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   Chapter 29 Angst

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 10526

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:05


The supervillain grumbles. "Monet, damn her." Up high in the atmosphere, the air is wispy and thin, and its stretched molecules tremble softly in the battered rays of moonlight. Finn wheezes.

"Wouldn“t want—" he begins, before he cuts himself off with a squeak of a gasp. The air falls away from his lungs and the blood surges into his toes. He gathers himself as his vision is slammed with stars. "—to be shot out of the air, would you?"

The boy has a point. Max can hardly hear anything, save the whistle of his and the hostage“s bodies as they cut the air and the thump of his own pulse. The forest and clearings form a crooked green quilt below, and looking at it hurts him. Silver Dollar is everything he knows and loves, and now he hovers over it, almost touching those same stars he obsessed over as a child. Now he wonders what he saw in those faraway fractals of light.

Finn squirms. "C-can“t b-b-breathe—" His teeth gnash, a sound Max can distinguish clearly amongst the slap of rain. So, Max limits his flight. He shoots higher, farther, hovering over a sagging city hemmed with sparking power lines that glisten in the fading storm. His home, the place he terrorized. He shakes his head. Must regroup. Must make a plan. Determine consequences. He zips back over the trees and plummets through the undergrowth. Branches slash his delicate features and he hits the stone face with a yelp, slowing seconds before impact so Finn“s spine doesn“t snap from the impact.

But Finn screams anyway. Cusses. Max glances over at the splotches of dark blood on the frills of his hostage“s tux shirt, traces it back to the boy“s nose. Must be from the air pressure, he thinks. Finn sniffs and glares, face streaked with tears, eyes burning with hatred. Or the stress of hearing his friends ordered to death. A strange pang twists in his gut he can“t name. He throws the boy to the ground, who stirs weakly, groaning, and then launches a nasty kick at Max“s shin before darting for the trees. The villain pulls him back by a januty arm, fingers clamped around a thin wrist.

Finn starts to laugh with delirium. His crying stops, so Max ignores him and stares at a sky broken by branches. The cottage, he decides. A perfect place to lay low for a night. There, Max can collapse on the couch, suck down Cokes, and learn the fallout of his actions before he plots his next move. Everything will be okay. Maybe he can throw away the masquerade and slip back into his old life. Or maybe he can become it, start a new life and escape from this Chip-less, Percy-less, Monet-less Silver Dollar he“s created.

Finn grinds his jaw as Max pulls him. It takes about fifteen minutes for him to laugh himself out and climb back into lucidity. "Aren“t you going to kill me now?" he asks, freehand limp at his side. "Like you killed your friends?"

Max pays him another glance, the blunt words a shock that jars his heart out of his chest. He turns away and jerks him so hard he can hear Finn“s forearm pop at the elbow.

Quiet, the hostage adds: "You“re crying."

Max touches his lashes and finds them heavy with tears. He shrugs. "Must be the rain."

ge, rummaging angrily for food as Max chugs the soda. Finding nothing of worth, he returns to his perch by the doorframe. Tears collect on the point of Max“s chin as he stares into the brown fizz in his drink. The silence falls heavily, and Finn inches back into the living room. The window is close, and if he can just crawl to it, then he can phone the police. Maybe his friends aren“t dead...maybe...

Max raises his head. Finn lunges to his feet and races for the window behind him. Max catches him by the collar and flings him back against the fridge in one flick of super speed and strength, the impact so hard Finn sees white. The pain tears through him like a shock. His hope is dashed. Of course, they“re dead. He crumples to the floor, limp, and collapses with his face to the tile. Max sips his coke, and when Finn finds the strength to lift his head, they resume their uncomfortable silence. If he strains hard enough, Max swears he can hear the burble of chemical goop outside.

"Aren“t you going to put the news on?" slurs Finn.

"No."

"Aren“t you going to kill me now?"

Max looks up carefully, each breath painful, his chest rising and falling in shallow swells. The can crunches in his fist. "No."

"Don“t you miss Monet, I mean—"

Max lunges. Finn scoots to the side and scrambles against the cabinets, suddenly awake and lucid. All the villain can feel is the pain welling up, this surge of rage like a splatter of bloody paint on the canvas of his broken life. The rage flows now, and he lets it, lets himself make a mess. Finn“s head hits a chipped knob, his gold-white hair now rusty with blood.

His fist is raised, and Finn looks up at him, terror and fury married in his silence. And Max freezes. He thinks of Chip, the boy who was supposed to be his best friend, his expression when he found out, the way he looked at him after the first time he hit him. So scared, so angry, shocked and hurt and silent.

And instead of hitting Finn, he throws his arms around him and sobs into his lapel. Because in about three seconds, he is going to break this boy“s neck.

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