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The Amy Dilemma – Chapter 5 – Skating Offsides

Written by circes_cup :: [Saturday, 14 June 2014 07:08] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 15 June 2014 22:27]

The Amy Dilemma – Chapter 5 – Skating Offsides

Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. No semblance between the characters described here and real individuals – living or dead – is implied or intended.

“No,” Dave said obstinately. “No way.”

“Daddy, PLEEEEZE?”

“No. You’ve got six hundred pounds of clothes upstairs. Surely you can find something that is less revealing.”

“I have other stuff, but I want too look really cute for him!”

Cute, he thought, is a picture of a rainbow done in fingerpaints. The girl in front of him was not cute; the girl in front of him was a Michelangelo. “Does this guy even appreciate you? I mean, the way I appreciate you, as a person?”

“I don’t know, Daddy. It’s only our eighth date.”

His little girl had managed to go on seven dates without him knowing it? She was keeping things from him? “I’m not driving you dressed like that,” he concluded, sternly.

“Hhmmmfff,” she pouted, crossing her arms across a prodigious bust. The action only served to yank her midriff-baring halter top up further, make it even more inappropriate. “You’re just jealous that he gets to play with a hot chick and you don’t!”

“How DARE you, young lady!” Dave found himself shouting. How did his voice get so loud? “I know how to live my life. And it’s none of your business anyway!”

“Oh,” Amy replied quietly, her eyes broadening with recognition. “Something really IS bothering you.”

Dave didn’t reply.

“I’ll go change,” she offered.

Dave welcomed the privacy as his adoptive daughter ran upstairs. What the hell had gotten into him? Count to ten, Dave, before you open your mouth again.

Of course, the privacy didn’t last long. His daughter was fast, when she wanted to be. She was standing in front of him, adorned by a new outfit, before he got to eight. He found himself chuckling, “When you’re getting ready for a date, you’re blessed with a incredible speed, Amy. But when it comes time to do chores, you seem to lose the ability.”

Amy giggled her way into a hug and pecked him playfully on the cheek. “Thank you for driving me, Daddy. You approve?” she asked, twirling.

Amy had chosen an ochre-colored pencil skirt (knee-length, this time), and a scoop-neck top that “scooped” only to the collar bone. It was conservative. Or, it was trying to be. The curves of the body underneath were giving it a run for its money.

“I’m just curious,” Dave started as he beeped the car locks. “It’s dark enough now that you could fly without being seen. Why did you want the ride?”

“He lives on the outskirts of the city. If I just showed up with no car, he might suspect something. There’s no way I could convince him that I had just walked over to his house.”

Dave turned the ignition. “Sure, but when we first discussed how to keep your powers secret, I had suggested that you make exceptions for best friends and boyfriends. Being totally isolated is no fun.”

“I know, Daddy,” she admitted. “I’m just not sure what would happen if I told him. I think he might freak out. And then he’d leave me. And then I’d be lonely.”

“You’d still have me,” he joked.

But the joke rang hollow. Of course his daughter would go on dates, he admitted to himself. There was no mystery to that. The only mystery was why Dave, lonely for so long, wasn’t doing the same thing.

The arrangement was for dinner at his folks’ place, followed by a trip to the movies in his car. Dave would be picking Amy up directly at the theater.

As it happened, Dave got to the theater early, and sat out the final minutes in the parking lot. Lots of happy couples were coming out, holding hands, teasing each other laughing. Couples of all ages were there, including some that were his age …

“Uh, hel-LO,” Amy chirped, strutting around to the passenger-side door. “Dude, I was standing right in front of the car, and it was almost like you were staring right through me.”

“Sorry,” he said, starting the engine. “How was the movie?”

She leaned out and gave her date a vigorous wave goodbye before settling into her seat.

“Fine, I guess. It was an action movie. I had a hard time getting into it.”

“Too much violence?”

“Yea,” said the girl who was responsible for the 50-acre Federal Disaster Area down the road.

