The Shock of the Lightning
Written by brad328 :: [Tuesday, 16 December 2008 20:35] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 01 January 2013 20:52]
The Shock of the Lightning
The rains were falling hard in the Midwest as a group of people were slinging sandbags to help keep the rising river at bay. The driving winds slowed progress and a nearby lighting strikes threatened they’re safety.
“Let’s clear out people!” said the man leading the effort.
A feeling of dejection washed over the workers and they started to leave the area. One woman looked up into the sky in frustration and out of the corner of her eye she saw a figure in the distance.
“Look … up in the sky!” she exclaimed. The heads of her compatriots followed.
Flying through the downpour was Mindy Marvel. Over her head she was carrying a pallet loaded with sandbags. Hovering near the levee, she shifted her grip, and the cargo tumbled downward, as the wall doubled in height in seconds. As the last sandbag fell from the sky, a bright flash filled the sky as lighting struck the heroine. The crowd gasped at the sight and worried about her condition. Their worries were short lived as her boots touched down on the wet ground and she set down the empty pallet.
“Mindy, are you all right?” the man asked.
“I feel a little tingly” she said smiling. “Although, I’m afraid I won’t be able to get that smoke smell out of my clothes.”
“Thank you for saving our town” another person said.
“No need for thanks. All of you did the hard work, I just did a little heavy lifting” Mindy replied before taking off.
Mindy returned home soaking wet, her costume charred in places. She walked into the living room where her husband John was watching the late-night sports show.
“Rough night?” John asked.
“Just a little,” she said as she took off her boots and laid them on the tile floor in the kitchen. She removed her cape and laid it on a chair.
“Man my eyes are killing me, do we have any eye drops?” she asked.
“I think there may be some in the medicine cabinet” he replied as Melinda walked in that direction.
She looked in the mirror at her bloodshot eyes and grabbed the bottle. Tilting her head up, she placed a couple drops in each eye. Looking back in the mirror she saw the redness clear up. The look of relief then turned to panic as her blue eyes faded away to white.
“Oh … my … God!” she said as she closed her eyes. Pressure started to build and her eyes snapped open on instinct. Bolts of electricity shot out making a hole in the wall. Some of the wood fixtures caught on fire and the metal towel dispenser had melted.
She slowly opened them again and her eyes had returned to their regular color.
THREE WEEKS LATER
The shrill beeping broke the calm of the morning. A hand reached out from under the covers and smacked the top of the clock. A head peeked out and a groan came out as he saw the bright red numbers reading 6:00.
“Good morning, Mel” John said groggily, as he rolled over to greet his wife. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there.
“Good morning honey” she said from the bathroom. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Better than the other night when we had to baby-sit Drew” he replied. “His toys were all over the place, and I slept with a Transformer jabbing me in the back.”
“So you’re saying you’re not ready for kids?” Melinda asked.
“No, if we have children they’ll be better behaved because we won’t spoil them” he said.
“Yeah, you’re going to be a real hard-ass” she said, rolling her eyes.
“What are you doing up already?”
“I have an early start this morning; I have to be in the city by 7:00 for a public appearance” she replied.
She walked out of the bathroom wearing pink flannel pants and a grey t-shirt. Even though she wasn’t in costume, Melinda looked every bit as super even at this early hour as she left the bedroom and walked down the hall.
“Are you going to have time for breakfast?” he asked.
“Nah, I think I’ll just grab a cereal bar on the way out” Melinda said.
She opened the front door and bent down to grab the paper when she noticed a brown box marked with the initials “M.M..”
“Sweet, its here!” she exclaimed excitedly as she picked up the package and made her way back to the bedroom. John was making his way to the bathroom to get ready when Melinda sped right past him and closed the door.
“Hey!” he said.
“Sorry!” she said as she opened the door and poked her head out, kissing him on the nose before closing the door again. “But I have a surprise. You know the website, UberGirl Frenzy?”
“Yeah, that’s the site that reports on all those people who, like you, gained superpowers from that Transformatrix device” John said.
