It doesn’t take too long to grow numb to the waves. Beautiful sounds and sights can only entertain me for so long before I start to crave something more… Visceral. Air rushes around me, fills my ears with white noise, but my passage disturbs no one, people left either slumbering peacefully in their gutters or otherwise predisposed. It is those who are so preoccupied that I seek, the ones with their minds sunk to untold depths.
They’re the criminal element, and they’re my punching bag. One goes for my face and finds the wall behind me, screams as the bricks twist his knuckles into a tortured claw. He stops when the air escapes his lungs in a single burst of pressure. My knee leaves his chest and my leg returns to the ground in time to catch his partner’s foot, about to rise and probably kick me in the groin. Cursing, he tries to turn and punch me, but it’s easy to feel the shift in his heel with his toes trapped under mine. Duck the swing, rise and turn into an uppercut that snaps his jaw shut, cracks his teeth against each other and ejects blood from between his lips.
He’s already unconscious when he hits the ground.
The first thug, recovered enough to stand, meets my eyes for a long moment, then gathers up his companion and hobbles away as fast as he can, wounded and carrying a body’s worth of dead weight. For just an instant, I see a setting Arizona sun in reds and pinks, a child running with another in his arms from something unseen, panicked features as they stretch to reach a monolithic wall, shuddering and sinking into the Earth slowly, deliberately, but unyielding to their calls and their fists. It brings a shudder to my spine and a shake to my head, a twist of the torso and a shout that penetrates the air as my knuckles do the bricks behind me. Something stirs in the sudden half-light, voices carry through the hole, but the rooftops are my haven and, above them, I hold dominion.
It won’t let go. The thought continues to tear at me, pick me apart one iota from another. A measured breath controls it, temporarily, but when will that stop being enough? Voices crackle in my ear, more incomprehensible for all the wind passing me by. Breathe, compress, coil, leap, breathe. Focus on the rhythm, not on the destination or the thoughts that niggle within, try to pierce pinpricks of light through impenetrable prisons. Force them back.
No. Let them spill forth.