Setting my boss’s bra on fire and losing my job was not the best way to end a workday. My life sucked. I hadn’t been laid in months, my uncontrollable powers scared the hell out of people, my father hated me, and it was so damn hot I could barely breathe.
Humidity hung over the quiet neighborhood. Ascending the stairs to my apartment, I pined for rain to cool the summer evening and a long shower to soothe my body and my foul mood. A twelve-hour shift at the sewing factory had me tired and irritable, but at least my sudden unemployment happened at the end of the day. I smirked. And my boss’s face as she slapped at the flames eating her padded bra was almost worth it. Well, at least everyone wouldn’t wonder anymore if her boobs were real or not.
Melting Latex foam stinks too.
However, most of my irritability stemmed from a feeling of unease and frightening visions, both of which had steadily grown worse over the past couple of weeks.
About to put my key in the lock, I cried out as a picture flashed across my mind. Demonic motorcycles rolled toward me, their headlights aglow. A huge, imposing man rode a Harley with a demonic horse head where the handle bars and gas tank should’ve been. The bike snarled, and I whimpered in terror.
The vision faded. I slumped against the door, banging my head against the glass. My legs trembled beneath me. For a moment I just stood there willing the fear and nausea to leave. Sometime during the afternoon, steady pangs of anxiety had begun to assault me, some so severe I felt ill, but this premonition left not only dread in its wake but also a sense of impending danger.
As I unlocked the door, entered, and shut it behind me, I tossed my purse and keys at the kitchen table, lunged for the sink, and turned on the spigot to splash cold water on my face. Braced against the counter, I willed the tremors in my knees to go away and my breathing to slow. I knew from past experience to never dismiss such feelings as stress or exhaustion, but just like my other visions of late, this one made no sense either.
I groaned. If my boss hadn’t grabbed my shoulder while I was having such a vision, the end result wouldn’t have been Fahrenheit 451 tits.
The A/C in the kitchen window kicked on. I managed to stand without sprawling out on the floor, and wobbling, I moved in front of it with my arms in the air. Water trickled down my cheeks and onto my shirt. The cold air on my wet face and sweaty body helped bring me back to reality and settled my nerves. Slowly, the sense of danger evaporated with the dampness.
Just inside the living room doorway, the phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID: Nutter, Jackson. I grimaced and answered the call.
“Where’s my supper?” my father’s voice barked across the line.
“I worked a twelve-hour shift today, Dad.”
Inwardly, I cringed. If I called to ask him what he wanted for supper, he’d bitch that he was quite happy with his junk food and six-pack. If I didn’t call him, he’d telephone and yell about his meal being late. I couldn’t win with my father.
“Don’t bother cooking, then,” he snapped. “Bring me a couple of Big Macs, and make it snappy.”
The line clicked.
“If you weren’t my father…,” I whispered. I rested my head against the doorframe and suppressed the urge to scream. Letting my anger get the upper hand would awaken my curse, so I forced it down into the darkness. That was the sucky part about my frightening “abilities.” I couldn’t control them.
I placed the phone back in its base. “Well, Dad, you’ve waited this long. I’m taking a shower before I rush out to do your bidding.”
My ire chased away the remnants of the vision and the sense of danger, but anxiety struck me again. The apprehension proved so intense it forced a gasp from me. I swayed, gripping the door frame. Churning erupted in my stomach, and I bit back the need to throw up. I sensed things before they occurred and dreamed about places and people I’d never seen before, but I could seldom make any sense of it. However, something horrible was about to happen, something that was going to land right in the middle of my life again. The last time I’d felt such a strong sense of wrongness was the day before I accidentally killed my mother.
As always, guilt pierced me at the memory.
It’s one thing to dream about strange places and people or to sense something before it happens, but I didn’t know anyone else who could blast things with an invisible force. I could also start fires and move items or people around with it. And, if I was really upset, I incinerated stuff, blew them up. Mom’s death and my abilities were the reasons my father hated me.
But the one thing I couldn’t hide, the one thing that terrified everyone when it happened, was the warning sign before I annihilated something. I glowed. Hell, I was the one who did it and it scared me silly.
The shower beckoned me. My discarded clothes landed on the bedroom floor as I strode through it to the bathroom.
As I shampooed my hair, kaleidoscopic images I couldn’t decipher assailed me. I fell against the wall, bracing my feet on the tub’s side.
White skin, platinum hair. His eyes, the color of ice and azure, tantalized me. The man’s face remained obscured, but his eyes inspired fear. Something drew me to him, but that frightened me too.
A narrow gold crown encrusted with jewels encircled his head, and a mass of long, snowy hair fell over his shoulders as he reached for me.
The vision ended abruptly, and an overwhelming sense of loss consumed me. Although I hadn’t seen his face, the man was familiar. It didn’t make any sense. With my eyes closed, I sank to the bottom of the tub where I sat under the spray. The images had intensified my unease, but remorse, love, and a powerful sense of loss tumbled through my soul.
Shaking, I gathered my wits and finished my shower, all the while trying not to dwell on the vision. Afterward, I combed out my long, dark hair and slipped on a simple white sundress and a pair of Sketchers Shape Ups.
In the kitchen, I gathered my purse and keys, and yanked open the door to find my landlady standing on the landing, her hand in midair about to knock. Her mouth dropped open, and her coal-black eyes widened in fear.
“Oh!” I stumbled back. “Mrs. Enoch, you startled me!”
Heat flashed through my body until I thought I’d melt, and the air around me brightened as if someone had suddenly taken a shade off a one-hundred-watt bulb. The color drained from the woman’s lined face as she watched me change from a normal woman to one whose body glowed bright white with neon coppery colors infusing my hair and fingertips.
“For God’s sake, Ruby,” the landlady squeaked, one hand shielding her eyes, “don’t blow me up!”
BUY LINK TO BE POSTED SOON