Written by Dumano1r :: [Saturday, 07 November 2020 14:49] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 07 November 2020 16:05]
Eleanor sighed wearily as she put the money into the cash register and waved goodbye to another part of her stock and another piece of her life.
She’d ran the fancy dress shop since she inherited it from her father. It had been a fun business to run, and she’d managed it well, keeping it contemporary in an ever-changing cultural market. Between the City and the University she’d made a good income, renting out costumes for parties that ranged from drunken student house parties to sophisticated socialite soirées. She had never gotten rich, but she had always been comfortable, and she had been able to take joy in the happiness that she provided.
And then Covid came.
The first lock down had been tough. She’d had to shut the shop, but had made a bit of money by selling novelties on the internet. She'd had to furlough her two members of staff, and use her savings to make rent on the building. She’d gritted her teeth, cut costs, and made the best of it.
And then her father got sick.
Even though he was old and retired, he’d always been healthy and full of life. That seemed to change overnight, with a cough that started as intermittent and grew in frequency until bouts of hacking left him gasping for breath. Terrified of how much he was struggling to breathe, she had taken him to the hospital.
And she never saw him again.
She had been able to open the shop again for a brief spell when the first lockdown was lifted, though she quickly realised her heart was no longer in the small business. Fancy dress hire seemed painfully frivolous in the context of 2020. Business reflected her thoughts. Few people were holding parties. The limited group of people who risked it largely held masked parties with small numbers. Medical costumes and grim reaper outfits were morbidly popular.
Eleanor realised her heart was no longer in the business.
With a second lockdown on the horizon and her enthusiasm at an all-time low, Eleanor decided to sell up all of her rental stock and to close the shop. Normally, she would have kept the shop open for Halloween, always her busiest time of year, but in 2020 nobody was planning large Halloween parties, and parents were picking up cheap costumes for their kids from the supermarkets. With few options left she began to sell her rental costumes, outfits that were far superior to the cheap costumes available online or at the supermarket, but that would only sell for a pittance, nothing more than used clothing in a depressed market.
The door to the shop opened and a man walked in.
Eleanor stared at him for a few seconds, knowing that something about him was wrong, but for a brief moment unable to say what it was. Then it hit her. “Sir, you need to wear a mask in this shop.”
He laughed, a scoffing, arrogant laugh that immediately turned her against him. When he spoke his voice was dripping in condescension. “I don’t wear a mask because there is no pandemic. It’s all a hoax to make the government look bad, and anyone who isn’t a sheep can see that.” He placed a page of A4 paper on the shop counter. “This is a flyer for our protest against masks. Put it in your window.”
Everything about him offended her. Every arrogant, stupid little gesture made her want to punch him in the face. She clenched her fists. “Get out of my shop,” she said coldly.
He scoffed again. “Oh, you’re one of the sheeple who believe the hoax? Too stupid to do your own research? People aren’t dying of covid, they’re dying of the flu. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than die of Covid.”
“Get. The. Fuck. Out of my shop,” she spat.
“Fine!” he said petulantly. “You wear your face nappie like a good little sheep, and when you die of carbon monoxide poisoning don’t come crying to me.”
Eleanor was out from behind the counter now, her face red with rage, her fists clenched. The man was backing rapidly towards the door, though still throwing lies at her as he bravely ran away. “Masks won’t make you safe, sheep, they’re just about control and oppression. You’re just a gullible sheep if you think masks help stop diseases! The virus is a hoa…”
She cut him off by slamming the shop door in his smug face, turning the key in the lock as the door clicked shut.
She strode purposefully away from the shop door, her fists clenched, towards the stock room. She was painfully aware that the smug man might be watching her through the glass of the shop door.
The moment that she was out of sight of the street she burst into tears, months of emotion overwhelming her with great heaving sobs. She leant against the wall, slowly sliding to her knees, her back against the brickwork, as frustrated anger overwhelmed her. For several minutes she just sat there, curled up tight, bitter tears splashing onto her clothes and the floor around her.
She didn’t reopen the shop that day.
It took Eleanor a long time to calm herself, but once she had done so she wiped away her tears and pulled herself to her feet. She went back into the shop and stood before the full length mirror, sighing wearily at the sight of her own puffy, blood-shot eyes. In the back of her mind a voice was screaming: “How can they say that a disease that took my dad isn’t real?”
