Fiction Kids

“You have two choices. You can die, or you can become a part-time slave.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, when a person comes to a situation like this, usually he – or she -dies. That’s the easy option. The other option is that you get your life back. You wake up with new powers, but with privilege comes responsibility. You will have to use your powers to defeat evil.”

“Okay, so I choose superpowers.”

Andy smiled and shook his head. “It’s not that simple. You don’t get to-” He stopped and turned to look at the door. I turned to see Violet standing in the doorway with a look of disbelief.

“Hey, Mom sent me to get you both. Supper’s ready.”

Andy got up to put away the book we had been reading and discussing.

“Comic books, Andy?” Violet made a face. “You could get Iris interested in whatever you want, and you choose comic books? What about something important, like science or computers or something. Something that will take her somewhere in life.”

I groaned inwardly. I loved my older siblings, but they often forgot that I was a person. I may have been a baby once, but I was already nine. I had my own opinions, and I liked comic books. Science was fun and all, but The Flash was awesome! Andy had told me that there are a ton of different versions of him, all in the same universe, but mainly only one at a time, so it was still pretty cool.

I rolled my eyes at my siblings’ argument and headed for the kitchen. The whole family was there by the time Violet and Andy followed me and sat down. There was Mom, Dad, Jeremy - who was in his senior year of high school, Andy - in tenth grade, Violet - in eighth, and then me in fourth. We started with our pre-supper ritual.

“My favorite thing that happened to me today was...” Jeremy began in response to my father’s nod, “Uh, well, you tell me, did any mail come for me from Johnson and Wales?”

Jeremy’s dream was to be a chef, so he had applied to a college that was well known for cooking, and right here in Rhode Island, as well as a few other places further away, but with good courses. He was just waiting to hear back.

“No, sorry, honey. Isn’t the anticipation half the fun?” Mom answered him.

“Well in that case, making supper.” Jeremy finished.

We continued around the table, each of us saying something we were grateful for or a favorite part of the day, until all of us kids had gone and only Mom and Dad hadn’t gone yet.

“I am grateful for the fact that my family has so much to be grateful for,” Mom announced.

“I am grateful that the guy who has been hitting up the neighborhood hasn’t gotten us.” Dad said, then caught himself. “I mean,” he was looking at me, “my favorite part of today was,” he paused hesitantly, “coming home.” He finished, finally. “Let’s see what crazy but amazing thing Jeremy’s made for us this time.”

That got me thinking. There was a real bad guy in the area, and several people on our block had been robbed. Where were our superheroes? Were they too scared of the danger that gaining their powers would require? I wasn’t scared, and I was just a kid.

From that day on, I began my research. Violet was happy that my time was mostly dedicated to science. I studied barometric pressure, weather patterns, what causes storms, and all The Flashes’ beginnings. I found out there were other superheroes who got their start that way too, and did a bit of research on them too. Lightning strikes have the power to give so many different powers that I realized I might not just wind up with extreme speed. I might have some other power and I would have to learn to use it. But the small village of Harmony needed someone to restore the peace and, uh, harmony, and I didn’t see any other volunteers.

Over the next year and a half, I managed to convince my mother that I needed a tablet of some sort for my research, and she and my father agreed that my love of science was worth allowing me to pursue. If they knew it was part of my plan to become a superhero, I don’t know if they would have been so supportive. Still, I had a goal to reach, and I stuck to my studies.

The day finally came. According to my research, there was going to be a cold front coming down and over from Massachusetts, and a warm one coming up from Connecticut. They were probably even going to collide right in my neighborhood! I poked my head outside to see the glorious weather. The warm front had arrived, and the cold one was on its way. I ran back inside for a few useful things for focus purposes. I slid a metal ring I borrowed from Violet’s collection onto my pointer finger on my right hand. I wanted to center my powers around my pointer in case I could shoot lightning bolts. It would be way cooler if I could visibly point where I wanted to send the electricity instead of any other way I could think of. Plus I had to make sure I didn’t lose the ring, especially since it was borrowed. I also grabbed a tall umbrella before heading back outside.

