Category Archives: Potpourri
In a certain city at a certain time, people started developing superpowers. Here are their stories.
Irony /ˈʌɪrəni/ n. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.
In other words, having a pure, righteous son when she and her husband… had more flexible morals.
For added irony, the boy who was interested in their supervillain trade was from a family of outstanding police force members.
Funny how the world worked.
Ideally, they would keep everything within the family. Much easier to hide a secret meeting over family dinner than arranging a highly suspicious meetup with their son’s friend. Unfortunately, their son’s moral code was strong, and the circle of friends he tended to hang out with would only reinforce that.
Sometimes, she caught herself watching her son and wondering how his skills would fit in their team. How could anyone refuse that innocent face? His quick thinking would surely be an asset when things didn’t go as planned. He was good at making friends. He would be great for infiltration missions.
Sigh. What a waste.
Check out the rest of the related stories here under ‘Family Secret’.
Inspired by the prompt evanescent.
Features Bitter Medic.
He could realise any wish as long as the price was right, but not every wish was worth the price.
As Bitter Medic, everything and anything was a resource. Physical, emotional, tangible, immaterial, real, imaginary, as long as it had value and the client was willing to pay the price.
Given the choice, however, he would always prefer tangible options. They were like once off patients, give it once and that was it.
Non-material prices, however, could have long reaching consequences that neither he nor his clients could have foreseen.
Such as this case.
“Please, Bitter Medic. Tell me what I need to pay,” the young man said as he held an unconscious girl in his arms.
Bitter Medic had actually seen the girl only two months before. Back then, she had been absolutely radiant, bringing life to this very room with her presence as she paid for her wish. Now, only a dull husk remained, and even that was fading. Literally.
“Two months ago,” Bitter Medic said, “She approached me with a wish. A friend of hers had narcolepsy, and she wished for him to be healed. I assume that friend is you?”
The young man nodded. “I don’t have narcolepsy anymore, but I didn’t know she had anything to do with it. Whatever she paid, please return it. I would rather live with narcolepsy than lose a friend.”
“That, too, requires a price.”
“I’ll pay it.”
Bitter Medic studied the young man. Potential prices crossed his mind. Reversing the transaction would be most straightforward, but costly for the young man with no benefits. He had no physical items that would be equivalent to his wish, not with his friend’s life on the line. The bond between those two… he could work with that.
“The price your friend paid to cure your narcolepsy is her energy. The energy that’s keeping you alert is all from her. It appears, however, that you are consuming more than she can provide, and it is taking a toll on her body.
“So rest. If you don’t exert yourself, she should wake on her own. When she does, come back and we’ll continue the conversation.”
“Thank you. Thank you very much.”
The young man picked up the girl.
“Did you carry her here?”
“Take a cab. The more energy you use, the faster she’ll fade.”
“Got it, Bitter Medic.”
Yes, they had both underestimated how active this young man was once freed from the shackles of narcolepsy. For all their sake, he hoped he would see them both again.
Genre: fantasy, superpower
Features a character from Little Acts of Kindness.
Every superpower was unique, be it in terms of effect, cost, or even how the bearer interacted with it. With such vast diversity, it is only natural for some superpowers to be better than others. Her ability to heal anyone with just a touch without paying a price ranked it indisputably above them all.
Some people argued that surely such a miraculous ability would have some sort of drawback. Maybe the price was the patient’s own life, who were basically exchanging their longevity for immediate gain. Maybe the price was her own life, and she had been unknowingly giving her years away to heal others.
Whatever it was, it was important enough that they had a longitudinal study to examine the long term effects of her healing power.
Personally, she thought that her price could be more indirect than that.
Her freedom sat a the top of the list. Where once she could walk wherever she wanted, it was no longer safe for her to wonder in public without protection. As she became more recognisable, even the people close to her came under risk.
Choice was another price. Not the lack of it but its abundance. So many people wanted to be healed, but she could only reach so many. Who did she help? Who did she ignore? Regardless of who she chose, there would always be those who couldn’t make it, and she could only live on under the weight of the lives she couldn’t save.
But why the focus on the cost? Why couldn’t they just focus on the relieved smiles and the happy tears as a family’s future is change from despair to hope? Who could stop her if she wanted to heal someone ‘just because’ without worrying about the ‘what if’? This was her superpower, and she would listen to other people’s input, but ultimately, it was her right to use her superpower as she saw fit.
She checked her disguise one last time before the mirror and slipped out of the bathroom. Her favourite bodyguard followed her out, but that was fine. He would keep her safe without interfering with her plans. That was why he was her favourite.
Now, time for some random kindness.
Genre: slice of life
Features a character from Green Thumb.
“What do you think?” her friend asked after he gave her a tour around his new cafe.
She looked at the furniture, at the lovingly made ‘daily special’ menu by the counter, at the carefully painted walls.
“It’s a nice cafe,” she said.
“But?” he prompted.
“I’m not an interior designer. All I can say is that this place would really flourish with a touch of life.” Everything looked better with plants.
“I agree. Which is why I want to hire you as my official plant manager.”
Get paid to do what she loved?
