With Great Power Comes…

Cari looked at her left hand where smoke was rising from her fist.  The wall of the bank in front of her laid in pieces, and the alarm was sounding at a level just under supersonic jetfighter.  She slowly opened her hand and examined it.  Nothing looked different at all.  It looked exactly the same as it did just thirty seconds ago, but nothing was the same.  She looked up just in time to see a man poke his heavily balding head out to see what had happened.  “Sir, please help me,” she pleaded.  All that seemed to do is frighten him back behind the wall.

Cari looked back and forth, trying to figure out what to do.  She felt drained, almost like normal.  It was hard to believe that pill had changed her that much.  Matt had told her to point her hand at the wall and think about knocking it down.  Just keep calm and she would be done.  That’s all she needed to do to get her daughter back.  That’s all she could think of.

The man came back to the hole, but this time with a gun in his hand.  Cari threw her left hand behind her back.  “Don’t shoot,” she screeched.  “I’m not armed.”

“Both hands in the air!” screamed the man.  “Do it now!”

“I’m not armed,” Cari cried.  She was in a panic, not wanting to move.  The panic fed the power.  It began to intensify.

“Do it now!” screamed the man.  He took aim at her.  “Do it!”

Cari began to cry.  She slowly lifted her right hand, and then her left.  The power was beginning to hurt as she tried to keep it in check.  “Help me,” she said.  “Please.”

The man climbed over the rubble and out of the hole.  He kept his gun trained on Cari the whole time.   “Down on your knees!” he commanded.

Cari heard the sound of sirens coming closer.  She felt like she was burning up.  Time seemed to stretch almost to a breaking point.  All she wanted was to have one more chance to hold her daughter.  The power fed on her anxiety and fear, growing stronger and stronger, screaming to be let free.  Her world shrunk to a haze of pain and overwhelming sadness.

The man stopped and yelled at her again, but she didn’t understand a word he said.  She looked at him and mouthed goodbye to him, her daughter, the world.

 

The explosion set off alarms three miles away.  Matt smiled waved his team into action.

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Kiss of Death

“Who would you kill if you could kill anyone, anywhere, with a single thought?” asked Tatianna.  She never broke stride as we walked between dorms on the way to the science center.  It was cold outside.  The spring semester had just started and the cold winds had also just come back from vacation.

Still it was that question that stopped me in my tracks.  “Why did you say that?” I asked.

Tatianna stopped and laughed in her typical tee-hee fashion.  “Darling, it was just a fun thought tease,” she said.  “All these reports of people having superpowers freaks me out.  Still, if I had the power to kill someone with just a thought, I would use it.”

Man I loved that accent.  It was one of the reasons I was so madly in lust for her, not that she knew that.  It was one of the many secrets I held from her, not that I wanted to.  It was just easier this way, or at least that’s how I slept better at night, when I could sleep.

“Well, I don’t know.  Who would you kill?” I said as we started walking again.

Tatianna hooked her arm around my elbow as we picked up the pace.  Man it was bitter with that wind.  “I would start by taking out all those terrorist assholes.  Then I would move on to the drug cartels,” she said.  “After that, we would see where the crap floated to the top.  There would be plenty of crap once I got back home to St. Petersburg.”

I shook my head.  This is where being a philosophy major had its perks.  Okay, this might be its only perk, but it is still a perk.  “I don’t think it would be that easy.  Where do you begin drawing the line?” I said.  “I think it would be easier to just let things play out on their own and not get involved.  Things get complicated way too quickly.”

Tatianna leaned in close as the wind rose in fury.  “This is worse than the time I visited Siberia.  Let’s cut through Proctor.  It’ll be shorter,” she said.

Proctor was a small park that sat on the edge of campus that was one of the only wooded places that might cut this accursed wind.  It was also after dark and all sorts of people used the place to hide, from drunk under aged colligates to the occasional rapist.  I made it a policy to avoid the place at all costs.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.  I would rather play it safe,” I said.

Tatianna turned us towards the trees.  Did I mention she is a six foot two inch blond amazon goddess?  Oh and I’m only five ten and maybe one sixty wet?  She wins, not that I tried too hard.  I did mention I was in lust.  Maybe under the trees we could find a romantic spot where we wouldn’t get frostbite while we make out.  Oh, and maybe I would win Miss America as soon as they open it up to young scrawny males who have good hair.  I do have good hair.

