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Randolph and Kim – Chapter 5-8

Written by conceptfan :: [Monday, 26 September 2005 11:03] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 26 December 2012 10:53]

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Randolph and Kim Chapters 5-8

 

by Conceptfan

 

 

 

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WRITTEN FOR SGI WORKSHOP 1.5

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CHAPTER 5

 

A blur of colours streaks through the suburban streets, its supersonic passage displacing the air with such force that the resulting gusts of wind knock over trash cans, street signs and more than a few pedestrians. Those sent sprawling catch barely a split-second glimpse of a pink-and-red smear disappearing into the distance. Human eyes cannot follow the blur. Human brains cannot process it as any kind of recognisable shape. It’s travelling far too quickly for that.

 

The form turns corners with a remarkable degree of precision and control for its speed. If anyone could track its progress, they would note that it seems to be travelling from the centre of town towards the residential districts. But those who come too close can do nothing more than pick themselves up once it has passed. The blur shows no concern for the people it tips over. In fact, it’s quite pleased that its remarkable velocity allows it to remain largely unseen. It wants to get home and change clothes before anyone gets a good look at it.

 

The blur, of course, is Kim, running barefoot towards her house on the outskirts of town. The pink that is just about visible for the briefest of moments as she streaks by is her uncovered flesh; her slender arms driving her run and her long, beautiful silky legs effortlessly eating up the streets at a speed that very few people have ever matched on land. The select band who have experienced the exhilaration of such velocity travelled in custom-built vehicles with state-of-the-art, roaring engines. Kim is almost silent as she rockets by, the powerful-beyond-human-technology engine that is her body is vastly more efficient and effective than any jet propulsion system.

 

There’s a tiny glimpse of red amongst the pink, too. It’s her brand new scarlet bikini, or rather what is left of it. This is the main reason why Kim does not want to be seen. It’s not because she is particularly concerned that she might be identified as the perpetrator of seven murders. Indeed, although it is just a few minutes old, the massacre at Luigi’s pizza parlour is already diminishing in importance in her thoughts. Kim is much more worried about her appearance. She, or more specifically, her bikini, is a mess and she does not want anyone to see her in such a state. She takes a great deal of pride in her appearance, and she cannot bear the thought of anyone, be it a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger, seeing her dressed in a manner than falls short of her usual standards.

 

Of course, the less-than-immaculate condition of her upper garment is directly linked to the events that have just unfolded at the Leaning Tower of Pizza. The left cup, so wonderfully filled by her breast, is badly stained with not-yet-dried blood, formerly the property of Luigi’s employee, Bruno. It barely needs stating that the discolouration of the over-stretched material is a minor blemish compared to the damage inflicted on the pizza waiter’s face when the over-filled bikini cup was pressed into it, but between Kim and Bruno, only the former is in any condition to complain. Kim’s glorious breast proved vastly too firm for the unfortunate man’s skin and bone to resist.

 

As well as the dark, damp blood stain, the left portion of her bikini also now boasts two large, circular holes. Each aperture is about half an inch in circumference, and bordered with a thin, black edge of burnt material. If Kim were to stop running at several hundred miles per hour, it would be possible for people to observe, through those two holes, small areas of the most luscious, perfect, rounded feminine skin anyone has ever seen. That skin is as flawless as the rest of her body. Amazingly, it shows no marks or any other evidence of what created the two geometric tears: a pair of bullets, fired at short range.

 

There is also evidence of a third bullet which hit her bikini. This one is on the right cup of the tiny garment. The shot actually bounced off her magnificent, prominent nipple. The material covering this most exquisite part of her anatomy is now missing, the circular hole with its tell-tale burnt edge perfectly framing the pink glory of the point of her breast. Her nipple remains a faultless monument to female sexuality utterly unaffected by its high-speed meeting with a policeman’s bullet. On the pavement outside Luigi’s, a crumpled, misshapen lump of lead is evidence of its own, very different, experience of the impact.

 

The resistance of the air Kim is zipping through is heating that exposed nipple to nearly the boiling point of water, but she feels little other than a mild and rather pleasant warmth as she turns the final corner on her journey home. This street is more familiar to her than any other, although she’s never travelled down it at such a speed before. Yet the fact that she is moving faster than the speed of sound is irrelevant to her ability to take in her surroundings. Somehow, her mind seems just as capable of processing the information her eyes are sending it as it was when she strolled this way as an ordinary – if exceptionally attractive – teenager earlier in the day.

 

She streaks past her neighbour’s house, sparing barely a passing thought for its ageing owner. It’s thanks to him, of course, that she is now superhuman. She’s well aware of his unsavoury obsession with her nubile body, but she does not know that it was this unhealthy fascination that led directly to him accidentally endowing her with the fantastic abilities he had intended for himself. If Randolph Sherman had not clambered atop an ancient broken television set to get a better view of her as she passed his garage door, it would have been the sexagenarian who became strong enough to lift a grown man with a single finger and throw him to his death against a wall, not Kim. If he had managed to resist the temptation to steal a glimpse of her voluptuous, ripe cleavage, it would have been his skin that was impervious to gunfire, not hers.

 

This time, as Kim goes by, Randolph is once again in his garage, working on his energy-transfer ray. But on this occasion, even if he’d had advanced warning of her passing, he would not have been able to indulge his repressed lust by spying on her. At around eight hundred and fifty miles an hour, she is invisible to the leering eyes of men of all ages. She covers the length of his house in less time than it takes him to blink his tired eyes as he focuses on the circuit board he is working on.

 

He knows what he has to do, but it is no easy task. He’s reconfiguring his beam generator so that rather than carrying energy into a human subject, it will draw the power out. On his workbench nearby, lies a dull, unremarkable lump of semi-transparent rock. This is his beloved Sherman crystal. His greatest achievement. His life’s work. The would be salvation of his tortured soul. It was this crystal that collected the sun’s energy, photon by photon, for forty years whilst he waited patiently, his youth, then his middle-age slipping away until he was left with nothing but his decrepitude. Now the crystal is empty, its four-decade-long accumulation of unthinkable power discharged into the disgusting, depraved, and degenerate body – he can’t help shuddering at the thought of the word “body” in the context of that trollop – of a wholly and utterly undeserving sixteen year old girl.

 

His only hope of salvaging almost half a century of work is to reverse his transfer-ray so that it can remove the energy – his energy – from that immoral whore and restore it to his crystal. Then, he can finally use it for its true, intended purpose. Energising his own tired, declining body. He is the only one worthy of possessing the powers the crystal can endow. He alone has the strength of character, the upstanding moral fibre, the proper understanding of correct behaviour. With him as the “Superman”, the world would be a vastly better place. Loose females, with their evil wiles would finally, finally, learn their place. No longer would they be permitted to use their disgusting and superficially attractive bodies to distract fine men like himself from the noble pursuits of science and learning. No more would young, stupid females like the thieving whore next door be able to flaunt their wicked flesh, their painted faces, their obscene curves…

 

Randolph shakes his head to clear his mind, snatching his palm guiltily from his lap where it has been stroking his rapidly engorging penis through the thin fabric of his trousers. No! He will not allow himself to be diverted from his work by wicked thoughts cruelly inspired by that trollop! She has taken from him what is his by right. He must take it back. Leave her with nothing. And then… then, he can punish her. And all her kind. Then the world will see a new way.

 

He must concentrate on the energy-transfer beam. He’s almost completed the process of de-soldering unwanted components. Next, he must attach the small pile of new parts that he has assembled on the workbench. He knows exactly how he is going to reverse the effects of the ray. He knows precisely what he must do. There is plenty of work still remaining to be done before it is ready. Before he can use the reversed beam. Before he can reclaim his energy. Before he can turn that disgusting whore back into her natural state as a powerless, pathetic female, begging him for mercy, willing to do anything – anything at all – for him…

 

It’s taken Randolph a quarter of an hour to remove six electronic components from his device. That’s a little longer than it has taken Kim to remove seven men from existence. But she has also managed to run five miles and destroy a restaurant and several cars. Remarkably, she’s not even slightly short of breath. Neither is she perspiring, despite the heat of the Californian afternoon. The only moisture on her body is Bruno’s blood soaked into her bikini.

 

She’s home now. She stopped running as she turned off the sidewalk, decelerating from airliner-speed to stationary in the space of a single stride, her stunning body coping effortlessly with the seemingly impossible task of absorbing so much momentum. She doesn’t even realise the significance of the feat that she has accomplished with such ease. She just wants to change into something less blood-stained and bullet-holed so she can go and show off her superpowers to her friends. But a sudden realisation has made her halt dead in her tracks.

 

It’s not a pang of guilt for the men she has killed; she dismissed, with adolescent disinterest, any thoughts of remorse in the instants after taking each life. The thought that has brought Kim to a halt is far more mundane in nature: given her exceptionally brief attire and the hurried way she left home earlier after a cruel exchange with the old man from next door, she is not carrying her house keys. A simple curse passes through her lovely, pouty lips. She considers the possibilities available for her next move.

 

It’s late afternoon, which means that her mother might well be home. But ringing the doorbell to summon her might well involve having to explain the state of her clothing. More precisely, her mother might want to know why there was blood on her bikini. The alternative was to walk round to the back of the house and hope that the garden door might be open. If it isn’t, she thinks, she’ll have to find a way of climbing up to her bedroom window. It’s all such a bore…

 

She's just about to start making her way around the side of the house, when something clicks in her brain and her internal voice reminds her that she's superhuman now, and that there's an alternative to circumventing her home which she can try. She recalls the massive leap she performed a short while ago which carried her well over the length of a city block and peaked at four storeys up. The house is only two storeys tall.

 

There's no excitement in her thoughts as she bends her knees preparing to spring upwards. She fully expects to be able to complete the feat. She's super now, so she can do stuff like this. She launches herself off the sidewalk, the paving cracking slightly beneath her dainty toes as they press down on it momentarily with enormous force. Then, she is airborne, sailing gracefully into the sky, rapidly passing the upper floor of the house.

 

She looks down on the roof, and the other houses and gardens spread out like a map beneath her. She thinks the view is "pretty cool" but she's not sorry that it's only a brief flight. It could get boring otherwise. She's passed the high point of her jump now, beginning her descent towards the back yard. Of course the tree she uprooted and left lying across the fence into the neighbour's yard is still there. She comes down close to the felled trunk. Her bare soles sink a few inches into the soft lawn but her knees barely bend at all as they absorb the impact of her landing.

