Everyone has an ability in our world. In every state, every city, every district, every street corner, every house. Nobody lacked an ability, there were only those who were weak. Then there were the strong, those that had more deadly skills than others. However, people don’t have their abilities the minute they’re born. Instead, they come at the right moment, the right time. It may be due to a special celebration, or if they feel threatened. Nonetheless, they’ll come. That was the concept that I never understood. If God allowed us these abilities, why couldn’t we have them immediately? It was idiotic, offensive, all out stupid. No offense Great One. Still, I wish some people didn’t have to feel pain before they could be allowed a skill, and after they were granted one, including me.
“Hey Aella! It’s time to go to school!”
Another day, another start. That’s what I would like to think, albeit with positivity. It was a new start yes, but another one with pain. I tilted the curling iron in front of my face and allowed the last part of hair to fall to the side, covering up the healing gash. If you would like to know, it was done by Regina George.
No I’m joking… well not really… Her name is Siena Maise, which is actually a really nice name now that I think about it. However, her attitude was 10x worse, the mean girl of the school whose favorite toy was me. She even played a little threatening game.
Taking a good look at myself in the mirror, I made sure my appearance was flawless. If anything was off, my mother or my friends would be suspicious, where their overprotective attitudes would lead them to go against Siena. Of course, she and her goons would only harm them. After all, they had the money and power to become superheroes later on in their lifetime. You needed at least a 10 for the government to consider you to be powerful, and right now, those girls were at 8 or 9 each.
“Aella, come on honey! I’m going to be late for work.”
*ring ring ring*
Ah that iconic bell. To be honest, I can’t believe I still remember it, but it was definitely the only school that I had been to so far that had one sounding like windchimes. Math, Social Science, Psychology, English Composition, and Spanish. Each class swept by like a blur, some excitement in each of them, but not enough for me to like school. The bell had signaled the ending of the day, where I still had soccer practice. Funny story: I was captain of the team until I requested to drop down. Why? Siena. Honestly, who’d you think I say? Trump?
30 minutes into the practice, the wind was blowing through my hair as the sweat dripped down both sides of my face.
“Aella pass the ball to Chrys! Move towards the center after,” Ariana called.
Coach had split up the team into two separate sides, where we were against our own members. The purpose was to get us prepared for the next game, where it was against Green Heights University, and they were on the top of the leaderboard with us.
The voice stopped me in my tracks, and my eyes only assured that my enemy was strutting towards me. Her entourage was right beside her, slight colored wisps at their hands and glints in their eyes indicated they were ready to give me a beating. Was I nervous? Most definitely, but I wasn’t going to show the others on the field anything.
“Did you have an appointment Aella? You should’ve told me if you did.” Coach stared at me with disapproval in his eyes, as he hoped for more from his best player.
“Sorry Coach, it must have slipped my mind. May I be excused?”
He turned back towards the remaining players, a flick of his hand indicating that I was free to go. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my bag, and followed the girls out of the field and continued to follow them until they reached one of the campus’ gardens, a place where students hung out during their free time. However, this one was empty, except for my torturers and myself.
“What do you want Siena?”
“This,” she responded, her lips tilting up to reveal a cruel smile.
Before I knew it, my body had frozen in place, even as I struggled while one of the girls fired an ice beam at me. Another threw a poison orb, bringing an immediate bout of nausea. Even so, I couldn’t fight back, Siena’s vice grip on my body restraining my every movement. The girls all took a turn at me, until I was left gasping in pain, blood staining my nose and chin. Luckily, I had once again brought enough money to buy a tonic from Madam’s Medical Help. It always cleared up most of the injuries. I had expected for the attacks to cease by now, but I was caught off guard, another wave racking my body until I turned into a sniffling sob.
“Siena, let’s just kill her. Nobody will know anyway. After all, it’s her fault Derreck broke up with you. Everybody knows you’re much prettier than this slut.”
I stared up at Siena, having then realized she was abnormally quiet today. Her face was calm, but her eyes held a turmoil within them. “Before we do so, I’d like to present her with something first. Bring her out Clause!”
Her eyes demanded that I use my arms to hoist my body up, but what appeared in front of my sight made me freeze in my spot. Was I to run? Was I supposed to spin around at that moment and rush at the little ***** with all I had at that moment? Was I supposed to do something when she had my mother? Her eyes were widened, shock evident as she realized her daughter had undergone this treatment without her having noticed.
