Every single light in the city went off in a collective pop. A young man in the Merriweather Public Library was left in the dark as to what the ending of his book could be. A few college age girls at the Fitt Girlz Gym stumbled off their treadmills due to the sudden loss of their sight.
In the town hall, the mayor’s hand slipped off the signature line during the important signing of a law. With how often blackouts occurred in this city, you think that they’d be better prepared for it. But, as always, the first thing the populace thought to do is panic. The mayor started to rip the signature-less paper into shreds, all the while ordering that everyone keep calm.
The young man began to read his book backwards, as he always did when the bi-weekly blackout occurred. The college age girls at the gym began to throw dumbbells through the large glass windows to, as they put it, “escape.” (There were many entrances and exits in the Fitt Girlz Gym.)
The city’s first line of defense against this sort of thing, the Merriweather Masked Marauders, were in shambles. One of the members, Pistol Chick, was on vacation in Hawaii. Another, this time Jonathan Smith, was still fast asleep in bed from staying up all night to watch the exclusive premier of Masked Marauders and the City that Needs Saving!. Another masked marauder, Radical Randy, was in the process of putting together his diorama train track and refused to answer the call, stating that he was, “Too busy.”
This left only three masked marauders to defend the city against another power outage caused by High Voltage, the most dastardly, dangerous villain in all the 15 cities of Mounty County. He was also the only supervillain in Mounty County, but that’s beside the point, which was that High Voltage was very dastardly and did I mention dangerous?
Anyway, while all of this was happening, everyone had forgotten about Julieta Marcola. Especially her parents. While her parents ran around the house screaming their heads off, Julieta sat and read at the kitchen table with the dim, wavering glow of her LED flashlight she had made in science class. Julieta often wondered if she was the only sane person in the entirety of Merriweather City. She, unlike many others in the city it would seem, always knew the power would come on. Maybe after a few minutes, maybe after a few hours. Sometimes it even took a day or so. But it always came back on. A slight electric hum emanated from the TV, A sign that the city’s backup generator for the broadcast had come on. Julieta rushed to the squashy sofa in front of the TV and waited for the emergency broadcast to start.
“Mamá, Papá, come watch. The emergency broadcast is on! Vamos, apresúrate! Julieta called out. Her mother came rushing into the room first, slamming into the sofa as she did so.
“¡Jesucristo! When did this get here?” She absentmindedly patted the sofa in the way one might a dog and settled down next to her daughter. Her father came in next, repeatedly flattening his hair and polo shirt. He pressed a distracted kiss to the girl’s forehead and anxiously stroked her hair as he sat down. Through a layer of static and general blurriness came the news broadcast. It opens with Grace Angelica tapping a stack of papers against her desk. Under the impression that no one was watching her, she tore the corner off one of her prop papers and chewed on it.
“Hello Merriweather City! Beautiful day ou-” A loud crashing sound could be heard in the background, followed by the camera toppling to the floor. Grace propped it back up again and straightened her wig that had gone askew while she dove for the camera. “As I was saying, it’s a beautiful day out, isn’t it? Well, besides our bi-weekly villainous takeover.” She nervously chuckled and tore off another scrap of paper. “As for our emergency broadcast, expect a dangerous night up ahead. Our masked marauders are working tirelessly to protect our city from the forces of evil, and may possibly in the process cause-a-little-bit-of-collateral-damage. Call the proper authorities if you find that a superhero has smashed a hole through your wall, and you may be entitled to financial assistance.” Grace tapped her papers against the desk again and smiled. “Now, a word from our spon-” The TV cut to static. The hum from the emergency generator stopped. Julieta and her parents sat for a moment before Julieta rose from the couch.
“Well, that told us a whole lot of nothing. They never said how long it would take for the power to come back on!” Julieta said, stomping her foot in frustration.
“Now, now querida, You heard Ms. Angelica, our heroes are working as hard as they can to capture High Voltage.” Julieta’s mother soothed, though extremely frustrated herself. ”There’s no way for the city to know if-” Julieta interrupted.