 

She has just leapt over a house with an effortless standing jump, but she doesn't even pause to reflect on her achievement. She's too preoccupied with the job of getting into her bedroom unseen and the hassle involved with that, superpowers or no superpowers. Turning around she sees that her bedroom window is open. She sighs, her full lips briefly parting, revealing a glimpse of her attractive top teeth, her stunning chest rising and falling dramatically. To get up there, she's going to have to perform another big jump. "Bor-ing!" she thinks.

 

A split second later, she's soaring upwards towards her bedroom. As it turns out, the few instants she spent internally complaining about the negligible effort would have been better used in planning. She should have looked before she leapt. Kim is only a few inches short of six feet tall. Her bedroom window is barely three feet in height. Her last-second attempt to tuck her knees in and bend her head is nowhere near enough.

 

The crown of her head smashes into the brickwork above the window frame. Of course, her skull is vastly harder than brick. Even her shiny straight brown hair is harder than brick. Not a single strand of it is damaged. In fact, she feels nothing but a light tap as her head carves through the wall of the house like a gorgeous wrecking ball. Her feet do similar damage beneath the open window.

 

The impact does not alter the trajectory of her leap in the slightest. She lands, as intended, on the floor of her bedroom, perfectly balanced. Olympic gymnasts spend years trying to achieve the level of technique that comes naturally to her now. But the landing is slightly spoilt by the piles of smashed brick and plaster all around her. The air is full of dust, but she doesn't cough or sneeze. Instead, she curses whoever it was who built the house with small windows. Taking a step, her foot lands on a piece of displaced brick. And crushes it to powder. If she notices, she doesn't react. She's just glad that her clothes are safely stored in her wardrobe, protected from all the mess.

 

Downstairs, Kim's mother is watching a soap opera on television. The show's scheduling – it began just as she arrived back home from the mall – is the main reason why she hasn't yet discovered the uprooted tree and ruined fence in the back yard. Her shopping is still in the bags it was originally packed in, left by the side of the sofa. She'd barely had enough time to switch on the TV and remove her shoes before the programme started.

 

A loud crash upstairs makes her sit up with a start. It sounded like it came from Kim's room, but she doesn't recall hearing her daughter coming home. Suddenly, she feels uneasy. She makes her way, barefoot, from the TV room to the foot of the stairs. Craning her neck to address the upper floor of the house, she calls out "Kimberley? Is that you?"

 

Up in her bedroom, Kim hears her mother's shout. "Shit!" she mutters. The last thing she needs right now is for her mom to see her in her ruined bikini. Then she has an idea. "I know, I'll change … at superspeed!" she thinks. She reaches behind her back. With her lightening speed and phenomenal strength, she snaps the strap of her red top and discards the unrepairable garment in less than a tenth of a second. "Superspeed is cool." she tells herself, zipping over to her wardrobe at rocket-like velocity.

 

She doesn't slow down as she pulls the wardrobe door open. The furniture was not designed for superhumans, however, and the large wooden door rips from its hinges. "Cheap crap." Kim thinks, tossing the unattached panel onto her bed thoughtlessly. She grabs at a top hanging inside the closet. The steel hanging rail bends sharply and the garment in her hand tears in half. All the clothes hanging on the rail slide down towards the low-point of the bend. "Fuck!" Kim mutters.

 

More slowly, but still many times faster than the rest of the human race could manage, she removes a bright yellow bikini from its hanger. Hurrying, she places the cups over her big, firm breasts, letting her glorious scoops of flesh completely fill out the material. Then she rushes to fasten the garment behind her back. There's a loud tearing sound. She has pulled the strap tight far, far too quickly. Both of her big mounds have entirely refused to be compressed by the bikini and have asserted their superiority by pushing through the thin fabric, the elasticity of the bikini no match for the wondrous solidity of her generous chest.

 

Kim curses once again. After the new red one which got ruined this morning, the yellow bikini was her favourite. She'd wanted to wear it when she shows off her new powers to her friends. Now it’s just a useless bit of rag. She rips the fastening strap off her body and tosses it aside in disgust. Being super is becoming a total pain. What's the point of having superspeed if she's going to have to dress at normal speed, treating her clothes like they're made of egg-shells?

 

Downstairs, her mother is becoming increasingly concerned by the crashing sounds coming from her daughter's room. As softly as she can, she takes a couple of steps over to the hall table and slowly pulls open a drawer. Reaching in, taking great care to be as silent as she can, she extracts a small handgun. She holds it at arm’s length as she uses her other hand to release the safety lock. She makes her way back to the foot of the stairs and calls up once more: "Kimberley? Honey? Is that you? What are you doing up there?"

 

Kim is still looking through what's left of her bikini collection. Instinctively, she looks around when she hears her mother's voice through her bedroom door. She catches sight of the bricks and plaster on the floor. Her mother is going to freak out when she sees all that. She has to stall her. "Just a minute, Mom." she shouts over her smooth round shoulder.

 

"Kimmie?" A tremendous feeling of relief slips over the older woman. She carefully uncocks the pistol in her hand. "Are you OK, honey?"

 

"Yeah Mom, I'm fine."

 

"What was that noise, dear?"

 

"Er … I dropped something."

 

"Well, you be careful now, OK honey?" Kim's mother says. She's already moved away from the stairs to put the gun back in the hall table.

 

"Yeah Mom. Whatever." Kim makes no effort to conceal her slight annoyance with her mother's concern.

 

As her parent, the senior party in the exchange is well used to Kim's adolescent moods and, as ever, is happy to adopt the path of least resistance. Barely ten more seconds elapse before she's back on the sofa, her thoughts once again dedicated to the drama playing out on the television. Meanwhile, Kim is fully engrossed once again in the task of selecting a swimsuit and subsequently getting it on her body without her awesome curves bursting through it.

 

Just a few yards away from Kim and her mother, Randolph is crouched over his workbench, his soldering iron gripped tightly in his not-as-steady-as-they-used-to-be fingers. The last of the unwanted components is almost loose. Just another little dab with the tip of the iron to melt the solder holding it fast … there! Randolph quickly blows on his fingertips to cool them after touching the overheated diode which he's tossed in the trash. He holds the circuit board up to his eyes, as his vision is also not as good as it was ten years ago. He squints at it for a few moments. Yes, it's ready for him to begin affixing new components.

 

He needs to insert quite a few pieces into the circuit, so that it can act as a conduit between the beam it attaches to and his Sherman crystal. The beam, with its polarity reversed, will now draw energy – "his" energy – out of the target. The circuit board will process it into an electrical pulse which will feed a tiny ultraviolet laser directed at the centre of the crystal. That way, every last drop of power can be collected back where it belongs. Into his hands. For him to use as he intended. On himself.

 

As he begins the process of fixing the first new component in place, he can't help imagining the moment when he finally gets to use the device. The look of puzzlement turning into horror on the sluttish features of that degenerate adolescent. The squeaks of protest in her pathetic, feminine voice. The sight of the Sherman crystal filling with the power she never should have possessed. The trollop getting weaker and weaker by the second, her obscene body becoming normal, vulnerable, soft – just as it should be. She'll protest at first, but he'll be too firm and upstanding in his principles to allow her to sway him from his decision. Then she'll beg him. She'll get on her knees, maybe trying to use her evil beauty to seduce him, but he will not be moved.

 

He is Randolph Sherman, the greatest genius in the world, inventor of the Sherman crystal, discoverer of phenomenal power. No juvenile whore can deflect him from his destiny. He has been born to wield that power. The girl will offer him anything to keep even a shred of it, but he will not be so easily distracted. She will pout her rich, full lips, she will thrust out her oversized, disgusting chest and offer all manner of disgraceful things if he relents. But he will not. He will drain every single microjoule of energy from her. Every last one. Until she is lying, defeated at his feet, just another useless, weak, inferior female.

 

And then … Then he will turn the ray back onto himself. And fill his entire existence with power. Pure power. Power that will course into every corner of his elderly body, renewing his tired muscles and decaying limbs, turning him into the mighty leader that he was always intended to be. She will look up at his mighty form, tears in her eyes, and plead with him for mercy. All the women will do that. They will offer him their sickeningly soft, yielding bodies, willingly giving him their tongues, their breasts, their groins …

 

"Ouch!" Randolph drops the hot soldering iron that was still in his hand as he started to unthinkingly rub his crotch. He's managed to burn a small hole through his trousers and his underpants. A small blister is already forming on his groin. The air is full of the smell of burning fabric and pubic hair. It hurts. Worse, he knows the pain isn't going to diminish for quite some time. That is his punishment for allowing his thoughts, his mighty brain, to be derailed by evil images of women. He cannot wait for the moment when he reclaims his power and transfers it into his body. Then, pain like this will be nothing but a memory for him. A memory for him and a constant, never-ending reality for that trollop and all her kind.

 

Meanwhile, up in her bedroom, Kim has finally selected a bikini to wear. It's a simple, unadorned and rather skimpy lime green affair. It's definitely the best of what's left. She's fairly sure of that. No, she's totally sure. This is the one. With the kind of care an archaeologist would show extracting a prehistoric artefact from the ground, Kim picks up the bottom half of the bikini. She bends down, her stunning chest hanging like two proud grapefruit at the very instant of perfect ripeness. She holds the waist of the panty-like garment open. Very slowly, she lifts her pretty, bare left foot off the ground, pointing her dainty toes and steering them through the left leg-hole. Then she repeats the process with her other foot.

 

Now, she's ready to pull the bottoms up. She eases them over her delicate-looking – but powerful beyond reason – ankles and her shapely calves. Like someone playing one of those steady-hand games where a loop of wire has to be steered over a squiggly course without setting off an alarm, she pulls the panties up her beautiful smooth lower legs, beyond her flawless knees and ever upwards towards the round, firm perfection of her thighs. She's even more careful as she begins the next phase of the operation; easing the bikini over her tight, sexily spherical buttocks. The two bulges of her cheeks fill the material in a way its designer can only have dreamed of. The thin cloth stretches to accommodate her ideal feminine shape, hugging her rear so that no nuance of its shape is unrevealed.

 

She pulls the panties up as much as she dares until they stretch flat over her groin and she's satisfied there's no wrinkles. Then she slips her thumbs out of the waistband, allowing the elastic to cling to her tiny middle, just below her deep, alluring navel – the sole feature of the marble-smooth flat plain of her abdomen. She breathes a slow sigh of relief. She is halfway there now. Just the top half of the swimsuit to slip into.

 

She picks it up as if it were a priceless vase and holds it out in front of her body, hesitating for a moment. She does not want to destroy this bikini like she did the yellow one. She manoeuvres her long, slender arms cautiously into the straps and then, nervily, guides those straps over the warm, cottony skin of her shoulders. So far so good. The operation to steer the two cups over her chest now beings in earnest. The two empty pockets of material look large, but as she lifts them carefully over their intended positions, it's clear that they are barely big enough. She manoeuvres first the left then the right cup over her arrogantly haughty and inconceivably firm breasts.

