Finish This Sentence #3 – Superhero

I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a __________. (And then write a story that follows it.)

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


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172 thoughts on “Finish This Sentence #3 – Superhero

  1. The Denster

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a goldfish. It’s embarrassing to admit that I was bit by a goldfish. Can you imagine if I had died and showed up at the pearly gates… “How’d you die?” “Bit by a goldfish” “Lucifer, come get this one….” Anyway, it was a big goldfish, if that helps.
    I went for months not knowing I had a super-power. Life was fairly normal until I fell from that cliff and ended up in a man-made lake. A deep lake. A cold lake. Did I mention I don’t swim and the lake was deep?
    So, I thought, this is it. I waited, as I sank, for the movie of my life to play, but no dice. This had to be the way I’d go. I was alone on a hike. I could not swim and I was sinking deeper and deeper into darker and darker water. I hit bottom and looked around.
    Well, there’s a turtle. There’s a monster bass swimming out of what looks like a 1934 DeSoto—insurance scam. I started to walk towards where I thought I would find shoe. After a minute or so I realized I was breathing normally. I wasn’t holding my breath. I was actually breathing.
    And that’s my super-power.

  2. Lacharmoure

    I awoke in the dark, alone and aching all over. My head was pounding and all I could think was, Did we win?
    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by something. A bug of some sort? I still don’t know. Let’s face it this is not a job I would have chosen, there is way too much exercise involved in being a super hero and it’s been murder on my social life.
    It was summer in Michigan and I was a teenager, staying out late, bonfires on the beach, and all kinds of mischief. Bug bites were not unusual remnants of the nighttime escapades. I was a foolish and flirty school girl who woke up one morning with a hangover and some major bug bites. I was itching like crazy. I tried a cold shower, lotions, hydrogen peroxide, you name it. Nothing stopped the itching. Just when I thought I was going to go insane from the itching things started to get weird. First there was my skin, or rather the color of my skin. It turned purple. Yeah, the purple was weird but that was just the start. While I was looking in the mirror in disbelief at my purple skin, I disappeared. There was no reflection in the mirror? I was sure I was going insane now. I went back to bed trying to convince myself that it was all just a crazy hangover. An hour later I woke up on the ceiling.
    It has taken me twelve year to “perfect” my talents. I can conceal my purple skin but it takes a lot of energy so most of the time I don’t. Invisibility and levitation come in handy now that I can control them but to truly be super I had to develop a few more talents. I can juggle. Just kidding, I can’t juggle, but I can shoot electricity from my fingertips, read people’s thoughts, and teleport things. Those talents come in handy when you’re saving the world.
    Last night’s fight was with a guy who calls himself, Himoleus. He started a clan and has mastered a few tricks of his own. I am not sure where his powers came from but he’s dangerous. His clan members are just normal people, well normal people with guns. Too bad I am not bullet proof. What makes Himoleus most dangerous is his ability to control others. He can manipulate most people and therefore we never know who is on his side.
    We. Yes, I am not alone. I have my own crew, or rather I did before last night’s battle. I hope they’re still alive.
    We are six all together. Art and Allen are brothers, my electricians. They have made me all kinds of fun gadgets and guns. Art also has a sweet smile and gentle hands. Ty Ni is my tech support. She is a whiz kid with a computer and the master of keeping us off the grid. My brother, Curtis, has been my strength through this whole thing. He is still convinced he can find a cure for my super powers. Mr. Chen disagrees. Mr. Chen’s homeopathic tonics have helped me keep the itching to a minimum and focus my energy. He says that I was bit by a dragonfly of some sort. He says there is no cure, that I can only “work on managing my skills”.
    God, why is it so dark? I can’t see anything.
    “Tess? Can you hear me? I’m coming, Tess.”
    “Art!” I can see the light cut into the darkness like a knife. It hurts my eyes. I have never been so happy to hear his voice.
    All I can see is his blurry figure as he crawls into the darkness and places a familiar gentle hand around my waist.
    “It’s okay, I got you.”
    As we emerge from the darkness the light burns my eyes but I can hear Mr. Chen’s voice as he helps walk me to the van. Ty’s voice comes over Art’s transmitter, broadcasting that her and Curtis are awaiting us at base, and Allen is in the driver’s seat. We are all alive.
    “Did we win?” I ask.
    “I guess that is what you could call it,” Allen replies as the doors close and he starts the van. “Whatever you call it, we live to fight another day.”

  3. ReathaThomasOakley

    An Annie Story

    “Miss Jimmie Mae?”

    “Yes, Annie?” She put her special Jewel Tea cookie plate on the wicker table, soft oatmeal this time, I like crisp ones better, but didn’t want to tell her.

    “Do you think I talk too much?” Miss Jimmie Mae got this funny, scrunched up look round her mouth, like she couldn’t open up her lips.

    “Well, Annie,” she sat down and drank a little ice tea. She calls this our Saturday tea time, but I gotta drink milk. “I guess that depends on what you’re sayin’ and who you’re sayin’ it to.”

    “Yesterday, at lunch recess, I was tellin’ Marian and Cheryl ’bout when I had my tonsils out, and nasty ole Wilfred sneaked up behind me and said, ‘Did you get bit by Chatty Cathy or som’thin? You talk all the time’.” I took a bite of cookie, maybe soft wasn’t so bad, least she didn’t put in raisins, I hate raisins.

    “Well, Annie, I believe you’ve told lotta folks ’bout that. Maybe you done told Wilfred–”

    “No, no, this was a new story ’bout when that ether was startin’…” I stopped. “I interrupted, didn’t I?” Miss Jimmie Mae kinda waved her hand like, that’s alright. “I’m sorry.” I ate the rest of my cookie and got another one. Mama says always eat one to be polite, two if they’re really good, but never three, unless you’re told to have another.

    “Anyway, just when they put that rubber thing over my face, and breathin’ that ether felt like I was bein’ wrapped up in wet blankets, just right then I thought I was Sky King’s niece Penny, and I was flyin’! Do you know about Sky King, Miss Jimmie Mae?”

    “I do believe I’ve heard that program on the radio, evenings at gatherin’ dark when I’m out here on the porch. That Mr. King always catches the criminals, doesn’t he.”

    “He does, but when I was Penny, I was the one catchin’ the bad men, I was the hero. That’s what I was tellin’ Marian and Cheryl. But, do you know what Wilfred said?” Miss Jimmie Mae shook her head. “He said girls, even Penny, who can fly an airplane, can’t be heroes. I was so mad!” I ate my second cookie and without thinkin’, took one more. “So, what do you think? Do I talk too much?”

    “Annie, I always enjoy your stories. I suspect Wilfred says lots of things just to make you mad. You ever thought on that?”

    “But, why would he want to get me mad? He knows I’m just gonna chase him all over the school yard.” Miss Jimmie Mae got that scrunched up face again.

    “Annie, I think your dream ’bout bein’ a girl hero is a good one. In fact, I think, if their a mind to, girls can be superheroes.” She drank some tea. “I also think you should start writin’ all your stories down, in case you just might be tellin’ them too many times.” She picked up the plate. “Would you like another cookie?” I took one, just to be polite.

    “Now, do you have your Bible verse learned for Sunday School tomorrow? No? Then I have one what coulda been wrote just for you, James 3:5. ‘Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!'”

    (Just discovered Chatty Cathy time is wrong, without wifi seven days, still wanted to get something posted before prompt changes, hope to do comments tomorrow.)

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You know I feel right at home now, cradled in your stories. So many times, I wish for the simplier times of my past and then I remember the polio striking, diptheria that my sister almost died from, and then I swing back to the radio shows. I haven’t thought about Sky King in almost a century. My favorite was Jack Armstrong, All American Boy, Let’s Pretend, Amos and Andy. This is so good it almost hurts when I realize how far I srill need to go. But Reatha. we should never get to where we want lest we stop trying. You write magic Miss Reatha, girl.

    1. Critique

      A delightful story – glad you took the time to post it! Something to ponder – the tongue is little but can create monsters and turn worlds upside down.

  4. ashloom

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero but all that changed when I got bit by a banana. You might be thinking, that’s insane! Bananas can’t bite anything! They don’t even have mouths! Well here on the plant Plativos bananas are dangerous and vicious outlaws. Some crazy scientist decided to mate a banana with a dog and now we have bananas biting people left and right. The whole city was frustrated but no one knew how to get rid of them. I got bit walking to work. I had just left my house and was walking down the street when I felt a stinging pain in my left ankle. I looked down and saw a banana about a six inches tall latched onto my ankle. I kicked my leg and shook it off and it ran away. I looked at my ankle and saw drops of blood trickle down to the sidewalk and then I passed out. The next thing I know, I wake up in some strange hospital and they tell me that they found me on the street and that the banana that bit me had died. They did an autopsy of the banana and found out that it died from being poisoned by my blood. Apparently I have killer blood and it would finally solve the crazy banana problem. They said I just needed to donate a few pints of blood and they would synthesize it and spray it all over the city. And just like that, I became a hero and saved our great planet from the banana apocalypse.

  5. Critique

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit – well pecked – by a bird.

    Following two years of research on birdlife in the Antarctic I was offered a position to head up a research team with a Protection and Conservation Agency to study the impact of lyrebirds in Tasmania– which at that time were considered a feral growing pest.

    Our team comprised of a global crew: Beate Sorensen, a zoologist from Oslo; Alejandro Lopez a conservation biologist from Madrid; Tony Marche – a French student from the University of Kent in Paris; Tarum Singh – a Post grad student of Botany from the University of Delhi; and myself – Bob Fennish. They were all keeners but none of them I soon found out had more than a rudimentary grasp of the English language.

    Early in January we took the ferry from Melbourne to Hobart, Tasmania – a lot cheaper than flying with all of our gear.

    The next morning we teamed up with a tall imposing man, Jiemba, of aborigine descent, and an expert in lyrebirds who graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Natural Environment and Wilderness Studies degree.

    We set out the following morning for the southern forested region of Tasmania.

    We hiked across rugged mountainous terrain and before nightfall cleared out some of the dense undergrowth in a valley and set up our tents.

    In the morning our team fanned out in pairs in a grid like fashion.

    Alejandro and I set up a makeshift watch in a tall gum tree about a two hour hike from our camp and settled down to wait. Lyrebirds can be heard but are shy creatures and difficult to observe.

    Around noon we heard them. We were ready when they strutted into a small clearing below.

    Somehow, I lost my balance, fell, branches slowing my fall and found myself on the ground – I think I landed on a lyrebird. By the time Alejandro climbed down to see if I was okay, the flock had flown.

    Winded, my hand came away from my neck covered in blood.

    “Ay, Dios mio!” Alejandro exclaimed as he rushed over and helped me to my feet. “Estas bien?”

    “No se preocupe, estory bien.” I said and then looked at him befuddled.

    The next few minutes we spoke to each other in fluent Spanish as Alejandro examined my wound and then pronounced, “No es profunda.”

    Bewildered and thankful I wasn’t badly injured, we headed back to camp.

    Beate was the first to notice the bloody bandage on my neck.

    “Min gud. Hva skjedde?” She said a look of concern in her blue Scandinavian eyes.

    “Sin ingenting, bare en ripe.” (It’s nothing, just a scratch) I said. We looked at each other in shock and continued speaking to each other in Norwegian.

    The team experimented. Incredibly I could speak fluent Norwegian, French, Spanish, Creole (Jiemba’s native language), and Punjabi.

    None of us slept much. The reigning theory purposed was I had been injected with an infectious agent from the lyrebird scratch on my neck. I had become a human lyrebird – able to mimic any language or sound.
    Sixteen months later.

    A new position in espionage has been created for me (one of the Australian/United Kingdom’s best kept secrets) and is proving to be exciting with enviable financial benefits. Word has it, three of my team from Tasmania have been successfully injected with ALB (Agent Lyre Bird) and are in training to work in my field.

    The possibilities are mind boggling.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Hi Critique. I was hooked from the first sentence
      I looked up lyre bird, it’s fascinating to read about. You certainly did careful research on this, very enjoyable and entertaining
      Your premise to finish the story is unusually clever 9

      1. Critique

        Thank you Kerry for reading this. Lyrebirds are fascinating and I would like that kind of superpower 😉 I look forward to your inspiring comments!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      This entire story is mind boggling! If you were on this expedition, what a great adventure, if you weren’t, well, your details are amazing. Whatever the case, what a fantastic way to use this prompt.

  6. tpaladin

    I mistakenly read “hit” instead of “bit…ooops. I discovered this after I had written this silly story. I think it’s time for some glasses. Enjoy!

