Flash Friday 15/05/2015: Powers Of The People
Damian didn’t notice anything strange about the small groups of people as he was lead by Alice through the hall, squeezing past chairs and overhearing conversations between the small pods of three to four people. ‘Superpowers Anonymous’ sounded like it would have been filled with an entire freakshow. Instead, it looked as civil as a prayer group.
Alice stopped by a group of three that contained an empty chair.
“Hello, everyone,” Alice said, catching the group’s attention. “Allow me to introduce Damian. Tell the group your special ability, Damian.”
“I, uh…” Damian cleared his throat. “I…well, every time I sneeze, I emit a cloud of dust from my nose. And, uh…well, that’s it.”
Alice gave a concerned glare. “Now, Damian. We don’t say ‘that’s it’ when it comes to our abilities. That implies that there should be something more than what was given to us.”
“But I can’t exactly be a superhero by sneezing clouds of dust.”
“Now, now. Superpowers making a superhero is a social construct pushed upon us by the entertainment industry. Just because we have superpowers, does not mean we have to be superheroes. Now, take a seat and get to know your new friends. I’m sure they’ll be more than welcoming.”
Damian took the empty seat. Alice gave a sweet smile, turning away to deal with other matters.
Damian didn’t know where to start, so he looked for any defining features amongst the group. Given that none of them looked particularly freakish, he decided to engage with the man to his right, whose right arm was currently held up in the air, holding a silver bag as if it were a trophy.
“Uhm,” Damian began. “It’s nice to meet you, mister…?”
“Gareth,” the man grunted.
“Gareth.” Damian held out his right hand for Gareth to shake. Realising it was still occupied, he went with a slightly more awkward left hand shake.
While they were shaking, Gareth locked eyes with Damian. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a spider to bite you?”
Damian stopped shaking. “I can’t say I do.”
“Six weeks. Six whole weeks it took me to find the right levels of radiation. Put him on my right arm, waited…and nothing happened. Nothing! These guys can snatch flies out the air and have them for breakfast, but they can’t bite an arm the size of a skyscraper!”
Damian nodded, pretending to be following the train of thought. “It does sound very annoying”
“I tried everything. Placing a dead fly near him, then whisking it away before he could bite into it. I mean, I seem to bite my tongue every week, but he just wasn’t hitting me. Then, after some persuasion, I got a bite. I was ready, I was. Ready to swing around like Spiderman and stop crime.”
“Did it work?”
A shake of the head. “Afraid not. Although, I did gain the power to emit radiation from my right arm.”
“Really? That sounds great.”
“You’d think so, huh? Oi, James!”
A man from another group turned in his chair, then caught the silver bag thrown to him. He opened the contents, pulling out the microwavable pasty from within. “Thanks!”
Gareth sighed. “Really hope the microwave gets fixed soon. Kurt, how about you say something for once?”
The man to Damian’s left, a slick well-built man with blonde hair, gave a welcoming nod. “Good to see you here, Damian. The name’s Kurt.”
“Good to meet you, Kurt.” Damian shyly shook Kurt’s hand. “Do you mind if I ask…?”
“Oh, no, no, it’s fine. It’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? My superpower allows me to give whoever I please a splitting headache.”
“Oh. Wait.” Damian frowned. “That actually sounds highly useful. I bet you could easily become a superhero.”
“You’d be right. I used to go around as the Mindflayer, crippling criminals and saving the populace. Unfortunately, the criminal gangs fought back against me with a weapon specifically tailored against my power.”
“Really? What was it?”
Gareth shook his head. “Bastards.”
“And this lady,” Kurt said, gesturing to the woman in front of Damian, “is Patricia.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Patricia. What is it that you can do?”
Patricia spoke in an accent that sounded like a mix of Russian and Spanish. “I can fly.”
Damian’s eyes widened. “Fly? That sounds amazing. Do you mind if you show me?”
Kurt and Gareth turned their heads away from Patricia in unison.
Patricia began to stare at Damian, widening her eyes as far as they could go. There was a distinct, distant sound similar to someone trying to squeeze the cork off of a bottle of wine. Then, with a sudden pop, Patricia’s left eye came free from its socket and hung in the air in front of her, peering around the room.
“See,” she said, pointing to it. “Eye can fly.”
Damian swallowed. “I’m sure…that can come of some use.”
“No. Still feel sensation in eye.”
“And why is that bad?”
“Cannot blink it.”
Damian shuddered. “I think you can put the eye back now.”
Like a fish caught on a line, the eye shot back into Patricia’s eye socket. She blinked a few times to make sure everything was back in place, then smiled. “Won many bar bets.”
Just then, Alice passed by the group. “Is everything going alright with you all?”
Damian nodded. “We just finished up introductions, actually.”
“Excellent. Well, I’m currently looking out for my name tag that seemed to have fallen off, so if you can all keep an eye out for it…”
The sound of a cork being squeezed.
“I-I found it!” Damian said, darting under his chair and presenting the badge as quickly as possible. “I found it.”
“Ah! Thank you ever so much.” Alice pinned the badge back onto her shirt. “Well, don’t let me disturb you. Talk amongst yourselves, get to know one another.”
Damian swallowed. It was far too late to avoid being disturbed.