Ten minutes into my first college party and it already defied expectation. In place of a raging kegger was a spread of pre-twenty-somethings under the fairy lights. They held pre-mixed drinks in hand and chatted to a chill-hop soundtrack. Milestone Academy might not have been a party campus, but I could imagine my parents at a place like this.
A burning stink wafted from down the hall. It drove me toward the rec room. Nobody seemed to mind the smell. Gods, I was already losing my appetite.
I found Tanya by the kitchenette chatting to a random group of guys. She seemed right at home in an old band tee, jacket and her hair spiked. Both she and her new friends laughed as if they’d known each other forever. It was at that moment I realized the nightmare of high school was over for good.
“Hey, you guys!”
Tanya threw up her arms to create an opening between us. She introduced me to her new friends; Matthias, LeShaun, Trayvon, Lucas – what was the first guy’s name again? By the time she finished I’d already forgotten. I found myself drawn into fresher chit-chat about classes, schedules, you know the rest.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #11 – “Hero Complex” (Part 2)”
ONE MONTH AGO
Even in the absence of a rope Waylon Dervish sensed the noose growing tighter. It continued to draw for the better part of a year. They raided his warehouses and grilled his accountants. Each time the detectives came back it was with a finer comb. Sooner or later they would join the dots, and that would be it.
The same lawyers who told him to deny everything were losing faith. There were whispers about plea bargains, though they wouldn’t say it to his face. Jail time, they said, was inevitable. Fifteen years at least, with no opportunity for parole, and no time off for good behavior. He’d be senile the next he walked free.
Booze helped. He kept a bottle of Irish whiskey stashed in the bottom drawer for the occasion. After his secretary went home there were no eyes to judge. Both outside and within, he became numb. Raging thoughts that rolled like tumbleweeds settled in the corners. For as long as he slumped in the leather chair he was at peace.
Waylon stared with dry, crusted eyes from the third story window to the warehouse floor. Things could have been different. In another life he was smart enough to say no in the face of a large dollar sign. Even if it meant losing his business he could have had his freedom, and a whole other kind of reputation. Then again, many of the rewards had been worth the risk.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #10 – “Hero Complex” (Part 1)”
I woke with my arms shackled over my head. They were connected to a large steel conductor. The weight of my body wrenched them down. Every movement ached in my joints. I’d landed in a BDSM nightmare, and Dr. Vortex had worse planned still. I could make out the slivers of his coat through the uneven panels. He moved between workstations. A haze hung over my eyes like a swamp gas mirage.
Dr. Vortex strolled to my prison. He raised my chin and shone a penlight into my eyes. Resisting earned a firmer grip. He yanked my gaze to meet his. Once the examination was over he let my face drop.
“This next part requires you to be conscious,” he said. “It will be painful, but if it brings you any comfort that it’s for a good cause.”
I wheezed more than I spoke. “What’re you… going… to do?”
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #09 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 9)”
A home had its soul carved out. All that remained was the husk and old furniture. A cold wind blew through the ghosts of my family. On better days they could be found streaming movies on the flat screen. There would be no more picking apart the special effects if Dr. Vortex had his way.
I pulled a photograph from the shelf. It rested in a black wooden frame. In it was a boy. My parents crouched on either side, smiling. I remembered that Summer, and being jealous of the other girls. Instead of a one piece I wore a t-shirt and swimming shorts. But there were jet skis, dive bombs, and a whole lot of other fun had by mistake. You know, the stuff that mattered. A life lived, and experiences shared. Those memories grew distant with the people in them. Despair bubbled into my fists. It wasn’t fair!
Tanya sprinted through the front door. She found me curled under the kitchen counter. “Oh my god. Are you okay?”
I stared at the tiles. My powers couldn’t fix anything.
“It’s pandemonium at the school,” she said. “They said there was some kind of explosion, and they found a gun!” Tanya searched my vacant expression. She grabbed my shoulder and shook me. “Come on, KC. Talk to me. Was it Dr. Vortex?” Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #08 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 8)”
Death spiraled toward the street. Frozen in a split second I traced the path of debris to the railway car. Things were going to get bloodier if someone didn’t act, and fast.
I cast off panic and lashed out at the oncoming destruction. Wide, unfocused blasts swatted chunks onto a new course. They veered away from the passengers and onto the front lines of the barricade. Every piece struck without forgiveness. They sent tremors through the crowd, as though they weren’t shaken enough.
It was only as the dust settled that I realized what happened. Fear saturated the surrounded area. Paramedics scrambled to check on bystanders. Gridlocked drivers abandoning their vehicles for cover. There I was, floating in the middle, trying to rein the pounding in my chest.
