A feeling of unease washed over Cynthia Walker’s body. The skin on her arms tingled as if a soft breeze blew across its surface. She glanced behind her, then to her left, then her right before focusing her eyes forward. Her goal for the evening changed from having a nice dinner at the local watering hole with friends to simply getting to her car alive.
After a long day defending her clients in court, Cynthia enjoyed her walks through the crowded confines of Firestorm Plaza. A heavy jacket protected her from the stiff, cool breeze gusting across the spacious square.
A few street performers did tricks, utilizing low-level powers useful only for entertaining a crowd. A man who could blow himself up like a puffer fish remained her favorite, reminding her of the simpler times of her childhood. Times before she became a defense attorney. Times before she started dating losers.
She scanned the faces of the people in the crowd while she attempted to find the one who made her so uneasy. Cynthia’s one and only power had manifested itself at the age of five when, as she walked down the street with her father, she screamed a warning for him to stop. A second later a large brick crashed onto the pavement in front of them.
After many tests at the Institute for Evolutionite Research, the doctors and scientists had determined she had a danger sense. She had no control over the power. It would only activate when she, or someone she loved, was in danger.
The crowd thinned as she reached the far end of the plaza. The garage where she parked her car hadn’t seemed as far in the morning; now it seemed to be a thousand miles away. She paused before crossing the desolate street. Her stomach flipped at the thought of taking a step outside the plaza. Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm her nerves, she turned back and looked around for a police officer. Seeing none, she pulled out her cell phone to call 911.
She saw the gray blur a second before it slammed into her, lifting her off the ground. She heard a sickening crunch as several of her ribs shattered. Any attempt to scream was stifled by the agony of her broken body. The ground receded quickly. She heard the first screams from the people who, moments ago, stood near her.
She hit the ground with a stomach-churning smack. Her head struck the stone path, sending another wave of pain throughout her body. Momentum forced a roll; her arms and legs flailed uncontrollably as she came to a stop.
Something wet ran down her face. She reached up to feel the wound on her head. A hand gently grabbed her arm. An officer stood over her. His reassuring smile relaxed Cynthia despite the agony that rolled through her.
“It’s going to be okay.”
Cynthia believed him. The aching in her ribs diminished and the throbbing of her head dulled. He continued holding her hand. She looked at him with unfocused eyes. He looked familiar somehow, and she blinked a few times trying to focus on his face. The early evening sunlight dimmed. Her pain disappeared as her world slowly darkened.