“I can tell you’re not a believer,” said Hope, “but it’s the only thing that makes any sense. It has to be some kind of magic.”
“Listen to yourself for a second,” said Joe. “The only thing that makes sense is magic? You might as well say it’s fairies or aliens. Just because you don’t understand how or why something works doesn’t mean you throw centuries of scientific progress out the window.”
“Do you have a better explanation? Because I’m all ears.”
“Well no, but that’s my point. You can’t just go from saying that you don’t know what it is to saying its supernatural. That’s not admitting your ignorance; it’s falling victim to it.”
Hope could tell that she wasn’t going to convince Joe anytime soon, and was starting to feel a little guilty for trying. After all, he had graciously offered her shelter from the man who was no doubt trying to kidnap her again. The least she could do was concede that he had a point. “I don’t think we’re going to settle this today. Maybe we should consider what we’re going to do next. I can’t hide here forever.”
“You definitely can’t go home. They’ll be waiting for you there. I could loan you the money for a bus ticket. You could take some of my wife’s clothes and buy whatever else you need on the way.”
“On the way to where?” asked Hope. “Is there any place that’s safe for us now? How long do you think before they come for you now?”
“I honestly don’t know,” said Joe, setting his tea cup down on the table. “Normally, the first thing I’d do would be to call the cops. Maybe we could call a lawyer and…”
They both went silent when they heard the knock on the door. Joe motioned for Hope to stay where she was and quietly crept up to look through the peephole. On the other side of the door were the same two men from the bookstore. He waved Hope towards the bedroom door, not that hiding there would do much good if they broke down the door, but it was better than nothing.
“We know you’re in there, Mr. Bagadonas,” said one of the men. “There’s no way out. Please make it easy on all of us and give yourselves up.”
They were right about there only being one exit. The only other way out was a four-story drop from one of the windows. Still, Joe wasn’t about to give up. He’d fight his way out if he had to. “So you can experiment on us? I don’t think so.”
“We’re only trying to help you. Your lives may be in danger.”
“Mr. Bagadonas. I don’t know what she’s told you, but it wasn’t the whole truth.” It was the other one talking now, the former cop that Hope had called Dregg. “We need to get Ms. Maybury to a safe place. She’s a danger to everyone around her including you.”
“Is that why you tried to shoot is before? To protect us?”
“Do you remember the diner that exploded a couple of weeks back? That was her. She’s left a pile of bodies in her wake over the years, but it’s not her fault. She can’t control herself, but we have ways we can help. Please, just open the door.”
Joe did remember hearing about broken gas main at a diner a while back. To be honest, he really didn’t know anything about this girl or what she was capable of aside from what she had told him herself. He had a hard time believing that such a tiny woman was capable of any harm, even if it was unintentional, but he’d seen a lot stranger things in the past week. On the other hand, he had no reason to trust that anything these men said. They had come barging into the bookstore with no identification and guns raised. “If I open the door, how do I know you won’t just start shooting?”
“These guns are tranquilizers,” said Dregg. “We only wanted to knock her out so she wouldn’t harm anyone else. Here, look. I’ll show you.”
Joe looked through the peephole again as Dregg slid the clip from his pistol to show it contained small spheres like a paintball gun. Whatever they were, even Joe knew they definitely weren’t bullets.
He was stuck, caught in the middle between two unknowns. On the one hand, there were two government agents presumably doing their jobs. He wasn’t some paranoid recluse who distrusted power on principle. He had dealt with government official in many capacities in his long years on this planet. They could be bureaucratic or downright incompetent, but he’d never met any that he’d call evil or unreasonably violent.
Then there was the girl, Hope. Despite looking tiny and helpless at the moment, he knew from his own experience that powers could be dangerous. He had thought that he was going to die on more than one occasion before he managed to gain some control over his own ability. He didn’t know this girl. Maybe she was dangerous. If she really was the one who blew up that diner she might destroy his whole apartment and everything he owned – including all that was left of Clara.
“Can’t we just discuss this like civilized human beings?” Joe called through the door. He waited but he got no answer in return. He looked over at Hope again, standing in the doorway to the bedroom, but she was too terrified to even speak. Joe started to reach out toward the doorknob when a thud and a crack signaled that the men were tired of waiting. the door bowed in slightly under the attack, but the old wooden door was solid and would hold up to at least a few hits. Joe stumbled back, unsure what to do.
Two more kicks and the frame splintered allowing the door to swing inward. Joe wasn’t sure that he could fight the men off again. He had been lucky in the bookstore and had caught the agents off guard. The sudden appearance of two gun wielding men was enough of a shock that he had acted instinctively, and there had been an abundance of ammunition in the way of books. All he had here were his own possessions, none of which would be an effective weapon against two armed men. They charged in and raised their weapons, one for each of them.
Upon seeing her abductor again, Hope screamed, and every light bulb in the apartment and the hallway outside exploded. The cascade of glass shards knocked the two men off balance for a second, and the taser that had been fired at him went wide and missed its mark. Joe saw straight black lines start to form and grow on the walls and he understood. The wires were heating up, probably from having far too much current dumped into them. In a few seconds the wallpaper began smolder and one light switches burst into flame. This was not his doing, however. He would never destroy his own home. This was the girl.
Joe felt himself being lifted up and yanked toward the window by a thousand tiny threads. He thought he was going to crash through the glass put the frame slid out of the way just in time. The last thing he saw before slipping through was Hope being shot by the former cop Dregg. He had waited to take his shot and had not missed.
He was outside now, but not falling to his death. The silver threads bore him swiftly but gently toward the ground. There were so many now that he could almost see them clearly, occasionally glinting like spider silk. He landed safely at the bottom, managing to scare the wits out of a woman walking her dachshund. He only stopped long enough to look back up at the open window and the head of one of the agents poking through. They had Hope, and they would be coming after him next.
To be continued…