She went out into the stock room at the back of the shop, her heart weary. Normally the stock room would be packed with Halloween costumes, but now it was largely empty. A few faded old costumes hung on pegs, optimistically available on ebay, whilst a large pile of random garments sat in a heap at the back of the room, awaiting enough enthusiasm from her to sort through them. A large bin bag, already partially full, hung beside the pile, glistening like the skin of some black-coated, aquatic animal.
She dropped to her knees before the pile, reaching into it to pick up a faded supergirl top. She turned it over in her hands thoughtfully, before deciding it was too threadbare for resale. She threw it into the bin bags hungry mouth.
She worked her way through the jumble of fabric methodically, glad to have her mind occupied. Some items were put to one side, others were tossed into the ravenous rubbish bag. There were pirates, superheroes, zombies, princesses, animals, doctors, nurses, cavemen. Random parts of random costumes, the leftovers of a lifetime of business.
And then Eleanor found the ring.
The first thing that she noticed was that it was heavy. In amongst a pile of fabrics, it was a solid item that seemed to weigh far more than it should. She shook the clothing and the ring fell to the floor with a surprisingly loud clang. She picked it up, turning it over thoughtfully on the palm of her hand.
Everything about the ring was wrong. The fancy dress shop wasn’t short of costume jewelry, all fake glitter and sparkle. This ring didn’t sparkle, it was just a dull yellow band. She looked at it closely. There was no hallmark, but the ring was heavy as though it was real gold. She raised it to her eye and peered at it closely. She was used to spotting the signs of the fake jewelry she sold with her costumes, but there were none on the ring. There were a few faint scratches, but they didn’t show through to silver or pewter. There was none of the green staining prevalent in copper-based metals. She assumed a customer must have left it in the pocket of an outfit, though that would be unusual, as she and her staff always checked returns very carefully.
Without really knowing why, she slipped the band onto the ring finger of her left hand.
It hit her like a lightning bolt.
The room faded to blackness, and suddenly she was alone, floating in total darkness. Whichever way she moved, she met no resistance. She couldn’t feel ground beneath her feet, or anything with her hands, including her own body. There was no noise, no sight, no touch, no taste, no smell. Totally starved of all of her senses, she should have felt panicked, but instead she felt an overwhelming sense of tranquillity.
“What do you want?”
The voice came from nowhere. Neither male or female, loud or quiet, it was inside her head.
Suddenly all she could think of was the anti-mask protestor standing so arrogantly in her shop, denying a disease that had taken her father. “I want to teach them all a lesson,” she said.
“Done,” said the voice.
The blackness all around seemed to retreat. It didn’t disappear, rather it withdrew, creeping back into the shadows of the world, but still tangibly there.
She was back in the stock room, sitting on her knees on the floor. Everything was exactly the same as it had been before.
Except the ring was gone.
She raised her hand to her face, looking at it as though she had never seen it before. It was her hand, undeniably, the same as it had been when she got out of bed that morning.
Except for her ring finger.
It was glowing.
The glow was spreading slowly, tracing up her finger, tightening and smoothing skin that she’d never even realised was worn. Her fingernail grew smoother, more polished, manicured and flawless.
The light had reached her knuckles now, and was spreading across her palm and up her other fingers. Minor blemishes vanished. A small scar from a childhood accident disappeared, replaced with perfect, fresh skin.
Her whole hand was perfect now. She stared at it in absolute amazement, no longer able to recognise it as her own. It was the hand of a twenty-year-old, unmarked by the years, unmarked by work, unmarked by life.
The brightness was at her wrist now, an ethereal glow that seemed to be picking up pace as it travelled along her forearm, reforming the flesh into an incredibly youthful version of itself.
The phosphorescent light reached the hem of her sleeve, and in an instant her whole blouse disintegrated, vanishing like dust on the wind. Suddenly she was topless, except for her practical white bra.
The luminescence was at her shoulder now, and she was able to raise the slender, toned arm of a teenage athlete. She stared in amazement at the generous muscles that moved like oiled snakes beneath ivory skin as she rotated her arm incredulously.
The glow was more like fire now, a burning flame that was roaring painlessly across her body. It touched the strap of her bra and that garment disintegrated, drifting away as ash from an inferno. Her chest was on fire now, muscles beneath perfect skin tensing and relaxing in staccato bursts.
