The Death Of Me

I Get Beat Up By A Girl

“You press that button, and I’ll blow your hand off.”

I stared at Cat in astonishment. The situation was just not computing in my brain. Cat threatening my mother. Cat holding a dangerous weapon. Cat pointing said weapon at my mother.

What the Hades is going on here? I thought. It was like everything was occurring in slow motion: everything was extra clear, and the edges of all the objects in the room seemed sharper, more defined. It was almost like I had developed temporary super-senses. A miniscule motion caught my attention out of the corner of my eye, and as I turned to see my mom’s thumb moving towards the “call” button for 911, I heard a sound like the crack of a whip, and another object traveled parallel with my head. The object was small and cylindrical, a darkish color, and it smelled sulfuric.

It was a bullet.

The slow motion sensation ceased, and time traveled in the opposite manner: Everything sped up and became blurry. My body seemed to have a mind of its own while I observed myself, shocked, as I reacted with lightning-fast reflexes.

I swerved around Cat, zipping past her faster than I ever would have imagined, and chased after the bullet. It was like a race between me and that stupid piece of metal, a race that lasted only a split second, a race in which we were both trying to reach the finish line first, and that finish line was my mom.

I was so determined stopping that dam bullet that it actually took me a moment to realize that there was a bullet resting in the palm of my hand; I turned it over with my fingers and looked at it in surprise. Today must have been my lucky day (although you wouldn’t exactly think so, since I’d died the same day and all), because I had won the race: I had snatched the bullet out of the air that was millimeters away from the center of my mom’s forehead.

A relieved puff of air escaped from my lungs. At least for the moment, I had saved my mom, although she didn’t even seem to have realized it: she had dropped to the ground, clutching her head, the moment I caught the bullet, and I couldn’t help but admire her smart reflexes. She must not have realized that she wasn’t dead yet; I wanted to tell her- I really did- but not only did it seem impossible, there was also Cat to deal with- a bigger threat in the room than my mom’s temporary worries.

Not knowing what to do with it, I released the bullet from its resting spot in my hand. It slipped through my fingers, and I felt the smooth texture glide swiftly towards the floor, where it bounced against the hard wooden planks, rolling to a stop after it was done making a tremendous amount of clatter.

I whirled around, astonished that it had made any noise at all. I just assumed that since I’d touched it, and I was invisible and inaudible, the bullet would become invisible and inaudible too. But by glancing around, I gleaned from Cat’s similarly shocked expression that she had not only seen and heard the bullet drop to the ground, she had also witnessed the part where it was snatched out of the air.

“Wha- How? I... I don’t...” she stuttered, her gun shaking as she shook her head and tried to compose herself. “How... how did you do that?” She asked my mom, in a voice that was nowhere near threatening, but more along the lines of blatant confusion.

But my mom, apparently, was too smart to stick around for questions from the girl with a gun in her hand. Once she processed that there was not a bullet-sized hole in her head, she had scrambled into the bedroom while Cat was speaking to her, taking her phone with her.

No doubt to call the cops behind a closed door, I thought. After watching my mom disappear into the next room and vigilantly observing that her entire speedy frame was tucked away behind the door, I turned my attention to the highly unwanted burglar, who, for some reason, was still in my house.

I launched my entire 150 pounds of weight at her in a blind rage that she would dare to hurt my mother. Since I was dead, and I basically considered myself to be some sort of ghost at this point, you can’t imagine my shock when my efforts to tackle Cat actually gave way and bore fruit. (FYI, I was getting very tired of being surprised all the time.)

Cat was pushed to the ground, her arms and legs sprawling everywhere like a spider sent spinning on its back. Her feet kicked up in the air, and when her face contorted into an ugly bucktooth way, a god-awful sound like a guffaw escaped, and I was reminded of some overall-wearing, barefoot country bumpkin that you might see on an old show like The Beverly Hillbillies (my mom was a big fan of old shows like that, like I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show, so I was thoroughly educated on that). As a matter of fact, the whole scene would have been fairly hilarious had it not been for- well, you know what, now that I think about it, it was pretty funny, actually.

