A Means to an End

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The glow from the watch faded from its active state to standby making the room get awfully dark.  The fact that the watch never reactivated said a lot about its wearer.  Justice tried to find some sort of guilt or remorse, but the anger that was fueled by his powers kept all of that at bay.

“Now do you see?” he asked.

“I see a little boy who got mad that his favorite toy is broken.”  The new voice came from a patch of darkness that was somehow darker.  “So he decided to have a temper tantrum.”

“Tread careful old man,” Justice said.

“Or what?” the shadow said.  Justice felt his head explode in pain as something large, hard, and moving faster than it should smashed into his left ear.  The transfer of momentum carried him off his feet, tossing the body that was attached to that head into the chair and onto the floor.  “Remember I made you, boy.”

Justice shook his head and immediately regretted the decision.  Still he managed to push himself to a sitting position.  “You made me?  I’m here because you screwed around once too many times and got lucky.  It doesn’t matter now.  I’m better than you.  The amount of Juice I can take would kill you.”

The shadow got darker, but this time Justice was waiting for it.  He lit himself up with a kick from his reserves burning through a lot of the Juice he had remaining.  The light chased away all the shadows revealing a hunched over bald man leaning on his four-footed cane.  The old man flinched away from that light and fell backward hard.  Justice maintained the light but focused it more on the shriveled-up figure in front of him leaving the rest of the room in shadow except for the weak light from the watch behind him. 

Justice slowly stood, never shifting his eyes or that spotlight.  “See, your little boy is now the man.”  He launched a kick into the man’s midsection.  The crack of bone snapping could be heard.  The old man howled and tried to curl himself up in a ball. 

“Any last words before I end our relationship?”

Justice felt his back explode in pain.  Soon his front joined in the chorus as he slammed face first into the far wall.  The room plunged into darkness except for the watch’s bright glow highlighting the old man in odd relief.

“I’ll take him,” the owner of the watch said.  “Puck ass kids like him deserve to have his timeclock punched.”  The watch face flared green, engulfing the old man, and slowly the wrinkles melted and the no longer old man stretched, seemingly popping his broken ribs back in place in the process.  “That’s your payment.  Now get out of my sight before I decide your time is up as well.”

“I feel amazing,” the formerly old man said.

“Don’t get too used to it.  Time waits for no one, well except for me.”  The watch faded back to standby. 

“Time runs out for everybody,” the old man said.

“What did you say?”

Before the formerly old man could respond, Justice lit up brighter than the noon day sun.  He sent a piercing beam of light into the body attached to the watch.  The watch flared to life, but its light was soon overwhelmed.  The watch once again faded to standby as the body attached to it sunk to their knees. 

The formerly old man reached a hand out and engulfed the watch in darkness.  “Time’s up, Buttercup.”

The owner of the watch screamed as the watch and the body attached to it faded into nothingness.

“Time’s up, Buttercup?” Justice said before he sagged to one knee.  He pulled out a small can, opened it, and poured the contents down his throat.  He crushed the can and flicked it onto the floor. 

The formerly old man stared at the can.  “What?” Justice asked.  Nothing broke the silence until Justice sighed and picked it up, placing it in the trash.   

The formerly old man smiled.  “I thought it was appropriate.” 

 “Appropriate?  You are one corny old bastard.”

“Who are you calling old?”  The formerly old man stood up straight, and now he towered over Justice.

Justice didn’t rise to the bait.  “So you happy how it turned out?”

The formerly old man ran his hands through his thick red curly hair.  The smile on his face said it all.  “Yeah, but that whole kicking in my lungs could have been avoided.”

“You said make it convincing.”

“You still broke my ribcage.  In multiple spots.  I was spitting up blood.”

Justice laughed.  “You said he would turn back your clock.  That was the deal for you delivering me, so I figured that also meant any damage I did to you would be rolled back as well.” 

The formerly old man crossed his arms in front of him.  “You went off script.”

Justice waived that comment off.  “Besides, I had to have a reason to keep up my sheath to help mitigate some of that last attack.  Damn that thing could hit.”

“That’s what you get when you can manipulate time.  Slow things down, reverse them, “

Justice finished it for him.  “Or speed them up.  Damn physics.  I hate momentum!”

The formerly old man patted Justice on the back.  “You’re learning.  There is hope for you yet, but for now let’s go home.”

“Sounds good.  What’s for dinner?”

“Your mom is making fried chicken.”

“She is going to freak out when she sees you,” Justice said.

“I know.  You might want to go out for a while after dinner.  I’ve got some things I need to do that I haven’t been able to for a looooooong time.”

“Dad!”

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