Category Archives: Potpourri
In a certain city at a certain time, people started developing superpowers. Here are their stories.
Genre: fantasy, superpower
Patricia thought she could do it. Really, she did.
Her first kiss wasn’t as special as she hoped it would be, but that didn’t stop her from treasuring the rest. If she was going to kiss someone, she wanted it to be meaningful.
Inna thought she was silly. Patricia thought they had different values.
After much stubborn persistence, she managed to substitute the price for her power with a kiss on the cheek, and later a kiss on the hand. With her greatest barrier gone, she used her superpower more freely, and her skill grew. She learnt to ‘store kisses’ so she could use her power even if she collected the price hours before. She became more efficient, so one kiss could power two minutes of illusions instead of just one.
Her superpower alter ego changed as well. The price was still one kiss for one minute of illusions, but she had more freedom in how the price was paid and could even give ‘discounts’. No more kissing little kids (she wasn’t a cradle snatcher), no more kissing girls (she didn’t swing that way), no more kissing married men (she wasn’t a family breaker).
She could live with that.
Bitter Medic’s true power was the ability to do anything as long as the right price was paid. When customers knocked on his door with their requests, he told them the price and left it to them to decide whether to proceed or not.
But not this time.
“I’ll pay anything.”
“I can’t bring back the dead.”
That was a lie. He could do it, but too many lives would be destroyed just to bring one back.
The customer slammed the table and stood over him. “I won’t give up. One day, I’ll make you see it my way.”
Bitter Medic sat unfazed, used to the resentment of disappointed clients.
When they met again, it was as captor and captive.
“Have you changed your mind?” his ex-customer asked.
Bitter Medic ignored the knife at his face. “No.”
The ex-customer grinned. The knife glinted.
“I believe the right answer here is ‘Yes’.”
Genre: fantasy, superhero
She glanced at her wrist. Only one purple band left. If they didn’t finish soon, she would run out of power, and the rubble she was holding up would fall and crush the people still trapped underneath.
“Hurry up,” she said.
“We’re trying.” The other supers, heroes and villains alike, sped up.
Not long ago, they were fighting. The supervillain team wanted to kidnap another rich kid, and they, the rival superhero team, refused to let that happen.
No one expected the building to fall apart after a hit from a stray attack.
Without hesitation, both teams dropped the battle and rushed to the victims’ aid. They may be rivals, but when it came to people’s lives, they were on the same side.
Alone, it would have been tough to save everyone, especially when they were still exhausted from the unfinished fight, but with both teams working together, they managed to get everyone to safety. She even had half a purple band of power left.
“We still want the kid,” the supervillain team said, even though everyone looked ready to drop where they stood.
“We’ll still stop you if you try,” the superhero team said, using bravado to cover the fact that they were running on empty.
“But not today.”
They nodded and turned away from each other, both sides eager to return to base and crash for the rest of the day.
Genre: fantasy, superpowers
Every year, all registered superhumans were required to choose one of three alignments: superhero, neutral, and supervillain.
There were plenty of superhumans who chose to wield their powers as superheroes or law-abiding citizens, but there were also many who jumped at the chance to cause sanctioned chaos.
The controversial decision to include supervillains as one of the acceptable options sparked debates that never really ended.
On one hand, it was an open invitation for people to abuse their powers and distract the ‘good guys’ from using their powers to help people who actually needed them.
On the other hand, supervillains had to follow a lot of rules (like making sure their plan wasn’t dangerous to the public) to get their funding and their pardon for the crimes they would commit, and the age old fight between good and evil was great for tourism.
Sure there were some bad apples in the bunch, but they were the type that would have become supervillains anyway even without the formal paperwork. At least this way, the battles were more about showing off than life and death, and even made some dreams come true.
And… I came back to Potpourri. The prompt was too hard to resist XP
Genre: fantasy, slice of life
He was always tired. No matter how much he slept, he couldn’t replenish his energy fast enough to replace what his superpower sucked out of him.
Because he was a minor when the ability first appeared, his parents were notified when he participated in the government’s secret super census. He hadn’t been too happy then, but now he was thankful.
They might be nosy and naggy, but they also cared enough to make sure all his teachers didn’t bother him when he slept in class, explaining his constant exhaustion away as a medical condition.
A light touch on his shoulder stirred him from his doze.
“Don, we’re moving,” Patricia said.
“Thanks.” He slid his book into his bag and followed the group out of the classroom. As he turned the corner, his phone buzzed three times in quick succession. He tapped Patricia’s back to get her attention.
“I’m not feeling very well. I’m going to go back early.”
“Ok. Take care.”
Once out of sight, he pulled out his phone. Thundude’s message was a short call for backup from the rest of the team. He changed into his gear and stashed his personal items. All the energy he had been hoarding was for this moment.
Enhancer, on the way.
“I can give you the outcome you desire, as long as you can pay the price.”
This was the part where people reacted differently. The rich magnanimously offered a small fraction of their vast fortune, the poor warily warned him that they didn’t have much to give, and the desperate brokenly promised to give anything he asked for.
Then he told him the price, and that was the part where people reacted the same way.
Not just because money, the answer to everything, wasn’t what he wanted, but because the price he asked was often something they didn’t expect. He asked for memories, skills, attachments, emotions, significant items, or a strange mix that no one would consider as currency.
This was the part were people reconsidered their desires and either accepted the price, negotiated, or backed away.
Bitter Medic kept his face blank, but inside, he prayed his current client chose the last option.
He reached out and switched her clear eyes with her lover’s scarred ones.
Please, don’t let this be another senseless self-sacrifice.
Bitter Medic also appears in Bitter Medic. (That sounds weird XP)
His sister appears in Little Acts of Kindess.
