The Wolves

They called to the pack, the hunt was on. One of their number is missing, and a silver bullet lodged into the trunk of an old oak tree is their only clue. It may be Hallowe’en, the night where spirits fly free, but tonight the spirit of this pack unites.

wHIspereD vOices

Monique always welcomed the whispered words from her Familiar, although the voice never sounded as though it was from her cat or within her head… more so over her left shoulder. But whenever she looked around, there was no body there. Keep waiting… the whispers told her… it’s nearly here.

Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

Blogging from me may be slightly more sporadic than usual, for the next few weeks at least (what do you mean ‘more than usual???’). External forces have conspired against me, and a family member’s health issues (broken bones, of all things!) are taking up quite a bit of my spare time and energy at present. When things become more mobile, I’ll get back to blogging with gusto.

Keep on keeping on, and all that.

And to keep on keeping on, here is this week’s instalment from The Superhero Diaries:

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.11: The Museum Piece

“I’ve got one curator out,”

A cut and bruised Simba Kataya explained to Muriel Magnificent as she arrived at Mid Museum. “The other has locked herself in the vault at the back of the building. There are about fifteen of these identical men around the building – quite stocky in build and they seem very focussed on their goal.”

“Do you have any idea if they’ve taken anything, Simba?” Muriel asked.

“I don’t know. I concentrated on the curator who was getting a lot of trouble from three of the gang. I managed to fight them all off to get the curator out – he’s in one of the police vans around the corner. The trio ran their separate ways inside the museum. They are very strong, Muriel.”

“I know. We’ve ran into a few of them just now at the marina. If these are the same as those we encountered, they’re robots. But all of ours blew themselves apart at the same time when one was damaged. It’s as though they are connected – but if these lot are active, they can’t be. Go and get your eye sorted out, and we’ll take things from here.”

“We?” Simba asked and Muriel nodded over Simba’s shoulder. She turned, and saw the Cloud, Lycralad, Bettystretch, Firetop and the Diver standing there. “At least the numbers seem a little better now!” She added. “Remember their strength!” she shouted, as she started to walk away from the group in the direction of the EFB headquarters. “I hope Dr Flopp can work miracles… this is my best cheekbone!”

“Should one of us go with her?” Lycralad asked.

“She’s fought off three of those robots herself, Lycra,” Muriel answered. “I think she’ll be fine. Besides, Charlie’s still there – and the doctor.”

“They’re a brazen bunch!” Betty commented, as she pointed to one of the robots approaching the double doors where the group stood. The robot was carrying an ancient artefact.

“Whatever you do,” warned Muriel, “watch the goods! Remember, some of these, possibly all of them are irreplaceable!”

Bettystretch wrapped her arms around the robotic robber’s legs, tripping him in the direction he walked. The artefact flung out of his arms, to be caught by Lycralad as he flew across its trajectory. He rolled as he crashed into one of the stone pillars, keeping the artefact safe. The robot managed to free himself from Betty’s grasp and strode over to Lycralad, who lay stunned on the ground.

***

Raymond Reide stood in the doorway, deliberately blocking Simba’s path as she arrived at the headquarters. “What are you doing here, girlie?” he asked with a sneer. “Has the pretty girlie had enough of the fight and come running home, tail between her legs? You can hardly call yourself a hero, can you, deserting your team in their hour of need?”

“Why are you so obnoxious?” Simba couldn’t help herself. The cut on her face was throbbing and she really needed it cleaning up.

“Because people like you make me so, girlie.”

“Just get out of my way.”

Raymond grabbed Simba’s arm harshly, squoze it tightly and shook her in front of him. “Remember who you are talking to, girlie. Your stay with this, erm, team, could erm, be very short indeed.”

“Get your hand off me. Touch me like that again, and I will break your hand. I don’t know who you are, where you have come from, how you managed to weasel your way into this position and to be honest, I don’t care. I was given this role in the team by the government, by an agency of a higher rank than you, so you have no jurisdiction over me. You may be able to treat the others with the disdain you show, but not me. Although you can treat me how you like. Now, I asked you before to get out of my way. Now I’m telling you.” She forced her arm free, and pushed Raymond backwards into the hallway. He lost his balance and fell backwards, landing on his back on the floor, just as Invisible Charlie walked into sight.

Charlie ignored Raymond, and ran over to Simba. “Simba? Are you OK?” he asked, helping her inside. He walked with her to the doorway to the stairs that led up to the medical centre.

“I’m fine, thanks, Charlie. I just want to get this cheek sorted and then I’ll be as right as rain.”

Behind them, Raymond muttered something as he hurled himself up. Smirking, he walked into his office.

