Cara was staring at the broken finish line. Her heart thumped and she breathed heavily. Her hair was dripping, hanging limply over her shoulder. She smiled, then hurried off to change, dragging her eyes away from the broken finish line.
Katie and Angelica, twins with identical dark hair and eyes, ambushed Cara as she came out of the locker room, clutching her wet towel and swimsuit.
“What were you doing out there? I thought you said you would lose!” Angelica hissed as she and Katie linked their arms with hers.
“I guess I was wrong.” Cara replied under her breath. The three girls smiled and took pictures, a gold medal hanging around Cara’s neck, before hurrying off to ‘celebrate’ the win with ice cream.
The ice cream shop — Ice Cream Dream — was small and colorful, with t-shirts and posters hanging on the wall. By now, Mr. Drew, the tall, older employee on duty every time the girls came (the swim meets always were at the same time, weather accepting) knew the girls’ names and their orders, and greeted them jollily.
“Hello! Katie, Angelica, Cara.” He said, tipping an imaginary hat as he said each name. “Your usuals?”
“Actually,” Cara replied, “I would like a strawberry caramel twirly twist, please. In honor of my medal.” She held it up so the light would glint off the gold.
The twins both said that they would like their usual, please. Mr. Drew nodded, smiling, and quickly made their ice cream. After Mr. Drew handed them their ice cream, the girls sat down at a bright pink table in the corner of the shop. The girls’ mothers sat a few tables away, discussing parenting techniques and such.
“So, what was the deal today?” Katie asked, taking a lick of her mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.
Cara ran her hand through her hair, sending a stream of water crashing to the floor. Cara leaned down to wipe up the puddle with a napkin. She stood up and threw the napkin away. “I’m sorry. You know how competitive I am. I remembered myself and kept it close. Seriously, guys. If you freak out every time I win a race, narrowly, then maybe I should retire from hero work.”
“No. No, no, no, no. You can’t quit! We need you!” Angelica said, her eyes wide.
“I was kidding. Sort of.”
Katie rolled her eyes. “You wouldn’t quit using your powers. You’d just make everything more difficult for us.”
“You’re probably right.” Cara took a bite of her ice cream. An ordinary person would’ve gotten a painful brain freeze, but for Cara, it was just a pleasant tingle. “Can we move on? Or we could talk about how you almost blew your cover at school the other day.”
Angelica gave her sister a questioning look. Katie’s face turned redder than an overripe tomato. “ It was nothing. Really.”
Cara grinned, setting down her ice cream for a nice long round of teasing. “Oh yeah? Are you sure it had nothing to do with making sure Briana wasn’t kissing Matt, who you definitely don’t have a crush on and certainly didn’t spend all of math drawing hearts around?”
“Katie, is that true?” Katie’s increasing redness told Angelica everything she needed to know. “KATIE ELEANOR SHEA! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME??”
“Hush. It’s hard to have private discussions if you scream every time something unexpected happens.” Cara said, frowning at the other customers now staring at them. “Also, are you serious you didn’t know? She spends so much time doodling him and always goes glassy-eyed when he walks by. And you are clearly not that nosy. You’re a reporter and a spy. How did you not flip through your own sister’s notebook, journal, diary, whatever?”
“And you have?” Angelica shot back. Cara nodded.
“Yours too.” she said, casually eating a spoonful of ice cream. Angelica’s face turned almost as red as Katie’s, except with smoking ears. “Now that I’ve sufficiently annoyed my besties, I’m gonna go.”
Katie flipped across the table, grabbed Cara’s arm, and made her sit down. Angelica held a spoon in a very threatening way. “You will answer our questions or the ice cream will die.” Angelica said, holding the spoon directly over the cup in a death grip.
“Fine. I know what you’re going to ask me, so I’ll just spill everything now. I looked through all your journals, notebooks, et cetera, et cetera, one day when I was over at your house. You guys were doing something, so I went upstairs and nosed through all your stuff. I read your diaries, which were definitely the best books I’ve read in forever. Since then, I’ve flipped through them a couple times, looking for new juicy facts about you guys. Made sure you’re not keeping too many secrets from me. No, I haven’t told anyone. And yes, this is why I don’t keep a journal. Even if I did, I would hide it somewhere way better. C’mon guys, I’ve literally seen you do better. Anything else?”