“Well, there was an ad for a company that creates costumes and outfits made out of various fabrics and chemicals that will hold up better from the extreme stress that gets placed on it. And my costume is looking a little rough for wear. So I clicked on it and had someone design a new outfit for me, something that doesn’t quite infringe on other people’s copyrights. And it came today!”
“Wait, does that mean you had to give them your personal information, so they know your identity?” he asked.
“Not really. The company is run by a group of people who are transformees themselves so they know the value of privacy. One of them is a super-genius with computers so no one’s going to be able to hack into the system. And other woman delivers each order herself, so that there are no prying eyes from outside vendors.”
She opened the door and stepped out into the bedroom. “So…what do you think?”
“Wow…you look amazing!” he said. “But don’t you think you’re showing off too much?”
“Not really, compared to some heroines. It’s not like I have a cleavage window or anything. Besides, if you’ve got it, you might as well show it off” she said smiling. “I’ve got to fly; I’ll talk to you later.”
Another quick kiss and Mindy flew off in the morning sun.
John pulled into the parking lot of Argo Security. He walked in as two of his employees stared at the television.
“Hey Mark, Jason, what are you guys watching?” John asked as he glanced over at the screen which showed a silver-haired anchorman.
“The woman, who according to witnesses was called “Tiff”, was subdued and flown away from the scene by an unidentified woman. Lana Lang, from our network affiliate in Metropolis, will have a complete story later on in the morning. Moving on to local news, a charity event had a super surprise. Samantha Keller has the story” the anchor said.
“Thanks Steve. Morning show hosts Big Brian and the Badger received a big lift after their recent ’48 Hours of Food’ marathon” the reporter said.
(The camera pans over the crowd that’s gathered. On a stage, Mindy Marvel is holding up the two radio personalities, along with a stack of canned goods between them, on a bench with one arm while flexing the other and giving a playful wink.)
“Mindy Marvel was there as part of a bet between the heroine and the #1 rated duo. She promised to show up if their listeners were able to surpass last year’s record total of food collected” the reporter
(The screen now shows a close-up of Mindy talking to the reporter.)
“It’s a fun time for a really great cause. Everyone has been so generous, especially when money is tight. I’m glad to lend any support to help those less fortunate” Mindy said.
“Mindy signed autographs for a group of youngsters at the event and posed for pictures. The money and food collected will be sent to food pantries across the city. For Action 4 news, I’m Samantha Keller.”
“Man, that Mindy Marvel is hot. I’d love to get under that cape” said Mark.
“I know” replied Jason. “Her body is smoking in that tight costume, and I could get lost in those eyes. What’s that like John?”
John spits out his coffee in mid-drink.
“Uhhhh, ummm, what do you mean?” he asked.
“Come on man, you and she were practically joined at the hip. You can’t tell me nothing happened” Jason replied.
“Dude, I’m married” he replied. “I would never…”
“I know, and Mel’s a sweetheart, but come on. Don’t you and her have a list of people that would be freebies? Robin and I have a list. She gets Brad Pitt and I get Angelina Jolie” Mark said.
“Yeah, like Angelina would give you the time of day. Maybe, if she had a list of balding middle-aged nobodies.” Jason retorted.
“She did do Billy Bob Thornton” replied Mark.
“I’m grateful for everything that she did to help save my life, but Mel’s the only woman I want to be with” John said.
“That’s so sweet it makes my teeth hurt” Jason said sarcastically.
“Hey…look” Mark said motioning to the television.
“Breaking news as a bank robbery has now become a hostage situation at LF Building and Loan.” Police and negotiators are on the scene and we have video from Chopper 4” the anchor stated.
“Excuse me guys, I need to make a phone call” John said as he left the room.
Melinda pulled into the parking lot of Poole & Schmidt LLC. Stepping though the sliding glass doors, she was greeted by the receptionist.
“Hi Mel, happy Monday!” she said cheerfully.
“Hi Robin, how was the weekend?” Melinda responded.
