Word Count: 1059
Writing: 55 minutes
Editing: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
The wailing sirens were getting louder by the second and the man’s heart fluttered instinctually as he drank his Guinness. It seemed the longer he was out of the game, the more he wanted to jump at the sounds of distress. But that life was over now, an earlier chapter in a dwindling book. Nobody knew, nor did they care who Jerry Colt was and that’s how he liked it. There’d only been one person in his life who’d ever really cared about him—but that was an earlier chapter too. Or maybe he was still living it.
The noise seemed to remain at a steady scream outside the bar, and Jerry thought that whatever was happening couldn’t be more than a block away. Again, that pang like a vicious hunger rang out through his muscles. He swallowed the rest of the beer in a swift three gulps.
“Another,” he said meeting the bartenders eyes and raising his glass. He relaxed and his eyes were warming up from the inside out as the buzz began to take hold of his senses. Just the way he liked it, and before the day was over he’d be so roaring drunk he wouldn’t be able to think about anything at all. Let alone the hero he’d once been.
“The one you could still be.”
“Shut up!” He said out loud dropping his head into the palms of his hands. It was her voice. It was always her voice. Jerry knew she’d balk at the sight of him now, the shell of the man he’d been during their brief love. He knew she would tell him to put on that suit and finish what he started.
“They need you, Jerry.” It was as crisp as if she was sitting right next to him. The words made his stomach turn with guilty-sadness and he thought he may vomit.
“Hey bud, you alright?” Jerry looked up to see the bartender placing his beer on the already damp coaster.
“Yeah, sorry. Long week.” His voice was weak and empty, not even comparable to the booming voice he’d wielded only months before. Jerry thought about his suit, the all black thing he’d worn so many times, with the wide eyes he’d build on the head to illuminate the night—it’s why they’d called him the Alien—and laughed. If only all the crooked politicians and self-proclaimed super villains knew, that in a shit-hole dive bar on the bad side of town, they could find the Alien, Jerry Colt, hammered and vulnerable.
“It would do wonders for the business here,” he muttered to himself, smirking as he surveyed the mostly empty room. He hadn’t heard the sirens stop but at some point during his thinking they’d been replaced by a muffled voice of authority. Jerry looked out the front window of the bar and could see the reflection of blue and red. He took a big swig from the glass and imagined busting out of the doors and charging to the scene. After all, couldn’t he do by himself what thirty or more cops could accomplish together?
Jerry turned back to the bar, there was no more helping people, no more powers, no more Alien. The people of the dying city would have to fend for themselves, it was natural selection. Who was he to keep getting in its way? No one stopped him from walking into that cave, nor did anybody say, “Don’t touch that weird looking piece of metal.” It just happened. That’s the way life works, and in the end, everyone gets death as a prize for participation.
A gunshot echoed outside and Jerry jumped to his feet. He stood there, hand on his beer, staring out the front window. The yearning inside of him was pulling at his guts as if he was magnetized to the commotion.
“Hey man, you should just sit down and relax, shit like this happens all the time, it’ll all be over soon enough,” the bartender said. Jerry swallowed the remaining suds in the pint glass and turned holding it up to the young man.
“Another,” he said as he put the empty glass down on the soft coaster and took his seat. His head was swimming and he was confused. It felt like the angel and the devil that typically lived on his shoulders, were waging a war that was taking place throughout every part of his body. A ball was winding in his stomach that he was afraid may explode at any second, and when that happened, who knew what he would do.
“I think this’ll have to be your last, my friend,” said the bartender looking suspiciously at the deranged drunkard in front of him. Jerry nodded and waved him away without saying a word, he was used to being cut off, it was a daily occurrence in his life.
More gunfire sang outside and with each loud explosion he felt like the bullets were tearing through his soul. He took a deep gulp of the frothy beverage, if he could just get a little more drunk this would all leave him be, at least for a little while. As he set the glass down, the front window shattered inward as the bodies of two police officers came sailing through. One man was dead, and the other crawled toward Jerry on his stomach. The glass cut his palms and his face was mangled by many beatings.
“Help me,” he spat through blood. Jerry couldn’t understand the words, but he knew what the man said, it was what all men say when they meet death. A man appeared in the window, he was large and covered in all black including a black ski mask. He drew a gun and walked in the building to where the cop was crawling.
“I’m sorry,” Jerry said as a tear fell from his eye. He turned back to the bar and drank the remaining drop of alcohol in his glass as a gunshot went off beside him.
He wished he could’ve helped, he really did. But the Alien was dead and gone, he escorted his love into the afterlife and that’s where he would remain. An old chapter, steadily forgotten with each passing stroke of the clock. All that was left now was a sad and drunk man, named Jerry Colt.