When I was in high school, I took psychology. One of the lessons that stuck with me was the one on simulated reality. It was a hypothesis that said that life was some simulation that was just extra real. I always thought that was a silly thing to think about but know I find it ironic. As my mind pondered this weird memory, I noticed that a lot of people were walking faster than usual. I quickly realized they were running but in fear of what? I look to see another helix running around with his hands enveloped with energy. His look was one of concern, as he gazed into horizon ready to face an unseen opponent. I knew what he was afraid of as in an instant a fiery aura blitzes the man to the ground.
I had seen him on the news, but this was my first time seeing him up close personal. Wildfire: a real-life superhero. He is a hero who is willing to stop the chaos caused by helixes like me. As he flickered with fire while holding down, he looked towards me. I thought he was looking elsewhere, but then he spoke out.
"What the hell are you doing? Get out of here!"
I was in complete disbelief. I literally couldn't'' believe he was talking with me. I suddenly hear the sliding of granite as the part of the building above me is falling towards me! He runs over to me, but I already knew what was going to happen. I didn't move a single inch as in a nanosecond he passes right through me. The rubble falls on me, but in a few seconds, I walk right through it with ease as Wildfire stared at me with complete disbelief.
Hi, my name is Kate Adams, and I live in a world gone mad. Ever still living was probably a sick joke at this point. I don't remember exactly when "this" happened but I remember the "how." My dad was battling with lung cancer ever since I was five. But by the time I was halfway through my second year of college he lost that battle. I still visit his grave on most days. My mom was different ever since. She became more dependent, more depressed, less her. During my third year of college, I would sometimes catch my mom talking with someone. Eventually, she revealed her boyfriend, Brian. There was something off about him for the longest time especially when he messed with my Kitty-Kat collection.
I decided to visit my mom more often, and the creaks started to seep in. He always wanted me to know where my mom and I were at all times, and there was even a time where I showed up, and she had a bruise on her arm. I tried talking with her, but she would always brush off the question. I might as well have been a leaf in the wind. It all came to a head when during New years when he walked into my room in a drunken stupor. He woke me up and started trying to force himself on me. I screamed and yelled wishing to be anywhere else. Then Genesis happened. It took a couple of minutes for it to click in, but it eventually did. I had become a phantom in the wind.
I felt stronger and lighter all at the same time. Though I realized soon enough the horrible truth that no one could hear nor see me, I could touch anything, but I never got hungry or thirsty. For a week I tried getting my mom to listen to me. I screamed, hollered trying my best for her to hear me as she sobbed and tried getting the police to track me down. I decided to pray to god hoping someone would listen to me. But I was a drop in the ocean in the casualties of Genesis. That week was the hardest of my life. I imagined over and over about all the dreams that I wanted to do, Finish College, become an actress, travel to Hawaii. I couldn't bear to see the despair of my mom's face anymore. To make the most of my insane situation I decided to distract myself.
I lost track of the days as I explored all of Philly. I saw the museums, the liberty bell, and all the halls. I went on some of the tours and specific places for free. I' even mooned and spied on people when bored. But now reality was starting to sink in. I faced the fact that I would never be seen again by anyone for the rest of my life. That in the end, I will fade into the ether. So you can imagine that my mind went to a million different directions when someone finally acknowledged me. I quickly walked out of the rubble with ease with Wildfire the Wildfire stared at the area around me in disbelief.
"Um, ghost lady are you there or has the craziness of this world finally got to me. Or did that guy I beat had an illusion creating ability?"
"Please don't go! Trust me I'm real. Can you hear me?"
"Okay I can hear you now," he said turning to me, "I just need to focus."
"Hey that's fine, you're the first one to see me in god knows how long. I am glad."
I hear the sounds of police sirens coming from across the horizon. Wildfire's face saddened.
"I'm sorry um, mystery girl but I don't have the best relationship with the police. Is there someone where we can continue this conservation? Plus I have some experts that can help with your situation. "
"No, That's fine how about we meet at Concourse Lake at noon tomorrow?"
"Sure I can miss more work."
He quickly tied the unconscious helix and ran off into the distance. As I saw the police wrap him up, I lost composure and started to cry. For so long I was used to being ignored but the fact that someone finally acknowledged my existence was almost too much to bear. I screamed as the authorities put another dangerous helix put away. In preparation for my meeting, I soon realized how embarrassing I must've looked. I've been in nothing, but my pajamas for god knows how long and I haven't been able to see myself in mirrors or cut my hair or even clip my nails. I must look like some creepy, hairy hobo. Still, the only thing I could do was tying my hair in a ponytail and hope for the best. By the end of the day, I waited in anticipation and slept on the ground. In the beginning, I tried having some sense of normalcy in attempting to sleep. I'm thankfully lucky that I don't phase through the field.
