Mister Sunshine by Col Aalberry

Mister Sunshine
Col Aalberry

The rain pours down, cascading off the gargoyle’s head, flowing past stone claws, dropping in streams. A hand reaches up, grabs the gargoyle confidently, holds tightly. The hand only has three long fingers.

A thin body pulls itself upwards over the side of the roof, lies panting.

I have never met a gargoyle I didn’t love. It’s the hunger that goes into intentionally creating something that ugly, I think. I can understand that kind of passion.

The intruder rests for a moment, looks over the side of the building at the engorged river below. The gargoyle is over a hundred stories above the ground. It was a long climb; the intruder is tired. He doesn’t rest for long. He pulls open a hatch in the roof, drops through, disappears.

A little about me? Locked doors are my friends, rain my accomplice, darkness my ally. My sister was the first to call me Mister Sunshine, when we were young. The name stuck.

The thin intruder crawls through air vents too narrow for a man, slides through grills that should be locked, opens grates welded shut. It is a silent invasion, an impossible incursion into the building’s secret places.

I like long walks on the beach at dusk, old Gothic-style houses, art museums. I don’t like chili.

He opens a panel beneath him, drops down into the room below. He looks like a scarecrow’s ghost, impossibly slim, tall, ragged. The room is alarmed in a hundred different ways; his entry goes unnoticed. He walks in bursts of quick movement that are inelegant, cautious, sudden. He sees a camera filming him, turns his back on it with disdain. Security equipment worth millions of dollars watches without concern as he opens the door they guard, slips through.

My picture doesn’t resolve on camera. I don’t know why.

There are more cameras, alarms, locked doors. These are nothing to him, sentinels blind to his passing.

My skills suit unsavory tasks. I work for the Company. You may think you know who I am talking about. You are wrong.

He is a virus in the building’s soul, an impossible invasion. He walks down a long corridor without being noticed. A door opens, a security guard walks out. The thin man pushes himself against a wall, watches the guard walks past, close enough to touch. The guard is lucky in his ignorance.

My favorite artist is Michelangelo, my favorite color is dark green.

The intruder enters a room filled with computers. For a second the sight overwhelms him. He spends a minute deciding which computer is his target. He picks one near the center of the room, walks over, inserts a small chip into its side.

I hate computers; my love is for marble, not silicon.

The computers hum as they argue. He waits patiently for the electronic war to end. The computer beeps twice; it is done. He pulls the chip out, pockets it, makes for the door. As he turns the computer lights flash red, a malevolent eye that notes his exit. These alarms are silent; the guards wait for him in the corridor. They open fire without warning, the bullets falling towards him like a cloudburst of steel droplets.

I am thin, tall, athletic, pessimistic. I like greyhounds. My sister says I look like one.

The guards hit nothing except the walls behind their target. Then he is amongst them, his long arms flailing in wild strokes that send even the bulkiest guard flying. The intruder pulls open a door at random, enters into what must be a meeting room. There is a large window overlooking the river. He eyes the flowing river below him warily. The water is deep, black, fast.

More guards burst into the room. This time some of the bullets find him, driving him against the window as bullets explode through it. He slumps down, seemingly dead. There is no blood, no movement, no resistance. The guards stop shooting. A man in a silver suit pushes past them, swears loudly, pulls out a gun. This weapon is different; there is real danger here. The scarecrow man moves his head so quickly that the first bullet misses. Then he is up, rising, ducking under the second, taking the third in his chest with a sound of metal tearing through wood.

He reaches a decision, throws himself at the damaged window, crashes through it. This is not the exit he had hoped for. He falls with the glass around him as bullets bite at his feet.

Some people in my position rely on capes or hooks, ingenious devices to save the day.

The glass brushes against him as they fall together towards the water.

There may be some who can fly, for whom falling holds no fears.

He is weightless for an eternity, the darkness around him lit by his reflections on the glass, the rain whispering secrets in his ears.

There are those whose salvation would be rescue by trusted team, allied souls waiting in preparation.

The dark waters fly towards him. He falls towards them, tumbling in the air.

I am no like such people. I am not blessed like they are.

He readies himself for the flood of pain, the cold around his body, the burn of water in his lungs.

All I can do is jump, hoping to hit the water.

The river steals him from the sky with barely a splash, swallowing his body with with shower of crystal escorts. The river will be searched.

Not even the glass will be found.


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