I looked up at the sky and gasped with delight. One half of the street had a beautiful blue sky with a few puffy white clouds drifting lazily along. The other half had grown so dark, most would have considered it menacingly dark. I even drew back a bit before I remembered that the dark clouds were my friends in this case. I set off with a bit of guilt bubbling up. I was going to get in huge trouble for leaving the house without permission, especially since I would not be back before the rain started.

I didn’t have far to walk. Harmony has more trees than people, but I wanted to be far enough away that I could have a secret identity because I had always thought that it was really cool to live an ordinary life while being a secret hero who has saved everyone in the town so many times. I walked to a place among the trees where I couldn’t see a single house from where I was.

I took a deep breath as the darkness took over the now open skies. I opened my umbrella. Thunder crashed startlingly close by. I looked around, but the trees blocked my view of which direction the storm was coming from. The sky flashed white. I remembered to count, and learned that the storm was fifteen miles away.

“Iris!” I heard Andy’s voice cut through the trees, and I turned to look at him. “What are you doing?! Close that umbrella!” he was shouting to be heard over the distance and the rain, dressed in a soaked raincoat, and holding mine. “Don’t you know it’s dangerous to go near a tree during a thunderstorm?!”

“I’m okay!” I shouted back, “I’m becoming a superhero!”

“No! Iris! No!”

That’s when Andy started running towards me, and I could see that there was no way that I would be able to convince him I knew what I was doing. So I turned and fled towards the tallest trees in the area.

“I know what I’m doing!” I shouted back over my shoulder, “Just let me follow my calling!”

“You’re ten! You’re too young to have a calling!”

A tree branch poked a hole through my umbrella, ripping it from my hands. I kept running, although I lost the advantage of not having rain in my eyes in the approximately 2 seconds it took me to get drenched. But I was close enough to the spot that I had calculated would be best for my rebirth, and I could feel the electricity building in the air. I knew that at any moment, the earth and sky would meet for a second, redistributing the electrical charge with the largest form of static shock sparks. I turned back to look at Andy.

His coat had been snagged by a branch on a tree just a bit closer than the one that had grabbed my umbrella. The main difference being that Andy was wearing his coat, and the snag meant that I had just enough time to be standing alone in front of an ancient oak tree that had already started bridging the gap between the heaven and earth a long time ago.

I turned back to the tree with the intention of laying my palm on the bark. I had just lifted my hand when the lightning struck. I felt the electricity levels rise above anything I had ever thought possible, and then higher. Then I felt myself float up off the ground, and for a moment it was electricity that was pounding through my veins instead of my blood.

‘This is it,’ I realized, ‘This is the moment when I become a superhero.’

And then a memory jumped to the front of my mind.

You have two choices. You can die, or you can become a part-time slave.”

Okay, so I choose superpowers.”

It’s not that simple.”

I heard an incredibly loud crack and the world splintered into a thousand bright white pieces.

November 03, 2020 02:30

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


I love Iris's determination here. The intensity of a child is rarely challenged by the woes and obstacles of the world.


Tessa Takzikab
01:22 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks! This particular child definitely gets challenged, at least she will if I ever finish her story...


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Patricia Green
22:44 Nov 11, 2020

I like it. nice little story. Not a lot to comment on, just keep an eye on your English. I think you could put a lot more intensity into the story, as it plays out a bit bland. keep writing, you are doing well.


Tessa Takzikab
23:18 Nov 11, 2020

Thank you. Can you clarify what you meant by my English? Is there a specific mistake that I am making? Am I mixing British English and American English? I definitely get what you mean about the lack of intensity. This is meant to be the first chapter in a book I've been working on, and I hadn't done very much research yet, so I didn't do it as well as I would have liked. Hopefully, I will do a better job of this in the actual book. Thanks!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.