A chrome wall slammed into my side. I fell upward and fought for control over an empty car tumbling to the asphalt. It wasn’t alone. They flew by the dozen at breakneck speed, faster than I could dodge. I sliced through them with pinpoint lasers. Vehicle remnants fell like boulders.
“Everybody take cover!”
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #07 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 7)”
Two hundred people were displaced during the InfiniTech incident. Their names sat cataloged on Theodore Fellow’s coffee table. He sifted through them in search of this ‘Glimmer Girl’, and matched profiles based on sex, skin tone, height, and build. So far the search bore no fruit.
The doctor collapsed onto the unmade bed. Within days of the phenomenon the adept made had her debut as a ‘hero’. The proximity of the events was more than coincidence. If the incident imbued another with extraordinary ability then it was his duty to know. More than that, he should own the power for himself.
Between liquid meals the doctor downed mugs of coffee. It did little to satiate the nagging in his belly, but kept him from becoming sluggish. With outside forces moving in there was little time for rest.
He considered the folders and the criteria of his chat. Were the subject able to alter her shape his search was in vain. Or the doctor was too discerning. Combing through the files again he searched for any sign of this Glimmer Girl, no matter how small.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #06 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 6)”
I’d decided. I had powers, and would use them for truth and justice. To do that there had to be a wrong to make right. The kind of injustice you punch doesn’t jump out waving a flag, so I had to go looking for it.
The beetle wasn’t built for city traffic, but Tanya made the effort. We scoured the backstreets for the better part of a Saturday, peeking into alleys. We found nothing save a few bad drivers.
I sat in the passenger seat with a hoodie pulled over my head. It worked in place of a costume, at least for the moment. I hoped the disguise read ‘female’.
“We’re going about this the wrong way,” Tanya said. She pulled to the curb.
The day before we pooled our cash to buy a police scanner. It was in good condition for its age, and offered new insight into the city. Nothing on the band called for the presence of a heroine who could fly.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #05 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 5)”
Imagine being on vacation, except there’s nobody around, and you’re stuck in a single room. Such was life on the sofa, nursing the aftermath of the accident. There were only so many chat shows and soap operas I could endure before going insane. After three days I was at my limit.
Tanya texted selfies between classes. I couldn’t believe I missed the halls of purgatory. She pulled faces, and cycled through the filters of every app we shared. She even stole a butt cleavage pic of the shop teacher before going silent. I cackled. At a guess they confiscated her phone, but her sacrifice was not in vain.
It was sometime around eleven when boredom set. There were still finals to take, so I could have used the time to study, but none of it would stick. My mind was somewhere far, far away.
The phone rang, thank the gods. I hopped like a clown on a pogo-stick, and all but dived for the receiver. “Hello?”
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #03 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 3)”
Mirrors aren’t known to be forgiving, but with some effort they can warm to you. I laid out my brush and straightener, foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and lip gloss. They were only a handful of tools required to scrub the ‘boy’ away.
It was by luck and her Mom’s difficulty with stairs that Tanya landed the master bedroom. It came complete with walk-in closet and bathroom en-suite. The running joke was she had more space than she could use and no incentive to leave for college. But for a high school girl and her not-cisgender friend it was the ideal refuge.
An hour and a half over the vanity only saw the start of the transformation. Halfway to girl with some encouragement. It could have been his face burned into my retinas, or his dimensions spread across my shoulders. Nothing could remove the nightmare in my skin.
Tanya’s reflection smiled from the bed. “You look great.”
The empty cups on my chest said something else. Tissues, tape and silicone could only do so much in the war against testosterone. That I was so lean was the only concession afforded me by nature.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #02 – “All that Glimmers” (Part 2)”
It started with a bang; not an explosion but atoms accelerated toward infinity. That was the end of my so-called ‘ordinary’ life. Fate guided me into the line of fire the same day a madman sought revenge for his bruised ego.
Once upon a time there was no such thing as Glimmer Girl, or even Kaira Cade. This is my story.
* * * *
It figured that the snooze alarm quit that morning, and 7:08 before I pried my eyes open. Crap! Panic slapped me across the face and out of bed. There was less than an hour to change, eat if I got the chance – that part was optional – and be at school.
There was still time to hate my reflection, and the boy it owned. I tied my hair back, threw on some jeans and a long sleeve tee. I stuffed a mountain of unfinished homework into my backpack. The load was heavy, and school only made it worse.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #01 – “All That Glimmers” (Part 1)”