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Copyright © 2019 Annalisa Conti

Cover art by Valeria Frustaci, 2019

All rights reserved.

Published by AEC Publishing LLC in New York

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To Emmanuel, who always believes in me.


Winter makes me lazy. And sleepy.

It shouldn’t even be this cold in mid-March, but this winter started bad. That horrible snow storm on Christmas night cut the electricity off for days in all downtown Manhattan. Then it got even worse, with people spending their days freezing their asses and crime spiking up. New York City’s population of jerks is not remotely able to contain itself: it’s easier to assault, rob, kidnap, when there are not many people walking around, and cops do their best to survive yet another snowfall.

I shiver in my coat as I leave the office and I walk south-west to Grand Central Station. I turn up the collar to fight the wind, without much success. I reach the subway and for once I don’t take the 6 uptown to my apartment in East Harlem, instead venturing on the 7 and then the C uptown to Hell’s Kitchen: Detective Zach has a late shift on this Wednesday night, and he has invited me over to his place for an early dinner. Who am I to say no to a free meal and a medium-high quality bang?


While I’m walking up the stairs at the 50th Street subway stop, my phone finds its network connection again, and it vibrates with texts. Lately electronics around me started to not always work properly. Jay says it must be another consequence of my constantly evolving powers: my super strength might have influenced my body’s magnetic field, in a way that might have an impact on other magnetic fields around me. Honestly, it almost makes sense. The first text is from Shaila, a sweet reminder of the yoga session I promised to take with her tomorrow morning. The second text is from Matt: how comes you always text me when I’m about to see someone else? God knows.

“Hey Guinn, my shifts just changed and now I’m free on Saturday night! Dinner?”

I sigh. We have been dating on and off for months now, and I don’t know what to do with Matt. I stick my phone back in my pocket, and my frozen hands with it. He tried to have the talk so many times that I lost track of them, and after each time I disappeared for a couple of weeks, to highlight the fact that no, I don’t want to be exclusive. And no, don’t call me your girlfriend, because I am definitely not. I like you and you’re hot, and you’re my connection with… well, I still don’t know with whom exactly: the cause of all my problems? A person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? A master of evil? And no, please don’t ask me to move in with you, because I won’t.

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