Greetings once again to a little place I'd like to call: THE WINNERS CIRCLE!!!!!
Another year, another title! 3 in a row, 4 overall!
In all seriousness though, I'm tired, and I have work early tomorrow...good night! In lieu of more commentary from my win, I'll give you all a sizeable update from one of my favorite parts of the story to write this year. Enjoy!
[Pure Human - Time Stop]
"Murders happen all the time," Blake reasoned.
"They're not exactly sure what could have done it. And apparently the murders are pretty grotesque."
"Sold," Blake said.
At the corner near a major road was a drug store where they parked. "Guess your dream sense was spot on," Blake said to Anin "Something definitely went down last night." Anin hummed but said nothing. "So how do we plan to find out what's going on in there?" John asked. "I take it walking straight inside is out of the question?" Blake asked back.
"Sure," John mocked "Hello officers, we just have a morbid curiosity and just gotta see what all the fuss is about!"
"We'll just say we're also cops," Blake said "You still got your badge, right?"
"Because Chicago police jurisdiction covers all the way out to upstate New York."
"Hmm," Blake pondered "I know a guy who can forge us something."
"Who would you know that does that?"
"Met him a long time ago. Associate of Sully."
"And he can make us fakes?"
"Not fast enough to get in there."
"So, what makes you think anything of interest is still inside?"
"M.E. is still here. Saw her mingling with some cops. Also the paramedics wouldn't still be here unless they've already collected a body."
With that, a third ambulance flashed its siren as it drove down the street to the house. "How many bodies could possibly be in there?" John asked. "I gotta find out," Blake said with a smile, his hangover suddenly feeling a little easier to manage "This was easier when you were a cop."
"Yeah, well, deal," John said "So unless you have a ninja tactic to go in unseen, I suggest we wait until the police have disbursed and we can try to sneak in when the house is empty."
"Forget that," Blake said "We drove out here when we did, might as well use the time we apparently saved," Blake said as an idea struck him and a large grin took over his face. "Oh no," John said "You have some stupid idea, don't you?"
Blake didn't respond. Instead he went to the trunk and started rummaging through. "Something I always wanted to try," he said as he looked about. "Care to elaborate?" John asked. Blake pulled out his bag from yesterday, then continued searching. "I need a couple bottles of water," Blake said "And cigarettes. Go alone, lest they too want Anin to prove her age."
John rolled his eyes and walked for the drug store. "What cha looking for?" Anin asked, intrigued by what Blake was attempting. He pulled out a small black box before opening his bag and pulling out a set of vials. After mixing a few powders into a jar, he closed the bag and placed the jar and black box on the ground before he pulled out a short hose.
John soon arrived with two bottles of water. "Hope you like pretentious Norwegian shit, cuz it was on sale," he said as he handed both bottles to Blake. Blake immediately opened one bottle and chugged its contents until there was only a tenth of the original drink left. He then dumped his powder concoction into it. "Is that Kool-aid?" John asked as Blake took the hose and opened the cars gas cap to insert the hose into the tank.
"Uh..." John started as Blake went to work siphoning gasoline. "I don't need that much, don't worry about it," Blake said as he proceeded to fill the bottle almost all the way up. "Whoops," he said "A little too much."
"There a reason why you're doing this?" John asked as he looked to Anin silently watching in intrigue. Blake pulled out his pocket knife and cut the top off the bottle, creating a wider opening. "How about those cigarettes?" Blake asked. "They don't have any," John said "Apparently they want their customers here to be healthier, so they stopped stocking them."
Blake let out a frustrated sigh as he placed the bottle mixture down and picked up the black box. "What's in there?" Anin asked as Blake unlatched the top and opened it slowly. "Something I forgot the exact name to. I call it a Time Ball." John said nothing as he rolled his eyes. "This thing is crazy rare," Blake continued as he held up a small black sphere, perfectly smooth and shiny "And I 'borrowed' this from a scientist friend."
"Wait," John said "Dr. Smith doesn't know you have that?"
"He's got, like, three of these," Blake protested "He might not even notice it's gone."
"Dr. Smith?" Anin questioned.
"Dr. Sebastian Lucas Smith," John explained "A crazed, obscene and offensive nutcase who claims to know the secret of time travel."
"I got to attend one of his lectures once," Blake added "Truly eye opening."
"If time travel is possible, then where are all the time travelers?" Anin smugly asked.
"He's got theories," Blake said "In short, every one of them revolve around people being idiots."
