No, it’s not finished yet. But I am almost done. I’m over 51,000 words at the moment, and happily climbing.
THIS IS NOT THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK. THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE.
But not major ones.
I just thought it’d be fun for you guys to read a section after Raney got her powers.
And I’m proud of this passage.
Raney Winter was your typical Gen-Exer – with all the stereotypical Gen-Ex problems, issues, and insecurities: crushing debt, self-doubt, grey hairs, etc. Her life was a combination between multiple failed attempts at finding her place in this world, helping her best friend and his partner solve crimes at his floundering detective agency, and keeping her cat happy.
Then one day she woke up and discovered she could fly.
Follow Raney’s journey to find her new identity, save a city, and maybe – along the way – save herself.
Excerpt from Ms. X.
by Marti Kole
I flew through the air– feeling free and light-hearted. It wasn’t my responsibility to save anyone. I didn’t owe anyone anything. I flew over a car accident, fire truck arriving on the scene. See, there were human beings to rescue other human beings. Whatever I was, I owed humanity nothing. Not a damn thing. Not a goddam fucking . . .
I heard screaming.
I turned 90 degrees and flew lower. The screaming was coming from a church. No. In front of the church. Bystanders were huddled in two groups, flanking a frightening scene in the middle. A man and a woman were staring each other down, anger thick between them. The crowd was transfixed on the scene of impending violence. No one noticed the white-clad figure in the sky gliding over. I flew over an eve of the church, headed towards the upper branches of a nearby tree, landed, and looked down.
“MOTHERFUCKER, I WILL KILL YOU!!!!” the woman shouted.
“NOT IF I KILL YOU FIRST!!” the man screamed.
The vision was so horrifying, I couldn’t focus on what the two people looked like. They were both wearing jeans and sweatshirts, and both holding guns and screaming. I registered the basic information that one was a man and the other a woman, but I couldn’t discern height, weight, or even hair color. Just two human beings locked in violence. I realized why bystanders were so confused and stupid-sounding when you saw them talking to reporters after a crime.
There were well over a dozen people motionless on the sidewalk. Some had run away when the trouble began, but now, the way the man and woman were circling and waving the guns, and as busy as that street was, it was almost impossible to get around them. Everyone’s animal instinct kicked in and they were frozen to the spot.
Tattoo. Chick on the right had a tattoo on her fucking face. Good god, that had to have hurt. I guess that was the point. It was all black, and was an image of flames. Started on her cheekbone and wrapped up around her eye. Ouch ouch and ouch. What artist would even tattoo the eye area?
Ok, shutup inner monologue. Bigger questions to ask.
What the fuck am I supposed to do here?
Can I stop a bullet?
Will I make this worse if I interfere?
Will I startle them into shooting by accident?
Is this my fucking problem anyway?
I should’ve figured out a mask.
But if I’m not going to be a superhero I don’t need a mask.
I reached below my chin and grabbed my turtleneck, unfolding it and lifting it over my chin and nose. There. That would do if I decided to do anything.
Which I still hadn’t decided if I was going to do anything. Let these two fools kill each other. I didn’t care about them. I didn’t care what they were fighting about. I didn’t care about any of those people on the street . . . right? My inner monologue had no one to answer that question.
Fire-Eye Tattoo now had the tip of her gun barrel pressed against the other guy’s chest. He was taunting her. “What do you think you’re gonna do, bitch? You gonna pull the trigger? Your brother’s a pussy. Your mama sucked my dick last night. FUCK YOU CUNT! FUCK YOU AND YOUR COCKSUCKIN-”
There was no sound. I always though there was supposed to be a sound. Turns out that a close-shot gunshot wound (also called a contact shot) often does not make a sound. Depending on many things: such as the angle of the gun, what the person is wearing, the build and mass of the person– the body will absorb the blast, trapping the gases fired out under the skin and muffling the sound.
Fire-Eye Tattoo’s shoulders were heaving with every breath, her eyes fixed on the dead man on the sidewalk in front of her. The gun in her hand had been angled up a little, and this caused blood and goo to propel into the air. Since there was no stereotypical gunshot noise, many people not in direct line of sight to the display did not know what had happened yet.
In the group behind Fire-Eye Tattoo, the front row had gotten a good look. There was a little girl in the front, dressed in jeans and a little pink shirt. She had on a purple scarf. Her mother must have been across the sidewalk, because when the man hit the concrete with a dull, wet, THUD, the little girl shrieked, “MOOOOMMMMY!!!” and bolted towards the other group.
Right past Fire-Eye.
Spooked, the woman turned and fired at the little girl point blank.
“NOOO!!!!” I screamed– along with a good number of the onlookers. I was on the ground before I knew what I was doing.
I had a split second to choose between Fire-Eye and the little pink tee-shirt dripping with red. Fire-Eye turned and ran. I scooped up the little girl and shot into the sky. I heard screaming and crying on the ground behind me. I didn’t look back.
