Her Urban Knight
She held him tighter than she thought she ever had. Just months ago she wouldn’t give him the time of day and here she was not wanting to let him go. And now, after all they had been through, she was going to lose him.
They stood on a dark block in lower Manhattan where the energy was the strongest. This world, this time was ending making room for a new plane of existence.
Jason stared into the neighborhood garden, a hole seared through the chain link fence, a swirling portal of blue fire just beyond. They waited for him, two Highmen, the other New York’s crisis management militia. His family was dead because he tried to run and this was the only way to keep Tanya safe, she knew that now.
Would they experiment on him? Make him a vessel? A weapon? A legend? She feared all of the above. He was the boy whose light could see through to other realities.
Tanya’s face stung from tears mixing with blood flowing into her open wounds and felt a low throbbing from her swelling left eye. The two Highmen lifted their heads motioning for Jason to join them. She clung to him as he walked towards the portal.
Without warning there was a muffled FWIP FWIP and the heads of the figures on the other side exploded in a spray of blood and grey matter. Tanya screamed and Jason stood, frozen. The bodies staggered and fell in a silent thud not heard over the blazing sound of the portal. Behind them a figure lowered what looked to be a gun.
With growing horror and fascination Jason realized he recognized that figure. It was Tanya. Another Tanya.
“Come with me!” The other Tanya yelled to him. “It’s not you they want! It’s her!”
Jason’s Tanya, the here-Tanya stared at her other self, confusion washing over her terrified face. Their eyes met, locked. Time seemed to pause.
“They want to use him to come back for you!” The other Tanya yelled through the blue noise of time.
Jason looked at his Tanya, to the other Tanya and ran towards the portal.
“Look for me!” the other Tanya said to here-Tanya. “In eight of your months!”
Jason jumped through the blazing sky-blue flames of time. As his body connected with the portal he exploded. A deep groan began in here-Tanya’s throat, building, expanding, filled with horror as Jason burst into thousands of skin-white and crimson molecules. The groan leapt from her throat to her mouth and she wailed, “JASON!”
Her eyes locked with the other Tanya’s again through the galactic haze that was her urban knight suspended in the interim of worlds. As the scream left here-Tanya’s mouth the other Tanya mouthed one urgent word, run.
Tanya’s muscles tensed in a battle of fight or flight. It all was happening so fast. As she turned to run, what was once Jason became Jason again on the other side of the portal, Molecules binding rapidly like an explosion in reverse and he tumbled unconscious onto the now headless bodies on the ground, a leap in time and space away.
The other Tanya ran to Jason’s limp form and she lifted her head to here-Tanya one more time, “RUUUN!” she screamed, eyes wide with determination. “I need to close this portal! They will consume your world! Please! GO!” Her words slipping through time, each syllable dragging in an echoed delay.
The organic-electric roar of the portal increased as it began to close in on itself. In this Manhattan Tanya watched as the other Tanya holstered her weapon, grabbed Jason by the shoulders and started shaking him. You need to run, she told herself but couldn’t move.
The portal’s window became smaller, closing in, devouring the time beyond.
“Wake up Jason!” she yelled into the other reality.
As realization and a grotesque kind of acceptance washed over her she watched as the scene on the otherside shook. The ground was rocked with a shutter and the other Tanya armed herself once again turning away from Jason’s unconscious body. Through time and space Here- Tanya heard the gigantic low bellow of something not human, something not of her earth. It was them. Like a pheromone they sensed the ripple in time and had come to feed.
Just before the white hot continuum was sucked into nothing the other Tanya barked a war cry and began to fire as a behemoth of a tentacled foot slammed down in front of her, it’s glistening alien skin ending in claws the size of taxi cabs. Here-Tanya's vision was filled with blinding light and her mind was bombarded with the high toned whine of electricity heightening her senses. She felt the cuts and bruises on her face sting as her skin stretched into one last scream.
“Tanya?” A voice next to her.
“Tanya!” Lori flicked her best friend’s arm and she came to.
“OUCH!” She said.
“Well, where were you just now?” Lori said looking slightly concerned. “You zoned out or something.”
They were sitting on the steps of HS 122 with groups of students gathering in their after-school cliques. It was a beautiful spring day in New York but for a moment Tanya couldn’t care less.
“It’s not you they want. It’s her.” Had she said that? Was it a dream?
“Sorry,” Tanya said to Lori. “Just tired I guess.”
She was actually exhausted and not sure why. And when Lori pointed out the boy a couple yards away on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps looking at her, Tanya gave him a warning stare.
He took the hint, smiled and turned his attention back to the conversation with his friends. Jason, she thought. Why do I know his name is Jason? As the thought faded he looked at her again and their eyes met. Caught for a moment in that gaze she then threw her arm up in a talk-to-the-hand gesture and walked away.