The River

Morgan sat in the dirt, on a bank of the river Chattahoochee. Her surroundings were dimly lit by her kerosene lantern. There was something tranquil about the sound of trickling water, with the backdrop of the woods. It was like a concert, with a thousand crickets and fireflies joining her in the audience, all gathered to watch the famous Chattahoochee play one more song.

In truth, she wasn’t only here for the river. She camped a lot, and wasn’t too picky where she did it. Any sounds were better than the ones she could hear back home. She didn’t have it as bad as other people she knew, but things at home were still tense. It was like she’d outstayed her welcome, which she supposed she had. It wasn’t her fault she couldn’t get a good enough paying job with her bachelors, and she was almost out of grad school, so everyone put up with her. It was clear they were ready for her to move on, though.

She felt quite lonely when she was at home, which was funny considering the number of people living under that roof. She never could really relate to them, though. She had always been different somehow. They had lived in the same house in the same town for generations, and they were content to continue doing so. That was good enough for them, and she didn’t hold it against them, but it wasn’t good enough for her. She’d always dreamed of more. Right now it was like someone had built a dam, and her current just kept circling around, pooling up. Sure some of her dreams managed to pass the dam, but that was all they were, dreams. She knew one day she’d break through, at least that was what she told herself.

She looked out through the treeline at the moon. It was full tonight, and it looked huge, even for a full moon. She wondered if it was one of those super moons she had heard about, or if she just hadn’t really taken in a good view of the moon in a while.

She was pulled out of her meditation by the sound of a car horn in the distance. She turned her head towards the direction of the sound, and heard some kind of collision. She started to grab her lamp, when she noticed a green light on the horizon. It looked like the aurora, but it was moving like a wave. It was moving in her direction.

She stared into its majesty, and took a couple of steps back. She felt the Chattahoochee lapping at her heels. A new performer had arrived, and the river was not to be outdone. The river sang, as the green light danced forwards. It was truly like nothing she had ever imagined before. She took a deep breath as the light danced around her, then everything went dark.

She felt her very essence being scattered, and wondered if she had died. If she had, she figured it would be alright. After all, she wasn’t exactly living the big life, nobody would miss her too badly, and she had just witnessed the performance of a lifetime. She dismissed this thought, however, as a new sensation replaced her sight.

She felt a sense of momentum, and unity. She rushed along the sand, occasionally sweeping up sediment. She felt water cascading all around her, and she felt herself cascading around the water. A tadpole’s mouth opened wide, and she coursed into it. She began to flow through its body, and felt its plight. Elsewhere, a rock approached, and it kindly gave her a boost into the air. The air sailed around her, and took her hand.

She began to twirl off into the sky, in a dance with the air, as she also coursed down the banks of the Chattahoochee, and through the veins of a hundred creatures. She was finally leaving her home town. She was also remaining in her home town. She could be with her family and a thousand miles away at the same time. She felt the dam shattering around her, and all it had taken was a gentle push from a gorgeous dancer.

 


 

Hey everyone! First thing I’ve written in like 3 weeks, since I’ve been out of commission with something going on. Hope you enjoy. Just a cool idea I had and typed up.

If you don’t regularly read me, now’s a great time to check out my serial, Trials.

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Nemeses

Content warning: Hospitals, blood, cancer, and death.

 

Cosmus reclined in a sterile white bed, swaddled in sterile sheets. Tubes and wires ran from around his body into various beeping instruments. Everything in here was cold and unfeeling, it all felt like death. If he got a chance, he would certainly take some notes from these designers on how to make a sinister room. He laughed at the thought, but a stabbing pain throughout his chest put an abrupt stop to that.

The clocks ticking ran in stark contrast to the beeping metronome that had been driving his lifelong performance. The clock ran steadily, unaffected by the comings and goings of mortals. More importantly, the clock read 12:58.

He turned his attention to the television. Two reporters were interviewing a rookie super, about the potential whereabouts of the cities most infamous villain. They speculated all sorts of wild things. Perhaps he was making his most elaborate scheme yet, or wreaking havoc unbeknownst to the public. Perhaps he had simply given up evil, one of the reporters posited. The rookie laughed, some people are just rotten to the core, he said. He’s more right than he knows.

There was a faint knock at the door. Cosmus looked up to the clock, 1:01. A tall man walked into the room.

“So you came.” Cosmus grinned.

“Cosmus?” The man stepped back, and deployed a shield. “What’s your play here?” He glanced around the room rapidly.

“My whole life, I’ve had a plan, something up my sleeve. Today? No. No plan, no scheme.” Cosmus let out a wheezing laugh, but was once again interrupted by the pain.

The man lowered his guard a little. “Then why am I here? Why are you here for that matter?”

Cosmus looked downwards, and his grin faded. “Micah… I’m dying.”

Micah stepped forwards a little bit, and began to look Cosmus over. “You’re… What?”

“Its cancer.” Cosmus shook his head. “Stage four.”

Micah dropped his guard completely. He had likely taken in the full sight of the frail man in front of him. “How long?”

“How long have I got? The doctor said a few days at most.”

Micah was silent for a moment. “How long have you been in here?”

“I blacked out and woke up in a pool of blood a couple of weeks ago. I called an ambulance, and woke up again in this bed.” Cosmus sighed. “The doctor said this has been brewing for at least a year. I knew something was up, I just thought it wasn’t anything this major. Evil never rests, ya know?” He started to laugh again, but broke into a coughing fit. Blood spatters flew onto the sheets.

