Out of the sped up eye, I saw myself fall to the ground, remain still for a moment, before the vision faded to black. What the hell? I opened my mouth to say something to Carlos when it hit me. Falling down and fading to black? That meant….
No time to think Zach. Do.
I flexed the muscle in my head and the world slowed to a more comfortable speed. Grabbing a handful of marshmallows from the cereal, I stood up, and turned around. A small orange blob, which looked suspiciously like the type of bullets riot police used, floated in the air. It was about halfway in between me and Carlos’s window, which now was a spiderweb of cracks with a small hole in the center. If the blob was one of those higops or hiccups or whatever bullets, I knew from experience I couldn’t touch it. I walked into Carlos’s kitchen, and rummaged through his drawers until I found what I was looking for, a rolling pin.
My plan was to use the wooden pin, which couldn’t conduct electricity, to smack the bullet away or at least keep it from ruining anything else in Carlos’s apartment. I clenched my teeth. The plan really was banking on the electricity or chemicals not affecting me through the pin. If it did shock me, or if it exploded on contact, Carlos and I would be done for. I carefully nudged the bullet, and since it began to float away, and I wasn’t feeling any intense pain, it probably was safe. I nudged the bullet again, this time back towards the window it came from. I used a bit more force, and the bullet started to move at an actually noticeable rate. Probably Mach Four or five, as opposed to its previous subsonic speed. I exercised a little bit of my power on the little orange blob, and it sped away, through the window it came from.
Now for the sniper. I shouted in the general direction of his in window, and sped up a small sliver of the sound to the about right frequency and completely shattered the ruined window so I could see. Outside, the day seemed pretty normal. People were frozen mid stride on the street, a bird was hovering ten feet above me and on a few rooftops down I saw movement. It was slow movement, but in real time it would have been moving faster than sound. It looked like a guy completely dressed in black holding a box of some sort.
If that wasn’t shady I don’t know what is.
After sprinting outside, I saw the man running down the fire escape in slow motion. I jumped and tried to grab on to the metal grating but I lost my grip and fell. Hard. I stayed sprawled on the ground for a few seconds wallowing in pain and my own failures before getting up and trying again, with a similar result. This time however, I only landed on my knees and didn’t scrape the back of my head.
After that, I gave up and decided to wait for him at the bottom. After about ten minutes, he arrived. Mr. Sniper was about a head shorter than me, like most people, and built like a chipmunk. He was wearing the decidedly unsupervilliany outfit of glasses, black turtleneck, sweats, and a scarf he used to cover his lower face. I walked up behind him, tapped on his shoulder, and when he turned around I swear I could hear him piss himself.
I relaxed the invisible muscle in my head and the world sped up a tiny bit.
“Who. The. Fuck. Are. You. And. Who. Are. You. Working. For?” Even after I had slowed down a bit I had to drag each word out to avoid sounding like an incredibly pissed off Alvin the chipmunk, which I can assure you is a horrible intimidation voice. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Sniper turned to run. I walked in front of him, and crossed my arms, before slowing down to a little more than his speed.
“Don’t do that. Now, you’re going to answer my questions. And make sure you don’t lie. I hear your heartbeat, and I’ll know.”
Finally he opened his mouth.
“You-you’re a chronokinetic. You can’t hear heartbeats.”
Well shit, I thought. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. Usually people just straight believe me when I say things like that. Ok, Zach. Time to improvise.
“Nope, I got a second power too. Super hearing.”
“Not according to your files.”
Shit he might be a superhero. Did they find out about my illegal power usage? The tampering with my limiter was highly illegal. Did they-”
“Don’t worry I’m not government.”
I grunted, hoping he would continue. Thankfully he caught my drift and carried on.
“I’m with Jason.”
“Ok that’s just bullshit. You have no proof and Jason would never hire a fuck up like you. Also why would he kill me? Wasn’t he trying to hire me?”
“First things first you should watch your mouth. A loose lip like that could get you arrested. If I really wasn’t with Jason, then you would have just let info like that slip.”
Shit, he had a point. I grunted again, and he continued.
” Secondly, I have this for you.” He handed me a phone, “Jason is on the line.” I snatched the phone away and slowed myself to real time, leaving one eye sped into the future to watch Mr. Speedy Sniper.
“Uh, hello uh, who is this?”
“This is Jason Kittrich. Nice to meet you.”