She paused for a moment. “Besides, it’s hard to get excited about the whole manly-man thing. Some guy beats some other guy up and I’m like, wow, really not that impressive. I could beat up both those guys, and like a hundred others too. Or two guys get into a car chase, and I’m like, so what? I can run 10 times faster than ANY of those cars.”

“Such are the burdens of the superhuman,” Dave Gordon lamented. He considered telling her that she had already run not ten times faster than those cars, but twenty times.

“But it’s also, like, why are the women always sidekicks? Why aren’t they ever the real hero?”

“Heroine,” Dave corrected.

But Amy wasn’t listening any more, he noticed. Her senses had detected something. “Sirens,” she whispered. “Lots of sirens.”

Dave Gordon turned the on the police band radio that remained in his car. He had bought this particular one with personal funds, and still had it after everything else had gone back to the Agency.

The chatter on the radio was a coded language, but Dave translated it for her.

“It’s a domestic situation – some guy has burst into his old house and has his ex-girlfriend hostage. A few of her kids are also in the house, and a neighbor, too.”

“Those don’t always end well, do they?”

“No, they don’t.” Dave examined her. “Are you thinking you want to try and help? You don’t have to – not until you feel ready.”

“I want to try … again.”

Dave turned the wheel and hit the accelerator. They arrived in only a few minutes, a house surrounded by flashing vehicles and a SWAT truck.

“Show them your high clearance badge – the one they gave you in Washington,” Dave suggested. “FBI operatives are implanted in the police force here, they’ll recognize the badge and let you handle the scene.”

Amy opened the passenger door slightly, but didn’t get out. “I’ve never done anything like this before …”

“Trust your instincts. They’ll help you find your way.”

“Daddy, I’m scared …”

“Of what? The knife he has?” he asked.

“Yes …”

“And bullets too?”

“Definitely …but …” Her jaw was quivering.

“What else, honey?”

“Daddy, I’m thinking about that scene with the ambulance …”


She was shaking. “I’m scared of fucking up.”

Dave gave his girl a hug. “You’ll do great, honey. I believe in you.”

Former Agent Gordon watched from outside the police barrier as the SWAT team taped a microphone to Amy’s chest and gave her final instructions. He watched as she walked up to the front door, knocked politely – as if it weren’t a hostage scene at all – and then tried the latch. The door appeared to be locked.

Turning, she appeared to search out Dave’s face in the crowd. She hates to make a mess, he realized, and a busted door is a mess. When they locked eyes, Dave simply nodded, and that appeared to be the permission she was looking for. A quick motion of her wrist and wood around the deadbolt assembly shattered in a hail of splinters.

With the door now open, Dave felt a lump forming in his throat. She is bullet proof, isn’t she, Dave tried to assure himself? He did recall seeing bullets bounce off of her during the Rage. But what if his eyes had played tricks on him during the Rage? His vantage point hadn’t been that good.

Dave felt an unfamiliar, protective fear begin to consume him. The other EF’s were commonly understood to be bullet proof as well, right? But in fact there had been some conflicting information from several months ago about EF #4 – some questions about whether that woman was bulletproof – and it hadn’t been fully resolved by the time he left the Agency. Maybe EF #4 was vulnerable to bullets, and then, maybe his Amy was as well?

Amy hesitated on the threshold. She looked over her shoulder at Dave, and her mouth twisted into a pleading zig-zag of a smile. She’s trying to look nonchalant, Dave realized, but she’s scared. He thought about yelling for her to stop, to come back, to give him a chance to be sure – one hundred percent sure – that she would not get hurt.

But it was too late to say something. Turning, she stepped through the threshold and into the darkness.

One of the FBI guys embedded in the local police force happened to be an old friend. He let former Agent Gordon inside the police tape and brought him over to the truck with the live surveillance feed. The SWAT team had snaked fiber optic cameras under the doors, and the scene in the kitchen was displayed on the screen from two angles. A set of headphones was handed to Dave: the sound from the wire taped to Amy was clear, apart from the occasional rustle of her clothing against the microphone.

