Haley: Part 11

I listened from a roof top while the police talked to people, and the specialist paramedics who drove the Box sedated Laser Guy (he’d begun to wake up). Cassie talked to them. Donna told the police everything, even showing them Rod’s room inside her house. They came out carrying the bag of money he’d stolen from Chuck’s Pizza.

That was nice. It made it feel the whole night of pointless fighting had been worth something. I didn’t think three or four hundred dollars had been worth the risk I might lose control, but he didn’t deserve to get away with it either.

Daniel appeared before the Box drove off. I didn’t have to see him to recognize him. Everyone on the team who can fly sounds different. Rachel doesn’t make any noise at all, but aside from her, Daniel’s the quietest. He sounds like a soft breeze.

With the total confidence of someone who’s been trailing his dad around for years, he asked the police if he could step into the Box, and they said yes without question. Nick thinks that the reason so many people listen to Daniel might be an unconscious effect of his powers. He might be right, but it might just be that Daniel expects to be listened to. I’m not sure Nick gets how important personality is.

I heard him step out a little bit later, and then the Box drove away. The police drove away soon after that.

I sat on the roof, feeling sore. The adreneline rush of the fight had faded, and all the scrapes and jolts my body had taken since I’d changed hurt. My mind didn’t feel any better than my body. I’d finally had the chance to think. I’d bitten into Laser Guy’s neck. I’d thrown him into the street, and into a van. I’d deliberately slashed him with my claws. With any normal person, I’d have been holding his intestines in my hand—or maybe one of his kidneys.

I’d been lucky—really, really lucky—that he wasn’t normal. He was a freak—like a lot of people I know. Like me.

I’d asked Grandpa about coming out of the Change once. I’d wanted to know if you could get stuck in it forever, and just be this animal thing. He’d said, “Don’t worry about it. I call it the Change, but it’s not really a change. Doesn’t matter how deep you go. It’ll still be you in the end. You’ll come out of it.”

I’m sure he meant to be comforting, but it didn’t feel that way as I sat on the roof of somebody’s house, my arms curled around my legs. Because if it was me all the way down, it meant that whatever wanted to rip Laser Guy’s throat out was me. And even if I didn’t like hurting people, and didn’t want to scare anybody, part of me craved it, and enjoyed hunting humans as prey.

I mean, I knew it wasn’t an outside force, but I didn’t want it to be there, deep down inside me, forever.

So that’s what I was thinking about when Daniel started talking directly into my head.

+++
Daniel: Are you okay?
Me: Can we switch to communicators? I don’t want anyone in my head right now.
Daniel: This will be short. Cassie’s wondering if you wanted to ride back to HQ with her since you don’t have the car, and I thought you might want to find out what I learned from Rod.
Me: I guess.
Daniel: He’s from Syndicate L. He’s not in Syndicate L, obviously, but they gave him the lasers and the glasses.
Me: For free? They looked expensive.
Daniel: He wanted to get in good with them, and they were willing to hand out free hardware if he shot one of us.
Me: That’s sick.
Daniel: I got the feeling he might not be the only one.
Me: (a sigh)
Daniel: Well, at least we’ll be looking now. Anyway, Cassie wants to get going. You know where her motorcycle is.
+++

I rode back to HQ with Cassie, and after that, we went to the all night Chinese buffet on State Street (but not in costume or anything like that. That would be weird). Cassie was hungry, and when I thought about it, I realised I was hungry too.

Cassie drove me home on her regular motorcycle, the one Nick fixed up last winter. My parents opened the front door before I even got in the house. They’d been calling me since I left the restaurant, but I’d turned off my normal phone, so I didn’t know. Dad was really angry about how I’d scared them, but everyone calmed down eventually. They always do.

I texted Nick around eleven-thirty, and he wasn’t busy, so I called him. I told him the whole story, and he listened. He didn’t tell me what I’d done wrong, or start asking for technical details on the lasers (like I’d know them). He asked a few questions, but nothing annoying. In the end, he said, “I wish I’d been there.”

I wished he had too.

11 thoughts on “Haley: Part 11”

  1. Nick said the right thing! Awesome! See? Nerds are people too! We will not be prosecuted any longer! On a more serious note, I think you did this side story perfectly, different enough to not get mixed in with the rest of the story, with enough similarity to fit in. Also, the length was perfect in my opinion. You got in the full picture but didn’t drag it out like some books I read do.

  2. This post was great – very Haley, not at all Nick. Especially liked the last two paragraphs.

  3. What a waste. Now all the hardware goes to the fuzz, who’ll just file it away as ‘evidence’.

  4. As the miserable work on my own story continues, I’m clocking in on how you (Jim) make these kids come ALIVE.

    One of the reasons people dismiss so much teen drama is because it’s less teen drama and more teen angst, or teen emo. Come to think of it, this is a problem of the super hero genre as well.

    What I’m trying to say is, in the space of this short arc, I feel for Haley and find myself rooting as hard for her, and sympathizing with her as hard as I ever did for Nick.

    As always Jim, it seems I run out of compliments for your work. And I’ve noticed all the new faces on the site.

    Welcome to LON, geekrockstar and Kavu.

  5. Nick is friends with the grandson of the guy who probably designed Syndicate L’s lasers ( or who taught the person that did ), what could Nick learn of em that he didnt already know ?

  6. Jeff: My guess is that Jaclyn or Rachel will be next, but both Vaughn and Daniel were up there in the poll, so who knows?

    Eli/Silas/Kavu/geek_rockstar: Part of my goal was to show a little bit of what does and doesn’t work in their relationship from Haley’s perspective. Couldn’t do a whole lot, since Nick wasn’t there, but I could do a little.

    Notto: Thanks. That’s the ultimate goal here, I think.

    Mazzon/DWwolf: Or the police might hand it off to the Feds. That might be interesting, and possibly required by law.

    Bill: One thing that Jack Kirby supposedly said (possibly in reference to his New Gods) was that if you kept people’s emotional reactions real, people will forgive everything else.

    That’s what I’m trying for.

  7. Okay, I’m now curious about this “poll”. Was it about popular characters? Or just who might make for an interesting ‘point of view’? Selected from options, or write-in?

    Enjoyed this arc loads. It was really interesting to be able to see things from another character’s perspective, not just in terms of their own issues, but also how they see everybody else. Excellent idea. I almost wonder if I’d have enjoyed ‘Space Date’ more with some Haley, though I guess then we wouldn’t have had this arc (or at least not from her perspective). Can’t have everything!

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