Written by Artnico :: [Tuesday, 08 July 2008 08:36] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 02 April 2013 08:39]
by Artnico (translated by Argonaut)
It was late Friday afternoon when Sara got into her car, ready to go home after a long day of teaching. Ordinarily, she would have been sharing a ride with Frank; but Frank hadn't been at work for eight days now. Sara was planning to stop at his house on her way home, just as she had done every day this week, to bring him news and spend some time with him. Before getting into her car she had changed out of the conservative clothes she wore in the classroom and into a sexy outfit she'd bought on sale the day before. She was sure it would cheer Frank up. But as she stepped up to the door of Frank's house, Sara suddenly felt nervous. This was no casual visit: She had something important to tell her best friend.
She rang the doorbell. Frank opened the door, which he had kept shut and bolted all day long. His pale complexion and haggard face contrasted strongly with Sara's radiance.
"My God!" Sara exclaimed. "Look at you! You're like a zombie! You'll never get better if you stay cooped up in here, you know."
"After what happened … well, let's just say I'm not exactly eager to go outside. But please, come in."
Sara entered. It was gloomy inside the house; the shutters, like the doors, had been closed all day. In the living room, Frank lowered himself onto a sofa without so much as a glance at Sara – although usually he couldn't keep his eyes off her. Sara felt uneasy. She'd never seen her friend in such a state of depression, and she didn't know how to cheer him up.
"You haven't said a word about my outfit. See? I got this little skirt at a sale yesterday, along with this blouse and these high heels. What do you think? Nice, huh?"
But Frank just lay on the sofa without replying. Sara became exasperated.
"Now listen to me, Frank. You've been cooped up in this gloomy house all week. You haven't gone out and you're hardly eating. I know you've been through a bad experience, but that's all in the past. You've got to get over it!"
She glanced at the pile of letters and magazines on the dining room table. She'd been bringing Frank his mail every day, but he didn't seem to have touched it. After a quick search, she pulled out a weekly newsmagazine, opened it to a certain article, and began to read out loud:
" 'The two criminals were found in their van, which appears to have met with an accident … Their loot, valued at over 12,000 euros, was discovered by the police in a wooded area not far from the scene of the accident. Most of it has been returned to its owners, but much has yet to be claimed … The thieves' victims are urged to go to the police to identify their valuables … etc … etc' So
what are you waiting for? Go and claim what belongs to you and let that be the end of it."
"Easy for you to say! Those thieves may be dead, but they're still making me afraid to leave the house. You have no idea what kind of guys those are!"
Frank's expression made Sara uneasy. Hesitantly, she replied, "Oh, yes … I have some idea."
Frank was puzzled by her words, but he was too agitated to pay them much heed.
"How can you say that? My God, I can't get them out of my mind! Those guys broke into my home, they threatened me with a gun, they beat me! Have you heard what they did to a boy in that housing development? They tortured him in front of his parents to make them hand over the key to their strongbox! Guys like that, they have no pity, they'll stop at nothing! They might have killed me!"
The memory of his ordeal made Frank break into sobs. Like a protective mother, Sara went over to him and held him reassuringly in her arms.
"I know, I know … Calm down. I'm right here. I know how you feel. But those men are dead, the whole thing is over."
"For you, maybe, but not for me. I keep having nightmares about it! My God, look at me! Have you ever seen me like this?"
Sara's face clouded over.
"One thing's for sure – I'm not sorry those guys are dead. I can't stand the thought of someone hurting a child – or the thought of someone hurting you. But you're safe now, I'm here to protect you."
"That's sweet of you, Sara. But I don't think you realize what those guys are like. God forbid something like this should ever happen to you, but if it does … Having your possessions stolen, that's one thing, but physical violence – that's something else entirely. No, Sara – you can't possibly know how I'm feeling unless you've been through it yourself."
Sara shrugged. "If you say so."
Stung by Sara's flippancy, Frank lost his temper.
"What's that supposed to mean? If you're trying to make me feel better – well, that's a strange way of doing it. Maybe you'd better go home!"
"Oh, Frank, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that. I would never hurt your feelings … but there's something I have to tell you about – about me and … that whole business."
Despite his agitation, Frank could see that Sara seemed different, that something seemed to be worrying her. He stood up and stared at her with wondering eyes.
"My God, Sara, what are you trying to say?"
Sara made Frank sit back down on the sofa, then sat next to him and took his hand in hers.
"Just sit and listen to me, okay? I'm your best friend, right? You trust me and I trust you – isn't that so?"
Confused, Frank answered hesitantly.
"Yes … yes, of course, but – "
Sara laid a finger on Frank's lips.
"Shhh! You've got to let me tell you everything, without interrupting, okay?"
