Written and Illustrated by David Chernobylsky
A shrilling pain shot through his system whole. His knee grappled with a flaming sensation that was almost unbearable. Almost.
Had this been an ordinary man, the pain of Gigawatt-volt bullet wound to the knee would have killed him instantly. But this was no ordinary man. This was the Atomic Spider. Radioactive fission reactions coursed through his veins. The neon glow from his eyes was starting to crackle for the first time now.
He squeezed his knee with all his might. The physical pain was blinding. But he could still make out his old friend standing over him, holding the Gigawatt gun in his hand. Its tip was still fuming and fizzing from the trigger being pulled only moments ago.
This was his best friend, since childhood. Together they had fought crime and villains of vicious caliber. They had both been inducted into the International Heroes League together. They were brothers in arms—the best of friends with the most amazing of abilities.
While Atomic Spider was born with a gene that encoded an unstable and radioactive protein, granting him immeasurable power over the matter around him, his friend had none. Instead, he carried an elemental weapon feared by heroes and villains alike: the Gigawatt gun. Hence, he appropriately took the moniker and mantle of Gigawatt. The Gigawatt gun, itself, used bullets made of pure electrons. One wound with a Gigawatt bullet would be enough to rip a normal human to molecular shreds.
But Atomic Spider was no ordinary man. True, he had extraordinary power but it was his heart that was his greatest gift. He was a surgeon at his local hospital, focusing his efforts on the children born with Tay Sachs disease. He represented the upstanding citizen of his home country, and was treat as such.
But his was before.
His friends and co-workers used to revile at his courageous work, both in the field of medicine and in his superhero endeavors.
But the Modern Laws changed all of that. Under these new laws, any person who was a Wej or had even a drop of Wejish blood was declared an enemy of the state. No matter a person’s standing, position or income in society—any Wej was to be taken into custody or hunted down for non-compliance. And, it just so happened that Atomic Spider was a Wej.
“You shot me!” yelled Atomic Spider in full agony.
“After everything we’ve been through!” Gigawatt loaded up the Gigawatt gun once more, in silence. He remembered how Atomic Spider had helped him build it years ago. It started to hum loudly with a hellish zapping noise.
“I am a human being and a citizen just like you!” Atomic Spider’s hands shook violently as he tried to reach out to his old friend.
Gigawatt lowered the Gigawatt gun to Atomic Spider’s head, pressing the tip of the barrel right into his forehead.
“If you really were…” Gigawatt’s voice was cool, without a hint of remorse, “…then you would understand.”
Atomic Spider closed his eyes shut for the last time. Gigawatt pulled the trigger. A silent haze of blinding blue and neon enveloped them both until only oblivion remained.