Don-E-Don’s Cat

Super Steve had trained for a lifetime, not to get stronger or becoming more proficient, rather the only power that he needed to grow was his power of restraint. His birth on another planet and subsequent forced relocation to Earth had manifested into some spectacular powers including super strength, speed, flight, and even laser vision. He was so strong and secure in his powers that he was not ashamed at all when it came to fighting villains in a cape and spandex.

Today is just another day of breaking up some neerdowells, when the scientific mob boss known as Donnie the Don aka Don-e-Don rises out of the top hatch of a tank, aims an unknown weapon at Super Steve, and fires.

Super Steve suffers from boredom and not just any boredom, with super powers comes super boredom. As he watches the spiraling beam leave the end of the barrel, he finally decides to take his power moderation from 0.1 to 0.15. Time slows down as he moves to pick up one civilian after another, moving them away from whatever blast radius this thing is going to have.

He empties all the rooms of the two buildings behind him and relocates the occupants a few blocks away. Maybe not all of them will have whip lash from this, he thinks as he sets the last civilian down.

Super Steve hustles back by power walking and takes his place in front of the incoming energy projectile. Well, I’ve gotta let them hit me some or they’ll just quit trying. He goes through several cheesy poses as if he were in a photo booth at the local mall, the settles on placing his foot on top of a gangster lying next to him and giving a thumbs up towards the camera-projectile.

Steve holds the grin for what he feels like was over an hour, waiting for the molasses projectile to reach him. He glances down to the gangster again and realizes that the criminal is scared, but it’s not of him.

Steve notices a purse clutched in his arm while extending the other to shield from danger. When he follows the man’s gaze, looking upward, he finds Cat Man descending from above in his flying squirrel suit. Steve tsks as he looks back down to the apparent purse snatchther that managed to earn the ire of one like Cat Man. “This is not your day, friend,” Steve says, then thumbs back up to the pouncing hero. “Do you have any idea how violent that guy is? You’d have been a lot better off if you only had to deal with–Oh Shit!” He exclaims remembering the molasses beam.

Steve reaches for Cat Man intending to shove him away as the honeyed-energy nudges the spandex covering his leaping calf.

Steve blinks and the world regains motion, but somehow seems to move faster than what should be possible. He looks down to see a giant hole in the sidewalk next to him and splattered blood from…someone, but he’s not sure who. “Geez, I hope that wasn’t–” he starts but is cut short as something strikes him in the back.

“Ow!” He yells turning back to find a thug more confused than he is. “What?…what the heck did you just hit me with?”

“Just,” the thug stammers, “just a rock, sir.”

I’ll show you a rock you little twerp, Steve thinks, charging.

But the thugs expression shifts into deeper confusion as Super Steve leans forward, beginning to move imperceptibly slow as he proceeds to make the first step forward.

“Am, I being punked?” the thug asks, turning to look for hidden cameras.

Not-so-Super Steve’s leg cramps and he straightens, tightens his butt, and grasps towards his hamstring. He begins putting fourth greater effort, hobbling towards the thug who just stands there, not sure what to do next. Steve swings his fist at him but his wrists flexes on the thug’s chin.

“Agh, what the hell man?” Steve complains, with drawing his now sprained wrist while continuing to nurse the knot in his leg muscle.

A boom happens, startling Steve as the thug suddenly turns into red confetti…or perhaps red beef stew. Steve wipes goblets of red something from his face. He chances a look behind him finding huge swaths of the nearby city wiped away, with his current street no longer recognizable.

There is blood, brick, trees, cars, an office desk, living room furniture, kitchen appliances, and a toilet…none of which is where it’s supposed to be.

“Steve,” calls a hushed whisper. Steve begins looking around, initially seeing nothing living except for a meowing cat that is sitting inside the toilet bowl for some reason.

“Steve!” he hears again and finally hobbles to a nearby embankment to find a naked man shivering and trying to cover himself.

“Hey–” Steve starts, then coughs and corrects himself. “Greetings citizens. It is not safe here so perhaps you should move along and go find some clothes.”

“It’s me,” the naked man replies. “Cat man.”

