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Story Time Contest: Hero Edition
6th Jul 2012 at 1:06 AM
Okay. Despite having suffered a slight concussion this weekend from a brutal laser tag battle in which I bravely fought off the enemy and was wounded gallantly saving the innocent lives of many (...or I ...errrr... ran into a wall...
), I have emerged triumphant with chapter 1 of my story. Yipppee!!!
Running Out of Hero
Helena Raye pretended to be completely absorbed in wiping down the bright green counters at the One Stop gas station and convenience store. She was actually watching two teens who were slipping candy bars into their pants pockets.
She was alone, again (the other clerk had bailed), trying to decide whether to confront the young thieves or turn a blind eye. It was only candy, right?
The bell rang as the door opened. A man walked up to the register.
“Can I get $35 on pump 4?” He asked.
She nodded, took his money, and entered the information in the computer. The man left. She looked over at the teens. The boys were failing at trying to look uninterested in the bottles of alcohol on the shelves. It was 2am. Where were these kids' parents?
The bell over the door chimed again.
“Where's your restroom?!” A man in a fancy white suit rushed in half dragging, half carrying a wasted blonde.
Helena pointed toward the back. The man pulled the woman along. She covered her mouth with her hand. The two disappeared into the women's room. Helena groaned. She'd take thieves over cleaning puke any day.
The guy who'd bought gas returned. He went over to the coffee machines. Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement. Coming around the counter, she intercepted the teens who were trying to sneak out.
“You have to pay for that,” she told them. If she had to wipe up vomit then they were going to take the brunt of her anger.
“Pay for what?” One of them said shrugging his shoulders like she was stupid.
“Excuse me,” Mr. Fancy Pants was behind her. “Do you have mouthwash and paper bags?”
“I'll be with you in one moment, sir,” she told him. Turning back to the teens, she said, “Either pay for it or put it back. Or I'm calling the police.”
She heard a click behind her.
“No one's calling the police.”
She turned around. The gasoline guy pointed a gun at all of them.
He ordered the teens and Fancy Pants to get down on the floor.
“I saw that Bwan Speedster you drove up in,” he said to Fancy Pants. “I've been thinking of trading my old truck anyway. So, how about those keys? And the wallet. No need to come close. Just slide them over.”
Fancy Pants glared as he shoved his wallet and keys in the guy's direction. The robber kept his eyes on him as he bent down and picked the items up. Now he turned to Helena.
“The cash register, my dear,” he said.
“We don't carry more than $50,” she informed him.
“That's fine,” he said. “I'll just re-coup my loss on the gas then. I've got more than I need right here.” He waved the stolen wallet in the air.
She thought about protesting, refusing, putting up a fight. But that was a lot of trouble over a few bucks. What did she care anyway? If this was how some loser paid for his mediocre life who was she to get in his way?
She started to go around the counter, but he stopped her.
“No tricks,” he said. “I'll get behind. You lean over.”
She grabbed a pack of gum to be the fake transaction that would open the drawer. This guy had no idea how vulnerable he was at that point. Right then. When he was completely focused on getting the goods. Someone could take him down easy. A maneuver to disarm and subdue the robber flashed through her mind. Simple. But not something she could do.
The cash drawer slid open to the man's delight. Then his gleeful smile faded.
“Hey! Kid!” He yelled. “Is that a phone? Are you recording this?”
The smaller of the boys froze in fear, his cell clattered as it hit the floor. “Uh... no...”
The guy pointed the gun at the boy. Helena caught the gaze of Fancy Pants. His eyes hardened as he slowly rose up on one knee. Great. He was going to try something stupid. A shuffling sound came from behind. The blonde stumbled toward them, clutching her stomach.
“Bry... Bryson...” She slurred, wide-eyed with fear. “What goin' on?”
She was almost next to Helena. The robber locked his cold weapon on her.
“Don't move!” He ordered.
Before he was calm. Now he was agitated. He was losing control of the situation. Unable to plan fast enough, he was beginning to panic. She read it all over his sweating face.
“Lorie, stop,” Fancy Pants ordered the blonde.
Either the woman didn't comprehend or she understood but had no control over her body. She moved forward tripping over her own feet. Helena had milliseconds to think:
...I ought to let the dummy get what's coming to her--People get hurt during robberies all the time--It isn't like she's necessarily going to die...
But this was easier to justify while watching a cashier fight back on TV. With it happening before her eyes, she found herself swinging into an old habitable mode. She grabbed the woman from behind, but it was already too late.
She couldn't see it, but knew a bullet flew straight at the two women. Helena squeezed her eyes shut. She threw her hand out. There was a loud boom. A blast of air flung the women onto the floor. The sound of glass shattering filled her ears.
She opened her eyes. The drunk woman lay on top of her, moaning. Helena rolled her off and sat up. The teen boys both had their phones out now. They were excitedly exclaiming over what they had just witnessed. Fancy Pants was looking back and forth between the women and the gaping hole in the store's front window.
Helena stood. She slowly walked to what was once a window. Cool night air brushed over her hot skin. Sirens blared in the distance. On the pavement of the small parking lot lay the robber, eyes closed and unconscious. She couldn't tell if he were dead or alive.
“She's back!” One of the teens shouted. “Brio's actually back!”
Helena followed the gaze of the three males. They stared at the blonde who was on her knees, puking.
Dr. Sarah Taylor filled the syringe with Helena's blood. “This will tell us if the disease has progressed since your little incident Thursday. Fortunately, all your other stats appear normal.”
Normal hadn't applied to Helena in ages, but she sat on the metal seat without complaining. Sarah's in-home exam room and lab was a second home. The locking steel door was open and she could see into the adjoining den where the TV was on.
“Do we have to watch this?” Helena asked. She still didn't like seeing her own blood being sucked out, but the alternative was worse.
“Heaven forbid you care about the world again.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “Besides, it's all that's on.”
She wasn't kidding. Ever since the teens' videos went viral two days ago all anyone ever talked about was the comeback. Now there was yet another wanna-be expert comparing the store video with seven year old footage.
“Judging from the energy blast,” the “expert” said. “Looking at the power, the speed, even the angling, leaves no doubt in my mind that this woman and Brio are one and the same.”
A video probably ten years old began to play. A blue haired female teen in skin tight clothes sat in an interview. She flashed a confident white smile.
God knows I'm tough enough
to bring justice anywhere, anytime.” She said winking and saluting the camera. “Brio will always be here for you!”
The screen divided and two pictures went up. One of the blue haired teen and the other of the blonde from two days ago (in a sober moment).
“Has she kept that promise?” The news anchor's voice asked. “Has Brio returned to us? Is Lorie Pierce Delkarta's prodigal daughter?”
They went on, but Helena stopped listening.
“Are they all stupid?” She crossed her arms. “Brio has no reason to come back. Have they completely forgotten how they practically buried her for not being their perfect princess? Why don't they run to their new heroes instead of pretending they want her back!”
“Calm down,” Sarah said. “So what if they think this girl is Brio? Someday she'll have to prove it. Let's wait and see before taking any action.”
Helena sighed. Sarah was right, but a terrifying thought nagged at her. “Aron...”
Sarah had been by her side for so long she didn't even have to finish.
“They're smarter than the media. They'll want more confirmation. Hopefully some small fry will take Lorie Pierce down before they decide to get involved.”
“And if not?”
Sarah shook her head. “Pray Aron's silence is because they've changed their ways.”
Word/Pic Count: 1477 words/14 pictures
Event/Theme: Heaven Forbid
Round Excerpt: “God knows I'm tough enough...”
CC Used: Skin, hair