Succumbed to punishing gusts and blurred streaks of color, Natalie felt as if she was free-falling from a cliff but moving like a runaway train. Seconds later, she landed butt-first on a bench inside a school playground on 96th street, the Upper East Side. An exhausted Gina Vasquez collapsed next to her. Natalie rushed to her aid and helped her toward the sidewalk. Sirens and squad cars zoomed down the street. Quickly she ducked behind the building and headed back to the playground.
Natalie sat Gina on the bench and asked, “Are you okay?” Gina didn’t respond, slumped over as if she hadn’t slept in days. “C’mon, girl? I can’t handle another death right now.”
“Not...dying,” she exhaled. “Just need...to rest for a moment…I went overboard back there…too much energy.”
Natalie took a deep breath and searched for the right words to properly express her concerns. “You gotta bear with me okay? I have no idea what in the world is going on, alright?” She vented in frustration. “I don’t scare easy. I
don’t. Ask anyone around my way and they’ll be the first to tell you that! I went to see Creepshow with my Dad when I was eight years old and laughed from beginning to end. I don’t get scared…but I am petrified right now!” Her voice cracked. She fought back the tears. “This is no accident. I know. So, I don’t need no supernatural-psychological explanation for what I just saw!” She stammered. “I know what I saw! I saw it with my own two eyes, okay?! What you did was
no accident! But seeing it and believing it are two completely different things! You have to tell me right now why this is happening to me?!”
“How can I... when I don’t even know? Why were you surrounded?”
“How the hell should I know?! I look out the window and the next thing I know cops are surrounding my building like children in front of an ice cream truck! Buzzing! Blaring! Shots fired! Before that, some beastly-looking blonde is trying to kill me and... she did...” Immediately she felt her chest. No stab wound. Blood blotches surrounded the large rip in the center of her shirt.“My God,” she gasped.
“You died...tonight? That’s...what you’re telling me?”
“I did. But if she killed me, then why am I here?”
“I can tell you…but you’re not gonna like it. You…are not you...no more. Now...you’re me.”
“Why…does Hart want you dead?”
“Hart? John Hart?! He’s the one who sent those cops to kill me? He’s responsible for this?! THAT SON OF A –”
“Please, Nat…tell me why he would –”
“Why?! Hmm, let’s see - maybe he’s pissed off that I found out he had Martha killed! Or because I have documents proving he’s a dirty cop! Maybe it’s because I aided a rogue officer! Could be any one of those reasons.”
Gina used what little strength she had to sit herself up. “Don Crass? You…
“How’d you know?”
“Heard about his death on the news. Someone changed his heart…it was
you. You’re good, Nat... that’s why you’ve been chosen.” “Chosen for what?”
“You’re an Angelite…just like me.”
“An Angel – what?”
“You’ve been given gifts from an angel...extraordinary powers channeled
from the Holy Spirit…you’re now superhuman.”
At that moment, three squad cars skidded in front of the playground. A group of seven cops ran out with nightsticks in their hands. Gina slowly got to her feet and said, “You gotta take this one.”
“What?! Me?!” Natalie doubted.
“I’m sorry…still too weak…I promise I got you next time.”
“Well, gee! Thanks!” She threw her arms up. “‘Take on a bunch of cops - sure, why not?!’ But if what you’re saying is true, then how do these ‘powers’ work?!”
“Put your mind to it…your body will do the rest.”
Cops circled the Angelites like sharks smelling blood in the water, calculating a plan on how they should attack. Amazingly, Natalie saw their eyes glowing red. Mists of devilish auras stunk off their uniforms like sweat
socks. One cop stepped out from the pack and snickered, “Did you think you’d get away from us? We’re the NYPD, the most dangerous gang in New York!” Fellow cops maniacally laughed.
Natalie wasn’t sure if they knew of her new gifts. Therefore, she acted like
a helpless victim. “Pl-pl-please don’t hurt us,” she whimpered. “We give up. I’ll
do anything you want me to do. Just leave my friend alone.”
The cop grabbed her wrist. “Did you just say, ‘you’ll do anything?’” He licked his lips and his eyes rolled around her graceful body. “I like the sound of that.”
As he reached for the other wrist, Natalie launched an uppercut against his jaw! With mouths wide open, other cops gazed at their man fly across the playground like a Frisbee. He folded over the top of the twenty-foot gate before twirling down to the concrete.
“OH! MY! GOD!” Natalie repeated in excitement. “THIS IS WICKED!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE – HOLY SH – oops!” She halted her words and quickly
looked at the sky. “Sorry! I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!”
She looked back at Gina with a big smile. “This is incredible!! Is this what you have?! I mean – it’s unlike anything I ever experienced. I have so much joy and peace in my heart that I feel like I can save the world! Do so much good for people…” She then looked at stunned cops. “Oh - I apologize, I forgot you were there. Y’all can go now.” However, the cops chose loyalty over intelligence. They tightened their circle and moved in for an attack. “I gave you a chance to run. To save your dignity. And your faces. But, you’ve asked for it.”
The first cop charged at her with his nightstick, but Natalie swooshed in front of him and delivered a backslap. He spun on his toes like a ballerina before dropping to the ground. Enthusiasm evaporated from the rest of the team.
The second cop let out a pathetic battle cry before he rushed in for the kill. With one hand she grabbed his throat, nodded in pity and then launched him into the jungle gym.
The third cop attempted to attack from behind, but she dodged passed him without looking. Grabbing hold of his tie, she repeatedly pulled his face into her fist like a paddleball. Mercifully, she laid him on the ground.
The fourth and fifth cop wanted to help, but each waited for the other to go first. Natalie swooshed in front of the pair. Tilting her hips and crossing her arms, she dared for one of them to strike. They ran away instead but
unfortunately crossed right into Gina’s path. She drilled two punches into their stomachs and stepped away from them. The cops hunched over in endless pain. The last thing they saw was the Angelite’s elbows driven into their skulls.
The sixth cop caught Natalie with a flush punch to her jaw. It felt like punching a steel wall. He cried like a baby, staring at his broken hand as if it was about to fall off. Running her fingers gently across her jaw, Natalie thought about retaliating. However, the comical look of unbearable pain on the cop’s face satisfied her enough. And then there was one.
The seventh cop pulled out his gun and fired every bullet, screaming at the top of his lungs like a lunatic. Sweat poured over his face once he heard nothing but clicks. Natalie looked around to see where the bullets landed. None of them were stuck to her body. “Bulletproof,” she gasped. She walked to the horrified cop and squeezed his gun like Silly Putty. He turned to run away but she grabbed
his gun belt and threw him so high in the air that he landed on the roof of the seventeen-story building across the street.
Natalie ran over to Gina and lifted her. “Let’s get outta here,” she said,
preparing the swoosh out of the park.
“Wait!” Gina warned. “Conserve your energy...still new to this. Use too
much power at once...you’ll also be exhausted.” “Gotcha.”
Looking at a squad car left on the street, Natalie swished Gina into the backseat. She then got behind the wheel and spotted the keys still in the ignition. Planning of a way to elude the hundred other cops on the prowl, she picked
up the receiver of the police scanner and announced in a nerdy voice, “I found the Angelite! She got passed us in the South Bronx and is heading for the GWB! Need assistance, over!” Dispatch ordered all remaining units to set up
a roadblock on the bridge. As Natalie started the engine, she smiled and said, “Suckers.”