NSFW-Supers Chapter 3

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Supers-Chapter 3

Zach

I opened the glass doors that led to the balcony facing the ocean. A good night’s sleep and the fresh ocean air made me feel a hundred times better. Also, a couple of Lifetime movies never hurt. I still wasn’t ready to join the real world, but I was closer.

A warm breeze swirled around my body and I never wanted to get dressed again. I’d always thought nudists were a little weird, but in that moment, I got it. I took a deep breath and was just about to exhale, the whole building shook.

I grabbed the doorjamb and held on. Having spent time in California, I knew a little tremor could be followed by a massive upheaval. I waited. Nothing.

After a couple of seconds, my brain caught up, and I realized it hadn’t felt like an earthquake. There was no buildup and then subsiding. It had been an explosion.

Forgetting my nakedness, I ran onto the balcony and looked out to sea. No smoking ships and no tsunami, just a few early risers on the beach looking as puzzled as I felt. Suddenly, a couple of them pointed to the other side of the island and the others turned and stared, wide-eyed.

I ran back into the room and out the other sliding door. That balcony gave me a decent view of the volcano. A plume of smoke poured from the top.

I hate to admit my selfishness, but my first thought was, Shit—thousands of years and it fucks up my vacation.

Running through my room, I grabbed a pair of shorts and flew out the door. If there was an evacuation, I wanted to be first in line—my luggage, women, and children be damned.

Knowing better than to take the elevator in a crisis, I bolted down the stairs. Just before I got to the lobby, the hotel shook again. I grabbed the stair-railing for support and as soon as the tremor stopped, I ran into the lobby. It was empty.

Everyone stood outside under the concrete awning, staring at the volcano. More smoke poured out the top. Debris flew through the air, spreading out and about to hit the ground.

We gawked as glass and metal rained down onto the driveway and the into the trees. We felt safe under the sturdy concrete. Couples clasped each other’s hands, and some people raised their hands to their mouths in the universal signal of shock. The one thing we all had in common was wide-eyed fear.

Unfortunately, none of us were looking at the right thing.

IMG_0659-960x400The five vans that carried passengers between the airport and the resort sat about a hundred yards away from us, unnoticed until one folded like a tin can. Our heads spun around. A huge piece of electronic equipment sat on top of the crushed van.

Someone screamed and pointed. A large, dark shape that seemed even bigger than the one on top of the van was heading straight for the hotel. Hector, who I hadn’t even noticed was in the crowd, yelled and pushed people back into the lobby. I was so shocked by the debris that I just stood and watched it hurtle toward us. My legs wouldn’t move.

Someone grabbed my arm and yanked me toward the door. But, it was too late.

Before Hector could drag me inside, the large mass struck the overhang. The massive, sturdy concrete structure exploded.

Hector tackled me to the ground, his body covering mine. Pieces of concrete and dust rained around us. The whole thing only took seconds. But it all played out in slow motion and felt like an eternity.

When everything settled, I was relieved when Hector’s weight on my body shifted. He put his arms on either side of me and pushed himself up a few inches. Small bits of concrete dust fell from his newly white hair. He looked ridiculous, and since I knew he was okay, I didn’t bother to stifle the laugh the burst out of me.

He shook his head raining down even more white dust. Grit got in my mouth and nose causing me to sneezed uncontrollably. Then it was his turn to laugh.

It was just about the most wonderful sound I’d ever heard. Whether it was adrenaline from having almost been crushed or from the fact that the only parts of our body that weren’t touching were chests and heads, parts of my body reacted. From the growing pressure on my right leg, I could tell I wasn’t alone in that.

“Mr. Velez, get off him!” A screechy voice echoed under what was left of the overhang, and a pudgy red face appeared over Hector shoulder.

The man grabbed Hector’s shirt collar and pulled him off me. Once he was standing, Hector held out his hand to pull me up.

“I am so sorry, Mr. Winton,” the man exclaimed.

“It’s no problem, Mr.—” I glanced at his name tag as he dusted himself off. Resort Manager. Great. “Mr. James.”

As a travel writer, hotel managers were the bane of my existence. They always made my experience fake and saccharine. With them trying to show their property in the best light, they made my job much harder. Instead of relaxing and enjoying myself, I had to spend my time trying to figure out what kind of experience my readers would actually have.

Hector’s face darkened under the light coat of concrete dust as Mr. James glared at him.

“As a matter of fact,” I continued, “Hector saved me.”

Mr. James’ look grew uncertain was he fumbled to straighten his tie. The only dust on him was from when he pulled Hector up. His balding head and mid-priced suit were spotless. That meant he hadn’t done anything to help his guests, which rankled me a little.

“Well, either way,” Mr. James said, extending his hand. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”

“Same here.” I lied with a smile and shook his hand.

Over his shoulder, the volcano sent wisps of smoke into the air. He saw where I was looking and blanched.

“So…” I trailed off, raising my eyebrows.

He raised his right back.

Mine had meant Wanna explain?

His obviously meant What?

“Do we need to leave the island?”

His hands fluttered. “Oh, my, no. Everything’s fine.”

That was inconceivable. “So, three thousand years from now, archeologists won’t find our bodies with panicked looks on our faces, buried under tons of rock?” I’d been in Pompeii a few months before, so while I was being mildly facetious, an underlying panic kept my adrenaline pumping.

“I assure you. The volcano is dormant. This—” He glanced back at the smoking mountain. “This was something completely different.”

I wanted him to elaborate. And if it hadn’t been for the intense shower of office equipment, I wouldn’t have even started to believe him.

“Mr. Velez,” Mr. James said, grabbing Hector’s arm. “Our friend here hasn’t seen the beach yet. Now might be a good time to show him.”

Hector stepped over a few small concrete boulders and put his hand on my shoulder. All thoughts of ancient Italian bodies covered in ash left my head.

Mr. James pushed me toward the now broken hotel door more forcefully than necessary. He seemed even more eager for us to part company than I was.

Before we’d even reached the shattered glass doors of the lobby, he had his cell out and was dialing. As he raised the phone to his ear, his attention was riveted to the volcano.

That eroded my confidence. There were worse ways I could die than with Hector holding my shoulder for eternity, so I pushed my nerves away.

“So, the beach…” Hector said as we made our way through the milling throng in the lobby.

People clamored against the front desk, shouting demands at two flustered employees.

I considered Hector’s offer. “Thanks, but I know where it is. And it should be pretty empty.” I nodded toward the crowd.

He chuckled. “True. I would offer to show you some more secluded spots. But if all the beach is empty, that won’t be necessary.”

I knew the best way to get over a breakup was to get back on the horse—or a hopefully horse-hung, beautiful Latino. I just wasn’t quite ready.

“Tomorrow, if we’re not all dead, I may need your guidance. I just… I… one more day.”

His eyes softened and I could tell he was hurt, but he smiled. “I understand.”

I reached up and took his chin, making sure he looked me in the eyes. “I don’t think you do. Tomorrow, I’ll really need your help.” I paused. “Bad.”

The brilliance of his smile almost made me change my mind about waiting.

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