Steve is confused at first but finally catches on. “Right, right, citizen and I am the Easter Bunny. Now–“
“Steve, stop being a dumb ass,” Cat man says, raising his voice, buffering Steve and causing the few remaining nearby windows to shatter. “I can’t move,” Cat Man continues, whispering again. “You have no idea how hard it was for me to stop this close to you. Every other attempt was off by miles.”

Steve smiles and nods sympathetically. “That weapon must have switched our powers somehow,” Steve says, growing thoughtful.

“Well see if you can find it and get us out of this mess.”

Steve moves back towards the rubble as survivors and locals start coming around. After far too many hobbled steps, too much time sifting through dead ends, and expending his last nerve on a cat that can’t seem to shut up, Steve hobbles over and plucks the jingling cat out of the toilet. He looks at its collar to find a name tag: Mittens. If found, please return to Don-e-Don.

“Oh,” Steve says, making the connection. “Well that makes sense.” He chucks the cat as if bailing water from a boat.

A “rawrrreyerr,” ensues as the cat travels in a flailing arc to land on its feet and skimper away.

Steve shoves the toilet over and finds a white lab coat drenched in blood and the gray dust of brick mortar. A further search yields some electronic components. He pulls two larger parts from the pile, lifts them in the air, and brings them together to see the silhouette of an energy weapon.

“Well shit,” Steve complains tossing the components and storming off.

Colored Swords

[WP] As a kid you were found to be magicless and abandoned, having black mana rather than the element specific to colors of the other children being measured. One day a painter visits the orphanage to teach about colors and painting “mix red and blue, you get purple. If you mix everything, you get black.”

Fin sits on his bed, notebook in his lap and color pencils busy with their dance across the page. He’s wearing headphones, blocking out the world as he escapes into his sketching. Even as the other orphans cause a ruckus around the bunk-room, it doesn’t bother Fin as he continues existing in his other world.

He draws himself standing in the middle of the bunk-room and holding up a red paint brush. He’s holding like it’s a sword and he’s prepared to do battle. Thinking back to the mana colors that denoted types of magic, Fin always pictured himself having red mana, the color of emotion magic.

Across from him are two other orphans. One of the orphans wields a blue paint-sword, the color of motion magic. The other orphan has the green sword, the color of body magic. The three of them commence their battle. Swords clash and paint sails across the room in sweeping arcs as their battle royale unfolds. Fin gets lost in the battle. The colors intersect at places along the wall, forming what the art teacher had spoken of earlier that day. He colors quicker as the art teacher’s words try to invade his thoughts. He doesn’t want to hear the art teacher right now, so he creates more sweeping sword arcs and wall splatters to raise the battle to an epic scale.

Suddenly, the orphan’s real world antics cause something to hit Fin in the forehead, but he’s so engaged with his drawing that he absently brushes his forehead with the back of his hand, then continues filling in details on the intense color battle. He continues to detail the individual colors on the walls and the way the light reflects off each one. When his cassette player abruptly stops, reaching the end of the tape, he pauses to look over his work. He is awe struck by his level of detail, noticing subtle features he wouldn’t normally consider including.

Something on his hand catches his attention, and he glances over to find blue paint on the back of it. His eyebrows scrunch, then he looks up to see three orphans, each with a red, green, or blue paint sword. They are all looking around the room in shock as they try to process what they had just done to their bunk room. Fin quickly looks back to his page, then back up. His sketch is identical to the room except for one detail. There are bunks to each side of the sketch’s perspective, but there is an obvious blank spot in the bottom center of the page with only a foot-board ahead of this blank spot. The blank spot is the perspective of the photo—the perspective is the place he is currently sitting.

Shadows in Rain

[WP] Your friend learns they are the chosen one. As they slowly lose their humanity and agency, it dawns on you that their destiny was actually bestowed upon them by an unknowable Lovecraftian horror.