Sara's gentle, reassuring voice calmed Frank. He stopped talking and waited to hear what his beautiful visitor had to say.
Conscious of the great secret she had decided to share with her friend, Sara took a deep breath before she began.
"All right, then. You probably think it's strange that I seem so unconcerned by all these events. After all, I don't live very far from you and those burglars might easily have broken into my house. So I should have good reason to be afraid. If I'm not – well, that's because I've been keeping a few things secret about my role in this business."
"Huh? What role?"
"I'm much more … involved than you think."
Frank jumped up, fearing the worst.
"My God! You knew those guys who attacked me?"
"No, of course not! Well … not at first. I did get to know them a little later, when I learned what they'd been up to."
Frank stared at her, terrified.
"Oh, no! Don't tell me they hurt you, too?"
"Ha! Not a chance! Quite the reverse, in fact …"
"What do you mean?"
"I 'm the one who killed those two men!"
There was silence. Stunned, Frank couldn't think of anything to say.
"But, Sara," he said at last. "That's ridiculous! You read that article yourself. They died in an accident."
"That's just what I wanted the police to think. But the truth is, I killed them with my bare hands and made it look as if they'd had an accident. I couldn't let them get away with what they'd done to that little boy – and what they'd done to you."
Frank's mind was in a turmoil. He couldn't believe what he was hearing from the woman he loved, a woman he couldn't imagine hurting anyone. But he could tell from her serious expression that she wasn't lying to him. No, she wouldn't lie to her best friend, especially about something like this …
"That's impossible! How could you attack two crooks armed to the teeth? Weren't you afraid? They would have killed you! This is crazy!"
"Frank, it's not crazy. I know what I did, and I had no reason to be afraid … because I knew there was no way they could hurt me."
"I tell you, that's crazy!"
Sara could hardly refrain from smiling at Frank's incredulity. She saw that she'd have to tell him about her super-powers. She wondered how he'd take it. She took Frank's hands in hers and looked straight into his eyes.
"Frank, look at me. You know that I'm not crazy and that I've never been more serious in my life."
Frank struggled to come up with a rational explanation for Sara's words.
"Oh, I get it! Those crooks couldn't do anything to you because you knew something about them, because they knew you could turn them in – is that it? Tell me that's what you meant!"
"No! That's not it at all. Those crooks couldn't hurt me because … because …"
"Because what, Sara?"
"It's hard to explain … Because I'm not like other people, Frank."
Frank was puzzled.
"Go on – I'm listening."
"All right. I've got … powers – super-powers – beyond your wildest imagination."
"But … how …? What kind of powers are you talking about?"
"Well, for one thing, I'm strong … super-strong!"
There was another silence. Frank could hardly believe what he was hearing from the woman he knew best in all the world.
"Super-strong? What do you mean?"
"Well, take your car, for example. I can lift it with one hand and crush it without any effort at all. And I'm practically invulnerable. Bullets just bounce off me like spitballs."
"What you're saying makes no sense!"
"It's true! For heaven's sake, open your eyes! Do you think I got the nickname 'Wonder Woman' for nothing? Haven't you noticed that I haven't been sick one day all year? Don't you think it's strange that I can move those heavy tables in my classroom all by myself? Haven't you ever asked yourself how I can beat you and all the other guys so easily at arm-wrestling? And by the way – not to hurt your male ego – I was hardly using any effort at all, or else I would have broken your arms! And that's not all. I can smash through concrete walls, I can tear sheet-metal as if it were paper … I don't know exactly how strong I am, but believe me – I'm a regular super-girl!"
There are times when we know that someone is telling the truth. Looking into Sara's eyes, Frank knew in his heart that she wasn't making this up. But the rational part of his mind still demanded an explanation.
"You're joking! Things like that – you only see them in movies and on TV! I admit, you're pretty strong – for a girl – but lifting a car? Just because people call you 'Wonder Woman,' you've come to believe it!"
"It's no joke, I tell you. Believe me, I really can do all those things. I've been like this for about a year now – ever since I had that accident, the night of Sophie's party. Remember?"
"Of course – how could I forget? I was afraid you'd – "
"Well, it was right after that accident that I became so strong. I don't know how it happened, but it's true. I promise, you'll see it with your own eyes, but for now – please believe me … and please don't tell anyone else about this, okay?"
Sara's story was incredible, but the conviction in her voice won Frank over.
"Okay. You can trust me. But tell me how it happened, how you got to be this way? I'm listening."
Sara sat back and began to tell her story.
"Let me start at the beginning. Okay … All I know is that ever since my accident, my life has become very different. I can still see the look of horror on your faces when you saw my car all smashed up at the bottom of that ravine. You could only assume that I'd survived by some miracle. Yes, my car was completely demolished after falling two hundred meters, and yes, I walked away without a scratch. As far as all of you were concerned, that was the end of the story. But for me, it was just the beginning ...
