My name is Blink and I’m the fastest thing in the universe. At least, I used to be. Officially I’m the third fastest speedster on Earth behind Silver Fusion and Photoelectric Effective because no one knows my true speed. I never liked being number one, hate the attention. But I knew the truth. No one could outrun me and once I learned how to control my own inertia and eliminate friction (stopping on a dime, reaching max speed in an instant. You know, advanced speedster tricks) it was like I was in a completely different world from everyone else. People, particles, the forces of nature, they might as well be standing still. Your perspective on things really changes the first time you see a lightning strike at super speed.
Then I met him.
Seattle, Washington. It was a standard hostage situation. Somehow a gang of masked creeps with automatic weapons had taken up several floors of a half finished skyscraper with a dozen or so hostages in tow. I don’t remember what their deal was. They were after money or something. Seattle PD was already on site as was their surveillance drone. This was back in 2012 so they only had the one at the time. SWAT was on route. I was in the neighborhood so I decided to drop by. My team, the Nationals, have a ‘don’t step in without being asked’ policy so I watched the proceedings from a nearby rooftop. Things were at a stalemate and the situation hadn’t changed for a good hour, so I decided to take a closer look.
I wasn’t worried about being seen because I can move faster than the eye can track and when I’m hitting my best numbers, cameras can’t even detect me. A ghost between frames, that’s what I am. There were ten guys, each of them were decked out to the gills with guns and grenades. They wore fine suits and Japanese Oni masks. I came up with a couple different ways of resolving the situation, from the most lethal (pull out the pins on all their grenades) to the least (disarm them and tie them up with construction cable) but first and foremost the hostages needed to be saved. That’s when it happened. I noticed one of the goons watching me as I explored the thirtieth floor.
Now, every speedster knows that things get weird once you break certain barriers. The human brain isn’t built for speeds that insane, no matter how powered or kitted out you are. Your eyes play tricks on you. Your mind tries to fill in the blanks of a world at the very limits of physical perception. Sometimes it’s afterimages or sounds when that shouldn’t be possible, or sometimes even holes or spaces between solid matter that are only there for a moment, and only from the corner of your eye. But this wasn’t that. His body was frozen like the others, but I saw this guy’s eyes moving with me as I walked though I pretended not to notice at first. I wondered if he was a speedster too or if he just had some ultra fast perception reflexes.
To get the jump on him, I decided to walk out of sight, then quadruple my speed and dash behind him. Even if he was a speedster, he wouldn’t see it coming. But when I rounded the stairs I found that he was gone. I had to do a double and triple take to make sure I hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing but no. Where once was three, there was now two. He was a speedster, or a hyper perceptive warper, or an illusionist of some kind. That’s when it all came apart. Whoever he was, he knew the jig was up. I thought he’d flown the coop, but instead he started setting up death traps and kill scenarios everywhere.
On the twenty ninth floor, three rifles and two handguns floated midair, freshly fired, bullets flying towards skulls and chests like killer snails. It was easy for me to grab the bullets, absorb their inertia and place them on the ground. The grenade pins (my idea, hello) were harder to spot, but I was going fast enough that I could replace them long before they went off. The bricks, nails and steel rods were more subtle. At the speed I was moving they appeared stationary, but they had actually been pushed into motion that, at human perceptions, were missiles of death traveling faster than sound. I was lucky to catch their movement at all.
What was frustrating me was that I wasn’t seeing this guy anywhere. I hadn’t considered the possibility that he was faster. I couldn’t. Not yet. I thought maybe he’d turned himself invisible or something novel like that, but then I saw him, setting up a killer sequence where the mag clips in all the rifles his teammates had slung on their shoulders were super heated so that the bullets inside were exploding in all directions. He saw me clear the side of the building and with a mischievous grin he ran off to another floor. He wasn’t moving as fast as me, so I thought I still had the jump on him. Oh how wrong I was. I removed the clips from the rifles and gave chase.
When I caught up to him, I saw that he’d placed a cement layer on the floor above a group of hostages. I didn’t register it at the time, but the cement layer had come from the ground floor. No one lays cement inside skyscrapers. That meant in the time I traveled up a floor, he had gone down thirty flights and back with it. I decided enough was enough and boosted into my top speed, appearing right behind him as he finished placing the cement layer just so. At that pace I was moving faster than any living thing on the planet. To my utter shock, he turned to look at me just as I was about to cuff him.
“Nnnnniiiiiiiiiicccccceeeeeee sssssspppppppeeeeeeddddddd,” he said. I went to slap some restraints on him and he stepped out of my reach. “Ooooohhhh wooow yoouu arre moving really fast aren’t you?” I went to cuff him again but he gingerly stepped out of my reach. “I know you. You’re blink. You’re not supposed to be this fast.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Sorry, buddy. That’s the world’s best kept secret.”
“I love secrets,” I said, trying to have some kind of battle of wits, but I could see in his eyes he was running mental circles around me, planning a dozen steps ahead. “Why work with these low grade criminals? You’re obviously of a different caliber than them.”
“Why do anything? Because it’s fun,” he replied. I went for him again. I was only just then beginning to realize that this man was much much faster than I was, though I hadn’t quite accepted it yet. He had a big grin on his face. He was having so much fun.
“You can’t outrun me. Sooner or later I’m gonna get bored. Then your ass is in a prison cell faster than you can say…” I tripped just then. He had somehow tied my shoelaces together without my seeing, which was weird considering I don’t wear laced shoes.
“If you think you’re that fast, how about a race? That’s how speedsters solve everything, right?” He pointed to a mountain in the far distance. “That there is Mt. Rainier. It’s about sixty miles away, give or take. You beat me there, I let you take me in. Deal?”
“Okay.” We lined up next to each other and got in runner’s stances. “On three?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said. “One.”
I exploded forward, pushing my body to its very limit. I was a running man in a frozen world, so high in energy and intensity that even grazing someone with an arm or a foot would have blown them up. I was down to street level in slivers of an instant, my opponent right behind me. It was possible that this whole thing was a ploy, so I kept my eye on him the whole time to make sure he didn’t bolt midway through, but I wasn’t holding back either. I was running as fast as I’d ever ran in my life. And he was keeping pace. Worse, I soon realized he was toying with me. I thought he was behind me most of the way through the city, and yet I kept seeing him pop up in third story apartment windows, sitting in coffee shops reading the paper, standing by a bus stop on the phone. It couldn’t have been. It was impossible. And yet…
I reached I-5 going southbound. I saw him sitting in the passenger seats of cars, riding backseat on motorcycles, fiddling with the controls of a bulldozer getting towed by a semi. I made it to the forest and he was already there. Pissing on trees, roasting marshmallows at campsites, bird watching with binoculars he didn’t have before. I reached the summit of Mt. Rainier and there he was waiting for me, eating a pizza and sun bathing on a beach chair.
“Golly you’re fast,” he said, mocking me.
“Who are you?” I screamed. Through his mask I could see his deep blue eyes. He chuckled.
“I’m faster than you. That’s all you need to know.”
I ran to him in anger, with a furious roar I tried to tackle him, but he was long gone by the time I landed on his chair. I never saw him get up and run. He was there and then he wasn’t. I don’t know how fast one has to be to be faster than my eyes, but…
I’ve chased him ever since. Sometimes I catch his reflection on a passing bus. Sometimes I see those deep blue eyes while I’m running. Sometimes he’s a face in the crowd, there one instant, gone the next. An impossible being. Someone faster than fast.