Day 7’s prompt was “create a superhero. Have them save the day.” I found this one easier than most others, and before I knew it, I’d written almost 1000 words. Here’s the finished product. Well, not finished exactly. The tense is all over the place, but one of the conditions for the challenge was that I couldn’t edit. So here we go:
“But I don’t know how to be a superhero,” I pointed out. “I only know how to be a villain.”
Lord Hiccup thought about it. “I was a villain once, too, you know. But I managed to do it.”
“But I don’t like humans,” I said, crossing my arms.
Lord Hiccup hiccuped. There was no arguing with him once the hiccups started. It was like a stress thing. Boom, he was bringing up the time you’d set a cat on fire when you were eight. Not that it was my fault…
“Okay, so you want me,” I said, just to make sure, “To save a human.”
I sighed again and saluted feebly. “Bye, Hiccup. I just have to go through the wall, right?” And with that I flew out of the treehouse and down to the markets below. The guardian of the wall was a sprightly young…sprite, and she normally let me through without a hassle. With Lord Hiccup’s permission, it was like she wasn’t even there.
I took a good long look at Elvador before I stepped through the wall. Car exhaust fumes assaulted me, and the air tasted like dirt. How did the humans stand this? When I looked behind me, the wall was gone, as usual. I’d have to finish my task before I could get back.
So where was the damsel I had to save? There didn’t seem to be anyone in distress. Oh – there were some people who seemed to be eating each other’s faces. But that was common in the human world, I’d been told. Sign of affection. I shuddered.
Then: a scream.
I rubbed my hands together. Screams were always good. I could follow them to my damsel in distress. Immediately I kicked off the ground, forgetting I didn’t have wings anymore, and fell flat on my face to the cement ground. People didn’t even stop to help me up; the crowd just parted around me and kept going, as though I was simply a very ugly roundabout. I winced and peeled myself off the pavement. I couldn’t afford to do that again. My clothes were typical human attire: boring, boring and boring. Knee-length blue denim shorts and a some sort of black T-shirt with a skull on it. Seemed morbid to me.
The scream again. Excellent.
I made use of my puny little legs and ran with all my might towards the sound of the scream. Though I didn’t have my wings or pointed ears anymore, the super-hearing was still installed. I pushed past some elderly people – seriously, it would be so much easier for humans if they just flew – walking with sticks, and down a side alley that tingled my unfortunately super-sensing nostrils.
A boy. In front of me, instead of my damsel in distress, was a boy screaming his lungs out. He was quite a pretty boy, all long lashes and blond hair and green eyes. Admittedly I couldn’t see much of his eyes, because he was crying, but I was almost 97% sure that they would be green. Sighing, I slowed down and sat down next to the boy. I had to help him now.
“What’s wrong?” I said, trying to sound understanding. It didn’t work. I was too used to being a villain.
The pretty boy sniffed. “My mum’s gone.”
“How old are you?” I said.
“Eleven.” He sniffed. “I’m Henry. What’s your name?”
I couldn’t tell him my name was Madison. If it was embarrassing for a villain, it was mortifying for a superhero. “Um, Henrietta.”
Henry sniggered. “That’s a girl’s name.”
Why did I always go for the girls’ names? “I was just seeing if you were listening,” I said hastily. “My real name is Percival. You can call me Val.”
“Val is also a girl’s name.”
Why did girls get all the good names? “Fine,” I snapped. “Call me Percy if it makes you feel any better. Now: when did you last see your mum?”
He thought about it. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her. I live on the street most of the time. Sometimes Mr Antonio from the restaurant lets me sleep upstairs with him, and he gives me leftover spaghetti, but that’s only when his wife isn’t hurting him.”
A cold feeling rushes down me. “And how often is that?”
Henry shrugs. “Almost every night.”
“Right,” I said, grabbing his arm, “We are going to get ice cream.”
His eyes lit up. They were green. Score for the superhero. “Ice cream! I’ve never had ice cream before.”
The poor kid. “You can have whatever flavour you like.”
If it was one thing the humans knew how to do right, it was ice cream. As we sat slurping them at a park bench, me with boysenberry and Henry with about seventeen different flavours, I wondered how humans could be so wrong about some things and so right about others. Like Henry: he was all alone in the world, but he’d still given the fifty cents change to an older woman who was shivering on a street corner. Amazing how the people that had the least could give the most.
When we were finished our ice creams, I thanked Henry for the day out, and he thanked me for the ice cream. Before it became too awkward, I hugged him and walked off. Sure enough, there was a tingling in my fingers and I was back at the wall. The human world still resonated in my mind.
Maybe being a superhero wasn’t so bad after all.