He loved this part--the falling. The city street rushed up to meet him, the freedom of having nothing but the air surrounding his body. The wind whistled by his ears on either side of his mask. Thirty stories from ground level, Axiom-man let gravity take him, pull him, draw him forever downward toward the earth. The lights from the streetlamps below quickly illuminated the dark buildings in front of him and the building face beneath him, as he plummeted headfirst toward the traffic below. The honking of horns, the revving of engines as the streetlights turned from red to green, the hollering of people at street corners embraced him. With a quick turn upward, he swept past the street not ten feet below, banking his body sharply to the left so he could follow the flow of traffic.
Flying just above the cars always brought stares and pointing fingers.
"Look, there he is!" someone shouted as he zipped past.
He didn't fly low to show off; it was more about remaining visible whenever he could, a reminder to those who looked up to him that he wasn't far off and that, if they needed him, he'd be there to help.
The end of his long cape flapped against his heels, a sensation he never grew tired of. His only wish was that he could fly faster, see the world at a blur--lights behind window displays streaking past, people mere shadows as he flew by--but either way, he loved it.
A pocket of air swirled beneath him as he rose upward, the buildings no longer looming over him on either side as they quickly dropped beneath him.
Night was his favorite. At night, there was freedom.
He moved to fly low again and soon was back level with the buses and trucks; the cars were slightly beneath him. Ahead a Transit bus pulled away from the bus stop then quickly slammed on its breaks, the two red lights in the back shining bright. At first Axiom-man didn't think anything of it. Perhaps the bus driver forgot to double check his clearance into traffic, perhaps he was too hot and wanted to remove the jacket of his uniform before continuing on his route. But when Axiom-man flew by, he caught a glimpse through the driver's side window of a disheveled man still standing before the change receptacle, the bus driver facing him. Not fifteen feet past the bus, Axiom-man heard the muted screams from within. He whipped around, a few folks on the street yipping and hollering as the wind from his spinning around caught them off guard. Just as he speedily floated over to the doors of the bus, he heard the man tell the driver to drive.
The bus tore off into traffic.
Axiom-man followed. He pressed on the speed as best he could, hoping against hope that the bus driver wouldn't end up flooring it. He knew he could only keep up for so long until the bus would be traveling faster than he could. Reaching forward, his fingertips touched the back of the bus, searching for a handhold. The bus had to be doing at least sixty kliks by now. Any more and he'd have to fall back. If only he'd been given the gift of speed. His gloved fingers grabbed on tight to where the rear window met the white metal frame surrounding it. If he hadn't been simultaneously flying while he hung on, he would have easily lost his grip and tumbled to the ground.
The bus picked up speed, the cars in front peeling out of the way as the big behemoth of a vehicle started barreling through. The bus ran a red light. Cars crossing perpendicularly screeched to a halt, narrowly missing the bus. One caught the tail end of the bus, sending the bus fishtailing.
Please regain control, Axiom-man thought. The driver seemed to have heard his thought because a moment later, the bus's path was straight again. Its horn blaring, it forced its way through the traffic. The speeding bus was met by other car horns and people shouting, most swearing. Axiom-man centered himself, focused, then gripped the rear right side of the bus and began pulling himself along the side paneling, doing his best to remain below the view of the windows. He didn't want anyone inside catching sight of him and tipping off the man at the front who seemed to be the cause of this. Left arm stretched high, his forearm and shoulder muscles aching, he used his right hand to brace himself against the side of the bus, his fingers gripping the small ridges along the side paneling as he pulled himself forward.
Almost there. The front door was about eight feet away. People shouted from the sidewalk, horns honked. Someone inside the bus screamed. Up ahead was a bank of parked cars. He saw the shadow of someone inside one of them. If they opened the door--They did. The door raced toward him. Instinct taking over, left hand still clutching a beam dividing a set of windows between thumb and fingers, he let go with his right hand and floated up just before the door would have slammed him in the face. The top of the car door grazed his chest and belly, ripping along the thick and tough material of the chest piece of his uniform. He didn't care if it had torn or not.