 

With real love and pride, she lowers the material onto her breathtakingly large and perfectly-shaped mounds. The already thin cloth now has to expand to try and accommodate the full glory of her chest. Stretched in so many different directions all at once, the cups cling for dear life to her dramatic breasts so that the precise shape of her large, prominent nipples is extremely visible. She watches worried for a moment, fearing that those finger-tip-sized protrusions will burst through at any moment, but somehow, perhaps miraculously, the bikini holds them in.

 

Kim uses as little movement as possible to reach behind herself. She pulls the two sides of the fastening strap towards each other at a speed of a millimetre a second, conscious that any extra strain on the garment might be too much. Finally, the two halves of the clasp meet and interlock. She releases them with maximum care and trepidation. Her upper body looks ready to explode through her swimsuit at any second, but it doesn't. Experimentally, she takes a slow, deep breath. Her chest rises, her breasts performing the remarkable feat of looking even more prominent and dramatic. The bikini, to her relief, proves itself just about up to the task of containing her magnificence. Vast areas of her breasts, especially the cleavage between them, are left uncovered. The outline of her nipples dominates the covered parts.

 

Kim looks down at her feminine protrusions with satisfaction. She can't resist brushing her fingertips over the centre of each cup, teasing her points through the bikini and sending shivers of delight through her body. She pinches her nipples, a low moan escaping through her luscious lips and then she cradles both her exquisite mounds in her palms. They feel so wonderful. She turns to see herself in her full-length mirror and scans her body from her feet slowly upwards past her hips, her waist, her chest, her face and up to her hair. She meets and exceeds her own high standards. She looks good. In fact, she can't help thinking, she looks super.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

Soldering fresh components onto the board requires a greater degree of hand-eye co-ordination than removing them. It's a painstakingly slow task for Randolph. Each transistor he has to attach has three legs which he must solder accurately into place. He is still working on the final leg of the first one. A pile of others lie waiting to be added to the circuit. He curses the way the passing years have severely restricted his dexterity. But it's not for long. With that power inside his body, his hands will shake no longer. Better yet, with that power inside his body, he could have an army of servants to perform these menial tasks for him …

 

Meanwhile, next door, Kim is making her way downstairs. Her Sherman-energy-enhanced hearing detects, as well as the sound of television soap-opera dialogue, the booming of her mother's heart. It's kinda weird, she thinks. Kinda cool, too. Once she's in the hallway, she calls out "Mom, I'm going over to Jessie's house for a while."

 

Kimberley's mother breaks her intense concentration on the exchange between the millionaire's long-lost daughter and the millionaire's third wife who's cheating on the millionaire with his brother who he thought was dead. What did her daughter just say? That she's going over to Jessie's? Jessie … which one's Jessie? Oh yeah. The blond girl. The one with the wealthy parents … A very polite couple, she recalls. And didn't that Jessie get straight A's last semester? That's right she did. That's the kind of kid my Kim should be hanging out with, rather than that usual crowd of punks or grunges or whatever it was kids like that call themselves these days.

 

"OK, honey. Have fun. Don't be late." The slamming of the front door is her daughter's only reply. What else can she do but sigh and try to work out what the long-lost daughter has been telling her cheating stepmother for the past half minute?

 

Kim is heading for the sidewalk. She's pleased with herself and the controlled way she closed the door without smashing it to pieces or tearing it from its hinges. She's also pleased with the ease with which her mother has swallowed yet another of her lies. Maybe being super isn't so bad after all. She's certainly going to have fun with her powers in a few moments when she meets her friends. Her real friends. The ones her parents tell her not to hang with. Definitely not Jessie, she thinks, quickening her stride, her legs suddenly a blur a moment before her whole body becomes a shapeless smear of pink and traces of green as she leisurely accelerates to an easy jog.

 

Jessie definitely won't be there. That boring do-gooder is probably at home with a book, or otherwise doing whatever her boring parents want her to be doing. Kim's got no time at all for Jessie, socially or in any other context. Let her mother think she's with her. Mom's too engrossed in her soap-operas to ever check up on her or anything like that.

 

She approaches a road she needs to cross, but rather than checking for oncoming traffic, she launches herself into a balletic leap that carries her, at a height of over twenty feet, comfortably over to the other side. She lands on one foot and continues her cross-country, five-hundred-mile-an-hour-run as if her stride was never interrupted by her amazing jump. She feels completely at ease with her superhuman abilities. It's going to be so cool when she shows her friends some of the stuff that she can do now. Like running so fast. Even Kim is impressed by the way a journey that was previously a twenty minute walk has now become a fifteen second jog.

 

Her friends are gathered at their usual meeting point, the bus shelter outside school on the highway. As she rockets towards them, somehow Kim has time to study the school building, looming in the distance, a hundred yards behind her classmates, a menacing reminder of education, discipline and social responsibility. Things she hates. She focusses back on the small group of teenagers by the road. She deviates from her arrow-straight trajectory, the blur of her passage taking on a tight kink that seems to be laughing at preconceived notions of what is, and is not, possible. Kim has already learnt to take the apparently unfeasible for granted. It's all an effortless game to her as she comes to a sudden stop about two yards behind her clustered friends.

 

The small crowd, as one, takes a stumbling step forward, pushed by the air Kim's arrival displaces. A split-second after that, the vague streak of movement that has shot through the town becomes a solid, very real form. A sixteen-year old schoolgirl with long straight brown hair and a body direct from a million fantasies, stuffed into a simple, overworked, green two-piece bikini. None one sees her, though, or notices she's there. She's standing behind them, completely silent. Her ultra-rapid approach has not left her panting. She's not even breathing at all. It's only when she calls out a casual "Hi guys" that they whirl around, shocked, and notice her.

 

None of the five girls in the group know what to say at first. Stephanie, Skye and Alex are too stoned, anyway. The most recent of the joints they have been sharing smoulders in Skye's hand, forgotten for the moment. Veronica has only had a few puffs to appear one of the crowd and Carly has only arrived in the past few minutes and has not yet had time to catch up with the others. The thoughts of this last pair are much less clouded and unsurprisingly, they are the first to find words to express them.

 

"Fuck, Kim!" Carly exclaims.

 

"Oh my god where did you come from?" Veronica asks, astonished. The other three just continue their jelly-eyed staring. Kim looks exceptionally pleased with herself, her hands on her hips, her fabulous bust thrust out proudly.

 

A slight look of disapproval flickers across Skye's features as she greets the new arrival "The beach is, like, that way, Kim. Can't you parents afford to get you proper clothes?"

 

The line of questioning seems to touch something in Veronica. Maybe it's the way Kim is so brazenly showing off her curvy body. Veronica can't hide her gnawing envy as she looks at her classmate's overdeveloped and over-displayed chest. "Yeah. You look cheap. Your breasts look like they're fake or something."

 

What happens next is amazing. Kim seems to vanish. There's a whoosh, a gust of wind, a blur. Then Kim reappears. It's all over in less than a second. Somehow Kim is now standing right in front of Veronica, so close to her that the contents of her lime green bikini are almost touching the barely noticeable bumps beneath Veronica's loose sweatshirt. Veronica staggers backwards. Kim's arm flashes out and grabs her by the throat, stopping her mid-stumble. Before anyone can even start to show their shock at this latest turn of events, Kim has lifted her "friend" completely off the pavement with that single hand on her neck. Her free palm rests, casually, on her hip.

 

Veronica is struggling to breathe. Both of her hands are scrabbling furiously at Kim's fingers but she cannot dislodge even one of them. Veronica's feet hang uselessly a foot from the ground. Her face is becoming paler by the moment. The other girls stand around nervously, awed by the display of strength and uncertain what they should do. Kim looks up at Veronica's white features.

 

"There's nothing fake about me." Kim hisses. "And I don't think you want to piss me off anymore, Ver. I'm, like, super now." Veronica coughs and nods frantically in a bid to secure her release. Kim opens her fingers and lets Veronica drop to her knees, gasping for breath and rubbing her throat.

 

"What the fuck happened there?" Carly demands of Kim.

 

"I told you," says Kim, nonchalantly, "I'm super."

 

"You … you got super-powers?" Alex asks.

 

"Duh!" says Kim.

 

"When … er.. like.. what did … you know, like, how?" Stephanie joins the interrogation.

 

"From this old perv who lives in the house next door. It's his invention … some kind of crystal or ray or whatever. He zapped me with it, like totally by accident. I think he was trying to look at my tits or something. He wanted to make himself super – Super Perv, I think – and now instead he's totally pissed and I'm, like, totally super!"

 

"So you got super-powers?" Alex repeats her previous question.

 

"What kind of super-powers?" Carly demands.

 

Kim pauses. The question has made her think. What kind of superpowers does she have? How can she show them off best? What kind of display would really impress her friends? "Well.." she says, "I can jump pretty high." She springs off her knees almost straight up into the starry sky. The others gasp as they stretch their necks to watch the leap. Finally, Kim starts to come down. She lands on the highway, the tarmac cracking beneath her bare feet. "Ta da!" she calls out towards her friends, taking an uninvited, unnecessary bow and then spinning around on her toes and taking another.

 

They're all staring, too shocked by what they have just seen to react to what they can see now. All except Carly who manages to scream "Kim! Look out!"

 

"Huh?" asks Kim, disappointed at the reaction to her big jump. She turns around, just in time to see a station wagon barrelling down on her at sixty miles an hour, it's headlights bathing her in their bright glow. The driver hits the horn and slams on the brakes. Kim has enough time to move, but she doesn't. The surprise has rooted her to the spot. "Shit …" is the only thought she can come up with.

 

The car slams into her knees. Her knees don't move. The car continues to come forward, but the front section of it is forced to bend and tear around Kim's legs. The metal starts to fold up, wadding against her, but still she does not budge. She's now surrounded by crumpled car, the scrap metal building up against her body. The solid block that is the vehicle's engine hits her lower belly and, unable to force her aside, concedes its momentum to her. The remains of the car come to a halt. The driver shoots through the windshield in a fountain of broken glass and goes sailing over Kim's shoulder. He lands twenty yards behind her and then rolls for another ten. There's no more movement after that. Steam hisses from the wreckage blasting Kim's face but she doesn't appear to notice. The front half of the station wagon is unrecognisable, but there's barely a scratch on the back end. Kim smiles.