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got hit by a pair of vintage Underoos. My addiction to “Magic” The Gathering” once again led me to another trip to the local hobby shop that I frequented for Dungeons and Dragons night on Sundays. Apparently, my insatiable DM buddy, “Dingo”, and his neophyte nephew, Raul, had already cleaned out the rares earlier that afternoon, so I decided that it was time to focus on a more productive use of my time on my last day off before the grind commenced once again at work. The stack of references for my thesis in my English class reminded me that it was time to replace my laptop, so before heading to the local coffee shop to begin the tedious organization for my paper, I was off to Sticky’s Corner”, a small but popular pawn shop next to a seedy thrift store full of mostly unwashed millennials and hairy relics who were lost in the 1960s. That’s when I was assaulted by a hippie child pushing a shopping cart presumedly commandeered from a well-known homeless man that we all knew as Ward(short for Eduardo I think). He shouted “Undertag!”as he sped off towards Myrtle St. Obviously quite amused, I followed that rascal into a damp alley amid the growing laughter from the bus stop nearby. Apparently, one of the thrift shop’s employees had brought little Ringo to work. After catching this tiny Hermes, he giggled, as I escorted him back to the thrift shop while wearing the Underoos on his head. I could only shake mine. We discovered his frantic mother had paid Ward to watch him for an hour while she briefly moonlighted as an “advertising agent” for a local sandwich market. I seriously reconsidered whether moving to Portland was such a good idea after agreeing to fill in for Thessie, the child’s mother, as a “Superhero”. Dressed as a giant hoagie on the corner of Myrtle and Stone, this was not how I expected to spend my last day off. At least I made $40 and got a kiss on the cheek.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      I went, I listened, I loved! “Your” reader certainly brought out many of the subtleties of your writing. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Jennifer Park


    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a stamp-collecting bug. It was all my stepmother’s fault, she and her gorgeous collection of rare stamps. Every one of them a treasure. Irresistibly appealing in that before-we-had-offset-printing quaintness. History and national pride in every square inch. I immediately started to beg for and tear up every envelop that came to my mother’s corporate office–this was before business was done by email, even before faxing was a thing–soak them in water, and peel off my own treasures. And for every twenty or thirty of pedestrian international stamps I gathered, my stepmother gave me one of her own prized jewel.

    The one that I really wanted was a not-so-old stamp with a printing error. For that one, my stepmother refused to name her price, and it was the last one in her collection that I pursued… way into my late 20s. When I drove up to my childhood home with an album of three hundred freshly-peeled stamps, and a few rare finds that I had bought myself with my own hard-earned nurse’s salary, the driveway was occupied by an ambulance.

    I rushed in, fearing the worst.

    And, it was the worst… “Barbara!”

    My mother stopped me. “Nolan… It’s…” She began to tear up.

    I was still clutching my album of stamps, which fell to the floor as I threw myself at her. “Mom… I’m so…” She held me tightly even as she made way for the gurney’s exit. My stepmother’s health had been failing, but none of us had believed the doctor’s prognosis.

    “She fell over, and I didn’t know what to do… I didn’t know what to do…”

    “It’s OK, Mom. It’s not your fault.”

    “It is… The doctor told me to do this and that and… Maybe if you were here, you could have…”

    “Mom, the doctor said it was a matter of time. It was her time to go. It’s not your fault.”

    “I just wish you had been here, and you could have…” Her words began to distort and burrow into my shoulder.

    “I know, Mom, but all I could have done was…”

    “Grm… mrr… vrr…”

    “No, Mom. Not your fault.”

    * * *

    My mother did give me the stamp, although there were no explicit instructions in my stepmother’s will about it. She knew that it was meant for me.

    I now carry it with me every day… even at my blood-drenched, disease-ridden job. It is a German stamp with a picture of Florence Nightingale, with the inscription, “Helfer Der Menschheit”. In this job with the Doctors without Borders, which I took only so I could travel the world and collect the stamps worthy of Florence Nightingale, I would like to think that I am helping mankind, too. And it is all my stepmother’s fault.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Nice take on the prompt with insights on nursing and stamp collecting. I was a bit confused about relationship between mother and stepmother.

  8. JRSimmang

    Round 2- Retirement

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a semi-retired and (mostly) demented Batman.

    “How ’bout now?” he rasped. Batman never truly asked questions; he mostly demanded.

    “Well, my arm now hurts.”

    Crestfallen, Batman slumped and scratched the space on his cowl between his pointy ears. “Nothing?”

    “I like you a little less?” I rubbed the place on my arm where his dentures sunk in. “Hey, hey, don’t worry. I’m sure you didn’t turn into The Batman overnight, right?”

    He nodded slowly.

    “Then, I’m sure I’ll get there, yeah?”


    “Okay,” I repeated. “Hey, how ’bout we go play chess with Lonnie?”

    “No,” he muttered. “There are too many rules for him.”

    “How about Harvey?”

    “I can’t. I never know who I’m talking to.”

    “Well, do you just want to go for a walk?”

    “I’ll go by myself. I just need some me time.”

    I nodded and sniffed. “Sure thing, Bats. Dinner’s at 4.”

    I stood up to go and walked back to the orderly desk to file in my paperwork. It’s always paperwork. When did you talk to the patient? What did you talk about? How did the patient appear? Yadda yadda yadda. My arm still stung, but it was worth making the connection.

    “Bry-guy! What is up, my man?” Rufus, the lead orderly cornered me and forced me into a bro-hug. “Dude, did you catch that sweet, sweet game last night?”

    “I, uh, no. I… don’t really like… games…”

    “Oh, man, you missed a great,” he stood back, jumped and pretended to be shooting a hoop, “man. It was sensational!”

    “You talking about the Suns and Pacers?” Donald, the DoD, doctor on duty, piped up from his office. “It was a good game.”

    “And then Young took it straight downtown and, WHOOSH!”

    That’s how the days usually went. Baskets and basket cases.

    I threw up the peace sign and started off on my room checks, and Donald’s and Rufus’s conversation faded off into the background. “… I hope my kid likes basketball like I do… my kids do…”

    Superman was staring out his window, chest to the sun, breathing in deeply. His room was covered in “thank yous”, silk flowers, headlines, handcuffs, and Lois. “Dinner’s soon.” And he was gone.

    Barry was on his treadmill, clocking at close to 200 mph. “Say! Bryan!” he shouted. “Bryan!”

    I paused in his doorway.

    “Hey, do you have kids?”

    I shook my head.

    “You want ’em?”

    I nodded.



    “IRIS!” he shouted, then flashed back to his treadmill and ran. 202. 215. 330. 410. 500. Sonic Boom.

    He was gone. Again. And his room was trashed. I scratched at my arm and looked down at the teethprints. I wondered if Party Supply had a costume.

    “Hey Donald, I’m heading out for a late lunch. I’ll be back in 15.”

    I headed to my car, drove off, and parked at Party Supply.

    In the 5th aisle, I found it nestled in between the yellow lightning bolt and the superimposed S. $53 dollars later, and I found the cape and cowl fit perfectly.

    I found Batman sitting in a tree outside the dining hall. “Hey, Batman. I guess it worked. Finally.”

    At 87 years old, Batman more fell, less tumbled from the tree, and embraced me. I heard a soft sobbing into my shoulder, and a sigh. “I can now retire,” he whispered.

    His body fell limp and heavy, and I struggled to lower him to the ground. “Doc! Doc!” I shouted, and for the first time ever, I felt the temptation to remove his mask. No, I thought. Never.

    -JR Simmang

  9. SargentBlaum

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a fomalhaut sludge hopper. I’m not usually concerned much by exobiology, but this alien critter put me out for four days, on my back, in the hospital. When I woke up, I wasn’t in the 24th century any more, but back in the era of imbecile smartphones and anti-social media.

    I’d gotten stronger, faster, smarter, and all the usual stuff you’d associate with a superhero, but I didn’t recognize anything – they didn’t even speak the same language, but at least they still laughed the same way: ho, ho, ho.

    Feeling like an alien myself, I used my extra sensory perception to discover who’d been naughty and nice. I made two lists. I put on a big red suit with white trim and grew out my beard to hide the tusks. I built myself an aircraft that could avoid their primitive sensors and started a caribou farm near the north pole where I didn’t have to perceive their inane babble. (I think caribou are cute, and they make a great main course at dinner, but don’t tell Rudolph – I think some of my finger goo might have gotten onto his nose).

    I didn’t want people to worry about some guy from the future, and to be honest, the guy in the red suit doing good deeds and using a shimmy device to effect entrance through a chimney just added to the mystique. I found that the goo I could now exude from my fingertips had another effect though – I could slow my personal time sufficiently so that I could visit everyone on the nice list in one evening, and still have time to enjoy some brandy and cookies. Or was it milk? It really varied depending on the domicile.

    So why come clean about it now? I’m getting older – the alien poison apparently didn’t make me immortal. I’ve been looking for a looker to share my life and give me heirs, but I’m worried she might be put off by the goo. And the tail. Or the tusks. And possibly my penchant to slurp my coffee.

    Anyway, I found one who might work just the other day. She had big eyes, a great smile and the kind of frame that keeps a man warm at night. Of course, she didn’t know it was me – I wore civvies when I went to the diner. She was working there as a waitress. She was on the nice list. At the top, and in two other places. Sometimes I might be a little less than objective when I put the list together.

    “Dana, honey, will you marry me?”

    “Nicholas, did you add something to that coffee?”

    “I’m serious! I need a good woman and you’re the best I’ve found.”

    “Uh-huh. Well, since you put it so nicely, of course I’ll marry you. Just as soon as you sober up!”

    I’m still working on wearing her down.

  10. cafei264

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a Lego. That’s how it started. I walked up the stairs to find my little brother Jimmy, playing with his Legos.
    “Hey Jimmy, dinner is almost ready.” Moving closer and standing to see what specifically he was doing.
    “Okay Lukas, can I tell you something that you won’t share to anyone else?” Jimmy asks, looking up at Lukas.
    “Sure bud, what do you got to tell me?” As he sits down on the floor next to Jimmy, not knowing what to expect.
    “Well, I’ve been playing for a while and this Lego bit me, and now I have superpowers.”
    “Is that what happened Jimmy? Is that why you didn’t answer to mom when she called you for dinner? You’re saving lives?” Playing along with his little brother. Jimmy continues to narrate to himself what’s going on between the Legos.
    “Yeah Lukas, he bit me on the arm, see the mark.” Pointing towards his triceps on his left arm so Lukas will believe him.
    “So, what kind of superpowers do you have then?” Making a stack of Legos in the process to join in on the fun.
    “Well, I’ve got super human strength, kind of like Captain America but better.”
    “How so?”
    “I can also stop time, so when bad things happen I’ll be able to help the cities, but I can’t always save them.”
    “Why not?”
    “Cause the bad guys hypnotized me, so I can be good or bad.”
    “So then how do get back to being the good guy?”
    “If they say a certain word then I can.”
    “What word’s that Jimmy?”
    “It’s pasta. They’re Italian bad guys, so kind of like the Mafia.”
    “So, do you have a partner that helps you, like Batman and Robin?”
    “Nope. It’s just me, because if I have a partner we might have different things we want for the cities, and that could hurt the way the world works.”
    “You guys might disagree, but I think the good outweighs the bad.”
    “Why is that?” Stopping what he’s doing to listen to his brother’s answer.
    “Ummm… well you got to trust your partner to do the right thing, and if he doesn’t, then you talk it out and try and find a middle ground.”
    “I’ll think about it. Maybe next time.”
    “Alright Jimmy, let’s head downstairs for dinner. Mom and Dad are probably waiting for us.”

    Not really into superheros, but hopefully I’m getting better at this writing thing. 🙂

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Cute story, reminded me of listening to my sons. The switch from first person did distract, something to be mindful of in the future.

  11. JosephFazzone

    “Ah Snafu!” Menace boasted proudly. “We have you now!”

    “Menace,” I sneered. “I should have known.”

    “K-nown,” he corrected me.

    “Uh,” I said, “No. It’s Known. The K is silent.”

    “In my world,” he proclaimed and smiled gleefully. “The K will get the love it deserves.”

    I asked, “Are you that pathetic that you will use your powers so that world will acknowledge the letter k?”

    “Precisely,” he beamed. “And you did it with the ACK in nowlege. My plan is working already.”

    I blinked.

    “The K sound is from the A and the C, the K is for the Knowledge part.” It was a bluff. I didn’t know if that was true, the English language is a scorned mistress, or is it SCKORNed?

    He stuck his tongue out at me.

    “Join me, Snafu,” he cajoled. “Triumph can once again triumph.”

    Triumph had an agenda that bordered on enlightened fanaticism, promoting progress for progress’ sake. It was madness, and it was sweeping the nation.

    “Listen, Snafu,” that voice belonged to Neversay my old sidekick, and now the self proclaimed king of possibility.

    “Neversay,” I said with a nod.

    He looked me and gave a wide grin. “You are deceived by your own perceptions.”

    “Possibly,” I granted him. “It’s possible I am wondering why I’m not bashing your face in right now.”

    “We anticipated a bit of resistance,” he mocked me with a laugh. “Show him the picture.”

    Menace walked forward showing him his cell phone. The corner of what looked to be an old grey moth ridden couch, the rest of it was blurry.

    “That’s a lovely photo,” I commented. “I can recommend a guy who cleans upholstery.”

    Menace looked confused. He stared at the phone and then noted out loud, “Oh, that’s my couch.”
    “Where’s the other photo?” Neversay was yelling.

    My granddaughter may have deleted.”

    “Your granddaughter?”

    Menace looked hurt and defensive as he said, “She was fussy, and I said I would watch them, but the game was on, and well, it was the only way to get her to settle down.”

    Neversay grabbed the phone, thumbed through a few more pictures, and finally produced the photo in question. It was a mock up of a poster with the letter K with a gag over its mouth. Underneath the picture read the caption, ‘Stop giving K the silent treatment!’

    “Hey Menace,” I called to him.

    “Huh?” he asked.

    “Here’s a K for you. KaBOOM!”

    I slapped him with my powerful beaver tail.

    Neversay rushed towards me, but I was quicker. With a sweep of my tail, I sent the evildoer into the wall behind me, then I charged him and butted him with my antlers. He slumped to the floor in defeat.
    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a genetically altered wolvebeaverantelope.

    The world was safe. The K shall retain the right to remain silent!

