I was at a costume party: a warehouse in the city. I had on a silver mask that had been given to me as a gift by a strange girl I’d met while waiting out a rainstorm underneath an overhang.
The party was packed.
I was dancing with the same girl. She kept spinning, her long red dress covered in neon birds twirling around. Other guys there were trying to make time with her. I didn’t care, but when I looked back at her, she had inadvertently begun to float and I started yelling at the guys because they were down on their hands and knees looking up her dress and she wasn’t happy about that.
I got shoved hard. A beer was thrown in my face. The gift, the silver face I wore sizzled as if it was a hot pan frying an egg. It’d begun to glow white on my face, I could see a halo around everything. I looked at my hands, they were as bright as the sun.
One of the men threw a punch. A fist came at me in what seemed like super slow motion. I ducked, threw a counter punch that went off like a sonic boom. There was an audible crunch, the guy soared into the DJ booth cracking the plexi glass.
People ran everywhere. Mayhem erupted at the warehouse. The music stopped. The girl in the red dress floated out the window. She yelled to me, “I’m sorry! it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Someone was screaming, “He’s dead!”
There was blood all over the DJ booth glass. The guy I’d hit. Broken neck.
I ran out of the warehouse in a sea of moving bodies. On the street, I walked quickly with my hands in my pocket to hide them. The light from my knuckles, palms, veins was fading. My jacket started to smoke. It was catching fire from my hands. I took it off, tossed it on the sidewalk. As it burnt up, I kept walking.
By the time I got back to my apartment, I was in a hot sweat. I ran to the bathroom, my face throbbed. In the mirror, I no longer looked the same. The mask was gone. Absorbed.
I was growing. I watched it happen. My shoulders popped out of their sockets. My shirt shredded on my back. My pants split at the seams.
I began to glow again. In the mirror, my skin looked like the surface of the moon. Lunar iridescence.
I backed away, found I could barely fit out of my bathroom door.
There was a knock on my window.
The girl in the long red dress waved to me.
I opened up the window.
“Let’s go,” she said. “They’re coming for you. It won’t be good.”
Already the sirens were audible in the distance. I could hear everything then, if I concentrated.
“The police,” I said.
“No time,” she said, “come out here.”
“I can’t fly.”
“Of course you can.”
I stepped out the window. The both of us went up over the building. Down below, I could see the first of the police cars coming. But also, I saw men standing on the sidewalk in long trench coats. One was holding a sword that was on fire.
“Who are they?”
“I hope you never have to find out.”
They looked up at us, as we flew higher. I watched them flicker, vanishing as if a projector was flicked off.