Mr. Jerk-deadbeat-ex-boyfriend had the mother in a choke-hold. He was a large man and a frightening contrast to the little wisp of a girl that stood in front of him. Mr. Jerk held a large kitchen knife against his captive’s larynx.

Oh no, Dave thought, a knife. She’s scared of knives. She won’t stand up to him.

“Who the hell are you?” the man growled.

Amy’s fifteen-year-old voice seemed childish by comparison. “I’m law enforcement. And you need to drop the knife.”

“You? A little girl? Law enforcement?” He tone was derisive. Any kid should have been intimidated by it …

… but not Amy. “Dude, I am your worst nightmare. Trust me.”

His arm tensed as if he was preparing to slash his girlfriend’s throat after all. Dave wondered what he would do in that situation. Try to talk? Go for the knife arm?

But Amy – she didn’t wonder at all. The girls who days earlier had been petrified of even a pocket knife now grabbed for this much larger blade without hesitation. And she grabbed it hard: the man’s muscles were in full relief. Before her enhancement, the force he applied would have been enough to cut all her fingers off. But now, this girls was a different story. Her hand closed on the blade and crushed it as though it were nothing more than a sheet of paper.

With her other arm Amy broke the chokehold and the mother sprang free.

“Go,” Amy instructed the woman. “I’ll protect the kids from him.”

At that moment, the scene erupted into confusion. The mother moved and spoke erratically, refusing to leave, trying to gather one of her children up into her arms. Another child ran towards the mother as well. And Mr. Jerk was screaming his head off. The movement, the noise – anyone could be forgiven for failing to notice that Mr. Jerk had dropped the knife and produced not one, but two, guns. Amy appeared to realize it only after the weapons had been pointed at her.

This young lady, who only minutes earlier had expressed some fear of bullets, was now the Rock of Gibraltar. She stood unwavering, arms at her sides, a glowering look on her face. “Well?” she asked, spreading her arms.

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM. The assailant had pointed the gun at the girl’s face. Slug after slug bounced away harmlessly. Amy did not flinch.

But when Mr. Jerk re-directed the guns at the kids. Amy did a lot more than flinch. She moved with lightning decisiveness. Grabbing both of the pistols, she crushed the barrels. The threat was over.

With her hands still encircling his, she moved her arms down to her sides. Unable to resist her immense strength, Mr. Jerk was dragged forward and down to his knees. His head was now only inches in front of her chest now. He struggled violently to free his hands, but to no effect.

“You’re resisting arrest. You have one second to stop struggling before I get rough with you.” Her voice was authoritative.

For a few moments, he continued to yank violently against her iron grip. But unable to dislodge her physically, he resorted to insults. With his eyes still at the level of her chest, he peered up at her and sneered, “Maybe I’ll just stay here and enjoy the view.”

“You’re disgusting,” Amy retorted. She twisted her torso dismissively, slamming her breast into the side of his head. On the video feed, it had the effect of a prize fighter’s best roundhouse punch. His head was thrown violently to the side. Several teeth flew out of his mouth, and he collapsed, dazed and battered. Later, it would emerge that the man had suffered a dislocated jaw and fractured skull – all from getting whacked by the softest part of her body. She was a living weapon of indescribable power.

Dave drew his coat more tightly around him as she snow softly fell. Those pernicious memories came back: the time he had failed his partner. The lunge of the knife, his finger on the trigger, his failure to act – Dave had been too slow, too hesitant.

Today, his adoptive daughter had been anything but. Strong willed and decisive – she had stood up to a man twice her age with such maturity that he was the one who seemed childish. She had overcome her fear of knives in an instant, when it mattered most.

Dave was the first to admit that Amy had surpassed him in strength thousands of times over. But in this moment, Dave also realized that she would soon surpass him in other ways, too. She was decisive, growing in confidence, and courageous in ways that Dave never had been. He realized that someday – and not too far in the future, either – her leadership qualities would surpass his.

The girl who re-emerged through the front door of the house was a different person than the one that had entered it only a few minutes earlier. She walked with poise, traversing the space between them with the stride of a runway model. When she spoke, her voice was mellow – not the high-pitched babbling of a stream, but the smooth, strong current of a river.