She gasped with frenzied delight as her left breast began to grow, expanding like a massive, flesh balloon, pink nipple rising in erect arousal as waves of pleasure coursed through her. Pectoral muscles aching with might pushed her spectacular mammary further from her diamond hard ribs, just as the bright wave of power reached her right breast and began the impossibly orgasmic transformation anew.
She was only half aware of the power spreading through her now, lost as she was in wave after wave of ever increasing pleasure coursing through her goosebump covered flesh. She barely felt the power spreading down her right arm and up her neck, lost as she was in the intensely erogenous pleasure of her huge breasts and impossibly hard nipples. Without really being aware of it, she felt her hands exploring the suddenly taut skin of her rippling abdominals and incredibly narrow waist, her hands creeping down her stomach towards her quim, reaching her labia mere moments before the power overloaded her clitoris.
Orgasms coursed through her in mighty eruptions, each more powerful than the last as more and more of her body became consumed by the raging inferno of power. She didn’t feel her legs growing longer. She didn’t feel them tightening and bulging with superhuman muscle. She didn’t feel the unfathomable might course through her right arm. She didn’t feel it as her neck grew longer and more feminine, or as her face lost all flaws and became staggeringly beautiful. All was lost to the insatiable crescendo of orgasms that overwhelmed her.
She didn’t exactly pass out.
But when realisation returned to her she was lying naked on the floor of the stock room, with shattered furniture all around her. Even the floor was crushed, broken down to gravel by her subconscious writhings.
She stood up slowly, feeling the massive weight of her huge new tits easily outmatched by the insanely powerful muscles that rippled throughout her core.
She rushed back out into the shop, not caring that anyone looking through the store windows would see her naked form. She stood before the full-length costume mirror and gazed in wonderment at her new self.
The face looking back at her was perfect. She had always been pretty, but now her face was stunning. She had always felt her lips were too narrow. Now they were full and ripe. Her cheek bones had risen, her eyelashes had lengthened and her eyes glistened like emerald lagoons. There wasn’t a mark on her skin, and glistening black hair fell in a luscious cascade to frame her magnificent features.
She brought her hands up to her huge breasts, her hands looking tiny against such massive orbs. “Soooo big…” she purred to herself. She wondered how big they were, not that it mattered as she clearly didn't need a bra. She twisted her hips to admire them in profile, every bit as dramatic as she had imagined. With a giggle, she traced her hands over her rock hard nipples, down the massive curves of her chest to the rippling cords of her abs and her tiny waist. Inevitably her hands drew inwards towards her vagina, dextrous fingers parting her lips to tease a clitoris that seemed to be yearning for the touch. In seconds she was writhing orgasmically again, stepping back into the stock room, her quivering shoulder gouging chunks of mortar from the wall.
Whilst she pleasured herself with her left hand, she pushed her right hand through the brickwork of the wall, gasping with delight as it crumbled to dust. “Soooo strong…” she purred to herself, her outrageous display of power reinforcing the arousal that was rippling across her body.
She walked over to the fire door at the rear of the shop, a solid wooden door with an external steel veneer. She wrenched it off its hinges with a casual movement of her fingers. She took the remainder of the door and began to compress the metal into a ball, laughing with delight as the wood shattered, splintered, and finally erupted in flames, compressed beyond its limits. Fire roared harmlessly up arms, then died as she dropped the crushed steel remnants of the door to the floor with a loud clang.
She stepped into the alleyway at the back of the shop, the icy cold air wrapping itself around her naked body like a sensuous glove. Every one of her senses teetered precariously on the precipice of another all-consuming orgasm.
She looked around the deserted alley, noticing with delight (for the first time ever) that her small Hyundai had been boxed in by the large transit van from the tool shop next door.
“Oh dear,” she whispered, as she walked over to the substantial, white van. “What poor parking. I'd better move it so they don't get a ticket…” She giggled, sliding her delicate hands beneath the wheel arch of the vehicle and raising it easily above her head, at first supporting it with both hands, and then with one. “How strong am I?” she murmured to herself.
The disembodied voice of the ring didn't exactly reply, or at least, not in words. But suddenly she knew the extent of her powers.
And they were beyond her imagination.
