Part 21 – Tribulations

After another day of travel and a second night sleeping in my car, I was getting low on gas. If my second trip to a gas station had ended half as well as the last I would have made it to Spiral on a high note. As it was, I was lucky to make it out without getting my ass handed to me.

I picked another remote little convenience store, this one was a fair bit newer, but looked much more run down. I pulled up, pumped my gas and walked into the store tugging at my hoodie to ensure it covered my head. The attendant was reading a book when I entered and didn’t even glance up when I stepped into the store. I still had enough food left over from the last stop, but water was another matter. I grabbed two gallon jugs from the back of the store and stepped up to the counter.

The attendant was still oblivious to my presence in the store. I waited a few moments, hoping that he would take notice, but when he never did, I dropped the bottles onto the counter and smirked when he jumped. He fumbled with his book, almost dropping it, before slamming it down on the counter. He scowled and turned to me red faced, but stopped like a deer in headlights when he saw my face.

I threw my thumb over my shoulder back toward the door and smiled. “I need to pay for my gas.”

He shook his head, glowered at me and rang me up. I sensed movement and turned in time to see a trio of college-age guys enter the store. They took no notice of me at first, and if I would have had the good sense to look away, they might never have seen my face.

“Hey, Jet, get a load of this one,” one man said slapping his friend in the chest with the back of his hand.

I swallowed, hard, and averted my eyes, attempting to avoid eye contact, but it was too late. The tallest of the trio, Jet, grabbed me by my left wrist and spun me around to face him. He was a good foot and a half taller than me and had a wild look in his eyes.

“Now, I don’t know about you boys, but I never expected any twisted freaks to step into our neck of the woods,” Jet said grinning down at me. I grunted, struggling to break free, but I didn’t have even half the upper body strength I had before my twist. Even then I doubt I could have done much against him. The dude was huge.

“I’m not looking for any trouble.” I swallowed… hard.

He grinned and loomed over me, his intent mirrored in his eyes. When he spoke my stomach sank. “You’re pretty hot for a weirdo, what say you and I take a trip out back and have a little fun?”

I jerked back, but he was too strong for me. He pulled me closer and I could feel his breath on my neck. I froze and clench my eyes shut, shuddering. His lips brushed mine, and I squirmed. Jerking my head back screaming at the top of my lungs.

“Fuck,” Jet cursed and lurched back hands still locked around my wrists, pulling me with him. I risked opening my eyes again and found that his cronies had backed away. Jet just glowered at me. I swallowed hard and squirmed kicking out and squirming in his grip. He pushed me back, slamming me into a row of shelves.

I howled, gasping and heaving in pain. I thought for sure that he had me, but then my skin tingled. The fabric of my hoodie twisted and contorted. Strips tore away reweaving themselves and shooting out from my body. They wrapped around Jet’s wrists and ankles and I watched eyes wide as the strands tightened. He gasped, and his grip loosened. The straps pulled his hands toward his body and I pulled my wrists free just before the fabric locked his hands in place.

“What the fuck?!” Jet screamed, his eyes bulging out of his head. He lurched toward me, but the straps had also bound his legs together. He fell forward, and I lurched out of the way. His head, brushed my shoulders and impacted a shelf. I glanced at him waiting for him to free himself and climb back to his feet, but he just squirmed around on the ground.

His friends were staring at me eyes still wide. I half expected them to retaliate, but none of them moved. I looked down at Jet one final time, bit my lip and walked back up to the counter. “H-how much do I owe you?”

The attendant eyeballed me, turned back to the register and pecked the keys bringing up my total. I slapped the last of my cash down on the counter and slipped out the door. I didn’t bother waiting for the change, it was only a few dollars and getting out of there as fast as possible seemed the wiser course of action.

If someone took it into their heads to retaliate or call the police, I could find myself in a lot more trouble and while I had discovered a new defensive aspect to my ability. If I tried it again, something told me I’d be walking out of the gas station naked or damn close to it.