The twins glared at Cara, who just shrugged. “Not my fault.” she said.
“Completely your fault.” Katie scoffed.
Across the city, the nefarious Princess Poison was at work again. She mixed and poured chemicals, filling her apartment with smoke. She cackled, startling Kingston, her loyal dog, enhanced with potions of all sorts. He was larger, stronger, faster, and smarter than most dogs. He could even talk.
“Princess, what are you doing this time?” Kingston asked, padding over to where Princess Poison was working.
“Princess Poison, please.” She corrected, hopping backwards as sparks flew from a swirling black bottle. Princess Poison capped the potion, grinning. “This will stop those busy body superheroines once and for all! I’ll pour this in Blizzard’s snow cone and she will go crazy! She will lose control of herself, destroying the city, until I save everyone by trapping all them in my dungeon, where I will torture them for information! AH, HAHAHAHA!!!!!”
“Princess, how do you plan on kidnapping a living snow storm?” Kingston asked, walking back to his bed and laying down.
“Easy! I will shrink her using this potion,” Princess Poison said, holding up a bubbly yellow potion. “And capture her in this bottle!” Now she held up a translucent blue beaker.
Kingston barked compliantly before falling back asleep. He had heard Princess Poison plot a hundred schemes, and they all failed or were easily thwarted. This one would be no different.
The girls always checked the mail together, as a rule. They shared all their mail, besides the bills and letters addressed to their parents or siblings. Usually when they unlocked and opened their family mailboxes, that was all that was inside, other than around birthdays or occasional letters from Cara’s pen pal. Today, however, there were three identical letters, each one addressed to a girl.
They opened them all at the same time. Inside was an invitation with gold writing, inviting the city’s superheroes to a celebration. Cara scanned the invite, frowning.
“This can’t be right. No one has invited me --or Blizzard-- to an actual anything for at least a year. Why now? And how did they find us?”
“Look at the address.” Katie said. “It’s on the roof of that old abandoned apartment building. Dunno why they haven’t destroyed it yet.”
Angelica rubbed the letter between her hands. “It’s got to be something bad. We really shouldn’t go. Someone’s probably up to something sneaky.”
“Are you kidding me?” Cara asked. “We totally have to go. Even if it’s bad. Mostly because if we don’t go, something worse might happen. Besides, Katie can scout out the building beforehand, but we won’t tell them that and we’ll show up on time. No sweat.”
Katie nodded reluctantly. “She’s got a point, Angelica. I hate to agree with her, but I think she’s right.”
Angelica scowled, but nodded. “Fine. I don’t like it, but fine.”
“I don’t like it either.” Cara assured her.
“That doesn't make me feel any better. You’re, like, never nervous.” Angelica replied.
“That’s not true. If you read my journal you would know that.”
“You said you didn’t have a journal!”
“Can you two argue later? I gotta go now if I want to scout. See you later!” Katie said, dashing off.
Cara and Angelica rolled their eyes. “Katie.”
A few hours later, precisely at seven o’clock, the superheroes were perched on top of the abandoned apartment on ninth street. Classical music played in the background sleepily. Blizzard looked at her friends, all dressed up. Agent Blindspot wore her typical black bodysuit, leggings and bright pink mask. The Strongwoman wore green and blue armor, and held a sword and shield ready. Blizzard herself was wearing loose, faded blue clothes. Hers was the least flashy, least disguising outfit, but it was unnecessary, because as her name suggested, Blizzard was often hidden by a cloud of swirling snow.
“I didn’t see anything suspicious, other than some normal household/school science lab chemicals, but now I’m not sure. What villain shows up late to their own party?” Blindspot asked.
“Relax, Blindy. You always miss stuff and besides, it’s not like whoever-they-are is that late. We were early.” Blizzard said. “But I gotta say, this party’s a bust.”
“Don’t call me Blindy.”
