Okay so, given the fact that I set most of my books in the semi-near future, and have no foresight for things like pandemics happening… I’ve had a few amusing trains of thought lately about my characters.
Mainly on the fact that this whole thing falls right smack in the middle of Villain-Wolfgang’s rampage to revenge his family. So he’d kind of fall into the backseat of everyone’s concerns for a while.
At first this was nothing more than an amusing comic strip in my mind. But I had time to write on a recent road trip, so this happened.
“I don’t think it’s a good time for that, bud.”
I wrapped another bomb piece in an old rag and stuffed it in my backpack. “How much did Amazing Man pay you to say that?”
“Don’t be like that.”
I looked up, raising an eyebrow at News. “You think I’m gonna get ‘sick’ or some crap? Really?”
News raised his eyebrows back, propping one elbow on the counter as he watched me. I could feel the skepticism in his gaze even from behind his sunglasses. “Nah, I just mean there isn’t gonna be anybody out right now. Everybody’s staying home doing the whole… quarantine thing, remember?”
I snorted out a laugh. “Right. Quarantine. How could I forget.” I swung my bag onto my back. “You really think people are gonna be on board with that? The SPI probably cooked it up just to try and get us to coop ourselves up inside. Stupidest thing I ever heard.” I raised my voice so my words echoed to the rest of the Den, which was conspicuously empty. “Amazing Man’s probably out bowling right now, laughing at you morons for buying into this.”
The silence from the gang was deafening. I could almost smell all the self-righteous self-isolating in the air.
I glared down the hall.
“Hey,” News put up his hands in a gesture of surrender, shaking his head. “Knock yourself out if you really want to. Just saying, I’m gonna say put.”
“I will, thanks for the support,” I responded flatly. I grabbed my handgun off the table and jammed it into my belt. “Oh, and if you see Liza, pass this along, will you?” I walked backwards a few steps towards the door, flipping him off before turning around and striding out to my car.
I was only really meaning to make a small hit on the outside of town, especially since it was just me on this one. But things were… pretty shockingly empty.
So I kept driving. I got further and further into town, waiting until there was some decent crowd of people willing to scream and panic and call for a superhero to come save them. I wasn’t looking for a whole mob of people. I didn’t have high standards. Even a small lunch outing would do. But I just… couldn’t see more than three people standing together anywhere.
I got all the way to the center of town, my temper slowly rising the whole time. Even right in the heart of the city, the crowds were sparse at best. Everyone I could see was wearing masks and scurrying from building to building like frightened mice.
As much as I hated to admit it, it really looked like something else had beat me to scaring everyone. This felt as pointless as saying “giddyup” to a horse that was already going at a full gallop.
So. My choices at this point were either to set off a bomb in the middle of an empty city square, or go back to News, say he was right, and sit around moping with everyone else.
And I definitely wasn’t taking the second option.
Cursing under my breath, I jerked my car to a stop on the side of the street, grabbed my bag, and stormed out. And as loudly and obviously as I could, I started assembling my bomb. Next to a bronze statue of some random guy, because why not. Bronze would make for some exciting shrapnel. And I could use a little boost in the excitement department.
Forget the usual screaming and chaos. Who needed that when I could get a vaguely frightened titter from a lady across the street? Or people walking quickly the other way? Hell, all I needed was someone politely asking me to stop, and I’d have my best Amazing Man attack yet.
I gritted my teeth, clicking in the last piece of the bomb and flicking on the detonator remote. I pushed to my feet and took a deep breath. “Any time, Amazing Man!” I yelled, the attempted threatening tone sounding hollow in the empty square. “I’ve got a bomb here, so any time you’re free, you son of a…”
“Wolf, please stop.”
The voice was slightly muffled, and quiet, but firm.
I turned around slowly.
And there, a little over the approved six feet away, stood Dallas Knight. He wore a surgical mask over his face, and blue gloves on his hands.
