Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lady of Shadows - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge #CAFSC

This is another female superhero story by me for the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge and anthology. (Did I mention you can write more than one?) Obviously, I am not eligible for the prizes, but I am having so much fiun reading the stories that I was inspired to share another one. This one is actually a snippet from a much longer novel I started writing about two years ago. I've altered it for the purposes of this challenge for two reasons. One: The attack on her is more violent than what is in this version, and I didn't want it to be too graphic for the purposes of this anthology. (Normally, I hate for my women to be victims at all, but in this case, she overcomes her attackers before they succeed in truly victimizing her.) Two: I needed to make it shorter. This particular scene was several hundred words over 1,000, originally. (Hopefully, I didn't make errors while cutting away at it.)

Name of female superhero: Lady of Shadows

Name of human alter ego, if different: Caryn (surname to be added later)

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Her hair and eyes look black, everything else looks mostly the same

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): in her 20s, petite, her body is only slightly on the soft side, her hair is light brown and her eyes are dark brown, she's pretty in an average sort of way, rarely wears make-up. When not working, prefers to wear jeans and t-shirts.

Costume: She cloaks her hair and eyes in shadow to make them appear black, and she wears a mask over her eyes that is made of shadows. She wears all black.

Personality: feisty, intelligent, hard-working, soft-hearted, witty

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.):  Her mother was born with magical abilities and she is one of many children who are all starting to show evidence of specific magical abilities. she doesn't even know she has any abilities until she comes under attack for the first time and then her abilities rapidly begin to manifest.

Powers: She has the power to control shadows and make them solidify. She can even create a shadow person, but that comes back to haunt her later. She can also hide herself by cloaking herself in shadows.

Anything else important: The more she uses her powers of shadow-wielding, the more the power calls to her and she has to fight darker urges that begin to manifest. she is basically a good person, but her ability starts to change her until she learns how to control it better.

picture found on Pinterest here

Lady of Shadows

          The parking lot was mostly empty when Caryn walked to her car. The store had closed over an hour ago, but she had been catching up on some paperwork and it had taken her longer than she had planned. She reached her car and put her key in the lock.

          “Well, hello there, Gorgeous,” a deep voice called from behind her.

          Caryn whirled around and found three men standing a few feet away.  “What’s a sexy thing like you doing out here all alone?” asked the man in the middle. He was dressed in black jeans and a black leather jacket. He had dark hair and he was well muscled. She judged him to be around 6 feet tall, maybe a couple of inches taller than that. The two guys behind him were of a similar build.

          Caryn straightened her shoulders and stood taller. She wasn’t going to let these jerks see that she was afraid. “I’m not doing anything out here other than heading home.”

          “Aw, that’s too bad. I was hoping for some company tonight,” the middle guy took a step closer to her. “Are you sure you can’t stay?”

          When she noticed him taking another step closer to her, a step that brought her within reach of his arms, she tried to think of what to do. Her back was against her car. She spun around and twisted the key in the lock, hoping to open the door and jump in before he reached her.   She felt arms grab her from behind and spin her around. She was pushed up against her car, her back hitting it so forcefully that she knew it would be bruised tomorrow.

          “Now that wasn’t very friendly,” the middle guy said. “I just want us to be friends,” His tone of voice made it clear that he had no intentions of just being “friends.”  “You know you want to be nice to Jake, don’t you?” the middle man threatened, “You want to be real nice, because otherwise, you might get hurt, and you don’t want that, do you?”

          “Oh, I can be really nice, if you ask me the right way,” she purred at him, hoping to convince him of her sudden interest.

          “Now that’s more like it,” Jake smiled and loosened his hold on her a little. It was all she needed. Caryn shoved at him with both hands, throwing all of her weight behind the shove. Her push only got a few inches between them, but it was enough for her to slam her knee up into his groin. She thought she heard a popping sound, but she didn’t care. Jake fell to the ground in pain, and, realizing she didn’t have time to open her car door and jump in, she turned to run but instead found another pair of vice-like arms pinning her own arms to her side. She was pulled up against the broad chest of one of the two others. He frowned down at her and said, “That really wasn’t very nice.”

           “It’s okay, Vince,” the other thug said. “It just means we will get our go at her first while Jake recovers.”

          Vince grinned maliciously at her and let go of her long enough to swing his fist, slamming it against the side of her face. Her head was flung back and pain exploded behind her eyes. “That’s for hurting Jake,” he spat at her.

          Cal locked his arms around her to keep her from running away.

           Caryn was starting to really panic now. Up until this moment, she had still had some small hope that she could find a way out of this, but she was well and truly trapped now. The image of what was about to happen to her threw her into a panic induced rage and she found herself reaching outward with what small movement her hands were allowed.

