A Day In the Life of a Not-So-Superhero

I'm most likely on the beach right now.. hehe xD
Okay, taunting over.

This is a short story I wrote for the creative writing unit in English class this past year.
I experimented a lot with it and it came out pretty decently. It was put in my school's lit mag.
And I got an A xD

A Day in the Life of a Not So Superhero
“So, how does it feel?” Trisha asks.
“How does what feel?” I reply nonchalantly, acting as though today’s just another day. And it is. We’re walking through Downtown Splendor, just like any other Saturday. The sun is shining, barely a cloud in the vast blue sky. The streets—as well as the sky—are bustling with people. They zoom over my head, most of them newly turned and showing off their flying capabilities. The ones who got speed bolt past me in a blur. Children are eating ice cream, women are ordering lunch at the cafĂ©. It’s just another day. Tomorrow on the other hand…
“Come on, Shayla! Your eighteenth is tomorrow. The big day is so close. How are you acting so calm?” Trisha asks, just about bursting with enthusiasm.
I want to tell her that acting is the operative word. That on the inside I can barely contain my excitement. I have to keep this up, or else all composure will be lost. And that cannot happen. I can’t act so immature about what’s a regular occurrence in Splendor. That’s irrational, for everyone goes through—or will through—what I’m going through tomorrow.
“Yeah, I’m getting my powers tomorrow. So what?”
So what? You brush off the most important day of your life with a so what? When my time comes, I just know I’ll be freaking out. No point in denying it. How could you not be? God, I’d switch places with you in a second!” she exclaims.
Trisha’s six months younger than me, and although she played of that remark as a joke, I know there’s some truth to it. I’ve always had that feeling she’s been jealous that I’m older than her. Jealous that I’d get my powers first.
“Okay, so maybe I’m a little excited,” I admit. Trisha squeals.
“I knew it! So what do you think you’ll be assigned? Hmm, I wonder what Will thinks…?” she ponders.
I smile, thinking of Will. “I don’t know. I want telekinesis and speed. It’s rare for someone to get both their choices, though. Will only got one of his. Anyways, there’s no point in dwelling on it.” That’s easier said than done. I haven’t stopped thinking about the testing since the day it ended. At the Academy we’re pushed to our limits physically as well as mentally. The trainers want to learn everything about each trainee, every strength and weakness. After the final exam, the trainers collaborate, take everything into consideration, and decide what our powers will be. We find out the results on our eighteenth birthday, and the implantation is that day.
“Still, super strength and flying aren’t so bad, eh?”
“Yeah, and I’m personally glad he didn’t get the mind reading,” I say. Will’s top choices when he got his powers three months ago were super strength and mind reading. He didn’t receive the latter. Honestly, I’m glad. Who wants to have a boyfriend that can read your mind?
It’s been almost exactly two years since Will and I started dating. I remember the day he asked me out like it was yesterday. The surreal feeling of the event will never go away. We’ve been together ever since. Lately, there’s been a strain in the relationship. I don’t know if he feels it too, or if it’s all in my head. As much as I tell myself that him getting his powers doesn’t change things, it did. Things just haven’t been the same since his eighteenth birthday.
It’s no matter though, because when I finally get my powers, Will and I will be equal again. These past few months since he’s gotten his powers have been weird. It’s not that he’s said or done anything wrong, that’s not it at all. It’s just that when I’m with him I always felt as though I was beneath him. It’s a ridiculous notion, one that I’m sure getting my powers will resolve.
“You know what, I’m going to go get a drink,” I say. “Want anything?”
“A watermelon smoothie.”
“I shouldn’t have had to ask.” I laugh. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
I head toward Sal’s Place. They have the best smoothies in town by far. Checking my phone for the time, I see that it’s already 3:30. Where is Will? He was supposed to meet Trisha and me here thirty minutes ago. And Will’s never late. Thinking back, I haven’t even talked to him since yesterday morning. Odd. There must be some explanation. Still, I bite my lip, worry beginning to consume me.
When my phone rings, I pick it up immediately, assuming it’s Will. The face on the screen isn’t his though. It’s a woman, in her mid forties with cropped blonde hair and worry lines. Will’s mom.
“Karen? I thought you were Will,” I say, confused.
“Oh God, Will isn’t with you?” she says, the edge of panic in her voice.
“He’s suppose to be… but no. I assumed that something happened and he was still home.” I know right away it’s a dumb thing to say. Will’s mom definitely wouldn’t be having this conversation with me if he’s home.
Immediately, her face goes pale and that’s when I know for sure something’s terribly wrong.
“I didn’t think the day would come this soon,” she says, almost to herself. Will’s mom is a clairvoyant. She can predict the future with scary accuracy. Her limit is that though she knows what will happen to a person, she doesn’t know when it will happen. I can tell from my camera that she’s pacing back and forth across the room. She’s using her other hand to brush her fingers through her hair.