"I don't know exactly what happened during that accident, or how I came out of it unhurt, but I remember passing through an intense white light as my car plunged down the ravine. You're the first person I've told that to. Well, it was just a few days after the accident that I began to feel … vigorous." Sara giggled. "Vigorous – that's an understatement! I was so full of energy I could run for miles and miles. I never got tired any more, and everything felt so light!
"Then one evening about a week after the accident, I was running in the woods by the housing development when I suddenly felt as if I were going to explode. I felt as if I had to lift something or bend something or crush something – something hard and heavy. I looked around and I saw Mr. Mark's 4WD parked by the edge of the woods. It seemed crazy to think that I could do anything to that great big car, but somehow I knew – I was sure – that I could lift it. And that's just what I did, Frank!
"Oh, I wish you could have been there, I wish you could have seen me! I bent over, I grabbed the side of the car, I squeezed … and I could feel the metal crumple beneath my fingers. And then I
lifted the car as if it weighed nothing at all! I was hardly exerting my muscles, but in the blink of an eye I was holding the 4WD over my head." Sara closed her eyes, savoring the recollection. "I felt such a rush of pleasure, all through my body – it was like an orgasm! There I was, a woman, holding a three-ton car over my head as if it were a toy! That was when I realized how strong I had truly become. I felt that nothing would be impossible for me from now on."
Frank stared at her open-mouthed.
"My gosh! I remember now – Mr. Mark found his car completely demolished where he'd parked it, and he had no idea how it could have happened. He was furious!"
He regarded Sara dubiously.
"No! It can't be! Don't tell me … it was you who did that to his car? I can't believe it!"
"It was me, all right. You've got to understand – I was drunk with the realization of my own strength, I had to find out how far I could go with it. So as I was holding the 4WD over my head with both hands, I brought my arms together as hard as I could. I wanted to crush it in my bare hands. It seemed crazy, but somehow I knew that I could do it – and I did! I squeezed that car until it was nothing but a lump of metal, all twisted and mangled. That feeling of sheer pleasure swept over me again, and I stepped back to look at what I'd done. I tell you, Frank, it scared me a little to see just how strong I was."
Frank hardly knew what to say.
"Whew! That's quite a story … I can hardly believe it, but you seem so … sincere."
"Come on, Frank. Why would I make up a story like that?"
Frank was convinced. Incredible as it seemed, Sara had super-powers … and she'd used them to kill those two home-jackers. He hesitated for a moment, then blurted out:
"So getting back to those two crooks … What happened, exactly? How did you, ah …?"
"Kill them? It's okay to say it, Frank, because that's exactly what I did. I was just coming to that. But first, promise you won't judge me for what I did."
"I promise, Sara. Just tell me what happened."
"I don't want you to think that I'm some kind of monster, now that you know I can lift a three-ton automobile and kill tough guys with my bare hands. I'm still the same Sara that you've always known, and I always will be. I know you have every reason to think that what I did was something terrible. But bear in mind that I've had these powers for a whole year now, and I've never used them for selfish purposes, much less to hurt anyone. But those two crooks had tortured an eight-year-old child – a boy that you or I might have had as a student. He'll probably be scarred for life. I just can't bear the the thought of someone hurting a child. And then they hurt you – my best friend, the kindest person in the world, someone who wouldn't hurt a fly! Just look what they've done to
you. For me, that was the last straw. Those guys didn't deserve to live. I wanted them to know what it's like to be at the mercy of someone stronger than themselves. I have no regrets. If I could do it all over again, I would. I'll tell you everything, and then you can denounce me if you like. I take full responsibility for what I did."
Frank knew that he could never think harshly of Sara. He was so touched by her trust that he was on the verge of telling her how much he loved her. And he was intrigued by these powers she claimed to have. The idea of this beautiful woman lifting a car and killing tough criminals with her bare hands was an arousing one – though it embarrassed him to think that he was so much weaker than she was. He embraced her tenderly and spoke words of reassurance.
"Sara, if you only knew … Don't worry, I could never judge you, let alone condemn you, for what you did. You're my best friend. What you did was in my defense, and that's such a beautiful proof of your friendship – although I must admit, my male ego feels a little humbled. I'm touched by your trust in me. Go on, tell me everything. Whatever you say will stay between us."
Sara kissed Frank on the forehead.
"Thank you, Frank. I knew I could count on you."
Frank sat back as Sara began telling her story.