***

In the medical centre, Angela and Dr Flopp ran into the room where Psychic Sue was asleep in bed, connected to half a dozen monitors. The alarms on three of the machines were screaming for attention. The Psychic Recorder was glowing red on top of a unit on the other side of the room.

“Is she under some kind of attack?” Angela asked, not really knowing how to calm Sue.

“I don’t know,” the doctor replied. “This is the first time she’s spiked like this.”

As quick as it started, everything settled down again. The machines beeped and hummed as gently as they had done so before, and the Psychic Recorder regained its normal look.

“We’ll have to note it.” Dr Flopp said to Angela, motioning to the clipboard at the end of Sue’s bed.

Natalie popped her head around the door. “Doctor… can you see to Simba Kataya? She’s in reception with Invisible Charlie. She has a nasty cut on her left cheek, which needs cleaning.”

“Will do, Nat!” Dr Flopp said. “Ange, you finish here, and then come to join us.” Angela nodded and the doctor and Natalie walked out to reception.

***

The Cloud caught the clay mask as it flew across the room at speed. The robot had thrown it away as he was held back by the Diver and Firetop, neither of whom could use their powers inside the museum. The robot regained his balance, and flung both heroes away from him; the Diver hitting his head on the corner of a unit, rendering himself unconscious. Firetop crashed into a window, breaking the frames and smashing a couple of panes, but caused himself no real damage.

By the main entrance, Lycralad used his powers to create a tight elastic belt to bind together any of the robots who came that way through, attempting to escape with their goods.

Muriel Magnificent had made her way to the vault at the back, and was fighting off three more of the robots who were trying to get something from the curator. One of the robots picked up an old mummy case, and smashed it over Muriel’s shoulders, shattering it beyond repair. This made Muriel see red.

“That. Was. Priceless.” She exclaimed, shouting each word as she kicked, punched and kneed each robot in turn. She grabbed hold of the nearest robot’s arm, and swung it around, snapping it off as she had done with the robot at the marina earlier. As before, the robots broke apart, limb from limb in cascades of bright white sparks, and fell to the floor. A rectangular piece of shiny metal landed by Muriel’s foot. She bent to pick it up, and tried to read an inscription that was etched upon it.

The robots with the Cloud, Firetop and the Diver, Lycralad, and Bettystretch (who had been fending them off in the dinosaur room) had also broken apart.

“It looks like we’ve won again!” Lycralad shouted to his colleagues in the bygone relics room.

“But won what?” The Cloud shouted back. He knelt beside the Diver, who had started to come round.

“Do you have to shout?” The Diver asked. “I have a splitting headache now!”

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.10: Mistery

Firetop was drenched.

Matthew Mist had somehow managed to increase his control over the element of water, and constantly drove Firetop back as a horde of stocky henchmen ran amok around the prestigious marina. Firetop had managed to stop a few of these strange people, but it seemed that for each one he knocked down, another two appeared. He had no choice but to signal the EFB for help, and had managed to get part of the message through before Matthew Mist’s water funnel had shattered his communication device.

“If your friends come“, Matthew taunted, “I shall drench them as well. I’m now new and improved, and with this army willing to help me I’m unstoppable. My friends, take everything you can from every boat in the marina. Everything. Cushions. Covers. Jewels. Don’t forget the jewels!”

Firetop rolled his eyes, and was about to send a fiery blast towards his opponent, when Matthew noticed what he was doing and sent another blast of water instead.

“You do realise Firetop, that water and fire do not really mix. The water will always quench the fire.” Firetop spluttered as Matthew kept this latest blast on him longer than before.

Muriel Magnificent flew in and knocked Matthew over to one side, stopping his watery blast. Firetop rolled to his side to catch his breath. Lycralad used his molecular altering abilities to fuse the leggings together of one of the stocky henchmen who carried a microwave out of one of the boats. The henchman fell forwards, flinging the microwave into the air. The Cloud swiftly leapt in and caught the microwave before it crashed to the ground. Bettystretch stretched her arms around five more of the henchmen and bound them together, although one slipped through her grip and plunged into the marina, as Betty misjudged the henchmen’s weight. Without a second thought, the Diver disappeared beneath the murky waters of the marina after the slippery henchman. Firetop sent a blast of flame across the path of another henchman who carried a jewellery box, in an attempt to stop him, but he just walked through it. Matthew sent a wave of water over to Muriel, who managed to fly above its path; the water instead knocking another henchman into the marina’s waters. Lycralad used his abilities again on another pair of henchmen, this time binding their arms to their sides, but a third henchman grabbed him from behind. The henchman shoved Lycralad forwards, and caught hold of both his ankles. He swung him around above his head, as if Lycralad weighed nothing. All the time he was striding forwards, and let Lycralad go as the Cloud stepped out from the boat where he had just returned the microwave. Lycralad bashed into the Cloud, knocking him down, but Lycra had managed to make himself weigh considerably less just a second before, so the Cloud was soon up again. Lycralad flew into the air. The Cloud managed to grab hold of a rope and wrap it around another henchman who had stepped on board the boat to retrieve some more booty. Bettystretch caught another henchman, and threw him on top of the others she was keeping pinned down by her elongated legs. Firetop used another of his blasts of fire to send another henchman into the water, who was swiftly scooped together with the other two by the Diver. He then leapt out of the water with the henchman to set them down dockside. Muriel Magnificent caught another henchman by his arm, but instead of turning him around, the arm came away in a burst of sparks.

