Ray hit the power lines hard, ripping two from the crossbar in a shower of sparks, and hitting the utility pole with his back.
His strength made it worse.
When you’re falling, the most natural thing in the world is to reach out, and grab the nearest thing you can as hard as you can.
He grabbed a power line.
Arguably, you could say that disorienting him by blowing out his eardrums with the sonics, and then swinging him around had “worked,” but I hadn’t expected it to work quite that way.
His fingers sank through the covering into the wire, and since his right leg had already hooked over the crossbar, and was still touching one of the lines it had knocked off the crossbar…
Well, I’d managed to create short circuits myself before, and this was similar, but much louder and brighter.
Lightning covered his body, and he moved without any control, breaking the crossbar, and snapping the line he’d grabbed–which made even more sparks.
He fell to the ground as both ends flew away from each other, landing in the road on opposite sides of the pole.
Ray lay in the dirt a few feet from the road. Under his shredded shirt and pants, burns blackened his left arm, and his right leg.
The air smelled of ozone, and burned meat.
One part of me hoped I hadn’t killed him. Another hoped I had.
Then Ray took a long slow breath.
What was I going to do now?
From the road behind me, Gina shouted, “Ray!”
I turned, hoping I had a moment before she attacked, but it didn’t matter.
As I looked over my shoulder, she put down the rifle she’d been using to fire at Sean. When she started to run toward me, the old truck I’d seen in front of the cottage appeared in the air, smashing into her front, carrying her off the road and into the trees.
Meanwhile Ray moaned. I turned back to look at him.
He was shrinking, turning from seven feet tall, and freakishly muscled, into the physique he’d had before the change, but now bloodied and burned.
As he became smaller, some of the blackened skin flaked off, leaving reddish skin behind. Not all of the blackened skin went, but enough that his survival seemed possible.
I wondered why he’d changed back. Did he have to consciously hang on to his acquired powers, or had he run out of energy to keep them going?
Either way we’d need to see Alex, or an ambulance, before I felt sure he’d survive.
I decided to run back to the house and call the police on the communicator I’d left inside. I had some first aid supplies in my utility belt too.
Glancing toward the house, I saw that Rachel had flown out, and hung above the trees near the end of the driveway.
But Rachel wasn’t the only person I noticed.
Wind blew past me as Sean landed next to Ray.
He stared down at him. “You bastard. Do you recognize me?”
Some part of my brain followed it up with a line from an old movie, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
I didn’t say it.
I heard the screech of metal ripping. A few feet down the road, the metal stem holding the sign bent near the ground, and flew into the air.
“Hey,” I said, “you’re not going to–”
It came out of the sky, the thin metal stem first, burying itself in Ray’s chest, leaving us to stare at the wobbling sign. Diamond-shaped, it showed a black figure of a deer against an orange background.
The words on the smaller sign below it said, “Deer Crossing.”
“There, asshole. Remember that. I got you.”
Blood seeped from Ray’s back into the dirt.
“You killed him,” I said.
“I killed him? You threw him into power lines. The way I see it, I just finished the job.”