On the eve of the event, Susan Wells, even though it was summer, slid her hands into her gray gloves before grabbing hold of the handrail at the top of the stairs. Dr. Young dug his hands deep into his white lab coat. “Susan, remember it’s important that you always wear your gloves. Don’t go out without them. They will prevent. . .”
“I know Doc,” she interrupted as she turned away from him. “I’ll wear the gloves.”
Sliding her sunglasses on she bounced down the steps with her auburn hair trailing behind her. On the sidewalk she stopped just long enough to grab one last look at the hospital, waved to Dr. Young, then walked away as a new woman as if she had just been born.
Strolling down the street she tried to forget that she had been a hospital patient. Stopping at a flower shop, she selected a bouquet of summer flowers out of a sidewalk stand ushering in foggy memories of summer days at her grandparent’s home in the country. Placing the flowers back in the container she wished that she could get her memory back just as easily. Her hospitalization had been unmemorable and yet remarkable. Feeling the warmth of the sunshine on her face she felt alive for the first time. It was as if she had been asleep for years and now she was awake even though she had no memory of being brought to the hospital, or of being hit by the car. But her last few weeks of recovery were remarkable. Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk she rubbed her hands together staring at her gray gloves.
The Kenworth cab pulled into the area behind the derelict warehouse. He backed it up, dodging crater sized potholes, between the three men who guided it to the waiting trailer. Armed with a screw driver, one man changed the tags on the trailer while another removed the red ‘chemical’ placards leaving the area blank. The driver jumped out of the cab, hooked up the air hoses before walking around the rig inspecting the tires strength with a rap by the tire iron. At the rear of the trailer the men congregated. One man, dressed in black fatigues inspected the lock that secured the doors. The driver pulled his work gloves off and wiped his forehead with them.
“Put your gloves back on. Never take them off. Do you understand!” He led the driver back to the cab.
Another man slipped under the trailer. Squatting he checked the brake lines and mumbled while he rubbed the belly of the box trailer for good luck. Climbing back out from under the trailer he nodded to the leader then joined the other man behind the trailer. With his tasks complete, he took his gloves off, dug them deep in his back pocket, lowered his black ball cap down to the rim of his sunglasses then they walked over to the waiting black windowless vans.
Heading back to the cab, the man in the black overalls said to the driver, “You shouldn’t have any problems with the truck.”
The driver nodded. It was a weak nod, but a nod none-the-less.
“The rig is sound,” he said as he pointed to the cab while the driver stood by the door. The driver looked back at the trailer. There was nothing unique about it. ‘HAMBURG SHIPPING’ was stenciled in orange lettering on its side. It resembled hundreds of shipping trailers that travel the highways through Pennsylvania.
The man in black overalls pointed to the trailer. “The goods are masked well.” Another weak nod was made by the driver.
“Lead plates are arranged like shipping creates. They surround the material. They’ve masked it all. And all you have to do is drive.” The driver bit his lips and gave a slight nod. “Don’t do anything dumb - don’t get stopped for speeding. You have plenty of time.”
The driver nodded, reached for the grab bars and began to climb into the blue cab when the man in black overalls yelled, “Just deliver it to the final destination.”
The driver, also dressed in black overalls, started the Kenworth. It roared to life. He guided it out from behind the deserted warehouse, through the abandoned parking lot and onto the street heading for the interstate as the morning sun broke through the clouds.
Born in the summer of her twenty-second year, Susan Wells is now fully alive. She doesn’t remember dying in the hospital. But she does remember the doctors talking to her. And she still has the scars to remind her of the surgeries and the burn marks on her chest from the defibrillator shocking her back to life. Now she has a new life where she is forced to wear gloves.
Cutting across town, she made her way through the city park, across a deserted rail line before entering a deserted parking lot behind an abandoned warehouse where she found a pair of discarded gloves. Bending down she noticed that they were brand new. In fact they were in better shape than the ones the hospital gave her. The gloves were black. They looked like baseball batting gloves with a thin velcro strap. Looking around to be sure no one was watching, she took her gloves off, stuck them in her jeans pocket and tried on the jettisoned gloves. They fit perfectly. Tightening the straps she felt the now almost familiar electric shock race through her hands and arm. In the past few weeks it would be followed by a graphic vision . It seemed, after she was shocked back to life, every time she touches something, she gets an electric shock and a graphic vision of something associated with what ever she happened to be touching. In the hospital she touched the defibrillator and felt again the electric shock, then saw the doctors using it on her. Touching a cafeteria food tray she saw an elderly man take lunch to his wife every after the initial shock. Touching a bed rail she saw a woman attached to multiple IVs as she lay dying from breast cancer. The gray gloves have served as an insulator against the shock and vision. Putting on the black gloves she again felt the shock. Then she saw men dressed in black fatigues loading a bomb in the back of semi. The vision ended abruptly when she tossed the gloves on the pavement. Her previous experiences were all of past events. This time it was different. Touching the black gloves gave her a vision of an incomplete event. Placing her gray gloves back on, she sat on the pavement staring at the black gloves with the vision of the truck bomb still vivid in her memory.
