"I hate my life."
Sam winced as he opened his eyes. The sunlight stung his jade irises while a groan left his lips.
"C'mon champ, today's your big day!" boomed a deep yet soft voice.
A blonde sturdy man in a flannel shirt smiled at him. The curtains hissed when he straightened them.
"It's the end of the world?" asked Sam with a slight pout.
The man sat down on Sam's bed. Sparkles gleamed in his eyes. "I've talked to your boss, think he got something in store for you."
"Thanks, dad," Sam muttered as his father left.
The young man stretched his arms and dragged himself out of the bed. He scratched his back while his other hand gave a soft hit to a punching ball with Hulk's face on it. His feet plodded around game controllers and shuffled out of the room. Sam opened the door in front of him and entered. He picked up a toothbrush from the sink, it already had paste on it. His eyes glared at a note on the mirror with a happy face and Smile written on it. Sam tore and crumpled it before he threw it in the nearby bin.
The young man looked at his reflection as he brushed his teeth. His short shaggy brown hair swung at a slow pace against his forehead. The brunette put his left hand on his waist and flexed his arm.
" Could be better, " he thought.
He spat the toothpaste down the sink before he used water to rinse his mouth. Once back in his room, Sam opened a coding book on his desk and stared at a pentagram on one of the pages.
"Sam!" his father called from the kitchen.
The brown-haired boy slammed shut the book. Then, he grabbed a dart on its left and threw it at an aim board with Hawkeye picture on it. The dart landed on the latter's crotch.
Sam walked down the stairs and ambled to the dining table. His father flipped down a pan above his son's plate; eggs cooked over-easy fell down on it.
"Your hoodie's waiting on the couch," his dad said while he washed cookware. "T'was kinda hard picking out of your closet the right shade of dark and sulky."
The son looked down at his dish and did not raise his head. Once done with breakfast, he strolled in silence to the living room. The young man gripped at the clothes lined-up here. A sigh left his lips as he struggled to put on his pants. As soon as he had his grey hoodie over him, Sam walked to the entrance door.
"Sam, wait!" His father rushed to him. "Remember-"
"I know." Sam rolled his eyes. "If anything weird happens, I'll run to the house and we'll change our IDs before driving to Mexico."
The corners of his father's lips turned down a bit. "No… Just remember that I love you, Sam."
The jade-eyed boy looked away.
His father reached a hand toward Sam. "Son, I know it's hard for you, but if we-"
The son slapped away his father's arm. "But what?! If we keep waiting, Spiderman or Captain American is gonna come here and save the day!" Sam shook his head. "They won't come, nobody's never gonna come!"
His father stared at him with drooped eyes while Sam walked out. The son glanced one more time at the man before he left.
Sam kicked a can as he observed the town. A bunch of dusty stores with old car posters rot around. Sand from the nearby desert covered the pavement edge. Crows pecked the garbage off the streets and cawed at the boy. When he arrived on main street, the ten feet tall copper statue of a rat greeted him. The young man glared at the so-called Rudolph Rodent. On his pedestal there was a rusty plate with Millstone: Where Dreams Become Real chiseled on it. A scoff appeared on his lips as he read.
"We're both stuck in the same shit."
A lizard perched out of the statue mouth. The gila monster crawled down and cut Sam's little reverie.
The young man strolled forward. A sight caught his attention amidst the rundown buildings and car carcasses. Madame Lewis's Chamber of Chills .
" That's new ," Sam remarked.
Oddities and sideshow freaks decorated the façade such as a barker with a dog head or a silver surfboard. Creak... The door flung open and a mass under an old green cloak came out. It rose its head and strands of cobweb-like hair fell.
"By Gilgamesh! A new visitor," rejoiced the old woman with a croaky voice.
"I'm sorry but-"
"The tour cost nothing. A free spell in my museum of oddities." The hunchbacked lady put out a black leather book out of her cloak. "Behold, the Darkhold! Inside reside your darkest desires…" She opened the book.
Sam stared at the pages and frowned. Various pictures depicted half-naked men and women touching each other with Call Me Bi Your Name for caption. The gipsy woman cackled as her nails tapped against the cover.
"I have to go," babbled Sam.
"See you soon," replied the lady with a youthful shrill in her talk.
The young man hasted his walk for an instant until he stopped. He turned around and she was gone. The door of her museum had been left ajar until a breeze of wind closed it. Slam!
Sam raised an eyebrow. "The hell?"
A murder of crows wandered above the brunette, almost in circles. Sam turned around the corner of the street and sighed. French fries rested at his feet, covered with mold and chewed by rats. The jade-eyed boy glared at the building in front of him. On it stood the Clowntown sign with a jester character. Some perverted symbols had been tagged near the jester's mouth.
" I fucking hate clowns ," thought the young man.
The double doors opened and a man with red a red nose and an apron appeared.
"Sam Morton, took your sweet time," he said crisply.
"Sorry boss, I-"
"Doesn't matter." The man put his hands on his hips. "Listen kiddo, the business is not doing well around here. And with all the people turning into dust and then coming ba-"
"You're firing me, right?" Sam narrowed his brows.
The man removed his red nose. "I'm sorry Sam, but you took the job of someone who I thought would never come back. You and your dad are newcomers and I'd rather have familiar faces working here."
