Prowler by Andrew Mayne
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Journal: 10 PM Out for patrol. Used my secret exit. No one saw me leave. I was always quiet before, but the new powers only make me even more stealthy.

10:08 PM

Heard an argument coming from the Alvarez place. Again. He’s drunk. I watch through the windows to make sure it doesn’t get violent.

10:17 PM

Mr. Alvarez passed out on the couch. His wife is in her bedroom crying. The kids are still asleep, or pretending to be. I never knew my own father. Kind of glad that I didn’t.

10:25 PM

Crack dealer on the corner of Eldridge and 12th. Teenage punk, maybe fifteen. Doesn’t know this is my neighborhood. I watch him from the trees. First time gets him a warning. I can tell he’s nervous and scared. I’m sure this isn’t his first choice. But it was his choice. I wait until a blue Cadillac leaves. Kid steps back under the tree. I let him hear my voice. He can’t tell where it’s coming from. Pisses himself and ruins a $300 pair of sneakers. He runs away. If he comes back again I’ll have to draw some blood. Not a lot. But a little.

10:40 PM

Little girl walking home. Maybe ten. Shouldn’t be out this late. Two teenagers, thirteen and fourteen decide to harass her. She walks by them. One of them grabs her elbow, makes a crude comment. No warning from me. I’m fast. I’m a black shadow in the corner of their vision. They never see me. Girl is too confused. They’re on the ground covering the cuts I made above their eyes. Surgical precision, Like a prize-fighter. I make sure they know the little girl didn’t do it. I let them hear my voice. They’ll probably be in church Sunday. Lots of people in church now in this neighborhood.

10:57 PM

Killed three rats. I hate rats.

11:03 PM

I’m in the basement at the crack house I cleaned out two weeks ago. I’ve set up some glassware and test tubes to better understand the process that made me what I am in the lab. I like it. I don’t want to stop it. I just want to understand it. My equipment is crude, but I can find traces of chemical agents that suggest that I’ve been genetically modified. It makes sense. There’s no way my DNA could have this capability before. It doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective. Too big of a leap.

12:11 AM

I could smell the fire from the basement. Rundown apartment block four stories away. I’m there in seconds. People standing outside looking in. Lots of smoke. I have to check for stragglers. I start at the third floor. Make it to the second. Hear an old person’s heartbeat behind a door. I kick it down. Passed out woman in chair. Bottle of brandy next to her. Drunk as a skunk. I pull her into the hallway. She never notices. I hear firemen running up the stairs. I check rest of building. No one else left.

12:46 AM

Rooftop overlooking corner of 6th and Winter. There’s been a rusty yellow van out three nights of the last four. Something doesn’t smell right. Looking for hookers, most likely. I already scared the junky ones away. I decide to hop on the van and see where it goes. Driver will never notice me.

1:00 AM

He drove all the way to 65th. I notice he’s staying away from pairs of hookers. He pulls up to a lone girl. She looks broken and confused. She’s new at this. He negotiates a price. Twenty bucks for her dignity, what of it there is. She’s about to get in. I’m tempted to see where it leads. If my gut on this guy is right, then it’s bad for her. Real bad. Door opens. I smell blood. I can’t let the girl get in. I show myself. Let her hear my voice. She screams and runs. She’ll be in church Sunday. Driver sees her run away, curses. He pulls away angry. This is more than sexual frustration. This is a blood lust. He’s smart. Knows to go home. I decide to follow.

1:49 AM

He pulls into a driveway in a rundown suburb. He gets out and opens the tall gate to his backyard. Looks like a junk yard. He’s tall and skinny. Has a greasy mustache. The kind perverts have because they think that’s what a man is supposed to look like - a gay cowboy from a 1970s cigarette ad. He drives the van into the backyard. I can smell the fresh dirt before I see it. This is where he takes them. He gets out and walks over to a plot of ground and kneels down. Looks like the Marlboro Man is going to have some fun with an old flame. Like a filthy dog, he digs into the ground with his bare hands. He’s naked. He uncovers a pale blue arm. He pulls the torso of a woman out of the dirt. He caresses it. Starts talking to it. Apologizing, then getting angry. He starts touching himself. I’ve seen enough. Time to take action. I jump onto the roof of his house so I can scare him back into the van. I let him hear my voice. He doesn’t hear me at first. I get louder. He looks up. Scared. Can’t tell where the voice came from. I jump towards him. He screams and runs back to the van. Still naked. He left the keys in the ignition. He turns it on but waits. He’s not sure what he saw. I jump onto the windshield. I show him my eyes. He screams again and backs up out of the driveway. Good. I’m on his roof and he doesn’t know it. I wait for him to get to a deserted part of the highway. I rip open the roof over his head. I poke my head in. His face turns white. I raise my arm to slash him. He loses control of the van and drives through the median. I leap free and land on my feet. I always land on my feet, even at 50 MPH. Van is on the side. He got thrown through the windshield. He’s laying in the street naked and bloody. His shoulder looks funny and his legs are twisted at horrible angles. Vengeance is a bitch. He won’t be in church Sunday. The police will send someone by the house. They’ll see the body sticking out of the ground. If Marlboro Man doesn’t die and the DA doesn’t screw it up, he’s a lifer. All the little whores will be safe from this nut-job.

3:19 AM

I took a leisurely stroll back home. Killed four rats. Disease-carrying parasites. I hate rats.

4:11 AM

Mrs. Jefferson is lost. Alzheimer’s is rough. I have to guide her home without scaring her. I hope that my research into what happened to me can help people like her one day. I want to go back to the lab where I was given the formula, but I know it’s not safe. I use my friendly voice to guide her back home. I ring the door when she’s close. Her daughter sees her on the sidewalk and takes her inside.

5:03 AM

Neighbor’s dog is loose. Big, mean and stupid pit bull. Kids will be lining up at the bus stop soon. Can’t let the dog get them. I let this one get close to me. He snarls at me. I decide to put some fear into him. I cut him above the eye. He can’t see. He tries to bite me. I cut him again. He starts to whimper. Heads home with his tail between his legs. I don’t think he’ll be leaving his yard soon.

5:12 AM

I use my secret entrance to get back into the house. I patrol to make sure everything is safe. The family is my first priority. They took me in when I was out on the streets. I’d do anything for them. Molly’s door is open. She doesn’t have to get up for another two hours for kindergarten. I hop up onto her bed. She reaches out in her sleep and pets me. She scratches my ear then pulls my tail. She loves my tail. I purr and get some shut eye. When the family is gone later that day I’ll use the computer to do some more research on my condition. Not to change it of course. But to see if knowing what made me can help others. I dream of tuna.