After viewing the damning evidence that I would someday be responsible for global devastation, I knew I would have to make some changes in my life. I vowed that I would not be defeated in the present for the actions of my future self. In the rules of war and time travel, technically they had drawn first blood by attacking me before I had done anything wrong. However, their attack was sufficient.
Nothing is quite so peculiar as knowing that your own blood pumping in your veins is betraying you. The very hemoglobin, platelets and cells that your body spent quality time creating, only to have it turn and attack your organs; homegrown little kamikazes with zero regard for their own survival. Fuck this, I thought. If they want me to be the villain, I’ll be the villain. The scene is scripted, the set ready, I will act the part.
If I hadn’t been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease inflicted on me by a kick-boxing nun, I probably would have just rode out my Arts degree and held multiple jobs while travelling the world. Instead I started to build my cyber-genetics corporation and looking into the future of peak physical conditioning. In the cyclical nature that is so specific to time travel and the butterfly effect, I was convinced that by travelling back in time and trying to destroy me, the future dystopian citizens were actually encouraging me to bring about their demise.
I traveled the great and perilous distance to the foreign land of Beaumont where I found the auto immune guru Seany. I found him in his meditation chamber, silent and still like I supposed a guru should be. Seany was also diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, although his was of an arthritic condition, and we opened a line of shared communication concerning our illness and ways to deal with and prevent relapses.
‘Turmeric,’ Seany said without opening his eyes, that first day in his temple. He sat with his infected joints crinkling underneath him like wrapping after after a child’s birthday. ‘Turmeric and the cutting of red meats will reduce inflammation.’
These were words of truth for many with our illness.
‘There will also be a great evil that you must defeat; it will come in 6-8 months and hold the key to your recovery. In defeating it will you be able to defeat your illness.’
I’m pretty sure these were words of truth just for me.
In addition to looking into turmeric and red meat, I depleted the sugar content in my diet and restricted soy content. These are the tricks superheroes don’t tell you about. However, go online and there are more than enough people that will gladly tell you what you should be doing with your body, whether you asked their opinion or not.
Once my diet was under control, I began to concentrate on the Great Evil that Seany had mentioned. I had survived the other assassin attacks, but I was pretty sure that was mainly luck, and that was before the nun had stuck me with that fateful syringe. I constructed a state of the art gym, to train myself in every area of warfare I could possibly anticipate. Any time that I wasn’t “day sleeping” from autoimmune exhaustion, I was training in Krav Maga and Muay Thai for close hand-to-hand combat. I imported the best trainers from around the world and would not let them leave the gym unless they had beaten and bloodied me in demonstrating the art form that was self-defense and attack beforehand. I became obsessed with the beauty and ability of weapons. I started in low-level buying and trading of butterfly knives, brass knuckles and Desert Eagle pistols until I had solidified my position enough to turn to higher-level trading. I was precise and efficient, making a name for myself in the seedy underworld of international black markets. I could find and acquire any sort of modern or ancient weaponry and deliver it to whomever I pleased, if the price and interests were suited to me.
Finally after months of waiting, the Great Evil attacked. I happened to be taking a day off from international buying and selling of weapons, and was instead enjoying a lovely outing of bowling. I had used my ill-gotten money to rent out a bowling alley for some friends from my pre-crime work life.
We were having fun eating nachos and tossing blocks down at Gateway Lanes when I noticed the black light and neon splashed room had taken on a hazy aura. No one else seemed to notice the music take on a slightly fuzzy quality and the motions of people and things slow down considerably. I knew it was time. I took a deep breath and wished that I hadn’t decided to wear a dress that day, and really regretted that my footwear happened to be of the bowling shoe variety.
