Powerful Nothing

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt

2 comments

Fantasy Science Fiction

An asteroid was hurtling down the sky at high velocity. Scientists had miscalculated the projectile and the missile that was meant to destroy it had missed by a fraction. It was not supposed to happen because there was no margin for error. Millions of lives were at stake as it headed towards a metropolitan. And yet, with hundreds of brilliant minds coupled with an infinite resource of computational power, someone, something had made a mistake.

“Well, shit poo happens,” Ken uttered under his breath, self-censoring himself because heroes do not swear. “Otherwise, there won’t be the need for superheroes... like me.”

He ran along the main street but could not find any phone booths to change out of his civilian clothes. He headed towards an alley but it was all covered with surveillance cameras. These days, it was difficult to become a superhero while keeping his identity safe. 

Home. Always the safest place, Ken thought as he ran towards his apartment. As soon as he closed his door, he started taking off his outer clothes. His skin-tight spandex looked as good as new. His muscles threatened to bulge out of the elastic material. On his way to jump out the window, he stopped to admire his costume. 

Dark blue all over save for the white alphabet K that prominently stuck out from his chest. Tiny yellowish threads lined his muscle areas provided the finishing touches to accent his bulk. Nothing too elaborate but elegant enough to wow the public. He was proud of his own design. He smiled as he put on his fake moustache and matching eye mask.

He could not fly but he had super strength so that he could push with his feet to leap over tall buildings and far distances. In his earlier days when he first discovered his powers, he used to crash and damage properties but after years of practice, he caused much lesser complaints.

Superhero K climbed out of his window and jumped. He leapt from building to building until he was along the asteroid’s path. In just another minute the asteroid will be within range so that he can leap towards it and smash. K braced himself for the jump. When the time came, K pushed himself off the ground with all his might, leaving behind a deep depression and cracked concrete roof - even for a superhero, Newton’s Law of equal and opposite reaction applied. The city council would be more than happy to fix the damaged slab after he had saved the city from the devastation of the asteroid.

Bang! The fiery asteroid exploded into thousands of smaller pieces as superhero K smashed head-on into it. Majority of the pieces crashed into empty buildings while some landed on deserted roads and vehicles. There were no casualties. The public was vacated far enough from the radius of the explosion. 

In the aftermath, news reporters were united in their praises for Superhero K.

“Superhero K saved the day!”

“Had it not been Superhero K, the damage would have been catastrophic!”

K’s contribution was quickly awarded accords and medals. A statue was built right smack in the middle of the city to commemorate his heroism.

The limelight was bright and warm, something K never dreamt of but it was what he deserved. He enjoyed every bit of it but to the detriment of his selfless ideals. Crime rate soared while he filmed commercials. People got hurt when he was busy endorsing products. Villains rose in his absence because he was signing autographs.

Good things never last, though. Inevitably, new heroes took K’s place in the crime-fighting arena. Even though nothing as exciting as the asteroid incident happened, people soon flocked to newer, fresher superheroes. Publicists followed where the wind blew so in less than a year, Superhero K was old news.

Appearing more often as Ken than K, he stood watching as new faces adorned billboards and posters. He tried to regain his popularity but heroes were everywhere. Before Superhero K reached the scene of the crime, other supers had already dispatched the crooks. K retreated into the dark alleyways in despair and faded, faded, faded away. His heart was broken like the asteroid that he had smashed to pieces.

For a year, during the day, Ken went to work day in day out on autopilot without much meaning in life. During the night, K walked aimlessly along one dark alley after another. Finally, he let go of his pride and allowed his humble self to resurface. He realised that his sudden rise to fame and fortune had blinded him from his true calling. Deep in the recesses of his mind, he recalled the comic that inspired him to do good. It mentioned about great responsibility came with great power... or something along that line. K was deep in his thoughts when suddenly a car alarm broke the silence of the night. It was blaring continuously for minutes before K noticed it.

He ran towards the direction of the noise. A trio of thieves was tearing the internals apart. No other superheroes bothered to check in on this because the area was a shady part of the city. No reporters were going to sing any praises here. This was, therefore, the perfect job for the downtrodden Superhero K.

He pulled the thieves out one by one and stuffed them into a giant trash bin. One cowered under the seats so K had to lift the car and shake the thief out. Without much effort, the coward fell through the open door and joined his partners. K shut the lid tight and bent a pipe around it to secure the thieves. The car alarm was still calling out into the night so K lifted the car again and let it drop several metres.

Crash!

“Oops!” K whispered. “I’ve been out of the game for far too long.”

The car windows were all smashed and the body was partially flattened. The owner would not be pleased but at least K managed to stop the alarm. K dragged the trash bin out to the streets where he was greeted by a gang of at least ten. 

“Let my guys go or else...” the leader stepped forward. He drew out a large knife from his back.

“And what if I don’t?”

Without another word, the members charged forward. With little effort, K quickly brought them to their knees. The leader retreated and tried to run off. K picked a heavy manhole cover off the road and swung it at him. His aim was a little off but it managed to hit the thief’s ankle. He fell flat on his face.

Conveniently, police officers appeared out of nowhere and secured the place. Soon enough, the place was swamped with reporters. A spokesperson was detailing how the police managed to catch the gang famous for terrorising a once safe and family-friendly neighbourhood. He hardly mentioned K in his story.

The papers and media were ready to report the incident when someone leaked a video into social media. Someone had recorded the whole scene. The press was able to change their stories in time. K was once again thrust into the limelight.

K had regained his self-respect. However, this time around, he did not entertain any requests for interviews or product endorsements. Instead, he became the mysterious Superhero K that appeared when there was trouble and disappeared when peace was restored. 

July 24, 2020 18:08

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2 comments

20:34 Aug 02, 2020

Hello from the Critique Circle! Loved the subtle humor in this story, especially the part about the lack of telephone booths

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Adrian Tan
13:09 Aug 07, 2020

Thanks!

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