Have you ever had a dream replay in your head over and over again?
In my case, I wish it was a dream. Ever since that day nineteen months ago, every time I shut my eyes I relive that Day of Impact. The day which shook Indigo City and its population along with me with it.
I see the same people over and over again race by me so much I can draw them without error. I see them occasionally throughout the city and can definitively place their location and what they where wearing on that day. They look like they are screaming in my dreams, but I do not hear their cries. I doubt they heard mine as a pushed through the stampede of rushing people to search for young Haley Winston.
The stampede finally clears only to see the true horror of that day. I slow to a complete stop, paralyzed from what is approaching toward my direction. It was for only for a few seconds, but every time I relive that day it seems like an eternity as they approach. Their eyes triggered my lack of response. I didn't know what they were classified until days later, but the emptiness in the Blight's eyes was a part of humanity I had never seen before, if they were human at all anymore. If someone told me that they dug their way from the bowels of Hell I would not have questioned it.
The Blights get closer and I wonder how to find Haley. They get even closer as I select a route to take to get around them, and just as my knees unfreeze as I shift my weight to change my direction, I feel the air begin to withdraw from beneath me in a quick gush. The hairs on the back of my neck begin to tingle while the ones on my arms stand on end. It all happened so quickly that day, but I relive it in slow motion every single day as the force of an explosion strikes my back.
I do not know the cause of the blast, but I notice my spine crack vertebrae by vertebrae from the force as it flings me like a ragdoll through the air. I finally hit the ground, the inertia of the blast sending me rolling over concrete and dirt for a few feet, ripping my clothes and scraping my skin into numerous abrasions. I know that I am still alive, I do not know how, but I do not question the mercy bestowed upon me. The intense ringing in ears forces me to open my eyes sooner than I wanted. It takes a moment for my eyes to refocus, but they do. I awaken to a bluish vapor surrounding me. My view extends past the blue mist to see the damage of the explosion, but my mind focuses back onto Haley.
"Get up!" My conscious screams. "Move and get up. You have to find Haley!"
I close my eyes as I feel the pressure in my head build up as if I am to black out from the blast, but my conscious screaming yet again. "Get up and find Haley!"
I arise, ignoring the intensifying pain from my movement. I stumble a couple of steps only to gather a sturdy walk, which evolves into a full out sprint. At my age and weight, I should have started to feel the effects rather quickly, but I don't. My knees pump high while my arms remained tucked, pumping feverishly in a manor I had not experienced in years. I thought it was adrenaline fueling me to find Haley. What I know is that I was catching up to other people that were running and even surpassing them. The back of their shirts becoming a distant memory in my rear as I tried to loop around the block to find Haley. I hadn't experienced such an event in years. The rate in which I was exerting myself not seen since my military days.
I slow upon an intersection, carefully dodging traffic, and that is when I noticed it in the reflection of a passing car window. It was me, but it wasn't, at least it was completely me, but from another point in my life years passed.
Confused, I make my way to a parked car to get another glimpse of myself. It was no delusion, as the reflection I thought I saw stared back at me. I place my hand upon my face to question the integrity of my mind only for the reflection to mimic my movement. My hands realizing the reality. My eyes saw the younger me, and my very hands felt the very face which was me years ago and yet I was it complete disbelief.
I shuffle backwards, lost in the moment, questioning how it had happened. The anxiety hit me, my surroundings began to spin and that is when I heard a low, dull, distant noise increase into a blaring horn of a vehicle almost upon me. Unable to avoid the impact, I try to shift my weight into a feeble attempt of a jump. The car clipped my body as it tried to attempt to avoid me, causing me to crash into the front windshield, splintering the glass into a spider web design.
The car slams on its breaks, I go flying off the hood of the car in agony onto the black asphalt which showed me no mercy upon impact. Shards of glass covered my body. Blood dripped off my brow into my eye as I thought I had broken a few bones in the processes. My vision began to blur, as I see the door open from the car. The driver runs upon me quickly, but I can not process what he was saying. I close my eyes, expecting the end of it all.
Random visions followed, my mind still not connecting words with sight. Lights, people, and questions all blending in my mind. My eyelids begin to feel cumbersome, my mind telling me to sleep.
"James?" The call of my name awakens my attention. "Its me. Haley!"
Haley? My mind immediately places the face and the voice together. Her saddened tone causing me to open an eye to her long blond hair streaming down her face. I lock onto gigantic blue eyes as she weeps over me.
"Haley," I murmur. "It's me. James."
The tears that had flown down her face was now eclipsed by her smile. "I know who you are silly. You have been watching over me since I was an infant."
She was right yet how did she recognize me. I looked no more than 25 in my reflection, but did not take over as care-taker to the Winston Estate until I was in my forties, yet Haley spoke to me like she recognized me. I manage to pull myself off my back into a sitting position on the side of the bed, pushing the connecting hospital lines out of my way looking for a mirror.
"Take it easy, James. You where hit by a car."
I manage a small laugh though my side do not appreciate it. "I know. I was there."
Haley responds in the same manner with a chuckle of her own. "At least you do not have amnesia, but the doctors said you where lucky to come out of it with just bruises. They said you might have suffered a concussion."
"Then I'm lucky," I reply as I head toward the bathroom mirror.
I touch my face again in disbelief. Where once I saw a young twenty year old just hours ago, the face I grew to appreciate of my 67 year old self stared at me once again from a mirror. I question my sanity while putting on a strong face in front of Haley.
"Are you okay, James?" She asks in her usual caring manner.
I nod yes as I question what I believed to have happened. "Are your parents here too? It got pretty crazy out there today."
There was an uneasy silence in the room which made me turn toward Haley. The look on her face told me enough, that look of despair and loss only death could bring, but I had to confirm what I feared. I had known Haley to be so innocent and full of hope, but the girl sitting before me had a look totally foreign to me. "Where are your parents?"
"They...they are dead." She mumbled as she began to tear up again.
I was at a loss for words. I had known her parents half my life and help raised their kids from infancy to now. I look at Haley, her eyes began to swell up from the news she had just relayed. I hug Haley, comforting her in her moment of loss. I never had children but Haley and her brother, Henry, were the closest thing to it. Their parents I viewed as my own brother and sister. In a blink we both had lost almost everything and something had to be done about it.
I see that day every day when I sleep. It eats at me like an endless hunger fueling me to do more. I'm not trying to save the world. I could care less what others do to it, but if anything should threaten of what remains to the good family that took me in years ago, I promise I will bring a plague on thee that has not been seen since Moses in Egypt.
Greetings. I hope any readers of Renaissance Man liked it. It was an origin issue so I had to establish some background on the main character, James Bristow, before he started breaking legs in the series. I'm always open for a few critiques. Just a few though, lol.
Anyways...if you notice there were a couple of pictures of Michael Fasbender and Tom Wilkinson both playing the role of James Bristow. I hope it doesn't throw any who should read Renaissance Man but I find it a lot easier to place actors with my characters so I could imagine future action scenes. I have more "actors" to the series under my Comicvine blog section if you wanted to see who was cast for what later on in the series.