Superhero Twist

You receive a mysterious call from a friend who asks you to meet him or her at a secret location. When you arrive, that friend reveals that he or she is, by night, a superhero. What’s more, the friend needs your help in solving the latest case. Only problem is you can’t help. When your friend asks why you reveal the big twist—you’re the villain.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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91 thoughts on “Superhero Twist

  1. DOMI

    I knew he would find out but not like this…

    On the way to school, I felt a sense of bliss. I was where I wanted to be in life and that was rare for a senior in high school. To know what you plan to do with your life is the greatest feeling ever. The universe might be frowning but I finally felt important.
    The day went by normally without interruption except my best friend, Adrian, wasn’t here and wouldn’t answer his phone. After a quick stop to grab my things I found a note in my locker:
    Meet me at my basement.
    -A
    Adrian had a flair for the dramatic so it didn’t surprise me, in fact, he’s done this before for my 15th birthday when he planned a surprise party. It was one of those best friend moments you never forget.
    I arrived at his house around 4ish and headed down to the basement. Adrian lived on the eastern side of town so his parents were loaded. His house was like a mansion compared to mine, but we never had a problem with our differences that’s what I liked most about our relationship.
    I found the basement and opened the door…

    My hands couldn’t stop shaking, today was the day. Today was the day that Oliver would finally know the truth about me. I hadn’t told anyone not even my parents about what I am, I’m still a little shocked about it. But I trusted him and if anyone deserved to know it was him. Oliver would finally know that I am a superhero.
    And honestly, I needed help with this new case. A group of mercenaries was causing havoc and their leader was leaving clues that made no sense. A lollipop wrapped in a question mark, a spray can painted blue, and a deck of cards full of kings. I analyzed everything but just couldn’t figure it out.
    The door creaked open…

    Oliver entered the room and found Adrian standing in front of a lollipop, spray can, and cards. Adrian held his suit in his arms and smiled: “I’m sorta a superhero.”
    Oliver stood there processing what he was seeing while Adrian stood there forcing a smile, worrying about him. “I…I Adrian you can’t.”
    Not exactly the response he expected, “What do you mean? It’s ok, I was trained and maybe I can train you and you could help me.”
    “Adrian…” Oliver sighed in distress, “It’s me… I’m your bad guy.” Adrian stood there trying to put it all together.
    “No-no why? You can’t be Oliver, it doesn’t make sense.” Adrian stepped back and sat down putting his head in his hands.
    “I’m sorry” Oliver walked away and left his house.

    While trying to sort things out their friendship slowly broke away revealing two enemies that would keep fighting until one backed down. This ongoing war would later be known as the Mr. King and Asteroid Incident that ended the day Mr. King killed Asteroid and then himself. A powerful friendship caused a horrible war that they could not take back and their bond caused a rift in the world that started a new age of apocalypse between heroes and villains.

  2. Donny

    Hey man, what’s up?
    Hey dude. What you up to?
    Just finishing up a project for school. Why’d you call?
    Well Donny, I need your help. It’s pretty important. Can you meet up?
    I think so. Let me ask Jess…She says it’s fine. Where do you want to meet up?
    I’ll text you the address. I need you there kind of quick.
    Alright man. What’s going on?
    I’ll tell you when you get there.
    Ok talk to you soon

    Hey I’m parking right now, but where the hell are you trying to meet? This place is sketch.
    Just come inside. There’s a grey door with stairs going up to it in the back. It’s open.
    This place is weird man. Alright see you inside.

    Hey man, what is this place?
    Well Donny, it’s uh…it’s kinda my hideout?
    …From Kim?
    No, haha, from anyone who knows who I am.
    You’re in a band. People know who you are. Plus you have a million friends.
    No, not like that. I need a place because, well, that’s why I needed you here.
    Uh, you ok man? You look a little sick. Also this is weird. Really weird.
    I know. Ok. Ugh, this is really hard, I haven’t told almost anyone this but, just, look in my bag.
    That’s…a pretty elaborate costume. You, like to dress up like Ranger?
    No, Donny. I am the Ranger.
    Oh.
    Ya, and I wouldn’t have brought you in to this but, I think you are only of the only people I can trust
    Jesus. Why tell me now?
    I…you…well, ok. I can trust you, and, you got all obsessed with the Scorcher…
    That name is dumb. That’s just media BS. You know the amount of planning that goes in to his-
    I know! I’m sorry, I know. And I know you know, which is why I need your help.
    I don’t know who he is.
    I know, but you know as much or more about him than I do. I need your help.
    Your…kinda putting me in a weird position.
    What? You’re gonna protect him? Donny, this guy has killed people. I know you’re a fan-
    A fan? I don’t think you understand the scope-
    The scope? You are one of the nicest people I know. How can you not be angry at him? He’s evil.
    You don’t get it.
    I think it’s pretty clear you don’t get it. I think he’s planning something and I am so close. You can help.
    I’m probably the only one who could.
    Well don’t get too cocky. I could have gone to a few others.
    No you couldn’t…now you can’t.
    Do you…Do you smell smoke?
    I thought the Ranger would smell it sooner, but I guess a trusted friend can be pretty distracting.
    Oh Sh- Donny, there are flames in all of the windows. Are you, working with him?
    I’ll miss you. Im sorry it was you. I am.
    Donny! Where-? I can’t see a way out! Donny?! Donny!

  3. ClutteredThoughts

    First time posting ever, here goes.

    The text came unexpectedly, an hour after I had turned out the lights. My mind filtered the reasons Lenore might have for texting this late.

    ASAP pier 2? it read.

    Probably she was having a panic attack. I snagged a coat and left, my mind turning to other things. Namely, how to keep her safe from Machinations, the name of my personal… operation. It was far more than a plan by now, no matter how much the Dealer was screwing up the groundwork with her cursed cards and stoic mask.

    Lenore wore a large fisherman’s coat when I arrived, sitting tensely. “Raina,” she said, fiddling with a button. “Um… thanks.”

    “No problem,” I said, mentally shelving the Dealer. I needed to help my friend now, prove that I was worthy of the trust she’d put in me with her massive secret, which I won’t divulge even here.

    “What’s up?” I asked, prepared to help her through whatever was bothering her.

    “Um, it’s not the usual,” she said, giving a quick, pained grin. “It’s something…” She shook her head, and simultaneously stood up and took off her coat. I rose in shock, stumbling backwards.

    Beneath the coat was the brown dress, the pink sash wrapped twice around the stomach with the black cards peeking out. Attached to the inside of the coat was the repurposed welder’s mask, the mask of the Dealer.

    No, I thought in fear and betrayal and anger, no, she can’t be. Not shy, insecure Lenore- she was one of the few friends who I would gladly go to jail for, who would do the same for me- my biggest enemy? More than that- the biggest threat to Machinations, possibly the only one who could halt it and me in our tracks.

    And here she was, looking at me pleadingly, defiance in her eyes, scared of my reaction (although what had she expected?) So much made sense now. Lenore had even told me she took martial arts, the same style as the Dealer, quoting her as “inspiration,” talked about her like she knew some secret that I’d always tried to draw out of her.

    “Raina, I’ve been working- I thought it was a gang, but it’s so much bigger, something way out of my league. I need your help to figure out-” Her words moved too fast for me. “The way you think about things, especially mysteries, Raina, please, I need your help with this.”

    I couldn’t talk, kept looking at her, her outfit, mouth moving uselessly. I couldn’t help her.

    ——

    I don’t know what I said to her after that. I don’t remember returning to my apartment. I just sat on the bed, shaking, thinking about how close I had come to blurting the real reason I couldn’t help her- and eventually remembering Machinations, the plans I had for our city, and wondering how I could possibly keep my worst enemy safe from myself.

  4. Words_of_Wonder

    The night I received the call could not have been any more fitting for the occasion. It was a dark, gloomy night that was plagued by intermittent bursts of rainfall. Only the light from my ringing mobile phone provided any sort of color in this dark world.

    “Hello,” I said, as I answered my phone.

    “Gren, are you awake?” asked Blake, my best friend.

    “I’m talking to you, aren’t I?” I responded, in a playful tone.

    “Oh, yeah — duh,” he said. “So, I have something I need to tell you, something important. Can you meet me at The Grub?” he asked.

    “Absolutely,” I replied. “Anything for my best friend. Just give me five minutes.”

    “Thanks, man,” exclaimed Blake. “You’re the best!”

    “Believe me, I know,” I responded, as a smile began to form along my face.
    As I entered The Grub, the local diner and the only meeting spot in our small town, I immediately spotted Blake, who was seated in booth next to the main window — the perfect spot for the night ahead.
    I immediately walked over and sat opposite Blake. With the face of a worried child, he began to speak, while I discreetly activated a hidden voice recorder within my attire.

    “Gren, it’s hard for me to say this, but here goes…,” he started, with hesitation and an amazing amount of effort. “I’m Graph-Fight,” he said, not without hardship.

    “You’re Graph-Fight, as in the superhero — the guy who dashes around town dressed like a pencil tip and slaps evildoers into submission, while ludicrously exclaiming the words ‘you’ve been marked’ every time a criminal is captured?” I inquired.

    “Yep,” he replied, with a timid expression plastered on his face.

    “Alright, but why are you sharing this vital information with me?” I questioned, attempting to mask my emotional response.

    “Like I told you before, you are my best friend, and I completely trust you with this secret,” he said. “That, and I’ve run into some trouble,” he revealed.

    “What kind of trouble?” I asked, eagerly awaiting his answer.

    “Well, I may have infiltrated a certain villain’s lair and took something that was originally stolen,” he replied, nervously.

    “What item and which villain?” I asked, feigning curiosity.

    “The Eraser’s Diamond Paper,” Blake responded, in a barely audible whisper. “Without it, he can’t regenerate his powers of termination.” “He’s really angry, and I was hoping you could help me out.”

    At that instant, I clicked off the hidden recorder and tapped a small button located on my watch. Not a second passed before the front door of the Grub flew open and several armed men barged inside.

    “Sorry, Blake,” I said. “I can’t help you because I am The Eraser,” I added, as my henchmen approached Blake, ready to capture or kill him on my order.

  5. Jennifer Park

    “If I had a superpower,” I proposed, “I would make sure no one knew I existed. I don’t mean a secret identity. I mean work completely in secret.”

    Everyone else at the reunion dinner had left, but Barbara had lingered on. “But, being public makes superheroes more accountable. Take… Excelsia, for instance. Without transparency, no one would trust her and work with her.”

    “I suppose,” I conceded, and marveled at how bad she was at hiding her true identity. At least I had an excuse for lingering. I had ordered another dessert, and it was taking forever. As I had planned.

    “So… You haven’t talked much about your job.”

    I grinned and shrugged. “It’s the CIA. I can’t.”

    Barbara smiled embarrassedly. “Right. Yeah.” She was too transparent sometimes.

    “I am enjoying it a lot, though. Being an analyst is not that glamorous, but it’s actually really cool.”

    “You are the ones who do the real work, right?”

    “Definitely. It’s also that I work with some really awesome people. I mean, amazing.”

    “That’s nice. My coworkers are complete…” She stopped herself. All she did this evening was complain about her coworkers at CableNewsCorp.

    The orange tapenade white chocolate fudge cake finally arrived. I didn’t bother thanking the server. “You want some?” I offered.

    Barbara made a funny face, and then nodded. The server had brought two forks. As planned.

