I'm hoping to create a graphic novel or two. I don't have any actual pages per se, but here's a small sample of what I'd like to do:
I prayed. I prayed for the first time in ages. I thought it would be a good idea to sort of...I don't know, reintroduce myself. Not that He forgets things, but...I thought it was a good idea. You know, just in case.
Hi, God. It's Heather. How are you?
I've been in some of the worst-looking, foul-smelling places in this nation. I have to say this restroom is pretty crappy even by those standards, no pun intended. Even though this is a Wal-Mart, it's an older one whose business isn't the greatest. There's only room for one toilet and one sink, and whoever has cleaning duty obviously doesn't give a rip. Granted, I've seen more colorful graffiti elsewhere, but I expect to see that in the bigger cities, not in a spitwad of a town like this.
Sorry it's been a while...
I was still a little dizzy as I got off the toilet and pulled up my jeans. The pain was gone, but my face still tingled. Before I flushed, I started hearing them outside the door. They were whispering, but I could hear them as plain as day.
"Oh my gawd! Did you see her face?"
"Shh! That girl that just went in there! I'm telling you, she looked bad. Like someone took a bat to her head!"
It was a hockey stick, actually, but good guess.
"Wow, really? Should we call the cops?"
"Are you insane? I'm not getting involved! Besides, she probably wouldn't let us."
"Wait, why not?"
"Oh, puh-leeze! You know how those women are! They go home to their boyfriends no matter how beat-up they get!"
I started washing my hands to drown them out. At least they thought I was the victim this time. I'd heard far ruder comments. The distraction of trying to get the blood out from under my fingernails was enough. And anyway, I wasn't done praying. If anyone was being rude, it was me.
Like I was saying, God, sorry it's been awhile, but I've been kinda busy...
I splashed the cold water on my face, tucking my hair behind my ears. It felt good, and the tingling grew stronger. I could finally see out of my right eye. I stared at myself in the mirror and watched the bruise melt slowly like a big purple ice cube. Dammit, my jacket was ruined. Even if I could patch the sleeve, those stains weren't going anywhere.
I gripped the sink in anger. I saw my eyes flash aqua, my reflection shimmering like the hot sun on asphalt. There was a pinging sound as my nails were suddenly clicking against the sink.
I took a slow breath, forcing my heart to slow down. It can't happen here. Not now. Control. Control.
I've been real busy, like I said...but You know all about that, don't you?
My face throbbed like an old vibrator, but the curse, or the magic, or whatever it was, was done. My eye was healed. My teeth were intact once again. My scalp and hair looked just as it did before the fight. The only evidence that I was involved with a mugging was my jacket and shirt, and the bloodstains that painted the front of them. I quickly changed my shirt, tucking the old one and the jacket into my backpack. Someone pounded on the door. I was taking too long.
"Seriously, you probably don't wanna go in there," someone said.
"Why, is the crapper plugged up, or something?" someone else responded.
I opened the door, looking right at the two girls who had whispered earlier. Just as I thought, they were the two cashiers I had passed by while running in here in the first place. I then looked at the woman waiting to use the restroom. I smiled sweetly.
"Sorry about that," I said, "I think it was the sushi I ate last night."
I walked away quickly, trying not to laugh. Judging her expression, she thought I was serious. In walking away, I was actually walking toward the two cashiers. One was frowning, but the other one's mouth hung open. Not hard to guess who said what.
I snickered as I heard Frown whisper, "You're such a liar. She looks fine!"
"I'm telling you, that was her! She had a black eye and blood on her clothes! Look, she's got the same backpack!"
"You're so addicted to your soaps, I think you're seeing things!"
I ignored the bickering and searched for a jean jacket. It was warmer, so it would be hard to find one. Luckily, they kept their clearance items up for a long time. I managed to find a similar style in the Men's Department. It was too big, but I needed the thicker material anyway on the nights I had to sleep outside. I thought about stealing it, as it was obvious this store couldn't afford a loss prevention agent, but I decided to have a little fun. Besides, I had just prayed to God again. It would be kinda rude to break one of His commandments immediately afterwards, you know?
