Out, out, damn foam

On the other side, you lean against a wall and hack deeply from your lungs.  You feel your body shaking with the effort.  Your stomach twists.  You imagine toxic gases pooling in the copses of your alveoli, shutting you off of from oxygen.
“Not going to throw up.”  You mutter, letting out another cough
“Find what you were looking for?”  The security guard is fixing the tape barrier.
You nod and cough into your fist.  Anna shakes the guard’s hand and then walks back towards the hospital entrance.  You follow.
She turns around and gives the security guard a hug.  “Thank you so much, friend.  Thank you.”  
He looks around the hallway and shrugs. “Just don't talk about it with any staff, okay?”
Anna purses her lips and nods firmly.


Olfactory Institution

A short bearded man smacks his hand against his clipboard.  “Really.  I don't have time for this.  Unless you are amongst the injured, I don't see what exactly you think you're doing back here.  If you don't leave immediately, I'm calling security.  We have people to take care of here."
The group squeeze tight their circle, ejecting Anna to the outside.  They are now ignoring you.
“Maybe we can smell our way there.”  You tug her away from the doctors.
She takes you seriously, putting her nose to the air.  Wrinkles sweep across her face.  “All I smell is cleaning agents.”  With that pronouncement, she marches deeper into the intestines of the institution.


Fear Furthering

A mob of about twenty people come tearing around the corner of a side street, headed your direction.  The rifle roof observer's eyes move to follow the mob.  Stretching forward, you grab Anna by the suspenders and pull her off the sidewalk and out of the way.  The crowd stampedes by, looking frightened but driven.
A bullhorn erupts from one of the roofs.  “Fellow citizens.  We have received word that the storm will be passing through in about four hours.  Please slow down and remain calm.”
Most of the group slow down to gawk but one woman breaks away from the rest and sprints over towards the police.  Anna has already started walking again so crane your neck to see an officer shouting and waving at her to stop.  There are a few more warnings and then he draws a weapon and fires at her.  She falls to the ground, screaming and shaking.
“Whoa.  Did you see that woman get tazed?  Why did that cop taze her?  She was just scared."


But not a drop to drink?

“Insidious stuff, water.”  You mother shuffles in, wearing a pair of house slippers.  “Given time and supplied with motivation it would grab everything humanity has made by the collar bones and tear it in two.”
You stand up.  “I'm surprised you're not still on the roof watching the party.”
She walks over to the fridge and pulls out a carton of milk.  Leaning against the counter, you watch as she makes three bowls of cereal.
“Shane told me the power is out across the county.”
She clinks a spoon deliberately on one of the bowls and grins childishly at the noise.  “He's a sensitive one, our Shaney.”  She sits down and starts to eat.
You plop down next to your mother and start to say that Anna is still asleep when she walks through the door.  Anna looks down at the puddle of water on the floor and gives it a dirty look.  Fixing her hair a bit, she joins you at the table.  “What's with the spill?”
Cryptically spinning her spoon in the milk, your mother stares at the wall.  After a pause, her eyes refocus, turning toward Anna.  “It's raining.”


Actual Comic Book Justice?

I was walking through the library On Sunday and saw a comic book on the "Lucky Day" shelf.  Being the comic nerd that I am, I picked up the book and opened it up.  The first thing I noticed was the picture of the author in the inside flap.
"Hey.  I know that guy!  He's a congressman.  What?  He writes comics?"
I read the flap and learned that indeed, John Lewis, the congressman from Georgia helped write (along with a writer and artist from the industry) a comic book about his youth, education, and participation in the civil rights movement. Cool.  Why did he choose to write a comic?
Turns out there was a comic made in the late 50s about Martin Luther King Jr and the protests in Montgomery.  That comic was part of the reason John Lewis decided to get involved in the civil rights movement.  How cool is that?  Comics, instead of abstractly talking about justice in the context of super heroes and villains, actually helped lead at least one person to work towards actual justice in the real world.
As a bonus, the story and art are excellent!


The Wrath Rasps

“Do you think it would help us get to the hospital faster if I were angry?”  He turns the bitten hand over carefully, inspecting the tiny fang marks.  There is a purple tinge around the wound.
“No, but it might temporarily satisfy my urge for revenge.”
"Your urge."  Inky whispers.
Anna scowls.  “Against who?”
“Various snakes, bulls, and gods for trying to kill my best friend.”
“I'm glad you've decided to scratch me off your hate list.”  Her voice rattles.
“I figured it was the least I could do, what with you giving us a ride and everything.  But I still want to know how Bull got out here.”
“He's a jealous fucker who thinks he's my god damn brother, okay?  I don't pretend to understand how a man with metal screwed into his head thinks or if he even thinks at all.  It's just not my wheelhouse, if you know what I mean.”  She focuses back on the road.  “But okay, maybe I bitched to him about what you said, about what happened the first time I showed up and he got pissed and disappeared.  I was worried what he might do, and looks like I was right to be worried.”
An unbidden snarl crawls across your face.  “So he got mad because you told him I  wouldn't fuck you?”
“Guess what, shit head?  Last time I checked you don't have either a snake bite or a gore wound so maybe I don't have to give you a fucking ride.  Maybe you just need to  jump out the door right now or shut the fuck up and be glad you have a goddamn roof over your head, okay?”



He grabs a twig and pokes methodically at the fire.  “She cares for you but you resent it.  Why not just enjoy her affection for what it is worth?”
“What is it worth?”
Inky lays down on his jacket and wiggles his toes towards the warmth.   “What is the effort of pushing her away worth?”
You look for some intact chips among the remnants at the bottom of the bag.  “Self determination.  Give the wrong people a chance and they'll flood you with their bullshit.”  You pull the bag out of the box and dump the crumbs into your mouth.  Seeing some dust still gathered at the bottom, you turn the bag over the fire and watch flames flash briefly.
“And the right people?  What do they give you?”
You toss the cardboard box into the fire.  It rests for a moment, untouched.  Then the  smoke comes from underneath and out the ends.  Finally, the container blossoms and is consumed by fire.  “More bullshit.. but bullshit that matches the bullshit I already enjoy.”