“Siena, I swear to God. If you harm her, I’ll kill you. Mark my words.”
She let out a cackle, first high pitched, then toned down. “I don’t think you’re in a position to do that Aella.”
She strolled up to me, caressing my face as her nails purposely dug into my skin. Behind her back, she presented a small, thin dagger, its blade shiny and sharp. “You know, I wondered what would hurt you like how Derreck hurt me when he said he would rather date you instead. You know what he said?! That you were prettier, smarter, kinder, and twice the woman I would ever be! So I thought, why not harm one of your loved ones.”
She brought the knife down to my hand, and pressed it against my flesh. “Think about it, daughter stabs her mother. Now that would devastate you wouldn’t it?”
“But I’m nice,” she whispered in my ear, snapping her fingers to urge Clause to drag my mother closer. Without a word, she stabbed her right in the stomach.
A scream echoed throughout the air, as my ears rung. My whole body felt as though it was fire, almost as if I had gotten stabbed myself, as I watched my mother crumble to the ground, clutching her stomach. Siena, gripping the dagger, smiled triumphantly before she suddenly backed away. My eyes felt alive, even as blood dripped from them, and my hands felt as though they could last a round of boxing.
“YOU WITCH! YOU’RE DEAD!”
From out of the blue, black spirits encircled her, all shrieking with ghostly faces painted on them. Her shrieks combined with the other girls as more spirits surrounded them too filled the air.
“My shadow! It’s gone,” I heard Clause scream, but I had no intention of diverting my attention from the priority.
I focused on the screams, the echoing and horrid shrieks from the shadows. A mass had surrounded the girls, yet I directed them to condense and condense. I could almost feel the pain as the shadows clawed, beat, and even bit them, but it was satisfying. I didn’t want it to stop.
“MS. AELLA LAERNE! STOP RIGHT THERE!”
An unknown voice disrupted my focus, the shadows flying off to their owners as I whipped around. Stern-looking officials directed their guns toward hers, with an unarmed woman leading the pack. Slipping her glasses off, she directed bright crimson eyes towards me, and they remained so as she directed the paramedics towards my mother. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her, where it was my fault she got stabbed in the first place. If only I had gotten my abilities sooner, whatever they were. Maybe then I would be able to protect her.
“You’re coming with us Ms. Laerne.”
“No please. Just let me go home.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that Miss. Now cooperate or we’ll do this the hard way.”
Suddenly, the burning sensation returned, where a few of the guards’ own shadows took down their owners that allowed them to exist in the first place. However, I didn’t get far until an overwhelming urge to pass out washed over me. Still, I couldn’t let them take me. A few more grunts assured that more people fell to their own shadows, but the urge and the exhaustion I had gained from Siena’s attacks dragged me into darkness. I remember thinking, Would I ever see the light of day again, or would my own darkness consume me?
“Let’s try again Aella. Physically take down the first and last mannequins while using both of our shadows to take down the others on the side.”
I sighed and stretched out my legs, already having practiced this a dozen other times. Elasta-man stood off to the side, spinning a timer, where he knew that I needed a bit of a break before going into it. Would you like to know how I met Elasta-man too? Yea? Okay fine…
I had opened my eyes to a room with a white ceiling, an antiseptic scent filling my nose when I took a deep breath in. It was only when I tried to move my arms that I realized they were handcuffed and the curtains were completely drawn shut over the windows. My hand graced over a small controller with a button in the middle, a note attached reading: Press when awake.
It took only a few minutes for the mysterious woman from earlier to enter the room, her crimson eyes once again captivating me.
“My name is Flora Lunae. I am the general of the SSI, Superheroes and Sidekicks Initiative. How are you feeling Aella?” Her voice had taken on softer tone, a loss of formality noticed.
“Where’s my mother,” I was surprised at my own voice, cracked and rough. A glass of water sat on the small table beside her, but with her chained hands, it might as well not exist in the first place. Diverting my eyes back to Flora, I could sense something was off. Her confident demeanor had faded and instead, she seemed nervous.
“Flora, where’s my mother? Tell me now.”
“Your mother… passed away. There was too much blood lost. I’m so sorry. I know how close you two were.”
