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   Chapter 34 Reveal

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 8663

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:04


I never thought I“d have to explain the superhero thing to my dad. I wasn“t thinking about him at all, really, which was a pretty big tactical error, but tactical errors are prone to occur when you“re half-conscious and your only priority is incapacitating a would-be murderer.

It was the rope I was after, the one Max used against me in the warehouse fight. And I carried Max over my shoulder, because damn if I was going to let the little bastard escape. Ambulance and cop cars hurtled down the craggly back road, and I flew just overhead, watching them, landing lightly on my bedroom window. I slipped as silently as I could through my room into the "library," where the rope lay coiled under one of the couches.

The apartment was dark. I threw Max dripping on the carpet, fished out the rope, and was busy tying up the kid when the light was thrown on and there stood Dad in the doorway, flannel robe tugged over his work clothes, newspaper clenched in one hand, orange jumbo mug in the other. I knew I was in trouble, or rather, we were in trouble when I saw it. That“s what he uses in place of a wine glass.

So, hi, reader. You are here. With me. Good luck escaping this one.

A sharp, throbbing pain easing up my forearm and shoulder. "H-hi Dad," I say, boot on Max“s chest, the ends of ropes pulled up in the air starting to glow.

Dad looks at me, looks at Max, takes a long sip of wine and sets the mug delicately on the arm of his chair. Max struggles, squirming in the tangles of rope. Then he looks up at Dad and shrinks back with a hiss, like he“s a particularly tiny vampire and my dad“s a ray of sunlight.

He shakes his head. "I knew it," he says. "I knew you were up to something. I don“t know how you got the superpowers, but the broken ribs, the one-liners, the secrecy..." He throws the newspaper on the cushion, lifting his phone as slowly as if it were a gun. I“m frozen with this dumb laugh on my lips. Eh-heh-heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh. "It was the one-liners. And the puns. If nothing else tipped me off, it was those."

Eh-heh-heh-heh.

"Onyx and Masquerade, huh?"

Heh-heh.

Max panics. Struggling and tugging and dragging himself across the carpet like a super-speedy worm. I yank him back with a quick jerk and he yelps. His eyes are wild. He“s coughing up sludge and shivering, pools of goop creeping over the carpet when he moves. "Don“t put this in print," he says. The words are surprisingly calm, surprisingly lucid. "Please don“t."

Dad snaps the picture in one swift motion and lays the phone back on his chair. My heart slams in my chest

ff. If you“re going to do this, I need to know where to find you and I need to make sure you“re not going to get yourself killed."

My heart "Oh, uh, thanks. Dad, that“s-that“s great."

He yanks me into a side hug, to keep from aggravating the injured parts, though to be truthful, I“ve become something of a walking injury at this point.

"You“re grounded, though. Until you recover. I understand if you think you have to do"—he makes a sweeping gesture at Max—"this. But you don“t. Just because you have these powers doesn“t mean you need to put yourself in danger."

"But if I can save people and I don“t because—"

"I know, honey, I know. I just want you to be safe. But I...I“m proud of you." He“s smiling down at me, really smiling. "We“re going to figure out the legal side of this, we“re going to figure out your powers, and we“re going to figure out a better way to do this where you won“t get hurt so much, okay?"

I can“t answer because when I try, I start to cry, something I“ve been doing an awful lot of. But so much weight has been lifted off me, so fast, I can“t help it. I just break, this stupid smile edging on my face.

Max watches the two of us, and then he flips on to his side, reading the spines of the books on our bottom shelf. He“s silent. I wonder if I was like Max, if instead of my father pulling me into a hug, promising ice cream, and, you know, help, I was faced with his fear and hatred and disgust.

So, I don“t say anything. Patrol cars barrel down the street, sirens wailing. The pain waxes and wanes. As mending bones click in my arm, I crouch beside the boy and lay a soft touch on his head. "Yeah," I say, running a hand through his hair as he silently bawls, "I“m sorry too."

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