With an almost dismissive flick of her wrist, she tossed the two-tonne van into the air, watching it sail higher and higher into the air until it was freed of the Earth's selfish orbit. She laughed with delight.
“And now you need your costume…” the ring spoke, decisive in her mind.
It would be wrong to say she blacked out.
Rather reality shifted, and she was back in the shop, standing once again before the full-length mirror, looking at herself through the thin lenses of black rimmed glasses.
The same incredible figure stood before her, every bit as sensuous as before, but no longer naked. A white, linen blouse, so thin that she could see the colouration of her nipples beneath, clung to her fabulous torso, bursting open at the lower reaches of her fabulous cleavage. Her perfect ass and hips were swathed in a tight, black mini-skirt, that barely covered the rounded spheres of her phenomenal posterior, whilst her long and sensuous legs were clad in deep, brown suspenders that ended in black straps that coiled upwards beneath her tiny skirt. Finally her feet were clad in black, high-heels, that lifted her beyond her already impressive height.
For a brief second she stood, facing her flawless reflection, wondering why she was looking at herself through glasses that she clearly didn't need, but that did emphasise the wondrous lines of her face. But even as she wondered about the glasses she felt something forming on top of her head, a black shape that quickly transformed into the classic black mortarboard of university graduations.
“Holy shit,” she muttered, staring at the perfect image of the sexy teacher from every teenage boy's dreams that now stood before her. Suddenly she remembered the words of her wish and the poster that lay, still curled up, on the shop counter.
It was time to teach someone a lesson…
The crowd that had gathered outside the mayor’s offices was small but vocal, just over a thousand people crammed together in a space that had often held protests of multiple thousands.
A small podium had been set upon the steps of the government building, linked to a primitive speaker system tied crudely to two lamp posts. The speaker, a hugely overweight, bearded man, sweating in the cool autumn sun, spoke decisively to the rapturous applause of the tiny crowd and the bored disdain of the throng of commuters trudging wearily past on their way home: “We are not sheep!” he screamed, whilst the crowd bleated their approval. “We know the truth!” Cheers of ignorance. “This pandemic is a hoax, created by the socialists to steal our freedoms!” The crowd erupted in faux-patriotic, lustful applause.
The speaker was smiling inwardly, loving the unthinking support of his assembled followers. “They tell us to wear masks! Well! I say to them, this is what I think of your masks!” He took a paper mask from his pocket, and with a cigarette lighter carefully set it alight. The crowd didn’t know that he had practised the seemingly spontaneous action several times in the days before the rally, until he came to realise that the mask needed to be soaked in paraffin to ensure it actually burned. “Masks are the greatest slavery this world has ever seen!” Dramatic pause. “I – Need – To – Breathe!” he screamed, drowning in orgasmic delight as the crowd took up his chant.
“I need to breathe! I need to breathe! I need to breathe!”
He grinned wolfishly, relishing the adulation of the small, yet passionate, assembly. He raised a hand, and slowly the chanting faded away. He leant in towards the microphone to speak, when there was a sudden crack and a flash of light. A dark cloud of purple smoke engulfed the steps, rapidly dissipating around the shape of a woman.
She was easily the most sensual woman he had ever seen.
Long legs, shrouded in dark stockings, stretched endlessly upwards from delicate, black-heeled feet to reach perfectly proportioned hips clad in the shortest of short black mini-skirts. Above those generous curves her body tapered in dramatically, clad in a perfectly fitted white blouse that hinted at the definition of toned abdominal muscles that lay beneath. Beyond her impossibly narrow waist her body flared out to encompass her massive, firm breasts, stretching the blouse to the point that the upper part of her blouse was unbuttoned to expose a chasmic, flawless cleavage. From there her graceful neck swept upwards to a face partially hidden by a jet black face mask, though that mask did nothing to detract from her glistening, green eyes. The whole, fantastic figure was topped off with shimmering, obsidian hair, partially covered by a mortarboard hat that rested at a jaunty angle, and a black academic gown that hung from her shoulders.
“May I take that?” she asked, removing the microphone from his hand with sensuous ease.
She turned to face the crowd, disregarding the bloated speaker who shifted awkwardly behind her.
“Well, hello mask protestors!” her voice was like honey, and the crowd seemed to hang on her every syllable. “I’m here to teach you about all the wonders of science, with just a little help from magic!” Her words were greeted with a scattered, uncertain applause.