"All right, then. So I made up my mind to capture those two home-jackers. I wanted to avenge you and all their other victims, and put an end to their crimes. The police hadn't been able to catch them, but I was sure I could do it easily, with my super-powers. I started patrolling the neighborhood, and it wasn't long before I was on their trail. After all – I hardly ever need to sleep, I can move very quickly, and my vision is excellent, even at night. I combed the neighborhood three nights in a row, from midnight to 6:00 A.M. The first two nights were uneventful, but on the third night I came upon their van – which I was able to identify thanks to the newspaper articles on their crimes. Those idiots were parked in front of a house near the housing development. It looked as if they were planning to break in. I stayed out of sight, watching the van carefully, ready to jump them the moment they got out. Maybe they saw me, or maybe they were just reconnoitering, but in any case they started up the van and drove off.
"I took off the high-heeled shoes I was wearing and began to run after them, at a discreet distance, and in no time at all I caught up with them."
"On foot? How did you manage that?"
"Silly me! I forgot to mention – I'm not just super-strong, I'm also super-fast."
"Yes, I could have overtaken the van easily and pushed it into the ditch by the side of the road. In fact, that's just what I was planning to do. But then I decided against it. I wanted to meet those guys face to face, and I also wanted to find out where they were hiding their loot. That's how I discovered their hiding-place – in the woods, by the side of the road near the housing development. At first, I thought those crooks must be pretty stupid to choose a spot where anyone might see them, but on second thought I saw that they weren't so dumb after all. True, hundreds of cars drive right past the spot every day, but there's no reason for them to stop, and there are never any pedestrians.
"Anyway, once the crooks had parked their van and gotten out, I leaped up into the branches of a nearby tree, where I could eavesdrop on their conversation. The smaller guy – who seemed to be the boss – said something about coming back at 3:00 the next day. Once again, I thought it was strange that they'd rendezvous in broad daylight, but then I realized that most of the people who lived in the housing development would be at work in the middle of the afternoon. Those crooks had no idea that they'd be meeting a woman with the strength of Hercules and a serious grudge against them!"
"Why didn't you attack them then and there?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, I hadn't expected to find those guys so quickly, so I hadn't given much thought to what I'd do next. I didn't want to act hastily and run the risk that someone else might see me using my super-powers. So I decided to return at 3:00 the next afternoon, when nobody but the three of us would be around. That gave me plenty of time to plan a reception that they'd remember for a long, long time!"
"So you weren't planning to kill them?"
"Not at that moment, no. True, I hated them for hurting that little boy, and for threatening you, and I don't deny I had fantasies of killing them – but it wasn't something I'd planned ahead of time. It happened in the heat of the moment. They were the ones who tried to kill me – and I just got riled up and forgot my own strength."
"Then you acted in self-defense!"
"Not really. Why would I need to defend myself against those two? I'm super-strong, remember?"
"But they had guns and you didn't!"
Smiling, Sara shook her head. "Poor Frank! You still don't get it. Armed or not, it made no difference. Let me finish and you'll see … Well, the next afternoon I was back at that spot well before 3:00 so that I could hide myself and take them by surprise. Just as I expected, their van arrived at 3:00 precisely. As soon as I saw it coming along the road, I jumped out of the woods and landed directly in front of the van –"
"Sara! It might have hit you!"
"If it had, they're the ones who would have been hurt! I've been testing my powers, little by little, ever since I acquired them – and I assure you, a three-ton vehicle, even at full speed, doesn't stand a chance against me. I knew from experience that my body is stronger than steel."
"My God, Sara … this is unbelievable …"
"Wait'll you hear the rest of my story! … Well, luckily for them, their van had good brakes. It stopped just a few feet in front of me. And you should have seen the look on their faces when they saw me! I was wearing one of my sexiest outfits, so they'd know beyond any doubt that it was a woman they were dealing with. And I was so excited to think that I was about to use my super-strength in broad daylight! The idea of going up against those vicious criminals made me feel like one of those super-heroines you see in comic books. For just a moment, I was tempted to grab the front of the van and lift it into the air, to show them how strong I am. But on second thought, I decided to toy with them a little bit first, so I waited for them to get out."
"And did they?"
"What do you think? When the boss guy saw me in that tight little outfit, he practically fell out of the van. While he was looking me over, the driver gave me a whistle – very flattering, I assure you! That's just the reaction I figured I'd get from a couple of macho guys like them. And that's when I decided to have some fun with them."
Frank knew Sara better than anyone, but he was still surprised by her air of cool assurance.
"I never realized that you had such a … malicious streak – "
Sara hastened to reassure him.
"Don't worry – I wasn't doing this for my own amusement. I just wanted to teach those guys a lesson, to punish them for all the harm they'd done."
"I believe you. Please, go on."
[ TO BE CONTINUED ]