“So why couldn’t you find a line?” Tatianna asked.

The wind blew her hair into my face and I inhaled the perfume she wore, or maybe that was her shampoo.  Either way I was not complaining.  Choking on paradise, maybe, but not complaining.  “What about the kids of those you kill?” I asked.  “They don’t deserve to lose their parent.”

Tatianna leaned in close as we entered the trees.  The roaring wind died down to a moaning and the sound of tree branches dancing to a tune they didn’t enjoy.  “This place always freaks me out,” she said.

“Then why, pray tell, did you come here?” I ask softly.  I’m sort of freaked out as well, but I don’t want her to know that.  Hopefully she didn’t notice my shaking a bit.

Once again the tee-hees pour forth.  “If you could see your face right now,” Tatianna said.  I knew I blushed, but in the dark and bitter cold I hope she mistook it for frostbite.  Yes, I know frostbite is white, but I was still hoping.  It is darker amongst the trees. She continued to pull me along.  “But what about the kids of the people those dictators killed and maimed?  You don’t get off that easy,” she said.

I kept my head on a swivel.  Okay, I kept my eyes more on a swivel.  I was enjoying leaning in and breathing Tatianna.  Still, all was quiet on the eastern front, or was this west?  Doesn’t matter, all was quiet, minus the tree and wind thing.

“Relax,” Tatianna said.  “It’s too cold for anyone to be out in this.  You would need to be crazy, or desperate.”

“So what does that make us?” I ask, then immediately regret it.  I have a wonderful case of athlete’s tongue from all the running of my mouth.

“Hopeless fools?” Tatianna responds, giving me a small peck on my cheek.  Okay, I almost fall over with the brute force of that small kiss.

I stop and look into those pale green eyes.  I can’t really see them well in the dim light, but I have them on speed dial in my memory.  I leaned in close and pressed my lips to her.  I could feel a tingle pass through my entire being as we kissed.  I didn’t want that moment to ever end.

I didn’t want that moment to end, especially as I was flattened by a truck the size of a linebacker.  I rolled to my side and saw Tatioanna sitting on the ground with a large guy standing over her, holding that beautiful blonde mane in one ridiculously large fist.  Two other guys materialized out of the dark trees as well.

“Look at what the wind dragged in for us guys?” said the thug holding Tatianna.  “Looks like we get to have a bit of fun.”  The two other thugs looked at Tatianna in such a way that left little doubt what they considered fun.

“Leave her alone,” I said as I began to stand up.  The two other thugs took that as their clue to practice river dancing on my spine.  My attempt at rising ended in a lot of groans and me getting into the fetal position to protect myself as much as I could.

“That’s enough boys,” the first thug said.  “Don’t kill him yet.”  Tatianna moaned.  The thug looked at her.  “You behave, and we’ll let you and your boyfriend live.  Understand?”

Tatianna looked at me, pleading me to do something.  I wanted to.  I wanted to be that hero, but I couldn’t be.  I watched the thug grab her breast hard and Tatianna just went limp.  She was giving up everything, just so we could live.

I looked at the two thugs who had been dancing on my spine, then I turned back to the thug holding Tatianna.  His hands groped her back into a standing position.  I could feel my anger overwhelming my helplessness.  “Leave her alone,” I growled.  This earned me a few more kicks and I almost blacked out, but I kept my eyes on the thug holding Tatianna.  He tried to kiss those lips that had just graced mine with their presence.  Now they were the site of a hostile takeover.

“Leave her alone,” I said again, the red haze in my vision coming from the hatred or the brain damage I was receiving.  I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  I felt something snap inside of me, but it wasn’t a bone or an organ.  It was that moral place that always knew where the line really was, and I had never crossed it.  Now though, the line had snapped.

I looked at the two closest thugs to me and I pulled my mental trigger.  The two of them fell like someone had cut their strings.  The thug holding Tatianna broke off his assault on Tatianna’s mouth and looked at me like his world had just been blown apart, which it had, since he fell to the ground dead as well.

The bad news was Tatianna fell to the ground too.  Her eyes were open wide and her breathing was fast and shallow.  I tried to comfort her.  “Tatianna, it’s going to be okay.  Everything is going to be okay,” I said, as I tried to get to a sitting position.  Okay, maybe a bone broke in there as well since my ribs ground against each other.