    I took a bite first.

    Barbara watched me eat it, and took a bite as well. “It’s good.”

    I suppressed an evil grin. “Yeah. Just what I wanted.”

    ==========

    Barbara tried, “So… CIA…”

    “Yeah?”

    “Are you allowed to… There is something I need help with.”

    “Oh?”

    “Some information I need… verifying…”

    I put down my fork and frowned. “You need a leak checked out?”

    Barbara pursed her lips. She took another bite.

    I waited.

    The more the better.

    “It’s not for work. It’s personal.”

    “Oh?”

    “Well… About the Phoenicia Foundation…”

    I pulled out my wallet, tossed a hundred dollar bill on the table, and got up. “Good night, Barbara. Good to see you.”

    I stormed out.

    ==========

    A bit too dramatically, I feared, but it worked. It didn’t take her long to catch up to me. “Hey, wait… Sorry I…”

    “No, Barbara.”

    “Look… I… What if I told you.” She grabbed me and firmly pulled me into a dark alley. “Look.”

    Two beams of light appeared from behind me—from Barbara’s eyes—and focused onto a trash can. They instantly bored a hole through.

    “You see, I’m… I’m…” She gagged a little.

    Her arms began to slacken.

    I knew it was involuntarily. Superheroes and their kryptonites-in-cakes.

    I turned around, and saw that her body was literally melting onto the ground. Not the kind of mess one wants in a restaurant.

    I crouched down to speak to her as her consciousness faded. “Barbara… I already know you are Excelsia. You know very well that we cannot let your kind roam freely. Good bye. I do appreciate what you’ve done for this planet.”

  6. E.C

    Marc. My goody-two-shoes little brother. To my parents he was the pinnacle of success, smart and good looking with a loving boyfriend to hold at night. Marc my little brother, I have something to tell you.

    It wasn’t long before our older brother, also known as ‘Xceptional’, came to you and asked you to be his side kick. I knew eventually you would ask me why I hadn’t joined you and Xavier. I didn’t expect you to call me at four in the morning to go fishing with you.

    He looked remarkably normal. Sort of. He was still in his pajamas, wearing a bright orange life vest, and rain boots with frogs on them. His sweatpants were worn and stained from various drinks and foods from years ago. They were his favorite sweatpants, now rising up his shins and nearly digging into his squishy muffin top.

    “Marc,” I said, “It’s almost five in the morning. Are fish even awake at this hour?”
    He pondered this for a moment, “Y’know, I hadn’t really thought of that.” He suddenly seemed restless as if I was gonna go back into the house. Instead I draped my arm around his shoulders.

    “The boat awaits.”

    We equipped ourselves with fishing rods and bait from the shed, avoiding the family hero costumes and the weapons. I sat in the boat and watched as my baby brother untied the rowboat and hopped in with me. An awkward silence washed over us as he rowed us out to the middle of the lake.

    “Sis, I wanted to ask you something.” We had just cast our rods, already I felt a slight nibbling on my bait.
    “Hmmm?” I hummed quietly and glanced at him, looking impassive.
    “Why don’t you become a hero with me and Xavier? Mom and dad were an iconic duo back in their day y’know? So it just makes sense that we all become heroes too.” He was antsy, despite the dark I noticed he was flushed. I must have looked at him very seriously because he tensed up.

    “Does it?” I asked innocuously.
    “What?” He was bemused, I couldn’t tell if it was because of my question or if it was because I had answered a question with a question. “What do you mean by that.”
    “Just because mom and dad were heroes doesn’t mean that they have to impose their grandeur on us. We don’t have to be exactly like them.” I kept my apathetic composure and reeled in a short but fat fish.

    I sent a small electric jolt through the fishing rod and killed the fish instantly. Marc’s face contorted into one of horror.

    “Are you-” He stopped himself short and stumbled away from me. “You aren’t-” The sun was beginning to rise. “Electra.”
    “Why haven’t I join you and Xavier? Because I hate our parents, and what they have done to us. Because I’m fighting Xceptional. And ReMarcable, I think you’re on the wrong side.”

    **An end note! Despite probably being cliche, I chose the name Electra because she was a Greek princess in Greek mythology and she plotted to avenge her father by killing her mother and step-father who had murdered him.

  7. terrinkern

    Mason stepped out of the car. He looked out into the dark parking garage. The lights in the corner flickered. It almost made him nervous. If it had been anyone else…

    “Jake?” He waited, “Come on man this is creepy.”

    There was a sound similar to a sledgehammer hitting concrete coming from behind him. Mason looked back where shards of glass were scattered across several parking spaces. Behind a column the sound came again.

    Now he was nervous, though he knew what it probably was. He walked a wide circle, giving his giant companion plenty of space.

    The big man slammed his head into the column again. Muttering something that as Mason slowly stared to approach became the word “remember”.

    “Jake?” he called again getting closer. The man paused not moving a muscle for a moment, keeping is head against the round column now missing half the concrete where Jake had been using his weapon of choice. Ignoring the column Mason continued his approach.

    “Mason?” Jake looked up at him confused. “What are we…” his eyes lost focus again then he grinned and his eyes refocused. “Hey man, I need to show you something.” He jogged over toward Mason.

    “Really?” Mason asked trying his hardest not to let his eyes drift back to the shattered column. He turned as Jake approached putting his hand on Jake’s back guiding him away from the mess on the floor. “It better be cool to bring me out here.”

    “It’s amazing” he lined himself up with a column Mason had guided him toward, out of sight of the shards they’d just left. “You know that crazy explosion that hit us six months ago?” Two years Mason silently corrected as Jake started shadow boxing in front of the concrete.

    “Yeah, why?”

    Suddenly Jake’s fist was buried past his wrist in the concrete. Despite himself Mason jumped a little. He let out a low whistle. “That could cause some damage to a person…” Jake grinned at that and pulled his fist out. “If you could hit them.” Is grin slipped a little. “What would you do with all that power?”

    “You know that guy who’s been leaving all those criminals on the cop’s doorsteps?” He turned away for a moment then turned to show the mask that had been on TV for the last two years.

    “WOW, You’re ColossalFist?”

    “Yep and I need your help.” He grabbed Mason by the shoulders. “You’re amazingly smart Mason. I need your help to catch one of these guys. He somehow keeps slipping out just before I can catch him.”

    “What’s his name?” Sometimes it was someone else.

    “MindMender,” Mason lightly pushed Jake’s hands off him and turned away.

    “Jake… I can’t”

    “Why? Why not, you’re the only one I can turn to?” Mason felt his eyes begin to glow as his mind shift into a higher gear.

    “Sorry buddy,” he turned to face Jake as moisture filled his eyes. “Again.” Jake’s eyes went wide.

    “MindMen…”

  8. Steph

    THE OTHERS
    A year ago, I moved into my first apartment, where I met Irene. I had seen her several times before, though we had never spoken. Over the past year, we grew close. She was a wise woman with fascinating stories of her life, though she never elaborated on the murder of her husband.

    I told my parents about Irene but they replied, “son, it’s just not safe for you to be so close to someone like her.”

    I knew what they meant. See, there’s a growing number of us in the world. We’re known as the Others. We look like people and honestly, I don’t know how we came to exist, but the Others are evil. They kill people for sport and prey on innocence. I say “they” because I never have, nor will I ever, hurt someone.

    Some people know of our existence, and to others, we’re a legend, used to explain unsolved disappearances. Those who know of our existence are dangerous. They have made it their mission to find a way to exterminate us.

    Irene was my first friend, and I treasured her. Every Friday, Irene and I would meet at a secluded pond and we would watch the stars, as she told me the stories of her life. Last Wednesday, I received a call from Irene, asking me to meet at our spot, so at the risk of being fired, I left work and rushed to the pond.

    I didn’t even say hello before she began, “Terry, I have spent 30 years studying the Others, desperately seeking their fatal weakness. It’s diamonds, Terry! Contact with diamonds burns them to ashes! There’s too many Others for me to fight this alone.”

    I was frozen. My mouth slowly opened into a whisper, “Irene. I’m one of them. I can’t help you without killing myself.”

    She smiled softly as she cocked her head to the side. “Terry, you are not one of them. I know, because you are my son. My research was known, and when you were 2 days old, the Others came. I killed one, but they murdered your father and stole you, though I never imagined they had kept you alive. discovering their weakness, I now understand how I killed one. My wedding band saved my life.”

    She pressed her diamond ring to my skin and I winced, waiting, as nothing happened. I wasn’t one of them, and with my mom by my side, it was time to take the Others down.

    Today, we are in Australia, holding a conference and building our army of diamond wielding assassins. It’s certainly more exciting than my job at Target, which reminds me, I should probably let them know I won’t be at work tomorrow.

  9. Critique

    “What? Can’t hear you.” Angus tapped the cellphone’s volume control to maximum and waved away the waitress approaching with a coffee pot.

    “Angus, its Millie. Meet me at the south end of the Rat Hole tonight at 10:00 o’clock. Alone. Don’t be late.”

    Angus didn’t get a chance to respond. She cut him off. He glanced at his watch. 8:45 pm. He hadn’t seen Millie in months. She was a respected city cop, a feisty little thing that walked with a slight limp – result of a fall from a trampoline as a child. They’d grown up in the same neighbourhood.

    He had no intention of meeting her. He threw some bills on the table and exited the restaurant.

    He walked down the sidewalk and his phone buzzed again. Millie Andrews.

    “You owe me Angus. Be there.” The phone went dead.

    Six months back Millie and her partner were the first cops on the scene when he and his motor bike were derailed in a stunt gone horribly wrong. Evidence pointed to sabotage. The bike was totalled. He was lucky – six weeks in the hospital to heal a few cracked ribs, severe road rash and a mild concussion. Due to Angus’s amnesia there wasn’t enough evidence and no one was charged.

    The odd street light that worked cast long shadows and a chill breeze had Angus hunching into his jacket as he crunched his way down the sidewalk to the Rat Hole. The tunnel built under a railway yard – 22 tracks to be exact – was aptly named due to seasonal flooding, hazardous low clearance, and poor visibility on entrance and exit posing a danger to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

    Angus flinched when Millie appeared suddenly in front of him.

    “Hello Angus.” Her face serious under a hooded jacket.

    “Why the mystery Millie?” He hated surprises, prided himself on his observational skills. Where did she come from?

    “I need someone to do a job for me. You came to mind with your expertise in the martial arts.” Millie spoke in low tones and motioned for him to follow her deeper into the Rat Hole.

    “That’s in the past Millie.” He said.

    “Word in some circles would disagree. You’re at the top of your game.” Millie stared at him and pushed her hands into her coat pocket. “We know that a tunnel exists under Finlay’s Pub. A big operation of some kind is going on there. We have our suspicions. The owners aren’t cooperating and they’ve planted heavyweight goons at the entrance 24/7.”

    Dread flared like wildfire in Angus’ stomach. He knew all about Finlay’s Pub and their unsavory clientele.

    “I need to tell you something but it can’t go any further.” Millie took a deep breath and leaned in. “Are you familiar with the term teleportation?”

    “Sure. Walking through walls. Stuff like that.” Angus said. “What’s that got to do with me?”

    “I surprised you tonight didn’t I.’ Millie said calmly. “ I have this ability – superpower if you will. It only works at night but unfortunately, it doesn’t work through all physical properties.”

    Angus squinted at her in disbelief. He’d encountered some strange stories on the streets – largely fueled by drugs. Surely not Millie?

