The arm guards had massive, clunky bulbs at the end that worked by creating a large, empty space around his hands so he was physically unable to touch anything to destroy it, even the arm guards themselves. It wasn’t the best solution, but it worked, and that was all that mattered.
He hated them.
He might have to wear them for the rest of his life.
The door to his cell opened.
“Yo. Missed me?”
It was the counselor who had got him out of the facility years ago.
“Oh? That’s a better reaction than last time,” she said as she walked in with her briefcase. “In a more years you might even give me a handshake.”
“Too soon? Sorry.” She unlatched the briefcase and opened it. Two shimmery somethings sat inside. “So, how have you been?”
“Pretty good. Until…” He shrugged.
“If it helps, Sweet Medic brought his arms back, so all good. We just need to deal with you.”
He looked at the open briefcase.
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“You have a choice. Stay in here like last time, or wear these at all times.” She tapped the briefcase.
“What are they?”
“Specially commissioned gloves by Spellweaver. They’re basically cooler looking seals to nullify your powers. So, freedom or power?”
“Freedom.” Hands down. Every time.
“Well then. Arms on the table.”
He did what she said. She reached over and released his arms from the guards.
Seeing his bare hands again made his breath catch. Tentatively, he touched the shimmering light in the briefcase.
The seal rippled, but otherwise remained unchanged.
Carefully, the counsellor put the seals on his hands. They sunk into his skin like tattoos.
“Right now, they completely block your powers. Spellweaver requests that you visit often so he can refine the seals so it keeps everyone safe but you can still continue your work.”
That sounded good. Too good.
“What’s the price?” he asked. In hindsight, he should have asked that first before accepting the seals.
“A special piece for his sister, who’s been a fan of your work even before you got your powers, who also happens to be me.”
“Deal?” She smiled.
It was an act of self defense. The other guy attacked him with a hammer. Of course he would protect himself.
The part where he completely vanished his attacker’s arms was a complete accident.
His attacker screamed obscenities at him as the paramedics and police swarmed around them.
“It’s not his fault. The other guy attacked him first. I saw it,” said a passerby who had witnessed the whole thing.
Her words disappeared into the cacophony of swearing and sirens. He quietly clamped his hands out of sight, away from everything and everyone.
Someone approached him. One of the agents who were supposed to keep an eye on him.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.
The agent pulled out a pair of familiar arm guards. “Me too.”
Without a word, they put the guards on his arms, sealing his destructive touch.
“What happens now?” he asked.
~Continue the story in Third Chance~
The indoor thunderstorm came from one source: a little girl no older than twelve. The superpower, despite how destructive it looked, wasn’t actually dangerous, if she could actually control it.
In the past, they would have locked her away for everyone’s safety. Now there were laws against that, so they had to get creative. Considering her age, they decided to lock away her powers and keep it dormant until she was ready.
For years, it was the perfect solution. Then she finished high school, and her parents requested for her powers to be returned so she had some form of self-defence when she moved out for college.
Except, the power wouldn’t wake up.
~Continue the story in Return Storm~
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.
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, 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.
In response to July’s prompt ‘change’.
Genre: superpower, superhero, family
~No Going Back~
Once he made the choice, there was no going back. But if his sister died… there was no going back from that either.
He reached for the little bubble of power within himself. It had been there for as long as he remembered, and like a caterpillar spinning its own cocoon, he crushed the seal he placed on it years ago.
Markings tore through his skin, think blue lines that swallowed most of his body. With newfound speed, he dashed over to his sister and his greatly strengthened arms pummeled all the falling debris into dust. Threat dealt with, he turned to look at his sister.
Time to pay the price.
“Sorry, little sis.”
The power swallowed his mind.
~The story continues in The Price of Sacrifice.~