Micah paced around the bed, and the pair was silent for a moment. The competing metronomes filled the room once more, until Micah spoke. “Why did you call me here?”

Cosmus looked down again. A solitary tear rolled down his cheek. “Micah, I’ve never been much of a family man. I prioritized my studies and my career over that kind of thing. Any family I did have, I used and manipulated, until they couldn’t stand me anymore. I haven’t seen any of them in decades. I don’t have a lot of friends, since I can’t exactly get out much, being the face of evil in this city. Just to get a hospital room I had to call in several favors and bribe several people.” He went quiet again, another tear rolled down his face, merging with the last. “Micah, you’re the closest thing I’ve had to a friend in decades. You’ve always been there with me. Sure on opposing sides, but there was a kind of pageantry and sportsmanship to it.”

Micah sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed Cosmus’s shoulder wordlessly.

“I’ve sat in this bed alone for two weeks, and I’m dying.” Two new tears came streaming down. He weakly gripped Micah’s hand with his less intubated arm. “I’m scared of dying, Micah… I’ve been a bad guy. I’m not sure about any kind of afterlife, but if there is one, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell.”

Micah was silent for a moment, some tears of his own ran down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry…”

The heart rate monitor started beeping more rapidly. The sound began to drown out that of time’s metronome, and all others.

“Micah, I’ve got a will.” Cosmus was speaking faster now, and panic was rising in his voice. Tears now readily fell down his face. “I want you to use all of my things for good, to help atone for some of my misdeeds. I have a base out in the plains. A message telling you how to access it will follow after my death.”

Micah bowed his head, tears streamed across his scarred cheeks in cascading rivers. “I will…”

The beeping grew even louder and more rapid. Cosmus was now sobbing speaking only between heaves. “I don’t want to die… God I’m so sorry!” His wailing grew louder, but garnered no attention from hospital staff. Suddenly his wailing stopped. His eyes bulged, and he moved his hands around his neck.

“Nurse!” Micah bellowed, but to no avail. The beeping accelerated and crescendoed for a moment, but then suddenly stopped, replaced by a steady tone. Time’s metronome ticked onwards in a terrible duet. A man poked his head into the room, and upon seeing the monitor, shouted out of the room for help, before charging in.

Though the man fought on, he could not help. Cosmus and time played their duet, until the monitor was unplugged.

 


 

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Terrance, plus an announcement!

Terrance was galavanting through a stream, devouring any salmon who dared cross his path. He took a deep breath and appreciated the smell of the flowing water and of the surrounding trees. A gentle wind caressed his back, and he realized that he had never truly appreciated the fearsome beauty of nature. Everything out here could kill you, and avoiding everything that could kill you also may kill you, but if you stop and appreciate it, there is nothing like it.

Terrance had a secondary realization, once nature had exhausted its stay in his attention span. He was capable of profound observation. Not that nature being beautiful deadly is actually that profound. No, he realized that never before this had he ever realized anything. He was infinitely aware of his surroundings, and he was unsure why.

This would be no big deal for an ordinary man, perhaps time for a change in career. Terrance, however, was no ordinary man. He was no man at all. Terrance was, in fact, a 600 pound grizzly bear that had just gained sapience for no particular reason.

He finished off the salmon he had been munching on and stepped out of the stream. While this was fun, he had an overwhelming desire to know why he had an overwhelming desire for anything besides salmon. Perhaps other creatures of the forest had experienced the same thing. He resolved to find one.

He first went back to the stream, since the salmon were nearby, but none of them seemed interested in talking. Terrance figured it was natural for them to avoid a creature who used to want nothing more than to eat them, so he set out into the forest.

Twigs and leaves crunched underneath his paws, but other than that, the woods were silent. Perhaps if he called out for someone, they would see he just wanted to talk. So call out he did. “Hey, anyone out there?” He heard a rustle in a nearby bush.

“Oh gods! It’s a bear!” A voice murmured from behind a bush. Terrance looked over, and saw two young bipeds hiding rather poorly.

“Shut up! Maybe he won’t hear us.” The second biped said.

“Hey, you guys aren’t great at hiding.” Terrance meandered over towards them. Maybe he could teach them to hide in exchange for bipedal secrets. Terrance got up on his back legs to seem less intimidating

“Oh gods! It’s a bear! It’s attacking!” The bipeds began to run away, and Terrance knew he had to do something.

“Hey, wait! I’m not a bear.” What a ridiculous lie. “I’m… Uh… One of you.” Terrance watched as the bipeds hesitantly halted their retreat.

“By gods, you can talk!” One of them turned around.

“Are you saying you’re a man?” The other followed.

“Yes!” Terrance clapped his paws. “I am, indeed, a man.” He couldn’t believe this, maybe he should seek more intelligent life to help him. Then again, maybe he was a man. He supposed it was about as likely an explanation as any.

“You’ve been polymorphed!” One man gasped and began to edge towards Terrance, and the other one followed shakily behind. “Well, only one thing to do for that. We’ve gotta get you to Kyle.”

“Kyle? Can this Kyle help me?” Terrance figured the men were awfully easily convinced of him being polymorphed, so maybe he was. He also wasn’t entirely sure what polymorphed meant.

“Yeah, Kyle’s a wizard. He deals with stuff like this all the time.” The men were right in front of him, and Terrance had a subtle desire to maul them, but decided against it. It was probably bad form to convince people to help you and then maul them.