           If she weren’t so mindlessly angry and panicked she might have been surprised when a tendril from a nearby shadow enveloped her hand and solidified. Instead, all of her thoughts turned to using this to her advantage. She willed the shadow to thrust out from her and wrap itself around Vince’s eyes, blinding him. His hands immediately reached up and felt at his own eyes.

          “What is this?  Get it off me? I can’t see!”

           Cal looked over in surprise as Vince backed away from Caryn. Caryn willed another tendril of shadow to come to her and thought it into the shape of a knife. Cal loosened his grip on her, about to get up to help his brother and she immediately plunged the shadow- knife into his stomach and twisted. A surprised look came over his face, and he dropped to the ground, moaning in pain.

          Caryn jumped up and ran for her car, which was only a few steps away. Just as she reached it, she felt another hand on her shoulder and heard Jake’s voice, “You are going to pay for hurting me, witch!”

           Caryn was still feeling that mindless, scared rage. The fear fed her rage and the rage seemed to help her do this impossible stuff with the shadows. She called another shadow to her and let it become solid and heavy, wrapping around her fist. She spun around and swung her fist at Jake’s face at the same time. Her punch took him by surprise and hit the side of his face with a crunching sound. Had she broken his jaw? Caryn didn’t care. He fell to the ground unconscious, and she opened her car door, slipped behind the wheel and drove straight to the police station.

This wasn’t going to be easy to explain to the police.

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Divine Light - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge #CAFSC

This is my husband's submission to the anthology. It is not eligible for the prizes due to his being part of my family, but he wanted to take part anyway. His entry for the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge is called "Divine Light." This is part of a longer story he has been writing for a while now. Find out more about the challenge here. Last chance to enter is at midnight tonight (PST).

Author name: Robert Fyfe
Word count: 928 words
Anthology: YES
Charity: Because I Am a Girl

Name of female superhero: Divine Light

Name of human alter ego, if different: Angelica (surname to be added later)

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): petite, straight dark hair, wears white, has wings

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): normal human young woman attire

Costume: white outfit and sword, sword is hand-jewelry that transforms into a blade

Personality: sarcastic, witty, strong in character and purpose, fearless, self-reliant

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): She was an angel born into a human world, but she was mostly unaware of her powers until, as a teenager, the angel Gabriel fully unleashed her powers.

Powers: She is the vengeance of God, wields the Sword of God, super strength, ability to smite, fly, agility, power of an angel, glows, invisibility to humans and more

Anything else important: She has a rough life before finding out her purpose, but came through it without letting her spirit be darkened. She doesn't choose her targets. She is sent after only the ones who are past redemption.

art found on Pinterest here

Divine Light
by Robert Fyfe

He watched as she pulled back her arm and then plunged her hand into his chest. He could feel it slice open his ribcage and reach his heart. He felt her pull the heart free, and he stood looking into the eyes of the petite woman in front of him as she presented his still pumping heart to him as if awarding him a trophy. He wouldn't be killing any more innocent women now.

His grip now gone, his hands fell away as he collapsed to his knees and slumped onto his back. His head hit the ground with a clunk. She followed him down resting on her left knee, her arms spread as if to conduct an orchestra.

She watched the life drain from his eyes, then closed hers. From her lips, she spoke the language of the ancients, quoting the words that opened the gates of Hades and ushered the keeper to account.

The air around them cooled and the sun set, the sky darkened and tinged with red - not just as if the sun bounced off the clouds, but colored a hue that changed the very pallets that daylight would paint the world. Sounds muffled as if snow fell but a rumble from the furnaces of hell grew till the dirt around danced to its sound.

Divine looked into the light as the gates opened; her stare never wavered, her resolve complete. From a light that would ignite a human and turn them to dust, a shape appeared. A tiny dot that grew slowly as the creature approached, running as if on four paws, each head appearing to want to lead the charge to the human realm.

“Come on Cerberus, I don’t have all day!” Divine shouted into the abyss at the approaching creature.

The three headed dog almost appeared to have ignored her but the eyes of each narrowed as if annoyed by the contempt in her voice.

Cerberus burst into the world and landed adeptly by her side; one head growled at her while the other two sniffed the air about, either seeking confirmation that they were alone or looking for an opportunity to cause mischief before returning to his home.

The hound then changed shape and metamorphosed into the shape of a man. Taller by a clear two feet than Divine who, at the moment, was crouched over the body. He turned to Divine and with a voice that matched that of his beast self he sneered at her while he spoke.