“My boyfriend and I spent all weekend moving into our new place. It was exhausting. It’s times like that where I wish I was a super heroine like Mindy Marvel” Robin replied. “Can you imagine what’d it be like to be that strong? I would’ve been done in minutes!”
“Yeah, that would be great” Melinda said, smiling. “I’ll see you at lunch.”
Melinda walked over to the elevator and was about to push the button when an older gentleman approached her, Michael Schmidt, co-founder of the firm.
“Ms. Crane, can I see you in the conference room?” he asked.
“Yes sir, right away” Melinda answered as she walked with him. They both entered the large room and he motioned for her to take a seat.
“Melinda, we’re very pleased with your work since you joined the firm five years ago. And, while it was difficult with you and your husband under such scrutiny, you handled the media with great aplomb and showed that Poole & Schmidt is one of the top firms in the nation.” That’s why, with great pleasure, James Poole and I would like to become a partner in the firm: Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.”
“Wow sir, that’s … that’s great. It’s been a dream of mine to make partner.” Melinda replied, excitedly.
“Well, I’m glad you accept. James and I would like to show you off to the board later on and make it official.”
Melinda couldn’t stop smiling as Mr. Schmidt continued talking. Then she caught a glimpse of the television in the corner. The sound was off, but she could see the news coverage of the hostage situation.
“Ooh, I don’t feel that well Mr. Schmidt” she said.
“Are you okay?” he asked, concerned.
“Yes sir, I think it’s probably just be the excitement of it all. I’m going to lie down in my office for a few minutes.” Melinda said meekly.
“No problem dear. Just be sure you’re okay for the meeting this afternoon with the partners. I need you at your best” he replied.
Melinda got up and, after shaking hands with Mr. Schmidt, left the conference room. She closed the door behind her and took a few steps down the hall, her fingers playing with the buttons on her clothes. Seeing that the coast was clear, she dashed towards her office. Melinda tugged at her blouse and blazer, exposing the form-fitting blue costume.
Then her phone began to ring.
“Hello” she answered, fumbling her cell phone while straightening
her clothes in the hall.
“Hey Mel, its John” he replied. “Did you see the news?”
“I did, and I was just getting ready” said Melinda as she closed the office door behind her.
“Well, I was thinking, you shouldn’t just barge in there. Someone could get hurt in the commotion” he said.
“What do you have in mind?” she asked.
“Argo Security installed all their equipment. I can use the computer to access the security cameras and anything else you may need” John said.
“But honey you’re all the way across town, and I don’t want to put you in harm’s way” Melinda replied.
“I can talk to you on your phone with the hands-free headset. It’s small enough that no one will see it.”
“Okay, let’s do it” she said, clipping the headset over her ear. Her scarlet locks, which cascaded down past her shoulders, covered any trace of the device.
Melinda locked the door and removed her blazer. In a few seconds time, her professional work clothes were stashed in a closet and Mindy Marvel took to the skies.
“Can you hear me now?” John asked.
“Yep” Mindy replied.
“Good … It sounds windy” he said.
“Well, I am flying.”
“Oh yeah … when you get to the LF Building and Loan, land on the roof. There’s an entrance there that’ll get you in. It has a pin code that needs to be entered first though” he said.
“Why don’t I just open it the old fashioned way, you know … ripping it off the hinges” she asked.
“Because it’ll set off the alarms” John replied.
“Good reason” Mindy said as she touched down at the building. “What’s the number?”
Mindy punched in the numbers and opened the door. She floated down the stairwell to another locked door.
“So, husband of mine,” she asked, “is this door okay?”
“Absolutely” he replied.
Mindy grasped the door handle and slowly applied pressure to keep the noise down. The metal handle deformed and the locking mechanisms quietly creaked and groaned and she pulled the door open. “Now I can see one guy down the hallway, who’s armed, with his back towards you. It shouldn’t be a problem” John said.
Mindy walked up behind the man and with a casual flick of her index finger hit him in his temple, knocking him unconscious. She grabbed his firearm and bent it into a small metal ball and laid it next to him.