“What’s going on, Karen? Where is Will?”
“Shayla, how soon can you be at my house?” she asks, a hint of desperation in her voice.
“I’m on my way.” I hang up the phone and run over to Trisha, who I can tell looks confused by the panic-stricken look that has to be on my face.
“Shayla? What’s wrong?”
“Something happened to Will, Trisha. Something bad. I have to go!”
“I’m coming with you.”
No,” I say, my voice sharper than I intend it to be. “You’re staying here. I’ll try to call you when I know what’s going on.” Trisha looks as though she wants to interject, but she doesn’t contradict me. With that I take off in a run, heading straight to Will’s house. Right about now I wish I had that super-speed. I’m fast though, even without a power. I always have been. Everything around me is a blur of green and blue. My only focus is the concrete pavement ahead of me. It’s as though my feet are barely touching the ground, and it feels as though I’m flying.
Then my phone rings. The loud noise breaks my stride and I jump, losing all concentration that was once before me. I topple onto the ground, tripping over a lose brick in the pavement.
Still on the ground, I pull out my phone. This time I check the caller ID. When I see that it’s Will’s number, hope explodes inside me. I click the button to answer the phone feverishly, but the screen remains black. I hear static and the shuffling of background noise. Someone is blocking the camera.
A low laugh emerges on the other line. It’s a bitter laugh filled with malice. I put my hand over my mouth, trying to choke back the scream beginning to form in my throat.
“Girly, if you could only see your face right now,” the voice snickers. The voice has the same frightening qualities as the laugh. I get up off the ground and start running again. I don’t want anyone overhearing anything. I don’t need someone with powers feeling the need to play hero. This is my job.
I spot the training building, a place that’s virtually abandoned during school breaks. I don’t think anyone will be here, but I go into the girls changing room, just to be sure. I sit on the linoleum floors, my back against the lockers, feeling lightheaded.
I’m not disconnected from the number, and he knows he’s not disconnected from me either, despite that he can’t see me now. While I was running, I slipped my finger over the phones camera. Two can play at that game.
I take my finger off the camera though, so if anything he can see my fury.
“Who are you?” I ask.
“That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”
“Look, I’m not playing your stupid games. Just tell me who the hell you are, and what the hell you want!”
“I should be asking the same question. I thought the first number in his contacts would be someone important. Not some insignificant, powerless, little girl. You’re no better than me.”
Something clicks. “You—you’re from The Other Side, aren’t you?” As soon as the words escape my lips, I know they’re the truth. I don’t know too much about The Other Side. No one really does. What I do know about it isn’t good. The people there are those who’ve been banished from Splendor. They’re castaways, forced to live in solitude, and forbidden to receive their powers.
“Wow, smart too.” He pauses, and then shouts, “She’s a keeper, Will!”
“Where is he? What have you done with him!?” I scream. What I want to know is how the hell this person managed to capture someone with super strength and flying capabilities if he’s powerless. Unless… no, it couldn’t be.
“Relax, he’s fine. For now.”
“Whatever you want, I’ll get it for you,” I say.
“I wouldn’t make promises like that so quickly,” he says with a chuckle.
“You don’t know who I am. I hold more power than you think. But I won’t do anything for you unless you show me that he’s okay,” I say.
I don’t expect this lie to work, but I’m surprised when I hear motion. Then the screen of my phone is no longer black. Instead, I see a dark room with a low ceiling and no windows. The room is empty, except for a chair. I’m horrified when I see Will in the chair. His arms are bound, and there’s a gash above his right eyebrow. His body is entwined in my worst fear, something that crossed my mind but I was sure didn’t exist anymore. The gold netting. Also known as the one object that can be used against those with powers. I thought they eliminated it years ago. When entwined in gold netting, all powers are rendered useless. I heard that to those with the misfortune of being caught in it, it’s like the life is being sucked out of you.
It sure looks like the life is being sucked out of Will. It sickens me to see his pale face, and the fear held in his blue eyes.
“Will!” I scream.
“Shayla, I’m fine. Please don’t do something stupid and come after me,” he begs.
“What do you expect me to do? Just sit here and do nothing!”
“That’s exactly what I expect you to do!”
“While this is all so touching,” says the kidnapper with a feigned sniffle, “I’m on a strict schedule here, and simply don’t have time for a pesky romance to thwart it.” With that, the screen goes black again.
I wish I could just take this guy out of the screen and strangle him. It’s not hard to assume what he wants. People from The Other Side want one thing and one thing only, Powers.