“What’s your name?” The other one asked. They appeared to be looking him up and down. Perhaps they were seeing if he was indeed a man.

“I’m Terrance.” He nodded. “And you?”

“Well I’m Bill and this is my brother Drun.” Bill patted Drun on the back.

“Well, come along now Terrance, Kyle closes up shop at sundown, so we need to get a move on.” Drun began to walk off away, and Bill followed. Terrance decided these were the first men he had spoken to, and perhaps men are not very intelligent, or perhaps Terrance was in fact a man. Terrance hadn’t ever considered if he was actually a bear. Either way, Kyle could probably help point him to someone else. He dropped back down to all fours and followed along.

Terrance began to reflect on something he had said earlier. ‘I’m Terrance’. He undoubtedly was Terrance, but he wasn’t quite sure why. It wasn’t like anyone had named him Terrance. Had he always been Terrance, or has he only been as long as he’s been sapient. Perhaps he was just a polymorphed man, who used to be called Terrance.

Terrance added this to his ever growing list of questions. Questions like, why could he speak the language of the men, despite never having spoken before. These men quite clearly thought Kyle was the answer to all of these questions, so perhaps he was just a font of intelligence.

He wondered if he had a man family, if he was indeed a man. He pondered many more questions, but he was distracted by a wooden wall. Bill and Drun approached a gate in the wall.

“Who goes there?” Croaked a voice from the other side of the wall. The wall seemed to be battered. It had arrows sticking out, deep gouges from swords and spears, and entire sections that were clearly patched together from different wood.

“Phil, it’s just Bill and Drun.” Bill said, approaching the gate.

A slot slid open on the gate, and a pair of crusty eyes peaked out. “You know the rules. No pets, especially not bears.”

“Oh that’s not a bear, he’s a man.” Bill patted Terrance on his shoulder.

“Yeah, his name’s Terrance. Say hi, Terrance.” Drun gestured to his bear companion.

“Hi, there. I’m Terrance, pleasure to meet you.” Terrance stood up on two legs. He figured it might make the bipeds more comfortable to perceive him as a biped as well.

“Oh, alright then. Sorry about that.” The slot slid shut. After a few moments of clanking, the gate swung open, revealing a tired old man. “My names Phil. We’ve been under siege a lot lately, so we’ve tightened up security.”

“It’s not an issue.” Terrance went back down to all fours and looked to Bill and Drun for direction. They went down a dirty cobblestone path between two wooden walls, out onto a dirt path. The village was beautiful. Houses lined the walls and were scattered about the middle. A pond in the center of the town was filled with laughing children. Terrance rather liked this town. He looked up and saw a haphazard tower, with various physics defying spires jutting out from it.

“We’re headed for that tower, Terrance.” Drun pointed up to it. “Kyle will fix you right up.”

 


 

Something different, and admittedly, quite silly. However, I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. I was inspired by a D&D story I read, about a bear who had incredibly good bluff skills, and convinced everyone he was a man.

Now, silliness aside, an announcement.

*Drumroll*

Superzeroes, Season 2 Part 1, will be released next Friday, March 8th. I hope you will check it out, and I think you’ll like it. If you haven’t caught up on season 1, you’ve still got time!

Zoey: Part 2

Zoey rounded the corner of the staircase. Her dad was sitting on the couch, perusing Netflix, and eating a piece of pizza. “Hey, Zoey! What do you think of this one?” The cover was some guy holding two guns posing in front of some explosions.

“Looks good, Dad.” Zoey smiled as she grabbed a piece of pizza. She sat down and leaned up against him. It had been a while since they’d had the chance to make fun of an awful action movie together.

Two hours of explosions later, the credits began to roll. She looked up at her dad for a second. He looked away quickly, but Zoey couldn’t help but notice the remnants of the worried frown that he hadn’t had a chance to wipe from his face. She sighed. She couldn’t bother him with any of this. He had so much to worry about as is. It’s not like she was worth being worried about anyway. She looked up at her dad; “That was really fun, thank you!” A wobbly smile was all she could produce to follow this up.

Her dad rose from his seat “Alright, I’ve gotta go to work now. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon?”

“Sure thing, dad.” She hugged him, and he kissed her forehead. For a moment, she felt belonging. As he went out the door, that moment passed.

Once he had left Zoey went upstairs to finish a bit of homework before crashing. She found that she felt better if she was just either busy or sleeping. Once she had finished her homework, she got ready for bed. After she got in bed, she realized that her strategy has failed her, as she wasn’t tired.

She thought about everything that happened today. She wished and wished for something to change. She didn’t know if she could take another day. She pressed her face into her pillow, and a few tears soaked into it before she nodded off. Eventually, she managed to fall asleep.

Zoey woke up, rubbed the crust out of her eyes, and got out of bed. She scratched her arm, but it felt crusty. She rubbed the rest of her arm, and it felt much the same. Now that she noticed it, most of her body felt like that.

She turned on the lights, and looked down at her arms. Zoey had been expecting some kind of rash, but her arms were covered in some kind of crystal. She ran over to the mirror, and found the rest of her body was coated in the crystal.

Zoey tried to pick some of it off, but it took some skin off with it. After a moment, the wound began to burn. Looking at her skin, she began to panic. What if she couldn’t get it off before school? Did she need to go to a doctor? It’s not like her family could even afford a doctor.

Zoey ran over to the sink, and began to try to wash it off. At first, it didn’t seem to be working, but once the hot water kicked in, the crystals started to melt away. Her wound stung, but anything was worth it to get rid of whatever this was. She got in the shower, and after a few minutes, the crystals were gone.