“Now what?” she asked
“Can I get a Grande Cappuccino with 2%?” he asked.
“Oh, I’m sorry honey. I’m at Starbucks” he said.
“We’re in the middle of a hostage situation and you’re getting yourself coffee?” she said, slightly perturbed.
“I couldn’t help you in the office, so I went next door since they have Wi-Fi. Did you want me to bring you something?” he asked.
“A Venti Tazo Chai Tea Latte with Soy” she said.
“You got it. Now I don’t see anything until you get to the lobby. So you should be able to get there undetected. Now we just have to figure out how to get the people to safety” John replied.
“Question … if you’re seeing all this through the security cameras, what’s stopping them from them using the same cameras to see me coming?” Mindy asked as she approached a door
“Um, nothing, if they have someone over at the security station. But I doubt that’s the case” he said.
As if on cue, a blast came through the door knocking Mindy Marvel through the air and she landed with a thud.
“Well,” she said as she coughed from the dust and debris in the air, “I think they know I’m here.”
A large man kicked open what was left of the door and stepped through. Clad in a pair of black jeans and a t-shirt and ski mask to match, he towered over the fallen heroine.
“And who are you, a Terminator rip-off?” Mindy asked defiantly.
“No … I’m the party pooper” he replied as he aimed the large firearm at her.
He squeezed the trigger, causing a thunderous boom to echo throughout the building. Mindy, with her superhuman speed and reflexes, saw the event unfold in front of her. The bright flash, the large shell exiting the barrel, and the trail of smoke that followed. She rolled away with time to spare as it made contact with the concrete floor.
Mindy swept her right leg around catching the man in the back of the legs, dropping him to his knees. She followed up with another kick, this time to his chest which knocked him to ground and caused him to drop his weapon.
“Are you okay honey?” John asked.
“Oh yeah” she replied as she picked up the large gun. “But this is a lot of firepower for a robbery” she continued as the metal crunched between her hands. “Maybe he has it to make up for some … shortcoming.
Mindy turned her back to her attacker and discarded the metal remains as she made her way towards the doorway. The man got back to his feet and began running towards her. He smiled as he was about to grab her when she calmly brought her arm up, the back of her fist making contact right between his eyes. The blow broke his nose and his body, knocked unconscious from the impact, slumped to the floor.
“Yeah, he’s definitely overcompensating. Listen … honey, things look like their going to get really interesting, so I’m going to let you go.”
“But, wait!” he said.
“What?” she asked.
“I love you, be careful” he said.
“I love you too, see you at home” Mindy replied.
She stepped over the pieces of wood that remained attached to the hinges and walked into the lobby. Her eyes surveyed the situation as frightened employees and customers laid face down on the ground, their hands clasped behind their heads. There were a couple of armed men walking around, making sure no one tried to be a hero.
“Okay guys” she said confidently, with her chest thrust out, hands on her hips, and muscles tensed in her best superhero pose.
“It’s Mindy Marvel … get her!” one gunman exclaimed and, as he was just a couple of feet away, pulled out his gun and aimed.
“That’s not a good idea” she replied as her gloved hand moved at super-speed. Her fingers grasped the barrel and deformed to barrel as the trigger was pulled. The ammunition, trapped in the firearm exploded, knocking the man backwards and injuring his hands. She grabbed him by the jacket and lifted him over her head. Mindy then heaved the would-be crook through the air crashing into a nearby table, scattering the pens and deposit slips all over.
While Mindy’s attention was with that man, the other snuck up on her. He took his pistol and slammed it into the back of her head. She stumbled forward a couple of steps and turned around and he pointed the weapon directly into the middle of her chest.
“Say goodnight” he smirked.
He pulled the trigger as he expected the bullet to go through the heroine. Instead the force generated was trapped by her steel-like body, which caused the blast and the momentum involved to be directed back towards the hapless criminal as he fell straight down. He looked up and saw a slightly perturbed Mindy Marvel. His eyes focused on the black smudge on the logo on her chest as smoke emanated from the area.