“You see, all of you have decided that you think masks don’t help to prevent the spread of a deadly disease. I’m here to show you how important masks are.” This statement was greeted with a chorus of boos as the crowd began to realise that she was not on their side.
The overweight speaker stepped over to her, emboldened by the jeers from his unquestioning followers. He reached for the microphone.
She didn’t push him hard.
With just the gentlest of shoves from her slender, delicate hands she sent him tumbling down the steps. The crowd began to shout, throwing insults at her. There was a sharp crackle as her microphone went dead.
She laughed playfully, then clicked her fingers. When she spoke again her words were impossibly loud, amplified as though she was speaking directly into the ears of the entire assembly. “I am your teacher,” she chuckled. “I don’t need microphones to make people listen!” She grinned, pulling back her shoulders to strain the tortured fabric of her blouse still further. She paused as the crowd roared angrily. She smiled down upon furious faces that were screaming noiseless insults at her.“You will listen to me like good students!” She laughed derisively, and the crowd fell into an obedient silence.
“You see, masks help. And I’m going to teach you how.”
“But first,” she said calmly, her voice impossibly loud over the miniscule protestors, “I need to make sure you don’t go anywhere whilst I teach you the lesson.” She clicked her fingers again.
All around the group a thin, translucent screen appeared, rising in a shimmering arch to encompass the thousand people assembled beneath. The outside world beyond the bubble flickered hazily, though to all who looked at it, it seemed impossibly distant. A few brave souls reached out to push against the barrier, though when they touched it they leapt back in shock, as though a great electrical current ripped through it. Eleanor laughed, delighting in the helplessness of all those now trapped by her power.
“So, who knows how masks help to prevent the spread of disease?” she paused, scanning the confused people indifferently. “I don’t see any hands up…” she sighed, folding her arms beneath her prodigious breasts in a show of mock frustration. “Oh well, since none of you can tell me, I guess I’ll have to show you…”
The protestors were quiet now, painfully eager to please their stunning teacher. To their own astonishment, a few found themselves pressing their fingers to their lips and shushing those around them, as if their own attention would please her more if they quietened others. “So, imagine today was a really cold day. What happens when we breathe out when it’s really cold outside?”
A few hands shot up amongst the murmuring assembly. She looked around them imperiously, then selected a bearded man in his thirties who was bouncing on the balls of his feet with excitement. “You can see your breath, like it’s a steam train!” he shouted, his deep voice incongruous to the excitement of his sentiment.
She clapped her hands together happily. “Excellent! You can have a gold star!” she clicked her fingers and a shimmering badge appeared on the man’s sleeve. He grinned happily.
“Now, today isn’t cold, so we can’t see our breath, but it’s still there. Let me show you…” She clicked her fingers again. Suddenly everyone was breathing out a faint pink mist, so that the air within the bubble was filled with a gentle pink haze, concentrated in its intensity around the mouths of the people.
“It’s so pretty!” a heavily overweight woman in her forties yelled.
Beneath her mask Eleanor grinned.
“You see, children, this is what we call aerosol. It’s not a gas, and that’s really important. Gas particles are tiny, so tiny they would pass through a mask. That’s why you can wear a mask and still breathe. Aerosols are liquids enclosed under pressure and released as a fine spray by means of a propellant gas. Has anyone ever heard the word aerosol before?”
Again, a few hands shot up. The crowd was silent now, hanging attentively on her every word. Eleanor selected a hand at random, in this case a biker in his fifties. “Please, miss, with deodorant, miss.”
“What a thoughtful answer, Johnny. Very good. With deodorant you have a liquid, propelled by a gas, so that the liquid particles look like a gas. You can have a gold star too!” Johnny beamed, as a gold star materialised on his leather jacket next to a woven badge of a skull with a snake through its eye sockets.
Eleanor continued. “So, our breath isn’t exactly liquid or gas, it’s a mixture of both.” She paused. “Now, who can see my breath?”
There were confused looks as people looked up at their stunningly sex teacher. Whilst the crowd was stood in a pale pink mist, around her there was nothing. Nobody spoke, or raised a hand.
“So,” she said, raising an eyebrow seductively, “Why can’t you see my breath?”