The Kenworth headed west on narrow back roads evading truck weigh stations and inspection sites. An hour later the driver turned the rig onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Harrisburg heading towards Pittsburgh.
She sat there on the damp pavement staring at those black gloves. When she got up she didn’t know how long she had been sitting there. It could have been a minute or an hour. But when she got up her legs were stiff and aching and she rose with a plan. Picking up the black gloves she made her way back to the hospital she swore she would never return to and ran up the same steps she had bounced down just hours ago. Inside the main lobby she squeezed past visitors and headed for the elevator bank. Punching 13 the elevator became a local was not a express as it seemed to stop at every floor, creeping it’s way to the top of the hospital to the department of neurology. When the elevator doors finally opened on the 13th floor, Susan bolted from the lift. She passed several offices before she pushed the door open that had the name Dr. Young painted on the feathered glass. She rushed past the receptionist who stumbled getting up and was unable to stop her before Susan barged in to Dr. Young’s office.
He sprang from his seat. Susan pulled the black gloves from her pocket and threw them on his desk. They came to rest in front of Dr. Young. Dismissing his receptionist, Dr. Young walked around his desk.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Dr. Young questioned as he picked up the black gloves. “I picked up these gloves,” Susan said, pointing to the gloves in Dr. Young’s hands I put them on and I got a strange shock. The electric shock ran through my hands and arm.”
“Yes, I told you that would happen. But I don’t know why you get a shock from touching things.”
“That’s not the point,” she argued. “I saw something. Something terrible.”
Leaning against his desk he tried to take in what she was saying.
“When I touch these gloves, I got a shock. And then I saw . . .” She paused. Looking over at the gloves, “I saw an attack, a bombing. We have to warn someone - get them to stop!”
“Get who to stop?”
“The people in the truck who have the bomb.” Her voice rose in power and volume.
He just stared at her in disbelief.
“I saw a tractor trailer. It had a bomb in the back. I saw the driver, dressed in black coveralls. He’s driving it on the PA Turnpike.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m telling you, I saw it. I saw it in my mind. We have to stop the truck.”
The Kenworth, with the bomb trailing behind it, made its way across the state never veering from the slow lane. Cruising two miles an hour below the speed limit it creeped its way over mountains heading for the tunnels. In the middle of the tunnel he planned to stall the truck, climb down from the cab and deliberately walk away. In the clearing, he would punch the six digit code on the burner phone and watch the hillside crash down on the tunnel, effectively cutting the state in half creating terror and confusion throughout the country. It was a perfect plan. An unstoppable plan.
“Dr. Young,” Susan argued. “Something happened to me. When I was shocked back to life something changed inside me. I see things. Today I saw a terrible thing. You are the only one who understands what happened to me. My words are empty. But people will listen to you. You have to stop them.”
“I don’t know how or why. But what I do know is that something strange happened to you.” He shook his head, “But predicting the future?” He shook his head again. “You can’t. You just get those mild shocks. Telling the future - it’s impossible!”
“But it is possible,” she yelled. “I have to tell someone!”
“No you don’t.” He looked over at her. “Look, just go home. Wear those gray gloves we gave you so that you won’t get those electric shocks when you touch something. It will eventually wear off.”
He moved back to his desk. Picking up the phone he called his receptionist. She rushed in to rescue him from Susan.
“Look Susan, I know it’s strange - but these eclectic shocks will wear off. Wear the gloves until they do.”
“But I’m telling you - I see things.”
“Thanks for coming in Susan, but now you have to leave.”
The receptionist held open the door, leading Susan out.
Susan ached. Tired she leaned against the wall waiting for the slow elevator to reach the 13th floor to take her back down to the lobby.
In the lobby, the TV monitors switched from “Happy Days” reruns to news bulletins. The TV news anchor began reporting on an explosion that occurred in a tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. “Multiple cars were trapped inside. The tunnel has caved in bringing the hillside down.” CNN reported confusion and fear. An act terrorism rippled across the country. One of the talking heads behind his desk asked, “Could something have been done to prevent this attack?”