The ground is pretty much the only thing I can feel. It's been so long since I've tasted strawberry shortcake, the wind in my hair as I lower down the car window, the absolute euphoria of talking with another being that we take for grant it each day. If it were up to me, I'd give an arm and leg to feel all of that once again. When morning finally came, I silently watch joggers, families, and couples as they all whiz by. I even gazed upon the cutest baby ever. I often wonder what some of these people do in their daily lives, what lives they lead. Were they helixes like me? Could they have powers that could kill or hurt everyone around them, even themselves? To quickly pass the time I decided to engage in my daily conversations to myself. I once reported on how in solitary confinement victims would sometimes go crazy due to sensory deprivation and lack of social activity. I decided to rehearse my favorite quote in Hamlet as dramatic as possible.
Suddenly I hear slow clapping as I saw someone who was crazy handsome approach. The man was a muscular young man who was African American like me in shorts and a shirt. He had black hair and eyes. I assume he was looking at someone else until he introduces himself. My question answered when his hand for a second lighted up in the same aura as Wildfire.
"Not going to lie that was good, my name is Derek Lewis, but then again we've already met haven't we?"
I swear if I could blush I would have. Instead, I stood in disbelief you have to understand the first few weeks of Genesis were absolute chaos helixes were fighting and losing control all over the place. It was a very dark time. Orders only seemed to be partially restored when the Purifiers were out into fruition. But their methods were extreme. As much as I feared my power and the power of others I didn't want to be persecuted for being alive. But this man decided to risk his life every day to try and keep the peace. To me, he was a light in the darkness.
"So how's the life of Philly's first official superhero?"
"I'm the first you've talked to in 6 months, and the only thing you want to talk about is me?"
"I've been talking with myself for .. really six months? I want to know about the person who zips around Philly each day?"
He talked about how he works at "Super Hella Beefy" and how he is a part of a team calling themselves the Champions. It was weird seeing an icon around my age was living life just like everyone else. It's kind of like meeting a celebrity and finding out that he eats at the same restaurant you do. I thought about this as he talked about the date (May 26th A.G.) and that yesterday he was tracking down a criminal called the Cutter.
"So it took me and my friends a couple of hours have come up with a hypothesis for your "situation." You can vibrate your molecules at such a fast rate that no one can perceive you correctly. I can see you because I can speed up my entire body including my mind hence why I can see you now. My people are working out a couple of theories, but if you come to see them, I think there is a chance that we can turn you back to normal. Or whatever sorry excuse for normal the world has turned into."
I think it was then that I completely lost it. I started crying and burbling and tried hugging him. Through my tears, I said thank you. Thank you for making this vicious hell end. Hours later I enter a place called the Trophy Case where I meet "her." I was staring right in the face the woman who led the project that made Genesis. Chelsea Danvers was wearing a red t-shirt and cargo pants. Next to her was a middle-aged man with blond hair in a buzz cut and with a beard growing. He wore a buttoned up shirt and jeans and waved high. Derek said that I was in the room and Chelsea motioned and completely changed her regal appearance.
"I'm so sorry Ms. Adams about the fate that has befallen you. I know you have no reason to trust me, but all that I ask is that you, please trust me long enough for me to help you."
Her raw emotion poured in every word that she said. My feelings were mixed. In a way, she did have a hand in my current situation but from what Derek says she was responsible for the Champions. As I pondered on Derek motioned.
"Don't worry the first time I saw her. I nearly killed her."
"It's true, and now look at us," she said.
I decided to trust her and the next few days were spent with Chelsea using weird tests to try and acknowledge my existence. I explored to eventually find a fridge, a suit of armor, TV and even a couple of rooms. Sometimes I would also meet Derek at certain places to talk. Then about nine days later the results of all tests came to Chelsea told me the news.
"Okay, so science mumbo aside here is the plan. Phil and I managed to secure high-grade Sorbothane: the greatest anti-vibration material known to man and we've managed to convert it into special carbon arm braces that can lessen your vibrations to a manageable level. Judging from the tests I could get on you which were barely any Genesis made you like Wildfire stronger, faster and durable than the average human. The problem is brought up in how to get them on you. So this is where Derek comes in. From my research the more heat you produce, the faster you are. Once you gather up the necessary speed, you shake yourself as fast as possible to get the braces on and bring her back to the world of the touching. "
The plan felt complicated like some pathetic teenage virgin with too much time on his hands came up with. I decided though that if I was already this far if there were any drawbacks or dangers. Her eyes grew sullen as she started to bite her lip. Chelsea's voice slices through the deafening silence like a hot knife through butter.