“Aw, man … and I just got this!” she said disappointedly as she looked down. Her eyes then moved towards the unfortunate man who scrambled to his feet.
“Goodnight” she said as she spun around catching him with a roundhouse kick which sent him flying into the air. He slammed into the wall, next to the poster advertising 4.45% financing on new vehicles.
“Is everyone okay?” she asked.
Then a gunshot rang throughout the building.
“All right, that’s enough,” a voice said in the distance. Mindy looked at the vault in the far end of the lobby where two men dressed in black suits and sunglasses walked out. Each man had a gun held against the head of a hostage, one an older man and the other a young woman who was sobbing.
“Let them go” Mindy demanded.
“I don’t think so; you see … they are our ticket out of here” the man said.
“This is getting out of control man” his counterpart said nervously as kept watch on his male hostage. “Shit … I knew this was a bad idea.”
“Shut up Randall!” he yelled.
“Listen to your partner” Mindy replied. “Give yourself up and don’t make this a bigger mistake than it already is.”
“That’s where you’re wrong Mindy Marvel” the leader responded. “We’re in control and we’re going to get everything we came for.”
“And how do you plan to do that?” she asked.
“The art of the deal” he said. “We want the money; you don’t want anyone to die. You might be faster than a speeding bullet but I don’t think you’re fast enough to stop two of them from splattering these people’s brains against the wall.”
Mindy pondered the situation. She knew she could use her super speed could get to them in milliseconds, but a slight miscalculation or a twitchy trigger finger like the one the nervous guy had could mean a bad ending for one of those people.
Mindy concentrated and focused her vision at the target, hoping the practice paid off. Lighting shot out and blasted the man in the left hand, causing him to yell in pain and lurch backwards as he started to fall to his knees. But, on instinct, he pulled trigger. The lady had taken a step away from the robber but there were only a few inches between the barrel and her skull. Mindy’s eyes widened at this situation. Time moved in slow motion but her mind raced as she dashed towards her. If the woman died because of her, she’d never forgive herself. She stretched her arm out. The back of her glove grazed the lady’s ear as the bullet hit Mindy’s palm, flattening into a small circle before her fingers closed around it.
Randall, now completely panicked, decided to ditch the whole situation. He dropped his weapon and ran towards the emergency exit. He only made it a few steps before he ran into a wall named Mindy Marvel. Stunned, he tried to focus his eyes and collect himself but all he saw was a yellow and blue blur making contact with his stomach, causing him to double over. It was followed up by a quick knee to the face causing him to snap back upright. Finally, Mindy finished him off with a right cross to the jaw; the force threw him back as he crashed into his partner who was still nursing
his injured hand.
“It looks like you gentlemen are going to pay a penalty for early withdrawal” she said.
As the police made their way through the doors, Mindy soared into the late-morning sky.
Mindy arrived back at her office and quickly changed back into her clothes. She was fixing her hair when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in” she said.
The door opened and John poked his head in.
“Hi Mel. Robin said you weren’t feeling well” he said, holding his hands up in finger quotes.
“Oh … yeah” Melinda said, smiling. “I’m much better now”
“Well, I brought this just in case” John replied as he handed her a brown cup.
“Mmmm, Venti Tazo Chai Tea Latte with Soy, this really hits the spot”
“You could use the pick me up after foiling the bank robbery” he said. “I heard on an interview with one of the hostages that you shot lightning out of your eyes.”
“Yeah, I figured that was the best course of action. I had been practicing it the past few weeks and it came in handy” Mindy replied.
Well I’m glad that everyone’s okay” John said. “But there’s one thing that’s bugging me.”
He walked over and, using his thumb, wiped off a black smudge on her cheek.
“You don’t need anyone asking how that happened while you were laying down in your office.”
“I would say it happened while changing to toner on my printer” she replied.
“Always thinking, that’s one of the many reasons I love you Mel” John said, as he leaned over and kissed her.