by m. james moore

  Willard Davis enjoyed his stay at North Texas State Hospital. The employees were nice, despite his fits of... staring. He almost didn't want to leave. The awaiting taxi honked outside, where it would take him to his parents' house a short way through town.

  He shook hands of a few workers he'd been in contact throughout his sessions, and, small suitcase in hand, opened the door and began to walk the remaining 20 feet to the yellowish car in the circle drive.

  Pausing for a moment, he suddenly dropped his suitcase, spilling its contents all over the pavement. He stared up into the bright blue yonder, bellowed a call of freedom, and clenched his teeth and fists. His dark, combed hair blazed a firey orange, his pupils became silver cat-like slits, and from his back flung out a line of spike straight up his spine from underneath his hawaiian button-up shirt with a SHING! sound like switchblades. His teeth became jagged, his tongue very long and forked. A bright visible aura surrounded him and, as if being fired from a gun, shot straight up into the air. His speed increasing, he turned loose a banshee-like scream and...

  He kept walking to the taxi, illiciting no response from the cabbie's considerate "Howdy." His attention rose to reality as the local country radio station came back from commercial. The taxi had pulled out from the state hospital's gate as Willard seemed to rouse awake, despite his eyes being clearly open.

  He opened his coat, and pulled out a long-barrelled revolver, grasping the wrong end, and proceeded to pummel the plexiglas barrier between the driver and himself. Bashing a small hole large enough for the barrel to fit through, he gripped the firearm properly, pointed it at the driver, yelling orders.

  Sweating, the driver complied with the pistol wielder, driving the speeding taxi straight off a massive cliff, crunching against a protruding rock lower down, causing the taxi to flip end over end rapidly, before plummetting into the bottom as a bright orane fireball of heat and mangled metal. From within the billowing carpet of scorching inferno, out emerged Willard, suitcase in hand.

  His mother had opened the car door when it pulled up, and greeted him with a motherly smooch on the cheek and a big hig. Williard tipped his hat to the driver, who smiled and waved, pulling away after the door was closed back.

  His father delivred a hearty-strong handshake, and walked him into the house. After some initial chat, there was mention of a surprise in the large backyard.

  Sliding the glass door open, he marveled at the massive structure. It wasn't but perhaps 15 feet wide, but the roof must have been at least a thousand miles past the stratosphere, probably scraping at the moon. The elevator was standing wide open, ready for him, and he entered, pressing the only button, labeled "ZING!"

  The doors closed, and, collapsing into the fetal position from the upward force, Willard was fired from a huge cannon whose trajectory must have been aimed at Andromeda.

  He strode around the small apartment they'd built for him, glad to see it. He hugged his parents in delight, and the told him how much they loved him, leaving him to explore it.

  It wasn't altogether different from his state hospital room, and, in fact, looked almost identical to it. The hospital workers waved a friendly gesture to him as the closed the door to his padded cell, the click of the lock rousing him awake again.