It happened suddenly and without warning. One moment Brenda Strong was herself. The next she was not. The change caused her to swerve her car off the road and slump over the steering wheel. The change was painful and surreal.
Waiting for cars on the highway to dissipate, she threw open her door and lurched from the vehicle. She could barely control her limbs as she shifted to the other side of her car and sat down.
‘What is happening to me?’ The thought terrified her brain and froze her heart. She’d heard whisperings of things; tales of people who suddenly developed new abilities. She had not believed the stories. She certainly didn’t want to add fodder to grist mills.
The pain was overwhelming. Every fiber of Brenda’s being was on fire. She looked down at her hand and saw it vibrating. It moved so fast her eye could not perceive it. Brenda shook her head in hopes of getting rid of her hallucination. Sadly, she could not. She was staring into the face of reality.
A police siren pulled her back to the moment. She heard the police cruiser pull off the road and park behind her vehicle. She had no idea what she was going to tell the officer. She hoped her limbs wouldn’t act up in front of him.
The officer walked to the driver’s side first. Seeing no one in the car, he strode around to the other side where Brenda sat glued to the ground.
“Is everything all right, Miss?” The officer smiled to let her know he was only there to help.
Brenda tried to stand, but her legs refused. “I’m just not feeling well,” she offered. “I thought it best to pull over until I had all my faculties about me.” Brenda forced a smile.
“Sorry, but I have to ask,” the policeman said, his face growing sober. “Have you been drinking?”
Brenda doubled over as another wave of pain hit her. She put up her hand to warn the police officer not to come closer.
“No. I’ll take one of those tests if you want me too, but as you can see, I’m just sick.”
“Perhaps I should call an ambulance.” The man looked frightened. He seemed worried that Brenda’s ailment was more serious than she let on.
“That isn’t necessary,” Brenda forced out. “I’ll be fine in a moment.”
“Miss, I can’t let you drive like this. Can I take you home? You can get someone to pick up your car later.”
Brenda weighed his offer and decided to take it. She nodded her head in agreement. She examined her hand again. It was steady at the moment. She used it to take the officer’s extended hand as he led her to the car.
He took a moment to flag her car and report it into the station. Then he pulled into traffic and headed for a turnaround. Before long, Brenda was headed home once more.
“I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well, Miss.” The officer offered a bright smile.
“It is Brenda. My name is Brenda.”
“Hank here,” the bright-eyed young man offered. His blue eyes were beautiful. Brenda found herself lost in them for a moment. Then pain struck again.
“Are you sure you don’t need to go to the hospital? You don’t look well, Brenda. You could have food poisoning or something.”
“No, I’ll be fine,” Brenda returned. “I just need to get to bed. We aren’t far from my house now.”
The policeman nodded, still looking worried. “Is there someone who can watch over you there?”
“No, there’s no one,” Brenda answered. She looked down to find her arm vibrating once again. She wasn’t going to make it. Of that she was certain.
“What’s happening to you?” The officer’s eyes grew dark as he observed Brenda’s infirmity. Then a light came on inside them. “You’re one of those mutants aren’t you?”
Brenda started to cry. “I don’t know,” she said honestly. “I hope not. Are you going to arrest me?”
“Arrest you? For what?” The policeman’s eyes grew softer. “You can’t help what is happening to you. It is happening to people all over the world. My father is a scientist. He told me that every so often nature makes a jump in evolution; creating a new, stronger version of the old world. He thinks that’s what is happening.”
Brenda understood his words but she was horrified to watch as he appeared to phase in and out of view. Was he changing too? Then suddenly it occurred to her. It was him. It was her.
As the young officer watched in horror, Brenda began vibrating faster and faster until she moved so fast his eyes could no longer perceive her. Where the young woman sat just moments before, there was nothing but empty space.
Hank reached out to confirm the fact. He was shocked to find the air charged with energy but nothing else. Brenda Strong was gone. Only God knew if she would return and in what form that might be. Hank found himself wondering if the mutation would take them all or only a select few. The thought plagued him as he headed back to the station.
Brenda Strong phased back into view within minutes. However, it was obvious immediately that she wasn’t where she was supposed to be. Instead of being on the outskirts of a bustling city, she stood in a decimated wasteland.
Around here were the remains of great buildings and strange looking vehicles. It looked like home but different somehow. Her mind whispered, “It is an alternate reality”. She knew instantly, it spoke the truth.
Brenda wanted out of there. She found herself wishing for her body to vibrate again. This time, it did it at her command. Faster and faster her molecules began to move until they appeared to dissipate and then reassemble.
Brenda smiled as she became whole once more. She was standing outside her vehicle. Without another thought, she opened the car door and got in. Then she swerved onto the road and head to work.
‘Today will be the beginning of a whole new life.’ The thoughts in her mind no longer frightened her. It was time to search out others of her kind.