Once she was clean, her panic subsided, but she still felt uneasy not knowing. She tried to look it up on her phone while she got ready. All she could find was salt crystals forming from sweat after running. In the end, she decided to hope she wouldn’t die and ignore the issue. It’s not like she had the time to be worrying about it anyways. She was already almost late for another day in hell as is.

Zoey got her stuff together, and ran out to meet the bus just as it pulled up. As usual, nobody talked to her, and she didn’t talk to anybody. She did, however, manage to get a little bit of homework done. Unfortunately, the bus did eventually arrive at school, so she had to get off with everyone else.

She tried her best to just stay with the crowd, so hopefully she wouldn’t get singled out. After a few minutes, she felt something wrap around her foot, and she crashed to the ground.

She looked up and saw Jessica standing over her. “Hey, we didn’t get to finish our fun yesterday. So-” In a blur, Jessica raised her foot, and Zoey raised her hand out of reflex. Something flew out of her hand and into Jessica’s face, and she began to scream. “Ow! My eyes!”

Zoey wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but she didn’t intend to stick around and ask questions. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed, and of course everyone had. They seemed to be gravitating towards Jessica though, but for some reason Mr. Henderson was staring at Zoey. She had a feeling that her day was about to get worse.


< Previous Part ——————– Where’s Superzeroes?

Well, sorry for the delay, it was inevitable for me to mess up the scheduling at some point. Hope you enjoy

Zoey: Part 1

Zoey Rodriguez maneuvered through the bustling crowd, on her way to her locker. She could hardly hear herself think over the hundreds of other people in the hall, but she eventually made it to her locker. She had to reach as high as she could to even get to it. She began to trade out the books in her bag for the ones in her locker, when she felt something touch her side, and she was pushed to the floor.

She scrambled back over towards the lockers to avoid being trampled, leaving her books to be stepped on, and looked up to see who pushed her. Sure enough, there stood Jessica and her posse. “C’mon…” she murmured.

“Hey!” She looked towards her friends. “Who left their trash on the floor?”

They laughed as Zoey got to her feet. She closed her locker door and started to walk away.

Jessica and her friends surrounded her. “Hey, don’t you know it’s rude to walk away from someone when they’re talking to you?”

“Jessica, can you just let me go to class?” She backed up against the lockers.

“Well it wouldn’t be right of me to leave trash laying around would it?” She looked back towards her friends. “Trash belongs in the garbage, help me out.” She began to try to grab Zoey’s arm.

“Girls!” A man’s voice sounded. “Keeping it friendly i hope?”

They all looked around to see Mr. Henderson glaring at them. “Yes, sir! Just helping a friend who fell!” Jessica beamed. “Isn’t that right, Zoey?” She looked back towards Zoey. Her smile dripped with malice.

“Wha- Uh, yeah. That’s right…” She had already tried getting help, but the teachers couldn’t be bothered or weren’t allowed to do anything. Not that Mr. Henderson would be much help even if he could.

“Alright then, scatter. You’re making too much racket.” He tapped on the locker for a moment, as he waited for the other girls to disperse. “Zoey!” He said as she started to collect her books. “Quit dragging good people into trouble.” He walked away, shaking his head.

Zoey stood in the hallway for a moment. She choked back some tears, and went to her last class, where she sat silently waiting for the day to be over. After an eternity, the bell finally rang, and she almost ran to the bus. The bus was loud, bumpy, and smelled bad, but to her it was heaven, because people would leave her alone.

She rode in peace all the way home. She arrived at a small two story house, with an adequately maintained lawn, and only a couple of broken shutters. She walked in and placed her bag down by the couch.

“How was school?” Her dad stood in the kitchen, wearing his convenience store uniform. He had an open box of pizza next to him.

“Fine.” Zoey started to head up towards her room.

“Well, hey! I got us some pizza, and I still have a few hours before work. I was thinking we could watch a movie?” He smiled.

Zoey sighed. She really just wanted to curl up alone in her room, but she had already turned her dad down twice this week. “Sure Dad, I’ll be right back.”

“Alright, honey!” Her dad hugged her before she went upstairs.

Zoey went into her room, locked the door, and laid on her bed. She thought about crying, but she couldn’t even really manage that. She just stayed in silence for a few minutes, hugging her pillow.

She got up and walked over to her dresser. She stared into the mirror for a moment. The girl she saw wasn’t ugly, just… plain.

Zoey looked down at some half empty bottle of nail polish. She recalled that she used to love it, but she knew this was all she had. She didn’t want to make her dad buy more, so she saved it for the special occasion that would never come. Not that she had a particular occasion in mind; nothing special ever happened to her.

For a moment, she wished it was over. She reminded herself that she wasn’t that bad off. After all, she still had her dad. She dragged herself out of her self pity, and went downstairs to join her dad.

 


 

Where’s Superzeroes? ——————– Next Part >

 

This is another two part one off. I hope you enjoyed! If you havent yet, check out Artana: Part 1 and Artana: Part 2. Thanks for checking in during the break, I should have a firm time for season two to come back soon.

Also, just a quick side note. At some point this week-ish, my blog turned a full year old! I’m so proud of everything I have here, and I’m so grateful for your continued support.

Artana: Part 2

She made her way to a towering grey brick building, and went through the glass doors into the lobby. She nodded to the receptionist as she walked by, and pressed her purse up against a black panel adjacent to the elevator. A light on the panel turned green, and the doors opened up. She repeated the process on a panel inside the elevator, and hit the ‘7’ button.

