Some people are born with the power to change the world. Some people are forced to change the world.
That’s what separates me, Arabella Jones, and the rest of our city from the famous supers.
Empire City, California was one of the first cities to have ‘supers’. The Avenger was arguably one of the first superheroes ever and he used to protect our town. These superheroes, were all seemingly normal people, but with extraordinary powers and abilities hidden on the inside. These people had been around for at least forty years, and their inhuman abilities helped to stop crime all over the world. They also started crime occasionally, but those were only the villains. These supers had become a part of the daily life for most people around the world.
No one knew how they got their powers, they just did. But there was one thing that scientists could actually agree on, that some supers developed their powers during puberty. It was no secret that most supers were young enough to have done so, plus, all sorts of weird things happen during puberty. There were always the conspiracy theories of course about how they got their powers, genetic mutations, overexposure to radiation, having the ability to use their whole brain power, really good genetics, but it was impossible to know the real reason. How could Bolt run at the speed of sound? How could The Ghost disappear into thin air? How could Marvelous Man lift over four tons while the rest of the human population was stuck not being able to lift a finger to help someone else in such a way?
The answer? They were born with the power to change the world. They were born to be superheroes and save the day. Call it fate. I was born normal, no extravagant talents whatsoever. I had to work for what I achieved, while the supers barely had to break a sweat. It was somewhat unfair to be honest. I mean – what did they do differently to get ultimate power?
Overall, the superheroes were treated like celebrities. This is why there were multiple fan clubs all over the world for different supers. It was also why one of my best friends, Lacey Waters, ran the biggest fan club for Empire City’s own super celebrity, The Marvel.
I was one of the only girls in the school who didn’t own a single super themed item. That is if you don’t count Batman or Superman themed items. Lacey was always confused as to why I preferred comic superheroes over the real deal. I was just like that, I took weird to a whole new level as far as the rest of the teenage girl population was concerned at Oceanview High. Don’t get me wrong, not every girl was obsessed with the supers just like not every girl was obsessed with the latest boyband. It just so happened that a lot of the girls at my school were that boyband loving majority.
Lacey’s obsession with The Marvel, and my love of my best friend, is what brought me to be standing in line at the mall with almost a hundred other teenager girls with way too much perfume, all holding glitter pens, on a Sunday night. I had told her that I’d rather sit at home watching The Avengers than take a picture with someone who, 1. Won’t even remember my name, 2. Doesn’t need even more of an ego boost and, 3. Someone who could be a fifty year old pedophile for all we know, but of course she never listens to me.
That’s how I found myself trying not to lose my hearing as some of Empire City’s most famous supers walked up to a table and waved at hundreds of screaming girls and boys. We had a close spot in the line, which meant that we would be at the front in thirty minutes or more.
Yeah, the line was that long.
It was obvious that the majority of the teens here were only here to meet the ever so charming and arrogant Marvel. If we were being honest, Merman and Stretchy Girl weren’t the best super attractions. The Marvel was the only super in our town worth fangirling over, not that I would ever do such a preposterous thing.
The Marvel had the powers of flight and telekinesis, the power to control items with his mind, which made him even sexier underneath that mask according to Lacey. The Marvel was one of the only supers with two powers, which made him obviously more famous than some of the others. But I thought that anyone who had to dress up in brightly colored spandex to get attention wasn’t worth my time.
“Come on, Arabella, brighten up a little. We’re about to meet my idol in life! I mean - isn’t this so amazing? Maybe he’ll let me touch his muscles,” Lacey turned to me in all complete seriousness, “Do you think he’ll let me touch his muscles?”
“How should I know?”
“Oh, I hope he will! This is so awesome!” She squealed and jumped up and down. You could say that maybe Lacey was a little too obsessed with The Marvel.
“I don’t get what’s so exciting about meeting this guy, when no one actually knows who he is. I mean - the whole reason the supers are even doing this is for publicity. They probably don’t really care who their fans are in the first place.” I state the obvious.
Lacey gave me the I-will-kill-you-if-you-ever-talk-bad-about-my-idol-again look, which I got often from her, and seemed to ignore my comment as best as she could. “I think this will be good for you. When you’re old and gray, you can tell your grandchildren about that awesome time that your best friend took you to go and see an actual Super. I’m sure you’ll appreciate this greatly in the future.”
Yes, I’ll grow to appreciate standing in a line of a hundred screaming girls with not enough air conditioning. Please, I’ll be washing glitter out of my hair for months.
“Sure, I’ll thank you for dragging me to wait in an impossibly long line to meet a stranger that we will never see again. Right.” My voice was dripping with sarcasm by that point.