“Come on dad, let’s go home,” she said. “I’ll make you some apple cider.”

“Are you sure that’s enough to keep you warm?” Dave scrutinized as he put the car into drive. Jeans and a thin cotton t-shirt seemed hardly appropriate for an afternoon sitting in the bleachers at the ice rink.

“It’s fine, daddy. I never get cold anymore.”

Dave dreaded date number two with Amy’s little friend even more than date number one. Rather than pick an activity that the couple could do together, this boy of hers had suggested she come see his hockey practice, where all she could do was watch him from the sidelines. Did he want a real relationship, or just a girl to fawn over him?

Dave ground his teeth. She deserved so much more than that. Any girl did. But that fact that she had powers made this even more of a farce. If that kid only knew the strength of the girl he was dating … he should be sitting his ass down in HER cheering section.

Amy’s clear blue eyes took in the snow-covered landscape as it sped by. “Why do you have such an issue with the clothes I wear, anyway? It’s not like anyone can take advantage of me.”

“Because I want him to like who for who you are, not how you look.”

“That’s sweet daddy. Really, it is. But everybody already knows how I look. There’s no way to hide it.”

That much was true, Dave knew. At only age fifteen, she had developed the kind of beauty that ground classroom lectures to a screeching halt. Two of her teachers had actually requested that she be transferred OUT of their classes: her presence was too much of a distraction.

“Kiddo, you may not be able to hide how you look, but you are very successfully hiding who you are. Why don’t you tell him that you are super?”

“I don’t want to intimidate him.”

Dave bristled at this. “This is the ninth time you are seeing him. If he can’t handle the truth, he doesn’t deserve you.”

“Well, maybe he WILL be able to handle it someday. I don’t want to risk losing him in the meantime.”

The confident, poised young lady that had defused a hostage situation with aplomb yesterday – she was gone. In her place was teenage girl who pined for the captain of the hockey team. “What do you see in this guy?

“You’re just jealous,” she pouted. It was a look that could have melted the piled snow on the edge of the arena parking lot.

Dave found it hard to be upset. “I’m not jealous, just overly possessive. There’s a difference.”

Amy smiled. That seemed to soften her. “So, what do you want me to do, daddy? Grab a hockey stick and get on the ice myself?”

“I want you to show him who you really are.”

“Fine,” she giggled. “What do you want the score to be, oh dad-who-is-not-jealous?”

Dave laughed. “3-zip.”

“That’s lame. It’s only boys that I’m playing. I’ll make it 30-zip. You’re sure a guy like him wouldn’t flip out?”

“If he deserves you, he’ll have the humility to appreciate your talent.”

“I like that,” Amy chirped, opening the car door. “I bring out the … HUMILITY … in boys.” She began to skip carelessly toward the ice rink.

“And no broken bones!” Dave shouted.

She only waved in reply.

Dave watched it all from the back of the bleachers: Amy sliding out onto the ice in sneakers and giving her boy a big hug; the conversation; her disappearance into a locker room; and then re-emerging with hockey skates on. She wobbled out onto the ice tentatively, and the first 10 yards of her progress seemed to call into question whether she would make it another ten. But then, her form improved as she skated. By the time she made it to center ice, she was moving with the strong fluidity of a seasoned skater. At the time, Dave had interpreted this improvement as simply a rusty skater who was getting her ice legs back. Only later would Dave learn that she had never skated before, that her body had been learning – almost instantly – with every step she took on the ice.

While finding an extra skates and a stick had been no issue, padding was harder to come by. As a result, Amy was out there in jeans and a t-shirt. A good deal of chuckling arose from the guys – jokes about her wobbly start on the ice, how they would need to take it easy on her. Somebody made a comment about how they probably shouldn’t get too physical with her. Another guy appraised her attractions and quipped that he would like nothing more.

