omage to a comic book character (won’t tell ya who!) that I have no connection with whatsoever. I was just thinking about his powers one day. So anyway, if you haven’t read chapter one yet, it’s here. It kind of provides the background to this otherwise random group of sentences.

 

2. The Flash

Frightened, the young man traced his hands frantically over the ground, grasping at the loose soil, until he saw his phone light up about halfway up the hill. His heart jumped and he lurched up the incline. He was just about to grab the phone when a bright, pale green flash came from just behind him and killed his footing.

Back on his knees, Tony Maxwell thought it was maybe the flashlight of an event staffer coming to yell at him for jumping the barrier, but he wasn’t so lucky. He flopped onto his back defensively, but his brain couldn’t justify what his eyes showed him. The flash had faded to a dull glow, revealing something that was not human and had come to do much worse than yell.

It held an oblong silver orb that emitted the light from the top, revealing only a partial view of what stared back at him. That was all he needed. It had a long, pale face with a small mouth at the bottom and four beady eyes near the top. The oversized head sat on narrow shoulders attaching short, thin arms that had two thickly clawed fingers and an opposable thumb. There were two swinging tails behind its back, flickering occasionally in the light behind its head, one much thinner than the other. Whatever it was, it was tall. Very tall.

Tony attempted to crabwalk back up the hill, but the thinner tail whipped around and slid into his shirt so fast he had no time to say anything. Immediately upon contact, it secreted a powerful neurotoxin, rapidly relaxing his muscles from the outside in. As the tail continued to invade his shirt from the south, coiling around his torso and providing ever more surface contact, his senses and emotions became amplified.

Within twenty seconds, Tony was physically incapacitated and mentally frenetic.

As soon as he was limp, the creature lifted him off the ground and brought him closer to its face, then gave him a gentle shake. The tail did not contract or constrict his breathing, just held him there for what could have been an eternity if you asked Tony. The creature finally huffed and looked down, holding him in mid-air while it started fiddling with its orb, tapping and turning it over furiously.

In another two minutes, the toxin was slipping past the blood-brain barrier and the mental side effects began to quickly fade. He was sleepy, almost unconscious, when the crowd shrieked and startled the creature into dropping him. Tony jolted, seized, and tried to yell for help while his limbs regained feeling.

The creature let out an angry warble and quickly picked him back up again, this time using the second tail to rip his shirt in the back. The long tail was around his chest again in seconds, this time doubling the surface area of its coil. He was frozen in the air again in no time, slipping into a coma. The creature went back to work on the orb, tapping the illuminated symbols all over the surface until the blindingly bright light reappeared in the shape of an egg around them, and they vanished.

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