Banging on the glass. Someone inside had seen him. He tried to bring a forefinger to his nose to signal them to be quiet, but before he could, the man at the front moved swiftly for the driver. Axiom-man lowered himself so he was alongside the bus again and flew forward as fast as he could, all the while guiding himself along the bus. A loud bang sounded from within and the bus swerved to the left. He nearly lost his grip again as his body was lurched to the side with the vehicle. He squeezed the metal framing that ran beneath the windows hard, the metal crinkling between his fingers. He grumbled. He had wanted to do this with as little damage as possible. Pushing himself, he flew faster. When he finally reached the front doors, he saw the crumbled and bloody body of the bus driver through the windows. The bus swerved to the right as the man inside got control of the wheel. The bus picked up speed. The traffic up ahead didn't seem to know what was happening and not a single car moved.
Axiom-man reached forward and curled his right hand fingers around the flat front of the bus. Scrunching the metal, securing himself, he punched through the glass of one of the front doors with his left hand, took hold of the beam dividing the doors and tore the door off and sent it slamming to the concrete below. He caught the bus driver's body as it tumbled toward his feet, lifted the corpse and placed it inside as fast as he could. The moment he set foot on the first step, he found a gun pointed at his face.
A jolt shot through him. He was not bulletproof. The only protection he had was the tough, light blue material that ran at an angle across his chest and across his mask. The rest of his outfit was thick, navy blue tights. Quickly, he scooped the bridge between the thumb and index finger of his left hand under the man's wrist, sending the man's forearm flying upward, the gun pointing toward the ceiling. The gun went off. Everyone on the bus screamed. Out of the corner of his eye Axiom-man caught the elderly lady sitting in the handicap spot cover her ears. The bus swerved to the left and ran up the median then rocked as it came back down off the curb on the other side. They were heading toward oncoming traffic. The man jostled in the driver's seat and forcefully tried to lower the gun back down. Quickly, Axiom-man pushed up, his strength easily outmatching his attacker's. The gun went off again, punching another hole in the bus's roof. He lunged for the driver. The driver pulled on the wheel, spinning the bus one hundred-eighty degrees. Tires screeched from behind as cars avoided the vehicle. Sirens blared up in the distance and before long the interior of the bus was filled with flashing reds and blues.
The driver stomped on the gas. The bus lurched forward. The flickering red and blue lights of the police sirens faded toward the back of the bus then were gone altogether before reappearing when the police cars behind them caught up again.
"Stop the bus!" Axiom-man shouted.
The driver didn't reply.
Axiom-man squeezed the driver's wrist. A bone popped beneath his thumb. The driver cried out and dropped the gun. Axiom-man pulled on the driver's arm, tugging the man violently toward him. With a quick right hook, Axiom-man's fist connected with the man's face. The guy released a low grunt as his head was knocked nearly clean off his shoulders. The side of the driver's skull crashed into the corner of the divider separating the driver seat from the rest of the bus. The man crumpled to the floor, landing on top of the true bus driver's body. The bus veered to the right when the man's hand left the wheel, and crashed into a parked car. The deafening dull bang of metal slamming into metal rang in Axiom-man's ears. When he glanced up, the passengers were all leaning forward in their seats from the impact, their heads on their knees. Some had fallen into the aisle. Others had fallen on top of each other. Sirens sounded loud and clear, and red and blue danced along the bus's interior walls and ceiling.
Getting to the controls, Axiom-man set the bus in park, and turned and raised a friendly hand to the passengers who were looking at him. He went down the steps and squeezed through what was left of the bus door and set foot on the pavement. Just as the cops, guns ready, cautiously approached the vehicle, Axiom-man gave them a salute with two fingers then took off into the night sky.
What a way to end a Sunday night.