I didn’t hear anything after pass “away,” but it did enough damage. My mother was gone, the woman I had called “mom” ever since I could remember. She was the one that had supported me every time I sunk to the bottom, and now, what was I going to do without her this time? A tear slid down from the corner of my eye, yet there was a dull throb behind them. It wasn’t as intense as before, but I felt the burning up of my body.
“If you can hear me mom, I hope you can save me.”
Suddenly, the room shook, the members probably attempting to make sense of everything. All I could do was stare up at the ceiling, wondering whether she was happy up above. Beneath all the mourning though, rage shook me to the core. I remember the vow I took: to take Senia and her group to hell, even if it took me the rest of my lifetime.
“Doctor! Get in here! She has to be contained!”
The windows had shattered, and the stoic guards that fiercely stood by had started to burst out in hystericals. However, I didn’t cast them a glance even as their shrieks reminded me of the time my mother was taken away. Not even when the blindfold was draped over my eyes, or even as a syringe entered my upper arm. Soon, I was left in darkness yet again.
Back to where I was earlier, I was now under the command of Elasta-man, having been assigned as his sidekick by Flora because we had similarities. It wasn’t until later that I discovered he had lost his father to his own mother, who wanted to get rid of him so she could run away with a different lover. I accepted him as a master then, once he promised me he would train me to my strongest and allow me to take my revenge. After all, I had the potential to be a superhero, with my ability having been listed as simply: darkness manipulation.
Drifting back to the present, I opened my eyes and readied myself and at the sound of go, I dashed towards the mannequins. All I had now was the darkness in my heart and in revenge, and I was going to make my ability stronger.
“Good job Aella. You’re getting stronger and faster,” Elasta-man said, his eyes portraying pride, and of course something else that was hidden beneath.
“Thank you master. Shall we go to the gym now? I believe our reservation starts soon”
“We will, but first, I have a surprise for you.” From behind his back, he presented a letter that was sealed with the SSI’s insignia.
“What is this?” I fingered with the seal, amazed at what could be underneath.
“Open it and see.”
The first word I saw when the seal was cracked was: congratulations. The rest of the letter would reveal the time, date, and location of the ceremony where I would get to be a superhero. My eyes weren’t brimmed with tears, but I was slightly quivering with excitement.
“Master, are you saying that I can now be a… a…”
“A superhero? Yes. You were the by far, the best student I had and crime has drastically decreased with the pair of us working together.”
“I don’t know what to say master. Thank you.”
“You deserve it. Now let’s go, our reservation wouldn’t be much of use if we didn’t at least try to there on time.”
Let’s just say that that workout was the best one so far. After that, it only took two more weeks until the ceremony came. A black pantsuit, a cape to fly and enhance my ability, a hairclip to change appearances, and a medal later, the after party commenced. No, don’t ask me what Flora said or what happened during the party because I was drunk as hell. Well actually, I should probably mention that I was given the name of Shadow Girl. Yea… the SIS wasn’t exactly creative when coming up with names.
However, what happened after the celebration would change my life. Elasta-man had informed me that he received a call regarding a gang robbery in the poorer district of the city. We got there as fast as we could, but I should have been more wary when we arrived in a dark alley
with a group of villains (part of the SHF – Superheroes and Humans to Fall) relaxing. Before I had time to question master, he approached them.“Master! What are you doing?” I tensely said, shifting my weight to prepare for a fight.
“Aella, Aella, Aella,” he murmured, as he spun around, with menacing eyes and a crude sneer. “Did I ever tell you that you look like my mother, the one I killed myself? Heh, her lover followed closely behind.”
“Master, please don’t do this. I beg of you.”
“Begging is beneath you and me both. You of all should know what revenge feels like, so understand when I do this.”
The villains all leaped forward, their attacks used to pin me down. Before I could activate my ability, a metal choker was slapped onto my neck. Immediately, I felt weak, something that hasn’t shown itself ever since my mother passed away.
“Don’t fight pretty one. This choker is designed to block your powers. Have no worries though, once he’s had his time with you, you can destroy it yourself.”
I wanted to scream, anything to alert the attention of anyone nearby. However, with arms pinned down and a gag over my mouth, it was unlikely help would be coming soon. By now, rage and fear had built up to the point where my eyes throbbed with the intent of releasing my ability. I struggled with all I had, every ounce of strength I could muster, even as Elasta-man unbuckled his belt in front of me. His slimy lips on me, I only found myself fighting harder. Slapping me and gripping my throat, he hurriedly slipped off his pants down to his ankles, his ability causing certain areas to grow longer. The straps of my pantsuit came next. By this time, every part of my body ached, begging for me to free the power within.