 

Carly and Alex come running over towards her. Veronica and Skye stay frozen where they were. Stephanie goes to check on the driver. "Shit, Kim! Are you alright"? Alex yells, terrified.

 

"Course I am!" laughs Kim. "I'm super."

 

"Fuck, that was so awesome!" Carly pants. Then she looks around nervously for a moment. "Do you think anyone saw you?"

 

No other vehicles appear to have stopped and there's nothing coming in either direction down the road right now. Kim knows this as she answers "Other than the guy in the car, nah." With a smug look down at what's left of the station wagon lying all around her, she can't help but add "Relax, I'm too smart and too super to get caught."

 

At that precise moment, back at Kim's house, the television is still on. And her mother is still watching it. Now though, she's sitting uncomfortably, bolt upright on the edge of the sofa. She has also now been joined by her husband, Kim's father. The programme on screen is not a soap-opera. It is a Channel 8 News Exclusive entitled "Pizza house Massacre". A scrolling message marqueeing along the bottom of the screen proclaims "Exclusive footage shot by Channel 8 viewer, Faroukh Hussein. Viewers may find these images disturbing.") Above that, there's a jerky, zoomed-in shot of the front of a restaurant in town. In the film, two policemen are shooting at a girl in a red bikini. Their bullets seem to have no effect on the target. And then the girl appears to stride forward and shove two cars sideways-on, clean across the road, killing the cops.

 

"Oh my God!" Kim's mother shrieks. "Is that … Kim?" The man sitting next to her does not reply. His jaw opens and closes several times, but no voice can be heard, save for the anchorman's voice-over. "Right after that the mysterious girl is said to have disappeared. The police are appealing for people to come forward if they have any information regarding her identity. In related news, City Commissioner Frank Holland has described the two slain officers as first-class policemen, vowing to bring their killer to justice."

 

"Where …" Kim's father is slowly regaining the power of speech "Where is she now?" he asks.

 

"Er … Jessie's house."

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7

 

Kim is not at Jessie's house. She's standing in the middle of the highway near her school, up to her waist in station wagon remains. She reaches down into the wreckage with her right hand, her dainty fingers brushing aside steel and chrome as through they are nothing more substantial than two different types of paper, until she feels she had a good grip of something more solid in there. Her digits are sinking into what's left of the car's engine. She raises her hand, lifting the entire vehicle off her legs with that single, slender arm, making the feat look as taxing as removing a stray page of a newspaper.

 

A flick of Kim's wrist sends the ex-station wagon spinning in an arc narrowly over the heads of Carly and Alex who both duck. "Fuck! Watch out, Kim!" Alex says, clearly scared by the near collision. The car crashes down exactly on the spot where Veronica and Sky were standing until two seconds ago, when they dived out of the way, screaming in panic. They only just make it to safety. "Jesus! You could have killed me!" Veronica screeches.

 

"And me!" Skye adds. "Watch out – we're not all invil … invel … we're not all like you! Getting hit by a car could be, you know, tragic."

 

Kim rolls her eyes. She's about to say something when Stephanie calls from down the road where she's crouched over the unmoving form of the station wagon's driver. "Hey! Hey guys! I … I … think this guy's, like, dead!"

 

"Oh, shit not again!" says Kim. But it's soon clear that she's not talking about her role in the premature conclusion of yet another life. Her fingers are inside the waist band of her bikini, poking through a large burn hole in the material. It does not require any great intellect to work out that the damage must have occurred when the car crashed into her groin. She pulls her hand out and lets what's left of the panties snap back into position. "Three bikinis fucked in one day." Kim curses. A small area of pubic hair is now visible through the rough aperture. The other girls stare at it in amazement.

 

"Fuck, Kim." says Carly. "Does that mean that you, like, can't be hurt?"

 

"Uh-huh." Kim acknowledges. "That what it looks like," she adds with a bit of a giggle.

 

"Even … like, even … there?" Carly asks, pointing at the flesh revealed by the missing bit of bikini.

 

"That's nothing." Kim says by way of an answer, walking over towards the resting place of the station wagon. "Wait till you see what I can do with my tits!"

 

"How did I know THEY'd come into it sooner or later." Veronica mutters, still picking herself up. Kim shoots her an angry glance, but decides to let the comment go for now. She's having a good time, and she's feeling generous.

 

"Hey, guys?" Stephanie calls up to them. "Did you hear me? I think this guy here is dead!"

 

"Oh, god. We are in so much trouble …" Veronica begins.

 

"No-one saw anything!" Alex reminds her. "Leave him, Steph." she yells. Stephanie does not move. Meanwhile Kim has, with great care, removed the top portion of her bikini. Her large breasts stand just as high and proud on her slim body without the bikini's help. A couple of the girls cannot help but gasp at the sight of their perfection.

 

"Jeez, Kim … you are so STACKED!" Carly observes.

 

"Don't you think they look TOO big for her body?" Veronica asks no-one in particular, icy jealousy coating her words.

 

Once again, Kim does not react to Veronica's provocation. "You wanna see what I can do with these beauties?" she asks her audience. No-one says "yes", but no-one says "no" either. No-one says anything at all, in fact. They are all lost for words as Kim sways over to the discarded remains of the station wagon. She moves her upper torso as she walks, making her breasts move as much as possible with every step, showing them off. Kim's chest is so firm that her breasts jiggle only slightly as she walks but it is enough for her purposes. She can tell that Veronica is nearly overcome with nausea from envy.

 

She reaches the trunk of the vehicle. The undamaged portion of the wreck. She bends over it, letting her magnificent breasts hang over the back of the car and slowly leans forward. There's a groan when her big nipples begin to press down on the metal panel. The steel starts to stretch and bend beneath her, her feminine flesh effortlessly reshaping it. Her breasts buckle the trunk, putting greater and greater strain on the tough metal until eventually, it has to surrender to her superior firmness and her big chest tears right through the steel. She shakes her shoulders, letting her breasts bounce about and widen the hole they have punched. Then she stands up and allows her classmates to inspect the damage.

 

"Wow." breathes Carly.

 

"Jesus." Alex says.

 

"Fuck." mutters Skye.

 

Even Stephanie has looked up for the driver's corpse. She swallows hard.

 

"Show-off." Veronica comments. Kim is halfway through the precariously difficult task of putting her bikini back on. If she wasn't concerned that a single false move could leave the garment ruined, she would make Veronica apologise for that remark.

 

"What else can you do?" Carly enquires, excited.

 

"Loads of stuff." answers Kim. "I can see and hear stuff a long way away, and I can blow really hard and I can run fast and-"

 

"-How hard can you blow?" interrupts Carly.

 

Kim needs no second invitation to show off. She turns her head to the side, pushes out her thick lips and blows a long, steady stream of her warm breath at the stricken station wagon. The air races from her goddess-like lungs and is steered by those lovely lips into a loud hurricane jet that blasts the car with enough force to lift it briefly from the ground and throw it fifteen yards backwards. "Wow!" "Awesome!" "Shit!" "Fuck!" "Jesus …" her classmate's exclamations make Kim proud. She has already stopped blowing, her mouth reshaping into a smug grin by the time the unfortunate vehicle crashes back down. But her exhalation has leant it more than enough momentum to keep it rolling, side-on, right back onto the highway.

 

There a few seconds' silence, broken by the sound of an approaching car. Its headlamps light up the remains of the station wagon, blocking the highway. A screech of brakes fills the night. The oncoming car spins as it slows, its tyres leaving thick black residue on the road surface. It comes to a halt a matter of inches away from the stricken station wagon. Barely is that drama concluded, when another car comes into view. Again, there's the same high-pitched cry of desperate deceleration. But this time, the driver is not skilled enough to avoid collision. The car smashes into the side of the first vehicle, shunting it into the wrecked station-wagon. Broken glass tinkles as

the three cars come to rest.

 

A huge truck appears in the horizon. The air-horn blasts as it approaches the pile-up and the air-brakes hiss like a thousand furious snakes. Fortunately, the driver was not speeding, and through a combination of his skill and prudence he is able to bring his massive vehicle to a halt without hitting anything. A huge sigh of relief is his only comment. He doesn't want to be crashing his truck. Not with several thousand gallons of gasoline in the giant tank he's hauling …

 

"Shit, be careful Kim!" Skye says

 

"You're gonna get us all into trouble" says Stephanie, nervously

 

"Yeah, leave us out of this." chimes Veronica.

 

Alex says nothing.

 

"Wow! Can you blow cold like that?" asks Carly.

 

"Don't know." Kim answers truthfully. She knows the only way she can find out is by trying. She tilts her head towards the station wagon once again. Taking a deep breath which makes her amazing breasts rise and threaten to burst out of her bikini, she imagines she's blowing on a fresh-from-the-fryer french fry to cool it and begins to exhale. Her breath is immediately visible as a cloud of semi-opaque condensation as it leaves her sexy mouth. The cloud becomes a column that shoots through the air like a laser beam until it reaches the station wagon. Instantly, the whole vehicle turns white. Icicles form on every overhanging surface. Even the air all around it begins to freeze. Kim stretches her lips into a smile. She knows now.

 

"Cool. Really REALLY cool!" Alex jokes.

 

"Hey don't do that near me.." Veronica says.

 

"Maybe we should, like, stop now …" Skye ventures.

 

"I wanna see more." Carly practically pleads. "How strong are you Kim? Could you, like, pick up that truck."

 

The girls all look towards the massive machine. It's cab alone is twice as tall as Kim. The long cylindrical body is huge. Each letter of the word "TEXACO" painted on the side of it is as big as she is. Just one of the machine's twelve tyres alone looks far, far too heavy to lift. Even Kim hesitates for a moment. The vast imbalance between her petite – if curvy – form and the enormous tanker lorry makes her doubt her potency. How could she, with her slender arms, overpower

something so mighty?

 

Kim's brief moment of doubt does not pass unobserved. "She can't." says Alex.

 

"Er.. maybe it's for the best," Skye opines.

 

Kim is still unsure if she should approach the truck. Then Veronica leaps at the opportunity to make a negative comment. "I knew she couldn't do it. She's NOWHERE NEAR as super as she's telling us!" she proclaims.

 

"Oh yeah?" Kim challenges. "Oh fucking YEAH?" She marches purposefully towards the tanker. A wave of nervousness washes over her as she comes close to the behemoth. It's so huge. But she has to do this. She has to show that skinny bitch Veronica just how powerful she now is. She looks at the truck and steels herself. She feels the strength in her stunning body. As she girds her spectacular loins she cannot sense any limits. She can do this … she knows she can.