The most awkward silence I have ever had the privilege of witnessing occurred just then.
What was I supposed to say? Hi Mr. Crime lord! Howdy-do! I’m really looking forward to my job interview! I just have to say I’m a big golly gee fan of your organization, and my biggest flaw is that I work way too hard, and sometimes forget to cash in on overtime-Why the fuck did you try and shoot me?
“Uh… Prove it?”
I don’t perform well under pressure okay?
He sighed and said “I thought you’d say that.” After a few more seconds of awkward silence, a tall red headed man wearing a shep shirt and khakis stepped out of a black BMW a few feet from me. He was light skinned, with a long and thin face. His features were hansome, in a squashed way, like someone had punched ginger Grant Gustin in the face a few times. He was holding an iPhone, andohmygod I thought. That’s…
“Jason Kittrich, pleased to meet you in person.”
He waved hello, and put his phone in his pocket.
“Alright. I’d like to get this whole shooting business out of the way before we get down to business. Our mutual friend here,” he gestured to Mr Sniper, “Was the resident speedster in my organization. Before I heard about you, he was going to undertake a very special mission, until your friend Carlos contacted me. Once I found out about your remarkable talents, I decided not to waste them, and instead give you the job. Our friend here wasn’t happy with that, and demanded a chance to prove himself. I gave him the opportunity, both as a chance for him and for you. Now that we know what your capable of, such as dodging a bullet fired from behind you without any prior knowledge, congratulations. We no longer need to test your skill and power. Still, you need to go through all the psych eval, and loyalty stuff, so see you tomorrow.” He turned and started to walk away, but I activated my powers again, and at least to him, appeared inbetween him and his douchebag yuppie car.
“You seriously think this is over? Your pet speedster tried to shoot me!”
“It was nonlethal, you wou-”
“Those hurt a fucking lot! Why would you ever do that to someone you want to hire?”
“If you can’t handle a little pain then I can assure you, Zachary, that you are not fit for the job.”
Shit he had me there.
“Still it’s uncalled for, and completely out of line. I want an apology.”
He reached into his pocket and retrieved his wallet, which he ruffled through. Finally he pulled out a few bills, and handed them to me.
“These were supposed to cover the window and medical bill, but since you weren’t injured I trust you can find a better way to spend it.” With that he walked around me, into his car and drove off.
I didn’t like him already. Just then I remembered about Mr. Sniper. I turned my head, towards him, and when I made eye contact, he nodded before disappearing in a black blur.
After explaining the situation to Carlos, and convincing him to let me crash at his house for fear of my next chat with my neighbor, we woke up, showered, and headed off to the designated meeting spot provided to us by Sergei. Sergei, better known as The Tailor, was the only business man who regularly did business with both mass killers and the superhero elite. He was a techie with a specialty for fabrics and non powered armor, and the most skilled tailor in the world. His main export were costumes that provided resistance against psychic abilities, such as Power’s tactile-telekinesis or Amygdala’s telepathy. If a costumer paid enough, the suit could even stop near continent level telekinetics from lifting the wearer a foot off the ground.
I am not one of those customers. At most, the suit I planned to buy could keep a prick like Mental Master out of my head, and Power probably couldn’t pull that bone crushing move again. But that would be about it. We arrived at the meeting point, and a tall lanky man in a business suit led us into a neighboring building that housed a portal that led to The Tailors private island. We were ushered into a lavish waiting room, and told to enjoy ourselves, on the house, until Sergei had time to see us.
“I have never seen a room with this much red and gold,” I whispered as I took in the room around me. It looked like something that a king would stay in. So much mahogany and gold linings. I rushed to the bathroom just so I could see if the toilet was pure 14 carat gold. Unfortunately it was only basalt stone with a silk uh, “What are those butt cushion things called Carlos ? Shit Sitters?”
“I think they’re just toilet seat cushions.”
I got bored with the bathroom and began ransacking the minibar and kitchen.
“86% chance he wants us to get drunk on the minibar and pay him way too much. The casinos do it all the time,” Carlos remarked as he dug into a plate of sushi that he found.
“Figured as much. But I don’t think I’m ever going to see another bottle of Macallan 1950. This shit probably costs more than our houses combined!” I poured myself a glass and sat down on a red leather recliner strategically positioned in front of a massive television. After a few hours of catching up on the last decade of flyers games, the tall lanky man entered again.
“The Tailor will see you now.”