With the straps at my wrists and his exposed teeth inches from my breast, time stood still. The burning remained, only growing stronger as I grappled with the frozen figures around me. Kicking them all off, I stood up, gasping. My breath had caught in my throat and everything that was spinning beforehand settled down. In front of me, Elasta-man and the villains laid on the floor in the exact positions they were earlier. Purple eyes popped out from broken glass shards, a definite difference from the usual navy ones when my ability activated. No, this wasn’t manipulating darkness. There, I decided it as body immobilization, and after removing the choker, I immediately summoned as many creatures from the shadows as I could. Their white eyes glared at me with thankfulness once they had their fulfilling feast of Elasta-man. Unfortunately, the rest of the villains escaped, my fury only directed against the ringleader that night, From then on, I wasn’t Shadow Girl anymore (it barely lasted a day honestly). I was the Scorpio of the Night, or Scorpio for short, and revenge was my game.
Their weapons didn’t even graze the sky when I had already made my escape. Landing on top of an apartment building, I viewed the flashing red and blue lights from a distance. “Ungrateful drama queens. I made their job easier, and still, they’re trying to put me in prison.” Still, it must have been because I killed the man for abusing his wife and child instead of apprehending him. Not to mention, the death of Elasta-man remained unexplained and they wanted to bring me into questioning.
Rolling my eyes, I turned to fly towards home, but a thundering crash pierced the silent night sky. I couldn’t resist curiosity, and by the time I convinced myself that I shouldn’t check it out, I found myself already at the scene of it all.
“Give it up Electricity Boy! You don’t have a chance against us!”
Through the darkness, I could make out colorful wisps of the 4 villains surrounding a hero, whose cape crackled with electricity. My eyes widened when I realized it was BlueSpark, the greatest superhero among them all. His level reached 17, one above mine the last time I asked a contact to measure it.
“Don’t cross me,” BlueSpark spoke through gritted teeth. His fists now sent small sparks of electricity flying.
“Ha ha ha, oh you can’t tell us what to do now. It’s 4 against 1 and I bet Madame Ravenna will be extremely proud if we were to say that we took down BlueSpark.” By now the 4 had stepped into the light of the blinking street lamps, and their faces sent chills down my bones. Their faces all sparked a similar memory, bringing me back to the time when I had left any form of happiness behind. I instantly hopped down, landing beside BlueSpark, who seemed surprised to say the least. Despite him recognizing me and thinking that I was there to help, I could care less about him and whether he were die or not. I was here for my revenge.
“Scorpio! What are you doing here?!” Their advancing steps faltered, stopping about 5 feet from the two heroes. “Heh, no matter. We can take care of you too.”
“Say that when your guts are eaten.”
Their shadows began to morph in front of them, rising up from the ground, along with others that came from countless other people. Surprisingly, one managed to croak out, “GO,” before he succumbed with his allies to the snarling creatures.
“Scorpio, stop!” I recognized the voice of BlueSpark, but I had no means of stopping.
Out of nowhere, I felt a power beam strike my back, but instead of sending me flying, it sucked my strength out, sending me crumpling to the ground. The shadows disappeared,
but the 4 villains had already been reduced to a pile of bloody bones. The rest of that fight flew by, with a dozen other individuals appearing from hidden places, taking me down. I could see blurs of blue sparks of electricity as I fought my way out beneath the horde of villains. I couldn’t stop them in their places, my other ability having been taken away as well. I shouldn’t have let those damn bastards run free last time.
Just as I managed to take care of the ones that surrounded me, someone leaped in front, just as several black spikes hurdled towards me.
He fell, gasping as he coughed up redness, though the wounds on his stomach dripped black.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Scorpio and BlueSpark, though I’m pretty sure Electricity Boy will die anytime soon.”