 

But how to lift something so large? From her considerable experience moving piles of dirty clothes around her bedroom, Kim knows enough of the laws of physics to realise that she needs to seek out the centre of it. She picks a spot one third of the way down the length of the tank, which is just about the middle of the vehicle including the cab. She approaches from the side. There's only going to be one way to set about this task. She must crouch underneath the truck and push upwards. She ducks beneath the mammoth fuel container. With her body folded so that her breasts are resting on her knees, she places her upturned palms flat against the underneath of the vehicle.

 

She doesn't know what to expect as she experimentally presses her hands upwards. A loud, menacing groan tells her that the truck's frame is being tested by forces neither its designers nor its constructors had ever anticipated. She tries to raise her hands. The groan becomes a brief squeal. Something to her left hisses wildly. The entire gas truck lifts from the road. Smoothly and steadily it rises, like an alien craft. She can feel the liquid sloshing about in the vast tank over her head. She can sense the mass balancing on her relatively tiny palms and yet it doesn't feel heavy. Substantial, yes. Bulky, too. But not heavy.

 

She continues to push her arms up until they are straight. The wheels of the lorry are now about three feet from the highway. Kim starts the process of unbending her knees. There's a loud clank from roughly the area where the steam sounded a moment ago. Kim tuns to look and sees that the cab of the truck is bent downwards at an angle to the huge tank she is lifting. It seems it wasn't supposed to be picked up in the middle after all. "Too late now" she thinks, continuing to stand ever more upright. After a few seconds, she is completely vertical, the weight of the massive vehicle held comfortably over her head. The cab section is bent at a forty-five degree angle now. It almost looks as if the petrol tanker is bowing its head in shame. Perhaps it’s the shame of being publicly dominated by a sixteen year old girl.

 

She feels wonderful. She turns her head to see her classmates and sees them all staring at her, amazed. She cannot resist the temptation to emphasise the ease with which she is accomplishing the feat. Slowly, she removes her right hand from the base of the truck overhead. The huge thing pivots slightly now that it is being supported only by her small left palm but Kim manages to keep it balanced. For maximum effect, she places her now spare right hand on her shapely hip. Her keen ears detect the sound of her friends' gasps so she completes the routine by bending her left arm and straightening it out again several times, making the entire truck bounce wildly up and down.

 

The door to the driver's cab opens and a middle aged man with an ashen face carefully drops out onto the road. He immediately turns, spots the beautiful teenager holding his rig in the air with a single hand and begins to mumble "oh fuck oh god oh fuck oh …"

 

Kim thinks it might be fun to walk over to her classmates now, holding the truck out on her palm like a waiter bringing a tray to a table in a restaurant. She's quite keen to know what Veronica might want to say to her after she's performed that particular trick. She takes a cautious step, then another before feeling comfortable walking with such an unlikely cargo. By then she's strolling confidently down the road. The stunned truck driver finds himself calling out "Hey! Be careful! That's full of gasoline!"

 

"Whatever, dude." Kim answers without bothering to look round. She sees her friends whispering to each other, believing that she's out of earshot. She tunes her super-hearing into their conversations.

 

Stephanie is whispering to Skye "Do you realise, that little slut could do anything? Nobody'll be able to stop her."

 

"I'm kind of scared of her." Skye admits.

 

"She, like, has NO regard for OUR safety. Doesn't she realise we're not super?" wonders Stephanie.

 

Meanwhile, Veronica hisses into Alex's ear "What's so special about her that she gets super-powers?"

 

"Yeah," agrees Alex, "I wonder who she slept with."

 

"Such a show off." Veronica criticises. "Doesn't she know it's totally unfeminine to be so strong. Guys won't like it at all. At least, cute guys won't."

 

"Hey, Veronica!" Kim calls over. "Didn't you think I'd have, like, super-hearing too?" She draws her arm back as if she's preparing to toss the massive gas tanker at Veronica.

 

"Oh fuck, no!" Veronica cries. Skye screams. Even Carly looks scared.

 

Kim bursts out laughing. "Made you piss yourselves!" she declares, delightedly.

 

"I'm out of here." Stephanie announces.

 

"Me too." says Skye. The two girls take a couple of steps away and then break into a run down the side of the highway.

 

"Chickenshits!" Kim shouts after them. The remaining three girls stare at Kim as she ambles right over to them, the truck suspended above her head as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

 

"Kim, I.. I didn't mean what I said before …" Veronica hurries to greet Kim with words of reconciliation.

 

"Whatever" says Kim with a shrug that makes her breasts and the gas tanker bounce dramatically.

 

"Hey!" Carly yells, delighted. "I've just had a totally cool idea. Kim why don't you, like, totally block up the school doors with that thing?"

 

"Yeah!" agrees Alex. "It might even get us a couple of days off while they pull it out and fix everything up. That'd be so cool!"

 

"I … I'm not sure you should do that, Kim." Veronica says.

 

"Oh yeah? Why not? Don't think I can, Ver?" challenges Kim.

 

"No, no, Kim. I bet you can. I just think it might be dange-"

 

"-Then shut up." Kim interrupts. No-one is going to spoil her party. Kim fixes her superhuman eyes on the huge double doors of the school entrance. Instantly, the scene becomes as clear to her as if she were standing just ten yards away, instead of her real distance of a hundred yards. She could walk the truck up to the school and carefully wedge it in the doorway. It's not that far away and it's not as though her arm is tiring at all holding dozens of tons of lorry overhead. But, it seems such a chore to walk all the way over there. Especially when there's a quicker way.

 

Kim has very little experience of using her new strength. But confidence has never been a commodity she has lacked. And now that she can feel so much power surging through her body, her self-assurance has reached an even higher plane. It's as though there's a network of raging rivers of seemingly limitless energy running through her very existence. She is pure power, incarnated in the very human form of a voluptuous sixteen year old brat.

 

She does not doubt at all now. Does not question her abilities. She knows she has the strength – the power – in her comparatively tiny frame to throw the massive truck as far as the school doors. She does not concern herself with any attempt at gauging the correct amount of force she needs to apply to precisely wedge the tanker in the doorway as Carly originally suggested. Her cursory analysis of the situation leads her to the conclusion that no matter how hard she launches the lorry, it's bound to end up stuck in the entrance. She decides the best course of action will be to throw the truck as hard as she can at the double doors and hope for the best.

 

"Hey guys!" she calls over to her classmates. "Check this out!".

 

Kim has to adjust her hands slightly underneath the enormous tank. She wants to release it front-on to the school with the bowing cab leading the way, so she must turn her fantastic body to face her target, with one arm in front of her face and the other behind her head. This does not allow her quite as much purchase as she previously enjoyed, but it is still enough. She draws her arms back, bending her elbows. The entire massive vehicle lurches backwards above her, in direct response to the all-conquering demands of her barely visible but insanely potent muscles. She can feel the terrible potentiality of her slender limbs as they prepare to shoot forwards and launch their cargo. It's awesome!

 

She straightens her arms and flings them forwards, letting the vast metal tank slip from her palms and then using her fingertips to impart a final massive boost to its already missile-like flight. The truck's trajectory bares more in common with that of a bullet leaving a gun than the traditional arc normally associated with a human being throwing an object. Dozens of tons of steel and fuel in the form of the petrol lorry rocket away from Kim. The tanker neither gains nor loses height as it shoots towards the school entrance. She's put too much into the throw. Even she can see that. Her classmates notice it, but have less than a second to react. It's just enough time for their jaws to flop open. With the benefit of super-speed, Kim can get so much more done. Instead she chooses to bite her bottom lip as if to say "Ooops! Oh well."

 

Her aim is impeccable. The front of the driver's cab hits the big doors dead centre. The big wooden panels dissolve into a billion matchsticks in an instant, without slowing the vehicle. The tank is slightly larger than the door frame. It knocks concrete and plaster out of its way as the huge metal cylinder follows the cab through the entrance. The floor above, suddenly lacking the support of the load-bearing doorway below, sags. Bricks and stone cascade down onto the top of the passing tank. Meanwhile, debris is starting to build up in the foyer all around the onrushing truck. It crashes through a second wall, setting off an even greater avalanche of concrete from on high. A steel girder snaps and bends downwards, puncturing the roof of the gasoline container and the rough edges of the gash scrape on fallen masonry, creating sparks.

 

To Veronica, Alex, Carly and Kim it appears as if every light in every room in the building is simultaneously switched on. A split-second later, most of the glass in the building bursts outwards. Then vast, furious tongues of yellow flame spit out of the empty window frames. A Boom! that hurts the ears of everyone except Kim is accompanied by a seismic shaking of the ground. The whole school appears to transform into a dancing, terrifying ball of orange and red flame. The ground shakes for a second time, but this time the noise that goes with it is a more protracted, rumbling sound. Alex screams.

 

Slowly, the fireball dissipates and retreats downwards into something resembling a more conventional blaze. But there's something wrong. They can all see it through the flickering of flames. The school building has just … gone.

 

"Shit! I'm out of here!" Alex mutters. She turns and runs. Kim glances at her angrily. She seems to dematerialise into a streak that stretches all the way from where she was standing to a point about a yard in front of Alex. An instant later, the streak is gone and Kim is now standing right in Alex's path. The runner notices the new bikini-clad obstacle just in time and stops, startled.

 

"Hey!" Kim chastises, while Alex tries to recover herself. "Where d'ya think you're going? Throwing that truck was YOUR idea."

 

"No way …" puffs Alex, "You threw it, you freak."

 

"WHAT did you call me?" Kim is genuinely upset.

 

Alex is genuinely out of her mind. She's seen too much. There are too many extreme emotions pinging around inside her brain. Excitement at the thought of the door that's just been opened to a whole universe of new possibilities conflicts with terror of being implicated in death and destruction or worse, becoming a victim of them. Also present in the mix: jealousy that it should be someone else – someone she knows – who has become the special one. The final ingredient in her volatile mental cocktail is lust. No matter how much Alex tries to repress her inner thoughts, no matter how much effort she usually spends denying them to the outside world, right now she cannot escape the vision of Kim's breasts. She makes one last ditch effort to make the world believe that she does not have any such feelings for Kim. She shouts at her: "I called you a freak, you freaking freak!"

 

Kim's right hand flashes out. There's a splash of crimson and Alex slumps to the ground. When Veronica and Carly look, there's no sign of Alex's head anywhere. Kim is bending over Alex's decapitated corpse, casually wiping blood off her forearm on her ex-friend's designer jeans.

 

Veronica glances at her then at Carly who is visibly trembling. Then she runs. Kim looks up at catches Carly's eye. Carly is too scared to run. "You …you killed Alex." she says in a quiet, quivering voice.