She sighed with relief as the doors opened, and went for her apartment. She once again repeated the ritual with the black box on her doorknob, and the black box once again complied. She had previously questioned the idea of having 3 layers of security that are effectively the same thing. If someone finds a way around one black box, they have their way around the whole system. However, the landlord wasn’t particularly interested in talking security.

“Hey, Ash! You home?” She called into the apartment, but received no reply, as expected. She sat her purse down on the couch, and plopped down next to it.

She relaxed for a moment, before removing the necklace and book from her bag. The book was reminiscent of one of those pocket bibles they gave everyone at school, the ones that everyone threw away. It was dark red, and on the front it just had an eight-spoked wheel, like the necklace.

She opened it up and began reading. Immediately she noticed the book was written in Cyrillic, most likely russian. She thumbed through some more, to see if there were any pictures or anything comprehensible. While she could run the whole book through a translator, she would really rather not.

She eventually found an image of a man making hand gestures, while wearing the necklace. She looked briefly around the apartment, to ensure she was alone. She wasn’t about to start doing weird Russian yoga poses if someone was going to jump in on her.

Once she was confident, she put on the necklace. It was a regular necklace chain, with a latch on the back. The pendant was a simple eight-spoked wheel of some kind of metal. She glanced back down at the book, and struck the pose. She went to a comfortable standing position, into a lunge. She held both of her arms straight out. One of her hands was open palm, facing forwards, while the other was closed fist with her index finger pointing. The open palm was on top of the pointing hand.

A fine red beam of light erupted from her finger, and went forward onto her wall. This was physically impossible. She didn’t have any kind of powers, but she was doing something like this. She held the pose for a moment, in awe, but a small flame erupted where the light was hitting.

Arte swore, and leapt into action. Adrenaline coursed through her veins, and her heart raced. She grabbed a towel, and set about to beating the flame into submission. There was a charred black spot about the size of her spread hand. Upon further examination, it appeared that the light had burned a hole in the wall. She tried to clean off some of it, but she couldn’t make any significant progress, so she gave up.

She couldn’t believe what had happened. Ashley was gonna kill her. That security deposit wasn’t cheap.

Arte waited another half hour, until she began to feel hungry. She glanced down at her phone, and saw Ashley still hadn’t replied to her texts. She began to feel worried. This wasn’t like her, to be so late with no communication. She pressed the call button. The phone rang for a moment, then went to voicemail.

“Hey Ash, it’s me, Arte. Where are you at? You’re running kinda late. Give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone and sighed.

She waited five more minutes before deciding to make dinner. She rummaged through the cupboards, pantry, and fridge for a moment, then decided on pan-fried chicken with some macaroni and cheese. Real food wasn’t too expensive, if you were willing to put in a little effort. She decided to go ahead and make enough for two. Worst case scenario she gets leftovers for tomorrow.

About twenty minutes of cooking later, she was finally done. The chicken was a little on the done side, but it still looked edible. The notification light on her phone flashed in the corner of her eye. She ran over, but it was just an email. Another company wanting to offer her a ‘deal’ on car insurance.

She decided to give her another call. She was more than an hour late now, and radio silence wasn’t like her. She pressed call, but was met with the same result.

“Hey Ash, it’s me again. I made dinner, and there’s enough for you. I’m getting a little worried, so give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone.

She sat down at the table and began to eat. There was no sense in letting both of their dinners go cold. She pulled out her phone, to browse some good distracting social media. It quickly became apparent that there had been some kind of shooting.

Her mind immediately rushed to the worst possibility. She reassured herself that it was basically impossible, and set about doing some research as to what happened.

She began to gather some bits and pieces of what happened. Evidently it was an attack on an office, in her city no less. She finally found a decent article about what happened. That was Ashley’s office.

Tears welled in her eyes. She wanted to scream, but she couldn’t make a sound. The world fell to pieces around her.

She jumped to her feet and ran out the door.

 


 

< Previous Part ——————– Where’s Superzeroes?

 

Hope you enjoyed. That’ll be it for this, for now. It will be back, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Artana: Part 1

Arte was walking home from her internship. It had been a grueling day, and she just wanted to get home. She knew engineering would be hard, but this was something else. Not even hard problems, just stupid stuff wearing her down. Then again she didn’t actually expect to be entrusted with anything of importance.

No matter how much she wore, she couldn’t get warm either. The sky was grey and crappy, and the crowd of people did nothing but bump her around. The streets smelled like sewage all around today, for whatever reason. It matched the tone of her day.

She looked over in an alley to her left. There was a pulsating neon sign, which she didn’t remember seeing before. She broke through the throng of people, and got a closer look. The sign looked weathered and dirty, despite the fact that it had to be new. Arte had an eye for detail, and this wouldn’t pass her by. The sign read simply ‘PUB’.

She was curious, but not stupid. She pulled up her phone to shoot a text to her girlfriend.

Hey Ash, I’m stopping in at a new bar. I’m sending you my location in case I get snatched, lol. I shouldn’t be long, but if it looks good, I might grab dinner here. I’ll text you if I do.

Satisfied, she turned to the door. It was a faded green metal door, with a stainless steel handle. She pulled it open, and stepped inside.

As she entered, she was astonished. It looked like something you might see in a fantasy movie. There were neat wooden floorboards, with sturdy wooden tables and countertop. The bar was devoid of people, but for Arte and the barkeep.

