So this friday flash from Chuck Wendig is theme specific: “We’re all human, even when we’re not”
Sounds eerily similar to the theme of ‘Only Human’ a book I have drafted and am attempting to edit. Some stuff is going to have to go and be rewritten and as it happens this seemed like a good opportunity to write a peek into that world. This had not appeared before and may or may not end up in the book, I haven’t decided yet, but I think it stands well on it’s own.
Everyone was being tested. Garret watched the reports with eyes half closed, a pen twirling in the air above his hand. They were saying this was for the good of all, that the next step in evolution needed every bit of help that could be given.
Hearing other’s thoughts and levitating pens didn’t sound like the next level of evolution.
Mark next door was claiming anyone with powers was sub human, not the next stage of evolution, and there were a lot of faces on the tv that agreed with him. The debate was raging everywhere and registration was a compromise, stalling for time.
Garret twirled the pen.
A knock came at the door. He ignored it, but let the pen drop into his hand and proceeded to stab the other palm with it. Flakes of plastic littered his lap, then the floor as he went to answer, the knocking this time more insistent.
“Garret Norton? We have you down as untested” There were two black suited men and a woman from the local doctors’, all looking a little unsure.
“Really? Suggestion: invite people down for an appointment, takes off the ‘jackboot’ edge you’ve got going here”
“Sir, this is routine and will go much smoother if you just let us in, please” The man on the right was older, had very dark skin and lacked the ‘scrutinising a bug’ eyes of his partner.
“Fine. Though you didn’t need to bring her, I already know,” He smiled a little at the nurse and turned into the house.
He’d expected dull thuds in his back with accompanying sizzle, but there was just the door closing instead. They’d brought the nurse in anyway and the Suspicious agent pushed past Garret to explore the rest of the house.
“Standard procedure, sir, we take a blood sample from everyone” Older Guy said.
The nurse approached, opening her little case and slipping on a pair of gloves. As she extracted a needle Garret smirked, making Old Guy raise an eyebrow.
“Got goggles too?” he asked.
She frowned, but did and put them on. He pulled up his left sleeve and presented the arm, watched the needle gently prod at his skin, noticed the twitch in her eye when it wouldn’t go in.
She did, and the needle snapped. A piece careened off her goggles while another bounced off Garret’s cheek.
“Told you,” Garret looked pointedly at Older Guy, saw his hand go to his ear.
So that answers that
Suspicious Guy came back, blocking the way to the front door. “You’ll need to come with us,” Older Guy ushered the nurse out through the back as he spoke.
“Why?” Garrett knew, of course.
“Sir, please don’t make a fuss,” Old Guy said as Suspicious approached.
“Then answer my question, I’m curious”
A look was exchanged between the two agents and Old Guy let out a sigh. “People with any new ability are to come with us, for their protection”
He looked like he’d swallowed something foul and Garret smiled. “Realising that line won’t work with me, Agent?”
“You could say that. But I assure you, sir, this will be much easier if you just come with us,” Old Guy said.
“Where’s the family, sir?” Suspicious guy asked.
Garret leaned back in the sofa and smiled at him. “Not here, obviously. They’re not quite so indestructible”
Both agents touched their ears and listened for long moments. Garret was fairly sure he knew what was coming next.
“We have backup on the way, sir. Until you are designated as safe you will have to come with us,” Old Guy said.
“Okay,” he replied, turning to stretch his legs on the sofa, “I’ll wait ’til they get here. Want to see what else I can do?”
The agents took a step back. Garret chuckled a little, wishing it actually drove away the nerves. These two seeing now would be easier than the big group later.
More of the house would be left standing.
He pointed at a coaster on the coffee table and the sliver of glass rose into the air. Hands went to concealed guns as he made it rotate lazily. Nodding carefully at the coaster, Garret said, “Push on it”
Old Guy shot a meaningful look at Suspicious, but did as he was asked. The coaster stayed in place, even when he put his whole weight on it.
“I imagine,” Garret began as he lowered the coaster, “that there will be a lot of people asking questions”
Old Guy nodded.
Government had been, as ever, efficient and discreet.
So there were three news vans and a gaggle of photographers behind the line of police cars and black vans.
Questions, cheers and noise greeted Garret as he left the house, an agent’s gloved hand on each shoulder. He’d declined hiding his face and no amount of force would keep a jacket over his head. Forcing himself to smile and look into every camera he could see as they rushed him to a van, he didn’t see the tomato coming.
Soft flesh smacked his cheek and sticky wetness rolled down his neck. Garret wrenched around with a growl, seeking the attacker and dragging the agents with him. The next projectile stopped in front of his face and was joined by others before they were returned to sender with prejudice.
One person was actually knocked over. There were screams from the crowd that set off a storm of camera flashes.
“Damn it,” he muttered, accepting the jacket now as the agents forced him into the van.
“Why’d you do that?” Old Guy asked as they sped away.
“I don’t know,” Garret smiled sadly as a pair of handcuffs were slapped onto his wrists, “what would you have done?”
Old Guy didn’t reply. There was angry chatter from the front of the van, and Suspicious was still staring.
“Agent Phoenix,” Old Guy said, extending a hand. Garret shook it, just once.