 

"What are you going to do about it?" Kim asks, menacingly. She abandons her cleaning, and stands up, taking a step towards Carly.

 

"P.. Please, don't hurt me, Kim." Carly whimpers.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 8

 

The last transistor is in place. The new diodes, capacitors and other components are also soldered in. Having verified that it is indeed complete, Randolph has placed the modified circuit board to one side. He rubs his sore wrist and his aching fingers, cursing the arthritic pains he has to endure to fulfil his destiny. Still, despite the continual discomfort he is suffering, he cannot resist picking up his one and only Sherman crystal. He holds it out between his thumb and forefinger, turning it in the powerful artificial glow of his work light. It truly is his masterpiece; maybe even the greatest achievement in the entire history of biochemistry.

 

The crystal looks so dull, so.. ordinary right now, but Randolph knows that it will soon be a very different proposition. Once it has been filled with power – his power, which he so painstakingly and patiently collected for forty years – it will be far too hot to touch and it will glow with his energy. Energy which he will soon be able to reclaim from the foul juvenile enchantress who stole it. Energy which he will then be able to transfer into his own, wholesome body. He will be able to use the power so much more intelligently than any ignorant youngster, so much more appropriately than any female. Yes! When the world sees him wield the might of his discovery, there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that he is responsible for the single greatest scientific accomplishment of all time. In any field.

 

Back at the highway, Kim finds herself all alone. Her so-called friends have either fled or been killed. Even the survivors from the vehicles caught up in Kim's exhibition have seen more than enough to conclude that the greater the distance they can put between Kim and themselves, the better. Her wonderful eyesight allows her to truly see the colossal extent of the damage inflicted on the formerly imposing school building. Amidst flickering flames, she knows that nothing remains of the four-storey edifice bar a pile of burning and unrecognisable rubble. There's no-one left to show off to, and just about nothing left to show off with. She's done here. She might as well go home. After all, she's got to change. Yet again …

 

She breaks into a fast but comfortable jog, instantly accelerating to a speed of over nine hundred miles per hour, outrunning the sounds of police sirens approaching from the opposite direction and so never hearing them. Neither is she aware of the helicopter speeding to the scene. If she'd waited a minute, she'd have been able, with her awesome eyes, to read the Channel 8 News logo on the side. But by the time the whirlybird makes it to the smouldering ruins of the J. Edgar Hoover High School, Kim is already standing on the sidewalk in front of her house.

 

While Kim sighs at the tedious prospect of having to leap over her home in order to get inside without keys for the second time that day, Randolph sighs at the frustration of not being able to remember when – and most pertinently – where he last used his orange electrical extension reel. Was it when he last cut the grass in the back yard? Or when he tried to set up that night-vision camera with motion-detector that was supposed to record any nocturnal activity taking place in the bedroom of the whore next door? The camera failed because the inconsiderate filthy trollop always remembered to close her bedroom curtains at night. But was that before or after he mowed the lawn? He's pretty sure it was after, which means the extension reel must be somewhere here in the garage.

 

His frustration is heightened by the knowledge that his crystal-charging, power-draining ray is now ready. All he lacks now is a way of powering it at any distance greater than five feet from his workbench. He fails to draw comfort from the irony that once he regains his energy, the degeneration of his memory will no longer be a daily factor in his life. He will also be able to see in much greater detail, something from which he could benefit right now as he casts furiously around the garage, hunting the last piece in his jigsaw. Then again, as he has already fantasised a thousand times before, once he regains the power, he could have an army of servants to find the reel. Oh yes, he can picture it so clearly. His army of filthy, degenerate females – re-educated, of course, to know their place and follow his glorious leadership with unwavering loyalty – ready to spring into action at his whim.

 

No! He must stop touching himself. Stop allowing himself to be derailed from his straight and noble course by these disgusting thoughts. Thoughts planted in his head by evil, black-magic-practising witches for the very purpose of distracting him. No. He will not let the witches – the females – win. He will keep his hands away from his groin and dedicate his whole mind to the task of finding the extension coil. He will ignore the sensation of his erect penis pressing insistently against the inside of his trouser-fly. He will not be side-tracked!

 

Kim, on the other hand, is already having to deviate from her plans. There's no point leaping into the back garden now. As far as avoiding her parents goes, it's too late. Her father's seen her hanging about on the sidewalk. He must've been waiting for her or something. Maybe he's pissed about the mess in the back yard. She'll just tell him some bullshit about it not being her fault and he'll buy it. He always does. He'd never accept that his little princess was anything less than perfect. How could she be, he'd think. She's had a perfect childhood. Never wanted for anything. Always had everything she asked for delivered to her. Why wouldn't she be a good person?

 

She walks confidently up to the front door as her father opens it. He seems to be looking at her strangely as she enters the house, like he's studying her to see if she's really his daughter and not an almost-identical fake. And, most unusually for him, he isn't talking. He hasn't said "How's my princess?" or "Hey, Sunbeam!". She dismisses the odd behaviour as yet another shitty aspect of getting old. She hopes she won't have to go through all that crap now that's she super and all. God! It's like he's getting alkaseltzerheimers or whatever that thing is called when old folks can't remember their own names. He's left the front door open and just walked off into the TV room. She'd better close it. A burglar could come in and steal all her clothes. Then again, she'll have to do it really carefully so as not to smash the door. And anyone seeking to even touch her clothes without her permission is so going to die that it doesn't matter.

 

"Fuck the door" she concludes, leaving it slightly ajar. She's about to go upstairs to claim the sanctuary of her bedroom when her mother's voice reaches out to her from the T.V. room. "Kimberly? Could you step in here please? Your father and I need to talk to you."

 

She sighs. It IS going to be about the back yard. She may as well get this over with now so that her parents will leave her alone afterwards …

 

"Kimberly!" her mother begins the interrogation as she walks in. "Where have you been, dressed like that?"

 

"I told you, mom. I went to Jessie's house. To study. And, er, do stuff."

 

"We know that's a lie." her father says. "I spoke to Jessie's dad three times this evening and I know you haven't been there. Now, answer your mother's question. Where have you been?"

 

"Down by the highway."

 

"Doing WHAT?" her mom practically shrieks "And with WHO?"

 

"Hanging with my friends."

 

"What did you do after school today?" Her father asks.

 

"Just came home and worked on my tan. What's the problem?"

 

"Are you sure you didn't go downtown, Kim?" her mother says, softly. "We … we … your father and I saw some … er … saw some pictures on the television that looked a lot like you."

 

"On the news." her father adds. "Was that you Kim? Look at me, Kim. Look at me and tell me, was that you in the Pasta place?"

 

Her mind is racing. She's been on television – how cool is that?! What a shame that she missed it! Maybe her dad taped it. She hopes that some of the other guys from school – the ones that weren't with her earlier tonight – saw it too. She's about to correct her father and tell him it was a Pizza place, not a Pasta place when she realises that displaying such in-depth knowledge of the now-famous restaurant's menu would not be a good move right now. That's because she's got a cast-iron alibi which she doesn't want to compromise. One single, simple line should do it. "I don't know what you're talking about." she announces. That should get the heat off her back.

 

For some reason, her brilliant plan does not succeed. "Show her, Earl." her mother instructs. "Put the TV on Channel 8. They've been running that clip all night. They're bound to show it again." Her dad obeys. All three of them turn to face the image on the flickering screen. It's not the footage from Luigi's. It's an aerial shot of a building, or rather the ruins of a building, in flames. It looks somehow familiar. The pictures are accompanied by the studio anchorman's voice:

 

"What you're seeing now are images being captured live from the Channel 8 News 'copter of the fire still burning at the J. Edgar Hoover High School. We've just heard from a fire department official that the entire school building has been totally destroyed, possibly – although this is as yet unconfirmed – by an explosion. Let's go live now to our reporter Ken Clark who's on the scene. Ken, do you have any further information on what might have caused this fire or, indeed, whether or not there was an explosion as the fire department say is likely?"

 

"Well, Mike, there's been no official word on any of this so far. I can tell you that the damage to the school building, as best that I can see, is pretty total. There's no indication yet of any casualties in the school building, but the local Sheriff has told me that two bodies, believed to be students at J. Edgar Hoover High, have been recovered from beside the highway that runs alongside the school here. The Sheriff did not give any further details, except to say that, given the condition they were found in, identifying the two bodies would take some time. Perhaps significantly, Mike, he refused to rule out a connection between events here and the Pizza-House slayings this afternoon."

 

"Thanks, Ken. You're watching Channel 8 News with me, Mike Rofoan. Right now, we're going to hear from Marcie Green, who is head of the School Board at the J. Edgar Hoover High. Marcie joins us now by telephone. Marcie, do you have any idea what might have caused such a devastating fire?"

 

"Ah, good evening, Mike. No, none of us have any clue what could have happened. Our school boasts the third best safety record in this county and the eleventh best in the whole state and we all work hard – parents, teachers and kids – to try and sustain that record. We're all just shocked that this has happened."

 

"Marcie, we'll continue this interview in just a moment, but right now we're going back to Ken Clark live at the school. Ken, I believe you have tracked down a eyewitness? Is that her with you now?"

 

"Yes, that's right Mike. This young lady claims to have witnessed everything. Would you please tell the Channel 8 News viewers what started this fire?"

 

"It was Kim. She did it." The interviewee glances to her left and her right "Am I really on TV?" she suddenly asks.

 

"You're live on the Channel 8 News." Ken confirms, expertly trying to keep the unrehearsed interview as professional as he can. "Who's Kim? Is she a student at J. Edgar Hoover High?"

 

"Yeah. She's gotten totally super – superpowers, you know what I mean? She threw a gasoline truck at the school. She's out of control."

 

"You're so dead, Veronica." Kim says to the girl on the TV screen. Her father switches the television off with the remote control and holds his head in his hands. Her mother falls back into the sofa, shaking her head in shock.

 

"So," her father says, slowly, the words forming themselves with difficulty, "It was you at the Pasta place … And this explosion at the school – was that you too, Kim?"

 

Kim neither denies nor admits the charges. Her parents make the correct assumption that, under the circumstances, the lack of a denial is worth as much as the presence of an admission. Her mother bursts into tears.