    Okay, it’s not a really amazing victory, but it was a slow Tuesday. Superhero isn’t always exciting work, People. It isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes there’s a lull or some rookie villain with an underdeveloped plot as to why they want to take over the world. Okay, maybe this isn’t one for the grandkids, but it happened. Who cares if anyone cares? Does that make the tree falling in the wood when no one is listening any louder? Well, I guess I do so, hero work, that’s my calling. Yep.

    1. Beebles

      Just dipped in to see what was going on and read this. Priceless, ‘Dam funny, the Beaver Gazette, ‘Completely lupey’ Wolf Weekly, ‘Why are you asking me?’ antelope review.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I,m between a wall and a hard place. name I.have to fight for the K sound
        Otherwise it would sound like a dog about to die,. Earrie. This is funny Joseph, but don’t mess with K or you’ll be a sorry ***.

    2. Critique

      I wasn’t sure where this was going but it sure was fun to read 🙂 That’s quite a combo: wolvebeaverantelope. Or should that be wolfbeaverantelope?

  12. JRSimmang

    Ma was in the kitchen. Sam was in the barn. Rook was asleep in his crib, and I was rocking steadily in my chair on the porch. The heat was comin’ off the cornfields, mixin’ the colors of the horizon into a mesh, a vibrant mosaic of blues. It was almost magical, if it weren’t for the sweat dribblin’ down my brow. Ain’t nothin’ much to do when the sun sits on you like a wicked older brother.

    “Douglas,” Ma shouted. “DOUGLAS!”

    I sighed, sat up straight, and covered my brow with my hand. Off in the distance, smoke from Pedersen’s farm drifted just above the lines of the farmhouses.

    “Douglas?” The screen door creaked open. “Douglas, did you hear me?”

    “Yeah.” Ma sidled up to me and threw her arm around my waist. “Burnin’ again?”

    “Pedersen’s been burnin’ a lot lately.”



    “Then what?”

    “Dunno.” I sniffed at the air. “I might go over there and help him.”

    “Like Superman?”

    I chuckled. “Sure. I ain’t as fast as a locomotive, though.”

    “Maybe once,” and she squeezed me hard.

    She rocked back on her heels, and I glanced sidelong at her. The grays in her hair curled ragged around her forehead and reflected the filtered sunlight. Her breath caught in her throat and she coughed. “Dinner’s ready.”

    “I’ll get Sam.”

    Sam’s built like his grandpa, short and stout. He’s the only kid in the area who can wrestle a bull to the ground.

    I poked my head into the barn and shouted, “Dinner’s ready!” and turned around back to the house.

    It was her scream first. Then the bang.

    Rook’s cries echoed in the halls, and I broke out into a run. I stumbled up the stairs to the patio, dove through the screen door, and stopped dead in my tracks staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

    It was a flash. Then, Rook’s cries lulled me into submission.

    I had a dream.

    I had a dream where I was walking over the fields of corn, riding in between the waves of heat and the crystal blue sky. I could make my arms stretch out over the land and touch the far sides of the horizon with my fingertips. My feat sank into the soft, worked soil underneath, squishing between my toes. I took a breath of air, breathing in a cloud, and I started to gag, choke, cough. Beneath me, a farm was burning, being consumed by a brilliant conflagration. The fire licked at my heels, scorching my hair and singeing my skin. The soles of my feet blistered.

    Fingers, then hands, emerged from the ground, then faces twisted in a frozen scream. They cried out to me in unison. “Savior!” Their hollow bellows screeched past my ears, and I at once felt needles in my gut, a rumbling in my bowels, and my heart hammered against my chest.

    The sky darkened. The sun eclipsed a second moon, and the stars fell to the Earth and around my shoulders. Time was ending.

    I had to shield my eyes from a withering sun, and a voice whispered to me. It was a crying. A child’s cry. My child’s cry.

    All the pain, all the fire, all the fear and anger boiled to the surface and exploded in my head. My eyes shot open, and I found myself on the ground, staring at corn above, and flanked by fire. Blood was drying on my shoulder. Lucky, I thought. I reached up to find my left ear was missing, and a hole was in its place. I didn’t have time to complain. I could hear Rook. I knew he was close.

    I struggled to my feet and shook off the ringing. The flames were riding toward me, and I realized I was in Pedersen’s farm. I looked left. Right. Behind. There was a small opening, so I made a run for it. My legs wobbled and dragged, and I had to push myself from behind.

    The fire closed off every turn, and I ducked through the sweet corn and smoke. I ran for what felt like hours until I stumbled out onto the dirt tractor road. My house. My. House.

    Rook was crying, but I could hear a shushing and a lullaby. “Sweet child, don’t cry. Sweet child, you’re mine,” he was singing.


    I snuck around to the back of the house and picked up my axe. It was heavy in my hand, heavier than normal. I knew the old house. I knew the creaks and cracks and dips, and I knew that my son needed me. I knew that I would survive to see him safe.

    “Sweet child…”

    My feet shuffled into the hall.

    “Do not cry…”

    My knees trembled.

    “Because now…”

    I raised my axe over my head.

    “You are…”

    I swung.

    And missed.

    Ralph Pedersen spun on his heels, clutching Rook to his shirtless chest. “Well ain’t it Superman. Faster than a speeding-”

    “Bullet.” I brought the axe back around and down into his skull. He stopped talking but his jaw kept waggling. I lunged forward to catch Rook and took him to the floor with me.

    Pedersen took one step backward, lilted, then crashed to the floor. Rook stopped crying and gazed at me, my missing ear, my bloodied face, and he reached up to touch me.

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, and still don’t think I am, but all of that changed when I got bit by a bullet.

    – JR Simmang

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      This is just great in so many ways. At the beginning I was reminded of classic scifi stories and by the end I was still thinking that way.

  13. mayboy

    The capacity

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by No.8.
    Sitting at the desk, surfing the websites and writing became my daily routine. Until one day a tiny black spot began to move around and I couldn’t focus on my scientific research as I used to. In the beginning, I thought that my late work was the reason. The spot has vanished, and after one week I have almost forgotten it. Suddenly, I noticed it in the right corner of the screen and it began to grow. For a few seconds, it turned to a giant mosquito, the size of the hand and covered the half of the screen. The same way it appeared, the creature returned to the same shape, and the spot disappeared in whiteness. Confused, I asked my coworker:
    “Hey, Jamie, have you got a bug, a virus? My computer is infected, and I am worried that it may affect other computers.”
    “I haven’t noticed, use your antivirus program daily,” he reminded me.
    “It’s, here again, come and check!”
    Jamie turned his head, and yellow eyes of the mosquito starred at me. The fear put me on the chair almost breathless; his sting was threatening, the buzzing voice in my head was unbearable. When I looked trough the window, I saw a drone, and when I looked at the screen, there was neither the mosquito nor the spot.
    Another week passed, and nothing happened. I smelled a strange odor in the office one day.
    “Jamie left the window open,” I thought, “It must be the polluted air, coming from downtown. The odor was intenser the following day, and it came from the back of my desk.
    “The wires are black, probably for a short circuit between the cables,” was my comment, “Jamie, we have to call the electrician.”
    “What an h***!”
    “Seriously, this is not a joke; we must take the precaution measures,” I had to reassure him. My first attempt failed, he behaved even furiously, blaming me for the situation. Jamie snapped and broke his computer with an office chair. It seemed that the yellow evil in his eyes flew to the surface from the deepest demon, hidden inside the chests.
    “Name it,” I shouted in a desperate try to solve the situation.
    “Tell me that damn password!”
    “What do you want? Just leave me alone, I have a lot of work to do,” was his answer after a short break, then he was an old nerdy coworker again. Without the password, I could reload all relevant data (to nowadays I didn’t know how) and saved all files.
    Months were passing. During a sunny summer day, one insect found the way to our office; when I looked at Jamie, he concentrated on the screen. The black shadow of the mosquito was spreading over the computer towards me and as soon as The Mosquito appeared, vanished into the infinity of the screens spots.
    The insect in the office was the dragonfly, circling, in the repetitive pattern and I didn’t lose the capacity of four MB-s.

  14. Jay

    BROKEN, Part III

    The woman was stirring, moaning. She looked up at me, and then at Vincent. She maybe looked at the knife, too, because something spooked her. She backed up against the wall, and curled into a ball.

    Slowly moving across the room, I set the knife on Vincent’s belly because there was no reason to approach her with a weapon in my hand. She was scared. No, terrified. Petrified that I would kill or hurt her more than what she had already endured. Truthfully, she was already hardened by what he had done to her. I could see it in her eyes. She wasn’t all there anymore, but still a part of her feared something. Maybe she feared living on just to suffer more pain at the hands of a madman.

    When I reached her, I stopped. She turned her face away from me, cowering form my presence. To lessen my effect on her, I kneeled to show that I wasn’t a threat. It didn’t work. I thought maybe a touch might prove that I had no ill will toward her, but as soon as my fingers barely grazed the fine hairs of her skin, she flinched. Therefore, I decided to try a different approach, one that I was certain would work.

    I stood and said, “Nothing I say will make you trust me, but if you give me just a—” Immediately, Vincent interrupted me by planting the knife deep in my shoulder. He and I both fell forward, landing on the ground next to the woman. She scurried back as far as the chain tether would allow her, and she balled up even more.

    The pain seared, and I couldn’t feel my fingertips. My arm was going cold, numb. He had done considerable damage. He pulled the knife free, and I rolled over, determined to make sure he didn’t get another chance at me.

    He screamed, “You!”

    I kicked out for his shin, hoping to snap one of them. It didn’t work, but it did stagger him enough to make him fall backward. Apparently, he was still a little drunk from the fall earlier.

    I scrambled up, favoring my arm. When I was over him, he tried swiping at me with the knife, but I wasn’t scared of it. If he was trying to stab me, perhaps that would be one thing, but a bit of sliced skin was hardly a concern for me. Luckily, he only managed one good swipe before I kicked him in the groin. He coughed, loosened his grip on the knife, and then I kicked it from his hand. He winced as the knife clanged against the wall.

    It’s funny how things in life are always a sort of mild grey rather than black and white. For instance, I had originally been very disgusted by his weight and health. Now, as he struggled to keep his breath, I was happy and thankful. He wasn’t healthy enough to fight back without a weapon. To be fair, he did have powerful legs, but as soon as I straddled him, he wasn’t strong enough to get me off. After hitting him in the face, he was out cold again.

    Looking at the table to see what had gone wrong, it appeared he’d cut through some of the straps. My desire to show compassion to that girl had caused me to make a huge mistake. I left the weapon with him, and for that I paid dearly.

    There was no way they would hold him again, but at that point, it no longer mattered. With my arm completely useless, I knew it was impossible for me to get him back up there.

    After walking over to the knife and picking it up, I said, “You don’t have to trust me, woman. I’ve done some pretty nasty things. You don’t have to fear me, either.”

    I barely recognized my own voice. So strange was the man inside me that I wasn’t certain I could trust my own words.

    She didn’t flinch when I neared her again. It was as though she knew, despite her self-preservation, I wasn’t going to harm her. I felt like she still didn’t trust me, and she had a right not to, but at least we were making progress. I offered up a bit more reassurance when I reached up and removed the inch-thick cotter pin holding the chain to the ceiling.

    “There,” I said, and stepped back. “You’re free.”

    She looked up at me, more timid than ever I’d seen of someone. She was as a child might be when confronted by a stranger. I don’t know how long she’d been down here, but her soul and will had been broken, reducing her to distrust all, no matter if it was God himself standing before her.

    I returned to Vincent and knelt down. He was still sleeping, but I knew I had to get to work soon because he’d wake up and put up another fight, which was something I really wasn’t in the mood for.

    As I retrieved the knife from my belt, the woman stood. The skin around the wrist where her hand had been removed was crudely sewn shut. It was red, and looked sore. She winced, but didn’t reach for the stump. No, she reached for her crotch, and judging by the way she held her knees together as she walked, taking her hand wasn’t the only f*cked up thing her did to her.

    The woman walked as far as she needed, and then dropped to her knees. She started to cry, deep heaves as she probably recalled all the disturbing things he did to her. As I sat there, I felt for her, which was something I didn’t think would ever happen. However, I couldn’t help thinking about how my wife and daughter felt at the hands of these maniacs. How scared and broken they were before these f*ckers killed them.

    She raised her hand, and pounded her fist into Vincent. She hit him repeatedly until she no longer had the energy. Surely, it did no damage because her body was broken, probably more broken than my emotions. She probably just didn’t have the strength to make him hurt. At least that’s what I thought, anyway.

    “I’m Oliver,” I told her, and tried to give her a smile. I couldn’t. “I know… I know what you went through, even though I can never know how you feel. He… he took my wife. Not him directly, but he let them have her. Let them have their way with her. Then they killed her, but they made her suffer first. Tortured her. Broke her.”

    I felt the heat burn my face as hot tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t meet her eyes, but I knew she was watching me.

    I continued, “He was the one…” I had to pause, because this was the worst part. It was all bad, but this made me who I am today. “He hurt my baby. My little girl. Wrapped his giant hands around her frail little neck, and he…”

    It was there I cried. I hadn’t talked to anyone about what happened because I didn’t think anyone could possibly understand, but this woman knew. She had been in their place, and no doubt, had I not shown up this night, maybe she’d have ended up with rings around her neck as well—if not a bullet through the skull.

    She reached out with her hand, her fingers shaking with either fear or malnutrition—or both. I looked at her for a moment, and didn’t need to ask what she wanted. I handed her the knife. She looked at the blade, and then at Vincent. The contempt twisted her face, turning her from a broken albeit beautiful woman into a monster. I knew what she wanted to do, so I laid next to Vincent, wrapped my good arm around his neck to hold him still, and nodded to her.