"So what does time travel have to do with our situation?" Anin asked before jumping to her own conclusion "Oooh! Are we going back in time to observe the murders?"
"That would be awesome!" Blake commented "But no. We're gonna do the next best thing." Blake then dropped his Time Ball into the bottle, causing the mixture to fizz and bubble a bit before calming down. Blake chuckled. "I'm sure glad that didn't explode," he said, causing Anin and John to exchange worried looks.
"Okay," Blake said "What this is, is some sort of time altercation mixture. The theory is, I can slow time to a stop with this fuel and ball inside. So long as there's enough fuel and/or the engine holds out, then I can easily traverse the crime scene over there safely."
"That's..." Anin struggled to find a word "Kinda dumb. Not gonna lie."
"What's the engine for that?" John asked, trying to follow Blake's logic.
"This is the part you may never let me live down," Blake announced as he held up the bottle of gas and toasted. "Blake," John started "I don't understand what the WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?!" John was screaming at the end as Blake took the bottle to his mouth and proceeded to chug the contents, being sure to swallow the black sphere. He then spiked the empty bottle like a football and braced himself for the agony he was about to endure.
Anin stood there, slack-jawed at the sight of what Blake did while her hands moved to the top of her head in sheer terror of what she just saw, while John quickly searched for his phone to call 9-1-1. Blake watched them in amazement as they slowed down while he still perceived them at what he felt like was normal speed. "This is cool," he said to himself as the movements of John and Anin grinded to a halt.
"Nice," Blake said to himself, and was immediately amazed at how he didn't hear it, or anything for that matter. "Okay," he thought "What was it that Smith said that one time? After he said not to touch his Time Balls? Oh yeah, don't stand still when time does." When time is frozen, so is the oxygen in the air, so standing in one spot would lead ultimately to ones death. Smith once shared a story of one particular idiot, who stopped time so he could catch a quick nap at work. He fell asleep and promptly suffocated.
Blake began to walk down the still street, finding it quaint how he had to push through the air as opposed to walking normally. It felt heavier but after a minute he was used to it and could comfortably walk through it. There was also the matter of his clothes. His coat hung off him stuck in place as if it had been heavily starched, and the rest of his clothes stuck tight to his front as if he were constantly walking through a windless breeze. As he made for the house, he marveled at the still life around him. A flock of birds flying south hung suspended in the air above him, a cascade of falling leaves hung in front, and a cat jumping down from a nearby fence looked like it was positioned in a hand stand. The one drawback was the air smelled stale to him.
"I immediately regret not taking advantage of this against John," he thought as he walked into the leaves. As he walked through them, many of them stuck to the front of him as he moved. He then stopped and backed up a step, leaving the leaves suspended in the crude imprint of himself. He took a moment to enjoy the sight when a sharp pain shot through his stomach.
"Ouch!" he cried out as he gripped his stomach and took a deep breath. "Human body really isn't suppose to process gas and rare elements as a time displacement engine," he thought obviously. He added some precautions into his powder concoction to prevent immediate poisoning, but he still knew he was on the clock before his body couldn't take anymore. The stomach pain was just an abrupt reminder.
Forgetting the sight of the world around him, Blake hustled his way over to the house. It was a recently built, two story house for a seemingly large family. Blake entered the front hallway by side stepping a cop posted by the front door. Blake headed down the hallway into the kitchen, where a large assortment of police have gathered. In the back, a sliding glass door had been shattered, allowing the killer immediate access. Lying on the floor in the middle was a body covered by a bloodied sheet.
"Let's see what we got," Blake thought as he walked over and pulled up the sheet to see what was dead. Lying there was the mutilated corpse of a woman. The blood soaked torn rags of her clothes did little to cover the butchered mess she had become. The smell was pungent enough to overpower the stale smelling air.
The woman had been blond, with small circular stab wounds poked all over her face, including her eyes, which had both been gouged out. Her cheeks had been heavily punctured and the bottom of her mouth ripped open and her tongue had been dragged down and was now resting on her throat. There were long and deep scratches running along her body from her feet all the way up to her chest. There were more circular stab wounds along her torso. Whatever had killed this woman wanted her to suffer from what Blake could tell.
As much as he didn't want to, Blake needed to go down and looked at the body closer. He reached into his pocket for latex gloves, still finding it odd how the material of his clothes react so differently when the pull of gravity and time stop working. He pulled one glove out and left it suspended in the air in front of him as he searched for glove number two. Once he had it, he struggled to fit his hands into them for a moment before he accomplished his goal and had yet another article of clothing to force himself to work in during the time freeze. He promised himself to strip naked the next time he does this.
