A Village And Its Hero

Submitted into Contest #48 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt



Reed had trained her entire life for this moment. She was the hope of her town, the first person to be born with superpowers there in generations, and the only chance they had to defeat the man who ruled them, Amon Sadeas. She had the strength of five men, could eject beams of energy from her hands, and could fly. She was also ten.

The grains of dirt felt surprisingly final when they passed beneath her feet as she walked to the castle’s gate. One way or another, her life would change today. Her village and all its inhabitants would be free, or she would die and none of it would matter anymore.

In a way, Reed was relieved. She knew that she was blessed to have such great gifts. The town council had reminded her of that every time she complained during her practice sessions. But it was a small village, and her practice field was the same field that other kids used for play, as well as a place for adults to gather and talk around the watering hole. She wanted to have those relationships. She wanted to grow old. Instead, she was “blessed”.

Within no time at all, Reed had made it to the gate of the castle. She wished it had taken a little more time. Just a little more time to take in the feel of dust, the yips of children much younger than her, and the sights of a community working together. But it was not her destiny to observe.

She was the hope of her town, and she had to defeat the evil overlord. The one that had ruled for 300 years. The one that had defeated 7 heroes and quelled 4 uprisings. The immortal supervillain that killed almost every person he set his eyes upon. Reed wiped the tear from her face. She needed to appear strong. Her parents had told her that over and over. Then she kicked down the door.

Debris scattered everywhere into the giant, dark hall that made up most of the castle. Reed’s enhanced vision gave her the ability to see what was within. It was basically empty. A small carpet lined the center of the room which led to a giant metallic throne at the end. On that throne, a shadowy figure sat, nearly slumped over.

“I guess I’ll have to replace that.”

The slumped figure stood up and, accompanying the action, all the lanterns in the hall flared to life, temporarily overwhelming Reed’s vision. She closed her eyes quickly, and when she had recovered, Amon Sadeas had crossed nearly the entire room. For the first time, she saw him. He did not seem violent. He was not disfigured, contorted due to his evil acts, as the older kids had claimed. He seemed almost like a normal, middle-aged man. Slightly gaunt, with wispy black hair and a slightly crooked stride, but normal. Except for his eyes.

His eyes were where Reed found the difference between the two of them. They were inhumanly calm. In that moment, Reed knew that he had been here before, in this exact same scenario, a multitude of times, and he saw the foregone conclusion that was this battle. In that moment, Reed knew fear. She tried to mask it. Surely the years spent training and training would come of some use. The meditations came back to her.

“My name is Reed Davar. I am the hero of my town and I have come to overthrow you and free my people.” Reed took comfort in those words. She had muttered those words before bed for as long as she could remember. She paused expectantly for a response from Sadeas.

But he just sighed and stopped walking. They were fifteen feet apart. He was well within range for her energy blasts, and she stood ready to shoot at any opening.

“How old are you?”

An alarming question. Reed hadn’t expected him to ask about her. She had expected a booming villainous monologue, a grand display of power, and certainly an assortment of henchmen that she would have to plow through to even reach him. But Amon Sadeas, the evil overlord, was contemplative, nearly silent when he spoke. He had not shown any examples of power. In fact, Reed had no idea what his powers were other than lighting candles. And, most perplexing to the young child who had stayed in a vibrant village her entire life, he was alone. Where was his entourage of cronies? His army of skeletons? Reed would find out, but for now, she decided to play his game.

“I’m ten years old, but I’m the one asking questions from now on….” She struggled to think of a question. “How old are you?”

“I am three hundred and sixty-seven years old. I have ruled this town for over three hundred years of that time. No plans or schemes or rebellions have changed that.” He studied her and, for a moment, his eyes softened. “You know you can’t beat me. There’s no reason you have to do this. Just leave. You have a whole life ahead of you.”

“I have a duty. Any future life can have no meaning if I abandon my duty!”

“You’re wrong. I’ve lived a long time, and I can tell you that most of the meaning in life has little to do with duties and destinies. Look at me. The only gift that following orders has given me is a lonely cage to die in.” Sadeas gestured at the surrounding castle. He then stared intently at Reed, and, seeing her still-present determination, rasped his knuckles against his thigh anxiously. “Have you had a happy life, uhm… Reed?”

Her stance faltered for a moment. “I’ve had everything provided for me. Nothing to complain about.”

“You know that’s not what I asked.” The conversation lulled as Sadeas waited for a response. It never came. “Were you able to play with the other kids? Did the town council give you a break when you were tired? No. All the other kids got to have fun and goof off. It doesn’t make sense, right? You have powers. If anything, your life should be better than theirs.” Sadeas looked her in the eyes for the first time. “That’s what the people using you never tell you. Superpowers aren't a blessing, they’re a curse.”

Reed saw some truth in what he said. After all, the man who would kill her had no reason to lie. She clenched her eyes shut. Her blood, her village, had they betrayed her? Maybe. But when she opened her eyes, she knew she could not do the same.

Sadeas leaned against a nearby column and lazily looked off into the distance. “You know there’s a world outside this town. I’ve lost my life to destiny, but you still have a chance. You can just fly away-“

Reed found her opportunity. Sadeas had let down his guard. She took to the air and launched towards him, ejecting two blasts of energy at the man. But she made no contact with him, and she crashed through the pillar, raining pieces of cinder on her small body. She felt a hand around her neck as she was lifted from the ground.

Those calm eyes contorted with anger as Reed tried to wrench the hand off of her neck. She ejected handfuls of energy beams at Sadeas, but they phased right through him, scorching the stones that his shadow lay upon. He yelled, to her as much as to the room itself. “Damn it! Damn it!” The room shook. Then, for a while, everything was silent.

When Amon Sadeas’ eyes refocused on Reed, they were filled with a deep sadness. “Don’t blame yourself. You did everything they told you to. You didn’t choose to live with this curse. No. If you’re looking for someone to blame, blame the town council, blame your parents, blame all the cowards that made you spend your entire life in pursuit of a goal they were too scared to reach for. You didn’t choose to live with this curse, but they chose to exploit you. And they will pay.”

The time between energy blasts slowed as Reed’s vision faded to black. She tried to say something or take one more look at the world or feel those grains of dirt once more, but the time for that was over. In a way, Reed was relieved.

July 03, 2020 08:15

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Deborah Angevin
23:06 Jul 08, 2020

Loved the story and the unique character names! :)


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19:46 Jul 07, 2020

Such a cool story, love your writing style :)


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Jackson Weaver
05:26 Jul 05, 2020

Great story! Super compelling and interesting take on superpowers


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