Hello peoples. Here’s the follow up to last week’s Flash Fiction challenge set at Chuck Wendig’s blog – Terribleminds.
That one was all about writing a 250 word character description, or a short scene introducing a fresh character. THIS WEEK we’ve been given the task of picking one of these characters, that someone else has created, and writing a story featuring them as the protagonist.
I chose the fantastic Yvonne Mae, a bad-ass Korean superhero feminist lady, living in Brooklyn. Her superpower is to completely nullify any one incoming attack, which hypothetically would allow her to smack foreheads with the Hulk, or catch a swing from Mjolnir. I don’t have her dishing out quite that kind of punishment here, as I wanted to explore her intellect and fears more than her raw ability to layeth-the-smack-down. She’s the brainchild of Todd Dillard over at doodle-doodle, so get over there and see what they’re up to.
Okay, without further ado…
Yvonne was waiting for her post-gym espresso when the MRA finally caught up with her. She’d been using the café’s wifi to kakao-talk with mom back in South Korea. Her mom loved that app, with its cutesy emoticons and message tones. Yvonne just liked keeping-in-touch as cheaply as possible, and the free wifi helped.
“Alright, alright, omma. Algesseo-yo,” she said, even though she had no intention of enduring a blind date with mom’s-cousin’s son, a restauranteur over in Queens. Hahaha, no.
It had nothing to do with her outspoken views -ignorant, militant, feminist bitch, or so the internet trolls kept telling her- Yvonne just felt that twenty-six was too young for popping out grandchildren. Sorry mom.
Dad was happy to wait, so long as the guy was Korean. The revelation of Yvonne’s superpowered ex, Fling, had driven dad to cut her allowance and call her back to Busan, degree unfinished. She made enough in superhero-appearance-money to pay her own rent, but it’d been a close thing to refuse him. Anyway, he’d worried for nothing. Fling by name…
Far from earning a respite, her agreement to consider dating only sent mom to the next nagging topic. When was Yvonne going to stop upsetting so many men? Her eyes glazed over, idly counting pigeons out on the sidewalk. There were dozens… maybe someone dropped a sandwich?
Anyway, why were these men upset? A woman daring to voice opinions on twitter? Gasp! Her last youtube upload hadn’t helped… How could she have known a video of her thrashing renowned supervillain, AlphaMale, would go viral?
“I’ll stop when I’ve smashed the patriarchy,” she said, tapping her baseball slugger against the floor.
Mom accused her of making light -the latest internet death-and-rape-combo threats had been particularly graphic, especially one from BirdMan97- and making her mother worry.
Yvonne felt a twinge of guilt, and was ready to repent, but mom was already gnawing the next bone of contention. When was she going to chuck that Vespa -a restored moped she’d dubbed ‘Horace’- and buy something grown-up. Like a Camry.
“Mom, with my powers a scooter is safer. Well, unless I get hit by two buses at once…”
Her coffee was ready, so Yvonne grabbed the corrugated cup with her name sharpie’d across the lid, and strutted for the door. “Omma, I gotta go. Talk tomorrow. Ggeuneo, mmm.”
She didn’t get a chance to hear her mom’s response, because as she opened the door a pigeon smashed into her face.
Another ploughed into her midriff, but the irresistable force of her superpower sent it bouncing back, a dusty bird-print on her blouse. The pigeon that hit her face had slipped through a millisecond later, and her power couldn’t deal with two targets at once.
Yvonne dropped her coffee as she fell, staining her jeans, burning her wrist. The birds flapped wildly at her feet, in her lap, in her hair. Yvonne screamed, not the scream of an enraged superheroine, but one of pain, and fear. She hated birds, their skinny legs, inkspot eyes and twitchy movements. She’d always been a city girl, so birds were vermin to her mind. She shuddered and flailed with her baseball-bat, scrambling backwards into the coffee-shop.
Customers stood, alarm and concern the prevailing tone. As the door swung shut, more birds, pigeons, sparrows, swallows, even seagulls, swarmed against the glass. A concerted wave of them knocked over Yvonne’s scooter, cracking the fairing against the kerb. Within moments the downed Horace was coated in bird-droppings.
Yvonne reeled. This was some kind of superpower, she felt sure of it. Someone manipulating the will of these dumb creatures, urging them into battle. But who?
A pelican landed on the hood of a stopped car, and ducks waddled up the sidewalk. Bystanders were losing their minds, lives ground to a halt. But then Yvonne spotted something. One bystander outside wasn’t losing it. On the contrary, the kid was videoing the chaos on his smartphone.
He was conventionally dressed, right down to the stickered cap. His eyes found Yvonne’s, and he smiled with recognition. Those eyes were intelligent and attractive, the poster-child of middle-America. The perfect front for a cruel streak.
Still recording, the kid threw a handful of something into the street. Birds swooped on it. Birdseed. So they weren’t puppets, but willing servants…
Sirens wailed, announcing the cops were inbound. The kid entered a shop opposite and pretended to take cover. He grinned just for her. The police would arrive. People were distressed, some hurt, and she was the known Super. She was the one they’d take for questioning.
Yvonne’s fear crystallised and expanded into rage. He was laughing at her.
Try as she might to ignore the barrage on social media, it eroded her will. Little things like her morning ritual –gym first, then good coffee from the hipster joint- helped her to recharge. Spilled coffee was cooling on her ruined jeans.
No way could she let him win, but the cops wouldn’t listen to a young Asian woman. Talk to? Gladly, but listen? No. Yvonne needed to change the game.
She limbered her bat, shouldered through the door, and went out swinging.
Gym-aches forgotten, she swatted birds, running all the while. Horace was slick with bird-leavings, but she wrestled him upright, thanking her stars yesterday wasn’t leg day, and leapt into the saddle. The moped started and she shot off the mark, swerving around the jammed traffic.
As she passed the kid’s shop window, she flipped him the bird. “Come catch me, Bird Brain.”
The kid came out, red in the face, and pointed after Yvonne. His feathered friends streamed in her direction, blotting out the sun. Every bystander would have seen him do it, the dumb rookie.
Blue-and-reds flashed as police arrived at the scene behind her, and Yvonne knew she needn’t bother looking back anymore. The flock was chasing at her heels, but not for much longer. As the wind cooled her scalded legs, it was her turn to grin.
Thanks for reading.