The barkeep was actually cleaning out a metal mug with a rag. He smiled as she approached. “Welcome to my pub! What can I get for you?” He spoke in a heavy Russian accent. He was thin, dressed plainly, and had a thick mustache and beard.

“Hey, how long have you been here? I swear I’ve never seen this place before, but it’s very nice.” She laughed.

“Well, I suppose I have lost track of time.” He put the mug down and stroked his mustache. “It hasn’t been very long, by your time.”

“Well do you have food here, or just drinks?” She looked around behind the counter, and saw a stove and fridge. All of the older aesthetic meshed pretty well with the newer equipment, much to her surprise.

“We have food, but if I’m honest, I am a bad cook. This is something of a hobby for me.” He looked below the counter for a moment, and pulled out a glass, setting his cleaning mug aside. “Now, one drink on the house. What would you like?”

“Oh, just a whiskey and coke please.” She smiled as he made the drink. She debated for a moment if she should really drink it, but decided it would probably be too rude to refuse. “Thanks.” She nodded as he slid it towards her.

“Now,” He placed a bottle of clear liquid on the table. “Let’s get to business.” He opened the bottle, and the smell hit Arte like paint remover. He drank straight from the bottle. “If you have found me here, that means you are probably my chosen one.” He reached out his hand. “If I may have your hand?”

Arte obliged. She was definitely glad she hadn’t drank yet, as this man was clearly crazy. Then again, in a world of supers, was a chosen one that farfetched? Although, her being a russian barkeep’s chosen one was pretty unlikely.

“Ah yes.” He rotated her hand in his. “Definitely the chosen one. Judging by your face, however, you don’t believe?”

“Not quite, no.” She took her hand back, and ensured her rings were still there. She angled herself slightly away, preparing to bolt for the door.

“Very well, I’ll show you.” He crouched down under the counter.

Arte debated running now, but she elected to just stand. The man did have her curiosity, after all. She fingered the gun in her purse.

“There we are!” The man slammed a wheel as big as her on the counter. It was eight-spoked, and made of some kind of metal. He looped a chain around it, and beamed.

Arte backed away slowly. Her heart was racing. She supposed she wasn’t necessarily in danger, but she didn’t like it nonetheless. This wasn’t like the kind of stranger danger they tell you about. What are you supposed to do when a russian guy in a sketchy pub slams a wheel on the bar?

The man snapped his fingers, and the wheel and chain vanished. Arte looked closer, and saw that it was actually still there, just smaller. The man tossed it to her, and she barely caught it. “Alright, since you want to leave, I have manual.” He pulled a phone sized book from his pocket and tossed it to her as well. “Popular request. It makes the learning phase go quicker.”

Arte backed a little more towards the door and booked it. She just wanted a quick drink, not whatever he was pedaling. She crammed the necklace and book in her purse.

“Oh, by the way!” The man called after her. “Learn quick, someone else wants it!”

She sprinted out the door, and out of the alley. She moved as quickly as she could manage through the throng of people, but she was still slowed. Once she felt safely away, she pulled out her phone again, and texted Ashley.

That was WEIRD. I’ll be home soon.

She noted that Ashley hadn’t responded to her previous text, but wasn’t alarmed, as she was probably still at work. It was still a little unusual, since she usually answered at work, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think they got busy. She caught herself overthinking and giggled.

 


 

Where’s Superzeroes? ——————– Next Part >

Caveat

Hello all! Happy Halloween! I hope you have a wonderful night, with many a fright. It’s been a little bit since I uploaded a shortstory, and I’ve had this one saved up for a bit. Enjoy!

 


 

 

Phillip sat at his desk sipping on whiskey from a coffee mug. Some of the drink spilled out onto a stack of overdue bills. He sighed and pushed them off to the side. He hadn’t had a case in months, and those weren’t even all of the bills. He began to wonder if he should just call the whole thing off.

Maybe I can just downgrade my office… It appeared that sober Phillip wasn’t entirely gone. He looked around his office. It was pretty nice, hardwood floors, a fancy oak desk, an engraved name plate, and a comfy chair. Definitely more than enough room to swing a cat. Not exactly high end lawyer office, but he was doing well for himself. He span around in his chair to pour himself more ‘coffee’. He had almost downed enough whiskey to kill off sober Phillip.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Phillip almost dropped the bottle, then gently sat it on the shelf behind him. “Just one second!” Dammit what do I pay my assistant for- Oh I let her go. He straightened himself out. For all he knew this was going to be the client that would pull his practice out of the gutter. “Alright, come on in!”

The knob clicked, and a red man with curved horns and a tail stepped into his office. He was dressed in a nice suit and tie, and wore the smirk of someone who was actually successful.

Phillip stared blankly for a moment. Is this what my life has come to? Satan hitting me up in my office? “What can I do for you?” Phillip managed to sound not completely plastered.

“Alright, we don’t have too much time, so I’ll cut this short.” The devil sat down in the chair across from him. “I want to make a deal with you.”

“You have my interest. What’s the deal?” Phillip was drunk most of the time, so he was becoming a natural at being a high functioning alcoholic. He made some of his best decisions drunk. Then again, he made most of his decisions drunk.

“I want to offer you absolute power.” The devil grinned and revealed pointed teeth.

“Who are you? Are you the actual devil or am I just that gone?” Phillip began to question how high functioning he was. Maybe this is it… Is this what an alcohol induced coma feels like?

