Monday, December 27, 2010
Paul held his steady, outstretched hand less than an inch above the lighter as the flame danced upon his palm. As expected, all he felt was a gentle tickling sensation in his hand and a vague warmness. There was no hint of pain even after he'd left the flame to burn against his skin for several minutes. The same had happened the other three times he'd tried it. Just like in the fire earlier.
"Shit", Paul muttered, shaking his head. What did it all mean?
Around ten minutes before, he'd stuck his fingers into an outlet socket and switched it on. But instead of being thrown across the room, or at least shocked a little bit, all he'd felt was a weird tingling down his spine and a little warmth in his fingers.
Just like that time a week ago. He been a bit drunk and, for a dare, had stuck his fingers into a light fitting - God knows why. His stupid, co-worker Carl had then turned the light switch on but all he'd felt was that tingly-spine feeling. It meant household electricity couldn't harm him either.
"Shit", Paul cursed again, gritting his teeth.
Thinking back, there was that time a month ago when they'd thought he'd broken his ankle trying to goddamn rollerskate. Another of Alison's stupid ideas to do something together. At the hospital they'd tried to x-ray his foot but every time it kept coming back blank like his leg was made of lead or something. And afterwards his foot had somehow felt better. He was probably absorbing the radiation even then.
All those times over the last couple of months when something unusual had happened to him, just like earlier in that tenement fire. There weren't *that* many incidents but it was enough to pull together a correlation. Finally, today's fire had been pretty damned convincing. They all involved energy of some sort and they all involved him feeling no pain but somehow negating the power somehow. So what the hell was he going to do about it?
Paul briefly looked down and his hands and then started searching for a cigarette. So, he thought, he was one of those cosmics, an IT guy with freakish powers like a comic book character or one of those idiots on TV. Which left him just two questions. First, should he tell Alison?
Finally finding a smoke, Paul lit up and took a drag. Exhaling sweet, gray, musky mist in a thin plume, Paul shook his head. No, she'd just think he was making it up or joking or something. Him, a cosmic!? Hell, she'd probably not really listen to him anyway. What was he going to say? "Hi honey, I think I can absorb energy like one of those cosmic guys". Yeah, that sounded rational.
Taking another puff of the cigarette, Paul considered the second question - what was he going to do? What did someone like him do with an ability like his? It's not like he could make money from it or get laid with it (not that he would, because he was married but, well, y'know?). All he could do was absorb or negate stupid energy.
"Hey, Pauly! We're out of milk" his wife, Alison, called from out of the kitchen. Here in the bedroom, Paul could only just hear her.
"Yeah, and...?" Paul shouted back, a little irritated. He almost added "What d'you want me do about it?" but decided that probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.
"Well, it'd be nice if you could just pop out to the store and get some", Alison called back. "And maybe some bread as well?"
"Sure, sure!" Paul replied, but under his breath he added, "It's only, like, fifteen minutes before Cosmic Reality is on. Why the hell can't you do it yourself?"
Still, he took another drag on the cigarette and headed out of the bedroom, grabbing his jacket and wallet on the way. He was going to have to be quick if he wanted to get back in time. Having an argument with his wife wasn't going to help.
'Why the goddamn couldn't I have got superspeed or something?' he cursed inwardly as he rushed out of the door and to the local convenience store.