Tatianna then put on a bright smile.  “I know it will be.  I promise.  Everything will be okay,” she said.  She took out her cell phone. “I have the subject in custody.  Send in the sweeper team.”  Then she blinked.

Just Another Normal Day

Marshal stormed into the house and slammed the door behind him.  His mother’s voice called out from the kitchen.  “How many times have I told you don’t slam the door!  I don’t want to have to replace it again.”

Marshal dropped his book bag to the floor and it sounded like he had dropped a ton of bricks.  Marshal said, “Sorry, it’s just that they made me angry!”

His mother came around the corner and gave him the parental glare.  That helped put some of the anger in check.  “Sorry mom,” he said.

“So what happened this time?” she asked as she let the glare up just a bit.

“I saw two cars get into an accident right in front of me and I couldn’t do a darn thing,” Marshal said.  “There was another of the damn video traffic cameras.”

“I’m sorry dear,” his mother said giving up the rest of the glare.  “But you know you have to protect who you are.”

Marshal added on a ‘and protect your friends and family’ to that as well.  “Mom, why did you and dad have me?” he asked.

“Now honey, we are not going to go there,” his mother said.   She disappeared around the corner.

Marshal hurried after her.  “Oh no, I want to know.  If I can’t be who I am then why am I here?” he asked.

His mother tried to turn back on the gaze, but Marshal was having none of that.  “Look, you had to know I was going to be different,” he said.

“We didn’t know no such thing!” his mother responded.  “Genetics are weird things.  Our condition is recessive.  You’ve taken biology.  You know it was a one in four chance at best.”

“Now you’re a science teacher too?” asked Marshal.  “Can you tell me about the Marianna Trench?”

“The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, located just to the east of the Mariana Islands,” said his mom.  She then put her hand over her mouth.  Marshal immediately was sorry he went that far.  “So you decided to use me as Google?” she asked.  “Go to your room!”

“Mom, you have a gift, just like me.  You could go on Jeopardy and make a million,” said Marshal.

“You know perfectly well why not,” she said.

“Because the norms would try to kill us,” said Marshal.

“Because people fear something or someone different, especially if they have powers and abilities that everyday folk don’t.”  His mom could see the hurt in Marshal’s eyes.  “I’m sorry you have to pretend you are somebody you aren’t.  For most people it means pretending they like their boss or that annoying kid that sits behind you.  For you, it means no lifting cars and making sure the bully actually gets to think he beat you up.  Look, life isn’t fair.  I still use my powers, so do you.  It’s just that we have to be careful.”

“But with all these cameras everywhere, how will we ever be able to help, and I mean really help.  I know I could save lives,” Marshal said.

“People are so scared that they want complete control,” she said.  “It means they would rather have limited success in defeating the bad guys then letting us help them along.  Maybe someday we can come out of the dark, but not right now. “

“It still sucks,” said Marshal.

His mother gave her son a hug.  “Agreed.  Now please go pick up your things.  Your father should be home any minute.”

There was a large puff of black smoke and Marshal’s father appeared before them.  “Hi everyone, I’m home.”  His dad noticed Marshal and his mom hugging.  “Bad day?”

Marshal shook his head no.  “Nope, just another normal day.”

Superhero on Call

The call came in at 3:27AM.  George didn’t want to answer, but he was the hero on call.  “Captain Lucifer speaking,” George said.

“Captain, we need your help,” said the voice on the other side of the call.  “The Pink Brigade has stopped traffic on both sides of the East Scarborough bridge.  We were told to keep our distance or they will blow it.”

George rubbed his forehead with his free hand.  “Got it.  Listen to them and stay back,” he said.
“I’ll be right there.  Just get the webcam up.”

George cut the connection when the other person was trying to say thank you or some platitude like that.  “I’m so sick of this gig,” he said to no one in particular.  The person sleeping next to him started to stir.  George leaned over and kissed her blond hair and gave her a quick grope.  “Sorry about this, but let yourself out in the morning.  I’ll probably still be giving interviews.  I’ll have Harvey take you home.  Make sure to get some breakfast on the way.”

The woman woke up groggily and turned towards George.  “Really, that’s it?” she said.

“Baby, that’s what you signed up for banging the hottest hero this side of Gotham,” George said.  “Just think about how lucky you were to sleep with the man about to save the world yet again.”