“Sorry, in my hurry I forgot proper introductions.” He stood from his chair and stuck out his hand. “I’m Stanley. Here’s my card.” He handed him a business card that read ‘Stanley Jones, Sarasota DA’.

“I’m Phillip.” He limply shook his hand. “So what was that about absolute power?”

“I give you absolute power, you give me Phillip Anderson.” Stanley sat back down.

“What do you mean? My soul?” Phillip was intrigued, he hadn’t really believed in souls and all, but he supposed Stanley might know otherwise.

“No, nothing like that.” Stanley laughed and shook his head. “I give you power, you give me your life. Your job, your house, your name.”

“I don’t know about that…” Phillip felt something wrong about this, after all, he was bargaining with the devil… Or at least someone who looked like it

“Your alcoholism, your student debt, your crumbling legal practice, your crippling loneliness…” Stanley counted on his fingers as he continued to list things.

“You know what?” Phillip slammed a different bottle of whiskey on the table and chugged half of it. “Screw it, my life sucks! You can have it! Give me the power!” He jumped up from his desk, and then leaned over, trying to not throw up.

“It’s a deal.” Stanley smiled again. He extended his hand for a handshake.

Phillip slowly extended his hand. He thought about his mom, but remembered he was a disappointment anyways, and that was his only remaining attachment.

Phillip shook Stanley’s hand, just as a green light washes over the room.

He looked around and saw himself sitting across the desk where Stanley had been. He looked down and saw that his skin was completely red. He felt a tail pressing up against his clothes. He felt a weight on his head. He ran his hands along two curling horns like a goat’s “What the hell!” He was completely sober now.

“There is a caveat…” Stanley smiled. “Unlimited power… But you look like that. Also, tiny thing, you can only use the power in deals. If you want something, you have to find someone who has it, or also wants it, and make a deal.” He paused for a moment. “Oh, also, stop thinking of yourself as Phillip. You’re not Phillip, I’m Phillip. You’re nobody.”

Nobody sat slackjawed at the realization of what he had just done. He supposed that he had it coming for bargaining with Stanley.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me.” He cleared his throat and began to scream. “Security! There’s an intruder!”

Nobody’s heart raced even faster. Phillip’s guards were Russian, and were definitely not associated with the mob, and definitely not told to shoot first and ask questions later. Nobody looked around Phillip’s office and saw the window that Phillip had forgotten he had. He leapt headfirst through it, shattering it with his horns.

Nobody slammed onto the ground outside of his office, and stumbled to his feet. He swept broken glass off his face, and swore as it just dug further into his skin. He took a moment to catch his breath.

Nobody ran. Nobody needed to find a way to be somebody. For now… Nobody ran.

 


 

〈  More of my writing  〉

Out Of Shape

Nick reclined in his new gaming chair. He had saved up for months to get it, and he was rather pleased with himself for seeing it through. Some might not see the value in a good chair, but when it’s where you spend most of your time, Nick thought there was no better use for money.

Nick had just wrapped up his calculus homework. He had put it off a bit longer than he should’ve and it had started to pile up. He was rather glad to be rid of it. He drank the last of his coffee and pulled up a game. He chose the chair over new games because he always ended up playing the same games anyways.

He was mid-way through a level when a green light washed over his room. He paused the game and got up and looked around. He wondered if he should see if anybody else saw it, but it was pretty late and everyone was already asleep.

He looked around his room and looked into his mirror. He leaned in and looked at his face, something looked a little off… He couldn’t describe it, but with something as familiar as your own face you can tell. Upon further examination, he couldn’t tell. The only thing weird about him was his acne, and that was already there before. He had tried all the creams, but nothing worked.

He tried to imagine what he would look like without acne. He laughed a little. Not that bad. He looked in the mirror a little longer and realized his acne had actually gone. He ran his hand across his face and it was totally smooth. “Whoa…” He stared at his face in awe.

If I could just wish away my acne… What else can I do? He took off his shirt and threw it on his bed. He looked for a moment at his much lacking physique. He imagined himself, but with a six pack. He looked in the mirror, and it was so. He shook his head. That’s enough for tonight, I’m delirious. I need sleep.

He turned off his computer, and dove under his covers. It felt a little real to be a dream, but a little unreal to not be. It was a nice moment either way. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Nick woke up and rolled out of bed. He stretched and set about his normal morning routine. He had definitely stayed up too late, and he was paying for it now. He showered and got dressed before going to do his daily facial cream regimine. He almost fell backwards when he looked into the mirror and his face was acne free. He was definitely awake now.

He lifted up his shirt, and sure enough he had a six pack. His mind began to run through all the possibilities. If he went out this drastically changed, people would start to ask questions. Noah wasn’t a conspiracy theorist, but he also didn’t believe that the government would pass up a chance to poke at a boy who went from nerd to stud literally overnight. No. He needed to take this slow.

He sighed and shook his head. He looked into the mirror, and imagined himself with slightly less acne than he had before, and it was so. He looked down at his killer abs, and wished them away in exchange for a slightly less skin and bones look all over.

Just because he had to take this slow, didn’t mean he wouldn’t do it at all.

He walked out of the bathroom with a smug grin. He walked into the kitchen and put some bread in the toaster. He looked over at the plate he had gotten down. He began to wonder if his powers could extend beyond himself. He imagined the plate as being blue instead of white, but there was no change. He imagined it being a bowl instead, and still no change. Maybe my powers only apply to me. He looked over to his mom, who was eating a bowl of cereal in front of the TV. He walked over and saw she was watching the news.