“Eeeyaghhh!” Exclaimed Muriel, as the arm exploded. She flung it away. She looked up, and instantly noticed the other henchmen bursting apart in tiny explosions at their joints.

The Diver let his captives go as soon as they erupted into sparks. Bettystretch leapt off her captives as they did the same, shrinking back to normal size as she did so. The Cloud dropped the rope he was using to tie up his captive, as the henchman’s head left his shoulders in a shower of electrical shards. Matthew Mist tried to send another burst of water over Firetop, but Lycralad used his material fusing abilities to bind Matthew’s arms to his chest; Matthew ended soaking himself this time. He spluttered as he fell to the ground. Lycralad flew over to a very wet Firetop.

“Robots again!” He said, looking on at the very strange scene ahead of him.

“Again?” Firetop asked. Lycralad smiled as he saw Firetop using his internal heat to dry out his uniform, surrounded by a cloud of steam. Lycra looked over to Matthew.

“This is good steam, Matthew. Just in case you missed it!”

Matthew rolled his eyes and groaned at Lycralad’s very poor joke, and muttered something inaudible under his breath.

Muriel Magnificent landed beside Lycralad. “I wasn’t expecting that…” she said, looking at the scattered robotic body parts before her.

“I should have done,” Lycralad commented, thinking of the events of the previous hour.

“What’s going on?” Firetop asked. “I’d followed Matthew Mist here as I could tell he was up to no good, when suddenly this ‘army’ appeared following every command Matthew gave.”

The other superheroes joined their colleagues, all looking out over the marina.

“I’ll get the harbourmaster to let the owners know of their belongings,” The Cloud commented. “I think we’ve managed to save them all, but they’re obviously not in their correct places now.” He walked off toward the marina office.

“Another bunch of robots attacked the bank earlier, Firetop.” Lycralad explained. “But that time only their heads blew off.”

“Gross.” Firetop pulled his face.

“Matthew Mist will know something.” Bettystretch added, looking to the space when Matthew had originally sat. “He’s gone!”

“Lycralad!” A familiar voice called out from around the side of another of the harbour buildings. “Are you looking for this?” Constable Jones from the bank earlier walked around the corner, with two other policemen behind, and a handcuffed Matthew Mist struggling to walk in the middle, cuffs also around his ankles.

“Constable Jones!” Lycralad smiled. “Twice in one hour! Thanks for apprehending Mister Mist here for us!”

“No worries, Lycralad. More robots?”

“Yes. Robotic thieves seem to be the order of the day today. We still have no clue as to who is behind it though. It can’t be Matthew here.”

“Oi!” Matthew grumbled. “You will get nothing from me!” He declared stubbornly.

“That much is obviously apparent,” Firetop quipped with a broad grin, “you look even more clueless than the rest of us!”

Bettystretch’s comms alert sounded, shortly followed by Muriel’s and then the rest of the group (apart from Firetop). Muriel read aloud the words on her device’s display. “From. Invisible. Charlie. Mid. Museum. Surrounded by. Dozens. Dressed the. Same.”

“Sounds like more of our friends…” Lycralad commented. He looked at the policeman. “Sorry to leave you with this mess again, but we have to go!”

“I understand, Lycralad. Go for it!” He watched as the team sped away into the sky. He looked at another policeman and Matthew Mist. “And we think we’re busy…” he commented.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.9: Unfortunate Circumstances Part Three

They arrived back at the headquarters in double-quick time. Lycralad opened the door swiftly and ran inside, holding it open so Angela and the Cloud could go straight in. Muriel Magnificent was walking into the kitchen when she heard the commotion.

“Lycralad? Cloud?” She asked. “What’s going – is that Angela? Goodness. What’s happened?”

“Is Nat in yet?” Lycralad asked.

“I think so.” Muriel replied. “I think I saw her when I walked passed the medicentre. I was going to pop in to see Sue, but I’ll do that later now. But Angela? What’s happened to her?”