The woman sat up, exposing her naked torso.  George let his eyes slide down with the cover.  “You are such a pig!” said the woman, and she punched George’s arm.  A slight sizzle accompanied the sound of flesh on flesh.  “Damn, you burned me,” she said looking at the first degree burns on her knuckles.

“You play with the devil you’re sure to be burned,” said George.  He waited for a slight smile at his pun, but the woman looked even more pissed.  “I’ll call you when all this is done and maybe we can go for round two.”  George brought back up his phone and looked at a live picture of the crime scene.

The woman picked up the lamp off the nightstand on her side of the bed and swung it at George, but he disappeared in a flash of flames and the scent of black powder.  “Damn superheroes!” she screamed.

The woman pulled up her covers as Harvey came into the room.  “Do you wish to spend the night, or would you rather leave now?” Harvey asked.

The woman looked at the singe marks on the sheets where George had been sitting just moments ago.  “Does he always do crap like this?” she asked.

“I’m afraid so, ma’am.  Hence his name, Captain Lucifer,” Harvey said.

The woman looked back at Harvey and felt the fight leave her.  “Damn, and I thought…  I think I’ll go home now.”

“Most do,” said Harvey.  “I will get the car.”


 

Captain Lucifer appeared in a blast of flames, heat, and the scent of black powder.  His blood red costume burned with a low flame and his hair danced in the hot air.  The police parted as Detective Drake approached.  “Hey Drake, why is the C team down here?” said Captain Lucifer.

“Funny guy Lucifer,” said Drake.  “I was hoping Hippy Man was on call tonight.  Oh well.”

Captain Lucifer and Drake shook hands and smiled.  Captain Lucifer noticed Drake was wearing his fireproof glove.  Drake smiled.  “Prepare for the worst,” he said.

“You’re a funny man,” said Captain Lucifer.  “So give me the details.”

“Already did.  Doright and Smith are on this side of the bridge and the Pinky triplets are on the other side.  I don’t know what they are playing, but I just knew that we couldn’t handle them,” Drake said.

“Okay, on it.  Any hint of Bacon?” asked Captain Lucifer.

“Only with my eggs,” said Drake.  Captain Lucifer shook his head.  “Haven’t seen him.  Want me to call in backup?”

Captain Lucifer turned up his heat and looked at the bridge.  “No need, I’ve got this.”  With that he disappeared in a flash of flames and black powder, just his shadow seemingly left behind .

“Good, because I already did.  The real question is why take over a bridge,” said Drake to no one in particular.  Drake turned to the police who were nearby.  “Let’s move it people!  This is about to get real!”


 

Captain Lucifer materialized in the middle of the span.  He ducked down between a couple of the cars that had been stuck on the bridge when the Pink Brigade had closed it off.  To his left he could see the triplets relaxing, fencing with a couple of streetlights.  To the right he could see Doright and Smith pointing excitedly at the place he had been moments ago.  Damn!  They must have seen him shift.  Good thing the wind was blowing out along the river below.  They couldn’t smell where he had landed.  Now if he could find Bacon he could come up with a plan.

The slam of a big fleshy fist rang Captain Lucifer’s bell.  Damn, there’s Bacon!  He managed to just miss the follow up fist as Captain Lucifer spun to face his attacker.  Bacon was a monster of a man with a very piggy like nose.  It was so ironic that the man’s real last name is Bacon.

Captain Lucifer threw a gout of flame into Bacon’s face as Captain Lucifer ducked low.  Captain Lucifer threw his shoulder into Bacon’s ham hock legs, taking the big guy down backwards.  Bacon’s head slammed against the tarmac with a loud hollow thump and Captain Lucifer could almost see the stars circling Bacon’s head.

Captain Lucifer gasped for breath and pushed himself off the ground just as a light pole smashed in the space he had previously occupied.  “Damn, missed the flamer,” said one of the Pinky triplets.  Captain Lucifer didn’t bother trying to figure out which one.  He usually referred to them loosely as einy, meanie, and mineie.  Lucifer spun his head around to get his bearings and shifted.


 

George hated going to Hell.  He always felt guilty knowing he could leave, while those being eternally punished couldn’t.  Of course they hadn’t made a deal with the devil.  Who knew the Devil would have him trap a few innocents for the powers he used for the greater good.  Oh, and to get hot women.  Yeah can’t forget that one.

George noticed his personal assistant, Harvey, was back.  “Did you take her home?” George asked.

