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Not-So-Innocent Bystander

By Matthew Perrett All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Humor

Chapter 1

Titanna dragged the back of her arm across her mouth, smearing her lips with blood and dirt. A quick examination with her tongue revealed a split lip and a couple loose teeth to go with her rapidly swelling cheek. That last hit from her opponent of the day, the Mountain Man, had knocked her back a good ten feet into a parked car and torn gashes in her black and red jumpsuit. Plus, it hurt like hell. The towering bruiser stood in the middle of the intersection and roared, clumps of sod flaking off his stony exterior as he raised his arms to the sky in triumph. His celebration was a touch premature, she thought sourly.

This wasn't the first time she had fought this particular super-villain, a twelve foot tall colossus who looked like a chunk of dirt and rock that had grown a brain – albeit a small one – and started walking around. He tried to bill himself as an eco-terrorist, though mostly he just had a penchant for causing chaos and large-scale property damage. She didn't know what his aims were today, but she could figure that part out after she stopped him.

The raven-haired heroine pushed herself back onto her feet with grim determination and glanced around, surveying the scene. The streets were crowded with pedestrians, not too surprisingly given that it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, perfect for shopping, grabbing a bite to eat or going for a stroll. Many were frozen in fear or running for cover, while others were enthusiastically cheering her on, filming the battle on their phones or both. She knew she had to end this fast, before someone other than herself got seriously injured, or worse, killed. Easier said than done, of course; the Mountain Man may have been as smart as he looked, but he was also as tough as he looked. It would take more than a few solid blows to neutralize him.

Titanna risked turning her back on her enemy for a moment and hefted the car she had crashed into over her head with her incredible strength. As she hurled it at the giant like an enormous javelin, she dimly heard a man exclaim, "Dude, my car!" She made a mental note to apologize to him later; hopefully he had good insurance.

The oversized missile caught the behemoth full in the face, staggering him back a step. Bellowing in pain and anger, he seized the vehicle with his massive hands and began to crush it into a ball.

Unexpectedly, this caused an explosion of white powder – cocaine, Titanna realized – to erupt from the trunk of the twisted wreck, enveloping the brute in a thick, nearly opaque cloud. Startled, he unconsciously took a sharp breath, accidentally inhaling a substantial quantity of the drug. His fierce expression slowly turned dazed and confused, and his eyes rolled back into his skull. Dropping the mangled hunk of metal, he tipped over backwards like a falling tree and hit the ground with a thunderous crash that shattered the asphalt beneath him and set off car alarms for several blocks. He twitched a few times before lying still in the street, unconscious.

Silence descended over the crowd. After confirming that the criminal, who now strangely resembled a pile of hash browns covered in powdered sugar, was still breathing, Titanna turned around and saw the vehicle's owner standing behind her. A young Caucasian man with closely cropped blond hair in his early 20s, he was sporting a T-shirt and basketball shorts, an earring in each ear, a large tattoo down one forearm, and a shocked expression that seemed frozen on his face. He didn't appear to have moved an inch since his car had been used as an improvised projectile, as his hands were still plastered to the sides of his head and his mouth was gaping open.

The two locked eyes, though it was several seconds before anyone spoke. "Your car, you said?" asked the heroine.

"What?" the man answered as he slowly lowered his arms. "No. My car is, uh..." His eyes shifted back and forth as he obviously attempted to think fast, then jabbed a finger at a different nearby vehicle. "That one, over there."

The danger past, the majority of bystanders started to move on, though a few curious passersby and avid fans continued to observe what was sure to be an entertaining encounter.

Titanna glanced at the two cars. The wreck had been a dark blue sedan, while the other was a forest green station wagon. "Oh really?" she responded dryly, crossing her arms. "That's interesting, seeing as how they're completely different makes and models."

The man rubbed the back of his head and chuckled nervously. "Well, y'know...heat of the moment and all that."

"Uh huh," the brunette said in an incredulous tone, her eyes narrowing suspiciously. "In that case, I suggest you get in your car and go home." She leaned in almost close enough for their noses to touch and gave the man her most intimidating glare. "Now."

The youth put his hands up and backed away as quickly as he could. "Yeah, sure thing," he stammered. "Whatever you say, lady." He dug his hands into his pockets, doing his best to appear cool and collected and failing miserably. After a considerable amount of fumbling, he finally pulled out a key ring. He shot the superheroine an anxious look, but she simply continued glaring at him through her domino mask, tapping a foot impatiently. Gulping compulsively, he turned his attention back to the car in front of him and, arm trembling, pressed a button on the key fob.

The mass of debris in the road beeped twice, the remains of its lights flickering weakly.

"That's not your car, is it?" Titanna stated more than asked.

The man hung his head with a sigh. "Are you going to knock me out and drag me to jail?" he inquired morosely.

"Only if you try to run," the woman replied calmly. "Otherwise I'll just make a citizen's arrest and we can avoid any unnecessary violence."

"Dammit."

The heroine motioned for the man to turn around while she got out a pair of handcuffs, a command he reluctantly complied with. "Why on earth did you park a trunkful of cocaine out here, anyway?"

"Well, it's a long—" he started, then suddenly broke into a run like a rabbit. He only got a few steps before a lightly thrown rock caught him in the back of the head, sending him face-first into the pavement and knocking him out cold.

Titanna sighed and shook her head. "They always try to run," she said as she dropped the second rock she had picked up, then set to restraining the criminals she had apprehended. Unexpected, sure, but two for one wasn't bad at all.

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