87 - Shirley Knott - @AbbyBabble - Superhuman

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SHIRLEY KNOTT

by Abby Goldsmith / AbbyBabble


"Please step aside, ma'am." The airport security guard didn't even bother to look at her. Hardly anyone deigned to give her more than two seconds of their precious time anymore. The older she was, the more insignificant she became.

"I do have my boarding pass." Shirley Knott clawed through her purse. "I know it's in here somewhere."

"Ma'am." The security guard sounded bored. "Other people want to catch their flights. You need to step aside while you search for it."

"I have it somewhere." She couldn't miss this flight. Otherwise her ex-husband would be buried alone, lowered into the ground without a single mourner. No one deserved to vanish like that.

The security guard touched her thin shoulder. "Ma'am, I don't want to keep asking you to step aside."

A family of six waited behind her. They all glared at Shirley, except for the screaming baby. Everyone wanted her to go away; to disappear.

Just like her ex-husband.

Shirley grabbed her valise and dragged it past the security stand. Maybe she was invisible enough to get through, even without a boarding pass?

The security guard seized her.

Shirley shoved him, and her elbow hit the luggage scanner counter. Something on the conveyor belt fell over. She hardly realized what it was until a cold stinging sensation traveled up her arm and spread into the rest of her body.

A purple liquid soaked her arm, leaking from a container marked with a biohazard symbol.

The liquid sizzled on whatever it touched. Shirley lifted her arm and stared at the soaked area in dread.

"You all right, ma'am?" One of the other security guards sounded sympathetic.

Shirley's limbs tingled. She was too elderly, and too alone, for anyone to pity. She knew it. Everyone here would probably point and laugh as she collapsed, just as they had done in grammar school so many decades ago.

The guard who had seized her reeled as if someone had punched him in the stomach. He retched. Shirley and other travelers backed away, noticing how the guard's muscles slid beneath his skin. He howled.

Suddenly his torso elongated, like stretched rubber. His head drooped on his lengthening neck. Clothing and skin ruptured, revealing muscles glistening with bloody slime.

The line of travelers shoved each other to escape. They tried to run through the body scanner, and guards on the far side began shouting for order.

Shirley didn't bother to run. That mysterious biohazard liquid had spilled on her, also. She was probably doomed. But so what? A weirdly gruesome transformation was better than dying alone and unmourned, like the alcoholic ex-husband whose funeral she wanted to attend.

The security guard had turned into a pulsating red monstrosity. But somehow, it wasn't over.

He grew a shiny metallic shell.

His legs fused into one unit. His arms spread outward in a flattening cross. His face grew pinched and featureless, and his screams ended as his mouth vanished into a metallic protrusion.

The thing that ended up in the security aisle was a man-sized airplane. It lacked windows or doors. Shirley wondered what was inside.

An excited pre-teen ran around with his phone, snapping photos.

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