“I will, or have done so,” said Harvey.  “You know sir how bad I am with time.”

George chuckled at that.  Hell had no watches.  That’s what you get for being eternal.  It also meant that Hell was at all time.  Technically since George could travel through Hell he could go to any time he wanted.  Heck, he could go to any probability out there.  It was mind blowing, and that’s why George stayed in one time line, and in one time.  He did like the way he could travel between points as long as he knew the lay of the land.

George grabbed a coffee from the pot.  That pot never got cold here.  The coffee sucked otherwise.  “Did the big guy come by?” asked George.

“No sir, you still have free reign of Hell,” said Harvey.  “Will you need my assistance now?”

George was Harvey’s ticket out of this Hell hole for short periods of time, so George knew Harvey had his back.  At least he hoped so.  Sure George had helped get Harvey sent here ten years ago, but that was water way under the bridge.  Who knew it was so easy to get an angel to fall?

“If you can run a bit of cover on the west side of the bridge so I can finish off the triplets I should be fine,” George said.  “Just remember, don’t let the news crews see you.”  With that George shifted back to the bridge leaving just a hint of his shadow.

Harvey let a sneer bloom on his face.  “Yes, SIR.  I will provide quite the cover,” said Harvey to no one in particular just before he shifted.


 

Captain Lucifer appeared directly behind einie, or was it meanie, never mind, it didn’t matter because he dropped her like a sack of bricks with a double fisted blow to the back of her head.

The other two were still close to the spot he had shifted away from.  He let loose a torrent of hellfire at the pair, setting both their hair on fire.  They screamed in pain and dived into the waters below, but that sound was drowned out by the bridge shifting under all their feet.

A demon had risen between Captain Lucifer and Doright and Smith.  Little known fact is a demon can alter its mass depending on its whim, borrowing it from the earth usually, but this time from the bridge itself.   Of course that weekend the whole structure.

“Harvey!” shouted Captain Lucifer as he tried to shift, but of course with a demon this close and loose on the earth that was impossible.  He charged the demon as a strange fog drifted in obscuring the anchor point of the bridge to the land.  Well at least Harvey had sort of listened.

Smith ran forward, his body becoming more and more ashen as he approached the demon.  Just as the demon screamed and threw a punch, Smith exploded.  The bridge under the demon disappeared in sound and fury, dropping the demon to a well needed bath below.  Smith reformed on the Captain Lucifer’s side of the blast and caught a right uppercut as Smith solidified.  Smith was already spent from his explosion, so he collapsed nicely at Captain Lucifer’s feet.

Captain Lucifer didn’t get to celebrate his victory for long.  A pair of thick, tarlike arms grabbed him around the torso and began to squeeze.  Captain Lucifer tried to turn up his flames, but the arms just softened a bit and continued to constrict.  Captain Lucifer tried to shift, but the demon residue was still too strong.

“This has been coming for a long time,” said Doright.  “One less good guy in the phone books.”

The arms got tighter, but Captain Lucifer wasted a bit of precious breath to hopefully buy some time.  “Why take over a bridge?” he asked.

“Why not?” replied Doright.  “Oh and your boss wanted to see if we could give him your soul as a present.”

The grip became agonizing.  That and knowing the Devil was now sending out goons to take him down.  Well, he could get to that later.  “Anytime now,” Captain Lucifer whispered to no one in particular.

“What did you say?” asked Doright right before Captain Lucifer’s Shadow loomed up.  The Shadow flooded into Doright’s mouth, eyes, ears, nose and any other orifice available and ripped him apart from the inside out.

The gore got all over Captain Lucifer’s clothes.  “Damn it all!  Why did you have to go and do that?” Captain Lucifer asked.

“Well the detective did call me in as backup,” replied the Shadow.  “And you do know that wasn’t nice what you did to that woman back at your penthouse.”

“Look why can’t you be like other consciences?” asked Captain Lucifer.

“Why can’t you be the hero you were destined to be?” replied the Shadow.  “Anyhow, your adoring public awaits.”  With that the Shadow settled back down at Captain Lucifer’s feet.

The fog lifted and a group of police officers slowly approached the bridge, with the press not far behind.  “Destiny is a bitch who I slept with once.  Wasn’t that good either,” said Captain Lucifer to no one in particular.  And no one in particular decided to stay quiet.