Written by Woodclaw :: [Friday, 29 April 2022 17:48] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 30 April 2022 09:51]
With many thanks to AuGoose, Rjjt and Major Damage for helping me with the editing.
“Are you out of your mind?” she yelled, slamming down her massive hands on the table, which buckled and splintered from the sheer power of the impact.
The man in an army green turtleneck tentatively opened one eye and picked out a splinter from his curly beard: “No, but you’ll soon be, Karla. Let’s face the facts: you’ve not taken a day off in three years… and you’re not ok.” he paused and took a deep breath, “Last week, during the casino heist, you almost took off Juan’s head. That’s not… that’s not you.”
Karla dropped down in her folding chair, which groaned under her amazonian frame: “So, vacation?”
“Vacation.” He confirmed. “You need it.”
“Jake, I’m a world class super-thief. The strongest person in this hemisphere. I can take a rifle round to the face and it feels like a ping-pong ball. I. Just. Don’t. Do. Vacation!”
“That’s debatable. There is at least one person that is as str—”
Before Jake could finish the sentence, Karla grabbed him by the neckline of the sweater and slammed him hard against the concrete wall. With his feet dangling 30 centimeters from the ground, Jake wheezed: “Th… that kind… of… proves my point.”
Starring with her off-brown eyes wide open, Karla let him go, barely mouthing: “Oh crap!”
“Are you… ok?” she gulped down hard.
“In a moment *cough*... but you see how that proves my point. You’re so high-strung that I can’t even mention… her…”
Lowering her eyes, Karla half-whispered: “You can say it. Stronghold, I’m obsessed with Stronghold.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.” Jake continued stumbling to a foldable chair, “I get the whole ‘amazon’ rivalry’ between you. You’re like She-Hulk and Titania, but it’s not really healthy for you.”
“How come that a comic-book fan ended up working as a thief?”
“Would you believe that I had a man-crush for Magneto?”
They both laughed. It was ‘their’ joke.
“Anyway,” Jake said, trying to adjust the mangled collar of his armor, “You really need to unwind. I know this really nice spot along the north coast. My sister went there several times. Picture it: a little secluded beach, closed between two cliffs, with a nice patch of green just a few meters from the sea and…”
“... and take a look at that!”
For the umpteenth time in the last fifteen minutes, Karla rolled her eyes and snorted at the comment. It’s not easy being green? Well Kermit the Frog should try being a 192 cm tall amazon with almost 120 kg of muscles.
“I’ll get you for this, Jake.” she sighed between her teeth. She had already moved twice, trying to get away from that kind of attention and she was rapidly running out of beach. Avoiding comments was even harder than going ten rounds against motherfucking Strong一
No! She should not think about her.
She looked up from her copy of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and rolled over on her towel. Going back to the other side of the beach was not an option, it was almost noon and the local bar was putting out folding tables and chairs. In a few minutes that area would be packed. She considered staying put, but saw a group of teenagers hauling a cooler (probably filled with beers) in her direction.
Hugging her massive legs, Karla gazed at the horizon and pursed her lips, perhaps she could steal a surfboard and go out to the limit of the bay. It was an enticing idea, so much so that her eyes drifted to the lifeguard post… and the steel cage right behind it with the “for rent” boards. She didn’t have much money with her, but the only thing stopping her was a steel padlock. She smiled, resting her head on her knees. What a nice change of pace would that be from ripping aparts walls and safes.
Her hand was already reaching for the yellow beach bag, when she heard Jake’s voice nagging from the back of her head: ‘You’re on vacation.’
Dropping back down on her towel, Karla mouthed: “Why do I listen to him so much… aside from the fact that he’s my best friend?” Looking up into the sky, she saw a flock of seabirds crossing over the cove. Following them, she eyed the top of one of the cliffs, two barren rock fingers stretching out into the water, forming a crescent moon shape.
Karla leaped up, grabbing her bag and towel and scarring the living hell out of two kids, brother and sister, bickering over a red plastic bucket. Without even looking, she rushed off the beach and into the small patch of green that creeped almost to the sea. Without paying much mind to the rough roots of the maritime pines and the coarse rocks and sands scraping her bare feet, she marched toward the base of the cliff, only to run straight into a mesh net fence, with a large yellow sign.
NO UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS
Please, do not climb the cliff
“Really!” Karla commented, eyeing the sign. “Do they really think that this will stop me? No offense, but I’ve torn apart vault doors that were supposed to withstand a direct bazooka shot.”
Despite the nagging sensation of cheating, she rummaged through her bag and pulled out a thin black leather belt, with the buckle strangely shaped like a capital “H” or a really twisted “A”. Despite the fact that it made no sense to put it on with her one piece orange swimsuit, she loosely fastened it, so that it rested on her massive thighs. As usual, the belt acted as if it had a mind of its own and tightened itself around Karla’s small waistline, cutting her breath short for a second.