    She didn’t hesitate to get to work stabbing him. He woke up on the first one that entered his leg, and he screamed. No doubt the guards would come running if he kept it up, so I placed my numb hand in his mouth. I wondered briefly if he could remember the taste because as he bit down during his muffled call for help, all those memories of what he did to me came rushing back.

    She stabbed and stabbed, and he called out in pain. Most of her attack centered on his p*nis and hands, and I don’t blame her. Those were a source of pain for her. They were the things that destroyed her.

    Soon, he wasn’t screaming any more. Vincent had gone limp, but she continued to stab him. She let out a whimper of anger each time she stuck that blade into his body.

    After pulling my hand free from his mouth, I inspected the teeth marks he’d left. I was bleeding, but not bad. It probably would have been painful if I could feel it. Thankfully, I couldn’t.

    The girl finally stopped stabbing him, leaving the blade buried deep into his crotch. I looked at her, and she looked at me. Her face was striped with strands of his blood, which also spackled her chest and arms. He was as good as dead, and even though she clenched her teeth in anger, I still detected a small amount of satisfaction written on her face.

    “I’ll help you get out of here,” I told her, but she nodded to refuse. I said, “What?”

    She nodded again, and pulled the knife from its fleshy sheath. I thought perhaps she meant to kill me, but she instead brought the blade to the left side of her neck and cut through her own carotid. The blood squirted a couple times, and as her body weakened, she dropped the knife. She laid down gently onto the sealed concrete, and bled out until she passed away.

    I watched her for a long while, and I longed for the kind of peace. The sounds of silence after death. All of life’s problems for her were gone, now. Perhaps I didn’t condone suicide, but the way this girl looked now, was beyond perfect. She had endured so much, and now that she had confronted and killed the man that hurt her, she finally stepped out of this horrible world to find peace in whatever laid beyond.

    As I stood and headed for the exit, I knew that one day it would be my turn to enjoy that eternal sleep, that moment of peace. For now, though, I had one more stop to make. I had to go see the man that started all this pain and anguish. The man responsible for so many lives lost, including my beautiful girls. It was time to see my father.

  15. jhowe

    “I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a poisonous millipede.”

    She raised her eyebrows, waiting, her foot tapping like a Giger counter. “That’s it? That’s all he said?”

    “That’s what I remember him saying.”

    Myra shook her head slowly and pinched the bridge of her nose. “That’s all we need. If one more from our vigilante club dies some horrible ass death, I might as well go to the cops and tell them it was me.”

    “Do you think they’d believe you?” Jonathon said, wiping sweat from his brow.

    “Hell yes, they’d believe me. That detective already asked me why we’re poking our noses in it.”

    “No, I mean would they believe that you’d actually burn someone at the stake?”

    She stared at him, a vein in her forehead pulsed. “What the hell does he mean – an infected millipede? Is that some kind of lame serial killer platitude?” She paced the empty warehouse floor. “Does he really want us to think he’s some kind of superhero?”

    “Well, he does pull off some pretty serious bull crap.”

    “Christ Jonathon. It sounds like you actually admire the guy.” Myra pulled a .32 revolver from her waistband and checked the rounds in the cylinder. “It was your brother who died first if you recall.”

    He did recall. He still heard the screams as the flames licked at his writhing body. A knot in his stomach clenched.

    “Put that away before you shoot yourself in the foot,” Jonathon said, scratching his arm. He walked to a support column and pulled a fire extinguisher from its cradle. A large rope net dropped over Myra and she struggled, falling to the floor. He quickly ran to her and pulled the gun from her hand. She managed to sit almost upright.

    “Jonathon, what the hell?” Her eyes were wide and tears streaked her face. He pulled at the ropes and dragged her to the wooden column and wrapped the net around it. She sat, twisting in vain, her back to the post as he piled pallets around her. Through choked sobs she said, “Jonathon, don’t do it. You love me.”

    He kicked at the fire extinguisher on the floor. “I guess we won’t need that.” Ignoring her cries, he pulled a butane cigar lighter from his pocket.

    “Millipede Man strikes again!” The blue flame hissed as he held it to a wad of newspapers. He felt the jolt and heard the shot as he fell on the flame, smothering it. Detective Connors rolled him over and checked for a heartbeat. He barked a command into his handheld and pulled the ropes from a nearly comatose Myra. She breathed rapidly as she rolled up the sleeve on the arm he’d been scratching. A raised, infected pustule glared. Jonathon opened his eyes and coughed blood.

    “Millipede Man was really bitten?” she said. He nodded and closed his eyes for the last time.

  16. Tysheena Jackson

    I’ll have to post mine in two parts because the site isn’t allowing me to post it as a whole.

    I mean it’s not like I planned to be a Superhero or anything. Everything changed unexpectedly when I got bit by a Venus fly trap while on a field trip with my Plant Evolution class, in Ghent, Belgium. This wasn’t just any ordinary Venus fly trap, mind you; this was a rare species that had been developed and genetically engineered with by leading botanists from all over the world.

    One in particular being Dr. Nikolai Orlov of the Moscow School of Research and Plant Sciences, who initially was the only reason why I took out yet another student loan, though God forbade it, to attend the three day seminar. I wouldn’t say I was coerced into going because Aaron wasn’t very good at that kind of thing, although he did offer to pay for half my trip, which I denied the first two times. I would have denied the third time if he hadn’t mentioned Dr. Orlov’s rumored attendance. It was only a rumor but still– did I really want to be the girl who regretted not going to Belgium, only to miss out on potentially meeting one of the greatest botanists of all time? I couldn’t risk it. OK. Pause. I seem to be getting off topic here.

    The Superhero thing. How did it happen?

    Well. Let me do the honor of taking you back to that very moment.

    (Flashback to three months before. The 2017 International Microbiology Conference.
    Ghent, Belgium.)

    “Well this blows. I really thought he was going to be here.”

    “The guy’s a billionaire with multibillion dollar companies. He doesn’t give much thought to these types of functions,” Aaron explained. We got up from our seats and followed the crowd of people to the next seminar. “Besides, isn’t he currently going through– what– his fourth divorce right now? He’s a brilliant guy and all but he’s really got to start choosing his women wisely.”

    I snorted. “What do you know about choosing women wisely. The first girl you lay eyes on whose supermodel material you fall in love with. And then you find out she’s only after one thing.”

    “Don’t say it.”

    “Your mon–”

    That was when the first scream erupted from the crowds. Several more followed.

    In the next moments the scene around us became hostile, as people began to flee in all directions, from what would be a group of former employees and their day of reckoning. Before I knew it I was being dragged forward and away from the scene of falling bodies by Aaron, whom I realized was stronger than I remembered. He wouldn’t stop blaming himself for what happened next, even if I assured him it wasn’t his fault. That fate never missed a hit.

    At some point while escaping Aaron and I were separated. I was trampled over like a forgotten object. I had already accepted the fact that I was going to die, something I never thought I’d come to grips with at the tender age of twenty-one. The firing was getting closer. I managed to pull myself into a dark room, where the shattered glass that covered the floors cut my palms and exposed legs. I could feel the presence of others’ fear, their erratic heartbeats would be the reason for their deaths. If I had stayed back in Baltimore and never agreed to coming, none of this would be happening to me, or Aaron.


    I forced back the tears. I was not going out this way. I couldn’t go out like this. I had dreams, and so much more of this life to live!

    More firing rang out. Louder screams. I jumped at each one.

    My right palm struck something soft, wet and grainy. I patted the area next to me and brought my hand up to my nose.


    That meant one thing: this had to have been a plant labs for testing. Soon my fingers came across the stems of a plant. As they moved up its length a sharp pain suddenly snaked up my right hand. I jerked it back immediately, but whatever had grabbed onto it wasn’t letting go. I don’t remember screaming. I didn’t have enough strength to. I just remember the sudden increase in my heart rate and numbness slowly make its way throughout my body.

    In the distance I could see a figure emerging from the lit corridor. As they grew closer, their weapon fired at imaginary objects.

    You’re going to lose, my thoughts whispered. Just let it be.

    Everything went black.

    (End of Flashback)

  17. Tysheena Jackson

    I mean it’s not like I planned to be a Superhero or anything. Everything changed unexpectedly when I got bit by a Venus fly trap while on a field trip with my Plant Evolution class, in Ghent, Belgium. This wasn’t just any ordinary Venus fly trap, mind you; this was a rare species that had been developed and genetically engineered with by leading botanists from all over the world.

    One in particular being Dr. Nikolai Orlov of the Moscow School of Research and Plant Sciences, who initially was the only reason why I took out yet another student loan, though God forbade it, to attend the three day seminar. I wouldn’t say I was coerced into going because Aaron wasn’t very good at that kind of thing. Although he did offer to pay for half my trip, which I denied the first two times. I would have denied the third time if he hadn’t mentioned Dr. Orlov’s rumored attendance. It was only a rumor but still– did I really want to be the girl who regretted not going to Belgium, only to miss out on potentially meeting one of the greatest botanists of all time? I couldn’t risk it. OK. Pause. I seem to be getting off topic here.

    The Superhero thing. How did it happen?

    Well. Let me do the honor of taking you back to that very moment.

    (Flashback to three months before. The 2017 International Microbiology Conference.
    Ghent, Belgium.)

    “Well this blows. I really thought he was going to be here.”

    “The guy’s a billionaire with multibillion dollar companies. He doesn’t give much thought to these types of functions,” Aaron explained. We got up from our seats and followed the crowd of people to the next seminar. “Besides, isn’t he currently going through– what– his fourth divorce right now? He’s a brilliant guy and all but he’s really got to start choosing his women wisely.”

    I snorted. “What do you know about choosing women wisely. The first girl you lay eyes on whose supermodel material you fall in love with. And then you find out she’s only after one thing.”

    “Don’t say it.”

    “Your mon–”

    That was when the first scream erupted from behind us. Several more followed.

    In the next moments the scene around us became hostile, as people began to flee in all directions, from what would be a group of former employees angered about scarce pay. Before I knew it I was being dragged forward and away from the scene of falling bodies by Aaron, whom I realized was stronger than I remembered. He wouldn’t stop blaming himself for what happened next, even if I assured him it wasn’t his fault. That fate never missed a hit.

    At some point while escaping Aaron and I were separated. I was trampled over and pretty much forgotten. I had already accepted the fact that I was going to die, something I never thought I’d come to grips with at the tender age of twenty-one. The bullets were getting closer and closer. I managed to pull myself into a dark room, where the shattered glass that covered the floors cut my palms and exposed legs. I could feel the presence of others’ fear, their erratic heartbeats would be the reason for their deaths. If I had stayed back in Baltimore and never agreed to coming, none of this would be happening to me, or Aaron.


    I forced back the tears. I was not going out this way. I couldn’t go out like this. I had dreams, and so much more of this life to live!

    More firing rang out. Louder screams. I jumped at each one.

    My right palm struck something soft, wet and grainy. I patted the area next to me and brought my hand up to my nose.


    That meant one thing: this had to have been a plant labs for testing. Soon my fingers came across the stems of a plant. As they moved up its length a sharp pain suddenly shot up my right hand. I jerked it back immediately, but whatever had grabbed onto it wasn’t letting go. I don’t remember screaming. I didn’t have enough strength to. I just remember the sudden increase in my heart rate and numbness slowly make its way throughout my body.

    In the distance I could make out the figure of a person emerging from the lit corridor. As they grew closer, their weapon fired at imaginary objects. I lost and I knew it.

    (End of Flashback)

    Survivors say that when the shooter got to the lab, he switched on the lights and fired at us. I woke up from a coma three weeks later after the accident. One and hundred and seventeen people were murdered that day, including four of the six employees, fifty-nine injured. I was among the lucky that day, and so was Aaron. I opened my eyes to the sight of someone I never thought I’d have the chance of knowing. “Charlotte Green you are awake at last.” I tried to speak but everything hurt when I did.

    Dr. Orlov walked from the foot of the hospital bed and came to my right side. “My dear Charlotte, you don’t have to say a word. Your body must catch up on itself as you have just woken up from a coma lasting three weeks. I am going to ask you a question and I will need you to blink once for yes, and twice for no. Does that make sense to you?”

    I blinked once.

    “Excellent! Now my dear, I must ask. Do you have any recollection of the events that happened three weeks prior to today?”

    After failing to form even a simple sentence in my mind I blinked my eyes twice.

    “Just as expected. Now, here is the tough question.” Dr. Orlov reached down and took ahold of my right hand in both of his. “Would you like for me to explain how and why you are here?”

    Dr. Orlov explained everything to me. The conference, the slayings, the bite. It was what saved my life. If the Venus fly trap hadn’t done so, I would have succumbed to both wounds. But here’s where things got tricky. The plant that bit me had genetically altered my system. I now carried a series of genes known as Mutant DNA, that doctors could not explain. My body was producing high levels of chloroplasm, most commonly found in plants, which explained the vines that had grown on the walls and bed of my hospital room. Every morning nurses came in to cut away the new growth. I couldn’t control it, not right away anyhow. It would be weeks later that I began to leave my bed and walk again. I needed help at first and then just the assistance of a walker.

    It was two months later when I was going on my nightly walk that I ran into him. After the accident I was told to lay low. I couldn’t speak about the phenomenon to anyone, not even my own family. He sat down next to me on a bench not far from my home. He spoke first. “So you contacted me after all.”

    “I didn’t know what else to do? You were the only person who seemed reliable.”

    He just gave a humph for a reply.

    “Mr. Fury–”


    “OK. Nick,” I glanced up from my hands and turned to the man sitting next to me, “will you be able to help me?”

