Prologue | Altered State of Affairs


Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.
― Gerard Way 

Dawn is breaking; it’s a beautiful morn. The sky, a bright azure, the air crisp—allowing nature’s dew to rejuvenate the thirsty foliage and elicit the therapeutic jasmine aroma. How do I know that condensation increases as the dew point decreases? Well, after taking a John Carroll University physics class with Professor Sister Shelley, I became an expert on condensation, but that’s a whole other story. 

Avra and I hike up the mountain to the nearest ledge. It offers a 180° vista of the magnificent plain below—the River L’Ariège meandering through the foothills of the great Pyrenees, proudly reflecting the steadfast rising sun. You can see forever.  

Off to the side are the remarkable remnants of an ancient cave, fortified over the years with an array of huge multi-colored stones and seemingly decorated by our creator with intermingling verdant grass, moss, and ferns. 

What a glorious day this will be with the mist climbing from the valley and the sunshine beginning to bathe the lush vegetation with its warmth. Embracing our mystical surroundings, however, would be pathetically futile as we are on a critical mission to save the world from a horrifying weapon of mass destruction. Time is running out. There are only a few more grains of sand left in the hourglass. 

Girls don’t understand that peeing is an art form but relieving myself in this majestic setting was spiritual. What a perfect place to piss. Trying to rush just makes it more difficult.  

“Hurry the fuck up,” Avra orders. 

Finally, shaking off the last drop, I hear footsteps. I turn to see two frickin’ terrorists aiming AK-47s at Avra’s head. 

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