“It’s unfortunate. If only you had your powers. Then you’d be of some use. But for now, I have your Will, and that is enough. It’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to the torture I plan on putting him through. Before long he will reveal all known information about how power implantation is done. Then I, and all from The Other Side, will get the powers that are so rightfully ours!”
I curse under my breath. If only my birthday was just a few days sooner. Then I could do something. I feel so useless. All because of the mere technicality of my birthday being tomorrow. Tomorrow… wait, that’s it!
“I’m more useful than you think,” I state boldly. For I have a plan.
“How so?”
“How would you like to not only hear about power implantations, but to actually see one being done?”
“Is that possible?” asks his surprised voice.
“It is, but don’t think the details will be revealed so easily. I’m not stupid. If I discuss a matter that could very well get me sent to The Other Side with you, it will be in person. I need a name and address.” I hold my breath, praying that curiosity will be the best of him.
“There’s a deserted building just at the town’s limits. A mile west of the training center. A brick building with a Postal Services sign in front of it. When you get there, ask for Ian. They’ll bring you to me.”
“Don’t do it, Shay!” I hear Will yell in the background, followed by the sound of flesh being slapped. I cringe at the noise.
“If you’re screwing around with me, just know I have every intention of torturing him until I get the information I need before killing him. You’re smart, so I’m sure you already knew that. Hence why I believe there’s a truth to what you claim you can do. Therefore, I can’t wait to do business with you.”
With that he hangs up.
I stand up, dashing out of the locker room. The location is only a mile west of where I am, and I should be there in no time. The odds of myself being so close to Will were so slim that I wasn’t sure I heard right when Ian stated how close he was. I guess the odds decided to be in my favor for once. What a joke.
It’s so silly to think that I could possibly follow through with this. Who am I but a lovesick girl without her powers? If I do this, all the rules I’ve been taught to abide by my whole life will be broken. We’re told from the time we can talk to never get involved in a threatening situation as a minor. Any threats should be reported to the Council of Heroes, those who are sworn to protect Splendor with their lives.
I know that’s what I’m supposed to do. But what will that accomplish, a part from a widespread panic and uproar in the city? I have a plan. A crazy plan maybe, but I can’t focus on that. All I can do is hang on the belief that it will work. It’s not like I’m weak and defenseless. Hand-to-hand combat has been a required class since the third grade. Although I wasn’t too fond of the classes at the time, I’m beginning to feel so grateful for them right about now.
What strikes me is though I know I’m facing the threat of potential death, I’m not scared. If anything, I’m ready for this. As I close in on the location, my confidence in the plan develops. I can pretend to be agreeable with him. Act like a desperate girl who will do anything for her boyfriend. I’ll tell him I know how to wire the camera in the operating room of the lab up, making it possible for him to actually watch the implantation occur. Of course it will all be an act, and the details to what will happen next I’m not sure about. But if it gets him to release Will, it will be worth it, no matter the consequences.
My feet seem to take on a life of their own. I don’t remember ever running this fast. If I didn’t look to my left exactly when I did, I would’ve missed the building.
My feet skid to a stop and I pivot on them, facing the building straight on. Only now does my body react to the physical exertion it was put through. I double over, clutching my stomach and gasping for breath. Once I’m able to get myself together, I walk up to the door. Taking a deep breath, I give it a knock.
The door opens and a brooding man stands before. He’s twice my size in height, with long brown hair and dark eyes. I’m not sure how, but somehow I know this isn’t the man I’m looking for. Despite his cold exterior, he has kind eyes.
“I’m looking for Ian,” I say with all the courage I can muster. “He should be expecting me.”
“Oh, yes. Go down the hall and up the stairs. Second door on the right.”
“Thanks,” I say, already moving down the hallway. A moment later I face the door the guard man described. You can do this, Shayla. I feel for the knife I kept hidden in my coat pocket, for no other reason than for the self-assurance that it was there. I clutch the bronze doorknob and turn it, surprised that it’s open, and let myself in with ease.
“Oh my God, Will,” I say, losing all sense of everything and running to him. He’s unconscious, the gold netting wrapped so tightly around him that it seems to be a part of his skin. It takes everything I have not to burst into tears at the sight.
“Your boyfriend here wasn’t cooperating,” says the voice I remember clearly from the phone call. I turn around to face Ian. He’s not tall by any means, probably only having two to three inches on me. All the muscle makes up for it. His blue eyes are hard and cold, and it looks as though his facial expression is set in a permanent scowl.
Seeing him makes me furious. I know I should be scared of him, and I should watch what I say. But I’m not.
“How could you do this?” I yell. I walk up to him, so no more than two inches of space are between us. “What has he ever done to you?” I shove him. I wonder if he’s as surprised as I am. “Are you human?” I scream. I’m so angry; any hopes of going through with the plan have been lost. For a moment I’m angry with myself for my loss of composure. That only lasts a second though, and before I realize what happens, my hand is in a fist and swinging at Ian’s face.