“But Agent Blindspot is such a mouthful! How about Spots? Or Age?”
“Is there any chance of a respectable name?”
“Strongwoman, do you see anything? ‘Cause I’m gonna blast my music.” Blizzard asked, pulling out her phone and scrolling through.
“Do you have to? It’s obnoxious.” Strongwoman replied. Blizzard nodded, and turned on ‘Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison. Blizzard shook her hips and sent bursts of snow into the air. “Now this is music.”
Strongwoman and Blindspot rolled their eyes, but eventually joined Blizzard dancing. Of course, as soon as the heroes were having fun, someone had to be a party pooper.
“Hello, fellow vigilantes. I called yo- Can you shut that racket off?” A woman in a long, green gown said, her smile changing to a frown.
“It’s not racket!” Blizzard protested, but she turned it off. The woman continued.
“I’m Trinity Alsvestor. You may know me as Princess Poison.”
“Way to ruin my favorite band!” Blizzard whined, her personal storm swirling faster and lifting her a few inches off the ground. Blindspot and Strongwoman edged away, knowing how dangerous Blizzard could be. “Why did you call us here anyway? Other to reveal your secret identity, I mean.”
“I called you here today to show you something sublime.” Princess Poison answered, smiling at the heroes. “Here it is!”
Princess Poison tossed a small black potion at Blizzard, who would’ve caught it deftly, if not for the thin glass bottle shattering all over her. Blizzard screamed, floating higher into the air.
“What did you do to her?” Blindspot demanded, leaping at the princess. “ANSWER ME!!!”
“Oh, it’s quite simple really. I bottled liquid ice.”
“Whatever was in the bottle wasn’t just water.”
Strongwoman cried out, flying past them. She had tried to grab Blizzard out of the air. Blindspot wasn’t distracted for long. She placed her elbow at Princess Poison’s neck and insisted on answers again.
“Magical ice, of course, from the very first ice age, when magic and wizards still existed. It came from the peak of the highest mountain in the world, deep beneath the sea. It’s ice in its purest form, liquified. It’s quite a paradox, really. I doubt your friend will be able to handle it.”
As if on cue, Blizzard let out a guttural scream and unleashed the full might of her power. Her eyes started to glow white, her hair floating straight up. The air around her froze, and huge snow drifts fell on the city. Hail the size of baseballs pelted buildings and people. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed, adding more to the chaos. And to tie a bow on it, angry snow monsters rose up from the ground, roaring ferociously.
Blindspot and Strongwoman exchanged a nervous glance. “Remind me never to make her angry.” Strongwoman said, leaping into action. Blindspot followed close behind, after tying Princess Poison up securely.
While Blizzard was still within reach (at least for the mighty Strongwoman) Strongwoman made a leap of faith in hopes of grabbing on to one of Blizzard’s legs. With a push from Blindspot, Strongwoman stretched her arms out and grabbed Blizzard. Blizzard screamed and began to flail. The hail began focusing on Strongwoman, pounding her repetitively. Despite the pain, Strongwoman dragged Blizzard down, bringing the storm to Blindspot’s level, who jumped onto Blizzard’s back and wrapped her arms around Blizzard. A cold gust of wind slammed into Blindspot, pushing her out like a flag, but she managed to hold on.
Blizzard screamed, and the storm condensed to only a couple square feet. The snow twisted into a cyclone-shape, with hail and snow making it dangerous for exposed eyes. Strongwoman pulled herself up to Blindspot, both clinging to Blizzard for their lives.
Blindspot started to yell to be heard over the freezing wind. “BLIZZARD, SNAP OUT OF IT! YOU’RE STRONGER THAN THAT ICE! YOU’RE BLIZZARD, NOT SOMEONE’S GOON!!”
Strongwoman caught on quickly and joined Blindspot in yelling encouragement. “BLIZZARD, YOU GOT THIS! YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR US, NO MATTER HOW ANNOYING YOU ARE! YOU NEED TO FIGHT!”
The storm stopped for a split second. In that second, Blizzard screamed, “I CAN’T!”
