Funny Speculative

Villains attacked all the time. Society adjusted as much as it could in the face of blatantly overpowered beings using said powers over others. Heroes, either solo or in groupings, arrived swiftly at every scene, but there were casualties. Always casualties. Adria grew up in this chaotic world, and while most of her peers revered heroes and were more than happy to rely on them for their wellbeing, Adria was not. She shucked her rose-colored glasses early in life, favoring the cold hard reality to easily broken lies. Adira worked hard, took every possible precaution, and invested in every possible form of self-defense she could manage while working a minimum-wage job. She lived in a single-story duplex with a cranky cat named Jove, who ate better quality food than she did. She was as prepared as she could be, but Adira was still taken by surprise when the wall she was passing on the way home from work exploded outward, debris clipping her in the shoulder and head hard enough to spin her around and knock her out. When she awakened, there was no pain, which she knew was probably a bad thing. Sitting up felt strange, her perception off, almost as if she saw things from a higher point than usual. Adria lifted a hand to her head, fully expecting it to come away bloody. There was red on her hand, but it wasn't blood. She was wearing gloves. No, that wasn't quite right. She looked down at herself and realized that she was wearing a bodysuit with interlocking diamonds emblazed on the chest. A man's chest. 

"Are you awake?" A faintly frantic voice asked from somewhere nearby. A woman appeared, dressed in a superhero suit of bronze and silver. The woman came to Adira's side. "Are you okay, Flying Tiger?"

"Excuse me?" Adria asks, staring at the rising star of the hero world, Wondrous Falcon, sidekick of Flying Tiger.

"Are you okay? You took quite the fall. I was concerned." Falcon took her arm and moved her to the side of the building. "I thought Shrapnel had finished you off that time."

Adria frowns as she wobbles, off-balance. "I'm not who you think I am," she insists.

"Okay, Flying Tiger... You definitely hit your head." Falcon glances around them. "You wait here, and I will go get Jumping Vision and the Wallaby. I'll let them deal with the citizens. There wasn't much damage this time, but Shrapnel will return sooner or later."

Citizens. "Hang on," Adria says, reaching for Wondrous Falcon. "Where's that wall I was thrown through?" Adria has no idea if that's what happened, but it seems like a fair enough guess.

"Wall? I didn't know you were thrown through a wall. The last thing I saw was you knocked out of the sky..." Falcon hangs onto her arm. "Look, I'm sure you're fine."

"Okay..." so that's not how she and Flying Tiger are connected. "Tell the others to take over, and... help me look around."

"Just wait here." Falcon motions with her hands and then flies off. She returns moments later. "They're taking care of everything. We should get you back to the Nest."

"No," Adira says stubbornly. "I have to find my body."

"... Sweetie," Falcon says. She puts a hand on his arm. "We've been partners a while. Friends even longer. I know you don't like admitting to needing help, but I think you have a concussion." 

"I'm not Flying Tiger," Adria insists. "Look, I don't even know his real name! Or yours! I am Adira Wright, I live in Duplex 223 over on Windle Street, and I have a cat named Jove who will be very cross with me if I'm dead!"

"Uh-huh... As far as your pranks go... this isn't a funny one," Falcon says with a shake of her head.

"This isn't a prank!" Adria insists. "Look, you care about Flying Tiger, right? Obviously, if you're together. Then don't you want to, at least check this out? What if something has seriously gone wrong?"

"Okay... You definitely aren't Flying Tiger if you think we're together." Falcon crosses her arms. "We're just best friends. You said Duplex 223?"

"Yes, but I was walking home from work. The deli on Ulien Avenue?" Adria is both surprised - all the gossip sites swear Flying Tiger and Wondrous Falcon were a hot item - and relieved that she believed her.

"Okay... let's go to the deli and find... you." Falcon takes a step forward. "What do you look like?"

"Like - " Adria stops just short of saying like me. "Strawberry blond hair," she says. "Hazel eyes, um, I'm roughly your height?"

"That's a start. Any specific features? Like tattoos? Piercings?" Falcon leads the hero down the sidewalk.

"I don't have the money to spare for either of those things," Adria says frankly. Distinguishing features? She perks up. "I have a few scars, though." She holds out her arm - Flying Tiger's arm - and traces a slashing line across the left wrist. "Fought with a mugger on payday," she explains. "Knife versus wrist. I got away, a good Samaritan called emergency services, and I lived to see another day. There's another, smaller scar on my right temple. Banged my head when I was a kid."

"That's a start." Falcon gestures. "Now, tell me exactly what you remember."

Adria huffs, but obligingly recaps her workday and state of mind up to the explosion that apparently threw her into another body. She freezes as something dark occurs to her. "What if I'm dead?"

"I don't think dying makes you end up in someone else's body..." Falcon steps around debris and keeps her eyes open for anyone in need of help.