With the gloves ready, Blake reached down and started to examine the woman. Both her wrists had bruising, indicating someone had grabbed her and forced her around. Swelling around her wrists made Blake thing someone strong had overpowered her, potentially causing both arms to fracture. "There must have been a struggle," Blake thought as he glanced around the room. In the corner of a counter was blood splatter, with trails running down. Blake picked her head up and looked around to find the back of her head to be bloodied from blunt force trauma. What Blake also noticed was none of the blood was sticking to his gloves, which he found to be awesome.
A sudden shockwave of pain overcame Blake and he cried out, with no sound going through the air, at least not yet. He waited for the pain to subside in his stomach which felt like it was on fire, mostly because of the gasoline reacting inside of him. He didn't have all day, despite this being the most productive second of his life, and he needed to figure out if there were more victims. Three EMTs don't just converge on one location for kicks.
A quick search of the first floor revealed nothing, so Blake decided to follow the still group of cops up the stairs. In the middle of the hallway on the second floor, taped off and waiting for removal, was the decapitated corpse of a little boy. "Hmm," Blake mused as he looked down on the body. Except for the lack of head, the body was untouched, a completely different demise from what the woman downstairs endured. "Hey, you guys know where the head is?" he asked to two cops nearby, frozen in a conversation.
Blake looked about and saw much blood splatter, but no head. He stepped passed the tape and looked at the body where the head should be. The head hadn't been cut or lopped off so much as it was gnawed off apparently. Teeth and bite marks lined the neck area, soaking the boys pajama top in blood. "Animal, maybe?" Blake thought as he felt his finger around the wound area. "What the hell?" he thought as he eyed something different in the neck and picked it out. It was a tooth of some kind, but before Blake could look at it further, he felt a painful and hot belch coming up his esophagus. He shot up and choked out the burp that emitted no sound into the air. His body was starting to reject his stomach's contents. He needed to be out soon.
"One more thing," he thought to himself as he pocketed the tooth and headed for a nearby bedroom where more cops had gathered. Inside, on the ground where a bed had been removed, lied a little girl on her stomach with her head staring off to the side. Kneeling over her with a hand on her back was an EMT looking up in mid conversation with a cop. The girl was alive, but something was wrong with her that Blake couldn't understand from the still image they presented.
"Time to go!" Blake thought as he keeled over and dropped to his knees, gripping his stomach, which felt as if it were about to split open. He grunted as he forced himself to move out of the bedroom, down the hall and stumbled down the stairs. He didn't want to be in a house full of cops when his time stop came to an end. He already knew that the few little manipulations he did in the house would be questionable enough. He mentally kicked himself for not at least trying to replace the sheet over the dead woman in the kitchen, but it was far too late to try to fix that.
Once out of the house, Blake broke out into a sprint to get back where John and Anin were standing. He groaned out loud from the intense pain and he knew he had only precious seconds left. Once back to the others, he knew the remaining contents in his stomach were about to come puking out, so he wanted a shady spot to vomit. Before that though, he couldn't resist the urge to mess with John and Anin.
Anin still had her hands on her head in shock, so Blake repositioned one hand so that she had only her index finger extended, then he made it so that finger was going up her nose. He then walked over to John, took the phone from his hands and pocketed it. Then he yanked the man's pants down just to be petty. Accomplished in his childish endeavor, Blake then ran to a nearby bush and knelt down in front of it. A particularly painful wave of pain tortured him as he took a few seconds to shout in pain. He then leaned over the bush and preceded to vomit the gasoline mixture out of his body.
"The fuck?" John shouted after taking two seconds to comprehend what his situation was. "Oh," Anin said as he eyes narrowed to the finger in her nose "What is...what happened?" John quickly grabbed his pants and pulled them up while Anin looked away and noticed Blake nearby in the bushes. "John, look," she said as they raced over.
"How did you get over here?" Anin asked as John shook his head. "You're a dead man if we don't get...where's my phone?" John said, realizing he didn't have his cell. "Water," Blake choked out between dry heaves. "Did you really stop time?" Anin asked as Blake grabbed the bottle from John and chugged its contents before a new wave of vomit rolled through.
"Give him space," John said "Did it work? Or did you only get as far as fucking with us and puking?" As his vomit fit was subsiding, Blake pulled out the tooth he found earlier and held it up. "I need to eat," he said.