 

Just thirty yards away there is evidence of a very much contrasting emotion. In Randolph's garage, it is a moment on a par with Archemedes' legendary bath-bound yell. He has located the extension reel. He puffs and sweats as he stretches to plug its trailing cord into the home-made transformer beneath his workbench, but in his heart now there is nothing but anticipation. Sweet, tingling anticipation. The moment is close. Soon … Soon he will take back that which is his from she that has stolen it. He lifts his beam-generator from its podium, the weight of the contraption straining him almost to his last ounce of strength as he activates the mechanism to open the garage door. Before the door is even two-thirds raised, Randolph has ducked beneath it. He marches, full of righteous intent towards the house next door, leaving a lengthening trail of orange cable in his wake. Can he really see what he thinks he can see? A chink of light on one side of the front door? Yes! The obliging imbeciles have left the door open for him …

 

"Kim, what have you done?" her mother sobs. "We didn't raise you to be a killer!"

 

"Relax, Mom." Kim misinterprets the gist of her mother's cry. "I got superpowers. No-one can touch me."

 

"We can," says her mother. "we're you parents."

 

Her father drones "I … I have to call the police."

 

"Oh no you don't." Kim tells him. She becomes a smear before his eyes. He feels a sudden gust of wind that nearly knocks him over and as he stumbles, there's a loud crunching sound to his left. Suddenly, Kim is standing on the other side of the room, the crushed up ruins of two cellphones – his and his wife's and the TV room telephone – falling from her hands. She brushes her hands off theatrically.

 

"What are you going to do now, Kim?" her mother asks, now unexpectedly calm. "Are you going to kill us?" Kim's father is too shocked to speak, so his wife goes on "What's happened to you, Kim? What's happened to our little girl?"

 

"I told you," says Kim in a voice that suggests she's getting bored of the line of questioning "I got superpowers. I can do anything."

 

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" her father suddenly announces.

 

Kim rolls her eyes. "Well …. you don't, Dad," she retorts.

 

"What's happened to my baby?" her mother demands to know, tearfully. "How … how did this happen? Where did you get these 'superpowers'?"

 

"She stole them from me!" shouts Randolph, triumphantly, as he bursts into the room carrying his beam-generator and trailing thick electric flex behind him.

 

"What the hell's going on?" Kim's father stands up.

 

"Your slut of a daughter stole my work! She stole my powers!" Randolph answers.

 

"Don't call her that!" Kim's dad instinctively protects his princess' honour.

 

"I'll be able to call anyone what I want as soon as I absorb the powers out of that girl with this de-Shermanizer and restore them to their rightful owner – me." Randolph rants. "Just as soon as I press this bu-"

 

"-No way, dude." Kim interrupts him. Less than a split-second later, the large metal contraption is a series of dozens of pieces of torn and twisted metal and circuitry, scattered on the floor like bizarre confetti.

 

"No!" screams Randolph. It's not pain that makes him cry. It's something far worse: failure. Failure yet again. Failure, once more, at the hands of the same stupid, immature, degenerate, disrespectful whore. It's so unjust! All his effort, all his genius, destroyed in the blink of an eye. Just as it was so difficult for him to reassemble and reconfigure the beam generator, so it was sublimely easy for the obscene trollop to tear it apart. His labour took hours, she has undone it in microseconds. To build that machine took a mind as powerful as any on the planet, honed by decades of study. To destroy it required nothing but an ill-educated, unintelligent, inexperienced … female. "No! No! No! No!" he screams.

 

Kim ignores the old man's tantrum. She's just realised something. She shares it with the room, just in case anyone there might be thinking she's not very clever. "And there's not going to be any running off home to build a new one of those. No more zapping for Randy here!" she decrees. She takes a step towards the sexagenarian who backs away, gets his ankle caught in the cable still lying on the floor behind him, and falls backwards. Randolph smacks the carpet with the back of his head and does not move. His eyes are closed. Kim bends towards him.

 

"Kim! No! What are you doing?" her mother yells.

 

Kim looks up to tell her mum to shut up, but she never gets to say the words. Her superhuman ears detect the sound of cars – lots of cars – in the road outside. Something's going on out there. She races to the window and pulls the curtain aside. "Shit!" she says "Cops!"

 

Kim's parents look at one another, their daughter and the elderly man lying unconscious on the floor. Kim looks at her parents, the elderly man and the men piling out of cars, swarming like a plague of insects on the sidewalk in front of the house. A few seconds pass. No-one moves and no-one says anything. Then the silence in the room is broken by an amplified voice carried over a megaphone loudspeaker from outside. "Kim! This is the police! We know you are in there. The house is surrounded. You have thirty seconds to come out with your hands in the air and surrender peacefully!"

 

Kim has no intention of surrendering to anyone, peacefully or any other way. Why should she? She's never been keen to do what other people told her to do before and, hey, she's super now. What's the point of that if she can't do exactly what she wants? She's about to walk out of the TV room and make her way to the front door to confront the boys in blue, when she has a better idea. Why would a girl need a front door when she's tougher than steel and strong enough to throw a truck? She smiles, placing her hands defiantly and dominantly on her shapely hips and thrusting out her remarkable chest, testing her bikini top to the very edge of its capabilities. Then she strides straight towards the window. She keeps walking as she comes to the wall. It's only bricks and plaster, concrete and bits of steel. Nothing there that she needs to be concerned about.

 

Her bare foot kicks into and clean through the side of the house, emerging in a small shower of fragments into the front yard. Dozens of startled police aim their guns at the small bit of gorgeous naked female leg sticking out of the wall. Kim has stepped right through the building as if it wasn't there. Enjoying the sight of her body causing so much damage, she continues her stride. The front of her body slams into the wall, pressing into it with a force hundreds of times stronger than any it is intended to withstand. Her stunning breasts, so large and proud on her upper torso, lead the onslaught, smashing and grinding to powder any substance or object that dares to stand in her way. Even her face now is carving through the wall, her beautiful features utterly undamaged as they demolish brick and stone.

 

Half a second later, an area six foot high by three feet wide of bricks bursts noisily outwards from the front of the building. Pieces of wall fly as far as the nearest police, injuring a couple of them. A cloud of dust fills the yard for a moment. It clears, revealing the startling sight of a beautiful sixteen-year old in a bikini standing, hands on hips, inside a rough hole, almost exactly her size, in the front of the house. She strolls forward through the gap, her nose imperiously in the air as she surveys the ranks of law-enforcers spread out in front of her. Each confident, languid step she takes causes another chunk of displaced concrete or brick to be crushed to dust beneath her bare soles. She doesn't even notice. She just continues to advance, fluid sexy stride after fluid sexy stride.

 

"Freeze!" The megaphoned yell intrigues Kim just enough for her to turn her head slightly to look at its source.

 

"No. YOU freeze!" she retorts to the overweight man with the loudspeaker. She pushes those gorgeous red lips out, as though proffering him a kiss. But the lips are just a guide to steer a strong blast of her coldest superbreath. The air her powerful exhalation touches condenses to moisture immediately. The shape of the jet of her breath becomes clearly visible as a conical, white cloud that tapers to a point at the precise centre of her irresistible pout. As she effortlessly blows, the other end of the cloud stretches rapidly away from her until it touches the man with the megaphone.

 

In the span of a second, Kim's breath turns every molecule of liquid in every cell in the officer's body into ice. She closes her mouth once she has turned him into an completely solid statue, coated in a thick layer of frozen air. Kim smiles at the effectiveness of her lung-power. The cops stare in horror and amazement, but not for long. They know that she killed their colleagues at the Pizza place earlier in the day. Now they have witnessed her taking the life of yet another policeman. Even Kim is not surprised when, almost as one, the men crowded around the front yard open fire on her.

 

There must be two dozen pistols aimed at her and half a dozen rifles. Not every shot hits her, but the vast majority do. To Kim, facing the onslaught of bullets directly, her hands still on her hips, her lovely eyes wide open, her erotic mouth showing no emotion beyond a defiant, slightly bored sneer, the sensation is rather like lying on a lawn under light drizzle. That's how the continuous stream of impacts feels for her. Like harmless light raindrops, bouncing off her skin.

 

The lead and steel barrage is insistent, but her body refuses to allow even one of the thousands of bullets to make a mark. They bounce off her forehead, her cheeks, her chin, even her sneer. They ricochet uselessly from her neck and her shoulders, and her perfect abdomen. They peck holes in the heroic fabric of her bikini until there's more hole than material, and what's left falls in tatters from her. Now her remarkable breasts and her inviting groin are on clear display. It's just more flawless flesh for supersonic metal projectiles to rebound away from. Kim leisurely brings her left palm up to her mouth to stifle a pretend yawn. Then her hand returns to her hip and the sneer takes over facial expression duties once more. The useless onslaught continues all the while.

 

About one in twenty of the shots meant for Kim misses its intended target entirely. These bullets, unlike the ones wasted on the teenage girl's naked body, are able to do actual damage. The windows of the front of the house have all been shattered. The brickwork all around the rough Kim-shaped hole is pockmarked with countless deep holes. Some shots actually deflect of her smooth, flawless skin and ping into the house, chipping more brick, smashing more glass. The increasing tarnishing of the front of the building is the only proof that the police are using real bullets. The way Kim seems so completely unaffected by the unceasing stream of gunfire makes them wonder if their weapons are working at all.

 

Inside the house, Kim's parents are lying on their stomachs on the shattered-glass-covered floor. The air is thick with dust. Deadly bullets fly over head from time to time through the windows, showing their destructive power by burying themselves deep into the far wall. Kim's mother and father dare not move for fear of being struck by one of these stray shots. From the floor, they look up towards the enormous gap in the wall which their daughter smashed, apparently merely by walking through. They can see her, naked, out in the front yard, absorbing the brunt of the lead and steel assault. Neither of them can believe that this superhuman killer is the same sweet, innocent Kimmie that they have been raising with such care for the past sixteen years.

 

They watch their precious offspring moving towards the semicircle of police in front of their home until she vanishes from their line of sight. Maybe now would be a good time for them to move. Kim's father gestures to his wife and they both begin to crawl out of the TV room towards the improved sanctuary offered by the back of the house. A bullet whizzes close to Kim's mother's head. Both parents dive back to the ground. They wait a couple of seconds and then recommence their tortuously slow trek. They're just a few yards now from the TV room door. Once they get through there, they should be a lot safer.

 

As bullets continue to bounce off her completely exposed body, Kim decides she has had enough. She starts to approach the line of police with determination. As she nears, the level of firing diminishes considerably. No officer wants to run the risk of hitting one of his own by accident. Or even, incredible though it seems, seeing one of his own injured – or worse – by a perfectly accurate shot that might ricochet from some part of the girl's fully-visible and utterly desirable anatomy. Now Kim is only being hit on her back and her peach-like rear, and only at a rate of a couple of bullets a second. It doesn't really make any difference to her though. One bullet, ten bullets, a thousand. On her legs, her groin, her backside, her hips, her stomach, her wonderful chest, her arms, her head, her face. They just don't hurt her. They don't even mark her skin.

