—A N G E L—
"Twenty-six miles across the sea,
"Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me,
"Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me, Santa Catalina, the island of romance,
"Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me, Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, romance romance."
I jerked as my lungs filled with air. My eyes snapped open. I squinted at the bright lights on the ceiling.
I sat up and took in the unfamiliar room. There was a vastness of metal. The walls groaned in an unsettling way. A song was playing, and in between lyrics, an eerie whine echoed across the room.
Where the hell am I? What happened?
I turned to the side and my legs dangled off the side of the table. My mouth opened to call for someone, but the sound died in my throat.
The room was dimly lit and full of new smells. I caught sight of a window.
I started walking towards it. I felt very aware of myself as I did so. I noticed every time my shoulders rose and fell when I breathed.
I felt the coldness of the room, pressing against my arms, caressing my fingers. I noted each step I took towards the glass.
"It seems so distant, twenty-six miles away, restin' in the water serene.
"It seems so distant, twenty-six miles away, restin' in the water serene. I'd work for anyone, even the Navy, who would float me to my island dream."
I stopped in front of my reflection. I would've completely ignored my doppelganger if I hadn't noticed the glare of light coming from my head. I lifted up a strand of hair.
It was glowing a pale yellow. That didn't seem right.
I focused on the other view before me. It wasn't the sky I remembered. For some reason, I thought of a completely black sky: lifeless, like a void.
This one was different, sort of: splashes of bright yellows and greens. There was a murkiness to it, almost a texture. There was something about the green. Something on the tip of my tongue—
"Hey, Sleeping Beauty."
I looked away from the glass. Someone leaned casually against the metal walls. He was blond. That reminded me of someone. A smile. Sunshine?
"You've been out for two days. I'm Peter, Peter Quill. Some people call me Star-Lord—"
"Who am I?"
The man pulled himself up off the wall and closed the distance between us. He wore a crimson jacket. Crimson. Red hair? Witches?
"You're on my ship, it's called the Milano—"
"That's not what I asked." I said. My voice sounded hoarse. I met his gaze head on. "Who am I?"
—N E W Y O R K, 2 0 1 5—
"Hi. The name's Pool, Dead. I'm your new neighbor, the sexy guy always dressed in red. Kinda like Santa Claus except the presents are questionable compliments and detached body limbs."
I blinked as I stared at the man in the red and black suit, holding up a homemade mac and cheese casserole.
"Uh...hi. I'm Evangeline. Please feel free to shorten that mouthful whatever way you like."
"Well we all know that, unless the readers have more cocoa than I do," The man in red insisted.
"I have no idea what that means, but I find it hard to believe." I said.
The corridor of the apartment complex was a lifeless gray, full of moist air and stains I didn't want to identify. I opened the door a little wider, "Would you like to come in?"
"Yeah, let's see what dark secrets you're hiding, Gelliebean—holy shit casseroles." My neighbor whistled as he looked around the small apartment. Unlike the hallway, it was brightly painted.
I had started tending to some flower pots around the window. The smell of cupcakes lingered from the ingredients scattered across the kitchen island.
Across the room, a small section of photos hung on the walls.
"Toto, we're not in shit-town anymore. Looks like Disney World puked itself all over the room," My neighbor whistled, wandering around the tiny space. He turned back to look at me.
"So who are you?"
My eyebrow rose as I leaned on the kitchen island. "Says the person wearing a mask?"
"Trust me. That's my way of being neighborly. Let's talk about you," He sat on the long cushioned bench near the windowsill, kicking his legs up as he lounged.
"Why did somebody pass up living in Avengers Utopia with Captain America's godly ass for this?"
"How'd you know I had ties with the Avengers?"
" 'Cause they're on the book cover. And they're tagged in the story—aww, you have tons of cute photos of them over here. Should've opened with that. Bad Deadpool."
I walked over to the hall of frames with him, looking over all the pictures. "I like my independence, so I wanted my own place in case I needed somewhere to escape to. I still spend most nights over at the Compound, though. That's my aunt, Pepper..."
"And there's your big chunk of meat, Chris Hemsworth—I mean Thor." The man in red coughed and seemed annoyed with himself.
"He's not mine," I said. The comment made me more uncomfortable than it should have.
"Right, we're not to that part in the timeline yet. Wow, these flashbacks are slow." My visitor lost interest in the photos and started looking around again.
"That's right, it's all normal, all ordinary—EVERYBODY HOLD ON A DAMN SECOND." Deadpool shot up with a gun in his hands that I kept by my dresser.
My eyes narrowed. "I live next to you, of course I have a gun."
My neighbor shrugged. "Okay, that makes sense."
"...And I'm from Texas."