November 23, 2004
I was cleaning the bathrooms at Mr. Harris's gas station when I heard shouting in the front. At first, I hoped it was just Mr. Harris refusing to sell beer to an already-drunk customer (it's happened once before) until I heard a crackling voice say, "Open the safe!"
Now this was the scariest voice I've ever heard. It was worse than those robot-voices people get if they lose their voice boxes to throat cancer. It clicked and popped and crackled, and it made my hair stand on end.
I knew it was Derecho.
I grabbed a mop and, on my way into the hallway, realized I needed to protect my identity. So I grabbed a cleaning rag, tied it around my nose and mouth like a Wild West bandit, and took off.
Okay. Maybe I didn't take off. I wanted to have the element of surprise, so I snuck around, hiding behind a few displays, until I was able to smack this guy in the head.
He--or she, I couldn't tell--was dressed like a traditional bandit, completely in black, with a ski mask and tinted goggles. I couldn't see an inch of their skin or a strand of their hair. Just black, and tinted goggles.
I need to learn their costuming ways.
Anyway, I smacked them in the back with the metal handle of my mop (the plastic protective end fell off last week) and almost pinned them to the check-out counter. But Derecho whirled around, grabbed the mop, and almost--not quite--wrenched it out of my hands. I took the opportunity to drive my fist into their nose. If they were bleeding, I couldn't tell. I was too excited to see if the black of the ski mask was turning into a dark red or not.
And then they shocked me.
I don't know how they did it. But somehow, they took their electrical energy, shot it throught the metal mop handle, and shocked me. It should have given me more energy, but instead, it fried me. My chest hurt. My muscles hurt. My joints were killing me. But, fortunately, Derecho lost a good bit of their power and slumped over the checkout counter.
Mr. Harris grabbed Derecho's shoulder and asked me, "How did you do that?"
"Karate lessons." I wasn't exactly lying. I took two lessons when I was eight, before I decided I was more of a nerd than an athlete. But I felt like I was dying. My chest was cramping, getting more and more painful with every heartbeat, and I was dizzy.
While Mr. Harris was getting his phone out to call the police, Derecho punched him and bolted. I tried to run after him, but my bones and my joints and my chest were hurting so badly that I fell over. I think I blacked out for a second, because Mr. Harris was sitting beside me when I opened my eyes, and he's slow.
"You alright, kid?" he asked.
Not really. But I got up, finished cleaning the bathroom, and went to bed as soon as I got home. I told Mom I had a headache so she would leave me alone. I wasn't lying.
It's been two hours, and I think I'm better now. But I'm scared. I don't want to give a police statement. I don't want to test this serum on myself anymore. I don't want to face George or Macy again. What if it was one of them?
Thanksgiving is in three days.
I don't know what to do.
Kassie Kittredge, signing out.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.