I stared for a few seconds, then dropped my head back and laughed. “You’re kidding, Knight. Please, tell me you’re kidding.”
Dallas’s gaze hardened. “This isn’t a joke, sir.” He spat out the last word, making it sound more like an insult than a term of respect. “People are dying. And more people are going to die if we don’t follow proper procedure.”
“Well excuse me, should I be wearing gloves?” I held up the detonator remote, wiggling it a little. “Would that make you feel better? Let me restart here. I have a bomb…”
“Where’s the rest of the pack?” Dallas interrupted, raising his voice, but keeping his tone even.
I stopped, narrowing my eyes at him. Of course he’d bring that up. I mentally cussed out the rest of the gang for cowering back at the Den. I tilted my head. “And where’s Amazing Man?”
Dallas’s small, gloved hands balled into fists. “Mr. Fernsby is at the hospital…”
“Oh good gracious,” I put a hand over my heart, covering up my actual surprise with an exaggerated gasp. “Has the deadly virus breached his super-immune-system?”
“… helping the rest of the medical staff with the COVID patients.” Dallas finished. His eyes shot sparks in my direction, and somehow I could tell he was gritting his teeth, even through the mask. “He was a doctor before he was a superhero, and at the moment, that’s where he’ll do the most good. He’s got more important things to do than fight with you, and he’s not coming.”
My grip on the detonator tightened. “Well, isn’t that nice of him, organizing his priorities like that. And where do you fall, Knight? Where does ‘saving his sidekick’ fall on his to-do list? I could blow us both to kingdom come right now…”
“Try to remember which one of us has teleportation powers, sir.” Dallas’s voice was flat.
Any visions I had of making any sort of a point evaporated in my mind. Knight was the only one here. And the second I pushed the detonator button, he’d teleport out of there.
I’d be… blowing myself up. With no one even around to see it. With Amazing Man not even bothering to glance up in my direction. With my gang all back home, playing cards and eating cake.
About the most pointless death ever.
I stood there for a minute, staring at Dallas and trying to think of a snappy comeback besides just hitting the button to blow up my bomb.
There really wasn’t one to be had, frustratingly enough.
I worked my jaw. “So then. What do you think I should be doing, boy wonder? What’s your… alternate plan for my day?”
“Going home and waiting this out like the rest of us would be the most advisable thing,” he offered. “Stay home. I’d guess Mr. News has probably stocked up.”
“Hate to break it to you that I don’t havea home, thanks to your precious Amazing Man.”
“Or stay… wherever you’re staying right now. You all can at least last through quarantine before coming out to cause trouble again. Though I’d really prefer if you…” he trailed off with a tired sigh.
“Prefer if I what?” I growled.
“… stopped altogether?”
I gave a dry laugh. “Good luck with that. Amazing Man is gonna have to do more than hide in a hospital if he wants to get rid of me.”
Dallas just stood there.
Because… as fun as witty banter was… he knew he’d won and I’d have to leave eventually. He didn’t have to say anything to rub it in. Just stand there in his dumb mask and gloves watching me.
I let out a slow breath through my nose, glaring at him. “Screw you, Knight. And screw Fernsby.”
“I know.” Dallas looked back over his shoulder like he really had more important places to be.
I barely resisted the urge to strangle him, turned, and stormed back to my car.
He waited until I’d started the engine, gave a satisfied nod, then teleported away.
I waited until I was a block away, then hit the detonator button. The sound of the explosion soothed my nerves a little bit as I drove back to the Den.
News was making cookies when I walked back in. He lifted his sunglasses slightly, glancing between my expression and my empty backpack. “How’d it go?”
I angrily snatched a cookie off the cooling rack. “I blew up a statue.”
He pursed his lips and nodded. “Nice. Many people around?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
Hope that was able to bring smiles to a few faces. xD
Who knows, I might be back with more. Anyone curious what Micah and Fnu are up to nowadays?
What are your characters doing during quarantine?
Have a great week, everyone. ❤