A single hand was raised cautiously by a heavily tattooed white supremacist near the back of the group. Eleanor gestured to him, her eyebrows raising in a smile as she did so. “Because you’re wearing a mask, miss?”
“Exactly!” she laughed, taking off her gown and letting it flutter to the floor. Because I’m wearing a mask! The mask catches my aerosolised breath.” She paused, scanning the crowd to ensure that everyone was listening. “Shall I take my mask off?”
For a brief moment it seemed as if her spell was broken, as though the allure of her removing items of clothing, no matter how asexual, was a cause for huge excitement. There were whoops and catcalls. She raised a hand to her face, paused dramatically for a moment, then pulled off her mask to reveal her full, cherry lips and perfect smile. The assembly cheered wildly, roaring their approval at her naked face.
And then she breathed out.
Her breath was a deep purple, almost black in it's darkness, that drifted menacingly over the assembly. A few began to edge back nervously, though in the packed group there was no space to retreat into. “Oh!” Eleanor laughed, “didn't I warn you? I'm infected with Covid. Funny how it makes my breath look different. Wouldn't it be so much simpler to understand if we could see a virus?”
The people were trying to step back now, confused and nervous, partly entranced, partly fearful. One or two ran out of space to retreat, and were forced to breath in the dark cloud, and when they breathed out again they too breathed out the purple mist that now spread around them. Eleanor was laughing now. “I suspect you're all beginning to see how easily a virus can be spread now, especially in such a packed space. As those around you get infected, it spreads quickly and easily. If only I'd worn a mask…”
She laughed, a cold and dismissive chuckle that terrified the children before her. “You see, I don't need to worry about this virus. I'm young, and unbelievably fit. Can all of you say that?”
The dark cloud was spreading rapidly now, as any who breathed from it inevitably breathed it out in ever more prodigious quantities. The pink mist that had softly shrouded the people was largely gone now, replaced by its darker antithesis.
“Now, can we all see how easily the virus can spread amongst people who don't wear a mask? Suddenly you're all infested. What silly behaviour!” She wagged a finger disapprovingly. “So, let us pretend the virus kills 1% of the people in my bubble. There are just over 1000 people in here with me. Can anyone tell me what 1% of a thousand is?”
Across the assembly several hands shot up. She selected a middle aged man wearing a red cap. “Ten, miss.”
“Very good, John-boy, ten. Ten isn't that scary a number is it?” She continued in a friendly, sing-song voice. “So, maybe ten people in here are about to die. It could be anyone. How does that make you feel?”
“Yes, I'd feel nervous too, if my lungs weren't more powerful than a hydrogen bomb.” She smiled, running her hands slowly down her blouse, pulling it ever tighter across her fabulous chest. “Anyway, ten people… Oh well…” She clicked her fingers.
A large man at the back of the crowd began to cough. Slowly at first, but with increasing vigour, until suddenly he was coughing up great bouts of blood. In moments he was on his knees, before hitting the ground, face first, with a crunch. The people around him were screaming, trying desperately to get away from the corpse that was still twitching on the cold ground.
“Oh my, that was only 0.1%. How silly of me,” Eleanor laughed, clicking her fingers again.
This time nine more people began to cough up blood, spread out amongst the crowd, their terrible, hacking gasps painfully loud amongst the screams of those around them. People swarmed away, though it seemed whichever way they went they were headed towards one of the trembling, prone figures that lay convulsing in futile agony. Suddenly the protestors were squeezed into even tighter spaces as they all tried to keep some distance between themselves and the fresh corpses that were still not entirely still.
Eleanor was laughing to herself now. “Who still thinks only 1% is trivial?”
No hands went up.
“Good. Because the actual mortality rate for infections is much closer to 3%…” She clicked her fingers again.
Another twenty people began to cough furiously, until they erupted in fountains of blood that splashed down upon the terrified people all around them. Everyone was screaming now, seeking ways to escape the packed enclosure that seemed so much smaller now that it was dominated by thirty corpses.
Eleanor scanned the crowd, noting that their attention had shifted from her to the dead. She smiled, deciding that it was time to get their focus back. “And, everybody listening in 3, 2, 1…” Eleanor smiled as the crowd froze involuntarily at her words. All eyes were locked upon her, drawn to her fantastic figure even as the dying twitched at their feet. “Who still thinks that we should ignore the virus?” No hands went up. She smiled. “I can tell that some of you still don't want to take this seriously, though. Do you, Crusher?” She singled out a huge, heavily bearded man in a black leather jacket. “You told everyone you were happy to take your chances with the virus, didn't you, crusher?”
