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   Chapter 12 No Capes

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 9693

Updated: 2017-12-03 19:04


It occurs to me that I haven“t described myself. At all. And that, probably, you see me as some freakishly tall shadow-blob, chugging coffee as she shuffles from butt-kicking to butt-kicking. Or you see pieces of yourself in me. Maybe you“re a reader who slips into these words and wears my experiences like a second skin. Which is pretty dang cool to a nerd like yours truly, and even more so to the superhero I“m supposed to be. Anyone can be Red Comet, so anyone should be Onyx, too.

But if Masquerade ever really kicks my butt, I“ve decided it would be nice if a few devoted readers could identify my body.

"So," I say to the whirling circle on my screen. "I can“t disclose my sources. But this is my first lead on the disappearance of Red Comet." I flip the phone around. You have to remember, I draft my stories on a typewriter. I don“t know how a phone works. My post got a few reads, a few comments. Most asked for proof I“m the real Onyx. The rest called me a creep.

I hover over the warehouse behind the cottage Masquerade jumped me. It looks like a playset. A little gray toy sticking up on the green quilt forest. A little closer, and there“s the hissing brown bog with the bubbles scraping the clouds before they pop on the blades of grass with several snaps in quick succession. My heart slams. I can feel the odd heartbeats, the stabbing heat in my side. In another thirty minutes I get to take a second dosage of pills to relieve the hearth that“s begun to stir again in my bones. “Cause who needs actual rest, am I right?

"See that warehouse?" I swoop down over the bog, my toes dangling just above the little hissing bubbles. The warehouse“s sides are orange with a coat of rust, a few chains slung over the door and looped around the brass knob. The air reeks of acid, the metallic-tinge of sheet metal stinging my nose. I pull the sleeves of my hoodie over my fingers and yank the chains so hard they snap. "Huh," I say to the phone. "It looks like I“m a... a... " Can“t think of a pun about my super-strength, so I stand there, laughing this low eh heh heh at the camera. The door creaks behind me and swings open with a painful squeal. My heart skips. I lick one finger and hold it up to the sky like all the sailors do in the old movies. The air is dead still.

This is where the smart people stop. They turn around, or call the police, or so something that does not include walking into the very clear trap. But I“m sure I“ve established that I“m not one of these smart people. Evidence is evidence, and I need it.

Someone comments that I“m stupid. "Very," I say, and take to floating, balancing on the thin web of molecules on the toes of my mud-slicked sneakers.

The warehouse, from the inside, is everything you“d expect and wouldn“t all balled in one. The roof is supported by rotting wooden rafters. You can make out the cracks in the oak, the molds and w

My eyes are squeezed shut. Teeth gritted against an oncoming scream. "Oh, I“m sorry, you think I“m here for your entertainment?" Even that comes out strained. "Well, I“m not—"

"Shh." He takes my wrist. I squint. He flicks the rope and it takes on a red glow that hums and hisses from the inside. My heart is beating so fast it“s become a thrum. "Just, you know, relax—"

I wheel my free fist back and pop him a hard punch in the mask. My knuckles sting, but it“s just enough to push him back. Another elbow to the chest. He presses his knee deeper into my side, his fingers further into my wrist. I“m scrambling and punching, lashing out in any way I can, my eyes drawn to Masquerade“s lasso. My mind is busy making connections. The red glow. The chemical bog. Comet“s cape. "Quit telling me to relax when you“re trying to kidnap me!"

"Oh, I“m sorry! Would you rather I cracked out a “muahahaha?" He lunges for my other wrist. I duck his attempt and elbow him so hard in the rib cage he yelps and the “crunch“ is undeniable. I wriggle free, winding the red cape scrap around my hand.

I“m back on my feet. He grabs his side, eyes half-shut behind the slits of my mask. He races for me. I dive around him, snatch up my phone. There“s another yank, the neck of my jacket pulled taut against my throat. I“m flung off my feet, dangling. He“s got my hood balled up in his fists.

"Looks like they forgot to mention “No hoods.“" By the time I“ve finished my quip, he“s swung me around and thrown me so hard and fast my head hits the corner of a filing cabinet and white stars explode in front of my eyes. That“s what they don“t tell you about stupid-offhanded-remarks.

They waste time.

I collapse on the cold concrete, scrambling for a pun to adequately describe my situation. The world sort of fades to black, like an onyx. You know, “cause onyxes are black and my costume is black and...

Boy, do I need better pun-game.

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