SEVEN HOURS BEFORE…
I stood no against the ceramic cuffs, and wasn’t game to try. Any attempt to free myself meant game over for civilian life. And even if I managed to escape there were a slew of detectives ready to track me down.
There was still time for diplomacy. Ortega thought I was a kid, and responded with paternalistic condescension. Maybe if I cried I could milk him for sympathy. Crying came easy in that concrete tank.
Cold radiated from the walls and through the thin layer of my costume. The holographic material only protected me from nudity. Still I was glad they hadn’t taken it from me. Kaira Cade made for prison lunch meat, adept or not.
Captain Ortega entered the interrogation room with an aura of finality. He stood like a seven foot executioner ready to drop the switch. He didn’t so much as look at the guards when he gave the order for them to leave the room. His deliberate easing into the chair was like torture. I stewed in anticipation. He folded his hands, and frowned.
“I’m sorry that-”
“Don’t speak,” he said. “Listen.”
Resistance proved futile. I was the prisoner, and he was the gatekeeper. He and a few less sympathetic figures oversaw the path to my release. If they weren’t satisfied then I was be trapped.
“I need you to stage a breakout,” he said. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #16 – “Hero Complex” (Part 7)”
The suppression foam was thick as it was heavy, but not enough that I could gain traction. Whoever designed it was smart. There was no getting out on my own.
Tremors rocked the cells with the sound of fists. With all her superhuman might Punching Judy collided with the densest metal. It cracked the foundation and lifted from its hinges. It didn’t take long for the door to crash to the concrete.
Automatic gunfire rang through the hall at ear splitting volume. I continued to fight the gunk encasing my body. Judy drove like a linebacker through the guards, laughing like a mad woman. Thank the gods she was on my side.
Her weight clicked against the cell as she sang. “Mar-co!”
“Polo! Polo! Polo!” The suppression foam grew thicker with every kick. I couldn’t stop unless I wanted to drown.
The exit buckled under the force from the other side. It snapped under the pressure and hit with the ground. The muscle-bound harlequin lingered on the other side. She grinned from ear to ear, still in full costume, boxing gloves and all.
“I gotta hand it to you, glow stick. You really came through on this one!” Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #15 – “Hero Complex” (Part 6)”
The red hoodie collapsed into the chair with a scrawny boy still in it. Sat before a steel table in front of mirrored glass he shook. He’d never been in this kind of trouble. All he wanted was to make a quick buck.
What might have been an interrogation didn’t last long. The words ‘inciting panic’ connected to criminal charges, and the boy spilled everything. He told them about the masked stranger and the money. A simple task had become a nightmare.
“Next thing we know we’re broadcasting Glimmer Girl like it’s fight night on cable,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen! Nobody did! Please, I’ve got a boyfriend. I wanted to help pay for his transition-”
Behind the mirror Captain Salvador Ortega scowled. He never cared for small fish, not when there was an ocean of predators to catch. Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #14 – “Hero Complex” (Part 5)”
Across the city a thousand screens blinked to life. Faces framed in red hoods carried them into the streets. Their message was not spoken with words, but violent images steaming from Midtown. On their monitors three twisted figures of humanity tore the world apart.
Like moths to a flame passersby collected around the feed. Every one of them had some sort of reaction, whether it be shock, alarm, disgust. Some expressed excitement.
A hooded evangelist proselytized from a street corner. “Step right up! Come one, come all, and witness history! Glimmer Girl versus our beloved Milestone City! See these superhuman wrecking balls destroy our way of life! Whoever wins, we lose!” Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #13 – “Hero Complex” (Part 4)”
I soared across the skyline. Captain Ortega had me at a disadvantage, but what kind of a hero would I be if I let that stop me? What I did was in the name of justice, and guys like Waylon Dervish deserved to be in prison.
Tanya echoed in the back of my thoughts, fired up on social justice rhetoric. She ranted about cops as the tools of capitalism doing more harm than good. Guys like Ortega weren’t worthy of the authority they wielded. She could be right. Why would a department struggling to maintain order turn away help?
The air shook with what sounded like rolling thunder. Horns cried and plumes of dust billowed from across town. It was dark and dense enough to choke out the sun. There were people down there, hurt. Screw Ortega’s threats. Someone had to do something! In a shining burst I dived into the cloud and followed it to where it started.
Dirt and soot flew into my face. It was aggressive and driven by some unseen source. Human shapes radiated with heat. Thrown from their feet they rolled en masse to whatever refuge they could find.
Panic froze in my veins. I pushed through the fear. People first, disaster later.
Continue reading “Glimmer Girl #12 – “Hero Complex” (Part 3)”
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)”