Amy started off slowly at first. Backing away from the puck, letting the other guys on her team lead the offensive drives. Dave overheard some comments from the ice, about how she was going to be a burden on their team, how she needed to take a beginner’s skating class. But Dave knew better. He could see the intensity of her focus. She was watching the other guys play, learning the rules, learning the moves.

When she made her move, it came seemingly out of nowhere. One moment, an opposing player was driving the puck down the ice. The next moment, a flash of blue denim and blonde hair streaked across the ice, stole the puck, and drove for the opposite goal. Her shot was powerful and precise, catching the net so hard and it dislodged the goal from it’s mountings.

“Yea!” Amy rejoiced as she raised her stick high and skated back down the ice.

The opposing team, which included her boyfriend, took the puck on an offensive drive of their own, but Amy was there to meet them. Their stick handling skills were good, but Amy’s were awesome. She had the puck away from them in no time, passed it to a teammate, watched her teammate lose control of it and then recovered it herself to begin a one-girl scoring drive. She was the epitome of grace on the ice. Her skating was fast, yet flowing and balanced. She made it look like a dance – and an effortless one at that.

The next goal she scored was more finesse than power. The goalie simply couldn’t anticipate her speed and precision. The scoreboard crept higher: one-nothing, then two-nothing, then three, then four. Amy had lost all her shyness now. She was dominant at every moment of the game. Her boyfriend’s opposing team never held the puck for more than a few moments before she stole it away from them. And when she drove for the goal she needed no assistance. Every possession ended with a score.

He noticed that the placement of her shots went beyond simple scoring, but instead seemed to form their own sort of beauty and balance. She would score first in the lower right corner, then the upper left, then the lower left, then the upper right. She fired a slap shot between the goalie’s legs. She skated behind the net and hooked it in from the right – and then the left. It was her usual need for precision and order – applied, in this case, to the humiliation of a hockey team.

The boys on the other team were first amused, then surprised, then disturbed, then upset. They began to yell at each other, even at her. At first, they appeared reluctant to get physical with her, since she was a girl, and skated without padding. As a proxy, they began checking her teammates against the boards, hard.

But the increased physicality did nothing to slow Amy’s scoring, and it was only a matter of time before one of the humiliated guys high-sticked her or hammered her against the boards. When she finally got checked, it was from one of her larger opponents, a violent WHAM against the plexiglass.

“That tickled!” Amy exclaimed gleefully, before going on to score yet another goal. It was 28-nothing now – an unheard of score in the sport, and Amy wasn’t even done with them.

She found an opportunity return the favor to the guy who had checked her. The force she exerted could only have been the tiniest fraction of her strength, but the sound of the collision filled the arena and sent a shudder through Dave. He wondered whether her promise to leave their bones intact would be honored.

Two more goals got her to 30-nothing, the very score she had boastfully promised back in the car.

There was still eight minutes on the clock. But at this point, it wasn’t even a game. It was a farce.

“That’s enough, Amy,” Dave whispered.

Her head immediately swiveled in his direction. She rolled her eyes and smiled. “OK” she mouthed back to him.

Her more audible words she saved for her boyfriend. “See?” she laughed, skating over to him. “I told you I could figure it out!”

“Amy, what the fuck was that?” the boy shouted in return. “Some kind of hustle? Who the hell are you, really?”

Amy’s eyes went wide and blank. She had been expecting admiration, but she got something else. “Don’t be mad at me!” she pleaded. “It was just a game. I was just having fun!”

“Fun?” he retorted. “Did you think I’d find it FUN to be humiliated in front of my whole team?”

“I’m sorry,” Dave heard her say.

“I always wondered why a girl as hot as you would want to date me. Was this whole thing just a set up? Just a chance to show off? What are you, anyway?” he shouted as he turned toward the locker rooms.

“I don’t know any more,” she replied slowly. “But I’m still a person that likes you.”

But by the time she got the words out, he was already skating away from her.

Dave drove home alone from the rink that afternoon. His daughter had taken recklessly to the skies, rocketing straight up out of a populated area before arcing toward home. Whatever secrecy he and his daughter had maintained, the absurd score of the hockey game and that flight should have been enough to blow it. Some national guard members had leaked their own experience from the Rage to the press, and that too was feeding the flames of speculation.

