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by John U about a year ago in science fiction
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Short Story

Photo by Inge Maria on Unsplash

I set the $20,000 check on the kitchen counter. I sigh deeply as my wife walks through. She gives me a kiss on the check and asks what the money is for. “My boss gave it to me as a “summer bonus” but told me to take the weekend off?” I knew what he was talking about, I spend most nights and weekends helping the city police.

“So it’s a bribe, you’ve never, at least not as long as I’ve known you, taken a bribe.” She grabs the check with two fingers and starts to tear it when I put my hand up to stop her. I wipe my forehead, there’s no sweat but I’m wiping away the guilt of wanting to take the bribe.

“We could really use the money, I’m constantly being harassed by the new police chief to put an end to the vigilante lifestyle.” My wife puts my head up to her chest, I clearly hear her heartbeat. “We haven't been able to have an actual date away from the girls since they were born.”

“Speaking of the girls,” she motions with her eyes toward the bedrooms.

I can easily read her mind, with her I try not to ever do that though. This time I know what she says without using the power. I wipe my hands together, “Poopy diapers are an anchor to let me know I’m still human.” My wife puts her hand on my chest.

“This should be a reminder of that.” I stand up give her a kiss on the cheek and make my way to the girls’ bedroom that’s just across from ours in our relatively small condo. I open the door and am greeted by two identical girls, both of them standing at the edge of their cribs looking for me. They both give a squeal and hold up their hands, I hold both of my hands up and lift them out of the cribs and guide them slowly into my arms. I don’t have to use my hands to activate the telekinesis but the girls love when I make a show of it. I kiss them both and set them on the changing table, quickly changing the diapers, using mostly manual methods and only using my abilities when I can’t do something with my hands.

I try not to overuse my abilities when I’m around my family, I don’t want to be perceived as lazy or like I don’t want to touch them. That doesn’t help their growth into normal functioning people, the fact that their dad is a supernatural human will mess them up enough. I put the girls in their stroller and lead them out to the kitchen where their mom is waiting.

“I just got off the phone with my mom, she said she can watch the girls, for the night.” She gives me a wink. I laugh and walk back to the room to pack overnight bags. “Sometimes I wish your parents can be here to see the girls.”

“I do to honey, but I’ve accepted that I’ll never see them again, long long ago.” I don’t truly remember what my parents look like, they passed before I came to this world. I grab the check off the counter fold it and put it in my wallet.

The new police chief, Victor Thune, is by all accounts a decent man. The fact that he’s constantly threatening to put me in jail for vigilante-ism, doesn’t change that. I’ve known the man since he was a patrolman, and I’m happy for his success. “You’re enabling us to be less than we are,” he has said to be the two times I’ve had to meet with him, “I know a jail cell can’t hold you and that you don’t care about negative press. I just need you to let us do our jobs here.” I nodded then and walked out of his office, of course I continued to help around the city.

The city we live in is Midtown, it’s part of three distinct city states that are surrounded by 200 miles of water each, all connected by an immense bridge. Uptown is where the government and bureaucrats reside, and they don’t allow anyone without a special pass enter, even I’m not allowed to go there. Midtown is where the normal average people live, where I spend most of my time. Lowtown is where the poor population is kept, if you lose your job in Midtown you’ll end up in Lowtown. That’s a phrase all bureaucrats and business owners live by, it’s how they are able to keep the average person in check. If you get crippled on the job, turn 70, or commit a crime you’re sent down. I spend a little bit of time in Lowtown, helping the helpless, working at my clinic, and once a month I help the Elves stuck there get back to Earth.

There’s a knock at the door as we are getting everything together to leave. I open it and see Victor standing there, drenched from the constant rain, I invite him in where a vent below the door blows a gust of air to dry the chief in a matter of seconds. “How can I help you Vic?”

His face isn’t shadowed with worry, “I’m just stopping by to make sure you have the money. I know you don’t take money as a bribe, but I was hoping if your boss gave it to you, you’d accept it.”

I start to feel my face heat up, but quickly get back to normal, “Before I just accept this and turn the city completely over to you, I have to have your promise to keep this city safe.” He nods his head and holds out his hand for me to shake.

“You have my word,” we shake, “Now you will have more time to help at the clinic of yours, and draw in your book.” He almost lets out a chuckle.