“Why isn’t there a way for the city to know? This happens almost every week! Shouldn’t they have calculated out an average amount of time it would take to turn the power back on?” Julieta demanded, much to the surprise of her mother. Julieta was, usually, a very well-behaved child. She had never interrupted her mother in this way before. “I’m leaving. If this city can’t figure out how to solve this power outage, I’ll have to take it into my own hands.” She slipped on her fleece jacket and tied up a pair of leather boots. She snatched her set of keys out of their collective key bowl.
“Julieta!” Her parents cried out simultaneously, staring in shock at the display before them. Before they could move, Julieta had already slipped out the door to their apartment and was heading down the stairs. Every step down the metal stairs of their apartment complex weakened Julieta’s resolve until she was tempted to go back, to apologize to her parents. You have a job to do, thought Julieta. You can’t go back now. Eventually, she finished her walk down what seemed to be an endless flight of stairs and opened the doorway to her apartment building, into a disaster zone. Everywhere, windows were shattered, and buildings were reduced to rubble. Across the horizon of the city, steady streams of smoke darkened the sky. A thick blanket of snow covered the roads. Was it snowing earlier? Thought Julieta before remembering that one of the members of the Merriweather Masked Marauders was MacFlurry, who had the power to freeze things over. Each footstep sent her foot deep into the crunchy, flaky snow. This is going to make this a lot harder, Julieta considered. As she went farther into the city, more destruction became evident. At the Fitt Girlz Gym, every one of the wall height windows had been smashed out. Outside the Merriweather Library, coverless books were strewn all about in the snow. Cars were piled high in intersections where confused drivers had crashed after the stop lights had stopped working. Does this happen every time? Every blackout? wondered Julieta. She’d never noticed it before. She’d always been tucked safely inside whenever one happened, which was usually in the evening. She’d also never noticed that. That every blackout happened in the evening or during lunch hour at school. Was that because High Voltage knew that was when people needed electricity the most? To watch their cheesy sitcoms and play Minecraft on the school computers? Or because it was the only time when High Voltage was available? Just then, a loud CRCKKHK reverberated off the tall buildings of the city. A small dot rose into the sky, and dusted their cape off. Julieta had watched enough Marble movies to know who that was. Radical Randy.
“ALL YOUR FIGHTING BROKE MY TRAIN SET! I EXPECT SOME HELP PUTTING TOGETHER AFTER WE’RE DONE WITH HIGH VOLTAGE! Screamed Radical Randy to the other heroes, who, from this distance were also nothing but specks.
“Sorry!” One of the miniscule heroes called out to Radical Randy. Julieta assumed that it was MacFlurry, from the sound of their voice. A black blur rushed past on ground level. Julieta snapped her head in the direction of the movement and she saw them. The infamous High Voltage. The one who’d been wreaking havoc upon the city of Merriweather for upwards of three years now. The heroes were too high up to notice them, too involved in themselves to see the super villain they were hunting for rushing past. Now’s my chance, thought Julieta as she rushed after the villain down an alleyway.
They finally noticed her when she had accidentally kicked a bottle of Radical Randy’s Super Juice across the dark alleyway. As soon as they saw her, they started to run down the alleyway, kicking trash back in the general direction of Julieta.
“Come back here! Villano!” She cried after High Voltage, stumbling over wadded up newspapers and soda cans as she ran after them. They only picked up the pace in response to her call. She did the same. Finally, when she was at arm's length, she reached out her hand to grab the back of their hood, but they suddenly turned a sharp corner Julieta hadn’t known was there. She couldn’t stop herself from running into the alleyway’s dead end. Her head made a resounding thunk as it hit against the brick wall. She was knocked out cold.
Hello, dear reader! Do not worry, I have not left you off on a cliff hanger. I'm not as evil as High Voltage. (Villainous laughter) If you want to know what happens next, take a look at my profile or look at the prompt, "End your story with a truth coming to light." (A disclaimer, it doesn't exactly fit the prompt. I just had to do a two-parter to tell this story!) See you there!