Chapter 22: Superheroes make mistakes too
“Did you ever wonder boys, how it would feel to fall from a great distance and be crushed to a pulp?”
~ Clark Kent (Superman)
Of course, we just had to get the crazy super villain with the vendetta, I mean – why couldn’t The Obstructer have hired another Clown Mask Guy? That guy might have successfully killed Captain Impossible, but he hadn’t been driven by a personal taste for revenge like Andromeda.
This girl, as far as I could tell, was never going to stop trying to kill us.
And it didn’t help that two of my best friends were in the room, right in the middle of the fight. I took it upon myself to try and get them out of the way and to safety. It was too bad that they were both stubborn as hell.
“I’m getting you both out of here.” I stated, reaching for Mary’s arm.
“No.” She argued, ripping her arm away. “I’m not leaving.”
I sighed as I heard a crash behind me. Aden was most likely trying to block everything that Andromeda threw at him. Including what sounded like multiple cafeteria tables. “While you both are here, Andromeda has the upper hand. We can’t fight her all at once if one of us is too busy protecting you from her.”
Ian stepped in front of his sister. “We can help.”
Another huge crash behind me seemed to prove my point. They were just regular kids, not equipped to help against a super villain.
“No. Right now you guys are citizens stuck in the middle of a fight that isn’t yours. It is my responsibility to get you out of here as your primary protector.”
Ian scoffed. “No you aren’t. Right now you’re my friend who’s in trouble. I’m not going to leave you alone with Andromeda.”
A chair was rocketed my way and I blasted it to pieces without even blinking an eye. I was too busy staring at my idiotic friends who thought they could fight a super villain for me with no powers.
“It is not safe.” I urged.
They both shook their heads. I was about to retort again, but Aden skidded across the floor all the way to where we were, taking our attention. He groaned and got back up, charging uselessly at Andromeda again. I took it as an indication that I needed to go back to the fight no matter what.
“Fine, then you two better go hide behind that counter, because I am not about to have your deaths on my conscience.”
And with that I turned and aimed a lightning bolt at Andromeda.
She, of course, dodged it easily. The bolt hit the floor next to her, almost hitting Elise.
I sighed and ran at her, knowing that her only weakness was a bolt of lightning that would be impossible to hit her with.
The last time I was able to take her down, it had only been because she was distracted and standing in a pool of water. Tap water had trace amounts of iron, which was a great conductor. That was why it was deadly to be in water when someone electrocuted it. It was why you were told to evacuate the pool when there was a storm nearby.
I could certainly attempt that move from last time, but it would be risky. Andromeda would no doubt be expecting it. Plus, there was no way to make sure none of my friends were also standing in the water at the same time. I couldn’t rick hurting one of them in my attempt to disarm Andromeda.
So, in result, I had to find another way.
Elise was currently teleporting around the room, distracting Andromeda so Aden could launch projectiles her way without them being knocked out of the air.
I took the opportunity to blast any projectiles Andromeda was sending at the both of them. With no fear of random chairs flying at them, Elise and Aden were able to fight Andromeda easier.
I turned to check on Ian and Mary, who were both hiding behind the cafeteria counter, when Ian yelled out, “On your left!” I turned and shot out a burst of electricity, blasting a chair out of the air that had been aimed towards my face.
“Thanks!” I yelled back.
He smiled. “No problem!”
Okay, maybe Ian wasn’t as much of a burden in this battle as I thought.
I ran around the room, periodically sending electrical bursts Andromeda’s way in a desperate endeavor to catch her unawares. Ian would call out instructions to us, informing us when to duck or turn around to escape getting hit by a random table or chair. With Ian’s help, we had her surrounded in no time.
Andromeda was snarling as she was backed into a corner. It wasn’t only three against one now, it was four.
“You don’t know what you’re dealing with.” She sneered.
“Yes, I think we do.” Aden retorted.
Andromeda laughed at me as I brought my hands up for a decimating blow at her. She couldn’t run now. I could electrocute Andromeda, and then she would be powerless. We would be able to turn her in to the police and she would be out of our hair forever. We could finally turn all our attention to taking down The Obstructer.
I was about to deliver the blow when a figure rushed out in front of me, blocking my view of the villain.
It was Mary, becoming a barrier between the villain and me.
“Mary, get out of the way.” I asked calmly, though on the inside I was screaming at her to move before Andromeda tried something and got her killed.
“No. I’m not going to let you kill her. What has she ever done to you?”
Mary the pacifist was something I hadn’t seen since she started her downwards spiral. It, quite frankly, scared me a bit to see her so suddenly change a little back to her former self.
“She tried to kill me.” I said slowly, trying to make the words ink in. “She’s currently trying to kill me and your best friend. I’d say that’s something pretty bad she’s doing against me.”
Mary shook her head in a strange way. “No. It’s not her fault. You can’t do this.”
“What?” Elise asked. “Mary, get out of the way, now. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
“You can’t hurt Nicole, I love her.”
And then the puzzle pieces fell into place.
“Nicole?” I asked.
Andromeda sighed as I finally saw it. They had the same sharp cheekbones, the same calculating eyes. And I was sure if I took off Andromeda’s wig, she’d have long, luscious black hair.
Andromeda needed someone to obtain her energy from, someone close to her, and what better way to get close to someone than by school? Nicole showed up right after I first defeated Andromeda, immersing herself into our friend group without even breaking a sweat. She grew close to Mary, so close that Elise complained to me about Mary canceling their outings to go places with Nicole instead. And wasn’t it right after Nicole showed up that Mary started acting strange. She was quieter, she was depressed, she was differing from her normal patterns, her grades dropped, and she just stopped caring about anyone except for Nicole.