I went to the Mouth cashier to pay for it. I let her get a good look at my face. It was a risk, but this kid probably didn't watch America's Most Wanted. As she fumbled ringing it up, I turned to Frown and chatted about the weather. Her smug expression vanished as she suddenly became all too pleasant. I didn't mind one bit. I've held similar crummy jobs. I know the rules. Be nice, the customer is always right, blah blah. I'm telling you, as the first line of defense for a store or product, anyone in retail or customer service ought to be paid what they're really worth. You try working overtime during the Christmas season with screaming kids with snot hanging from their noses and screaming customers who can't read the sign in front of their face regarding returns, and see how many bingo balls are still floating in your tank, okay?
Mouth's smile was frozen plastic on her face. Her "Have a nice day," sounded like it had been forced out from under a rock. Her eyes told a different story. They were confused at first, but I admired her conviction. She knew what she saw. She was sure of it, but she couldn't explain it. The confusion faded away, replaced by frustration, and a little fear. I stared at her, slowly tucking my hair back on the right side of my face. It was petty, but for some reason I wanted her to know. I wanted her to know, and I want her to see that I know she knows. I was about to leave when a tabloid caught my eye. It showed not Batboy or predictions about the end of the world, but it did have a fairly good drawing of a fox standing on two legs wearing a short, black, leather trench.
Kit Inari. The man I've been chasing for 2 years. My father's murderer, and the only one who could tell me what was happening to me.
My vision swam again and the dizziness returned. I grabbed the tabloid and shoved a five on the counter.
"Keep the change," I snarled, racing out as fast as I could. I didn't wait to hear their reactions. I threw on the jacket, leaving the tags in the parking lot, and rode down the road for a good 5 miles, the tabloid still gripped in my hand. I pulled into a rest stop and was reading before the old Harley's engine quit.
Kit seemed to be a new urban legend, first appearing as "The Beast of Bray Road" in Wisconsin, my home state. No one knew he had posed as a new student from England, garnering praise from the science department and most of the girls in my class alike. He was of Asian decent, so he didn't look English, but he had the gorgeous accent, all right. He played the mysterious, aloof character to the hilt, but it was all a lie. I could taste it when he kissed me. I don't know if it was my own intuition, or the beast's who told me, but when I slapped him, his entire demeanor changed. Pain mixed with a sort of relief flooded his face for an instant before I clearly saw his eyes flash green with rage.
"Finally, one with spirit!" he snarled, slowly licking the blood from his split lip. "Too bad it won't do shit for you."
I couldn't help staring at the blood. She craves it, and somehow, he knew. That should have been my first clue, but it was all so new to me, that I just didn't understand.
I watched his lip close. It just closed by itself, leaving no trace of a scar. He watched the shock lead to realization on my face. He leered at me, clearly enjoying my terror.
"I thought you'd be a waste of time," he muttered almost to himself, "but now I know you will be fun."
"What?" I sputtered at last, confused.
He smiled dreamily at me, then made a formal sweeping bow.
"Welcome to the game, my dear," he said, "I wonder which side you'll choose?"
He stood closer, making sure I was watching. He raised a hand in the air.
He seemed to shimmer for a moment, his reddened hair standing on end as though he was receiving an electric shock. A glowing aura surrounded him, and the air...no, the space surrounding him seemed to expand like a breath. A split second later, he and the space imploded with an audible pop, and he vanished into thin air.
I saw him in class the next day, grinning at me like nothing had happened.
I've had two years to curse myself for not seeing it sooner, but how could I have known? I had just discovered that I had been turning into a smilodon for the past 10 months or so. Sorry, a what? A sabretoothed tiger, although she really doesn't look much like a tiger if you ask me.
Kit turned out to be a five foot fox, and I don't mean that as a compliment, ha ha. He killed my father. Granted, my father wasn't the greatest. Hell, he beat me if he drank to much and tended to confuse me with my dead mom. But he was all I had, and at the time he was killed, he was finally, finally getting the help we needed.
Kit stole all of that, and vanished just like he did the first time. I've been tracking him ever since. I made it my mission, though I can barely make myself say it. I have to kill him.
Now you know why God and I haven't been on speaking terms lately. He doesn't take to murder kindly. You might call it justice. I can't decide between that and revenge.
After reading the article, and seeing it originated in a town not far away, I jammed on my helmet and rode off.
God, please let me catch him this time...and forgive me if I do.
"Avoid fruits and nuts: after all, you are what you eat."
- Garfield the Cat