He blocks the punch easily, and grabs my wrists. “You insolent child. You know nothing! It’s not what he has done to me,” he says, shifting his gaze to a passed out Will. “Sitting here could have been anyone else in your narrow minded, arrogant nation. You’re all the same!”
Ian begins to bind my hands together. No, I cannot let that that happen. My knee moves upward in a sharp thrust, a perfect strike. He loses his grip on me, allowing me to attack. I kick him in the gut with all the force I can. He stumbles backwards a few steps. Gaining his bearings, he puts his hand up in a defense position, but lets out a snicker.
“You think we’re the bad ones, don’t you? Have you ever looked closely at the politics of your precious Splendor?”
“You’re fugitives. The government had every right to send you away!”
“Wrong. You are so, so wrong. Maybe our great grandparents were criminals, but the people of The Other Side today are just like you. We’re being denied the powers that are rightfully ours based off a mere technicality! It’s wrong!”
“Um? Ever heard of peaceful protest? Kidnapping innocents off the street doesn’t really make a good name for yourself,” I say. We are circling each other, both looking for an opportunity to attack.
“Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter! Your people all have their minds set on us. Nothing would make a difference. Well you know what. I. Want. My. Powers. And I will get them.”
A million thoughts zoom through my head, most of them thinking that it would be nice if I had my powers at the moment. I realize that in this situation powers would be irrelevant, more of a disadvantage than anything else. Right now it’s an even match up. I calculate the odds of myself being able to take Ian down when I hear moaning noises coming from the other side of the room. Will is waking up.
That one moment of letting my guard down is all it takes. Ian attacks, taking me down to the ground. A scream escapes my lips, and I’m struggling under his weight. My arms wriggle free from underneath me, and I begin to claw at his face mercilessly. I was taught to never estimate the power of fingernails.
I continue to struggle underneath him. The attempts to claw his face off has thrown him off his attacks though, and I’m able to get a good kick in the shin. After that it appears as though my luck has turned, for I’m able to shove him off me. I crawl in the direction of where Will is, not getting up until I’m far enough away for Ian to not be able to take me back down.
Will looks at me, finally getting a sense of what’s going on. I give him a sharp look, as if saying, If you know what’s good for you, keep your mouth shut, with my eyes. I whip around, seeing Ian just getting up. No, I cannot give up my offence position.
Somehow I know this is it. The fight is coming to a close. These last few minutes will either make or break me. Let’s not hope for the latter. I run straight for him, planning precisely how the final attack will go down in my head.
“Shayla, don’t!” Will yells. I flinch. Damn it, Will. Ian uses this as an opportunity to grab me and shove me against the wall. I move my head so it doesn’t take the full impact, but I’m still seeing stars. It’s not over.
“I really am sorry about this, Shayla. You seem like a nice girl under all that hostility.”
Oh, he hasn’t even seen the best of it yet.
I struggle for a moment, trying to free my hands from his grip. Once I realize that’s useless I do the only thing I can do. I take my head and slam it against his. The unexpected impact makes him release his grip on my wrist. I waste no time, throwing my arm back and delivering a punch to the side of his face. I cringe when I feel the bone break, but I can’t dwell on it. I push him to the ground, where his hand is covering his nose, trying to staunch the flow of blood.
I decide that he’s probably down for a while, but tie him up, using the extra gold netting he has at his disposal. I know the netting won’t hurt him the way it hurt Will, but it’s the only thing I have to secure him. When I’m sure Ian’s not going anywhere, I pull out my phone and dial 264, the emergency telephone number that represents the letters CoH, or Council of Heroes. One of the Heroes will be sent a signal with our location, and is probably on his or her way right now. I’ve done the damage. Someone has to clean up the mess.
Finally, once all that is taken care of, I turn to Will. He hasn’t said a word at all throughout all of this. I pull out my knife and go over to him, carefully cutting off the netting that surrounds him. Not a word escapes either of our lips the entire time. The rough net leaves indentions in his skin, but those would go away eventually. When the last of all it is gone, the difference is almost immediate. The color begins to come back to his face, the strength inside him growing. His eyes still show shock, and I wonder if he’ll ever recover from this.
“Holy crap, Shay,” he whispers.
“I know.”
We hug, and a big wave of relief washes over me. It’s all so surreal. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and wonder if today was just one big awful nightmare.
“Well, this is quite a story for the books. A normal girl saving the superhero? That’s an interesting twist.” There goes Will, immediately trying to make a joke out of this. I smile.
“Indeed it is."
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Anonymous said...

Nice work! I like the idea of a superhero not being able to do everything. ;) Great job!