Rain falls as the sky’s crocodile tears mix with his own, his face turned up towards the black, featureless void. So are we too to become just mere tears in the rain, he wonders. He lowers his gaze, resting it on the second story window above him. The light in her window is out, the time being well beyond a reasonable time for wakefulness, and yet, he could not himself, sleep, his heart so swelled as it was.
We didn’t deserve this but then again, who would? Who are they to decide? What gives them the right? His gaze falls again as his hands curl into fists. The rain continues to thrash against his long coat, erupting on his shoulders as the rain drops collide with a coat so saturated, it too is like standing water. Ripples reverberate around the coat as if it were a contorted surface of a pond.

“We’d always been best friends Callie, but I hoped it would be more…someday. I dreamed of this, one day being outside your window, but I had pictured sunshine and a boombox held over my head.” The stolen future infuriates him causing the water of his coat to slowly pool as it’s pushed out of the fabric. “Just look at us now. You and your life’s journey, your pilgrimage, just to become a living sacrifice. And then there’s me, chosen by the same assholes to project you until the appointed time. To keep you from harm until…you’re useful. To see what isn’t supposed to be seen. A watcher, just watching unless their plans start to run afoul.” He laughs then. “What a joke. It’s all just a bad joke.”

He turns walking back to the street as thunder growls in the distance. When his foot descends to the asphalt, the water separates, making way for his steps. The rain no longer strikes him, instead, colliding and trailing away from some invisible barrier. A blade of shadow extends from his hand and shadowy smoke peels out from under his coat as his stride lengthens, his pace quickening. I can’t…I won’t allow them to take you. They can’t have you!

His intent known, lightning streaks overhead and betrays the pretense of a featureless sky. Beyond the horizon, the lightning flash illuminates a colossal thing of shadow and cosmic intentions. With his weapon in tow and the water passing around, he is a rock defying the current of all things. The lightning strikes again and he glares at the creature. I’m coming for you.

Kickstart My Heart

[WP] All your life, you heard music that fit your actions. When you were playing hide and seek, for example, you could hear a tense suspenseful background music. One day, you are bullied at school, but decide to fight back. That’s when the heavy metal music kicked in…

The biggest knuckles ever seen anywhere on the planet are being propelled through the narrow space between the bully and the freckled spectacle mount that is your face. When the motion commences, your heart begins beating so fast that each pump, kicks your t-shirt away from your chest. Your eyes grow wide as the fist levels at you, where you then take notice of the hairs across the topside of the incoming blow. Then your eyebrow arches as you wait for it to arrive. You casually lean away from the blow, while remaining fixated on it. When the bully’s expression shifts to fury for you having the audacity to dodge, your expression shift to one of confusion, then apology.

A flurry of blows ensues, and you continue to duck, lean and turn as all of them float past you.

A kick follows, and you sidestep, then place your toes on the crook of his still planted leg.
His face shifts to pain as his momentum sends him sprawling.

His friends immediately charge you and you backpedal.

They are on a collision course for you when you sit backwards onto the spinning merry-go- round, zipping away from them and stepping off and away on the other side.

Your crush is on the other side of the merry-go-round, and you translate your momentum into her by grabbing her hand, placing a hand on her hip and twirling before walking away on her other side.

One of the friends’ feet are passing through the air from colliding with merry-go-round as the others flood around all obstacles like water from a broken dam.
You wait for them.

Another punch is sailing your way and you take a ballcap from a nearby head.
You cap the punch and redirect it, sending another bully flying.

Another rusher, and you smack a stack of papers to obscure view, then grab a nearby binder.

A homerun swing precedes the rusher falling away.

You step down from a curb as you enter the parking lot.

You’re pursued between the cars when you pull a car door open, leading to a chaser’s abrupt stop.

You walk out from between the cars, colliding with a girl as she walks behind the vehicles.

You spin in your collision, kissing her before she can process what has happened.

She spins away from you, as she processes the new whirlwind of emotion.

You spit out her gum and continue across the parking lot.

The scene behind you is one of still falling papers, sprawled bullies, a kid still upside down on a spinning merry-go-round, a dented car door and other students rushing to recover their scattered schoolwork, and a girl fanning herself as she watches you walk away.