Crusher swallowed, and squeaked nervously, “Yes, miss.”
“Oh, Crusher. That wasn't such a good idea, was it, now? What do you already suffer from?”
“Oh, dear, diabetes means you're more likely to die…”
Suddenly Crusher was coughing, collapsing to his knees as the strength drained from his body and blood foamed at his lips. Barely able to gasp he fell face first onto the tarmac as those around him tried to run away.
“Now, who else has a pre-existing condition? Like asthma?” She clicked her fingers and suddenly eight more people were writhing in bubbling pools of their own blood. “Or heart disease?” Again, her fingers clicked, and again people collapsed as the disease ripped through their lungs. “Or cancer?” More this time, coughing and choking and bleeding.
“Stop, you bitch!” yelled a voice.
Eleanor froze, an imperious sneer curling across her perfect lips. “And who,” she said. “Said that?”
A man ran towards her from the crowd, as she had known he would. A familiar face, twisted into a snarl of rage, an assault rifle clasped in furious hands. It was the man from her shop. “I'll fucking kill you!” he roared, raising the gun to his shoulder, the barrel levelled at her chest.
She smiled. “Oh hi! You're the guy from my shop that started this whole thing. The guy who told me that a hoax killed my father…”
“Fuck you!” he roared, squeezing the trigger hard.
She watched lazily as the bullets travelled towards her, smiling to herself at the thought that his slugs were moving at the speed of actual snails. She snatched each of the bullets out of the air, as easily as if she were catching bubbles drifting on a windless day.
There was a click as his magazine ran dry.
She was laughing. “How wonderful of you to bring an assault rifle to a protest about a pandemic. Maybe that will help. Maybe we can use bullets to fight the disease.” She raised the handful of mashed up lead slugs high above her head. “Shall we find out?”
A few people tried to scream “NO!”, but it was too late. Propelled by muscles more powerful than a fusion reactor, she launched the bullets amongst the people before her. The bullets ripped through the terrified people, smashing through flesh and bone with pathetic ease, before ricocheting off the ground or her magical barrier to kill dozens more.
The bubble was now alive with deafening screams, the coughing of the dying, the sobbing of the wounded. “Silence!” Eleanor roared. And somehow the noise stopped instantly, even the dying were too frightened to scream or cough any more.
She strode towards the man, a few long strides of her fantastic legs. Without a word she grabbed his neck and raised him high into the air one-handed. “This disease killed my father, but you treat it like a joke, as if every doctor in the country is lying, as if every family who has lost a loved one is grieving a death that never happened. You spread your lies, whilst people die. You don't listen to the scientists, you listen to other weak, tiny men like yourselves. Gutless, selfish little boys who won't wear a mask because it hurts their feelings.”She turned around so that he was suspended facing the terrified people before her. His hands clawed hopelessly at her immensely powerful wrists, his legs kicked harmlessly against abs that were harder than titanium. “Look at all the death before you. None of it would have happened if I'd worn a mask. Now do you understand?”
“Yes,” he snivelled desperately.
“Then tell them.”
“Wear a mask,” he whimpered.
“Louder!” she roared, her voice shaking the very ground.
“Wear a mask!” he yelled, his voice amplified by her mind.
She smiled, quietly. “Good boy.” She lowered him to the ground. “Do you know the kind of man who doesn't need to wear a mask in this pandemic?”
“N-n-no,” he stuttered nervously.
“One without a head!” she giggled, smashing his head from his shoulders with a casual flick of her forefinger. It soared into the air, hitting the shield above them with a dull splatter.
She looked at the terrified, sobbing people that stood before her, all too terrified to speak, waiting on her every utterance as she scanned them disapprovingly.
Finally, once she was happy that nobody was talking and that she had their complete attention, she began to speak, in a voice that seemed impossibly cheerful. “Well! That was a good lesson! I think we all learned something today, didn't we?” The crowd murmured their terrified assent. “Good, it's been a pleasure to be your teacher.”
“Now I wonder if anyone else needs the lesson…”