He came home to find the door of his daughter’s room closed, sobbing emanating from the other side.

“Amy … I’m sorry …” he said to the closed door.

“You ruined it ALL, daddy! I’ve had a crush on him FOREVER. And then one day, I’m suddenly hot enough to get his attention, and lo and behold, it turns out he actually likes me. And then I listened to your stupid advice!”

Stupid pretty much captures it, Dave thought. But the door wasn’t done lecturing him.

“He’s a GUY, dad. He needs someone who can make him feel strong, and useful. But instead, you told me that our relationship would get BETTER if I mopped the ice with his sorry ass. So I skated like a fucking rock star – and made him feel like shit. And now he doesn’t want to talk to me!”

“I’m not very good at the dad thing, Amy. I …”

“You SUCK at it!” she screamed back.

That stung.

“You had some sort of PROBLEM with me going on dates, don’t you? You don’t like the clothes I wear. You had big issues with this guy even before you met him. It’s like you WANT to get in the way.”

“That’s not true, Amy.” But it was dangerously close, he thought. He wanted Amy to be happy, and to find a guy that would make her happy. But seeing her interest in guys reminded him of his own loneliness. He needed some affection in his life too – romantic affection, from an adult. But that wasn’t her problem, he reminded himself. Keep your mouth shut on the lonely thing.

“What’s that noise?” the door asked him.

It was several moments before Dave heard it as well – the rumbling of trucks. Dave glanced out the window. “They appear to be media trucks,” Dave lamented. “I don’t think your super-ness is going to stay a secret.”

At that, the door flew open. The girl on the other side had disheveled hair and eyes that were bloodshot from the crying. Her eyelids narrowed in anger. And for the first time since she had moved in, Dave Gordon feared for his safety.

She stomped past Dave as he cleared a path for her. “It stays a secret as long as I want it to.”

Before Dave could react, she was outside among the media vehicles. She had exited the house with so little fanfare, many of the news crews did not even notice that the fearsome subject of their broadcast was already standing among them. She corrected that by stomping her foot – BOOM.

It was as if the neighborhood had been hit by a small earthquake. Trucks wobbled on their shock absorbers. Houses shook with a clattering noise. Windows cracked.

“What the FUCK are you doing in my neighborhood?” she shouted.

The assembled news crews were silent in reply.

“Get your trucks away from my home, now!”

“We’re on a public roadway,” one foolishly brave journalist responded. “We can do whatever we want out here.”

“I can too,” Amy whispered in reply, hooking a hand under the bumper of the closest truck. Its shock absorbers creaked as she raised the bumper to eye level. Such was her power that she used only two fingers to bear the truck’s weight, Dave noticed. Perhaps she was saving the other three for something that was actually heavy.

With the bumper at eye level, Amy raised a knee and rested the vehicle’s weight on top of it. Her arms were now free, and she spread them wide, grasping as much of the truck’s front as she could. Then, without warning, her arms came together in a sudden CRUNCH, collapsing the front of the vehicle. She repeated this process, smashing the engine block, wheels and hood up together the way a washerwoman might pull a bed sheet off the clothesline and gather it into a ball. The process appeared effortless for the teenager, her terrible strength forcing the steel to squeal as its bent and crumpled. The large broadcast truck began to disappear into the ball she was creating – CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH. Before Dave’s eyes, the vehicle disappeared into a beach-ball-sized wad of metal.

Engine fluids and gasoline oozed out as the truck collapsed under her crushing strength.

“That’s gross,” she observed. She formed her mouth into a wide O”, as if she were trying to fog a window, and blew. The air that came out was a searing heat, almost like the issuance of a flamethrower. Dave stepped back, reeling from the burning sensation on his face as the pool of noxious chemicals went up in flame.

Amy rested the truck, the size of a beach ball, easily in the palm of one hand. Dave had hoped to see at least a little bit of strain on her face, a little bit of flex in her bicep. But she was more powerful than that. She may as well have been holding a blueberry.

