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Now that September is here, I'm going to scale these blog posts down to once a week.
I hope you've enjoyed these glimpses into Damon's world. If you have, leave a comment.
The long, narrow alley—a purple-gray mixture of concrete and gravel—stretched the length of the block. Damon had never ridden his bike all the way down the alley before and hadn’t gone there at all since the year after he had moved to the district. He and Eldon had wandered down there when an older kid jumped out of the back yard at the end of the block. He said his name was Larry and that he owned that end of the alley, which he called “Larry’s End.” When Eldon told him that no one owned the alley, Larry stretched his fingers apart. They grew like huge spider-legs. Larry chased Damon and Eldon halfway up the alley and told them never to come back. Damon hadn’t, ever since. But he was older now and riding a ram-handle-barred ten-speed. He decided to chance it.
Damon glided down the bumpy surface of the alley, his bike gaining momentum as he went. He watched the pavement roll by beneath him, carefully looking out for rocks or other objects that might throw him. The middle part of the alley smoothed out, and Damon took his feet off the pedals, pretending he was riding his bike on a high wire with a moat full of crocodiles underneath. He almost didn’t notice as he approached the end of the alley.
He heard leaves rustling behind a gigantic rose bush on his left. He stopped his bike and said, “Who’s there?” No one answered. Damon shrugged and began pedaling again. The end of the alley was just a couple of houses away.
He was riding very close to the garages and back yards on his right. As he approached the second to last garage, something shot out from the other side—a long, thin stick that looked like it was covered with skin! Damon shook his head, not believing what he was seeing, and swerved to miss the stick. However, the stick bent itself and followed him. Before he could swerve again, the stick jammed itself into the spokes of his front tire, bringing it to a sudden halt. Damon and the rest of the bike, however, kept moving.
The world spun around and battered him from every side. Pain shot through his knee and the rest of his body. Jumbled images—the bike, the ground, a garage, a face, the rose bush, the ground again. He cried out, his voice a broken stream of sounds.
And then everything stopped. He was lying on his back, the concrete and gravel digging into his skin. The sky and rooftops continued to spin—he felt sick to his stomach. Pain everywhere.
“That was stupid!”
Damon struggled to crane his neck and see who had spoken. An older boy, thin and with short, cropped hair, approached. He was older now, but Damon recognized him immediately.
“I told you a long time ago, this end of the alley belongs to me!”
“That’s right.” The boy proudly held up his right forefinger, which was several inches longer than normal. “My power’s grown some. I can stretch one finger at a time and make it hard as metal . . . perfect for stopping twerps like you.”
“You don’t own this end of the alley!” Damon bellowed. He was trying not to act hurt.
“Yes, I do,” Larry replied, his finger shrinking back to normal size. “This alley belongs to me and my friends.”
A boy with shaggy blonde hair came out from behind the rose bush. Damon recognized him as one of the eighth graders from the playground.
“We’ve never actually met,” the boy said as he stood over Damon. “Name’s Rusty Reddick. But I know all about you, Neumeyer. See, I’ve been watching you and that four-eyed geek practice your powers at school. I know what you can do. Let’s see if you like what I can do.” And as he said this, he leaned back and looked at the sun and his body began to glow.