The girl’s little chest was moving up and down with a raspy sound. Her eyes were closed. She hung in my arms like a little rag doll. I had a death grip on the side of her jeans pocket with my right hand and her shoulder with my left. The red stain on her shirt was spreading so fast you couldn’t tell it was pink anymore. Her thin purple scarf had unwrapped from her neck and wound around my arm as I flew. She coughed up blood, hitting me in the turtleneck fabric covering my face.
My heart was pounding. I was flying so fast I went past the hospital and had to double back. “SHITFUCKSONOFABITCH!!!” I cursed, pulling a hard u-turn in the sky. I slowed down, still flying, and headed towards the doors marked EMERGENCY. The motion sensors triggered on the doors, and they opened as I flew through. I landed halfway into the waiting room and stood there, the little girl gushing blood in a pool on the floor at my feet. A nurse behind the counter leaped up and shouted something unintelligible, and three people came barreling out of the back with a rolling bed. They rushed over to me, still standing where I had landed, and in slow motion I laid the limp little doll on the bed. They reversed direction back the way they came and broke into a run, pushing her through the doors and back into the ER.
I crumpled to the ground on one knee, each hand on the floor, my chin on my chest, surrounded by a pool of blood that was bigger than it should have been to come out of any human being, much less a little girl. Her scarf was still wound around my elbow. I left it there for the moment.
She couldn’t have been more than– I don’t know, ten? Eight? I’m terrible at ages. The blood puddle she’d left on the floor was soaking into the knee of my white jeans, but I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I knew there were people in the waiting room. I knew they had seen me fly in. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything except knowing how that little girl was. I stayed there, knelt to the ground in a kind of prayer pose. If I believed in a god I would’ve been praying. Instead I breathed in and out, in and out, trying not to scream and trying not to cry and trying to will the little girl behind the doors of the emergency room to breathe in and out as well.
Would they tell me if she made it? I’m not family. I’m not her mother. Oh dear god that I don’t believe in, HER MOTHER. I left her mother on the street in front of the church. Should I go get her? Carry her like I carried her daughter? Cover her in her daughter’s blood that was soaking my entire front? Bad idea. I couldn’t move at the moment, anyway. Doubtful she was still there. She’d find a cop who’d put her in a car and radio dispatch and discover that a crazy woman dressed in white flew her daughter in a hospital emergency room and was now frozen on the floor.
I heard someone wheeling a mop bucket towards me. They’d have to wait. I was still in can’t-move-mode. I guess I was in shock. I’ve never been in shock. Do superheroes go in shock? WHY ISN’T THERE A MANUAL FOR THIS?!?!?!
If there was, there most undoubtedly is a chapter about saving the child BEFORE the fucking criminal shoots her.
There was a hand on my right shoulder.
I looked towards the hand, and saw it belonged to a young boy– about the same age as the bleeding little girl. He seemed a little frightened, but looked me dead in the eyes. He was trying to comfort me. Then I felt a hand on my left shoulder. Turning, I saw an elderly woman with the same combination of expressions– a little frightened, but comforting.
I dropped my head down and wept.
More and more hands laid on me. No one said a word. They just took the young boy’s lead and tried to comfort a person they didn’t understand, in a scenario that no one should have to understand.
The ER doors opened. In one abnormally swift motion, I straightened up, putting both knees on the floor and settling back on my heels. The crowd around me shuffled backward when I moved, and kept backing away as the doctor approached me. Her forehead was wrinkled and covered in sweat. She had blood on her scrubs. She stopped just short of the blood puddle on the floor. I looked in her dark eyes and she met my gaze. Then she closed her eyes and shook her head. The doctor opened her mouth to say something, but I was already gone– flying out the door so fast it didn’t have time to react and open. I heard a loud, collective yelp from the waiting room as I shattered the doors in thousands of pieces.
I flew through the air– so angry. Just a half hour ago I was so happy. Now I had this dark knot in the pit of my stomach that hurt like all holy hell. I lifted a car from the street as I flew, slamming it into the side of a building.
That felt better.
I slammed three more cars into buildings as I streaked through the air. Glass and metal crashed into brick and stone. Crumpled steel fell to the streets with gargantuan crashes.
That was definitely burning off some adrenaline.
I broke a street lamp in half, kicked in several store windows, and destroyed a metal statue of the Eiffel Tower in front of the library. Why the holy fuck there is a metal statue of the Eiffel Tower in front of the library I haven’t the foggiest.
Welp, there isn’t one anymore.
I flew in the window of Angel Investigations, dropped to the floor, and walked into the tiny lobby the boys used as a waiting room for clients. My legs just folded underneath me, and I crumpled in a ball on the battered couch in the lobby.
That’s where Gabriel found me in the morning.