Sam bit the inside of his right cheek. "Guess that's how it is, right?" He chuckled. "Let's just say thanks to America heroes for making our lives better."
The light bulbs of the sign flickered as Sam stormed away.
Hands in his pockets, the jade-eyed boy quickened his step to his house.
"Well, someone's running away from us?" a hoarse voice taunted.
Sam rolled his eyes and turned around. Two hooded figures were facing him.
"Tim." Sam nodded at the bald young man on the left. "Tom," he addressed the boy with a cap on the right.
Tom gripped at the lower part of his Nightmare on Elm Street shirt and exposed a Swiss Army knife on his belt. Tim smirked and put on display his open left palm.
"You know the song," Tim spit.
The brunette exhaled and dug inside his pockets. Then, he gave Tim two coins and a five-dollar bill.
"That's all?" noticed Tom.
Sam looked daggers at him. "Just got fired."
Tim shoved the money inside hoodie. "Do better next time."
The pairs giggled and disappeared inside a dark alley.
Alone in the empty street, Sam clenched his fists and tightened his eyelids.
His nails pressed against his hands while his arms trembled. Hot electricity flowed throughout his body. A nearby lamp post buzzed. Sam's fingers burned yet were somehow numb to the heat. His heart pounded as his blood boiled. The buzzing of the lamp increased more and more.
Falling pieces of glass startled the young man. He sheltered himself with his arms. Sparkles squirted out of the exploded lamp socket. Sam stared at it before he looked down at his hands. Tiny lightning bolts flashed in and out between his fingers. The young man observed the strange manifestation until it ended. Then, he pointed at the lamp. No reaction. Next, he reached his hands toward a car, but the same lack of result happened. His shoulders dropped as his arms went back inside his pockets.
The brunette strolled forward with a hunched position.
"Careful!" shouted a high-pitched voice.
Sam glanced at his right. A middle-aged woman looked up a dead tree. On top of its branches, there was a spotted cat and a slender pastel figure. They wore a pair of pink combat boots with black shoelaces, a sleeveless thigh-length rose-tinted dress, and what seemed to be a Kevlar corset cinched their waist.
"Don't be afraid, little kitty," whispered the doll-like person.
The old branch leaned down as the person came closer to the animal.
When inches separated them, the lolita stretched their gloved hands until the cat slunk toward them. Ferns fell from the quivering branch. The woman watched with her mouth agape while her cat was hugged by the person.
"Got him!" they exclaimed.
The branch broke.
Sam rushed toward them. Both the cat and his savior were falling. The young man charged and outstretched his arms.
The brunette collapsed and moaned because of the weight against his back.
"Wow, thank you, sir," spoke the person with a silvery voice.
"You're wel-… come… Can you stand up now?" replied Sam.
"Ach, of course!" They get up on their feet.
The woman grabbed the cat and smiled. "Oh, thank you!"
"It was my pleasure." The person curtsied.
While the cat and his owner left, Sam stood up and rubbed his back. The cat's savior ran to him and pushed him up with gentleness.
They looked at Sam with their big purple eyes. "Thanks again for earlier," they almost sang.
The person adjusted the strawberry bow in their hair before they moved some sausage chestnut curls away from their face.
Sam slapped the dust out his pants. "That was nothing. Just try to not fall on me next time."
The purple color of the person's eyes suddenly became yellow. "Next time? Does it mean we'll see again?" they wondered with a grin.
"It was just a phrasing," he replied.
"Oh, okay…" They glanced away before they stared back at Sam. "I forgot, my name is Bo Peep! I'm a superhero."
"The name's Sam," he responded.
"Sam? Can I call you SamSam?" asked Bo Peep.
Sam glared at them. "Aren't you supposed to wear a mask or something?"
"Oh, I wear a lot of makeup," they replied with a bob of the head.
The jade-eyed boy walked forward and the person followed.
"You have something to ask?" he questioned.
The person nodded. "Yes, actually." They took a quick breath. "I could not help but notice that you're frowning a lot. So I was wondering… Why are you sad?"
"I'd rather not talk about it."
Bo Peep's eyes now turned blue. "Oh, I understand… You know, you could try smiling more if you want to."
Sam winced a smile on his face. "There? Happy?"
Yellow tints came back in Bo Peep's eyes. "Thank you."
The young man jerked his head back. "Why are you thanking me?"
"Well, you forced yourself to smile just to make me happy." Bo Peep blushed. " I thought it was very nice of you, so thank you." His eyes widened and turned back purple. "Ach, this blind person is walking on the traffic, better catch them!" Sam ran away. "See you later, SamSam!"
"Don't call me- Whatever.."
The rest of Sam's walk was quiet. Once back home, his father raced to him.
"I'm gonna go play in my room," muttered the son as he walked upstairs.
"B-but, what about your job?"
"Got fired." Sam entered inside his bedroom and slammed the door.
The sound of the door echoed in the young man's mind. Sam clutched at his head while the noise increased. Soon, the crows cawing joined it with the buzz of the lamp post. Sam closed his eyes and covered his ears. The cacophony went crescendo and felt like it split his brain.
"Sam," spoke an ethereal voice.
The young man opened his eyes. His bedroom was gone. He was now in the middle of the street, surrounded by a grey mist.
"Sam," the voice called again.