Genre: fantasy, superpowers
There were many things Patricia thought her first kiss would be. Romantic, gentle, loving, maybe a little awkward, but definitely with someone she actually knew.
She didn’t know this stranger.
A rushed apology was the only warning she received before a girl pinned her against the wall and smashed their lips together. Twice. Patricia squirmed and pushed against the other girl but it was like fighting a wall.
“I’m Super Scout,” the girl said in a rush, “You might have heard of me before. My superpower is the ability to identify superpowers in other people. Good news. You have superpowers. You can create illusions. Your price is one kiss to use that ability for one minute.”
Super Scout kissed her twice again, dismissing Patricia’s attempts to dodge her with embarrassing ease.
“I have a second ability. I can use other people’s superpowers at double the price for half the results. Right now, I’m borrowing your powers at two kisses for thirty seconds of an illusion of me leading my pursuers somewhere else. I can’t let them catch me or bad things will happen to people like you.”
Another two kisses.
“I have another illusion around us so it looks like you’re alone on the phone. Can we go somewhere more private? In exchange, I’ll help you. Deal?”
As if the other girl would accept ‘no’ for an answer.
“Great. Let’s go.”
A dozen more kisses later, they were seated at the table in a small cafe. The background noise covered Super Scout’s voice as she briefed Patricia on the many unseen perils of being a superhuman, tips on how to protect herself, organisations to be wary of, how to endear herself to the public…
“What if I don’t want to be a superhero?” Patricia asked.
“You can be neutral. Or a supervillain. If that’s what you want.”
“I mean, what if I just want to be normal?”
Super Scout sent her a look.
“We both know that’s not true. I know there are hundreds of superhumans out there, but superpowers are actually very rare. It’ll be a shame for you to ignore what you have.”
Patricia ran her fingers over the condensation on her glass. Having superpowers was exciting, and she would love to use her special ability, if she didn’t have to turn into a kissing monster to use it. She pressed her lips together, which were still a little swollen from Super Scout’s kiss attacks.
“Kissing isn’t a bad price, you know,” Super Scout said softly, “Better than losing a little more of your future every time you use it.”
Put that way, she certainly had the better deal, but that didn’t mean she had to accept kissing everyone as her new normal just like that.
Super Scout held out a hand. “Your phone. Gimme.”
“Why?” Patricia asked even as she handed her phone over.
“So you can call me when you’re ready. I promised you I’ll help you, and I keep my promises.”
Patricia did need the number in the end. She had jealously guarded her lips in the past because she wanted her first kiss to be special. Her first kiss was already gone, so the rest of her kisses were just another form of physical contact.
If she told herself that long enough, she might actually believe it one day.
Interested in Patricia’s ability? Check out Rescue Kiss.
Genre: superpowers, fantasy
His words slurred in his exhaustion, but she didn’t need to hear the words to know what he wanted to say.
“Don’t be silly. There’s no way I can leave you when you obviously need my help.”
She counted at least 6 enemies surrounding them in all directions, not including the dozen more groaning on the ground. From the looks of it, she had arrived at the end of a long fight.
“Just because I’m helping you doesn’t mean I’ll do it for free. Usual rates apply. One kiss for one minute.”
Their enemies had shaken off their initial shock and started to close in. He mumbled something she assumed meant ‘yes’ (there was no time for objections anyway) and she leaned in.
The kiss activated her usually dormant powers. Without wasting a moment, she twisted the world into something like Escher’s impossible stairs. The illusion lasted for two minutes at most, but they were long gone by then, carried to safety by a griffin that didn’t exist.
Beside her, the dark-haired superhero was completely knocked out. She couldn’t just leave him there, where anyone could walk by and take advantage of him, but she didn’t know where he lived. Her only solution was to get comfortable and wait until he woke up.
He owed her for this, and she knew the perfect way he could repay her.
Check out the related story First Kiss.
Genre: superpowers, fantasy
If there was ever a competition to decide who had the lamest superpower, she would win. Hands down. No contest. What was this super lame superpower she had?
The ability to remove any stain.
Ink stains, grass stains, blood stains, any stains. Sing a short song and they were all gone. It was a useful ability to have, but definitely not superhero material. So when she received the form asking which alignment she would be for the year, she skipped past ‘superhero’ and ‘supervillain’ and chose ‘neutral’.
She hit a rough patch halfway through the year, and in an effort to earn some extra money, she set up a little stall at the local market to offer her stain removal services.
It turned out that people needed amazing stain removal more than they needed superheroes. News of her ability to sing the toughest stains away spread and her little stall exploded into an international business with job requests flying to her from every part of the world. She became a different kind of hero. A saviour of clothes.
That power was still super lame.
The inspiration for this story came from a Miraculous Ladybug/Avengers fanfic What the Cat Dragged In. The incident that sets off an important event in the story is someone’s carefully handcrafted white gown getting stained by wine. Later in the story, the characters offers to try and get the stain out, which I assume means sending it to a professional cleaner. At that point, I wondered what would it be like if someone had the power to remove stains.
And this story was born.
Genre: superpowers, fantasy
The metal egg blurred before his eyes. In the past, he would have ignored his growing exhaustion and pressed on with his project, but that was before, when he still worked with normal tools and the worst he could do was accidentally cut himself.
He left his work desk and flopped onto his bed, pretending not to notice the hidden agents watching his every move.
One slip up. That was all they were waiting for. An accident with his powers so they had an excuse to haul him back into their secret prison and seal his ability to destroy anything with just a touch.
The close watch was suffocating, and was likely to continue for the rest of his life, but he would accept it. A restricted life was better than no life at all.