“Hey,” Trevor said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “We got it. Come on. Time to go.”
Glory flinched. She’d managed to restore her hands to their proper shape as Mike and Jack carried the stone to the car, but their color was still way off, and their size… her knuckles dragged on the ground when she wasn’t holding her arms close to her body. She was like some kind of monkey-worm-girl-thing. If Phoenix had still been in her head, he probably would have been making fun of her.
“I’m not… I’m not ready.” Glory tried to keep from sobbing, but there was a hitch in her voice all the same. She wanted to cover her face with hands and could only imagine how grotesque that would look.
“Come on,” he said again, tugging her shoulder a little. “Nobody cares.”
She turned her head slightly to look at him out of the corner of her eye.
“Seriously… we’ve seen a lot worse,” he said with a laugh. “And you did kind of save our lives just now, Supergirl.”
“Wouldn’t have had to if I hadn’t put them in danger in the first place,” she sulked. Glory wrapped her hand around a rock at her feet and squeezed. Oops… it disintegrated into gravel, making her feel less like Supergirl and more like Solomon Grundy. Ugly and obscenely strong. Lovely. It wasn’t likely that she’d forget this transformation soon. All she could think of was how freakish she was.
“Pizza and celebratory beer sound good?” Trevor asked, slipping an arm around her shoulders and steering her in the direction of the car, despite her reluctance to have anyone else see her.
“I don’t drink,” she mumbled.
“OK. You want chocolate milk or something with your pizza? Tea? We are in England after all.” He didn’t give her the chance to dwell on her ugliness, keeping up a steady stream of babble as he walked over the hill in the moonlight. The slime would hopefully evaporate before morning. She looked down at herself and realized in addition to her monkey arms, she was covered in blue slime. It was not one of her better days.
She stumbled along, given no choice but to go where Trevor led. Mike didn’t even look in her direction as Trevor helped her into the backseat. She hoped she wouldn’t get slime on the seats, it being a rental. Glory wasn’t sure how to read Mike‘s indifference. Was he being respectful of her embarrassment or was he disgusted? Trevor sat in the back with her. Jack drove, and Mike studiously looked out the window. Maybe he was creeped out. She tucked her arms into her lap and concentrated on making them shorter and less… wormy looking.
Jack let them out in front of the apartment, waiting as Mike and Trevor struggled to take the stone from the “boot,” apparently what they called the car trunk in England. Between them, they got the tarp-wrapped stone to the building, but there was no way they were going to be able to carry it up the two steep flights of stairs to the apartment.
She looked around worried that someone might see them standing around with the stone. It made her much less worried about how freakishly strong she was. “H-here. Let me try.” Her arms were nearly back to normal, but she hoped her strength was still more than human. Neither man looked comfortable handing over the stone to a girl, but they gingerly set it in her arms, not letting go completely until they were sure she could handle it.
It hardly seemed as heavy as they made it out to be. Trevor got the door for her, and Mike followed behind, both of them looking concerned that she might drop it or hurt herself. The trip up the narrow stairs was awkward, but not arduous. How heavy the stone actually was, was driven home when she set it down on the kitchen table and the ancient aluminum and Formica whined in protest.
She paused and examined her arms in the glare of the overhead light, sighing in relief. Yellowed from a light that probably hadn’t been cleaned since the 50s, they were back to normal, the both of them, back to normal in all but her strength apparently. That was something she could deal with. She didn’t mind being a freak, so long as she didn’t look like one.
Glory unwrapped the stone. Caked as it was with rotted burlap and mud, she grabbed a threadbare rag from the counter before thinking better of it. Unmindful of the dirt, she picked up the stone and set it in the sink. I wasn‘t like she could get any dirtier than she already was.. The mud dropped away in clumps as she ran the water, revealing the shiny black stone beneath, rather like the stone she had back in her vault at home, though it looked more glass-like. It’s irregular surface was elaborately carved, animal forms flowing one into another until it seemed as though every animal to ever walk the earth had been carved into the surface of the stone. She looked closer and saw symbols tantalizingly floating beneath the surface, but they refused to swim into focus.
“Ugh, cover it, please,” Trevor said, dropping into one of the kitchen chairs and covering his eyes. “It’s giving me a headache.”
“Sorry.” Glory turned the water on and gave it another quick rinse before folding the tarp over it. She’d look at it more later when the guys were sleeping.
“It looks like tektite,” Mike finally spoke up, dusting his dirty palms on his pants. “I saw a meteor a little like that when I was a kid. A lot smaller though.”
“Who wants pizza?” Jack said, carrying in a box and a bag, which turned out to be full of pints. He set the box on the table, and nodded to sink. “That our stone?” he asked.
“Yeah, that’s it. Now we just have to get it to Ireland.” Glory picked up a slice of pizza so heavy with toppings, it was hard to see what exactly was all on it. She wasn’t sure, but she thought there might even be scrambled eggs. Well, she was just glad she’d washed her hands under the tap.
“No worries. Leave it to me,” Jack said, folding his own slice of pizza up and taking a bite.
to Book 7, part 3, page 7