“When do I start?”
Genre: slice of life, fantasy
For as long as she could remember, she had an affinity for plants, and plants had an affinity for her. The fresh produce she used in the kitchen often became fruitful plants in her garden. And she liked it that way. Healthy greenery made everything feel alive.
Some people thought it was her superpower, but she’d had a green thumb long before people started developing powers. Anyway, it didn’t take superpowers to grow plants, just patience, love, and care.
Really, people needed to realise that people didn’t need superpowers to be good at something.
“Right?” she said.
The plant waved in the breeze in response.
Features a character from Hands of Destruction.
“The paintings at the beginning are so different from the end,” his friend commented as they left the art gallery.
He thought about his own art, if they were lined up in a retrospective collection from the traditional mediums he began with to the structures he created using his powers that were uniquely his. He thought about how his art journey would have ended before it really hit its stride if not for one fan who fought for him.
“I wonder if she had any fans,” he mused.
“Isn’t it all about the art?” his friend asked.
He shrugged. “Doesn’t hurt to have extra support.”
Genre: family, slice of life, fantasy
Features the family from Parenting Pains.
Sometimes (all the time), she wishes it is her calm, mature older son who developed superpowers instead of her temperamental, rebellious younger son.
“I’ve told you before. No.”
The furniture rattles. A few cushions rise in the air. She pretends not to notice her youngest’s impending temper tantrum and instead of fighting head on over the same issue again, diverts his attention to a different target.
“Your brother needs to rest. Don’t wake him up.”
The furniture settles silently back into place. Even the cushions are lowered with care. As expected of her eldest. Even when he was bedridden, he could still keep her younger son under control.
“I’m going to make jelly for your brother. You want to help me?” she offers.
“Pineapple jelly?” her youngest asks.
She nods. “Pineapple jelly.”
Her youngest considers it.
She offers her hand and take it, movie (hopefully) forgotten in favour of the jelly they are about to make for his favourite person in the world.
She hides a relieved sigh.
Genre: fantasy, family
When a child throws a tantrum, things break, but the parent can still subdue the child until the child calms down.
When a child with super powers throws a tantrum, things break, and the parents risk serious injury or even death if they come too close.
Their youngest isn’t a bad child, but he’s at the age where temper tantrums are how he deals with setbacks. It doesn’t help that when he first started throwing things around with his mind, they caved very quickly just so that he wouldn’t bring the house down on them.
But that was in the past. They’ve improved since then.
The first tactic is to remove the trigger. In this instance, her husband, who stopped their youngest from playing with the raw chicken defrosting in the kitchen.
The second is to stay out of harm’s way. Fortunately for them, they have a neighbour with the power to fix things. Anything their youngest breaks in a fit of temper, the lovely matron can fix, but she can’t fix broken bodies. So she stays just outside the door, out of reach of the chaos inside.
The third is their eldest. The two brothers think the world of each other, and their eldest has the patience of a saint. They try to keep their trump card for the truly world ending tantrums. Their eldest has school, and they don’t want to pull him out of class so that their youngest learns to associate tantrums with extra playtime with his favourite person.
She stifles a wince as half a table smashes into even smaller pieces against the wall.
One day, their youngest will either grow out of his temper tantrums or rely on them like a clutch. They may not have superpowers, but they can at least guide their child down the right path.
So she waits patiently for their youngest to run out of steam and calm down, then walks into the disaster zone that was their living room sit next to him on the floor.
“Ready to talk?” she asks.
Her son nods.
“I’m all ears. Tell me what happened.”
If you like this family they can also be found in Dangerous Disagreement.
Genre: family, fantasy
His sister was the warmest person he knew. Always ready with a smile to give and hugs to offer.
She hadn’t smiled once in the past week.
In fact, she’d gone from warm and friendly to downright frigid. She held people at arm’s length and shut down conversations with ruthless efficiency. It was like a stranger wearing his sister’s skin.
He confronted her every day about it, event if all he got in return was stony silences or increasingly hurtful words from both sides.
“Leave me alone!”
She slapped his hand away and it burned. Literally. They both screamed at the fire on his skin and sprinted to the bathroom to put it out as the rest of the household rushed to them.
“Something smells like it’s burning. Is that smoke!?”
By the time things calmed down, his sister’s room was only slightly smoky and his hands were a little red but fine. In anxious bits and pieces, his sister admitted what the rest of them had started to guess.
“I have powers.”
Fire powers, tied to her emotions, which was why his sister had tried to distance herself from everyone else.
“What now?” Fear muffled her voice into a whisper.
His mother reached out to take his sister’s hand, looked at his still red hand, and awkwardly changed course to pat his sister on her shoulder.
“We’ll figure it out together.”
His sister cried. The jacket flung over her chair caught fire. They hurriedly stamped it out.
“All good. Everything’s fine,” they assured each other. The absurdity of their situation caught up and they couldn’t help but laugh.
Something else burst into flames. They rushed to put that out too.
“I’ll buy the fire extinguishers before dinner,” his father said.
His sister tried valiantly to smother a giggle so she didn’t set something else on fire.
So, this was their life now, huh?