    Nick didn’t meet my gaze. He just looked out at the city lights that sparkled against the dark. “I think you’re asking the wrong question, baby girl.”

    I pondered for a moment. “When?”

    “Now that! That’s what I want to hear from you.” He suddenly rose from the bench and reached into his coat pocket and came back up with a card. “When you’re ready, give him a ring.”

    I took it and glanced down. The name Dr. Bruce Banner and a number were etched in black ink. “But why would I–” my words cut short when I saw that he was already gone. I got up from the bench and deposited the card into the left sleeve of my thermal fleece. There would be two surprises for me when I got home, the first being an empty home and no sign of my parents or siblings. But all signs of a forced entry. And the second thing… well, let’s just say, you’re going to have to stick around to find out.

  18. Jay

    BROKEN, Part II

    As you might’ve guessed, the people that ruined my life were part of a crime organization. I didn’t much care about the organization itself. It was the people that happened to be a part of it that concerned me. Namely, specific people on my list that I have killed or would eventually kill. At that moment, I had only one person in mind, and that was Vincent. Vincent Gianulias.

    It was still warm out when I arrived at his address, sticky even. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was because I no longer had the protection of the gun with me. I had to leave it in the car because neighborhoods like this don’t take too kindly to the sound of gunshots in the middle of the evening.

    Vincent’s house stood on the east end of town in a gated neighborhood. Most of the wealthy people lived in this area. I can’t say for sure if all of them were as dirty as Vincent, but if I had to guess, I’d say that most people with a pretty penny to pinch have f*cked someone at some point in their life to get where they are today.

    The perimeter had a modest amount of security, but I didn’t expect much resistance. In my endeavor, I wasn’t starting from the bottom and working my way up murdering their ranks. Vincent had no reason to believe that I would be coming for him. Everyone I killed was dead and gone. They had no recognizable connection because all those evil pr*cks had such hefty criminal records that anyone from any point in their life could be picking them off. Vincent might have increased his security, but because of the kind of man he was and the things he did in that house, he favored his privacy. His paranoia was my advantage.

    Contrary to the lives of monsters in general, and as I mentioned before, my beef was only with the people responsible with murdering my family and leaving me a broken wreck of a man. That said, I took no issue with the guards, and I didn’t really feel the need to kill them, so I slipped into the house through a jimmied window without detection.

    Most of the rooms were dark, which made it easy for me to move around. What didn’t make it easy was the fact that I had been here before this night. The last time I wasn’t an intruder. I was Vincent’s guest, and as a result, those d*mned off-cherry scented candles he used sickened me.

    I made my way through the kitchen, and wasn’t the least bit surprised what I found on the counter. Two severed hands. One looked like it belonged to a young woman, the fingers slender, long and delicate. I wondered if she, too, was a pianist before this fate of hers, but I didn’t dwell too much on it. The other hand looked as if it belong to a man, one considerably higher in age with knotted knuckles that resembled the roots of an old oak tree.

    When Vincent was eating my hand, he spoke about how much he liked arthritic joints. The inflamed tissue around the knuckles were especially yummy, which he likened to veal or filet minion. Lightly salted, naturally full of flavor.

    A normal person might rear in disgust, but I didn’t have the luxury of being a normal person. I was special. When you endure something horrific, no matter what it is, you become either desensitized or less vulnerable to stimuli than your average person. People who experience famine are less likely to complain about having to eat liver. Those that are poor are more likely to accept a modest place to stay, even if it’s a cardboard box full of holes. Me? Well, I’m more likely to not care if there’s a half-eaten hand sitting in front of me, because nothing will ever compare to watching a grown man chew and suck the meat right off my fingers while still attached.

    I moved into the living room, and some of the stink of cooked flesh had finally thinned. The sofa sat in the middle of the room, and directly in front of it was a large television. Tucked in the corner was a small oak and glass table topped with a dying plant. I guess when you’re too busy killing, you don’t have time to keep things alive.

    As I moved through this room toward the next, I heard a door open and close. The sound of the footsteps indicated that the person was either ascending or descending stairs. There was nowhere for me to hide, so I needed to decide which location to monitor. Either he was coming from the basement or the second floor. A few more steps echoed through the room, and I positioned myself at the top of the basement staircase. I wasn’t sure if he was coming this direction, but I knew that I could see most of the second-floor stairs from the reflection in a nearby grandfather clock, which meant this was the safest place to wait.

    My intuition proved to be accurate when he arrived at the head of the basement steps. When his eyes met mine, they widened with surprise. He intended to call out, to alert the guards, but he didn’t have that free moment. I struck him hard in the chest with the full force of my body weight, and he choked on his own breath. He slammed hard against the wall, and tumbled back down the stairs. I quickly followed after him, expecting to fight, but the fall had either knocked him out or killed him.

    I checked his pulse. Alive. Good.

    The fact that Vincent was overweight bothered me. It wasn’t because I had to struggle to drag him deeper into the basement or because I had some deep-rooted issue with people who were overweight. I was strong enough to handle men twice his size, and I didn’t give a d*mn about how he looked. When someone murders your family, your thoughts and ideals shift. No longer do you care about someone’s weight, their acne, or if some a**hole cut you off in traffic. That stuff doesn’t matter because you just don’t care anymore. You generally only have one thing on your mind. Murdering the mother f*ckers who did you wrong or killing yourself, and to be honest, there’s no shame in taking the low road.

    Anyway, his weight bothered me because it was a physical testament to the amount of food he ate. More specifically, the amount of human flesh he consumed. I don’t know how much he had to eat to become this disgusting creature, but it had to amount to a lot of people.

    After some effort dealing with his dead weight, I was finally in the middle of the dark basement. I dropped him, and heard his head smack against the concrete—or whatever material from which the floor was made. I headed back toward the stairs, tripping over his body in the process. He moaned, and I kicked him for good measure. He grunted, and moaned again.

    Quickly, I walked to the wall where the light switch was at and turned it on. The entirety of the basement lit up, and revealed what I can only imagine was his torture chamber.

    On one entire wall, he had an assortment of stainless steel cutting, ripping, pulling, and snipping tools. All of them were so clean they reflected the rest of the room pretty clearly. Across from those dark utensils, he had a table, complete with an industrial drain. The wall adjacent to the weapons had different bins containing an assortment of binding equipment.

    My eyes finally reached the other side of the room, and that’s where I saw her. She was barely an adult, maybe nineteen or twenty. She was chained n*de against the wall, one arm hanging from a high-slung handcuff, the other hanging slack by her side, probably didn’t bother shackling it since he had removed her hand; it was likely the one I saw in the kitchen. She was either passed out or dead, because her face hung down. The only thing keeping her upright was her good arm.

    Next to her was a man, and he was most certainly dead. He was propped against the wall, one eye stared blankly toward the ceiling, the other cut out and missing. One of his hands was gone, too. He wasn’t as old as I had thought, and he was in good physical condition. My guess was the inflammation in the hand upstairs was some reaction to the cutting. I didn’t know, though. I never was good with biology.

    The smell down here was reminiscent of nearly rotted meat mixed with a fresh cut of steak. It was metallic from the amount of blood he spilled, but it was also slightly sweetened by the solvents he used to clean up. He apparently liked Pine-Sol the best.

    There wasn’t much time left before Vincent would wake, so I wrestled him from the floor, threw him over my shoulder, and walked him to the table. I wasn’t graceful when I tossed him onto that metal slab. The sound echoed through the basement, and he grunted as I wasted no time using the straps to tie him down.

    The wall of tools drew my attention, and I didn’t have to study them long before I knew what I wanted. After picking the large knife from its perch, I heard someone behind me. I whirled around, heart hammering, and I expected to find an alerted guard. Instead, I found something much worse.

    1. jhowe

      Well, Jay the horror writer – quite ambitious this week. This story is quite remarkable. Thanks for giving it to us for free. It’s worth paying for. My anticipation factor is at .94 right now, waiting to see who or what is behind him.

  19. E.C

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a child at the park. Admittedly, he may have had some loose screws and a missing bolt. I yelped in surprise at the boy who gripped onto my arm with enough force to make me bleed, his teeth sank deep into my left arm. My mouth labored for any other sound to make besides the incoherent screaming that seemed inaudible compared to my hammering heart. In a fit of confusion he let go.

    “You’re it.” He said with blood dribbling off his lip and down his chin. Distinct nail and tooth marks gushed with the metallic smell. I felt like a teapot being tipped over and poured out. Without thinking I ran.

    He was small but lanky with pointed features. Nearly everything about him seemed sharp, from his teeth to his knees, and even his fingers were fragile and thin; tapering down to points like his chin and elbows. His nose was short and round and not at all proportional to his face, like his ears. He lacked the round baby face of most elementary kids.

    A baffled woman saw me staggering away from the park and gripped my shoulders gently, but with a sternness.

    “Are you alright, what happened to you?” Her words seemed distant.
    “A kid bit me.” I spat discontentedly. Her grip softened and she began to weep.
    “My little girl, Allie, was bit by that kid. Except he didn’t stop. He didn’t stop, and all the police found were her bones. That was seven years ago.” The woman held my arm and removed the scarf that I hadn’t noticed her wearing. “Here,” She wrapped up my arm and sat me down on the curb.

    “Wait, what?” I stood, not sure what to question first about her story. “This was a little kid, like very small, six or seven years at most.”

    She paused. The lady rolled up the sleeve of her cardigan. Thin white marks dotted all over her arm, thin white teeth marks.

    “I was bitten five times. That kid never ages, and never dies. And that kid eats people.” I scoffed, this woman was insane.
    “Look lady, I’m really sorry for your loss,” That is, if she really lost anyone, “but I have a hard time believing that a six year old child is out there eating people. I need to go to a hospital”
    “You can’t.” She interjected as I stared in bewilderment.
    “Why not?” I asked, curious about her strange behavior.

    “Because you’re it.”

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I was bitten by a zombie and bumped into a woman who was the cure. I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I found out I was running out of time.


      Wow! I really enjoyed reading your story. From beginning to end you got me hooked. Now im like and then what happened next. It got me wanting to hear more…..Cool!

      1. E.C

        Thank you both! I’m new to this site actually and these prompts are really good for inspiration as well as receiving feedback; I’m a young wanna-be writer who definitely needs the validation.

  20. cosi van tutte

    I’m a laid-back, wassup kind of guy. You know what I mean? I’m no superhero in disguise. That ain’t my pile of dishrags.

    Never planned on being a superhero. That’s like Mick Jagger territory or something. Or, uhh, you know, that Iron Man guy. Whatever his name is.

    Then, my ex-wife got mad at me and she bit me. Yeah, she’s always been kind of a savage thing. It’s what attracted me to her in the first place and what very quickly drove me away. She owns her savagery like a lion cub owns his mane. Or something like that.

    So, yeah. She bit me and all. I don’t know why. She don’t even live in my house anymore. Why should she care if I use Arm & Hammer laundry detergent instead of Gain detergent? Don’t even get why it’s any of her business. I don’t throw fits about her using her girly glop shampoo instead of Axe.

    I gaped at her as her teeth dug deep into my arm. She pulled the skin this way and that way. And you know? It kinda hurt. It kinda hurt a lot. Then, she spit out a chunk and I guess it alarmed me or the blood loss got to me. Don’t know for sure. Anyway, I fainted.

    I came out of my faint like hours later.

    And, dogs be punched, she was still there. She asked me how I was feeling. I thought that was ripe with weird. She’s never cared a bit how I’m feeling. I opened my mouth to tell her such and such stuff and this loud sonic boom noise came out of my mouth. Made my throat vibrate. Made my ears itchy.

    Her face turned pale. She went on and on about how that wasn’t supposed to happen. I was like Heck yeah. That ain’t supposed to happen out of my mouth. I tried to tell her that too.

    Sonic boom #2 happened instead.

    She ran away wailing that we were going to be mortal enemies. We were nemesises. Or, you know, whatever the plural of nemesis is.

    I watched her drive off in her beefed up Volkswagen Beetle. I scratched my head.

    So? Was I supposed to go chasing after her and make her pay for her wicked ways or *insert heroic catchphrase*?

    That seemed like a lot of work and a whole lot of running around and fighting.

    Fighting has never been my thing.

    I went into the living room, cracked open a warm beer, and watched Maury Povich instead.

    1. snuzcook

      Fun story, Cosi! So the moral is: you can’t turn someone into a superhero just by giving them super powers? Or an Ex can always push a guy too far? Or reconciliation–fergit about it!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Nitty, gritty people here we can all relate to. She’s a tough lady and you’re MC s going to be pumping bilge water on an empty,leaky tramp steamer.unless he’s careful. I enjoyed the dialogue and accent you used.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Cosi, I am always impressed by the variety of your characters, this one is terrific. I could hear him talking, and thinking. Great job.