A dark-haired woman stood on rooftop overlooking the alleyway, gripping a gun with blue and purple matter swirling inside, another person standing beside her with an outstretched arm. A nametag on the lapel of her jumpsuit read Vice Siena. Before I could even utter a word, a zap of electricity sent the gun flying to the ground, its containments freed as a NO resonated from Siena. Spikes upon spikes materialized, sent directly towards the two fallen heroes, but by that time, hundreds of shadow ghouls had swallowed them up. I’ll save you from the gory parts, but let’s just say I knocked Siena’s head into the sky, my conscious filled with satisfaction when I gave that two-timing ****** what she deserved. Truth to be told, she’s extremely slow in manipulation, even with her probable practice.
Everything was done, death filled the air, and my thirst for revenge somewhat fulfilled, I prepared to take off once more. “Scorpio… please help.”
I glanced back to the withering BlueSpark, his eyes glazed with weariness from fighting the poison from acquiring his life. An inner debate ignited, the two main points being “I don’t exactly love superheroes” and “but he did save my life.” Long story short, I ended up helping him, giving him one of the miracle tonics I had hidden in the heel of my boot. Resolving the fact that I couldn’t simply leave him to recover in an alleyway, I took him to my home, a simple penthouse in the tallest skyscraper on the planet.
“So, what’s your name?” he had asked when he awoke from his deep sleep. If only he was still passed out, maybe he wouldn’t be asking me these questions. “Mine is Aleksander.”
“Great Aleksander, and you can keep calling me Scorpio.”
“Come on, why won’t you tell me? I believe you’re on the same side as us judging from last night.”
“Listen pretty boy, I’m on no one’s side. Especially ‘superheroes’.” Though I didn’t want to admit, he was painfully handsome, his piercing sky-blue eyes pairing well with his dirty blonde hair. Even his face was chiseled into perfection.
Walking over to him, I placed the back of my hand on his forehead. His temperature had dropped, but it was slightly higher than what was considered normal. “You need another dose of the tonic, but I ran out. I’ll be back later. Try not to trash everything.”
I swiftly spun around, heading towards the door with a different appearance thanks to the clip. It served to hide my identity quite well. My nail had graced the door, but a hand held me in place.
“Thank you.” His blue eyes looked sincere and it was the only observation I could make before it his lips brushed against my forehead.
The following days were one of the happiest and most annoying I’ve experienced since the “incident.” Aleksander ended up coming to my apartment every night, persistent in getting to know me better, and that included my past. For the first time again though, I found myself wondering, Do I trust this superhero?
Finally, it wasn’t a matter of trust anymore due to BlueSpark still having kept the secret of my location, I told him my name and what happened on the night Elasta-man was killed.
“Wow,” was all he said for a while. Then, “I believe you. Truth be told, I was thinking of leaving the SIS as well. Flora doesn’t seem to notice some of the heroes taking advantage of their sidekicks.”
With that, he gave me a kiss that took my breath away, one that I could have only dreamed of as a lonely teenager. Don’t judge. Anyway, Aleksander brought truth to what he said and quit the SIS, joining my now two-people club of vigilantes. Together, we managed to keep crime rates low year after year. We even managed to expose many heroes of the SIS. However, the obstacle that was constantly in the way of me reaching my peak of happiness, was my constant yearn for revenge. It was hard to get rid of, hard not to ruthlessly kill those that deserved to descend into the pits of flame.
Aleksander served well in eradicating the desire though, his kindness showing me that there was more to ruthlessly murdering people for their wrong deeds. He showed me forgiveness, a different perspective to the world, where people got second chances to repent for what their mistakes. Sometimes, they didn’t even mean to do so. My bonds to revenge broke free later on, and as a gift to me, he presented a beautiful diamond ring. We couldn’t exactly hold an official ceremony with the police and SIS after both of us, so elopement was just fine.
Now, it was a different story. One where abilities couldn’t solve anything. The moment an overproduction of cells occurred in the area of the lungs, our happy story fell short. How would I battle against cancer? How would I kill the thing that belittled my husband to a hospital bed?
“I love you honey. Don’t worry about me. Keep living your life to the fullest.”
I remember those words like they were spoken yesterday, just hours before he finally lost the raging battle.
Just a few more words and then I promise that it’ll be over and you can go back to resting. As you may know, today marks the third year of your passing honey. Adrianne is now 6 and she still misses you, and frankly, so do I. However, I kept what you told me in mine. A better way to look at revenge would be that it hinders our happiness. Adrianne deserves a happy life, free from getting to know what it feels like to want to hurt someone in return. Instead, she’ll learn how to forgive.
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