Wincing and squinting her eyes, Karla took the deepest breath possible, feeling her joints and ligaments cracking. The tip of her fingers hitched like crazy, as if she had just got massive rush blood. Energy flowed in her veins, following her bloodstream. Where it passed her already impressive muscles “hardened”. They didn’t get any bigger, at least not much, but they took a hint of definition, as the groove between them became more pronounced, while the skin seemed to wrap and tighten, taking a faint hint of a metallic shine.
Karla kept her eyes closed, the final bit of the process always freaked her out. A little buzz and sting behind her eyes signaled the shift from their natural off-brown color to a blue iris over a cerulean sclera, like the ocellis on a peacock’s tail… totally unnatural and really creepy to watch.
She twisted her head to the right a bit, getting a satisfying crack from her vertebrae, then extended her hand and took hold of the mesh net. It wasn’t even a contest. With a short burst of snaps the mesh parted easier than a zipper, leaving the yellow sign dangling on one side.
From there it was literally just a bound and a skip. In seconds, Karla rushed through the woods, dodging trees with ease, in spite of her speed, and reached the base of the cliff. It was almost vertical, but in less than a minute she reached the top, leaping from one almost invisible foothold to the next, like a super-fast mountain goat.
Once she was there, Karla immediately fidgeted with the buckle. For some reason, it was always easier putting on the belt than taking it off. The goddamned thing fought her every step of the way, but Karla was having none of it. There was no way in Hades that she was going to lay down and relax sensing everything that was going on in a one hundred kilometers radius.
As the buzz of power subsided, Karla leaned down on her towel, not too bothered by the rocky outcrop and just took a few moments to soak in the blessing of the sun, hoping to finally being able to relax without any comments, finish reading the misadventures of Arthur Dent and getting something resembling a decent tan.
Time and pages flew by, with Karla laughing like a madwoman at some of the jokes. Jake told her about the subtext, the cultural references, but she just didn’t care. All that mattered was that Adams wrote great lines and they really resonated with her. She loved how deadpan some of them sounded, like…
The yell shook Karla off her book reverie. She leaped up and looked over the edge. A man with uneven blonde hair, a free climber apparently, was hanging purely by the tips of his fingers from the seaside face of the cliff.
Karla clenched her teeth and three thoughts rushed through her mind. First, there was no way in hades that the man was going to last more than a few minutes. Second, even if someone else had heard him, any rescue would take a while to arrive. Finally, if he fell, police and rescue units would swarm all over the place and her vacation would be fucked.
“I know I’ll regret this. Probably soon too.” she commented while fumbling around looking for her belt. Seconds later, still clutching her belly, she dived straight down. Adrenaline and super-energy rushed through her system. Her reaction time skyrocketed. She was fast, fast enough to pluck a fly out of the air without hurting it.
Karla drove her left hand in the cliff face as if it was just a piece of bread. Slowing her descent, she reached toward the screaming climber. Her fingers were a hair’s breadth from him when the mangled rock gave up and they both plummeted.
On a pure adrenaline rush, Karla wrapped the man in her arms, twisting her thunder thighs to do a midair flip. It was a trick she had done many times. Way too many. In fact, it was often how she and Jake got away from any failed high rise heist.
Barely two seconds later, her back hit the sea surface, causing a giant column of water to rise.
One… two.. three seconds passed and they both emerged, coughing water.
“Are you okay?” she asked, mentally kicking herself.
“Y… y-yeah…” he stumbled.
A number of people started calling from the beach and Karla’s criminal instinct kicked into overdrive. Without a word, she swam away faster than a speedboat, kicking up a giant rooster tail of spray as she disappeared into the horizon.
As the moon rose, Karla walked into the local bar. There was no chance that she would not attract attention, so she opted for a bit of intimidation: a yellow sleeveless top, highlighting all her curves, especially her shoulders and biceps. Whispers and comments followed, while she made a beeline for the bar.
“One non-alcoholic Mojito.” she called.
Before the barlady could nod a response, another voice chimed in: “That is on me, Maria.”
Karla turned, ready to shut down whoever tried that move, and found herself face to face with the rock climber. He looked closer to forty than thirty, with a few graying tips in his hair, and was arm in arm with a slightly shorter man, with a bit of lantern jaw and a ponytail.
“I… we just wanted to say thank you.” the climber said.
“For what?” Karla rolled her eyes behind her “Clark Kent glasses”.
“Well, you saved my life today.” he smiled, while his partner nodded.
“I’m not going to say no to a drink, but you got the wrong person.”
“Do you mind if we sit here?” the short man asked.
“It’s a free country.”
A few moments of embarrassed silence passed, the short one slightly nudged the climber: “Can I ask you a question?”
Karla took a long sip from her mojito, uncertain how to handle the thing: “I guess…”
“Is that a wig? Or can you change your hair color?”
“Well, given how tall you are and what you did… we figured that you are… you know…”
Karla braced herself.