“That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the green light is nothing to be concerned about. Back to you, Jeff.” Nick’s mom turned off the TV.

“Good morning!” She got up and hugged him. “Hey, I think that new cream is working! Your face is starting to clear up a bit!”

“I hope so.” Nick laughed. “What’s she talking about, a green light?” He gestured at the TV.

“Oh, a big green light happened, and everyone in America saw it, well everyone who was up. Did you see anything like that?”

“Oh, yeah, I did see something like that.” The dots connected in his head. It was the light. He didn’t know how or why, but it was definitely the light. He figured he should probably just play it cool.

“Yeah. Some kid in Gainesville went blind, but they say it’s unrelated, and there’s nothing to worry about.” She paused for a moment. “I assume you’re not blind?” She laughed a little and went back to her cereal.

Nick lightly chuckled and went back to his toast. None of this really made sense, but he did know one thing. He would have to do what he does best and keep his head down.

 

My Name Is

My name is Alexei Maximov. I have lived in this apartment for 17 years. For 17 years I took. I extorted my neighbors for protection money on the mobs behalf. Now, I don’t know anymore. I was young and eager to be a part of something, so I picked the mob. It didn’t hurt that the money was good.

When the green light hit, I discovered my powers soon after. I shoot out pressure. I exert pressure on things in a straight line from my body. I tested it a while ago, and I broke the gauge, so something above a 20,000 PSI. I decided not to tell my boss, I figured no good could come of it. I think I’ll eventually tell him, but I’m a bit preoccupied right now.

I had been having trouble with room 103 for a while. Tonight would be the end of that. They were sending in some more advanced enforcers to take care of it. Only thing is, I don’t really want 103 to get ‘taken care of’. See, there’s a girl that lives there… She can’t afford protection, and probably wouldn’t pay it if she could. I feel a little bad about the whole thing, but what can you do? Either way, it’s almost nine, so that means they’re almost here.

I walk down the stairs and wait for them on the curb. Soon enough, a black van pulled in and 3 burly dudes stepped out. I haven’t seen them before, but they’re all wearing tool belts, and I don’t think they’re there to fix her sink.

“Where is girl?” The meatiest of the bunch spoke up. He had an incredibly thick Russian accent, and I’d wager he’s the only one of these fellas who speaks any English.

“Right this way.” I sigh quietly. I don’t know what this is, but I’m not okay with this, with any of this. I’m not okay with this awful feeling, I’m not okay with this girl getting her fingers broken, and that’s if she’s lucky. It’s not like I can do anything though. Even if I did get rid of these guys, 3 more would come and they’d be after a lot more than fingers.

I walk through the halls of my apartment. “Hey, wait here, I’ll signal for you to come in.”

“You have 5 minutes.”

I nod and bang my hand on the door. I know she won’t answer, but I don’t like busting down doors as my first resort. I wait a moment and then sigh. I back up and get ready to kick it in, when she opens it. She’s wearing a tank top and flannel pajama pants. As I look at her, I think about all the things that I’ve seen guys like this do. I don’t think I’ve ever felt sick to my stomach about something like this before.

“What?” she says flatly. She looks at me with sheer annoyance. She has no idea what’s coming. She has no idea what these guys are like when someone tries to stick it to them.

“I need to come inside.” I don’t know why I didn’t have anything better than that, maybe it’s because I’m putting too much mental energy to not throwing up.

“Are you sick or something? Fine you have five minutes.” She stepped inside. I don’t think she saw the men standing off to the side. I step inside and close the door behind me. “So? What do you want?”

“I’m here with three very angry men from the mob.” I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s not like her coughing up the money would change anything, at this point it’s about the symbol.

“Is that a threat? You can-” She didn’t even look a little afraid.

“You pissed off the mob. They are going to hurt you and your kid.” And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Her expression changes, she looked a mix of furious and terrified. “Do you like this? Going around and ruining lives? You know I can’t afford that kind of money! You’re disgusting!” She began to yell. “How can you work with these men! Are you going to go upstairs, and count your money while you hear us screaming?”

She’s right. I’m the bad guy. I am nauseating. I am a coward. I can’t do this anymore. “Do you have any way out of the apartment besides the front door?” What the hell am I doing? I am asking to end up on the front page as the man who committed suicide by shooting himself three times in the back of the head.

“Are you trying to help me?”

“I can’t do this anymore…” I truly can’t.

“You know we don’t have fire escapes here, the front door is the only way out.”

The door came flying down. I was out of time. There was no escape, I could fight and ruin my life, as well as the lives of everyone in this building, or I could ruin just two people’s lives. Who am I kidding. I’ve already ruined the lives of everyone in this building, it’s only fit to ruin my mind too.

I send a wave of force at the man who busted down the door. He flew through the brick wall of the apartment out onto the streets. The other two Russians stood dumbfounded for a moment before raising their guns and firing. I send another wave at the bullets. One of them went through the Russian who fired it, and the other through the wall. The one who was shot falls to the ground, the other freezes.

I knock the gun out of his hands and push him to the ground. I apply pressure to his chest, I think I broke some ribs.

“Tell the boss, he needs to step off of my block.”

The man runs out the door and back to his van.

I step out into the hallway. This is my block, they’ve been paying for protection for years, it’s about time that they started getting some.

My name is Alexei Maximov, and I am the protector of Shady Grove.

 

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Hello all! This is just a one off I wrote the other day that I thought was pretty good. Let me know what you think! Good? Bad? Do you want more of this? As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!