“I’m fine, Sue,” Angela replied, her lips wobbling as she spoke. “I’m rather surprised you recognised me like this.” She joked.

“It’s your shoes, Angela. I’d know them anywhere!”

“Is Reide about?” Cloud asked.

“I think I saw him leave a few minutes ago, just before you arrived in fact. You’ve literally just missed him.”

“Good! That is just what we wanted!” Lycralad said. Lycra nodded toward Muriel as they ran passed her, to the double doors to the stairs to take them to the second floor, which housed the medical centre.

All three ran quickly up the stairs, and burst into the medical centre, startling Natalie who was putting a form away into a folder at the filing cabinet.

“What on Earth?” She asked, before noticing Angela.

“Natalie. I don’t know what’s happened. I’ve got stuck mid-transformation.”Natalie glared towards Lycralad and the Cloud. “Oh, I’ve had to tell them everything, Nat.”

“Everything?”

“Well, almost everything. About me being Angel Change.”

“At least they are good with the secret identity thing, I suppose.” Natalie smiled. “Thanks for bringing her in. I can help her now. Come through to the assessment room, Angela. Sorry, guys, but you’ll have to stay here now.”

“That’s fine, Nat. See what you can do!” Cloud replied, sitting himself down in one of the chairs in the waiting room. Lycralad sat beside him and picked up a copy of the latest Cheshire Motorways magazine.

Angela sat in the patient’s chair in the consulting room, and Natalie pulled up a small plastic one and sat opposite her. They held each other’s hands and looked deeply into each other’s eyes. A red mist appeared to form out of each of their eyes, emanating outwards, towards the opposite nurse. When the mist connected in between them, it changed colour; first to orange, then to gold, and then to the brightest of yellows. It became a bright light which then encased both of their bodies.

The light contracted to a tiny speck in the centre, leaving the two chairs where the women had once sat now empty. It then enlarged once more, covering both seats once again. It then faded, and both Angela and Natalie had returned. The ‘monster’ was gone.

Lycralad absent-mindedly flicked through the pages of the magazine. It had been all of two minutes, and he was feeling restless.

“I can’t stand this waiting!” He declared.

“Take it easy, Alex. I’m sure it will be fine.” Cloud said. “I wonder how Angela got one of our comms devices though?”

“Well, she is part of the EFB, I suppose. Support and all that. And being Angel Change she is a superhero, so she has that going for her as well.”

“Yeah. But – I wonder if Natalie and Dr Flopp are superheroes too?”

“Or worse – they could be supervillains. We don’t really know anything about them, do we? They could be anyone, and we just put our trust in them.” Lycralad was starting to talk himself out of his side of the argument.

“They are part of the team. We have to trust them. We can’t second guess them, Alex. Especially not now.” The Cloud brought them back into the realms of reason.

“We’re not very good superheroes, though.” Lycralad sighed. “We didn’t even know that Angela Chance was Angel Change. I mean to say.”

“We know now,” Cloud replied. “And we know too well the reasons why we don’t tell everyone we know who we are.”

The door to the assessment room opened, and Angela walked out first, back to normal, followed by Natalie.

“Ange – What??? How???” Cloud stood up.

Lycralad put down his magazine and stood as well. “You must be a miracle worker, Natalie. Angela, you were grotesque!”

“Thanks, Lycralad.” Angela replied frostily, but soon broke into a smile. “Natalie has seen this before. That was why I told you she could help.”

“Well, good work, Natalie.” Cloud added, with more than a hint of relief in his voice.

“I still didn’t get to pay the cheque in though, Natalie. I think I’ll let you take it tomorrow!” Angela chuckled, as she took to her seat at the receptionist desk.

“You can’t possibly think of working after all that!” Lycralad held up both of his hands towards Angela.

“I’m fine. Honestly. Worse things than that have happened, believe you me. All in a superhero’s days work. You know how it is.”

“I suppose you’re…” Lycralad was interrupted by the sound of the priority one alarm.

The Cloud dashed over to the console by the entrance to the medical centre. “It’s Firetop. He’s in trouble.”

“Go, boys!” Angela shouted. “Do your stuff!”

They ran out of the medical centre, and almost collided with the Diver who was also responding to the alarm. Bettystretch quickly followed. They ran down the stairs, and met up with Muriel Magnificent in the kitchen.

“Firetop’s under attack from Matthew Mist,” Muriel explained, “and an army of an unknown origin. It’s apparently too big a threat for him to handle on his own. He’s at Mid Marina. Good job the Diver’s responding!”

“It’s been a while…!” Diver replied, eager to get on with the job.