Nano 2019

Lexi shifted from foot to foot in the hallway. It wasn’t from nerves, but the idea that the past six months of work was coming to fruition. Behind the graffiti-scrawled walls and corners that reek of urine was a drug house for the Death Knights. As a narcotics detective, Lexi had led the charge. With everyone in position, she yelled “Police, open up!” There was silence on the other side of the door, until the first strike of the battering ram. One more, and the door broke open. The room exploded into chaos. “Get down!! Down on the ground!!” A few seconds later, three men and two women were lying face down. A loud cry came from the bathroom and Lexi went to investigate. 

No sooner had she thrown the door open than a gorilla of a man charged at her. His eyes were crazed like he was high on PCP. Knocking her to the ground, Lexi lost her grip on her service weapon. The man’s teeth gnashed as he lowered his head. Lexi screamed and seconds later the man slumped onto her chest. Blood was flowing freely from his mouth. From out of nowhere, two SWAT guys lifted him off Lexi and threw him against the wall. “You ok, ma’am?” The younger one asked as he helped her to her feet. The guy had blonde hair and blue eyes. “Yeah..I’m fine. Probably OD’ed on his own supply..” The raid had turned up 100 kilos of coke and enough guns to stock a small army. Grabbing a towel to wipe the blood from her face, Lexi nearly missed her phone ringing. It was the Lieutenant. He was probably calling to congratulate her on a job well done. With a tap, she put it on speakerphone. “Lexi.”

“I need you downtown.” “I’m kinda in the middle of something here. Drug raid, lots of coke and guns, remember? You agreed to the raid.”  The Lieutenant cleared his throat loudly, obviously not amused by Lexi’s attempt at humor. “I’ll handle it. Downtown, now.” He rattled off an address and hung up before she could respond. “Ok…Ramirez, you’re in charge. I’m needed downtown.” He gave Lexi an odd look, but nodded.

As Lexi approached the address that the Lt had given her, she was surprised to see the road had been blocked off. There was a growing crowd that she had to push through to reach the crime scene tape. It was nearly midnight, and in the center of the crowd sat an ambulance. The red and blue lights blinked on and off, but there was a man slumped in the passenger seat.  “What’s going on?” Lexi mumbled to herself as a plainclothes raised the tape for her. She hadn’t noticed before, but the LT was already here. “Seriously, you called me away from a raid six months in the making for a..” Lexi gestured toward the ambulance. “Carjacking?” The LT’s expression didn’t change. “Go get a closer look..”


 

“Fine.” With a sigh, Lexi approached the passenger side of the ambulance. When she got within five feet, the figure lurched upright and began blindly scratching at the window. Transfixed, Lexi started to slowly walk backward. It only took a few steps before the figure slumped over again. Another few steps forward and it was on the attack again. “That-that thing is playing dead?”

“Looks like it to me.” The LT agreed. “Now you see why I called you down here…” “Chicago’s version of bath salts?” Lexi managed a wry smile. 

 

“Not exactly.”  A strangely muffled voice came from behind her. Turning around, she saw two men in space suits as the words “To be continued…” flashed across the bottom of the screen.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake..” Apryl sighed. “Why does everything have to be a cliffhanger or multi parts?” This was the last episode for the season so she wouldn’t find out what happened until next year. The lights in the room started to flicker and a low buzz started. It grew louder and louder until Apryl was forced to put her hands over her ears to block out the sound. The lights went out and came back as the sound vanished. 

“What the hell?” Moments later, Apryl heard her roommate Lucas coming down the stairs. “Damn, Apryl, what did you do this time?” He rested his arm on the bannister. Apryl rolled her eyes, but Lucas wasn’t too far off in his assumption. Apryl was one of those people who developed psychic powers once they reached their teenage years. She had the ability to manipulate technology – fix any kind of computer problem, make calls without a phone, and kick anybody’s ass at video games. Lucas hadn’t been so lucky. Nobody knows why some people developed abilities and other people didn’t. “It wasn’t me. All I was doing was watching TV. Didn’t you hear that horrible buzzing sound?”

“Well yeah, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be you.” “It’s NOT ME.” “All right, all right, but can you ‘not’ do that again? I was in the middle of a match.” With a grin, he disappeared back up the stairs. 

Grumbling to herself about Lucas, Apryl turned the TV back on.  “…reports of a loud buzzing sound accompanied by electrical interference. The cause of which is still unknown. There were no injuries reported and…” As she spoke, the reporter’s hands began to glow with an orange light. Moments later, a thin plume of smoke started to rise from the papers on the desktop only to burst into flame. “Help! Help!! I’m on fire!! Somebody!” Ther newscaster’s voice pitched higher and higher. Just as someone rushed onscreen with an extinguisher, the screen cut to an ‘Experiencing Technical Difficulties’ placard. “Lucas!!!” 

She couldn’t hide the relief to hear him clomping down the stairs again. “What?? Are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Apryl opened and closed her mouth, but the words didn’t want to come out. “Apryl?” In the time it took her to blink, Lucas was by her side with his hands on her shoulders. “Hey, it’s all right…You’re ok..” She shook her head. “The news…her hands, they caught fire. She was so scared.” 

Lucas’s brow wrinkled. “But, she should be used to her powers by now…why be scared?”

“I-I don’t know.” In rare cases, someone could come into their powers young, but they were usually exceptionally gifted. There were no cases of someone developing their powers later in life.

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