This week’s Chuck Challenge is a super hero one, where we are tasked with writing about superheroes, plus another genre – I chose mystery, but it kind of got away from me, and with only 1000 words, it’s more like the beginning of a much longer story (a novella perhaps?).
Anyways, hope you enjoy!
“You do realize Sherlock Holmes was not a superhero,” he said to me as I adjusted the deerstalker hat on my head and looked at my reflection in the full-length mirror in my room. I glanced at him in the glass and caught his derisive look.
“Well, he kind of was…” I said, straightening my waistcoat. “I don’t know why people don’t wear vests anymore.” I turned around to admire the purple silk back.
“Well, you look ridiculous in the hat,” the man behind me in the mirror said. “And he didn’t actually wear a stupid hat like that in the books.”
I sneered at him through the mirror, reluctantly removed the hat and flung it on the bed. “And you don’t look ridiculous?“ I said, jabbing a finger in his direction at his purple and black skin-tight outfit. “But how are people going to recognize me as a detective!” I said with an exaggerated pout. “Someone needs to solve this mystery. Why not me?”
“Because you’re not a trained detective, for one,” said my companion.
“This costume is a lot more comfortable than what we usually wear,” I said, taking a deep breath inwards. “It’s not as constricting.”
“They aren’t costumes, they’re uniforms!” My colleague said. I could almost see him bristling with indignation.
“Well so is this,” I said, turning back to the dashing figure in the mirror. “I need to do something. Don’t you feel like you need to help?”
“I do enough helping every day and night,” my friend said. “And so do you. That’s our jobs. That’s what we use our gifts for. To help the helpless citizens when they can’t themselves. That’s why we have these powers. As if to demonstrate, briefly I saw his purple-black outfit begin to vibrate and blur, and a high-pitched whine filled the air. Instinctively, I dove away from the mirror, taking shelter beside my bed just as the mirror shattered and exploded in a million pieces.
“Stop!” I yelled, as I watched the window of my bedroom begin to vibrate dangerously. “You don’t need to do that here!” I jumped up from my hiding place and lifted my hands protectively. I felt the familiar sensation of heat and tingling run down my arms and out my palms. Then I saw Hedgehog fly backwards and slam into the chest of drawers on the far side of the room.
I ran to the rescue, and felt a button on my vest pop off as I did. “Sorry Hedge,” I said, offering my hand to pull him up.
He glared at me. “You know I hate that nickname!” he said with a grimace as he took my hand and I helped him stand.
“Hey, it’s not my fault,” I shrugged, admiring the fresh damage to the antique wooden dresser. “I didn’t come up with the name Sonic Boom. Hedgehog is much better,” I flashed a smile but suppressed the laugh that threatened to follow it.
Sonic gave me another dirty look. “It’s not my fault that’s my gift,” he said.
“Powers,” I repeated. “They’re called powers,” I said distractedly as I examined where the button had fallen off my vest as it pulled across me when I ran. “I think I see why we wear what we do.”
“Well, what is your big idea, Mr Holmes,” Sonic said “How do you plan to stop the murders?”
That was the mystery I intended to solve. For the last week, one of us was being targeted, and killed. Well, the news was reporting all the deaths as suicides, but I knew that all of the superheroes had been framed and their deaths cleverly designed to look as if each person had killed themselves. But I knew that couldn’t be. We loved what we did. We all loved our jobs, even though we were tired. After all, being a superhero doesn’t really pay the bills. We all had day jobs too. But that’s why we did our superhero-ing on rotation. We each did a week of helping the poor, unfortunate, taken advantage of citizens, and took a week off work so we wouldn’t be running on empty fighting crime. Tonight was my first shift, and I was glad. Being a server at a restaurant was an exhausting job. I’d much rather be disposing of the darkness that plagued each and every city.
Even though I wasn’t sure how my powers of a protective force field would help solve anything. And maybe disguised as Sherlock Holmes instead of wearing my usual uniform of navy blue, with tall knee-high navy boots and charcoal grey face mask, would help me find the answers. My Force outfit was simple and understated, just how I liked it, not overly flashy like a lot of us out there on the streets.
I switched on the TV and flicked to the news. Sonic came to stand beside me and we watched with horror and disgust as we saw Amber Flame’s face appear on-screen. Her bright red hair was unmistakable. She was on duty last night. But she was found this morning in her bed, next to a bottle of pills. I guess her explosive ball of flame powers could only do so much…
“Who could be doing all of this?” Sonic asked as he turned away from the TV and looked out across the city. It seemed so different in the daytime with the sun shining and birds chirping. At night it became an entirely different beast, one that I felt more comfortable in. During the day we stood out, even as our regular-joe selves, you felt people were watching you. At night you felt safe, protected.
Even us superheroes felt vulnerable sometimes but we had our powers to help give us courage and strength.
“I don’t know, but I plan to find out. You with me?”
I grabbed the hat from the bed and tugged it on. “Up, up and away,” I said, closing the door behind me.