I grab my small black notebook from my jacket pocket, “I have this new comic that I know you might enjoy.” I start flipping through, the pages filled with pen drawings of silly comics I find funny. Victor holds up his hand shaking it, I see out of the corner of my vision my wife shaking her head with a large smile on her face. I put the book back in my jacket, looking slightly dejected. “Maybe another time, I have to get home.” We shake again as he walks back out into the rain. He turns around, “Jenny says she wants to talk to you by the way.” I open my mouth to say something but he’s already long gone.

My wife looks at me quizzically, “What could she want to talk about?” I shrug my shoulders. “Did you forget her birthday? I swear if you forget the twins’ birthday I’ll kill you myself.” She laughs and I laugh too. I turn to the two girls in the stroller, give them kisses. Their little laughs make my heart burn along with my face.

“No, it’s tomorrow. Maybe she wants to get together, and celebrate.” I open my phone and call her. It takes a few rings, “Hey Jenny, Vic told me you want to talk?”

The voice on the other end sounds frail, an older woman on the other side, “Dad, I know I don’t ask very much from you,” I start to hear her voice quiver, “I don’t want you to forget me like you forgot mom.” I sigh, and realize what this is about.

“I’ll never forget you my baby girl,” the image of a small girl enters my mind, growing up, growing old. Having kids of her own, getting sent to Lowtown, but I brought her back to stay at my old wife’s family home on the shore. I want to shed a tear, I feel sad thinking about how her life has passed her by while her dad just continues living like not a day has passed. “I’ll stop by the house tomorrow and spend the day with you okay,” Jenny’s voice calms briefly.

“I’d love that very much dad,” I can picture her, alone in the house, wanting to be with her mom, who had passed away recently, and dad. I’ve been through this many, many times before, I don’t know why I always put myself through the agony of losing family. “Dad… I love you, I’m sorry I wanted you out of my life.”

“I understand, it’s not normal to see your dad do the things I do,”
 I chuckle. “I love you too Jenny,” my wife’s eyes are turning wet. She’s probably imagining her life ending up the same as my previous wife’s.

“Also, I need your help.” Suddenly the conversation turns serious instead of somber, “My grandson is being held captive by some Lowtown scum.”

Peter Summers, Jenny’s son-in-law, is an Uptown senator, who has enacted several laws to control Lowtown more than they already do. I’m not in the least surprised that he has made many enemies, what does kind of surprise me is that someone was able to get to his family. “I’ll do what I can.” Jenny says thanks and we hang up. I look at my wife, give her a kiss, “It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, I’ll meet you at your mom’s?” She nods and kisses my cheek.

I teleport to my clinic in Lowtown, it’s always open even if I’m not there, it’s one of the only free places to get medical attention in the city. I pop up in the waiting room, the only people who are surprised are the people sitting in the chairs. I’m pretty sure I caused a few heart attacks.

One man I know who would have information is Dudley, he’s my phlebotomist. I walk into the back and find him drawing blood from an old dwarf. “Once you get done here I need some help.”

Dudley shifts his eyes to mine, “Hi, boss. Good to see you boss, this dwarf is deaf so we can talk.”

“Have you heard anything about Peter Summer’s son?”

“Only thing I’ve heard is that the kid has gotten himself into some major trouble. The fact that his dad is who he is, doesn’t help matters in the slightest.” He finishes the blood draw and puts it into a small bag, pats the dwarf’s shoulder and we all walk out of the room. We make our way to my office, the dwarf being led back to a room to find out his results, I know he has lung cancer just by hearing him breathe, Pluto’s mines are nasty.

Dudley and I sit in chairs, after I turn on the light. “What do you know?”

He tells me the man who has the boy is a drug lord who is supposedly looking for me. “All I’ve heard is that this man was hurt by you in some way.” Dudley shrugs. “He’s been known to stay at the Easton Hotel.”

“That’s more than enough information, thanks Dudley.” He nods and watches as I disappear. “Good luck boss.”

I appear at the entrance of Easton Hotel, there’s no one around, which is odd but I’m not worried. I walk through the entrance to the run down large building, the air that shoots up after I go through the door barely dries my hair. I walk over to the front desk where I man is smoking. He looks at me and knows who I am, “The boss is waiting for you on the roof.” He escorts me to the elevator and presses the R. The old elevator rattles its way to the top, opens up into the rain. I step out and see a large group of men.

“Where’s the boy?” I shout. Two young men step forward, Jenny’s son and grandson can be seen beneath two umbrellas.

“Hey grandpa, we need your help.”

science fiction

About the author

John U

amateur writer, professional screw up

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