It had been so obvious that I should’ve seen it earlier. Nicole was Andromeda, and she had been using Mary as her energy source. And Andromeda had to be extremely close to someone to drain their energy, like like-like close. Mary claimed to love her, and I bet she really thought she did.
Andromeda/Nicole sighed and reached for her hairline. With one tug, she pulled off both her wig and her cap, letting her naturally black hair flow. “Well, it looks like there’s no need for that old thing anymore.”
Nicole Lee, the new girl who showed up in the middle of the year unexpectedly, was Andromeda, the villain who wanted me dead.
“Honestly,” she said, “it was a wonder you didn’t figure it out earlier.”
“Mary,” Elsie urged, “This is just Nicole controlling you. It’s how her powers work. She takes the energy from the people close to her. It’ why you’ve been so down lately. She doesn’t care about you, Mary. Don’t do what she says.”
Mary sneered. “You’re wrong, Elise. Just like I said on Monday, it’s you who’s wrong. Nicole isn’t the villain, you all are. She’s shown me the truth about our so-called heroes, and now that I know you’re one, I can’t believe we were even friends in the first place.”
I could see the hurt etched across Elise’s face. Mary and Elise had been best friends since they could walk. It must’ve pained her to have hear those words come from Mary, even if they weren’t her own.
I used the moment of distraction to my advantage. I used the shock and anger to charge my powers up. I remembered when Captain Impossible died and how I used my anger and sadness at his condition to bring a huge lightning bolt through the building to hit the Clown Mask guy. I was going to do the same thing here.
Aden saw what I was doing and when I nodded his way, he dived at Mary. Together they fell, giving me a clear shot at Nicole. I lifted my arms up to the ceiling and I could feel the electricity surging in the air. I screamed out as I brought my arms down, a huge lightning bolt with them. In the split second before the bolt made contact, Mary punched Aden and pushed Andromeda out of the way.
When the smoke cleared, Nicole was against the wall, Aden with a black eye on his side, Elise with a broken expression at my side, and Mary in the epicenter, a huge scorch mark on her chest.
Nicole went running for Mary while I stood there, shocked. I backed up a couple feet with wide eyes. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her now still body. The ends of her hair were tinged black and her eyes stood open for the world to see. I had done that. I had just killed Mary.
“No!” Nicole screamed, hugging Mary’s body to her chest desperately. She wailed again and we all stood shocked.
Mary was dead.
“You killed her!” Nicole screamed at me. “You monster!”
“I didn’t . . . I . . .” I couldn’t finish my sentence. My body couldn’t comprehend what had just happened.
“You’ll pay!” She yelled, clutched Mary to her chest tighter. I wondered for a moment whether Nicole had actually cared for Mary. She must’ve, because there was no point in acting if Mary was gone.
She wailed again, but this time the school shook. Her telekinesis was going haywire as her emotions took over. The school shook again and pieces of the ceiling fell off. I knew that if we didn’t get out soon, we would be buried under rubble.
“Go!” I yelled at Aden. He got up hastily, heading for the door. I pulled Elise’s arm, urging her to run as well. Ian met up next to me as we all ran out the door.
I didn’t turn to see, but I heard the sound of the cafeteria imploding on itself. We got out just in time.
Elise leaned against the wall and slid down. I heard her strangled sobs as she put her head in her knees. I felt tears falling down my own face. Mary had been our friend, and now she was dead because of me. It was my blow that killed her.
Ian’s face was stone-like. He would’ve been crying, but I didn’t think it had sunk in yet. His sister was dead, and she was never coming back.
Aden also looked a bit broken, but seeing as he barely knew Mary, he was still calm enough to make rational decisions. “We have to get into the auditorium. When the Super Task Force finally makes it in here, we need to be with the rest of the regular students. They can’t know that we’re supers.”
I nodded my head, but my mind was still fuzzy. My breathing was shallow and I could barely make my own rational thought. I still couldn’t comprehend what I had done – at least not fully.
I knew that I had killed Mary, and I knew I hadn’t meant to, but my brain couldn’t connect those two thoughts. Hadn’t I wanted to do anything to stop Andromeda? Did that include accidently killing her power source, even if it was an accident?
The next few minutes were a blur as Aden rushed us all through the doors to the auditorium. The students were too busy freaking out and talking about who started the fire to realize that we hadn’t been there the entire time. Heather found us in no time, but she saw our expressions and didn’t say a word. I could see as she calculated Mary’s absence and our ghost expressions. She wordlessly sat down next to us by the wall.
Within minutes, the first law enforcement officers were leading us out. They took down everyone’s names, as to know who was still missing in the school. I wondered when it would be that they would find out about Mary’s absence from the crowd.
The media crews were outside. They probably caught the lightning strike from the sky into the cafeteria on their cameras. Everyone must’ve known a super battle was going on within the school walls.
The crews were able to catch good footage of the President as he hugged his daughter. No doubt it would be one of the leading stories for tonight’s and tomorrow morning’s news. Well, it would be until they found Dylan, Mary, and Nicole in the school. Dylan was only unconscious, so he would just be going to Alcatraz, the super prison. Mary was dead, and Nicole was most likely dead after the avalanche she set on herself. No one would’ve been able to survive that.
I stood in the crowd of the bustling students and knew it would never be the same. What I had done was unforgivable, and I would soon have to pay for it.