  21. MoiraiTQ

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a purple sand flea that had been drinking a craft IPA. I felt the sting on my big toe and looked down. There sitting in the sand was this tiny purple flea with an equally tiny beer mug, half full of beer.
    I dropped to the sand and asked him what he was drinking.
    “A craft beer. An IPA to be exact.” He said with a proud tone to his voice.
    I started to feel a little strange. My world was getting larger. The sound of the waves was getting louder in my ears. What was going on!? Soon, I had to stand up to look the sand flea in the eyes. Both of them, with many facets. The sand wasn’t soft on my feet, but more like a field of rocks. I struggled to keep my balance. Soon I just sat down on the sand next to the flea.
    “What’s in that beer?” I asked him. “Why did it make me shrink?”
    “It’s my DNA mixed with the IPA. Every-so-often, I bite the toe of an interesting looking person. You are the latest interesting looking person. What superhero powers do you want?
    As I was not expecting this, I sat back and sighed deeply. I’ve always wanted to fly. I’ve had wonderful dreams of flying. The most vivid dreams of flying around trees, buildings, power lines. The feeling of speeding from one place to the next, the wind all around me, looking all around me and seeing people on the ground. That was wonderful. But to be invisible, stealth mode! Walk around and listen in on people’s conversations. Well, that is not exactly a superhero power. I should pass on that one.
    I sat and looked at the sand flea. Then I gazed at the ocean. My eyes grew glassy and stared off into space. I heard the sound of the waves hitting the shore. I heard the children playing way off in the distance.
    “What is your name, Mr. Sand Flea?” I asked him.
    “Thomas,” he said.
    “Well, Thomas, I think I want to fly. I’ve had vivid dreams of flying. I wouldn’t have to drive and I could get to emergencies very quickly. What do I have to do?”
    Thomas sat there and looked at me. “I’m sorry, but I cannot grant that superpower. It is beyond what I can do. Please pick another one.”
    I sighed again. My shoulders slumped. I was so pumped about being able to fly. I hung my head while I thought about another superhero power. I thought hard. I sighed, again. I didn’t want to do anything else. “Well, Thomas. I guess I’m going to have to pass on your sweet gift. Nothing else makes sense for me.”
    He thanked me and told me to just keep my head up. He poured his beer on my toe. I started growing back to my normal height.

          1. Bushkill

            That’s it, Jay. I changed one of them … not both in my failed attempts. It is below.

    1. Bushkill

      Finish This Sentence #3 – Superhero
      I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a __________.

      I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a love bug.

      Love is an important thing. It makes the world go ‘round. Eight days a week, even. Everybody is looking for it. Everybody wants it. And here I was, loaded to the gills with it. If only I could teach the world to sing.

      First of all, I feel good. I mean, there ain’t no mountain high enough, ‘Cuz I, I got what you need. A little bit of me in your life and you are on top of the world.

      Love potion number 9? Small potatoes, baby. I got the goods. In spades. It’s so contagious that when I walk by people just can’t help falling in love.

      The other day, while enjoying some tea and a crumpet, an elderly man saw me and sat down in my booth. I asked what he needed and he wasted no time telling me. “I want to know what love is.”

      “That’s hard to explain.” I said. “Love drives you. It makes you wanna dance with somebody, this crazy little thing called love.” I leaned on the table and looked him straight in the eyes. “That’s where I come in.” I motioned for him to lean closer and then I whispered. “I’m bringing secksy back, baby. Stay with me.”

      He sat back, stunned. After several seconds, he asked. “Is it endless? Love?”

      I smiled at him. “Ahh, man, if you do it right it’s an unchained melody. Soaring, time after time.”

      He didn’t get it. His heart of stone couldn’t wrap around the idea so I continued. “Look, dude, when a man loves a woman? Woah! The power of love. Uncompromising, man, like wind beneath your wings.” I stopped and shivered a little in my seat. The thought of it kinda’ got me going a little.

      I could see it in his eyes. I was getting through. Finally. Then she walked in and his whole demeanor changed. She was walking on sunshine and, I swear, he meant to join her.

      That’s what I do. That’s my gift. It happens all the time when I walk in a room. I take the awkward out of middle school dances just by driving by. Children in the dark cause accidents, baby. Just so long as the lights are up at the dance, then no accidents in the dark will be causing children.

      Ms. Sunshine and my recent table partner waltzed by on their way out and he winked at me on the way by. “Man, you’re the inspiration I needed. Thanks, Mr. L.”

      It’s a gift, this love story. If I could only find my girl.

      Lady, really.

      In red, would be nice, too. We would be wonderful tonight.

      Just remember that everything I do, I do it for you. For my fans and my public. You’re the real hero. You take my breath away with your passion and zeal for each other.


      And besides …

      I’m too secksy for this prompt!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I could picture your version of Mr. Love immediatelty and guess who popped up? Rodney Dangerfield and a cross between Dom Deluise, A fun story.

        1. Bushkill

          Impressive… There are thirty songs referenced in there. I could have accidentally included at least one more that i saw. I hope you enjoyed it.

  22. jhowe

    “I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a cantankerous raccoon wearing a yellow hat.”

    My daughter squinted and held up her hands in frustration. “What’s that got to do with The Three Bears?”

    “Nothing, really. I just get tired of that story, don’t you?” I said.

    She shook her head vigorously. “Tell it right, with Goldilocks, or I’ll tell mom.”

    “Now honey, let’s not get all nutsy.”

    “Raccoons don’t wear hats anyway.” She pouted and folded her arms over her kitty cat pajamas.

    “Ok, once upon a time, there were three bears…”

    “What kind of superhero?” she said.

    “I don’t know, I’m concentrating, don’t interrupt.”

    “Fine, you can tell the superhero story.”

    “Ok, but I think I’ll change it a bit.” She peered at me suspiciously. “The superhero is actually a brown haired girl from Kalamazoo and she didn’t get bit by the raccoon, she befriended him.”

    “Does that mean they were friends?” she said.

    “Yes, they were very good friends.”

    “Did he really wear a hat?”

    “Of course, and a red bandana around his neck.”

    “Like a cowboy?

    “Yes, just like a cowboy.”

    “Were there any horses?”

    “No, just the two of them, walking through the forest, when all of a sudden, a mean witch popped out from behind a mulberry bush and tried to put a spell on them.” My daughter held her blanket tightly.

    “Was the witch really mean, or kind of mean?”

    “It turns out, the witch was misunderstood, but they didn’t know that at the time.”

    “Did the girl have to use her powers?”

    “Of course she did. That’s what superheroes do.”

    “What was her power, flying?”

    “No, better than that.” I raised my eyebrows and she motioned for me to spit it out. “She charmed the witch and persuaded her to change her ways.”

    “Hey, that’s not better than flying.”

    “I think it is,” I said.

    “How so?”

    “Think about it. If a boy tried to take one of your toys, would it be better to talk him out of it or to fly away.”

    “I could just tell mom.”

    “But what if you had to take care of it yourself?”

    “I’d take the toy back and then fly away.”

    “But what about the kids that can’t fly? Won’t the boy try to take their toys?”

    She nodded to herself and nibbled a thumbnail. “So, if I talked him out of it, he wouldn’t take my toys or the other kids’ toys either.”

    “I think you nailed it, honey.”

    She smiled and her eyelids started to droop. “What about the raccoon?” she said.

    “Oh, he was just there for moral support.”

    “He didn’t do anything.”

    “But he would have, if she needed him.” I covered her up and kissed her cheek. I started to tip toe out of her room.

    With sleep slurred speech, she said, “I want a raccoon.” I grimaced and hurried into the hall.

    1. Jay

      haha, I like that part at the end. The moment your kid starts asking about something or gets something in their head, that’s it.

      I want a raccoon…

      Sure, babe, ask me later.

      (3 months later, randomly) Remember when you said we’ll see about that racoon?


      The whole story was pretty good, and an interesting take on the prompt. Nicely done.

    2. snuzcook

      What a lovely story, jhowe! You presented both characters’ personalities and their relationship so well and so simply. Common ground for any adult who has tried to create a bedtime story on the fly and been confronted by the need to accommodate child logic while introducing the Big Moral Message. And yes, the final line was a stroke of genius.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Your fans are lining up under your story. You write with assured delicately only you can do. I wondered about his daughter, what her room liked like, the color of her hair and her eyes. I felt in the room, watching and listening to the two of you. This doesn’t happen often. It takes magical writing for me to go there. A perfect delight of a story. Having five daughters myself, I wish I could take them all back for a day or two.

    3. Bushkill

      Solid short. The dialogue is awesome. I feel like I’m down the hall listening to my wife read a story to the kids when they wee younger.. Short sentences, “yes, dear. No, honey, not like that. Because that’s what animals do, dear.” Artfully crafted.

  23. Kerry Charlton


    I didn’t plan to be a superhero but all that changed when I got bitten by a monster breathing fire and brimstone. His fangs sunk deep into my throat and I felt my legs give way underneath me and I crashed helpless to the stone floor. I lay there in mortal pain and watched my blood puddle to the slate. As I began to lose consciousness, I realized death was close and an eerie calm settled upon me.

    ‘It’s not so bad’ I thought, but dying alone was heartbreaking and I realized it was my fault, no one else’s. I heard a massive explosion, the stone wall at the end of the cell, crumbled and a brilliant light encompassed the area. It swirled to the ceiling like a rotating disc, a most unusual sight even to a dying man.

    A rumbling sound emitted from the disc and a small lightning bolt hit my throat. It circled quickly cleansing and sealing the penetrations.. I had never witnessed such continuous, torturing pain and still be alive. My heart stopped and I breathed my last breath. Or at least I thought so.

    An exploding beam of light drove through my chest, entered my heart and started it again. Then I became aware I was alive again and watched as a third beam of light burned partially through the stone wall at the end of my cell. It was written in an ancient language I didn‘t recognize, even though I was a world famous scholar in ancient tongues.

    “One more,” said a voice and I realized who spoke, so I listened carefully,

    “You will find upon the wall, your mission. You shall fight the good fight against mendacity until you have healed your soul and then another shall replace you to carry the fight. Answer me.”

    “Yes, I understand.”

    “Excellent, then my work is almost done. Beware of an evil that shall fight against you. Do you have any idea what it is? Answer.”

    “Yes, I do know, It‘s what befell me before, it is pride.”

    “Your name shall be known as u`nepvik`aw.” .

    The light disappeared from my cell and I rose to my feet as if by command with one question seared to my mind,

    ‘Why conqueror?’

    My ears filled with the sound of running feet headed toward my cell door. As it drew closer I leveled my right hand and pointed to the door. The iron turned red hot then migrated to bright white. Another wave and the door burst in a wall of flame driving the guards back from the cell door.

    The only thing the guards allowed me here was a small white tablet and a smaller pencil to write. Not being familiar with the language from the messenger, I copied every stroke upon the wall. When I finished I tucked the small piece of paper in my waist band, extinguished the white hot flame and walked through the stone wall as if it wasn’t there.

    I raised my right arm above the horizon and flew as an eagle from the dreaded prison. The wind was cool upon my face as I flew toward a ridge of craggy rock, inaccessible to man.

    ‘What mission lays before me?’ I thought

    1. Jay

      What mission, indeed?! Good story, Kerry. For some reason, I don’t think you’ve completed this story yet, and we have some parts to look forward to in the future. Thanks for sharing, Kerry! Such a pleasure to read this one. You had me from the get.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Jay, There’s always a first time and this is it. I’ve never written in this vane but I’ll hold this until I can piece out a mission. OnceI have that, I’ll be off and running. Thank you for the read.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you cosi, it just came out in a furious rush. I had no idea how to answer this prompt but obviously part of my brain did. You have no idea how I appreciate the word awesome, especially twice.

    2. snuzcook

      Wow, Kerry, what heroic imagery and intriguing introduction of mysteries and adventures to come!
      And my favorite superpower–flight–included. I could almost hear the trumpets blaring!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks John, I really appreciatre your thought. You’re right about serious. I’ve been in bad back pain for two months now and therapy is even worse. I think I may be tucking my sense of humor away for awhile until it eases up. Writing this excited me. Maybe there’s a part of me I don’t know yet. We’ll see……………..u

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You can go to the bank on it, Critique. I may write part two and post it next week or I might write all of it and post on my blog. Either way, I will do it. Thanks for the read and comments.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, tried to comment earlier, but everything sort of shut down. Anyway, this is such a departure for you, but still a wonderful take on the prompt. I know for a fact that pain can impact your life in many, many ways, so I appreciate the strength of your MC. As others have written, I sense a part two, at least.

  24. Jay


    “I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a man named Vincent Gianulias. Well, I’m more like the anti-hero,” I told the man kneeling in front of me. I liked to amuse myself.

    He looked up at me, and his eyes reflected both the cool white of the florescent lights and his deep regret for his life choices. He hadn’t, up to this point, understood the kind of man that he was to people. Criminal’s rarely do until they’re faced with something that forces them to realize the kind of people that they truly are. Byron, the man with his face pressed against my gun, only just learned that karma’s not just a b*tch, but a bi-polar c*nt-wh*re with a beef. That’s me.

    I said, “You asked me why I’m doing this. Well, you know Vincent, don’t you?”

    He remained quiet. The tears in his eyes wanted to tell me a story of his fear and anguish, but it was of little matter to me. I knew he was scared. I didn’t care.

    “Right?” I said louder, and pressed the muzzle harder into his skull.

    Through his pouting, he said, “Okay, yes, I know him.”

    “I knew that, but I wanted you to admit it. Not that it matters, but do you know what he does to people?”

    He remained silent again, but this time, I didn’t really bother to force an answer out of him.

    I said, “You see this?”

    I lifted my right hand, and showed him what Vincent had done to me. Three fingers were missing, the pinky, the ring, and the brother. Half my palm had webs of skin in the form of slick, mountainous scars. The two remaining digits didn’t work. but these days, it didn’t matter. Nothing I did anymore required two fully functional hands.

    That wasn’t true two years ago. I was a pianist. My wife once told me that I had the skill of one of the greats; that I played as gracefully as a silken scarf dancing in a soft breeze. I spent my days practicing as she listened while reading novels, and reserved my nights for playing at Lucille Hall to not one empty seat.