    She seemed normal. Calm. Her clear green eyes scanned his face.

    “We need you to help us get in there, find out what they’ve got.” Millie said.

    “Not happening.” In spite of the chill, Angus felt beads of sweat trickled down his back and under his armpits.

    Millie smiled grimly. “We know about the motorcycle incident. You don’t have a choice Angus.”

    (To be continued)

  10. JosephFazzone

    Kenny looked nervous as he sat on my sofa. He constantly looked out the window, and when he heard any sounds emanating from outside my apartment, he jumped out of his seat.

    “Dude, you are fretting something serious,” I told him.

    He looked at me as if he forgot who I was. He focused, and then stated, “Nerves, bro. Serious business is afoot, and I need help.”

    “You said that over the phone,” I informed him. “Why don’t you tell me what you need?”

    His brown eyes darted back and forth. With a pronounced swallow and a gulp, he said, “I’m the Germ.”
    I played it stupid.

    “The Germ.” I said as if it didn’t ring a bell.

    “The Germ”, he repeated plaintively. “The Germ.” He stared at me and my blank expression. “The superhero?”

    “I heard some call you a vigilante,” I commented. “Aren’t you wanted by the police?”

    “A misunderstanding,” he snarled. “I was set up by Bouncy Bob.”

    He looked on the verge of becoming extremely angry, so I asked to calm him, “What can I do to help such an esteemed hero, and friend?”

    Kenny stood up, and walked to the window. He drew the shades closed, and in whispered tones he said, “I need your help.”

    “With Bouncy Bob? I don’t think there’s much I can do. He’s a monster.”

    He shook his head in agitation. “No, not him. I can handle that oaf. I need your tech skills to find the mastermind behind Bob.”

    I narrowed my eyes. “What do you mean? He’s not acting alone?”

    He laughed and said, “He’s an idiot. There’s no way he could have set up the heist at the diplomat from Jakarta’s house.”

    I nodded understandingly and commented, “Yeah, there’s a serious draft in the attic.”

    “Exactly,” Kenny agreed. “I’ve been going over my old cases, and I found a connection. For some reason, this elusive villain has been a step ahead of me, and for the life of me, I can’t figure it out.”

    “Ah”, I said appearing to be deep in thought. I knew why.

    “Anyway, I tracked the person to this area, and thought, well I would just call my best friend Luke to help me keep an eye for whoever they are.”

    “How can I do that?”

    “Aren’t you tech savvy?” He asked pointing to all my computers.

    “I repair computers,” I admitted.

    He nodded, and swallowed. He walked to my bookshelf on the far end of the room. I got a bit nervous. He was eyeing each book just a bit too closely.

    “I can try, though,” I called out. “What do you need?”

    His fingers danced on top of the marionette that controls the mechanism to my secret door, yes, I know it’s cliché, but that’s what makes it work. No one would believe it works.

    “When did you get this puppet?”

    My heart stopped. Before I could stop him, he pulled down on its arm, and the hidden door creaked open. I reached into my top desk drawer and pulled out the freeze ray.

    He turned to me and said, “What the…”

    That’s when I zapped him. He tried to dodge, but I was too fast. He froze in place, looking at me in shock as I casually walked to him and said, “Well I have some good news and some bad. The good news is you just solved the case, but that’s also the bad news. Now it’s time for a little story, please make yourself comfortable.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I really enjoyed this story.and it was so easy to read. The sudden ending grips the reader is if there’s more coming but you leave that to our imagination. Very smooth and flows beautifully.

  11. cosi van tutte

    Just for the fun of it…..
    ****

    “I’m sorry I can’t help you.”

    “But, as you know, Bob, we’ve been childhood friends ever since you scraped your knee in kindergarten and I had to bandage it with an old washcloth. And then you moved next door to us and we became best friends.”

    “And, as you know, Jim, that was right before we found the meteorite in Susie Dawn’s yard. The Susie Dawn that, as you know, was the prettiest girl in school.”

    “Yes, yes, Bob. I know that. But, as you know, she touched that meteorite and turned into the Soup Kitchen Monster.”

    “Oh, yes. I know that. ”

    “And I touched it and I became the greatest superhero of all time.” Jim thought about that sentence for a moment. “Hmm. Sorry.” He cleared his throat. “…and I became The Greatest Superhero Of All Time!!!!! as you know, Bob.”

    “Oh, yes. I know that. As you know, I became your sidekick because we are such best friends.”

    “Best friends for life.”

    “Yes, we both know that. But did you know, Jim, that I touched that meteorite too?”

    “No, Bob. I…” Jim thought about it for a moment. “No. Actually, I do know that. But nothing happened.”

    “So. You don’t know that I turn into the Lizard King once every third full moon then?”

    “No. I didn’t know that. Wait.” Jim thought about it for a very long moment. “Wait. Wait. You’re the Lizard King?”

    “Yes. And that is why I can’t help you. I need to go into my dormant state. But don’t worry. As you know, Jim, tomorrow is the third full moon.”

    “Yes, I do know that.”

    “So, as I’m sure you know, Jim, I’ll be able to help you then.”

    “Well. That’s good to know, Bob.”

    “I know.”

  12. Beebles

    Don’t know if there is a enough in this to make its meaning clear – I’ll leave that up to you to tell me. Hope the italics work.
    ———————-

    He had been the one.

    The one who had awoken her in so many ways.

    Even at the age of twelve she had felt the longing.

    She rested on the bough of the solitary hawthorn, feet playing along the kernels of the long meadow grass, thinking of him in his sinewy teenage form, those high cheeks she had tarnished, the grey frightened eyes.
    How he had cried and fled.

    The pain had never left her, the feeling of her hands on his face as she yearned to make him understand, the intense heat and burning from her fingers on is cheeks. At the time it had frightened them both, but he had left before she could make him understand. The last time they had been together.

    Since then she had come to understand her power, how to use it. It was an amazing gift, to be able to make living creatures, even plants, love each other. She thought of the field of sunflowers she had left last summer, their thousand stems entwined in pairs until they withered in the sun. But the one person she had wanted, she could not make him love her.

    ‘This was our tree.’

    The deep voice startled her so much she slipped to her feet. He must have approached from Honiton over the hill behind her. He had grown, matured, but she knew that, never out of her sight, but always in the shadow. At the UN, Camp David, Mosul. Wherever he went. Now he had summoned her and her heart flowed with hope and desire, so strong she could barely stand being so close to him.

    ‘Why?’ She asked, the only word required.

    ‘Because I have something to tell you, ask you. That day, the last time we were here, after I … hurt you…’

    ‘What? No you didn’t.’ It was me.

    ‘No, I know I did. Listen…,’ he said, stalling the unspoken words of protest on her lips, tinder dry with anticipation and the noon day sun. A lark sang, filling the moment’s silence.

    ‘…you see I have a power. I can make people love each other. I have made world leaders sit down and make peace, solved conflicts. But … but everyone I love for myself leaves me. My heart is torn and empty.’

    A knot of guilt pulled taught like elastic within her, confused, unbreakable yet imbued with such powerful excitement that within her, she exulted.

    ‘I feel … so alone. I think you are the only one who can help me.’ Tears fell from his eyes as he spoke, evaporating in the tanned finger marks on his face where she had touched him that day.

    The bough was between them, horizontal, twisted to its hedge work by hands long since gone. If she stretched out her hand from here she could almost touch him.

    She swallowed. ‘What can I do for you?’ Then her heart beat faster as he took a step forward to lean on the branch.
    ‘Free me,’ he said at last, not understanding.

    Within a heart beat she ducked beneath the branch to stand beside him, two virgin lovers, embarrassed, unsure. Her soul felt twisted, selfish, yet her heart was trained to a path she could not deny.

    He opened his arms and they embraced, The pain shattered them both, but they rode the fury of their gifts until their bodies withered like sunflowers to lie together in the earth beneath the tree.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      The last paragraph is so powerful. It could be a story of the moth and flame that consumed it. Or perhaps making love created a field of energy for neither to survive
      This story could go anywhere if you were to continue with it.

  13. pven

    “I still say you do the best Tic-Tacs of this group.”

    Erica smiled and nursed the ankle she had almost sprained.

    “What was that at the end?” Jack asked. “You practically wiped out.”

    “Yeah.  I’m trying out sort of a Travelling Underbar.”

    “That’s new. What for?”

    “Oh, you know,” Erica shrugged. “Sometimes I’m late for my bus.”

    The two sat at the edge of the park watching other traceurs run the parkour course.

    “You doing anything tonight?” Jack asked.

    “I got plans.”

    Jack scratched the back of his head and sighed.

    “Spill it,” Erica pushed him. “You’ve had something on your mind all day.”

    “You ever heard of the Metro City Superhero Movement?”

    Erica nodded.  The Metro City Superhero Movement were a team of four vigilantes running around the city in armored cosplay outfits.  Sometimes they caught criminals in the act and held them for police.  The city seemed to love them.  The police were cautiously appreciative.

    “We’d like you to join.”

    Erica affixed her friend with a focused stare and burst out into laughter.

    “I’m serious.  We need your help.  There’s been a string of burglaries across the city. Jewelry stores.  The cops have no idea how they get in or out, but each time the shops are cleared out of everything but the costume stuff.  So we developed a theory.”

    A cold realization dawned on Erica’s face. “You think they’re traceurs. Like us.”

    Jack nodded.  “We stopped patrolling the streets…”

    “…and started patrolling the rooftops.”

    Jack nodded again.  “Kavilo…”

    “Big guy, shiny black jumpsuit?”

    “Yeah.  Kavilo was in pursuit of a suspect over the roofs and says he made this jump between two buildings.”

    “But he didn’t make it.”

    “No.  Apparently the guy made it look effortless, so Kavilo figured he could do it.  But he was short, and tried to turn it into a Kong to Cat, but couldn’t get a good grasp on the wall.  Fell. Broke his leg and some ribs, punctured a lung.”

    Erica shook her head.  “He shouldn’t have even tried that leap.”

    “Kavilo gets a little… enthusiastic when he’s after someone.  So we’re down a man.”

    Erica laughed.  “So it could be… It could be anyone here. You don’t know.”

    “It could be you.” Erica froze until Jack released a big grin.  “Kidding. We’ve been doing this for how long? Five years?  I’ve gotten to know you pretty well in that time.  I consider you a friend.  I think I’d know if you’re the type of person who would commit a crime.”

    Erica grinned.  “I think I’d know if you’re the type of person to turn vigilante.”

    Jack bristled.  “Crime fighter.  Crime patroller, actually. Anyway. I’m going to hospital to see Kavilo tonight. He wanted me to bring you.”

    “Why?”

    “Kavilo was the one who suggested you.”

    Erica mulled that over.  “He saw me?” she murmured inadvertently, then checked to see if Jack had heard.

    Jack shrugged.  “Don’t think so.  But I told him about you.”

    “I don’t know, man,” Erica said.  She pointed to her ankle.  “I’m not going to be doing any vaults anytime soon.”

    “We’re just going to talk.  Kavilo can’t patrol any more.  We’re looking for someone to replace him.  Someone who can travel the city like you and I.”

    “Look,” Erica said.  “I’m glad your friend’s OK.  Really.  But I’m not someone who runs around at night chasing after bad guys, OK?  It’s not my thing.”