“How are you, assassin? You been keeping busy, I see?” he growled.

A slight smile crossed the lips of Divine, but still her gaze showed no emotion and she stood up to her full height, flicking her hands out so that all the blood slipped from her fingers and clothes as if they were water repellent.

“I still have enough time to muzzle you, if you like?” she replied, which wiped the sneer from his lips and replaced it with a snarl.

“One day girl, you will be mine. One day, you will slip up and anger your lord, and you will face me as a sinner.” It was almost barked at her, the spit flying from his mouth.

“It would almost be worth it, just to show you how far you can shove your head up your arse, but then with three heads you probably already know that,” she stated.

He stood there, his fists clenching and unclenching and she knew he was weighing up the odds to which he already knew the truth. They were never to battle. They were never to touch; to do so would see the beginning of the end of everything. Yet she loved to goad him. He apparently loved her goading, or he was just really bad at witty conversation.

She pointed at the body at his feet as if to remind him why he was there and after a moment he refocused his attention to the task at hand.

Cerberus closed his eyes and then transformed back into the hell hound he was. All three heads turned to the body and lunged at it, grabbing not the flesh but the soul from within. It tugged and pulled, ripping it from the body that had held it for too few years, ignoring the screams and pleading that emanated from it. Then without looking back, it leapt back into its own realm that closed leaving the alley dark and quiet now the Sun had set.

Divine moved to the body and waved her hand over it as if dismissing it from her mind. Instantly the mortal wound closed, the skin showing no marks to witness the method of execution that had befallen this creature. All signs of her involvement vanished; the blood she had wiped from her arms dissolved into the surface it had soaked into, and the heart folded back into the cage it had belonged.

Divine moved to the unconscious woman who she had rescued by enacting God’s divine justice on the man who had been attacking her.  She placed the tip of her index finger from her left hand onto the woman’s forehead. She lowered her head in prayer and then stepped back and waited. Divine then left to watch the alley from a distance.

Within moments, the woman appeared from the alley, waving frantically at two men who were walking on the other side of the road. They ran to her assistance, and then both ran into the alley behind her, one taking his phone from his pocket.

Divine smiled and went home.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Creating a Female Superhero - Beryllium by Cecilia Clark #CAFSC

This is my friend Cecilia Clark's entry in the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge. Go here for details of how you can enter too.

by Cecilia Clark
Word Count 983
Anthology: YES
Charity of choice: Amnesty International (any women's program)
Title: Out of the Blue
Name of female superhero: Beryllium (made up  by her side kick who is  a nerdy scientist guy. Beryl = blue and  Illium = bone of the upper pelvis and some references to a Tolkien character and berrylium being a rare element)

Name of human alter ego, if different: Leslie Pace

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): same as human self but covered in gold and purple lycra

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): 18, long chestnut brown hair, brown eyes, light tanned-olive skin, 165cm, fi,t toned, athletic body 

Costume: Gold and purple skin tight lycra body suit with hood that folds down her face and covers her to her nose tip. Gold and magenta cape.  Magenta boots.

Personality: friendly, kind, smart, thoughtful, a little bit irreverent, fun

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): developed at onset of puberty with no warning and no explanation why

Powers: so far she had flight, GPS mind, TBA

Anything else important: She is helped by her best friend since preschool, Josh Bellvedere the only son of a wealthy couple. He is super smart, a scientist and is her manager and promoter. She is gradually discovering new powers. Josh enrols her in 3 martial arts, one weapons club, swimming and dance lessons for poise and balance and then enrols her in circus arts.

Out of the Blue

“Why am I wearing skin tight lycra, again?” Leslie was shivering in a gold and magenta body suit. She pulled the hood up over her head and down over her eyes, adjusting  it so she could see clearly through the holes.  Her friend Josh handed her the silk lined cape they had sewn together.

“Because Superhero’s need aerodynamic, streamlined clothing” he intoned, slipping into lecture mode in his usual scientific manner, "to move through the elements efficiently, anything else would add drag and resistance to your movement. Now step up on the edge, it's time for your inaugural flight. You know that lycra is double layered to give you plenty of support and protection so the shivering is more to do with fear than temperature.” Josh ran his hands through his sandy red hair.

“Stop that Josh you're making me nervous.” Leslie flipped the cape behind her shoulders and stood poised for the flight. “You are right; I am scared. It is so much higher than all the other trials.” 

“This is not a trial run Leslie, I mean Beryllium.”  Leslie rolled her eyes.  “You know you're ready. We have practiced and practiced. You are in peak fitness and ready to go. Stop procrastinating and get going already.” He shoved her firmly in the lower back sending her tumbling into the empty air twenty five stories above the street. 