I had always wondered what happened behind the end of the lanes, where the bowling balls disappeared into when they were struck. I found out when the wood buckled and sank and opened up into a steaming gorge. It turned out the mouth of Hell was located just under Gateway Lanes and in being there that day, I had summoned the Great Evil to do battle. The ground shook as an enormous monster ascended into the recreational center. The talons on his enormous feet clawed up the flooring, sending splinters through the air at the bowlers who were oblivious to the jeopardy I was in. They continued bowling strikes and spares as this devastating creature moved towards me. His rigid form was at least ten feet tall, his black shiny muscled body looked carved from onyx. His hands were roughly the size of kegs and looked capable of crushing kegs as well. His giant dark head housed a gaping mouth of razor blade teeth. Each tooth serrated and gleaming with spit, gnashing together in anticipation of combat. He had gnarled horns protruding from his temples like a ram. For the first time in my life, I was staring at terror in living form. If I could have, I would have soiled myself. As it was, I was too scared to even do that.
What I did do, however, was pick up a ten pound bowling ball and chuck it at the monster’s head. The ball collided with the monster’s giant flared nostrils and sent forth a burst of putrid green blood. The monster wiped it away with one of it’s planet-sized fists and started towards me. I tried to run but my bowling shoes slipped on the intensely waxed floors. I fell to the floor and was unable to brace myself for the first blow. The hit reminded me of the first and only time I was in a car accident. I felt my neck snap back as my body was shot across the lanes, my head colliding with every gutter as I slid. I had barely stood up when I saw the monster hurdling toward me. I reached down to my thigh holster and unclipped my 9mm Baby Eagle. Leveling it at the monster’s chest, I squeezed the trigger as many times as I could. The ricochet tried to push my arm back, but my training paid off and I held firm. The monster took a handful of bullets to his torso. More green blood oozed out of the creature and on to the floors and walls, mixing with the neon paint that already adorned the establishment.
Without losing momentum, the demon grabbed me by the throat and threw me through the air and into a children’s birthday party. My left arm bent behind my back and when I collided with the aluminum table of cheese pizza and juice boxes, I felt it break. It hung useless from my shoulder as I grappled with the presents and tried to get up. Taking a page from my book, the fiend started to pelt me with bowling balls. I managed to dodge a couple before a six pounder collided with my ribs, cracking them instantly. Breathing was excruciating and I was unable to escape before the monster got there. He stood over me in his hellish ebony glory, his laughing sneer showed off his teeth like steak knives. We both knew I was going to lose. I was never going to defeat this harbinger of doom while I had an autoimmune disease. I contemplated oblivion as he advanced toward me. That was, until I saw the gleam of a reflective patch on what looked like a fabric lunch box. Luckily for me, that was not a lunch box.
I used my one functioning arm to drag myself across the dirty hardwood floor and toward the pile of coats from the children of the birthday party. I leaned against my broken ribs and powered through the pain as I opened the strange package. It was exactly what I thought it was. This was going to be a gamble. But seeing as how I was about to die, I thought I should at least give it a shot.
It was some kid at the party’s diabetic kit.
I plunged the syringe into my arm and drew up my infected, toxic blood. As the creature finally found me in the children’s jackets and leaned in to shred my face with his teeth, I plunged the syringe into his neck, just as the nun had done to me. His eyes went large as the tiny tip pierced his skin and sent forth a deadly emission of my blood into his veins. The results, however prolonged in myself, were instantaneous in this awful being. He began to choke and writhe, falling to the ground and twisting in ways I had only seen in horror movies. He combusted into a brilliant spray of neon green blood and shrapnel of organs and tissue, and I exhaled in awe.
As the flesh fireworks subsided, I realized that the rest of the world had returned to real time. There were ten children staring at me, curled up and broken, bleeding on their jackets while Timmy, the birthday boy, cried into his mother’s legs. I gathered myself and ran from the bowling lanes, ignoring the pain of my broken bones in my haste.
I went north from the lanes, and did not stop until I found myself on the cusp of the ravine in my city, staring forth at the illuminated skyline of downtown. I sat down on a park bench and I could feel myself healing. It was as if I had absorbed the supernatural power from the Great Evil I had defeated. I could feel my blood being cleansed and my bones mending together.
I felt the autoimmune disease leaving my body, and I stared at that skyline, at all of the people living and breathing in the city, and I wondered if I would use my new found power for good or for evil. I guess only time would tell.