    Jack nodded.  “I understand. It’s not for everyone.  But if you change your mind, and I hope you do, you’ll be a great asset to the team.”

    Erica smiled and slapped Jack on the back.  “I want to get home and ice this ankle.  I’ll see you later, OK?”

    “Later.”

    As she limped out of the park, Erica ran over the schematics of next jewelry heist she had been planning.  She hadn’t expected anyone to figure out her secret this quickly, and even though Jack and his team hadn’t unmasked her, she felt a chill run along her spine when she thought about how close they were.

    Time was running out.  If she was going to nick the Phoenix Ruby from Metro City Museum, it would have to be tonight.

  14. igonzales81

    The last body hits the floor, sliding off my blade to land with a soft thud.

    Across the room, Yojimbo stands, blood dripping from his sword. “Where is she?” he whispers, his eyes darting about the space.

    “Caution,” I warn, alert for the unexpected. “This was too easy.”

    “I must find her!” he cries the gleam of blood madness in his eyes.

    “Peace, lord,” I say, bowing in deference to his wrath. “But these,” I gesture at the two dozen fallen Yakuza swordsmen, “cannot be all that stood in your path.”

    “Then let others stand before me,” he replies, a cold, unnerving calm seeping into his voice. “They will fall as well.”

    It is then that I hear the sound. It is faint, the slightest creaking of wood, or a whisper of silk against flesh. But it is all I need. “Lord, the wall behind you—”

    Yojimbo is already moving, a blur led by the glint of sharp steel. Metal tears into the rice-paper panel of the wall behind him, before striking flesh. A gurgling scream rings out, and another body falls, ripping through what is left of the false wall.

    Yojimbo pulls his sword free, holding it ready as he peers into the hole left by the falling enemy. “A secret stair,” he whispers. Then: “Come, Tatsu, we have no time to lose!”

    I follow my lord through the hidden door and up a flight of stairs into a cramped passage, secreted between the walls of this upper floor.

    “Asume!” Yojimbo cries out, abandoning any semblance of caution. “Asume! Where are you?”

    A muffled cry comes in answer, and my lord homes in on the sound, kicking down the flimsy wall that stands in his way.

    On the far side, a man holds a young girl in his arms, a bared knife to her throat. “Stand where you are, Emperor’s Blade, or your kin dies!”

    Yojimbo raises his sword. “Release her, criminal, or die where you stand.”
    I slip into the room behind my lord, unnoticed. When Yojimbo faces you with naked steel, all else seems of no consequence.

    The Yakuza narrows his eyes, doubtless realizing the unfavorable odds he faces. “I am not unreasonable,” he says. “Let me leave, and I will loose your daughter at the gate.”

    I know what will come, and slide a hand into the folds of my sash, to find the small knife hidden there.
    Yojimbo’s lips quirk into a smiling that is as frightening as his sword. “I do not deal with murderous peasants, fool.” His eyes dart to me, then back to the man. “Die.”

    The knife flies, unseen and unheard, and the last foe falls.

    The sword drops from my lord’s hand as he hurries forward, taking his daughter—frightened, but unharmed—into his arms. “Hush, little one,” he comforts her. “All is well. You will be home, soon.”

    I step forward, and pick up my lord’s fallen blade. “No, my lord. That will not happen.”

    He turns a questioning look on me. “Why do you say this, Tatsu?”

    I smile. “Because while you may be the deadliest of men with a sword in your hand, without it, your value is only in what the Emperor will pay to have you returned to him.”

    Emotions play across Yojimbo’s face, shock and anger, sudden fear, and finally a profound shame. “You did this. You planned this from the first.”

    I shake my head, unable to keep from smiling. “No, my lord. Truly, it only came to me this moment. But I understand if that does not lessen the betrayal.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      A real ringer off a tale. I could see the setting before me as a movie with sound effects of high drama. What a great turn of events. Dare we ask for part two?

  15. JRSimmang

    Had another lurking back there.

    CHASING SHADOWS

    An hour after sunset and the heat still gathered in streams off the road. I never got used to the Arizona sun, never got used to its radiance, never got used to its storms or its quiet menace. Reese, on the other hand, reveled in it.

    He invited me to meet him at the base of the Superstition Mountains, along a trail he and I used to walk and run when we were younger, younger when our shadows didn’t stretch so long. It was called Lost Goldmine, but we called it home.

    “You’ll laugh,” he said to me all those years ago.

    “I won’t!”

    “You will, and it’s okay. You can laugh.” He threw up his hands and then waved me off. “Partly, I don’t believe it myself.”

    I shifted on the rock. “You’re absolutely serious about this, aren’t you?”

    He turned to me and took a deep breath. “I think… that… I’m a superhero.”

    I laughed despite myself. I laughed, and he just smiled. He smiled as the sun touched the top of the jagged rocks and kissed the tops of the last remaining clouds.

    As I stood staring down the trail, I believed now that he had to be right. Year after year, my ledgers thinned, my business slowed. Year after year, Reese became more and more magnificent.

    To my right, I saw the bobbing headlamps of the overnighters. I knew them by name. Clarissa, Edmund, Ry, Margaret, and Fennick. Each of them, too, wondered when it is they will die. We all do. It’s funny we never truly wonder when it is we’ll live. I followed them for a small stretch, letting the night wind wind through the threads of my shirt and fill my lungs. Desert sage tickled my fingertips.

    I could have found Reese even if I hadn’t known where he was tucked away. The night seemed to gather around him, cacti and tumbleweed tipping their hats to him. Above his, our, alcove the stars aligned themselves to cast a new center. There was no moon, yet hanging in the air was a shimmering light. Beneath my feet, gravel jumped and skipped toward him.

    “Reese,” I whispered.

    “Hayden,” he replied, but his voice was miles away, echoing and reverberating deep within the stones and my chest. “Come closer.”

    He was sitting cross-legged, aura blossoming from his shoulders, among boulders. He was inscribed inside a circle of activity, blues and whites in a swirling eddy. “You’re tampering with the universe, Reese,” I warned.

    “No, Hayden,” he soothed. “It is the universe connecting with me.” He stood, palms out, arms to his sides. “And, it is your assistance I need.”

    I shielded my eyes from his light. “To do-” I paused to shout louder. “To do what!”

    “Reach immortality.”

    “No, Reese.” I took a step backward, but he pursued me.

    “Immortality, Hayden,” he gestured. “I can achieve it, and with it I shall protect the world, be the voice of the mute, be the eyes to the blind. I can be their safety.”

    “That’s not your job, Reese.” Even through my shouting, my syllables were coalescing with the night. “It’s not your job.”

    “You’re right, Hayden.” He stopped and stood, the ground fracturing under him. “I am unable to do so alone. You,” he pointed, “will be with me. Together, Hayden, we will end suffering.”

    “How great would it be, Hayden, if we didn’t have to worry about death or sickness or evil-”

    “Or homework,” I added. Reese and I sat up on the edge of our alcove.

    He pushed me. “Come on, Hay, I’m serious.”

    I shrugged. “What’ll the people do when you die?”

    “I don’t know yet,” he answered quickly. “But I’ll figure it out.”

    I looked at him. There were so many things I wished I could have told him then.

    I pulled the Earth to my fingers and let the hollows pull me. “Reese, you and I are forever at odds.” I turned my palms to face him. “Tonight, you will be remembered as a hero.”

    Death comes quickly most of the time. It’s abrupt. Reese’s death was no different. His energy, his force, all too eagerly leapt from his illuminated body and spun into my catacombs. He was left, his body a shell, unaware that his time on Earth was limited to tonight.

    Life is but a shadow’s dance from a candle’s flame. Death is the darkness lurking beyond, and I am waiting for your shadows’ convergence. For Death, there can be no friends. I was foolish to believe so.

    -JR Simmang

  16. Rene Paul

    Luck of the draw, twist of faith, oh the decisions we make. Our life can change for good or bad in a heartbeat. Well thought out, good story.

  17. RafTriesToWrite

    Apologies for the length yet again.


    It’s been nights since I’ve heard from her, from that wretched colorful outfit and her mindless petty party tricks. What a sorry excuse for a superhero. Not very ‘super’ if you ask me.

    Why am I even thinking about her right now? Do I miss beating her all the time? Do I miss her magical wand that always takes me to my happy place? Do I miss her trying to put me to sleep with her sleeping dust? Do I miss her being chased by a cat all night long? Or do I miss her in general?

    Do I really miss her?

    “No. Can’t be” I murmured under my breath as I tiptoed myself into another child’s bedroom for the fifth time tonight.

    I made my way through the garbage maze and before you know it, I was in front of the bed.

    Why do kids always leave their room very messy? There hasn’t been one kid in my entire super villain career that had a spotless bedroom floor.

    Now comes the fun part. I used my grappling hook to hoist myself up, near at the kid’s pillow. I can hear her breathe, smells like candy and no minty toothpaste.

    “That’s right little girly, eat more candy and don’t brush your teeth” I spoke quietly as I went through under her pillow. After a few seconds of searching, I finally found my prize. I gave her my present, as I did to the others – a big chunk of coal.

    I hurriedly went out of the pillow, grapple myself to the kid’s door, retraced my steps then made my way home. This kid’s home was the ugliest one I’ve seen tonight, but the easiest one to break into.
    They don’t have a dog, or a cat. I hope she loses another one soon.

    I sat on my evil chair in my evil lair and looked at my bag with five teeth from five different children. “More teeth for my precious” I hum to myself.

    Before I could do anything to the teeth my phone rang.

    “Hello?”

    “Hey Jimmy, its Carol. I need your help”

    “Help? What kind of help?”

    “Meet me at the back yard”

    “But-“

    She hung up before I could finish. Meet her at the back yard? What for? Couldn’t she just say it through the phone or something? I changed my clothes, then got out of my evil lair and went to the back yard of our house.

    “Carol, what’s up?” I asked. She was already at the fence, waiting for me I presume. She looks odd, anxious, like she’s hiding something.

    Carol’s my best friend ever since I can remember, the only friend I have actually. We’d sit at her swings for hours and play all day long. Our parents both thought that we’d end up together, but somehow, we never clicked that way.

    “I need help” She spoke softly, I see her tense a little. Strange.

    “Yeah, we’ve established that” I half smiled at her.

    “I have a case that I can’t break”

    I snorted. “A case Carol? What are you, a detective now?” I laughed at her dilemma, which I deeply regret.

    A bright light suddenly surrounded her, and poof. She magically changed clothes, to this familiar foe I haven’t seen in a while. She wore this bright colorful ugly dress, that dreadful stupid big flappy wings and that stupid magic star wand.

    She’s a tooth fairy?

    My jaw dropped for a moment. Then I regained my posture as she effortlessly fluttered two feet above the ground. My heart became heavy for some unknown reason, then it filled me with anger. All this time, my arch nemesis was just right next door.

    Who knew?

    “I’m a tooth fairy Jimmy, but I can’t do my job with this hooligan on the loose. I know this is too much to process but-“

    “No.” I spoke coldly.

    “What? What do you mean no?” She asked confused, as she flew over the fence and into my back yard.

    I put my left hand at the back where I always put my stun ray gun. I grabbed a hold of it firmly and spoke “Because I’m the tooth napper!”.

    I shot the tooth fairy on the head, she crashed down, still in fairy form. I looked at her. “So weak, so defenseless, so vulnerable, and very much grounded from now on.” I spoke at the sleeping tooth fairy.
    I took a knife from the kitchen and cut off her wings. They turned into dust as soon as I cut them apart.