“I’m serious! You’ll regret it if you don’t see him. It would be your only wish to go back in time and be here with me in the future if you leave. Trust me.” She said.
“Right now I just wish the line could move a little quicker. I have the sudden insane need to pee.” I said.
“Then go, I’ll save your spot in line. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get to meet him too.” She smiled at me. Somehow Lacey had never been able to grasp my non-obsession with The Marvel, or with any real super for that matter. She just chose to ignore my comments of uninterest. She also thought that her constant nagging encouraged me to fangirl over The Marvel too.
(Peer pressure doesn’t always work.)
“Thanks, I won’t forget it.” I smiled and left the line, dashing towards the bathrooms.
As soon as I was sure that she couldn’t see me anymore, I dropped my smile and let my scowl take over. I honestly loved her to death, but I could barely stand to be around the obsessed teenage girl for much longer. Usually at school we were able to avoid the topic of the supers, so we got along well most of the time.
I sighed and leaned back on the wall. From here, I couldn’t see any of the super madness. The only thing that gave away the supers currently residing in the building was a sign pointing people to the line to see the supers in person.
I liked this end of the mall. It didn’t have irksome supers signing autographs.
Suddenly I heard a harsh whisper in my ear, “Leave with me now, and don’t say a word.” I looked around and saw a man, about late 20′s and at least half a foot taller than me. I hesitated and felt something sharp dig into my back. Don’t tell me I was actually getting kidnapped.
This only happens in the movies and books, right?
“Come with me now, or you know what happens.” Obviously this guy was either very dull, or very oblivious. If he tried to kill or injure me, there were at least a hundred witnesses. Plus, there were at least three supers currently presiding in this building.
Even when logic stated that it would be unwise for me to obey, I did. I wasn’t in the mood to be fatally injured, not today. I slowly walked forward, letting him led me away from the busy crowds, towards the big, heavy glass doors that lead to the parking lot. God, I really hope something miraculous and spontaneous happens and I won’t end up being kidnapped by a psycho.
We walked a couple feet when I started to worry. Where were the supers? Why aren’t they coming to save me? Was I not more important right now than a horde of screaming fans? What was the point of having supers if they were too busy taking pictures to save someone getting kidnapped?
And then, like I had predicted the future, a voice came from behind us. “Unhand the girl, and step away from her.”
He turns us and I’m facing a man dressed in red and yellow spandex, complete with his red cape and triangle in the middle of his chest with a giant M in the middle, it was none other than The Marvel.
You’ve got to be kidding me. I ask for a savior and I’m given this guy.
(The McDonald’s guy is saving my life.)
The man, who still hadn’t let go of me, paled. He wasn’t expecting an actual super to show up, he was obviously dumber than I had originally thought. The man refused to let go of me, he actually pulled his knife from behind me to my throat. So this was how it was going to go.
“No, she’s mine.” Did this guy actually think that he could beat a super?
“That’s too bad,” The Marvel replied, “I was hoping that we could do this the easy way.”
That was when I felt the pressure from my throat fall away, and the man’s grip fell loose as well. I rubbed my arm and looked at where the man now stood, well floated would be the right term. The Marvel had used his powers to float the man and his knife a foot off the ground. The Marvel walked up to the man and let him fall to the floor with a flick of his hand. That was when the security guards took over, cuffing the man and taking him to their offices until the real police took over.
The crowd that had gathered during the encounter started to clap. Their hero had just saved another life. But The Marvel ignored the crowd and walked over to me.
“Are you okay? Did that man hurt you in anyway?” His concerned tone was something I had not expected. And it looked as if under that mask he was showing concern for me. Why did this guy ignore the crowd and see if I was okay? This was not something I expected of a super to do.
“Yes, I’m fine.” I say, ignoring the red impression of a hand on my wrist.
“Are you sure?” His eyes met mine again under the mask, at least I think he was staring at my eyes, and I was still in shock. He saved me and it looked like he actually cared. Maybe this Marvel guy was different than I thought.
“Yes, yes I’m fine. Don’t you have some fans to attend to or something?” I awkwardly gestured over to the mob of girls who had followed him from the meet and greet line. Every one of them gave The Marvel a look of appreciation and me a look of jealousy for being able to be so close to The Marvel and to actually have a conversation with him.
“Yeah, I guess so.” He kept my gaze for a second longer than he should have, and then turned and walked towards the crowd, leaving me to stand in the middle of the room, alone.
I released the breath that I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. I had just been saved by a super. Not just a super, but none other than The Marvel.