Roguishly Handsome, and Other Superhero Problems by Tray Ellis
From Delilah: I’m a nerd, through and through. I love comic books and action hero figures. Among the “treasures” on my bookshelf are Thor and Iron Man Pez dispensers, a Batman Pop figurine, a Star Wars Stormtrooper Bobble Head…I could go on! The kids come to my office to admire my things. They contribute to it when McDonald’s Happy Meals feature some special, nerdy prize. So when Tray’s story crossed my desk, you know I had to have it. And I know there are more people like me who wonder about superheros’ day-to-day problems. Thankfully, Tray can help us out a bit. 🙂
An Excerpt…Velda and Ariel are secret superheros, trying to live a “normal” life…
Velda leaned forward to speak again when they overheard the man in the booth behind them. He’d been speaking on the phone to someone, and now he related his information. “That was Jack on the phone. He’s on the bridge, and he said there’s some kind of punk-ass desperado in an armored truck crashing into cars. The police are throwing up roadblocks, and Jack is caught in all the traffic. He said we shouldn’t wait. I think we should get out of here before all the roads are clogged.”
Velda sighed. “You’re going?”
Ariel dug out her wallet and extracted money to pay for her drink and then a little extra. She pushed it toward Velda. “Yeah. I can’t ignore it, can I? Would you mind picking up some bananas on your way home? I ate the last one for breakfast.”
“Just come home safe,” Velda said. She stared at the money but didn’t touch it. “You aren’t invincible, you know.” She brushed a loose strand of hair behind an ear with one hand. “And it’s your turn to take out the recycling for tomorrow. Don’t forget. I don’t want to hear any excuses about being tired.”
Grabbing her backpack, Ariel rolled her eyes. “I’ve got my book club tonight. You don’t think I’d miss that? I’ll be home before dinner.” She turned and dashed away, looking for a suitable place to change clothes. The bathroom of the café—one room with a small upper window—seemed perfect.
Very little time was needed to strip off her clothes and change into her costume. The backside of the door also had a full-length mirror and Ariel paused to check herself over. Unlike the heroes in the comic books, she dressed with practicality in mind. She almost always wore her black construction boots with steel toes, for the rare case where she might need to kick something. In her backpack, she kept a pair of black cargo pants, a black T-shirt, and a thick black windbreaker. It got breezy when she took to the air. She also wore a three-quarter helmet with a clear, partial face shield. Masks, she had discovered, were troublesome and did not protect one’s head.
She pulled her dark brown hair up into a ponytail, plunked on the helmet, shoved her regular clothes into the backpack, and opened the window. A moment later, she was airborne. First, she scooted straight up and dropped off her backpack in a corner of the roof. She would return later and collect it. Then, she scanned the horizon, determined where the desperado was causing trouble, and headed straight out.
As the ground zipped by below her, people gawked at the sight of a flying girl. Several minutes later, Ariel slowed and hovered. There was a bozo in an armored truck. He was past the bridge now, but he’d left behind him a swath of dented vehicles. A police blockade was springing up downstream from him, but he’d smash through unless they had more time to finish setting up.
Ariel put her hands on her hips and considered the situation. She had no desire to get in the way of the police. Her intentions had always been to provide assistance with rescuing people. Although her natural talent was telekinesis, she wasn’t trained to respond to active scenarios. Fighting a bad guy directly would be more than beyond her skill set.
Except, she was horrified to watch as the armored truck smashed into another vehicle. Bits of glass streaked everywhere. The clash of metal on metal vibrated down her spine, and the scent of exhaust fumes and dripping vehicle fluids seared her throat. She had to do something!
Again, Ariel glanced to the police blockade. She might not be able to stop him directly, but she could probably delay him long enough to let the police finish the job. Flying was one thing, and a skill she’d been practicing so long that it seemed second nature, but other manipulations required extreme focus. She extended her awareness and focused on the truck. Against her will, it careened into another vehicle, once again sending glass fragments flying and ripping metal and plastic to shreds. There were limits to the amount of weight she could heft with her ability, and an armored truck was far heavier than she could control.
She looked to the police blockade again. Perhaps she didn’t need to do anything other than distract the driver using bluff and bluster. With a knot of anxiety in her stomach, she flew after the bad guy.
Determinedly, Ariel swooped down and landed on the hood of the car. “Hey, buster,” she yelled. “Stop that truck, or I’ll do it for you.” Through the windshield, she could see the utter surprise on the ne’er-do-well’s face. His strikingly handsome face with chiseled features and penetrating eyes. He looked like he should have been modeling for a high-end magazine instead of causing havoc on the roads.
The surprise was quickly replaced by drawn-down eyebrows and a devilish look. He mouthed some words. Although Ariel couldn’t hear them, it was pretty easy to read his lips: make me.
Tray Ellis is a writer and leisure time gardener who loves to spin imaginary adventures and heartfelt romances. Her short stories can be found in anthologies and as stand-alones. Check out her social media for links and free reads.