A second truck had wisely begun to leave the scene, but Amy clearly was not in a forgiving mood – not after suffering her humiliation at that ice rink.

“Stop!” she screamed.

A when the truck didn’t, she hurled the steel beach ball with a blur of her arm.

The shot was placed perfectly. It impacted the back of the vehicle with artillery-like force, swinging it around 180 degrees, knocking it off its wheels, and landing it on its side. To Dave’s relief, the driver’s side door – now pointed skyward – opened, and the occupants began slowly to climb out.

She had total command of the scene now. No one dared utter a thing.

“Did you think that was hard for me?” Amy asked the media in hushed tones. “Did you think that took effort?” She placed a delicate hand under a third truck and lifted it. “Let me show you what happens when I actually try.”

Her arm whipped in a blur. The truck rocketed skyward. The air currents from its departure nearly knocked Dave off his feet. It made a whining sound as it rushed through the air at several times the speed of sound. Dave’s eyes tried to follow as it became a distant speck.

Amy grabbed the fourth and last truck and began to “beach ball” it as well. Meanwhile, the circle that had formed around Amy slowly widened, it’s members clearly terrified of her.

Dave watched is daughter grow physically isolated as the circle widened. Seeing her standing there, so alone, made his heart ache. That’s no way to go through life, he realized – a feared by so many, loved by so few. This was the wrong path, not just for public safety, but also for his girl.

“Backing away won’t help you,” Amy announced. “That truck up in the skies is going to come down somewhere. And I know exactly where. I’m not just strong, you insects, I’m super in LOTS of ways. I can golf a hole-in-one from six miles away from the fairway. I know EXACTLY where that truck thing is coming down. Some of you are standing in an … unfortunate … place. But I’m not telling who.”

The terrified people craned their necks skyward, searching for a sign of the falling menace, too frightened to speak. The circle was filled with the crunching sound of the fourth truck as its steel succumbed to the chilling power of her muscles.

“Amy,” Dave heard himself say. “That’s enough.”

“What’s wrong, DAD?” Her tone was angry. “Am I breaking yet another stupid rule? I can’t go on dates. And now I can’t do ANYTHING, right?”

Dave did not know what to say. Experienced parents knew about enforcing rules. But was he just a fake parent, standing in for the real one?

Her vitriol continued to flow. “But you can’t stop me, can you? And how exactly do you expect to punish me – lock me in a room, like Joe did? I don’t think that’s going to work anymore, DADDY.” Her free hand formed a fist, clenched so hard that her fingers turned white. Dave didn’t even want to know how many thousands of tons of pressure she was thoughtlessly applying to herself.

“It’s not about rules and punishment, Amy. It probably should be, if I knew how to be an effective parent. The reason I’m telling you to stop is that you’re making me sad.”

Amy’s eyes softened. The balled up truck rolled off her fingers and fell with a THUD to the front lawn. Amy stood seemingly paralyzed, arms at her sides, empty of the anger had filled her moments ago. Dave found himself wrapping an arm around her shoulders and leading her back into the house.

Over his shoulder, Dave heard the falling truck – the one she had nearly thrown into the stratosphere – coming back to earth. It was a loud, screaming fireball. Dave watched it hurtle into the unpopulated forest, producing a resonant BOOM. He laughed to himself. She had never planned on killing anyone: it had been a bluff, just to get their attention.

He turned to the media. “You’re dealing with a minor here – one who could have killed you all if she had felt like it, without any personal repercussion to her. But she didn’t do so. Think about that when you report on this.”

When they got back to the house, Amy collapsed into Dave. Her legs became rubber, and he wound up carrying her up the stairs toward the bedroom. It felt absurd, he thought, that a girl who could throw trucks faster than bullets would need help up the stairs. Perhaps she was suffering from some weird, unexplained exhaustion – one of the many mysteries hidden in this girl.

But months later, he learned that, during that trip up the stairs, she had not been physically weary at all. She had wanted him to carry her.

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