‘’SHUT UP, YOU’RE A FIGHTER! YOU’VE NEVER LET ANYTHING BEAT YOU BEFORE! DON’T START NOW!’’ Blindspot yelled. Blizzard shrieked. She thrust her arms out, nearly slapping the heroes off of her. The hail started to get smaller, and the storm slowed down a little.
Blizzard let out a banshee’s cry, sending shivers down everyone’s spines. Time stopped for a moment, allowing for Blizzard’s internal battle. With another horrific, triumphant scream, the storm disappeared completely, as if it never happened.
The three heroes were falling.
Blindspot flipped away from Blizzard, managing to latch onto a window ledge. Strongwoman let go of Blizzard and free-fell, hoping her almost unbreakable skin and armor would protect her from getting hurt during the fall. As for Blizzard, there was nothing she could do. She was in a cold sweat, breathing heavily, and foggy from her fight. Blizzard fell and landed hard. She gasped in pain, then blacked out.
Katie and Angelica ran into the hospital, where Cara was laying in the ICU. When they entered the room, Cara was awake and reading Island of the Blue Dolphins. Her whole body was in casts, from each individual toe to her head. Angelica cleared her throat to get Cara’s attention, but when that didn’t work, blurted out, “Hey, Cara.”
Cara shrieked and looked up from her book, shoving it behind her back. Cara rolled her eyes, realizing who it was. “Oh, it’s just you guys.”
“Just us guys? We saved your life.” Angelica said, grinning. “Glad to see you’re well enough to be sarcastic and reading. What was the deal with that anyway?”
Cara blushed. “I’m not s’posed be reading. My brother sneaked it to me, since I was dying without it.”
“Oh yes, you were dying from a lack of books, not the thousand foot fall you took.” Katie replied sarcastically.
“Well, not everyone can do a flip whenever they want.”
“Anyway, how are you, you’ve been out for a couple of days. Our teachers wanted us to bring you this.” Angelica said, holding up a large basket of gifts and cards with one hand. “Don’t worry, I read through them already.”
“Aww, there’s my girl!” Cara grinned. “I’m okay. Everything hurts, but there’s pain medicine for that. Mostly. But it’s mainly my head. Reading clears it.”
“It must have been some powerful liquefied ice.” Katie said. She sat next to Cara. “What’d you say happened?”
“Wait, I almost lost to some water!?!” Cara sucked in a breath, trying not to scream and kick and throw things.
“It apparently was some super pure ice from the first ice age when apparently there was still magic and things.’’ Katie replied.
Cara relaxed. “Oh, okay.”
“You know what that means?” Angelica asked, setting the basket of get-well basket down.
“Yeah, it’s crazy powerful. When you get ice power like Elsa, you do some research so you know how powerful you can be. I actually kinda wish I still had some.”
“Oh, that reminds me, I managed to get a sample of it, hoping I could figure out what it was.” Angelica told her, fishing a small test tube out of her pocket. She passed it to Cara, who looked at it with awe. “Hey, Jellie, will you pass me that basket?”
Angelica obliged. “Dang, that’s heavy.” Cara commented, digging through the basket. “Anything good?”
“There was a super sweet love letter from a secret admirer.”
Cara blushed bright pink. “Shut up.”
Katie grinned. “I’m so reading it! Then I’ll help you figure out who it is! It’ll be sooo much fun!”
“Maybe for you.” Cara grumbled, but she was smiling. “I told Mom that I got hurt during that freak storm while walking the dog. I didn’t elaborate too much, and luckily she didn’t push me. Besides, Jasper actually got out during it and a bunch of people got hurt. Someone even died.” Cara’s face clouded with pain and she looked away to hide her tears.
Katie and Angelica leaned over to give her a hug. “It wasn’t your fault.” Katie assured her, hugging Cara tighter. “It was Princess Poison’s.”
“I know, but I still… it was… if only… ” Cara started crying, not even trying to hide it anymore.
“Don’t worry,” Angelica told her. “We’ll fix it. All of us.”
Cara nodded, wiping her tears away. Her face turned determined.
“I’ll fix it. I’ll fix all of it. No matter what it takes.”