The air rushed into her face so quickly she was unable to draw a breath to scream.

“Come on Leslie, pull up. Get it together. You can do this.” Josh watched her fall and frowned as he repeated a litany of encouragement she was unlikely to hear. He started to chew his lip as she neared the lower floors without change. “Damn it Leslie, you don’t get superpowers to go and waste them on a bit of jitters.” His voice rose to a shout.” Fly, damn you, fly!” And suddenly she was levelling off and turning into an upward arc, her magnificent magenta and purple cape rippling behind her.  “Yes! Yes!” he punched the air and leapt up and down on the spot losing his balance and tripping over the edge of the roof , crazily spinning his arms in a parody of wing flapping as he fell backwards into the empty sky twenty five stories above the street.

“Lesssssssliiiiieeeeeeeeee…” He screamed as he plummeted. 

Abruptly his fall was halted. Two strong, slender arms caught him behind his knees and shoulders.
“You sure know how to fall for a girl,” she yelled in his ear as air rushed by them both.  Josh grabbed her across the shoulders and clung on for dear life. “Josh not so hard, you're choking me.” He released his grip minutely but kept his eyes tightly squeezed shut to avoid the view.  “I’ll take you home.” She veered slightly in her flight direction. Josh stiffened in her arms.

“No, you can’t. People will recognise us. Put me down in the park or near a bus stop or something. You’ll never have any private life if they know who you are. Just put me down and go rescue someone.”

“I thought I had rescued someone?” Leslie smirked.

“I can hear you smirking. Now put me down somewhere safe.” Josh scolded with his eyes tight shut.
Leslie gently alighted on a footpath near a bus stop. People waiting for the bus stared with wide open mouths, nudging and pointing. She helped Josh to his feet and he opened his eyes.

“Thank you for saving me, Miss.” Josh put his hand out and Leslie awkwardly shook hands with him. Leslie took a slight hopping step and leapt into the air, she heard Josh telling the bystanders,  “It was amazing! She just came out of the blue and rescued me. She’s a real live superhero.”

Leslie smiled at her self-appointed manager and now promoter. The feel of the cape helped her to adjust her movements to take advantage of the minute shifts in the air currents to propel herself forward.  She soared up into the sky enjoying the drop in temperature after the exertions of catching Josh. He would complain if she flew too high or became too cold but how would he know down there on the ground, catching a bus home. Ordinary everyday Josh, she thought with a twinge of guilt, could keep his nanny nagging to himself.  She settled into a steady pace and flew on and on simply enjoying the flight for its own sake.

She had promised Josh she would do good things with her powers but she was still discovering them. She could fly, that was obvious, but what else.  She was pretty strong, catching and carrying Josh hadn’t been too strenuous and he had insisted she work out every day since they had discovered her ability to fly.  That day  five years ago, they were playing some crazy ball game in the house, just like they had since they were preschoolers  and  had hit his mother’s most  expensive artsy statue.  Leslie had leapt for it, caught it and not landed straight away.  Just like that she had changed from ordinary school girl to freak.

Her muscles starting to tire; it was time to head home but where was she?  Heart racing in panic, her palms grew sweaty then suddenly her mind switched into GPS mode. She knew exactly where she was and how far she had come and how to get home. She blinked her eyes and realised a new power had blossomed in her head.  Josh was going to love this. She had flown over a thousand kilometres without knowing it.  She headed home getting wearier and lower until finally she landed and began to walk. 

“I better tell Josh to sew a pocket in this outfit for a phone. It’s his turn to rescue me.”

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fire Angel - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge #CAFSC

This is my entry for the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge. It's ineligible for the competition, but I thought I'd put something here to give everyone an idea of the format. Details for the competition and the anthology can be found here.  This was just a quickly done entry, so I plan on writing a more thought-out one later. but I hope this gives you an idea of how it should be presented on your blog post.
Author: Rebecca Fyfe
word count: 828 words
Anthology: YES
Charity: Because I Am a Girl

found on Pinterest here

Name of female superhero: Fire Angel

Name of human alter ego, if different: Kelly Martin

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): long, curly red hair that is usually worn down, freckles, green eyes, short, slightly plump and curvy, usually wears jeans and a t-shirt

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): long, curly red hair tied up in a high and tight ponytail, freckles, green eyes, short, slightly plump and curvy, has large, wings that are a combination of brown, orange, red and white, wears the costume described below

Costume: black leather trousers, form-fitting but not too snug, and a black leather vest-type of shirt with an open back that just has ties across it to makes room for her wings, a small leather eye-mask across her eyes to help hide her identity.