She totally deserved that, I thought with a hint of pride, and I couldn’t help a small bit of satisfaction bubble up into my chest. That is, until Cat did one of those martial-art moves where you kick your legs up, and your body rolls up into a standing position. (Okay, I’ll admit it: it was cool, and I’ve always really wanted to be able to do that.) She looked around frantically, a wild look in her eyes, and then she really decided to bust out the martial-art moves. Her hands sliced through the air as if they were cutting through planks of wood, her legs bucking out like a wild stallion, and her elbows, knees, and fists especially were used to punch every available area of air that she possibly could.

Still somewhat hyped up on the adrenaline rush I’d had earlier, I managed to dodge the first few punches, carefully avoiding the places where I thought she would strike next. If I could go back and change one thing about that moment, I would change my idiotic inability to just step away from Cat, because then the domino effect of chaotic events that passed in the days and weeks after that might not have occurred. But at that moment, the only thing I could really concentrate on was staying away from the tornado/whirlwind of dangerous limbs and appendages that was Cat. Unfortunately, I’ve never been the best at focusing on stuff like that- actually at focusing on anything, really- so it didn’t take long for my trance of awareness to be broken by a single punch.

“OW!” I yelled as the girl’s first collided with my throat. The cry came out gurgly and warbled, and I could feel a disgusting mixture of bile and blood rising to the top of my throat. I leaned to the side and spit, looking away as the blend shot out. Cat’s disbelieving eyes usually looked like orbs of ice, but right now they looked like two giant blue moons: the once-in-a-lifetime kind.

“Who are you?” she asked. “Where did you come from?” Her voice was filled with incredulity that was nearly palpable.

It took me seven agonizingly awkward seconds to realize that she was talking to me.

“Um...what?” I croaked, and I was once again surprised to hear the unpleasant gravelly tone that my voice had from not speaking in such a long time.

“Who are you?” she asked again, only this time it was much more demanding, confident, and...forceful.

“Uh, I’m Percy Jackson,” I said stupidly. Well, what else was I supposed to say? I decided to continue with introductions. “And this is my apartment.”

Her eyes widened, then narrowed. She squinted at me out of two tiny little eye slits. “You live here?” I nodded, not wanting to have to explain the whole dead-thing, and that’s when the sheer impossibility of this situation finally caught up to me. She inclined her head towards the back bedroom. “And...is that your mom in there?” I nodded again, but much more slowly this time. I didn’t want to hand out information to this girl, now that she could see me for some insane reason, but I figured the resemblance between my mom and I was strong enough that it didn’t really matter that much.

“Are you gonna let me rob your house?” She asked. And I thought I asked dumb questions, I thought, but I shook my head anyway. I noticed her hand subtly gravitating towards her pocket, and I suddenly remembered that I had only ever retrieved the bullet, but not the gun. “Well then I’m sorry, but it looks like I’ll have to kill you too.”

I jumped into action, reaching for both her hand and her pocket. I didn’t think she could hurt me, but that gun could definitely still do damage to my mom. I grabbed her hand, twisting it backwards, and she reacted by swinging her left leg up and kicking me in the stomach. I let out a wheeze (hey man; those heels can hurt), involuntarily bending over as she pried her arm free of my iron rip, and I was startled by her strength, which I guess I had clearly underestimated.

Still gripping my stomach, I was able to dodge her first blow, and the second one, but the third punch was a right hook that sent a clod of spit- with a metallic hint of blood, I might add- shooting out of my mouth. I shook my head, desperately trying to gain some focus, but Cat was once again too quick for me. My left arm caught a blow at the wrist, and my hand fell limply onto my stomach. She wrenched my right arm, the one that wasn’t holding my gut, around my back and held it there, pressing it up as much as she could without breaking it. Her long, recently-painted nails dug painfully into my skin.