"As you know this uncharted territory. Stephen Hawking's is probably rolling in his grave right now. The thing is that you would be producing an insane amount of kinetic energy. There is a 20'% chance that your combined speed will cause a homemade nuke that will make Hiroshima look like a grenade. Were hoping the Wildfire's heat shield would lower the risk but still. You have to understand that your one of the most powerful and strangest Helixes I've ever encountered. What's worse for you at least is that there is also a 12% chance that your vibrations will move so fast at that point your atoms disperse across the room. It's all I can do. I'm sorry."
I give out the mother of all gulps as I realized that there was a nearly a third of a chance that something goes wrong and we all die. I couldn't so this. How could I make such a selfish choice without endangering everyone around me? I decided to have Derek translate that I would think this over. I also told Derek to meet with me alone. As he walked, he started to talk to me. Tears were beginning to build up again.
"It's so unfair," I said, "I either get myself the ability to interact with the world finally, destroy the city or have a small chance I become even less than I am now."
"Your still here, you're still a person, and this is your choice. A third of a chance everything goes wrong is still a chance," Derek said empathically.
"It doesn't matter where we go Derek, either way, someone will get hurt including you for starters! If you were me would you be able to make the same choice?'
"Yes I would," he snapped back.
I was utterly shocked as Derek continued.
"When my parents died during Genesis a fire grew in me, I wanted to see the world burn. I wanted to make those lucky enough to survive to feel the pain of being left alive. If I were in the same scenario, I would be saying yes over and over again. The simple fact that you're thinking this over makes you a far better person than I. And a person like you deserves to live when so many have died."
In an ideal world, I probably would have looked at him like a crazy person. But we don't exactly live in an ideal world anymore. I saw as much pain in his eyes as I did fire. I held my hand over his. Over these past few months I was scared of the Helixes that ran rampant but what about their stories. What horrors did this world do those men and women to turn them mad? I tried touching his hand and agreed to go through with it.
In 3 hours we were at an abandoned building with Wildfire. He relates everything Chelsea was saying while Phil in a ski mask (in case anyone would walk in) tried saying some final words. Too bad he was standing 5 feet away from me.
"I hope I'm close to you when I say this, but you seem like a tough girl. Even some of my war buddies wouldn't be able to do what you did. I know these guards will help, but it's mainly up to you to control this. You are the master of your world. If you remember you shouldn't blow up or disappear. But seriously please don't do the former. My family kind of live here."
He then quickly left the building. My body tenses up as the process starts. After all, they say waiting is the worst part right? Sweat was coming in spades of sheer fright as I hear the rumble that Wildfire's sheer power was causing. A little voice in my head keeps saying not to this, but another is screaming of how much I want out of this hellscape. To have my senses return to smell and feel once again. I hold on to those thoughts as all too soon it begins. Wildfire comes in like a moving explosion as we collide together. He envelops around my person as every atom in my body was shaking. I'm barely able to make out Wildfire as a ball of fire surrounded us. Energy pulsed all around us as Wildfire struggled with his very being to put on the braces. The more he struggled, the more my vibrations grew I felt the ball starting to dissipate and feel the energy accumulate. A thousand thoughts flooded my mind until Phil and Derek's words rang true. I decided to think of my situation like any role in a play.
I always thought that my powers were a curse, that my new life was a prison. But now that I have to chance to turn my situation around quickly I'm not about to give up for even a moment! To turn my powers a prison and that I was their warden. They may be an unstoppable force, but I will be the immovable object! I restrict every vibration with all my will, and in one instant I feel something that brings me indescribable joy. I sense the clasps of the braces around my arms. The energy finally disrupts in a massive pulse. The world fades to black.
My eyes fluttered open only to feel something I haven't felt in nearly half a year. I feel pain as I struggle to get up and see that the explosion threw across the wall the braces were on and most of all I could feel the wind on my face. I was still unsure of what indeed happened until Phil with a puzzled look said.
"Huh, I thought you would be taller."
In an instant, I hug him and psychically lift him with glee. I'm back to the world of the touching! Tears were filling my eyes as I jumped up and down in glee. Hours later after Wildfire recovers, I do things I've wanted to do for months. I eat an entire buffet of food till my stomach pops, I try on new clothes, and I finally take a shower and cut my hair. It was probably the most fun day of my life! It felt good to be happy just living. And then by the end, of my new day I went back home. We drove until I started seeing the houses of my neighborhood. Nostalgia fills my brain of distant memories. I hear the crunch of my own 2 feet hit the pavement as I walk to my house. Thoughts filled my head about what could I do or say? Will, she screams at me, cry, laugh? Everstill I ring the doorbell and open to see that my mom was there. Her shocked expression revealed the depths of her grief. I noticed that she was skinner, and her hair was shorter. She then hugged me and cried and sobbed as we were inside the house and talked. By midnight I was reading the Bible in my bed as I looked towards tomorrow with glee. Because I had a second chance at life and I don't want to waste the one my new friends gave me.