    Now, I’m a murderer. The last graceful thing I did was entering this place without breaking the door down. Monsters aren’t supposed to be fluid. They aren’t supposed to feel that special positive energy that drives them to be smooth operators. They made me this way, and this way I shall be.

    “Please don’t hurt me, man,” he pleaded, but it was in vain. I already knew I was going to kill this man. Him and everyone else that made me this way.

    Pulling the hammer back on the Magnum made a click that sent a shiver down my back; the kind of satisfying sound that made my heart skip a beat. Maybe my destiny was to become a monster, but I still felt giddy like a child on occasion.

    “Henry?” Her voice was as soft as the petals of a flower. It was more musical than the songs I once played. It was the thing dreams were made from, and the string from which happiness could be woven. It was too bad, then, that she had been dead for over a year. Maybe her real voice might have saved this man’s life.

    I looked over, and Selena stood just beyond the coffee table. She was wearing the silver dress from the night we first met. Golden rings hung from her wrist and neck, reminding me of that New Year’s party. She smiled, and I return the favor, though I imagined mine was as empty as my bed at night.

    “Hey, man, wh—what are you doing?” Byron asked, but I ignored him.

    Selena,” I said, my voice cracking. I swallowed a hard lump, and my heart thumped in my ears.

    “Are you…” Byron tried to say, but I smacked him with the revolver.

    “Shut up!” I screamed, and then to Selena I calmly said, “I thought you were…”

    She interrupted, “What are you doing?”

    After my moment of weakness, my determination for revenge became clear again. “Making them pay. Making all of them pay.”

    The air conditioner kicked on, and the little tassels attached to the vent drifted languidly in place. Her black hair didn’t tussle, didn’t rustle. Her dress remained stagnant. She said, “This isn’t you.”

    “It is now,” I said, and pressed the muzzle into Byron’s cheek. I imagined squeezing the trigger and watching his broken, shattered teeth blowing through the other side.

    “It doesn’t have to be.”

    “Yes, it does. All these mother f*ckers took you away from me. Took Sadie away from me.” I closed my eyes, and sighed. They took my humanity. None of them deserved to live.

    Byron, realizing that he wasn’t going to survive, pleaded uncontrollably with deep sobs of regret and shame. I looked down at the pathetic man who was all too willing to do the dirty work, but when it came time to pay for his actions, he whimpered like a little b*tch.

    I kicked Byron over, and put my foot on his chest. Selena said, “Sweetie, don’t.”

    That’s what she called me back then, back when I rubbed her feet every night before bed. Back when I made dinner every night, and cuddled her for comfort. Those were the days I probably was considered sweet, but just like everything in this world, I became as sour as old milk in a hot barn.

    I looked away from my wife’s gaze for it had a calming effect. I didn’t like it. This burning pain inside was what drove me to do what needed to be done, and I couldn’t have her take that away from me. I needed it. I needed to keep this darkness in me that prevented me from giving a d*mn about anything.

    “Please, don’t…” Byron began to say, but I stomped on his head before he could finish. One is all it took, and the thirteen times after that were for me. For Selena. For Sadie.

    When my eyes returned to Selena, she was no longer wearing that glittery silver dress. It had become a torn blouse and panties. Her hair wasn’t in curls but instead knotted and caked with dirt. Her skin was mottled with grime and dried blood. One shoe was missing, the other still attached to the swollen foot at the end of a broken and twisted leg. Her left eye was missing, gouged out by one of these bastards.

    Sadie appeared next to her. Her blonde matted hair hung over her shoulders, decorating the dark purple rings around her neck. Neither of them smiled, as if they disapproved of my choices. Perhaps if I was still the man they knew, I might have cared. I wasn’t. I didn’t.

    After using Byron’s shirt to clean the blood, brain, and skull fragments from the bottom of my shoe, I walked to the door. I looked back, and my wife and daughter had vanished. Maybe they’d show up at Vincent’s house, where I would finally put an end to the life of the man who tried to eat me alive. Maybe they wouldn’t. I hoped they would, because I still missed them, despite my broken emotions and my damage humanity. If they didn’t, that was okay, too. At least I’d still get some satisfaction force-feeding Vincent his own d*mn body parts.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      WOW! WOW! WOW! This is mesmerizing to read, the power of which glued me to my chair. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more chilling than your story. It’s crying for a second part but I’ll need a stiff ‘Old Crow’ to get through part two.

    2. snuzcook

      What can I say, Jay? Your imagery is vividly written and mesmerizing. The many shadings of anguish are palpable. The human denying his own humanity is compelling. It makes me feel, and I am glad it is ‘only’ a story.

    3. Tysheena Jackson

      Chilling! Revenge doesn’t always bring the restoration a man needs after having everything he love stolen from him, and you do an awesome job of capturing that! Wow!

  25. snuzcook

    A little different take on the prompt


    In my family we’ve always prided ourselves on being brave. My grandfather was in Iraq assigned to a recon and recovery unit. He got a medal for saving the lives of his entire outfit when he detected an unexploded IED. My mother worked as a service companion to a wounded vet, every day she risking her life leading her human through busy traffic, around fall hazards and past aggressive dogs and dangerous people to get safely to work and back home again.

    Me? I grew up in that same busy, dangerous, exciting neighborhood where sometimes at night there are loud noises and people running, cars screeching, sirens wailing. I always imagined that I would have an exciting life, even though I was the smallest of the litter and would never be very big. I dreamed I would fight memorable fights and protect my human, whoever that might be, from the cars and busses and dogs and people and make sure he always got safely home.

    Then I was adopted away, like my two brothers and my sister. My new family lived on a quiet street far from the smells and noises of the city. There was a mother and a father, a small boy who bounced around a lot, and an older girl who sat quietly in her room most of the time with headphones. The house was small but the yard was large and filled with grass and bushes and trees. There weren’t any busses or scary sounds or mean dogs to protect these people from, so I spent most of my time patrolling the fence, and checking out any new scents that I could find.

    It was on one of these circuits around the yard that I found the enemy raccoon. I had smelled raccoons’ trails crossing the yard before. I knew that they were mostly harmless thieves, but could deliver a serious bite if threatened. This one smelled wrong. It was sick, and it acted crazy, snarling and staggering across the corner of the yard close to the house. I tried to get it to leave, but it hunkered down under the deck by the stairs and barred its teeth.

    I barked a warning to the family indoors, but they commanded me to be quiet. They were so used to living in safety and sanity that they couldn’t understand me. When the little boy came down the stairs and his ball rolled under the deck, I knocked him down. He cried and the mother ran out, yelling angry scared words at me. She tried to get the ball, and I wedged myself under the stairs and snapped at her, trying to stay between her and the danger lurking in the shadows.

    The father came out of the house and tried to push me away with a rake. That’s when the raccoon lunged out from behind me. I grabbed his tail in my teeth to hold him back, and he turned and attacked me, biting me savagely on the face and clawing my chest. He finally got away and ran up a tree, and my family wrapped me in a blanket and carried me inside.

    I let them put me in a box and drive me to the vet, where the people cleaned my wounds and gave me medicine to make the pain stop. I listened to their hushed voices. The sick raccoon had been killed without harming any people. But they were sure he had infected me, and I would certainly get the same sickness. The doctor told them it would be best to put me to sleep, and I thought that would be a fine idea, since every dog knows that sleep heals all wounds.

    After the doctor gave me a shot, my family gathered around me in the examination room. They were all very sad but it was the quiet girl who came forward. She gently petted me through the blankets and the bandages. I could tell she was crying even though my eyes were closed because of the medicine. “You’re a hero, Scruffs,” she said, her voice kind and soothing. “You’re a hero. We’ll never forget you.”

    I thumped my tail. I had really done it, I’d fought a memorable fight. I was a hero. My mother and my grandfather would be very proud.

    1. Jay

      Ooooh, nice story Snuz. A different take on the prompt indeed, but it was refreshing, and very pleasing. By the second paragraph, I finally realized we were living through the eyes of the dog, and that was nice. I’ve always loved the perspective of a creature. Nicely, done. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It’s very touching Snuz. I get so upset when I see an animal in danger. I used to watch the original Lassie Come Home movie and cry my heart out because Lassie was staggering through the movie, seemingly through every scene. I’m proud of you for writing this even thought it made me sad.

  26. cjmurphy1982

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by what I thought was a lizard of some description. The sharp pain in my ankle was akin to a wasps sting, painful but not something that would make you want to cry and take to your bed. I looked down and a little criter was scurrying of into the undergrowth, all I saw was a small flick of a tail.

    We had continued the hike and achieved our goal for the day, which was to climb cradle mountain and return to base unscathed (well I thought I was unscathed). Cradle mountain sounds somewhat more grand than it is, it’s more of a big hill near a small lake but even the smallest hikes are celebrated when your child has cancer and is packing in a lifetime of experiences into 6 months.

    Down at base, Laur, a Swiss nurse who was with a group of backpackers, saw me limping slightly in the car park and asked if she could help at all. I said it was just a minor injury, a bite maybe from a small lizard. The tour guide with her group had looked at me very quizzically ‘don’t really get lizzies here mate’. I relented and let Laur look at my ankle. When pulling down my sock it was evident that something very unusual was happening, the area around the bite was bright purple and a lump had formed. Laur presssed it gently and was shocked at the soft maleable feel of the lump. She looked at me in surprise. I just stared back in disbelief ‘that doesn’t look good mate, i’ll get you to the doctor’.

    The tour guide was quick to take control. ‘But, my daughter’ i spluttered. ‘She’ll be right mate – she can come with us’. ‘No, no – she needs to get home. We’ll drop her off first.’ I gave the tour guide a look which made him understand that no matter what, getting Ellie home was the priority.

    By the time we’d arrived at the hired lodge, my ankle had swollen to two or three times it’s normal size and the bright purple lump was virtually candescent. We’d brought Laur along but she was as confused as the rest of us as to what on earth was happening to my leg. The tour guide was particularly concerned, he’d been showing people around Tasmania’s tourist sites for 20 years and had seen it all, snake bites, devil bites, even a suspected tiger attack but he’d never seen a wound like the one I had.

    I couldn’t get out of the car and Laur was going to take Ellie back to the lodge and explains things to my wife. As Ellie got out she looked back with a pained expression, I tried to give my best re-assuring smile but she seemed to look straight through me. She came back to the car, I thought she wanted to give daddy a hug, she was a very loving child but instead she knelt down and put her hand directly on the wound. ‘Be careful sweethe..’ I was halfway through the sentence when her hand actually entered the bright purple lump on my ankle – she didn’t press into it or break the skin her fingers just sort of dissolved into the purple lump.

    She looked me directly in the eyes and hers had become candescent like the wound. ‘It’s working daddy’ she was smiling more broadly than I’d seen since the diagnosis. With a huge grin on her face she closed her eyes and took her fingers from my leg. The wound immediately began to recede and then fade completely. Laur, the tour guide and I just stared at one another, utterly dumbfounded.

    I took the numbers of my new friends and walked up the path to the lodge, my little girl holding my hand and skipping like it was the first day of spring. Suffice to say we took Ellie to the hospital in Hobart the next day and they confirmed that they could find no trace of cancer in her little body. They also checked me over but could find no trace of any injury at all – not even so much as an abrasion was now present on my ankle. I wanted to be taken seriously so kept quiet about the lizard story, we just told them that Ellie had made a remarkable recovery during the night and we couldn’t believe it.

    Ellie is grown up now and has a baby girl of her own. We both correspond with Kevin and Laur regularly, with Laur even attending Ellie’s wedding last year. Kevin desperately wants to tell the story to the world, he’s in his sixties now and doesn’t care if no-one believes him. I’ve agreed to co-author a book about the day with him and we’re hoping for a release next year.

    Ellie and I talk about the day often but have never told the outside world. Back here in the states everyone has assumed that the whole Tasmania trip was a front and we actually went and got some experimental treatment somewhere. Only, me, Ellie, her mother, the tour guide and Laur will ever really believe the truth but it’ll be interesting to see how the public react to the tale.

    I’m an atheist and have never believed in a greater power but on that day 20 years ago, someone, something, decided that my daughter wasn’t ready to die. I thank whoever that person was every morning and every night. My chance to be a superhero and save a life was given to me. Why or how I’ll never really know but I’ll count my blessings till the day I die.

  27. sammclain

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a drooling baby.

    The poor frazzled mother sat on the bench outside of the health department, her worn straw hat sitting askew, precariously perched on her lank greasy brown curls. The baby, who I later learned was named Robby Roberson, stared at me with knowing sapphire eyes. One chubby dirty hand grasped the necklace his mother wore; the other was shoved in his drooling toothless mouth.

    “What a precious boy,” I remarked in that awful high pitched voice all mothers use when addressing an infant.

    ” Precious, ” Ms. Roberson echoed absently, digging in the diaper bag for a cloth to mop the drool from her clothes and slobbering son.

    “Shall I hold him for you?” I offerred, seeing she was having trouble juggling the child and the bag.

    Tears welled in her eyes. “Would you?” she asked hopefully .

    I transferred the boy to my lap and began talking to him, praising his strength and weight. I noticed that he still held the pendant, which he promptly shoved in his mouth. I attempted to extricate the medal when the little bugger bit me!

    “I’m so sorry!” his mother apologized when I yelped, retrieving her child.

    I assured her I was fine, and accepted the baby wipe to clean my fingers. After several more apoplogies and reassurances, the bus Ms. Roberson had been waiting for arrived and they departed. I watched in amused disbelief as the three month old child smiled toothlessly and waved goodbye vigorously.