    I took a handful of her memory dust and sprinkled it all over her. “One less tooth fairy to worry about” I said to the now sleeping Carol.

    1. Steph

      Wow, Raf. That was a harsh! Though the thought of a winged creature entering my bedroom at night to steal my recently detached body parts has always disturbed me anyways. Great read from start to finish. Now…….. you were a great help to me 2 weeks ago. Can you help me again? I’ve tried posting my story about 20 times and it isn’t showing up….. 🙁

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        As far as I know – although I’m not an expert in this – you may be using unapproved words that are blocked from posting.

        Maybe bad words or something. I don’t know, I’m just spitballin’ here. Try looking at the past prompts and look at the people that have had the same problem as you, maybe you’ll find a more better suitable answer there than what I’m giving to you now.

        Just use the find bar for a more faster progress (press ctrl+f), and type the keywords “problem” or “posting” or something of the like.

      2. RafTriesToWrite

        I tried commenting a sentence with the word f*ck in it, but it didn’t worked. So, those kinds of words – among others – are blocked from being posted here.

        At least, that’s my initial diagnosis. Try changing bad words in your story with something synonymous to it.

  18. Rene Paul

    ‘Skull Cap Ninja Rides Again’. The eye-catching headline greets me as I pick the Sunday Times out of the hedges for the third day this week. I swear that paperboy isn’t getting a Christmas bonus from me; I don’t care if he’s my nephew.

    I grab a cup of coffee and plop into my easy chair and read with interest the endeavors of a man on a Harley, dressed in black garb, topped with a skull cap and eye mask. He wields knives, swords, throwing stars, nunchucks, and a full array of fighting weapons. The article says he saves victims of imminent crimes by fending off their perpetrators and hog tying them, then riding off before law enforcement arrives.

    The story ends as my cell phone shows an incoming call from a friend.

    “Hello, David, what evil has besmirched you this time?”

      “It’s my son Arthur,” he says, as if I didn’t know, “He’s in serious trouble and will only discuss the matter with you, his Godfather.”

    “Ok,” I said. “When and where?”

    “This evening, 8 p.m. sharp, on the docks, Pier 1903, in back of Knuckle Heads Bar.”

    David Nighthawk is my best friend, he’s also the highest-ranking politician in Milwaukee. His son, Art, is a born loser. So why does he want to speak with me, I wonder? I’m sure if Art got into real trouble, with a word his father could bury the infraction. David is the Mayor.

    That evening, as I made my way along the docks, the fog thickened. I approached the agreed upon location at the expected time.

    “Art, are you here?”

    A deep-throated sound invades the gloom, emanating from an approaching motorcycle. Through the mist, I watch as a lone figure dismounts. He walks under the burn of a dimly light door at the rear of the bar. It’s Art, dressed in what I surmise is a Halloween costume. He waves for me to enter the shadows.

       “Ok, Art, why the cloak and dagger stuff?” I asked. “Why’d you bring us to this dreadful place on such a dreary night?”

    “I need your help, Willie, my father is being blackmailed and I’m not sure whose behind it. I have a hunch it’s two city council members, Hendee and Hedstrom. They’re holding something over my father’s head that might land him behind bars. One more thing… I need to share a deep secret with you.”

    A forever minute cast a pall of silence over our powwow.

    “I’m…,” he said, then paused again.

    I sensed Art wasn’t sure if he should place his trust in me. When the moment ended, he raised his hands, clenched his fists and blurting out, “I’m the Skull Cap Ninja!”
      
    “Yeah, sure,” I said, holding the laughter in, “and I’m the Invisible Man. Come on, Art, is that why you’re dressed like Zorro?”

    The dank and darkness deepened.

    Art spent the next hour convincing me. He explained how his Kung Fu Sifu called him into his office and told him of a powerful ancient Chinese potion he possessed. One that could transform a worthy student into a powerful ninja warrior. He was that student, and to further prove his identity, he demonstrated his martial art prowess. I believed.

    Then he said, “You have the mandated traits and intrinsic qualities required to become a super hero, too. But you must give up everything and dedicate your entire life to fighting the good fight against the forces of evil.”

    His challenge besieged my mind.

    “I am the Skull Cap Ninja,” he said again. “Will you join me in the clandestine life of the Ninja Warrior?”

    He offered me the elixir.

    “I’ll do it!” I said.

    He pulled a small vial out from under his sash and handed it to me. It contained an iridescent green substance. I lifted it to my lips, “What the hell,” I said, as I swallowed it in one swift motion.

    I’m not sure how I got home. The alarm clock squawked at the usual time, I got up and put my pajama bottoms on and entered the bathroom. There I stood, gazing into the mirror, but nobody was staring back. I was invisible.

    The phone rang, it was Art. He said, “Are you ready to start your new career?”
    “As what,” I said, “a window?”

         “Listen,” he said, “do you remember I told you that my father is being blackmailed? Well today he’s meeting with those two City Council members for an off scheduled lunch. I want you to sit in on that meeting and find out everything you can about their scheme. I believe it’s a matter of life and death.”

    “Ok,” I said, “I’ll be there.”

    I Stood in my closet, trying on various configurations of clothing but nothing worked except nothing at all, so I headed outside, my nakedness cloaked in sheer ecstasy. My first covert mission thus began.

    Up the street, I saw my nephew riding his 49cc Indian moped. I waited for William to toss another errant paper. This could be fun.

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      Good one, Rene. I feel like there should be more to it though. There is, right? I’m curious to read what happens at that lunch! 🙂

      1. Rene Paul

        Thanks for reading and commenting. This is one of the longest stories I’ve submitted. The prompt itself required a lot of explaining. I tried! There’s also some hidden motorcycle history buried in it.

  19. Kerry Charlton

    BELOW THE BELT

    .

    Sir Kendrick Winston Stonethrower eased back in his study chair. His eyes gazed across the Bahamas waters lapping against his boat dock His eighty foot sloop had settled with the oncoming darkness, when he reached for the phone. As he answered Denise Nightingale’s number, her face, adorned with long , radiant hair the color of a setting sun, floated by with his imagination leading the way.

    “Hi doll face, what’s happening?”

    “Ken, quit the Cagney stuff, I need your help.”

    “You still flying your Lear? We have a new landing strip at the airport if you can call it that.”

    “I do, I’m in Washington getting briefed. I can be there in two hours. We need privacy. Still have your sloop?”

    “The Honey Dipper? Of course.”

    “Why do you still call it that, it’s embarrassing.”

    “That’s where the money came from. When you get here, we’ll sail to Long Kay island, It’s very private.”

    “I’ll call you when I’m about to land.”

    Ken placed the phone next to his chair,

    ‘I wonder if she knows about me. The state department would be thrilled to see me decorating a coral reef.’

    Ken’s modus operandi as knighted English Royalty was good cover as he operated a rogue intelligence company, now employed by the Russian Government, specifically the SVR. His code name was Mr. M. which stood for murder at the highest level.. His entire life had been fraught with danger and he liked it that way, especially with the women in his life. .

    As he waited at the air strip, he checked inventory. A small poison dart gun operated by an air cartridge placed inside his left sock. Cyanide capsules to place under his tongue if ever captured. A WWII German Lugar with silencer for special hits and lastly, a throwing Bowie knife for dirty work.

    The Lear Jet 75, an eleven million dollar aircraft made a perfect landing. Denise left the plane dressed in a black, toreador style outfit, leaving nothing to wonder about, it was all on display. She threw her arms around him and kissed him deeply. He returned the favor and opened the door of his Jaguar E type.

    They drove directly to the dock and the conversation was light and easy. Ken had automated the sloop so he could sail it himself for privacy. He started the engine for the breeze had died with last light On the deck he let her sail the sloop and was amazed as usual with her sailing knowledge.

    They anchored at sea and retired to the main cabin and ate sparingly as usual. He undressed her and became lost in her until dawn. As first light arrived, she opened up,

    “Ken, I‘m on a rub assignment, looking for a Mr. M who runs a spy agency under Russian Control. I need you to help me find him.”

    “I can‘t help you doll face and I think you know why, don‘t you?”

    “Yes, I wanted to be sure.”

    She pulled a Glock quickly, fired four shots at his chest. As he slumped over, she lifted him to her shoulder, walked to the side of the sloop, and watched him sink under the ship’s wake.

    ‘Easy money, men can’t think below the waist,’ she mused as she turned the ship around.

    Beneath the froth, Ken struggled to remove his bullet proof jacket he wore, and kicked his way to the surface. As he watched the ship fade, he pulled a small electric device, pressed the button and watched as his sloop regurgitated a small raft out the rear of the vessel.
    :. .

    ;

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Tysheena, i’ m glad you like it
        Bimini makes a good. background for this kind of story and I’m considering launching a novella here
        I’ll keep you posted.

        1. writer_sk

          Right, I would say a novella is in order! This really was full of action and had the allure of the classic spy film. Clive Cussler style but not with so much detail that you can get lost. Great ending. The Bourne Identity is one of my favorite movies and a good book. This had a mix of mystery, backstory and action something like Bourne. And spies at sea is a good setting. I am envious of your skill.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Thank you for your wonderful thoughts
            The minute I wrote the MC’s name, I knew I was off and running
            Sometimes it comes easy but not often
            I figure I need another ten years to learn to write and by that time I won’t be able to see well enough to find the bathroom. Of well, cruel world..

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks igonzales81. If I’m going to continue this thing with two super heroes I had to keep Ken alive
        Now, I need to introduce a really bad super hero and have the two of join forces. Something like a love and hate relationship

  20. cosi van tutte

    “Hello, Gwendolyn. Meet me at a secret location.”

    “Hi, Doofus Lord.”

    “Hey! That’s not my name and you know it.”

    “Yeah, whatever. What do you want?”

    “I…just want to see you again.”

    “Uh-huh.”

    “Oh, come on. Don’t say it like that. I really do want to see you again.”

    “Before or after you make out with Dentine Barbie?”

    “That’s not her name and you know it.”

    “Psh!”

    “Come on, Gwen. Just one more time. I can make things right. I can do things right this time. I swear I can.”

    “Yeah, you can swear all right.”

    “Gwen, please.”

    “Please what? Give you another chance? Really? Because I don’t see that happening. Do you have any ideas how many of our dates you bailed out on?”

    “Well, I had something—-”

    “YOU LEFT ME STANDING AT THE ALTAR JUST SO YOU COULD MAKE OUT WITH DENTINE BARBIE!”

    Silence.

    “So, no. I don’t want to patch things up with you. I don’t want to give you a second chance. I sure don’t want to meet you at some cheesy secret location. So, yeah. Tough on you, Doofus Lord!” And Gwendolyn hung up the phone.

    ***

    Dufus Lord looked down at his cell phone.

    “Call ended.”

    Dentrice Varnon smirked. “Looks like you lose again.”

    He frowned at her. “You won’t get away with this.”

    “Oh, I will. And no one will come to your rescue.” Dentrice tossed her head back and chortled as her henchmen tied Dufus to the chair. “But really. It’s all your fault. Being too subtle. That always was your problem. Your fatal flaw.” She chortled again. “And in a few minutes, it will be your very fatal flaw.”

    He shrugged. “I’ve escaped from more hopeless situations.”

    “You won’t escape this one, Dufus. There is no cavalry this time. You are going to die.”

    An eerie, hollow laugh illed the air.