Personality: feisty, temperamental, tries to hide her insecurities by acting brazen, has a soft side but tries to hide it, impulsive, adventurous

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): She has a very clever friend create a chemical that will alter her DNA.

Powers: wings, super strength, faster than normal healing,

Anything else important: Her friend Camryn is a genius when it comes to manipulating DNA and working with chemicals. Camryn is a superheroine in her own right. Kelly and Camryn are best friends and fiercely loyal to one another.

                                     Fire Angel: The Beginning

Kelly looked in the small tube of liquid. This was going to change things. No more being afraid. No more waiting to be saved. Once she drank this liquid down, she’d be able to save herself. She held the bottle up to her lips.

“Kelly, you can’t just drink it,” Camryn reached out her hand as if to stop her. “We haven’t tested it on human subjects yet.”

Kelly didn’t hestitate. She downed the beaker of liquid in one swallow. “Too late now, Cam.”

Camryn, already used to Kelly’s impulsiveness from the years of friendship they’d spent together, just shrugged. They would find out if it worked or not, and if not, she’d work on something to counteract it.

“That was stupid, Kelly. What if it has really awful side effects?”

“That’s what you’re here for, Cam. You’ll figure out how to fix it if it goes wrong. You’re good at this science-y stuff.”

Camryn looked her best friend over. Kelly’s long, fiery red hair matched her impulsive and feisty temper, but the smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks made her look deceptively soft. Kelly was wearing jeans and a white peasant blouse. Her body was a little on the plump side, but instead of looking overweight, she just seemed curvy in a way that guys drooled over. Cam envied Kelly’s confidence with the opposite sex.

But no matter how much Kelly appeared to have it all, Kelly hadn’t been happy for a long time, which is kind of what had brought them to this moment. Kelly's brother had been the victim of a brutal attack last year. Although he had survived the attack, Kelly had hated not being able to help him. She had hated that feeling of helplessness. Instead of retreating into herself, the way Camryn knew she herself would have, Kelly had let herself grow angry.

And when the newest super villain had snatched her as his hostage just a few short months ago, leaving Kelly to be rescued by their local superhero, the Bullet, Kelly had become even more enraged. Kelly had explained to Camryn how much she wanted to be able to fight back and not have to wait around for someone to save her every time something like this happened.

It had been three years since the first true superhero had shown up in the world. And since then, the number of superheroes had grown. The problem was that the superheroes had been followed by the appearance of supervillains , to the point where all sorts of disasters and evil plots were having to be diverted on a daily basis.

Camryn may not have Kelly’s looks or charisma, but Camryn was smart, really smart. And Kelly had devised a plan which involved Camryn’s knowledge of chemicals and DNA manipulation.  Camryn was proud of the fact that, once Kelly had set her to her task, it had taken her a mere 53 days to come up with the chemical that could alter a person’s genetics, giving them a mutation that would, hopefully, make the person stronger.

 Of course, mutations could do other things, Camryn started to worry. Genetic make-up was so unique to each person that there was no way to know what form the mutation could take. Kelly could wind up with an extra set of eyes or turning into some sort-of lizard-human mutant. But Kelly knew the risks. Camryn had been clear with her from the beginning that this was really just a crapshoot.

Camryn looked at Kelly again. So far, nothing had changed about her friend’s appearance, but was anything happening on the inside?  “How are you feeling, Kel?”

“I don’t think anything’s happening. Are you sure you gave me the right tube?”

Just as the words left her mouth, Kelly gasped, bending forward and grabbing her stomach. “Oh! Ow!” She stood up again, breathing hard. “That hurt! What’s happening?”

“You’re changing!” Camryn was trembling, whether from excitement or fear, she wasn’t sure.

Kelly cried out in pain. “Cam, something’s wrong! I feel like I’m being ripped apart from the inside.” She started panting and curled up on the floor. “Make it stop!”

“I can’t!” Camryn was really worried. What if the chemical compound she’d created killed her best friend?
Kelly started screaming as her skin, in two long lines along her back, started to peel back, blood pouring down from the open wounds. She continued screaming as Camryn watched something growing from those broken and ripped apart lines of blood and flesh.

When it was over, Kelly lay passed out on the floor, lying in a large pool of blood. Camryn put two fingers against Kelly’s neck, checking for a pulse and, surprisingly, found a strong one.  She reached a hand tentatively out to touch one large wing. The feathers were real. It was real. How could this be? She knew some of the physical mutations could end up being visible, but wings?  Covered in blood, with her clothes torn and her red curls falling riotously over her face, Kelly looked like an avenging angel.  What have I done?