Saturday, now with 100% more Friday Fragment!

I’d meant to post this Friday, but life got hectic. It’s another fragment.  Originally it was just a brainwave that came to me as the death of Alex, the character in last week’s Friday Fragment.  This will likely become the final scene of a novella I’m planning to write, because somewhere along the line, Alex stopped being the protagonist of his own story and became, instead, the catalyst of a totally separate story; a sort of prequel to that world.  The other day it came to me that Alex’s story could be told better in a novella than a novel, so I’m going to give it a shot as a stand-alone work.

The Death of Alex Blaine

Maggie sighed with relief and sagged back against the wall, only years of training keeping her gun from falling to the floor.   A uniformed officer came up to her and nodded.  “Good job, Blue.  Gunderson’s daughter is fine; the paramedics just took her to County for a better exam, but they said she seems ok.  For this, you’ll be able to take any job in the city just for asking — hell, you could probably be chief.”

Maggie eyed him like she was a hawk and he was a particularly fat mouse running through a field below her. “Yeah, great.  We lose anyone?”

“Nah. Your friend got tagged, but he just got winged.”

Alex?!” Maggie pushed herself back upright and, holstering her weapon, ran towards the back of the warehouse, where she’d last seen her oldest friend. I’ll never forgive myself if he’s been hurt. He shouldn’t even be here. The fact that Alex could protect himself from anything man could throw at him didn’t even occur to her; despite his mystical abilities, she still had a sisterly protective feeling for the man.

She rounded the corner and found him standing alone, looking down at the floor.  His left arm hung limply; his right hand fingered a new hole in his trademark black coat.  “Alex, are you ok? Where are the paramedics?”

“I’m … as I should be,” he said. “And I made the paramedics go away. They weren’t needed.”

“How’s the wound?” she asked as she pushed his hand away from the shoulder wound and looked for herself.  What she saw shocked her.

“I don’t . . . I don’t understand,” she said, looking in mixed horror and wonder at the wound, a simple gunshot to the left shoulder . . . except that it bled light, not blood. Light that began to shine radiantly enough to blind her temporarily.

“It’s very simple, Maggie,” Alex said, looking into her eyes, sadness in his.  “It’s time.”

“Time for what?”

He smiled ruefully at her, the sorrow in his eyes morphing into something akin to pity.  “I was never meant to live forever, old friend.”

She looked at him in horror.  “No …”

“Yes.” He smiled. “Don’t worry, it’s ok. It’s what had to happen. I’m too powerful, Maggie.  No human was meant to carry this much power, certainly not forever.  Whatever happened, something would eventually get me.  Now the storm will rage.  And it will change everything.”

She was used to his penchant for pretentious phrasing and parsed what he said even as the winds began to whip his coat and hair about.  Fighting the sudden gusts, she shouted “Are you doing this?”

“Not on purpose,” he shouted back.  “The power is trying to escape.  When it does — when I can’t control it anymore — it’ll pass across the world.  When it does, it’s going to touch people … some good, some bad … it’s gonna be a whole new world, Mags.  And only you will know where it began.”

“Alex, there’s got to be–”

He shook his head at her as he cut her off.  “Nothing to be done.  But don’t worry … I’ve left you a present!” It was getting harder to talk now above the wind, but Alex shouted his remaining words at her.  “He won’t be of my blood, but he’ll be mine! You’ll understand when you see his eyes!”  He pushed her away, and then wind took over, flinging her across the empty warehouse, where she tumbled to a stop against the wall.  She heard Alex laugh, and then there was a flash of light and sound enough to wake the dead … and Alex was gone, only the empty silence of the building to keep her company.

Two Years Later…

Maggie looked down at her new baby boy with tenderness, and glanced at her wife.  “He’s going to be amazing.”

Sam smiled.  “Probably, but let’s not put too much pressure on him, hon. He’s only six hours old.”

Maggie looked down at Xander’s eyes.  Alex’s eyes.  “No pressure.  Just a hunch.”

Published by Michael R. Johnston

Father of an eighth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Fifty years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA

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