    Dufus’ hair stood on end.

    Dentrice pointed her Abrablaster in all directions. “Who’s there?”

    The air next to Dentrice shimmered and shined. “It is I!” A short, overweight man in tight yellow spandex appeared and snatched the gun out of Dentrice’s hands. “Deus ex Machina Guy! Hahaha—” He punched her and knocked her out. “—hahahahahaha—”

    Her goons charged at him.

    “—-hahahahahahahha—-”

    He knocked them all out too.

    “—-hahahahahahahahaha! Haha!” He released Dufus from his bonds. “All righty then! Time for you to kiss and make up with Gwen!”

    “I don’t know if I can.”

    “If all else fails, I’ll step in and make it all right. For I am….Deus ex Machina Guy! Hahaha!”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Cosi, you are in a riotious mood today and it shows in your story. My favorite line of course is, “A short, overweight man in tight yellow spandex, appeared and snatched the gun out of Dentrice’s hands.”

      Light, fluffy and full of fun.

  21. ShamelessHack

    “What took you so long?”
    “Sorry, it took forever to get an Uber. Do you realize what time it is?”
    “Whatever. Here look…”
    “That’s the big emergency? You have a big red “S” on your undershirt? Like I didn’t know who you were? I wonder if that Uber driver is still in the area.”
    “No, wait. I need your help in solving a big case.”
    “What for? You’re Superman. Solve it yourself.”
    “C’mon, you’re my friend.”
    “Huh. That one lousy night didn’t mean anything to me, Clark. Besides I was so drunk, I barely remember it.”
    “That’s not exactly…”
    “Yes Clark, that IS it exactly. ‘Man of Steel.’ Hah! For what, three minutes? Sheesh.”
    “Lois, I…”
    “’Faster than a speeding bullet.’ Ain’t that the truth!”
    “Wait a minute, Lois, I…”
    “Bag it dumbass. I’m outta here.”
    “No, you can’t go.”
    “Let go of my shoulder.”
    “You can’t go. I need your help.”
    “Really? Here, hold this for me.”
    “Sure, no prob…uh, wha?”
    “Yeah, it’s Kryptonite. You’ll be dead in like 15 seconds.”
    “But..but why?”
    “Write it off to not seeing the handwriting on the wall, Chump. Sayonara.”
    “Ugg, glug, blech… Siggggghhhh.”

    “Hello.”
    “Hi darling.”
    “Is he dead?”
    “Yep. I’m on my way home.”
    “Sweet.”
    “See you in a few. Oh, and tell Alfred to set out something out to eat for me, Bruce. I’m famished.”

  22. Madhuri Karra

    The day I have been waiting for twenty years had come.

    Finally, I thought, as I hung up the phone.

    But it was not like I had imagined. It was different. I wanted him to call to me connect with me again – emotionally. A connection we had lost nearly two decades ago. But no, he sounded…dejected. There was a sense of desperation in his voice.

    Vaz Hardy was never desperate. He had control of everything in life. He chose when he wanted to fall in love, and also when to fall out. He chose where his people should go. If anyone dared disobey him, he decided the punishment too. Most of the time it was being banished from that town. That was what happened to me; who was once his childhood sweetheart. Rosetta Glaze. The most beautiful girl in town. He wanted me to stay back and help him establish law and order in our town. I wanted something more. I wanted him all to myself. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted kids – with him. When I turned down what he offered, he left me mercilessly in dark woods making sure I would never find my way back to the town.

    He was wrong. I easily could have. But I never even tried.

    I wandered around in the major cities and made a fortune. I had everything I ever wanted. Almost.

    I missed him. Though I did not want to admit it to myself, I missed being with him. So when he called me today after such a long time, a little spark of warmth started caressing my otherwise cold body.

    I grabbed my coat and walked out of the house. It wasn’t just the desperation in his tone that worried me. It was the location he chose. The half-constructed underground tunnel. It was all over the news that people who went there never returned. That was one of the reasons why the construction never got completed. I reached the tunnel and waited. He was nowhere to be seen. I sat on one of the empty pallets and waited. The tunnel was almost dark except for a small neon light. If the stories weren’t enough to scare the hell out of a living soul, the light would. A light was usually supposed to be reassuring. But this one gave a ghostly appearance, shining behind the layers of mist that clouded the tunnel. The ground was scattered with construction tools and boxes. And it smelled of dead mice. I wrinkled my nose and slapped my scented handkerchief over it.

    What a place for a reunion, I cursed. Couldn’t he have found another location? Something more romantic? That was the least anyone could do for his…

    All my thoughts stopped halfway when I saw a figure walk through the mist towards me. Even if my eyes couldn’t recognize him, my heart did.

    Vaz.

    The moment he stepped into the clearing, time went still for me. This was not the Vaz who left me behind. This man in front of me was a walking symbol of perfection. Age did well for his already handsome features.

    ‘Rose,’ he whispered, taking my hand and pulling me to my feet. Just when a familiar warmth started taking over, I remembered how he deserted me. And I went cold again.

    ‘Why, Vaz? After twenty years?’ I asked, sternly. He looked tired and beat.

    ‘I need your help,’ he said. I raised my eyebrows. ‘But before that, I have to tell you something. We were together for ten years, Rose, but I never told you my real identity.’

    Something told me we were not talking about our long lost love that evening. An odd sense of fear engulfed me. He did not say anything but pulled back the sleeve of his shirt on his left hand. He took my hand and pulled me towards the light and thrust the hand under my nose. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light but when they did, my mind reeled with shock.

    There, right in front of my eyes, was the Dragon Tattoo. I screamed and staggered back.

    No, this was not happening! I know these people who bore the tattoo. They were called Dark Hunters. They have superhuman powers and grew stronger after sunset, and they were forced to hunt the bad people. People who were a threat to mankind. The Hunters were governed by a higher authority who would punish them if they failed at their job. And they were never supposed to leave their hometown. If they did, there was only one penalty.

    Death.

    ‘Now you know why I couldn’t leave the town,’ he said, softly. I managed to nod. Tears were forcing their way out of my eyes, but I kept blinking them back.

    No! Not Vaz. Now it all made sense. The Hunters. Their unique powers. I suppressed her urge to throw up. And in that one second, I knew why he was here.

    ‘There is someone out there, Rose,’ Vaz told. I looked up. ‘Someone who is after us. He is killing the Hunters one by one. It happened in our neighboring town. All their Hunters are dead. And our town is the next target. We tried to set traps, but his intelligence is far beyond all this. It’s like he knows how we operate and all our moves. We have to stop him.’

    ‘How do you think I can help?’ I asked though I was trembling inside. There was only one way he could have known. I hated the fact that my brother was also a Hunter.

    ‘Because you can track the scent of a person to any corner of the universe,’ Vaz said flatly. ‘We want you to follow him. You could get his scent near his targets and track him. We will plan it properly. We have to bring this killer down, Rose. Even your brother is in danger.’

    I laughed. My brother. Like I even cared about him. Even he abandoned me for his job. At least he was honest about it. I didn’t wait for years to know why he left me. He left to serve the Hunter group and never once came back, while my mother struggled to support me. I survived when my father left us to become the leader of Dark Hunters. I lived when my brother left us too. But realizing twenty years later that the love of my life also left me to become a Hunter, I thought I would break. His presence filled me with a gentle warmth until then. But when he told me why he was there, anger raged inside. Why wasn’t I given a single reason not to hate them? A hatred I had been harboring since my father left…

    ‘I am sorry, Vaz. I cannot help you’, I told him, straightening myself and looking into his eye. It helped that I was almost as tall as him. He looked taken aback.

    ‘But why, Rose? Why can’t you help us bring him down?’ he insisted.

    ‘Tell me one good reason why I should help kill my own son!’ I growled. ‘Our son!’

  23. rlk67

    “Thanks for coming. How long has it been? Eighth grade, maybe?” Moe took a step back to look at me. He always did this in school to everyone. I hated it. But he was my best buddy. I hope he didn’t still say, “Lookin’ gooood!”
    “Hey, lookin’ gooood!” Arrgh. “Hey, Chuck, keepin’ in shape!”
    “Nice to see you, too,” I offered. “Love the glasses. Keeping fit as well, I see. You never used to.”
    Moe laughed. “I was a bit…chubby back then. Ditched the ice cream.”
    I grinned. “I sometimes think about those late nights crashing at my house with chocolate swirl still dripping from our mouths. Miss it, sometimes.” I lied.
    Moe sighed, and sat on a rather ugly olive green couch with ripped upholstery. The rest of his tiny apartment didn’t seem much better. “I’m glad you said that. Hard to keep in touch, especially after you moved away to…where was it?”
    “Oh, um…across the city.” I winced. I heard the detention facility isn’t there anymore.
    Moe chuckled. “It was about the time strange things were happening around school. Some unsolved mysteries, as they put it. I remember.” Me, too, buddy.
    I wish he would get to the point. He stood up again and walked to a coat closet whose doors were almost as unhinged as I was.
    “I hear you’re a horticulturist.” he asked. “Can’t spell that. Remember Mrs. Cheeseman’s class? Insane spelling list every week. Never got more than five right.” He cleared his throat. “You teach at a nearby university, too.”
    I frowned. “You’ve done your homework, haven’t you?”
    “There’s a first for everything.” Moe pulled out a dark jump suit and a mask, and held it up. “I need your help.”
    I stared. Say something, Chuckie boy. “Ok. Uh…looks gorgeous. Maybe something lighter would match your eyes.”
    Moe sighed again. “No, I didn’t call you as a fashion adviser. I need expert advice.”
    “Okaaay…..” Get to the point, I have places to be.
    “At night, I am…the Mole. I go after the bad guys. Remember those days that I would save you from those bullies? Well, now I made a career out of it.” He looked so proud.
    It took all of my superhuman strength not to burst out laughing. When I felt I could manage it, I finally spoke.
    “Uh, well, yes…I do remember Jimmy and his gang who threatened to stuff me down the sewer that one Saturday. And you came to my rescue.” With a broken broom handle. Oh, no, I’m going to crack up. Just stay in control, Chucky.
    Moe was dead serious. I couldn’t let him down now. His voice suddenly became deeper.
    “There’s terrible dealings going on. Someone who calls himself the Cicada is poisoning what is supposed to be preserved forest and grassland. We think he’s looking to make a grab for the land after everything dies. We must stop him.”
    We? Oh, this was classic. First of all, it’s not poison. Second of all, I don’t grab. Oh, my sides were starting to hurt. Control, Chuckie.
    “So, Mr. Superhero. I mean…Mr…”
    “Mole.” he said definitively. I have never seen my old buddy so stone-faced before.
    “Right. Mole. How did you…uh, never mind. It’s a bird, it’s a plane…nah, doesn’t fit.” I cleared my throat three times.
    Moe wasn’t in the joking mood. Wow..he really morphed.
    “I need you to help me catch…the Cicada. Are you with me?”
    I couldn’t stand it. “What color suit do I get? I’m partial to periwinkle, myself.” That was it. I fell to the floor howling.
    Moe just stared down at me. Then in his deep voice said, “I know it sounds strange. But I really need you.”
    I must have mercy on this guy. I got up and sat, wiping my eyes. “Moe…”
    “Call me Mole. We’re partners now.”
    “Well, not quite.” Ok, it was time. I took a deep breath.
    “Moe..Mole. When was the last last time you saw me?”
    Deep voice. “I think it was eight grade, like I said.”
    I noticed a small calculator on the desk. I picked it up and tossed it to him.
    “How many years has it been? Figure it out.”
    He thought. “Mr. Cooper, math class. I managed a B-. All right. Eighth grade was…’99-2000.”
    “And this is…?” We’re getting closer, buddy.
    “2017.” He thought more. “So it’s been…seventeen years.”
    “Well done,” I said heartily. “Now think back to Mr. Krather’s science class. Remember anything we learned about seventeen? Anything that might…bug you?” C’mon, buddy. You can do it.
    Moe closed his eyes. Waiting. Waiting. Then he jumped up. He gasped. “The gestation of period in months of a killer whale! That’s it!”
    I was feeling sick. “Uh, well, how about anything in science about seventeen years?”
    Moe pondered. “Hmmmm….maybe…cicada?” Yes! And therefore…
    Moe’s eyes got wider and wider. “Seventeen years,” he whispered. “You’ve been gone for…No! It couldn’t be!”
    Too much fun here. I rose up to leave. “Sorry, buddy. I would really love to stay and help, but now I have things to do.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out a hollow cicada, a few inches long. I pressed it’s wings, and blew some pesticide into the face of…the shocked Mole. He dropped, and I walked out laughing, throwing back a card just inside the door.
    “We’ll meet again…in 2034!”