    I returned to my job inside the health department, processing insurance claims. Later that evening, riding the bus home, I found the pendant the baby had been chewing on. Bemused, I picked it up. A comforting warmth spread up my arm, but was soon forgotten as I was distracted by the sudden cacophony of people.

    I looked around the bus, but no one was actually speaking. The words began to resolve themselves, and my attention was drawn to a young man fidgeting near the bus driver.

    “I don’t want to do this, but I have to. If I don’t, they said they’d go after Mikee. I have to do it to protect my baby brother. He’s all I got left.”

    The words chilled me, and gave me hope. I slowly made my way to the front of the bus, sitting down behind the young man.

    “I can help you, ” I said softly.

    “Don’t know what you are talking about,” he denied vehemently .

    “I can help you and your brother, Mikee,” I insisted .

    “No one will help us,” he declared angrily.

    “I will,” I promised. ” Just don’t do what you are planning to do. ”

    The boy stared at me in scared, hopeful disbelief. “How?”

    ” This is my stop. Would you like to get a coke with me? I’ll explain it. ” I handed him my business card.

    “This says Child Services,” he accused.

    ” Exactly. I am at your service. ”

    I stood up when the bus stopped and stepped down the steps to the street. The doors closed and my heart sank. Just as the bus started to pull away, I heard hollering. The bus stopped and the boy bolted out the barely open doors.

    “How did you know?” he asked breathlessly, running to me.

    ” Know what? ”

    “That I was going to rob him?”

    ” I didn’t, ” I admitted with a relieved smile.


    ” A baby told me today that a child would need my help, ” I answered enigmatically.

    “Huh,” he replied, astonished. “Did you mean it?”

    “Mean what?”

    ” That you would help me and Mikee. ”

    “Absolutely,” I agreed. ” Shall we discuss it over cokes? ”

    That night I started my secret crusade to help the homeless children get away from the gangs, drugs, and streets and give them help and hope to overcome any situation in their life.

  28. Priscilla

    I didn’t plan to be a Superhero,but all that changed when I got bit by a Mountain Lion. I began my long overdue vacation in a very secluded mountain in North Africa.I had crossed every t and dotted every I.The journey would be 4 days .I would board a private jet and take off in the skies.Accompaning me on this journey would be my best friends Moe and Change.We were very excited and looking forward some peace.After the long. flight,I. decided to take my adventurous spirit on a by my self outing. I’ve got my back pack,my lantern,flashlight and I’m off.I am about 2miles into the mountains and out of no where this big huge mountain lion jumps on me.I am screaming,yelling,swearing.My friends here me,They yell,Are you okay?I barely can reply,but I muster the strength to say,No.I am being eaten by a serious mountain lion.At this point,Im fighting. this Lion like it’s a human being.My friends save me.They show up with a dart and the mountain lion flees I am now holding my shoulder where a big piece was bitten.Im sweating,scared,angry and mad.How could it have happen? Should I have taken my buddies.I won’t let this ruin my vacation.

    I’m taken to the nearby hospital,I hear them say,Your lucky.That mountain. could have ate you for dinner.You were very brave says the Doctor.You acted like a superhero You were very brave and calm.I was told,I would be okay.I was treated with stitches,antibotic and sent home.I anticipate having major complications with this arm down the road.As for right now,I was grateful that I wasn’t in the belly of a mountain lion. My friends and I couldn’t. believe it was real..This was a horror story.This was a nightmare,to find myself looking up and a. 300 lb. mountain lion,jumps down out of nowhere.Unreal and I still enjoyed my vacation and I had a story to tell.We managed to get some footage of this beast.I imagine this makes me a. Superhero whether I wanted. to be one or not.

  29. Pete

    Yes. Although I was worried about it coming off too dramatic, all that been through the ringer stuff. Sometimes I find it hard to tell whether I’m overdoing it. Thank you so much for the kind words, it helps with all the rejection elsewhere!

  30. Not-Only But-Also Riley


    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by some alien smuggler in some filthy bar on an asteroid in the middle of nowhere. Greasy tentacles hung down from under his round nose, so I had assumed he didn’t even have teeth when I threw my drink in his face, but he lunged at me and sunk his yellowed canines and molars into my arm. I shouted at him, started charging my laser gun, and was quickly thrown out when I was hit with my second surprise that night: he was the owner of that filthy bar on an asteroid in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t care. I wasn’t getting anywhere in that bar anyway.

    Sitting on a pointed rock, listening to the faint cry of music from outside the dive, I tried to decide how I was gonna get off this rock. The smuggler who’d brought me this far, a fat human with the smell of an alien, had told me I wouldn’t have any trouble finding my way off of here, it being an asteroid and primarily unpatrolled. Just goes to show my luck.

    Suddenly, an alien woman approached me. This one looked sort of human besides the extra two arms jutting from under her first two.

    “The drinks’re inside hotshot,” she said to me, gesturing toward the bar.

    “Believe me, of all people I know where drinks are at,” I said in response, smiling at her. She wasn’t ugly, especially for some alien on this backwater asteroid.

    “Well then what’re you doing out here?”

    “I’ve already been kicked out.”

    She laughed, revealing fangs. “Oh, so we’ve got a funny guy?”

    “Nah. I’d say more charming than funny,” I smirked. She laughed again, I was on a role.

    “Well, what do you say you and I go somewhere else? This place ain’t any good anyway.”

    “Now you’re speaking my language.”

    The place we went to was another bar, also a dive. But, despite the huge number of bars on this asteroid I bet you not a single one was a beauty. As she began giving her whole life story I scanned the bar for more smugglers. Someone that could get me out of here. If I didn’t find anyone, at the very least it looked like I’d have a place to stay the night.

    I saw a purple alien picking his toe nails with a laser knife. I looked at his ankle and saw the tattoo that labeled him a smuggler. Maybe I wouldn’t need this alien chick after all.

    “Are you listening to me?” she asked, as if she had read my mind. “What’re you looking at?”
    “Do you know that guy?” I asked, pointing to the purple alien.

    “Sort of. It’s a small asteroid,” she sighed, seeming disinterested. I didn’t really care anymore.
    “Is he a smuggler?” I asked, “and how much does he charge?”

    She suddenly grabbed my arm with two of her four arms and pulled me from the seat and out of the bar. My hand dropped to my laser pistol, but another hand snatched it before I could.

    She pointed the gun at me, both of us standing in the bar, and silence fell as all eyes, and there were plenty, were on us.

    “What are you doing? It was a harmless question…”

    “That thing that bit you. You know don’t you? What its saliva will do?” she asked, the gun beginning to glow as it charged more.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

    “It’s known for its medicinal qualities, but when mixed with human blood it passes a disease of sorts,” she began explaining. I looked down at the bite to see where the wound was open, and it had certainly bled. “The disease, it’ll give you powers. Powers that I need you to use to help me.”

    “Why can’t you just get the thing to bite you yourself? Trust me, it’s got quite the temper…”

    “I don’t want the disease…” she whispered, almost to herself.

    With all eyes in the bar on me, awaiting an answer, I ran this through my mind and realized I didn’t have much of a choice.

    And with an ‘okay’ I was on my way to saving my first damsel in distress.

    1. Jay

      It’s interesting, and a little whimsical even if not on the face of things. i do have one gripe, and it’s that she pulled him out of the bar, but then they’re standing in the bar again, and also all eyes are watching them in the bar. Just a little thing, but it yanked me right out of the story.

      Thanks for the fun story, Riley.

  31. ShamelessHack

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a charging lion.

    The animal’s brain had been turned into a raging fire by an infestation of trypanosomes, one-celled parasites that creep through the bloodstream to the brain, turning it to brimstone. Filthy buggers must have been breeding in the lion’s last kill. Those microscopic devils are the real top of the food chain here in the Congo.

    I regain consciousness in a filthy tent in Tchambu, a tiny, poverty-wracked village east of Brazzaville. I grind my teeth more in anger than pain when I hear that my guide Lumboso is dead, as are three of our four beaters. Damn the Congo, damn Africa–pitiless place to die.

    The crazed lion had run amok and had been bitching powerful, tearing our safari to smitheens. Both my legs are torn off at the knee, and one arm at the elbow. The cot that I’m on is a sodden mess. I know I won’t pull through this. Hell, I don’t want to, anyway–never burdened anyone before, and I’m not going to start now.

    A man calling himself a doctor asks if I want a priest, as if there are any in this village. I throw him a scowl, and he gets the point. He asks if there’s anything left I want him to do, otherwise he’ll leave me alone.

    “Who’s the village chief in this tropical Versailles?” I ask the doctor.

    “Ngobo,” he tells me. “A good man.”

    “Bring him to me,” I whisper, not surprised that my voice is weakening.

    A few minutes go by with only the flies keeping me company. Finally Ngobo walks into the tent.

    “Understand English?” I croak.

    He nods. He’s old for this place, maybe 50, and his clever eyes tell me he sees that I’m almost gone.

    “How many children in this village?” I ask, though my vision is going shaky now.

    “Around forty,” he says.

    “Here.” With my good hand I manage to pull off my blood-soaked safari belt and toss it towards him.

    It hits the floor, and he bends and picks it up. In a few seconds he finds the flap that runs half the length of the wide canvas belt. He looks at me and I nod. His fingers begin to pull out the tight wads of US hundred dollar bills and the $20 gold pieces I’ve hidden there. Good–I see that they’re not yet soaked with blood.

    He’s about to say something, but I beat him to it.

    “For the kids,” I’m whispering now. “Make sure it’s used for the kids’ welfare. You know what to do.”

    He nods, knowing that for the poor and sick children of this godforsaken village, this fortune will go far–very, very far, and for very many years. Our eyes lock in silent understanding.

    Finally he says, “You will be well remembered.” He steps to the side of the cot, and gently puts his rough hand on my head. “I will see to it.”

    Sure, why not? I throw him a last grin as the light fades faster and faster to black.

    I didn’t plan to be a superhero, but all of that changed when I got bit by a

    1. Jay

      Been a long time since I read one of your stories, Shameless, and it didn’t disappoint. I rather enjoyed this one. Short and to the point. Nice imagery, and clean prose. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m happy to agree with all your reviews. I want you to post each week comes hades or high seas. It’s great practice here and we have missed you sorely. Way to go “L”.

  32. Pete

    I didn’t plan to become a superhero, but all that changed when I got bit by a hooker down at the pier.

    Jolene, her laugh like a squeaky door hinge. I grab at my neck, wiping for blood. Her teeth like a sheered Budweiser can. “Jo, what the hell are you doing?”

    She rubs up next me like an alley cat. Stringy hair, spindly fingers, her lips cracked and disgusting. “Come on, Jackie, it’s been a while.”

    “Not long enough.” I cool my temper. Shame lands a blow in my stomach for wondering what I might catch from her mouth.

    A little makeup on her face this evening, applied by a three-year-old from the looks of things. A smear on her cheek, a glob on one eyelid. I shake my head, wondering why I keep coming down to the pier. Like I can stop.

    “Where’s Gil?” I ask casually.

    She shrugs into a pout. The curb grabbing her attention. I duck to find her eyes. “Is he still…?”

    “Big Gil does what Big Gil does.”

    When her mouth is closed, you can still see it. The cheekbones that caught my attention. Made me get up and walk across the room because I had to meet her. Those hazels that had them lining up around the block. The crackly sparkle she held before heroin sucked her dry. Before this. Before she left me and I was too tired to keep chasing after her.

    I failed her. I know that. But try competing with smack. Try and fight it. Try knocking your face with a metal skillet until your vision blurs and your will is broken, and then fight it some more. Come on, man up, even when it’s an impossible climb, and your forced to admit that you can’t win. That not even a chubby, hazel-eyed baby, marriage, and most disposably, your sorry tail can hoist anything on the table quite so spectacular as euphoria.

    Then do it all again.

    Step into the ring, my friend. Give it your best shot. Get knocked out cold again. Throw away your job, the house, sell off your family with false hope in exchange for the cash to set her up in rehab. Then, almighty judger, after all of that, you be the man of steel. You come down to the pier and tell me how I haven’t done enough.

    A fishing boat sits off in the distance. The café lights will pop on in a moment. Jolene’s wearing a green tank top, exposing her sharp shoulders. She still does enough to keep enough, and I hate it when I think about the hundreds of men who’ve used my wife and tossed her out the car like a fast food bag.

    I’ve stopped telling myself it can be different. But one day I’ll come down to the pier and she won’t be around.

    Some early drunks exit the bar across the street. They laugh and tear into the night. Jolene’s shift is about to begin. She looks at me and fidgets. I nod and look away.

    I’m interfering.

    I can’t help her.

    Let her go.

    What I do is keep my palms dry. Earlier I kissed my daughter–our daughter–goodnight. Now it’s time to focus. Because when I see Big Gil, I will plunge my Boker knife into his neck. Gil is my villain. He is the thief of my marriage. And I will have vengeance.

    Maybe not tonight. But soon.

    Real soon.

    1. jhowe

      Pete, your stories have been filled with grit and vigor lately. This one especially. Well done. With the emphasis on well. This is something I’d read in a magazine and say, ‘hey, this is pretty good.’

      Tell me the truth, did you finish this and get a little shaky with anticipation?

    2. Jay

      Nice story, Pete. Definitely gritty enough for my taste. 😉 I feel like we went similar paths… well, sort of, anyway.

      I really enjoyed this. From your visuals to your content, it was all nicely done. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I can hear Mickey Spillene in the background egging you on. This certainly is an inspired piece of work. Gritty isn’t half of it. It’s harsh reality. You’ve done a great job Pete. I’m certainly not the only one who’s noticed.


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