“Did you really think that you could fight me, and win?” she whispered. Her voice was soft yet foreboding, and the presence of it right in my ear sent unwanted shivers down my spine. “I bet you did, didn’t you?” She scoffed. “Men and their egos. Always underestimating us girls. Well, I hope you’re able to taste some of the satisfaction I get everytime I kill weak little pricks like you.”

I was too confused to even be angry or insulted; how in Hades’s name was she able to see me, hear me, and touch me, if I was not only dead, but also a friggin ghost?! I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. In fact, I was so puzzled, that I just stopped struggling.

Cat must have taken that as a sign of surrender (she was completely mistaken; don’t worry, I wouldn’t give up that easily: not with the baddies I’ve faced in my life). She raised her gun to my forehead, and the situation felt too unlikely, too impossible, that I somehow knew she wouldn’t end up pulling the trigger, or if she did, my forehead wouldn’t be right there to welcome the bullet.

You can’t kill me, was all I thought. I’m already dead.

“Hey!” she suddenly cried out, and I looked up and around me, confused as to what the exclamation was about. Her eyes were pointed down at me, but I could tell that she wasn’t absorbing anything with those terrifyingly icy blue orbs. Looking, but not seeing. “What the hell...where did you go?”

Her hand was still holding the gun, and it was still held up to my forehead, but it was...different, somehow. Before, it had been right at my forehead, but now...Now it was in my forehead. I wiggled my right arm, the one that had been pinned behind my back, and discovered that I could freely move it around. My left arm was still limply pressed against my stomach like a wilted flower pressed to a tombstone, but at least I wasn’t restrained anymore.

I whirled around, facing Cat, and wrenched free of her. She was still staring at the spot where I had been, shaking her head in confusion and mumbling slightly. I glanced at my hands again, and was slightly-less surprised than I usually was to find that I could see through them to my feet, which I could see through to the wooden planks of the floor.

I understood a little bit better, even if for only that moment. I still didn’t get the whole picture, but all that mattered at that moment was that I wasn’t restrained, visible, or audible when I tackled Cat for the second time like a pro-football player. The only difference was that, this time, I was actually smart enough to grab the gun and fling it away from her reach.

She still seemed shocked that she had been taken down by an invisible force, even though she probably knew it had something to do with me. After a second though, she began to open her lips to protest, so I had to clamp my down over her mouth to prevent any shouts (I had already had a small sample of what her powerful lungs could do, and I didn’t really want anymore demonstrations). She was silent for a few moments, and I figured this was my time to shine.

Generally, I consider myself to be a pretty good guy: I never picked fights at school (without reason, at least), and I was always nice to girls at school (when they were nice to me, of course), while the other guys would pick on them mercilessly. So naturally I felt kinda bad about preparing to hit a girl. I mean, for some reason, that was like the universal law: that you didn’t hit a girl, no matter what. No matter how much that girl wanted to be treated like a guy, or how mean she was, or how snotty she was.

Still, this girl had broken into my home, almost killed my mom, sort-of almost killed me, and still had the nerve to be extraordinarily good-looking while doing, and that just kind of pissed me off. So it didn’t take much work for me to summon enough angry strength, but it did take me a lot of effort to restrain that strength and anger only enough to kind of lightly slap her elbow (I’m sorry, it was the best I could do).

I swear I didn’t even hit her that hard. But apparently Cat was very sensitive, or maybe she just liked to put on a good show, because she started crying. Fat, wet tears dripped down her light face, and her mascara began to run (or was it eyeshadow? I don’t know. I’m a guy, and the smartest one at that. Am I really expected to know that much about makeup?)

“Hey, hey,” I said, trying to calm her down. Call me a sissy, but I hate it when girls are upset. It’s not even that I feel bad for them; I just don’t know what to do. “Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. Seriously.” Me being the genius I am, I removed my hand from her mouth to try to cajole her into staying quiet. She must have predicted I would do that, because it seemed to be just the opportunity she was waiting for.

“HELP!!!!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs.
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