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      “He stood up again and walked to a coat closet whose doors were almost as unhinged as I was” is my favorite line. This brought such a smile to my face, I can see this as one of those comedy movies they used to make back in the early 00’s. Funny stuff!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This stands next to The Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes as far as weird and funny. Convert it to a screen play and live on the ocean in Bermuda. Good job.

  24. jhowe

    Jimmy hadn’t heard from Clark since the Daily Planet succumbed to online news sources four years ago. Out of the blue, Clark wanted to meet. Lois perked up when Jimmy told her at lunch. She wanted to tag along but Clark specifically told him to come alone. Lois sighed and made another joke about Clark being Superman. Jimmy shook his head. What a silly notion. Superman didn’t wear glasses for one thing, and Clark was far too mild mannered.

    Jimmy’s GPS took him far out of Metropolis to the Ice Caves. He thought this odd but Clark seemed to know what he was doing. Luckily, Jimmy was wearing a heavy coat.

    “Hi, Jimmy. How have you been?”

    “Great Clark, let’s take a selfie.” Jimmy turned his bulky 35 mm and moved next to Clark. Clark took the camera and crushed it to dust.

    “Gee willikers, why’d you do that?” Jimmy stared at the pile of powder. “The real question is how’d you do that?”

    Clark took off his glasses and ripped open his shirt.

    “So, it’s true,” Jimmy said. “You really are Superman.”

    “Then maybe you can guess why I wanted to meet,” Superman said as he fluffed his cape.

    Jimmy unzipped his lead lined overcoat and let it fall. His kryptonite laced cardigan gleamed. As Superman fell to his knees, Jimmy said, “It’s about my father. I didn’t think you knew.” Jimmy pushed the man of steel over with a high healed boot. “Yes, I’m Olsen Luther, son of Lex Luther, and no, he is not dead. You thought you killed him, but he survived.” Superman writhed under Jimmy’s spiked heal. “He lives, though impaired greatly, thanks to you. I will avenge him now.”

    Jimmy pulled a fission pistol from his belt and adjusted the setting. He pointed it at Superman’s head. “Any last words?”

    Superman moaned, tried to speak and saw Lois as she swung the baseball bat. Jimmy’s head snapped forward and he fell. Lois grabbed the little man by the feet and dragged him further into the ice cave. When she returned, Superman lifted his head, somewhat recovered.

    “Lucky for you I followed Jimmy,” she said. “And lucky too I have a softball game scheduled for later.” She hefted the now bloodied bat and tossed it aside. She helped him to his feet and they made their way out of the cave.

    “Let me rest, just for a minute,” he said.

    “You really should look into that kryptonite thing.” She let Superman lean on her, enjoying the contact. “Talk about a downer.”

    Soon, Superman stood tall. He laser eyed the mouth of the ice cave and shards exploded and filled the opening. The surrounding rock melted and sealed the cave shut.

    “Do you think that will do it?” Lois said.

    “Let’s hope. If he survived your pummeling he’ll be very upset with you if he gets out of there.”

    “Then maybe you should stay close,” she said taking his arm. “You know, just in case.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This is comic book heaven on the internet. You did it with much style and a lot of class. If you;re in the mood, could you manage a second response on “Tweety Bird?”

  25. dallos_

    I smooth down my ‘far-too-yellow’ dress, way out of place in this town of muted colours.
    I feel powerful as stalk my way down the station platform, very aware that I have all eyes on me, both men and women.
    As I see I have the joint attention of one particularly attractive couple I put more exaggeration in the swivel of my hips; giggling to myself as I see her mouth drop in a particularly adorable way.
    My blonde curls don’t bounce as they usually would whilst I stride along through the station, out into what they call sunlight in this area. With the tall buildings and the thick layer of smog, true sunlight never really makes it to the ground.
    No matter.
    I make my own sunlight.
    I wave my fingers in an airy gesture and feel a ray of warmth follow me down the street. My curls seem to gain a new lease on life as they spring energetically, and I know my, quotation marks, hazel eyes look like they could actually be gold.
    But of course they’re not gold.
    That would be impossible…
    I pull my phone out and stare at the message Mark sent me.
    “Meet me behind the usual coffee shop. We need to talk.”
    I know ‘We need to talk.’ is never a positive phrase.
    However, Mark i becoming boring. I may this afternoon, do what I always do, and make sure I leave no evidence. It would be the last mistake he ever made, and would just make my intended time line run a little quicker.
    What can I say, i’m VERY good at adapting last minute.
    I turn the corner and see Mark standing there looking anxious. I roll my eyes behind my brown sunglasses, I do hate when he gets emotional like this; He can just be so.. needy.
    ‘Mark! I got your message sweetie!’ I throw my arms around him. I feel him shaking under my touch.
    ‘Carly,’ He sighs into my neck; ‘I’m so glad you’re here. I need to show you something.’ He pulls away and begins unbuttoning his shirt. I bite my lip as I watch.
    ‘Here sweetie? I didn’t think you were into..’ I trail off as I see the emblem underneath his open shirt.
    The big gold T stares out at me.
    ‘oh…’ I whisper. This day just got far more exciting, and my plans suddenly change. Maybe Mark wasn’t as boring as I initially thought.
    I told you I was adaptable. I school my face into an adorably confused ‘O’.
    He scratches the back of his neck. ‘Please don’t freak out, but I need your help. QT is crashing a fashion show to kidnap the senator’s daughter and you’d be less conspicuous than me.’ He looks at me pleading. I just need you to keep eyes on her whilst she’s in the show.’
    I stay silent, fiddling with the Q dangling from one ear, and the T dangling from the other.
    ‘Please Cathy?’ He begs.
    ‘Oh, no. I couldn’t possibly do than sweetie.’ I purr.
    He looks taken aback by my response and sudden composure. ‘Are you scared for your safety? Because I’ll be watching the whole time, I just would like the sen..’
    I hold up a hand as I walk slowly toward him. ‘No honey. Nothing like that,’ I grin wolfishly next to his ear. ‘It’s just hard to protect someone AND kidnap them at the same time.’

  26. writer_sk

    Three pennies, one, two, three. Three snaps of my fingers and the street lights came on, one, two, three – each illuminating a tiny swarm of gnats all going in circles, not understanding their purpose in life – one, two, three. I looked up at the night sky, vacant, cool, stretching out like an ocean in a watercolor painting, the edges blending in with the treetops. I sat on the park bench, its slats pushing gently against the backs of my thighs, not comfortable but not distracting enough to stand rather than sit. I waited for the last bus into the city. It would be over an hour until I arrived at my job and over a month until I got my car. Work was fine but anyone could do it. One did need to be a certain kind of person to tolerate its tedious nature. I was the desk manager overnight at a senior facility. I sipped a hot cup of black coffee while going through the day’s reports. I felt a tap on my shoulder. Evan. In my mind’s eye I visualized him. The desk phone rang and his soft voice was just above a whisper.

    He wanted to talk to me and for me to meet him after work. I saw the place he meant in my mind’s eye. When I arrived, he wasn’t there and I shut my eyes tightly almost passing out from the hard work of visualizing and I could see him in a hallway filled with smoke and fire carrying a small child to a firefighter before going back into the inferno. I went home. I put three round glasses of cold water on the table, one, two, three – in a row and drank from one. I went to sleep shutting the light out with heavy shades pulling each down, snap, snap, snap until the day was gone and my cool bedspread became my refuge. Cold, wet palms on my upper arm, woke me and I thought Evan was there but when I shut my eyes again, I could see his dark spiky hair had fallen in his eyes as he created a wind strong enough to blow the cocaine operation right out of the drug dealer’s apartment. The dealers’ money Evan dropped off at the church and soup kitchen.

    I finally got my new car and the ride in was smooth and fast. This would be the third time I saw the motorcycle with the pink light glowing slow and low on a Monday. The rider looked to the side and back at me three times, one, two, three. Evan. I reached my exit and work was in sight. Arriving early, I got out of my new car and saw three pennies on the ground and looked around a little. The moon shone bright and low in the sky that night and I heard from Evan.

    “You’ve always known,” he said.

    “Known what?” I asked aloud to the empty lot, my finger making the shape of three circles on my new car’s hood on which a light mist had formed from the drizzle that had started.

    There was no response.

    “Known that you have powers,” I hesitated, three snaps of my fingers, one, two, three. The headlights came on, the streetlights came on and a star above me blinked.

    “…and that I have them.”

    “Yes,” he said, “join me, Delphina, and fulfill your destiny. I need your help.”

    “Because of the weakness.” I grew confident. “The weakness from using your telekinesis, super speed, telepathy, and wind and fire manipulation.”

    “Yes.”

    He was there, by the open field. He looked slightly different than he looked in my dreams and mind. He was muscular and wore all black.

    “Here.” he was right next to me and handed me an all black suit similar to his. We each had the three circles across the front: sun, moon and the lucky penny.

    “I need you to work at night and I’ll work during the days, and,” he held out his hand, “sometimes we’ll work together,” my twin brother said as we rose up and flew to the abandoned warehouse, passing the trees as the light drizzle became sharp and poured from the heavens. I looked ahead at my mission and back at my new car in the parking lot which already felt like someone else’s life.

  27. JRSimmang

    – First thought regarding the title of this week’s prompt: Remember that scene where Adam West as Batman showed the world how to do “The Bat?” I imagine all superheroes dancing the Superhero Twist. Cha cha cha.

    THE DEVIL WITHIN

    Back alleyways and smokey, underground casinos. That’s where the others like to do business. Don’t ask me why. It’s all pedigree, I suppose. Here, take the torch, young villain… to light your way through the cigar-smoking kingpins and hooded stabby-folk. Personally, I’ve always liked rooftops for the millions of escape routes or for the more nefarious tasks. I’ve only ever thrown one person off. Once.

    “… so that’s the problem, Julius. You see, he’s always been there. Right from the beginning. And, I don’t know how much longer I can chase him.”

    I was only half-listening to my best friend Clint Wozniak, better known as Chromascope, as he prattled on and on about his nemesis, Dark Atlas. The other half of me was listening to the conversation two old men were having on the park bench down the street.

