Right. So… yes, I got captured.
You already knew that part.
You’re wondering how I got out of it. Well… Um… About that…
Clayton was in trouble. Again. As usual.
He was always in trouble. He wasn’t a superhero. He wasn’t a hero. He was a spectacular failure, as usual. He hadn’t even lasted ten minutes before he got captured. Granted, it wasn’t from where they’d thought it would be—the suit hadn’t done this, had even maybe tried to save Clay a little—but it hadn’t worked. He’d been taken. He was pathetic.
He looked down at his suit. Was the tracking device not working? It felt like it had been a long time since the van thing, though he knew from all those times when he had to wait twenty minutes to shift back that time could seem a lot faster than it really was. Still, he would have hoped that he’d be rescued by now. He thought with the tracking device and everything, no big deal.
Only… the former security guard now head sadist of the conspiracy was a big deal.
A big, ugly mean deal.
Clayton hadn’t found a way out, had not found anything that could help him. He was stuck. Trapped. Locked in a room. A dark room. It would be nicer if he was alone, but he wasn’t. He tried being quiet. He tried making noise. It didn’t matter.
The problem wasn’t really being trapped. It was the man who had trapped him. The guard. No, the sadist. Clayton had quickly decided that fit him a lot better. That was what the man really was. He was a guard probably because he was some kind of failed cop or other type of person, someone who’d gone into it looking for power—a glorified bully, and Clay had known plenty of them in school. He knew that he couldn’t really compete with them. He was a wimp.
A wimp in a lot of pain.
“What are you going to do? Turn me over to that guy for his experiments?”
The sadist laughed. “You really aren’t that smart, are you?”
“I figure I’m still smarter than you. Most bullies aren’t smart. It’s just a power trip to you. And it doesn’t make you any better. It’s just a—Ow! Damn it, let go of me! Let—ow,” Clay moaned, trying to get his arm free from the man’s hold. That hurt, and he was pretty sure that some more of his bones were broken. All those little bones in his hand, in his fingers, he was sure they were all broken. Some in his arm. Some in his foot.
Yes, the sadist was quick, but something had to have gone wrong with the tracking device because Clay should not be here. Not anymore. Rescue should have come by now. It should have. It didn’t make any sense that it hadn’t. He should have been free and not in pain and not hurting and why hadn’t he waited until Larabee actually managed to make some kind of device that worked before he did this?
Oh, yeah. He’d somehow thought that he’d be okay talking to his boss. And he had been. The suit wasn’t the problem. He’d been fine. He’d been nice. Might even have gotten to the point of being helpful.
“This is the experiment, Freak.”
Clayton lowered his head. Why couldn’t he have gotten a useful power? What good was switching ages right now?
“Why don’t you turn yourself into a kid, huh?”
Clay glared at him. “What, you can’t stand taking on someone who’s almost your size? You are such a cliché, you know.”
The man grabbed Clay by the collar, cutting off his air. “Switch. Now.”
“No,” Clay managed to say, thinking this was a bad time for a speech, but he was going to make it anyway. “Maybe you’ll get lucky, and I’ll have a random one, but I sure as hell won’t do it for you. Or for anyone who might be watching. I already hurt, and you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve thought that dying would be a blessing. Just about curled up and did it several times since I figured out what I could do, so that… it doesn’t scare me.”
“You’ve got a lot of brave words, but that’s all they are, you know.”
“Maybe,” Clayton agreed, because he was a coward, and he knew it. He’d give anything to get back to April right now. He would love to be a normal person and not a genetic freak. This was, however, what he was and who he was and this was his life. If the only thing he managed to do here was stand up for himself, just this once, that was something, wasn’t it? It was more than he usually did. “You won’t get me to change. I don’t think you really care about that, but if that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, you may as well stop now.”
“Oh, we’re not done. You know that you have a lot more bones that I can break, and I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
“You should have worn spandex. Then this really would have been a nightmare.”