 

The arrogant, yet oh-so-sexy, sneer is still fixed on her face as she quickly reaches forward with her hands, grabbing a fistful of police shirt with each. She bends her arms, effortlessly lifting the two men she has selected at random from the ground. They kick at her bare legs, pound her face and her body with their fists and struggle with all their might to prise her petite fingers off their clothes, but their efforts are in vain. They cannot hurt her. They cannot move her digits even a hairsbreadth. They hang, helplessly from her unbreakable grasp, their hands and feet bruising against her silky skin. Other cops try to come to their rescue, attacking Kim's arms and skull with their night-sticks, trying to wound her with the butts of their pistols, the soles of their boots, their teeth – anything. But they are wasting their time. Kim tosses the two men she has captured over her shoulders with a simple movement of her arms.

 

Inside the house, her parents have almost made it to the door. They can hear how the sound of guns outside has now been replaced by a serious of grunts and shouts. They take this to be a good sign and make a break for the hallway. There's a scream and two large objects rocket into the room through the destroyed windows. One of the objects clips Kim's father, knocking him down onto his face before it continues its flight towards the far wall. The other object passes through the room unhindered. Both objects strike the far wall with a sickening splat. It's only then, amidst the blood and the uniforms, that Kim's mother realises that the two objects are policemen's corpses. She turns away from the horrendous sight and looks down at her husband. Slowly, he picks himself up. She helps him make the last few feet out of the room.

 

A wave of Kim's lengthy, slender arm sweeps three more men off their feet, sending them spinning thirty feet through the air. They land, awkwardly, on the hard street. None of them move. The others are beginning to scatter. Kim crosses the sidewalk, bending low by a parked squad car. She hooks the fingers of her right hand around the top of the nearest wheel-arch and stands up, the near corner of the car lifting with her, her single arm effortlessly holding its weight. She pulls the car up until she can easily reach her free hand underneath to grab hold of the chassis. Then a simple fluid movement of her arms raises the entire vehicle over her head. Compared with the tanker truck she lifted earlier, the task of hoisting the cop car feels as taxing to her as picking up a sheet of paper.

 

Kim draws her arms back and releases the vehicle, tossing it at a group of three fleeing officers. The automobile leaves her hands like a missile, obliterating its targets before it even hits the ground. Then it explodes, sending huge chunks of metal in every direction as flames engulf the area. A number of surviving police are cut down by shrapnel and others are burnt by the fireball. A particularly vicious chunk of twisted steel smacks Kim on her navel with a "Clang!" and bounces to the ground, now bearing the imprint of her abdomen. She picks it up, her fingers crushing the metal where she grips it. Using her other hand she carefully squeezes the steel between her palms, oblivious to its metallic groans as she compacts it and smooths it with her fingers until it is a solid, grapefruit-sized sphere.

 

There's panic now as the remaining men run for their lives. Kim chucks her new ball underarm. It passes right through the bodies of two policemen without even slowing before punching a hole in the side of a parked car. She does not pause to reflect on either the feat of strength or the carnage. She turns her head in the direction of another man sprinting away and, pouting, blows a short, casual blast of superbreath in his direction. It's enough to create a brief gust of warm, gale-force wind that pushes the runner forward so hard, his feet come off the road and he flies twenty yards down the road, smashing hard into one of his colleagues. The impact kills both men.

 

Meanwhile, inside the house, Kim's parents are crouched on the floor of the kitchen which overlooks the back yard. They can't see out of the widows because they're too low. But they feel safer here. Much safer. "What are we going to do?" Kim's mother asks. Given the situation they now find themselves in, and the events of the past few hours, it's a massive question.

 

"I … I don't know." whispers Kim's father by way of a reply. He listens to the sounds of burning fire and the other terrifying noises outside of the house. Noises like the less and less frequent shouts of men, some of them cut short in a way that makes his skin crawl. The sound of a distant car engine. The sound of a car crash, tinkling glass. A scream. Something large and wet hitting a wall.

 

Kim is finishing off the last of the police. Two of them had been hiding in the front seats of a car parked a little up the road. The sounds her father could hear were the men trying to make a break by starting up the car and flooring the accelerator. Kim simply took off in pursuit, catching up with the speeding automobile in a couple of strides, overtaking it and placing herself right in its path. The front of the vehicle crumpled up against her tiny midsection and the windshield shattered. The occupants were so severely jarred by the impact that only one of them survived. The scream that was audible in the kitchen was this man's last act as Kim reached for him.

 

Now, the street is silent save for the licking of flames from what little is left of the squad car Kim threw. There are no guns being fired and no cars being driven. There's no-one left to shoot or drive. There are no more runners trying to escape. Uniformed corpses and pieces of bodies litter the sidewalk and the front yard of the house. Crooked and deformed used bullets are scattered all over the lawn. Wrecked automobiles punctuate the horrific scene. The front of the house, with its huge hole and its bullet-marks looks like a scene from a war report on television. Nothing seems to have survived the past five minutes intact or undamaged … except, of course, for Kim herself. There's not so much as a scratch anywhere on her glorious nude body.

 

She casts her gaze imperiously over the mess. Then she checks the chaos visible inside the house. Her careless glance reveals no sign of any movement. She wonders, for a moment, if her parents are all right. She begins to move with the intention of checking on them and then realises that she really doesn't want another boring lecture from them right now. Perhaps, she's better off avoiding them for now. After all, she has more important things to take care of. She's lost yet another swimsuit. At the rate she's going through them, she's going to need a whole new wardrobe. In fact … She smiles as a rare idea forms itself in her mind. Then she becomes a blur of pink that disappears into the night.

 

In the kitchen of the house, the silence weighs heavy. With extreme caution, Kim's father stands up. He offers his hand to his wife to help her to her feet. Then, they hear something inside the house. A sound. Terrified, they revert in an instant to their crouching station. It will be quite some time before either of them moves again. They listen to the noises. A splutter. A groan. And then a cough.

 

The settled dust and plaster in the T.V. room shifts slightly. A pile of broken glass is displaced. A wrinkled, skinny male arm appears from beneath. Then another. Then a grey-haired head. Randolph sits up slowly, shaking the debris from his shoulders and sleeves. He rubs the back of his head and feels the fresh, painful swelling there. His leg hurts as he gingerly stands. He feels nauseous. He reaches out for something to support himself with and finds nothing. The room seems to be spinning. His stomach churns. He doesn't feel steady at all. He sinks to his knees. He retches, once, twice and then vomits for real.

 

Randolph wipes his mouth and tries to focus his eyes. He can see tiny pieces of his beam-generator distributed all over the floor amongst the brick and glass and plaster and … he turns away in quickly in disgust from the sight of the two exploded bodies on the far wall but it's no good. He's going to be sick again. Once he's done, he picks up one of the little chunks of metal. It's hard to believe that this postage-stamp-sized scrap was once part of a four-foot long, quarter-inch thick steel tube. That disgusting trollop had torn the beam-generator into a thousand similar-sized pieces with her bare hands in a split-second. It should have been him with the strength and speed to perform such a feat.

 

Why wasn't it him? Why had he hesitated before firing the laser? Why had he given the girl the time she needed to destroy his beautiful creation? Randolph knows why. If only … if only he had activated the beam first, before letting his gaze slowly wander the length of her evilly enchanting body. If only he had resisted the siren-distraction of her obscene curves, the power would be almost his by now. The young whore would have been nothing but a typically pathetic weak, crying female and his crystal would have been full of energy, poised for transfer into him at his whim. Now the laser, the crystal and his dreams are in irreparable pieces on the ground. The girl is unstoppable. As he, Randolph Sherman, should have been unstoppable. It is not right! How can someone so unworthy, so degenerate, so young and ignorant – so female – have his power?

 

He thinks of the myriad ways in which the juvenile trollop might be misusing his superpowers. How she might be using that indestructible, obscene body of hers, flaunting those oversized, and now bulletproof, breasts. His nausea, the taste of vomit in his mouth – even the carnage all around him – cannot distract his hand from heading towards his groin. Something cool, hard and slightly rounded with edges – lots of edges – presses into his palm as his fingers seek to make their way instinctively, like a salmon heading upriver to spawn, towards his tingling, growing erection. There's something familiar about the object and the dawning recognition starts to gnaw at the edges of his breast-obsessed thoughts. The thing is completely blocking the path of his hand to his lap. He has to shift position.

 

He sits up and finally catches sight of it. In an instant, his pitch-black despair is partially lifted by a tiny flicker of hope. There, amidst the rubble and glass, apparently still intact, is his Sherman crystal. He picks it up, bringing it close to his eyes to examine it. Miraculously, it is undamaged. He cradles it in his grateful hands as he uneasily climbs back to his feet. Staggering, he makes his way out of the room, and back through the still-open – if now bullet-ridden – front door of his neighbours' house. The scene on the street is terrible. Smashed, overturned, burnt-out cars. Dead policemen everywhere, some of them in more than one place … There are bullets, bent and flattened, carpeting the lawn. A dead man with a megaphone in his hand is still standing on the grass. Randolph realises that the corpse has stayed upright on its feet because it is frozen solid. Drip by drip, it's slowly begging to defrost.

 

Randolph surveys the evidence of the power of his discovery. He grips the crystal tight in his palm. Someday, this power will be his. To use for better ends, of course. Like punishing and humiliating the delinquent, murdering trollop who caused all this destruction. Making her pay for what she has done here. Making her pay for the suffering that she has caused him. Making all the women pay for that. Pay and pay and pay … in so many different kinds of ways. He slips into his garage and activates the mechanism that closes the big door. As if it were an infant, Randolph carefully places the world's only Sherman crystal on his workbench. He's tired, injured and sick, but he has a lot of work to do. There's no-one there to hear his words, but he cannot help making an announcement: "This is not over."

 

Five miles away, in the centre of downtown, a six-foot tall by three foot wide hole gapes in the side of a department store. A pile of loose concrete lies at the foot of the hole, just inside the building. From there, a straight and narrow swathe of destruction cuts at an angle right across the shop floor. Displays, counters and racks have been knocked aside and smashed as a path has been cleared, as if by an explorer through thick overgrown jungle, right through the store as far as the bikini section. The swimsuit area remains intact although there are a large number of discarded bathing costumes on the floor. The path of devastation resumes on the other side of the bikini department, ending in an almost identical hole in the opposite wall. On the other side of that hole, standing atop a small pile of smashed brick and plaster on the sidewalk, Kim is trying to decide which of her new bikinis she wants to wear.

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