    “And,” one of them said, the one with the slightly Jersey accent, “it seems like Chromascope is losing his touch.”

    “Well, he’s old!” shouted the other one, who sounded like he was speaking through a mouthful of pretzel or bagel, something fluffy and chewy. “He’s been at this game since I joined the Army.”

    “And, he’s done away with everyone else except this Dark Atlas character. What’s his villainous superpower, anyhow? Running around in leotards?”

    They both laughed.

    Manipulation of space. Super senses. Inability to feel pain, I thought.

    “Well, I’ll give it to Dark Atlas, though. He hasn’t killed anyone.”

    “Wait, whattabout that fellow who was thrown from the roof?”

    “Commissioner Goodall?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Didn’t die. Landed right into an open truck filled with sawdust or mulch or somethin’ soft.”

    “Well I’ll be d*mned,” pretzel-chewer said. He finally swallowed his mouthful.

    “And now, you’re not even listening to me,” Clint whined. He had unbuttoned his shirt, allowing Chromascope’s gold and red bodysuit to show through.

    I turned to face him. “Look. Clint. Pal. We’ve been friends for how long?”

    “Somewhere close to forty years.”

    “Exactly. And, how many tough spots have I gotten you out of?”

    “Too many to count.”

    “And, have I ever asked questions?”

    “No,” he admitted. “I should have know you wouldn’t be surprised when I told you about… about…”

    “Your being Chromascope?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Because, Clint, I’m not stupid.”

    He laughed.

    “You see?” I asked and put a hand on his shoulder. “You can’t hide anything from me. I’ve known you too long.” I chuckled. “Plus, your not ageing is a dead giveaway.”

    He humphed. “I suppose you’re right.” Then, he looked me square in the eyes. “Speaking of which, you aren’t showing your lines, either.”

    A slow grin tugged at the corner of my mouth and I dropped my hand to my side. “Symbiosis, my good friend. Your superpower sheds off of you like the sunlight.”

    His gaze softened, and he waved me off. He walked to the edge of the roof. “I guess.” He turned and sat on the low wall. “You still won’t help?”

    “And then,” interjected the old Jersey man, “perhaps not betting on Gold Standard.”

    “Oh, is that all?” asked his friend, who had another bite of pretzel in his mouth.

    “Regrets, though? I can’t say for sure they’re regrets.” There was a momentary pause. “Perhaps I’d call them lessons. Like with your sister.”

    There were a couple grumbles, a cough, and then, “she did love you, though.”

    “Yep. Nearly killed us.”

    I sighed. “How long have you been fighting this Dark Atlas?”

    “Forty years.”

    “That’s a long time.”

    “Very.”

    I sighed again. “Okay, tell you what. I’ll help you if you do this one thing for me.” I walked across the gravel, my feet not making a sound though whirlwinds were kicking up around them. I flexed, and my skin shred its solid layer in thin strips, allowing my dark glow to shine through.

    “Don’t ask me to do anything stupid, or harmful.”

    “Help me put an end to this.”

    I raised hand, twisting the energy around me, pulling it into my fist. The ground beneath me spun, slowly at first, then widened into a perfect circle. The rooftop moved around me, shifting and widening with the circle. The circle at my feet extended toward the sky and to the Earth until I was enveloped in a sphere of cackling energy. Clint stood up, clasped his hands, then opened his arms creating a sparkling orb of gold. It, too, grew, until our energies touched in a lightning storm, bolts shooting in all directions. Then, like two bubbles, our spheres conjoined, and then

    Nothing.

    I blinked against the diminishing sunlight, the brilliant golds and royal purples, the reds and oranges and yellows dropping below the city line. I looked down and realized my shirt had fallen open, my gold and red bodysuit peeping out.

    “Woops,” I said, and buttoned my shirt up all the way.

    In the distance, the Jersey man whistled and said, “I think they’re the same person.”

    “Dark Atlas and Chromasphere?”

    “Chromascope.”

    “Whatever,” the pretzel man conceded. “Either way, they’ve been at it too long.”

    I inhaled deeply, content that, once again, I saved the day.

    -JR Simmang

    1. writer_sk

      JR- Awesome. I like the superhero names you came up with. The part where their powers come out and Dark Atlas is using his powers was beautifully written.

      My only small nit pick was who was saying what during dialogue – the jersey guys or the two friends. Maybe it’s just me but I would consider getting rid of the jersey guys if you’re going to continue bc I was more interested in the two heroes. IMHO

  28. Pete

    I watch Tarah blink into the new sun, then into a yawn that grows into a deep, beckoning stretch. Her eyes crinkle. She arches her back and rolls her neck gracefully to accommodate the arrangement. The whole sequence reminds me of a little girl, rising lazily to traipse into a room full of presents on Christmas morning, as Morris High School’s fearless journalist looks disarmed and innocent, like the newborn day.

    It fills me with hope, something I can’t grasp, until she blinks again and catches me watching her.

    “What?”

    Innocence gone. It’s ten ‘til seven. We’ve got exams at eight, and the rising mercury has me wiping the back of my neck.

    We’re on assignment for the school paper, and I should be exhausted, pretending to be normal for such a stretch. We’ve worked in shifts, although Tarah hasn’t slept and neither have I, as we’ve been surveilling the Peters’ place.

    I’m losing what splintered hope I still have in humanity. A gray Jeep Cherokee has made several runs, a gaunt, bearded man with drooping pants coming and going from the wreckage of a house with a collapsed awning and faded Christmas wreath on the door. It’s a late nineties model Jeep with a white driver side door and black hood. Tarah’s been taking notes but now she’s growing impatient.

    “Okay, so we’ve seen a car come and go all night, Whitaker. Besides that, I’m not sure we have a story here.”

    She sets her head back on the seat, when she does her chest shows the first signs of perspiration beneath her low-cut V-neck. I grip the steering wheel until I feel it give. What good is X-ray vision for a gentleman?

    Tarah’s irritable. I’m in love. We’re both frustrated here.

    The stakeout was a dumb idea. My idea. I’m a pretty crappy journalist, but I’m even worse at being a superhero. I thought maybe we’d talk, maybe get to know each other. Maybe…I don’t know…

    Tarah does this adorable nose wiggle thing when she yawns, and her freckles rearrange, change constellations, and I always look to see if they make it back in position. I’m smiling at her like a doofus when her phone rings. I can tell it’s Luke by the way her whole body comes alive. I try not to listen but alas, superhero…

    She says: Hey you.

    He says: Uh…

    She giggles.

    Luke. Blondie. The guy Tarah’s been swooning over since the first day of school. The guy who joined the paper but has never done a minute’s work. The guy who’s one cliché away of making the next cover of a sleazy romance novel.

    Tarah hang up and her voice is different. “Change of plans. We’re meeting Luke at the coffee shop on Commerce.”

    “Why?”

    She shrugs, bites her lip. She yanks her seat belt over her shoulder. Not for the first time I wonder why I got this planet to save.

    As we drive downtown I think how I could tell her. I could pull over my grandmother’s old Ford LTD, turn and look into her vicious green eyes and tell her who I am. I could tell her how I feel about her.

    I don’t. I park the car outside the coffee shop and check my watch. “We’ve got thirty-eight minutes until exams.”

    “You’re such, a dork.”

    My eyes instinctively dart ahead of Tarah, scanning for danger. On an assignment last year we were researching a story on homelessness in the city and got mugged by five metheads. I took a knife to the gut. Or the knife took my gut to its blade. I felt it snap and the guys ran off. It took months to convince Tarah what happened without telling her what happened.

    Tarah’s already three steps ahead of me. “Let’s go, Whitaker, hustle up.”

    Something’s not right. Two woman exit the building, texting and sipping. Three men are in line. Two employees man the register. A quick scan of the premises reveals nothing. No alarming odors or heat. Tarah’s standing at the door, holding it open for me.

    The sun hits her smile. “After you, sir.”

    I always get the door for Tarah. Always. But my head is light, the room is dark. Something’s wrong. And Tarah’s smile, it’s very wrong…

  29. dustymayjane

    We grew up together. Same small town, different sides of the tracks. Davey Danielson was my best friend, until that day. It may not have changed my course in life, but it sure changed Davey’s.

    I’m Harry Hanson. I lived on the north edge of Cedar Springs. Not up on the cliffs where all the big shots built their giant mansions and swimming pools. No, I lived down in the river bottom, where there was no longer a river, but a small creek, poisoned by the plastics plant up north in Maddtown.

    I guess the lotto changes people. The luck of a number, chosen at random, assigned at random, making the random recipient better than the rest of us. The Danielson’s’ built a eight thousand square foot, three story home up on that cliff. They pulled Davey out of the Cedar Elementary School to attend the prestigious Columbus Academy for Young Men.

    That was the day I said goodbye to my buddy Davey and hello to my new persona, Harry (The Hooligan) Hanson. I guess I spent too many summer days playing in that creek. Losing my friend pushed me over that thin line between hero and villain.

    Five years later I moved to Maddtown. Took a late shift job at the plant where most river bottom dwellers found work. After I clocked out each night at the plant, The Hooligan was free to play. Banks, jewelry stores, even mansions on the cliffs of Cedar Ridge were visited by The Hooligan. Soon I’d have to leave Maddtown and my old stomping grounds. I was after better things. Richer things. I would make Upton City my new home and my first hit was the People’s Bank of Upton.

    I hadn’t’ heard from Davey in ten years. Learning of his occupation as police chief in Cedar Ridge, I was not surprised. Old Do Good Danielson really had moved up in the world. I chuckled at his invitation. He needed my help he said. Why me? Well I guess I was his last hope after he’d alienated all his old pals up on the cliff with all of his rules and regulations for peace and safety in the city. No parties, no dancing, no birthday candles on the cakes of children, for fear it would cause a fire in his town. Nothing happened on Davey’s watch. The town of Cedar Ridge had dried up.

    I accepted the invite and waited in Upton City, on the roof of Bob’s Bar with my scotch, neat. A clandestine meeting of which I would soon regret.

    I didn’t recognize Davey. When Doctor Do Good appeared in front me I wasn’t prepared.

    “Hello Harry. Or should I say Hooligan?” Davey sneered. “You’re surprised. I can tell. You didn’t expect to see Doctor Do Good.”

    “Davey? Is that you?”

    I felt the weakening of my muscles as soon as Davey jabbed the needle into my neck. It was no good trying to produce The Hooligan’s extreme strength, I was paralyzed.

    “It’s me old friend. Your coming with me… downtown. Cedar Ridge, Maddtown and Upton City have seen the last of The Hooligan.”

    Once in lockdown at Cedar Ridge city jail, Davy visited me.

    “Your Dad should have gone in with Pop on those lotto tickets Harry. I’m sure he regrets bowing out of the pool that week.” Davey looked at me pitifully and left The Hooligan there to rot.

    1. writer_sk

      Dusty! This was a real superhero tale. This felt very true to what a superhero story is. I had trouble with my own. I never created the villain. I like how your villain developed . This had a “Smallville” feel to me- Lex Luthor and Clarke Kent. Well done- I read it twice.

    2. Rene Paul

      Luck of the draw, twist of faith, oh the decisions we make. Our life can change for good or bad in a heartbeat. Well thought out, good story.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I liked the tone and smooth flow you created along with an excellent back story

        The small town setting was just right for your story. You are on solid ground with this.

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