"You don't usually get hurt and hurtle into someone else's body, either," Adria points out, picking her way along after Wondrous Falcon.

"Depends on the day." Falcon stops them in front of the deli. "Anything coming back?"

Adria frowns. She was close enough to work, so there should still be debris strewn about the street. "What day is it?"

"Monday. October 12th." Falcon checks the clock on her wristband. "It's 9 a.m." 

Adria whirls on Wondrous Falcon. "Say that again?" She demands. 

"It's 9 a.m... Maybe try taking a deep breath," Falcon says and takes a deep breath.

"October 12th," Adria says, her mind working frantically. "I was hurt on the 18th!"

"... It's not the 18th...." Falcon shakes her head. "I promise you."

Adria lowers herself to the stoop. "It hasn't happened yet," she says, putting her head between her knees and focusing on her breathing. "Maybe we can stop it."

"So you're ... from the future, and you're in the past in Wondrous Falcon's body to stop an explosion?" Falcon stares at her.

"Looks that way," Adria says tightly.

"Okay then... where do we start?" Falcon asks. 

"Maybe go to my home?" Adria asks, looking up to Wondrous Falcon for guidance on whether that's actually a good idea or if she simply wants to be someplace she feels secure.

"Good place to start... What were you doing on the 12th?" Falcon follows along, keeping an eye out. They were used to the villain's attacks at this point, and they could occur at any time.

"Sleeping in for once," Adria admits sheepishly. It was a rare day that she napped away, but the 12th had come after an exceptionally long week filled with several double shifts at the deli. "So I'll be home for sure." She grimaces. "It feels weird to say that."

"So... what's our story? We can't just barge in on you. Wouldn't that be suspicious?" Falcon asks.

"Maybe?" Adria rubs her hands over her face. "No, it definitely would. I don't exactly... trust... heroes." Adria peeks at Wondrous Falcon, trying to gauge her reaction to her words.

"That makes you a little suspicious, but I'll let that slide." Falcon glances at her. "We could change and go as ourselves... himself... not yourself. And then say we're new neighbors?"

"That would work," Adria says, ignoring Wondrous Falcon's comment for now.

Falcon took off in flight and returned with a pile of clothes. She had changed out of her suit. Her hair was a dark brown that came down past her shoulders in thick curls. "Here you go."

"You look very different," Adria remarks. She looks around for a place to change, ultimately stepping into a dead-end alley where Wondrous Falcon stood guard and struggling out of Flying Tiger's outfit. "What is with people with powers and their skintight suits?" She demands in a huff.

"I've asked upper management that same question." Falcon crosses her arms as we waited. 

"Did you get an answer?" Adria asks, glad Flying Tiger wore concealing underwear rather than going in the buff like some heroes were rumored to do. She didn't think she could handle seeing and touching his... privates. 

"Not really. The better question is, 'why would you end up in the body of Flying Tiger'? And where is he? I guess that's two questions." Falcon keeps an eye out for people passing by.

"Who is Flying Tiger, really?" Adria asks as she dresses in the normal clothes Wondrous Falcon brought. "Maybe he's connected to me somehow."

"This is feeling more and more suspicious, but you're going to figure it out anyway being in his body. He's Darryl Finch. He works at the local ice cream parlor." 

"Yeah, I have no idea who that is." Adria sighs. "Look, I don't have anything against heroes if that's what you're thinking. I'm no villain supporter. I don't trust anyone but myself and my cat, and even he's sketchy some days."

"You don't want to meet Night Prowler then." Falcon sighs. "Not to rush you but are you close to done back there?"

"Sorry, I'm just trying to figure out what to do with this." Adria holds up the folded costume.

"I'll take it," Falcon says. She takes the suit and, with a quick flight away, brings it back to Flying Tiger's home. Then quickly returns. "I'm sure this is all weird for you."

"Very," Adria says, her tone off but passably sane. She blinks hard a few times then joins Wondrous Falcon on the sidewalk fully. "So. Um."

"Yes?" Falcon looks at the various signs. "Your building that one?" She gestures up ahead.

"The next one down," Adria says, shaking away the awkward. She steels herself for seeing... herself... and strides along the sidewalk, veering onto the duplex property at the last minute. She glances over her shoulder to ensure Wondrous Falcon is still there before taking the two stone steps to her door and knocking.

Falcon fluffs out her hair. "So, remember that your name is Darryl."

"And you're - " Adria stops short. "What do I call you?"

"Deandra." She barely gets her name out before the door opens.

Adria whips around, the hastily prepared story on her lips. The words die when she sees who answers the door.

"What took you so long?" Darryl Finch, aka Flying Tiger, stands in the doorway, a severe frown hardening his face.

August 05, 2021 05:16

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