Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.... view prompt


American High School Teens & Young Adult

There are some things that people never tell you about being a superhero, and there’s a reason for that.

1. The term “superhero.” It’s ridiculous; I hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a better word lying around, though. But superhero? It sounds so childish and petty—who came up with it? Are our everyday heroes—nurses and firefighters and that nice Asian man on the street corner who gave you directions when you were lost in Chicago on a Tuesday afternoon—are they not enough to be “super,” and yet I—we—are? What kind of crap is that?

2. Being a superhero is nothing like the movies. ‘Course, they say that about everything, right? But oh, if only you knew.

3. There’s no girl. Or in my case, guy. I don’t currently have a crush, much less a boyfriend or significant other, and I don’t really think I’ll be getting one anytime soon. 

See, in these movies, there’s always heartbreak and romance and kissing. Sure, there’s a lot of action and nefarious plans and blowing things up, but there’s also this person the main character loves to be around and is eager to please and wants to be close to in a different way than a friend, but… I don’t have that. I’m sixteen, and I’ve never kissed a person in my entire life. Except for my mom, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t count.

4. What happens in films—at least, the few I’ve seen—is that the heroes all do good stuff, and get praised on TV, and then something happens and they need to regain their reputation or something, right? Well, I don’t have that problem, because the world is a lot bigger than me, apparently, and a lot of sucky stuff happens that needs to be covered 24/7. I don’t even have any T-shirts with my name on them.

5. Nightseeker, by the way. It’s a pleasure to meet you. The name’s a long and not entirely pleasant story. I’ll explain later. Maybe another time.

6. There’s no secret identity. A lot of the kids at school know who I am. Most of them, actually, and the ones who don’t were probably told and then just forgot. I don’t really have to hide who I am. No one ever cares, much less thinks that it’s cool or wants to rat me out. I’m just another boring teen.

7. Everyone in these movies is always something. The outcast, or kid who gets bullied, or nerd or geek or rich or entitled guy or, at least, something. Nothing ever just… eh. Mediocre. But that’s my life, and if we’re going to be spending time together, you’d better get used to it.

8. I’m not hot. I’ll say it. My whole superhero-outfit-shebang thing I fight in or whatever isn’t, like, a tight techy black bodysuit. I’m… actually kind of in the middle of puberty. (I was a late bloomer, okay?) It hasn’t been especially kind. Meaning, the whole hips-boobs-butt deal isn’t really going yet. Maybe it never will. Usually, I exercise, work out, train, fight, and battle all in a pair of leggings and, like, a t-shirt from Hollister. No cool outfit. No suit. 

Also, no one knows what race I am. You’re correct, I’m an illegitimate child! Fun, right? One of my grandmothers was from Panama, and some close-ish relative is Cherokee, and my mom’s at least a third Vietnamese, but that’s just about all we’ve figured out. It’s tough, especially with the way you see superheroes portrayed. They’re almost always either white or male, (usually both at the same time), and when they’re not they’re hot and you can tell what ethnicity they are—they have clearly defined race, which is something that was predetermined for me, that I would never possess. With most portrayals of really anyone in the media, you could look at them and go, “Oh they’re African-American!” or “Oh, they’re from India!” or “Oh, they’re Latino!” Even when someone is multiracial—which is very rarely—it’s always white and something else. Never once have I ever seen anyone like me portrayed as a superhero, or even just as a person. 

I’ve always found it strange how nearly everyone in America—the country that’s supposed to be all about freedom and diversity—are not all white, necessarily, but they’re all… one race. Meaning even those whose families have lived in the United States for generations had to have their parents be the same race, and their parents and their parents and so on up that I just find it very unbelievable that nowhere, absolutely nowhere along the line did someone love a person who didn’t look exactly like them.

Racism is great, right? I remember, years ago, when a worker came to our door to take the census, he was reading off the questions to my mom, and when she was answering the ones about me, there’s no “biracial” or “mixed race” option. You’re just expected to be… something, and I’m not. I hardly know who I, myself, am. I’ve been meaning to get a DNA test for a while, but I’m too scared. Maybe someday. 

9. You know when the main character, the protagonist, the good guy is being trapped or pinned down in some way, or they’re dangling off the edge of something very tall and scary, and the villain is drawing something back, a bow to shoot them, or fist to punch them, or knife to stab them, or perhaps the hero is hurtling at high speeds towards the ground. And just when they think they’re about to die, some unexpected ally appears out of nowhere, swoops in and saves them. Sounds familiar, right? But… it’s not like that. You have no idea how many of my friends have died and I didn’t know until literal days later. I could’ve used one of those moments a year ago, when my left arm got cut off. It hurt, a lot, by the way. That was all my nemesis (at the time) had planned to do, which is what’s scary about it. Since if he’d wanted to kill me—or worse—he could’ve done it, and no one would’ve stopped him, because no one stepped in when it was my arm. Of course, I have a bionic one now. Not that that matters.

10. The year is 2037, and living as a superhero is nothing it’s ramped up to be.

December 31, 2020 17:16

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Moonlit N O V A
21:50 Jan 13, 2021

This is a really good story! I'd love a continuation? It was just starting to pick up and then it kinda left me hanging...


22:11 Jan 13, 2021

thanks for your feedback!! if i ever write a part 2, i'll be sure to let u know haha :))


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Sydney Hawi
17:27 Jan 08, 2021

I actually liked this. I didn't understand point “5” though.


17:28 Jan 08, 2021

okay, thank you! number five was just stating the character’s name :)


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