Doors 14-XI

It’s The Distance Between The Two Where The Mystery Lies.

I opened my eyes, and immediately regretted it. My vision spun, tilting to the left, and I staggered, nearly smashing into a vent block. I managed to catch myself, and slowly lowered my body down to the ground, propping my back up against the block and sitting with my knees in front of me. I squeezed my eyes shut, and took deep breaths until it felt a little less like I was standing on a surfboard on top of an exercise ball.

I sighed, pulling my goggles up so I could rub my eyes, resting my elbows on my knees. I was still a little queasy, but the worst had passed, and my vision no longer swam alarmingly. Looking up, I stared at the Tower in the distance, the fading light casting it in orange and red and pink.

Now that I was safe, or at least far away, the whole thing seemed unreal. Like a distant dream, or a movie I watched. It barely even seemed like I'd been the one to do all that stuff. I mean, I'd pulled the fire alarm, setting off a superhuman smackdown! I'd broken a vigilante out of jail! I'd been sort-of-not-really inducted into the Guardians! I'd fought of a woman made of salt using strange powers and a half-understood grasp of dubious physics! I snorted out loud as I recalled the last one. Gosh, it was stupid. It still seemed like it shouldn't have worked. Turbine mode, activate!

The humor faded quickly, the nausea following soon after, but I stayed sitting there, staring off at the skyline. So, I asked myself, what now?

“Now we go home and fall asleep and worry about it tomorrow.”

But-

“No buts. We have done a crap ton already today. Cram any more stuff in here and I'll suffocate.”

Wh-

“Don't even quip about it, I'm not in the mood. We've faced off against three, three, separate sets of supervillains today. That is a 300% increase from literally any other day. We're going home, we're lying down, and we're watching some garbage cartoons until we fall asleep. Hot chocolate may be involved.”

That did sound pretty nice right about then. Especially the hot chocolate. I wasn't quite tired, but I was fatigued, if that makes sense. And if I kept sitting there, the latter was probably going to transition into the former.

Alright, fine. I stood up, stretching, and strode over to where I'd hidden the bundle of my clothes, back before I'd even stepped foot in that now-ruined building and set off the whole chain of events. The thermal underwear meant I wasn't really stripping down, but I still crouched in between two blocks while switching clothes, just to be sure. With that done, and my costume tucked safely away in a bag slung over my shoulder, I pulled out my phone to check the train times-

Hold the bleep up.

I stared down at the phone in my hand. My phone, six by four inches of sheer black plastic. The phone I'd recorded the DoM agent on. Except it wasn't, was it? Because that had been a copy me, not this me. This phone wasn't the same one I'd had, because it had never moved from my pocket here on this rooftop. So…  my powers had created an entire, functioning phone? What the actual frick?

I woke the phone up, ignoring the messages and notifications and going straight to the camera. Nothing. The most recent photo was from almost a week ago, a crappy low-light pic of a terrible attempt at a new hairstyle. I'd kept it to send to Sabi, but it had sort of slipped my mind.

I leant back against the block, mind racing. I guess it made sense. If it could make a human body that could breath and bleed and (presumably) eat, I guess there was no reason it couldn't replicate a phone. But when I poofed out, that phone essentially ceased to exist. There was no reason that the data from that one would come back to this. So unless the Guardians had made a copy of the video, and I dearly hoped they had, I'd essentially deleted my evidence. That could be problematic.

It was a longer-term problem though, and as I exited the camera, I realized I had one that was much more pressing. Because leaving aside a few apps and games, all the numerous notifications were missed calls and texts from my mom.

Oh dear.

She picked up on the first ring, which was a first for her. “Young lady,” - hoo boy- “where have you been! I've been worried sick!”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, hello. Me? Oh, I'm good. And yourself? Well, that's just fantastic. How was work? Oh, that's good, that's good. My day? Well, it’s been pretty nice, thanks for asking.”

“Hannah Marjorie Eiling-Kingsford,” (yeah, my middle name is Marjorie. Laugh it up, chuckleduck), “do not sass me!”

“Try phrasing it like we're on this side of the century,” I shot back, “and maybe I'll consider it.”

I think I could actually hear her teeth grinding. “Where. Have. You. Been?! I come home-”

“Twenty-four hours after you said you would,” I interjected.

“-and find my daughter gone, without a trace! No note, no message on my phone, nothing!”

“Well, I'm sorry, but can you blame me for thinking that you wouldn't be back before I would?”

It was like she hadn't even heard me. “This behavior is irresponsible, disrespectful, and completely-”

“God, mom, cut it out. You're just lashing out because you feel like you're responsible for this by not being a good enough parent.” That shut her up. Thank you, optional-credit psych class. “I was hanging out with Sabi, going thrift store diving.” As I said that, I switched the phone to speaker and began frantically tapping out a message to her. “If my mom calls, we spent day clothes shopping, k?” It whooshed away, and I returned the phone to my ear. Hopefully, she'd see it before my mom could check that.

“And if I asked Sabi, would she say the same thing?” Mom asked suspiciously.

I spluttered indignantly. “Wh- seriously?! Do you actually trust me that little?!” A little voice told me in the back of my head that she was actually correct, but I ignored it. “What else would I be doing, mom? Where else would I be, who else would I be seeing? I have one friend and no social life! What else could I be doing, huh?!”

“You're being awfully defensive about this,” she noted, not sounding nearly as calm as she thought she was. “It comes off like you're hiding something.”

“Oh, sure, sure. I'm defensive because I'm hiding something. That must be it. It couldn't possibly be because my own mother doesn't trust me enough to believe I spent a day with MY ONLY FRIEND!” I practically screamed the last bit into the phone, bits of spittle flying onto the screen.

There was silence for a moment. Then, “Come home, Hannah. Now. We'll talk once you're back.” And then she hung up.

I stared at the screen for a moment. I wanted to scream, shout, smash the phone into itty-bitty little pieces, but none of that would make me feel better.

I spawned a copy, stepped into it, took two steps to the right and threw the duplicate phone as hard as I could at the ground. Glass and plastic fragments shattered violently, and I watched them spin away, breathing heavily. Okay, I lied, that did make me feel better.

I dismissed the copy, and the phone fragments poofed away into the same smoke as it. Guess that confirmed that theory.

The sun began to set, and I sighed, setting aside my anger. I'd need it when I got home, though, so I tucked it away and kept it stoked for the inevitable confrontation.

So much for cartoons and hot chocolate.

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