Theme Music:
Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue

Underdog’s Theme Song

[WP] They told you that you were going to lead an army, 10,000 men strong, they didn’t tell you it contained only a single trained solder, and 9,999 support musicians.

The ground beneath your feet is a sloppy bog of mud, not from any rain or water, rather from the gallons of blood that soak the battlefield. There are parts of people, vehicles and weapons strewn everywhere, making it impossible to tell what pieces and components belong to one another. You also see a twisted harp nearby, so you know that at least a few of the corpses were from you band.

It all makes sense now. I have to admit, when the Lord Commander sent the missive and escort instructing that I show up to lead an army…I may have peed a little. I mean, what the hell would an orchestra conductor do at the head of an army? I mean, really. Let that sink in for a moment. Imagine being a chef and being told that you have to be the flight commander for a pack of fighter jets. I mean, WTF?

Geez, this ended up being overkill…by a lot. We might as well have been punching babies for as much resistance as they put up. How much were we outnumbered? Three to one? Four? It’s actually thousands of times more than that if we count our one fighter against their army of fighters.

Still, they could have given me a little more information ahead of time…ignorance isn’t always bliss. We just had the one guy against their 35,000-ish troops but who knew buffs could stack like that? Well, you can consider me sold. From here on out, anytime I play an MMORPG, I’m definitely running around with a pack of bards. This has overpowered written all over it. I’m just glad God isn’t a very hands-on GM. It would totally blow to have him patch this after we’ve just figured out how effective it can be.

Little Red Hooded Slayer

[WP] Little Red Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wolf, and the lumberjack all have to put their differences aside when they hear the moaning of the undead outside the cabin they’re in.

“My, what big teeth you have,” says the red hooded girl.

“All the better to—” The door bursts open. “Yelp,” cries grandma as she pulls the covers over her snout.

The red hooded girl orients on the door, a stun gun at the ready. “Jack,” she says. “What are you doing?”

“We’ve got company Sarah. Training is going to be a little more life and death this go round.”

Grandma’s eyes suddenly fall on the stun-gun in Sarah’s hand and her wolfish eyes narrow. “What’s going on here?” grandma asks, pulling the covers from over her snout. “What do you mean training?”

“Sorry wolfie, ole boy,” Sarah says with a mock apology. “You’re helping me get stronger.”

Jack approaches a window and pulls back the curtain. “Did you bring anything lethal?”

“Well of course not. I keep my grenades in my other picnic basket. Why would I need lethal?”

Wolfie pulls the bonnet from his head, curls his claws over his snout, and closes his eyes. “All this time? You’ve just been using me for—for training? Those times I almost had you…was any of that even real?”

“Sarah, Wolf, we don’t have time for any of that right now.” A thump collides with the window. Jack back pedals away, axe in hand.

“Spill it Jack,” Sarah says. “What’s out there?”

Jack levels his eyes on her and says one word. “Zombies.”

“You’re shitting me?”

Wolf growls and stands abruptly, then throws the bonnet on the floor. “You two have been playing me all this— wait, did someone say zombies?”

“Here,” Sarah says, tossing the stun-gun to Wolf. He fumbles it before securing it. “You know how to use that thing?” She doesn’t wait for a response as she kneels in the floor, pulling the cover from the basket and tossing bread aside. Wolf grips the weapon with both hands as he leans to look over the bed to see what she is doing. She pulls a panel from the bottom of her basket and removes a pair of silver pistols. She pulls back each slide in turn to chamber a round, checks the magazine capacities and resets the mag before lifting her skirt to check the extra magazines tucked into her garter. Jack and Wolf exchanges glances and Jack just shrugs.

“I thought you didn’t bring anything lethal?” Jack asks.

“Are you kidding me? Where do you think the boy scouts got it from? I’m always prepared. Let’s get out of here before we’re surrounded. Oh and Wolf—” Wolf jumps and fumbles the stun-gun again but recovers his grasp. “Don’t eat them. We have no idea what ingesting them would do to you and I’m not keen on fighting an undead Big Bad Wolf just yet.”

She walks past Jack as she leaves the room. Wolf’s shoulders slump as Jack offers an apologetic shrug, then beckons Wolf to follow.