Shy Gal

Throughout the past few millenia, humanity has undergone an evolution of sorts. It began with ancient Greek heroes performing legendary feats. Those heroes then bred with other heroes and honed their abilities until eventually their kin developed full-on super powers. By 2020, nearly a quarter of the world's population were "supers," and I was one of them. My super identity is "Shy Gal," and my nemesis is "Dr. Professor Piggly Wiggly."

Let me explain.

Because super-powers are hereditary, most supers know what kinds of powers they will receive long before they actually develop them. If their mom could shoot ice beams and their dad could breathe fire, then they would have some combination of the two. My problem was that neither of my parents were supers. In fact, no one in my family was super. We had come from a long line of normal people, doing normal things.

Because of this, no one expected anything from me. I didn't have to save the world. I didn't even need to make straight A's. As long as I was passing my classes and having a good time, my parents were happy enough.

That's why my powers came as a complete surprise.

See, there was this boy. Jake. He had jet-black hair, but sharp blue eyes and a face dotted with freckles. He was quick-witted and smart, but not too smart that he forgot how to listen. Every time I talked to him, I felt myself leaning in, completely absorbed in conversation.

Simply put: I was crushing on him. Hard. Worse, there was a dance coming up and I had to go with him.

So one day, I put on a little make-up and spritzed on some perfume. During class, I wrote a note and passed it to him:

Meet me on the roof after school, 3:15

He handed it back to be with a single word:


In that moment, time froze. I could feel my heart beat faster than ever before, and my whole body tingled. My breathing became irregular, and I couldn't think about anything else but Jake and our eventual meeting that afternoon. I tried to take a deep breath and focus on the lecture, but the teacher was moving too slowly for me to follow. I ended up trying to scribble a bit in my notebook, but somehow broke my pencil in two as I began to write.

Eventually, I calmed down and managed to get through class.

After the bell rang, I ran up the stairs and waited on the roof for what seemed like hours. I kept looking at my watch, and it kept reading the same time: 3:14.32

At first, I thought it was broken, so I took another deep breath and sat down. When I had looked at my watch again, the time had changed to 3:14.56

It seemed to be ticking at an irregular rate, so I didn't worry about it too much. At 3:17.23, the door to the roof opened up, and Jake slowly appeared. If I'm honest, I had never seen anyone move so slowly.

Was he ok? Why was he so late? Did he not want to see me?

As questions raced through my mind, I leapt up and ran to him before saying, "Hey Jake, how are you?"

He didn't even look up. In fact, he didn't even shut the door behind him. He just stood there, frozen.

"Jake?" I asked again, this time concerned, "Are you ok?"

Suddenly, he jumped and gasped slightly, "Woah. You scared me! Where did you come from?"

"Just over there," I pointed to where I was sitting, "Do you have time to talk? I know it's late."

"Late? What do you mean?" He shut the door before looking at me and saying slowly, "Didn't class just end?"

"Ah, maybe?" I said, "Look. There's something I need to tell you."

Again, time froze, and I could feel my head throbbing and body tingling. I had never been so nervous before. Jake was completely still, not moving at all.

"Jake?" I asked again, waving my hand in-front of his face, "Are you ok?"

He said nothing. His eyes did not even track my movement. What was going on? I looked around a bit and saw a bird struggling to fly against harsh wind. It seemed as if it wasn't moving at all. It was then that I realized there was no wind either.

The world, itself, had frozen except for me.

Soon, the bird began to move a bit and I saw Jake shake his head, "What was that?" he asked, "I didn't quite catch you."

"Ah, sorry." Again, I could feel my heart start to beat and my breathing become shallow. I could do this. I closed my eyes and lowered my head, "Jake. I like you. Do you want to go to the dance with me?"

I didn't look up, but Jake did not say anything either. After a few minutes of silence, my body began trembling in shame. I felt like I had ruined everything.

Of course he didn't want to go out with me! I was the most normal person imaginable! I couldn't play any sports. My grades were mediocre, at best. I spent all my time watching Tom and Jerry on repeat because I didn't want to grow up.

No one could ever want to date me! I could feel tears well up in my eyes. That was it. I ruined our friendship in a single sentence!

So I did the only thing I could think of: I ran.

I was such an emotional wreck that the door's handle felt like play-doh. I couldn't face any of my classmates, so I rushed through the crowd and ran towards my house. I knew it was several miles away, but I didn't care. I wanted to be as far away from that school as possible.

In what seemed like an instant, I was home, in my bed and crying into a pillow. After an hour or so, I had calmed down. I looked to my phone, only to see a text from Jake:

Is everything ok? I don't know what happened, but the door to the roof is broken. Where did you go?

I didn't know what to say, so I left the text alone and turned my phone on silent. A few minutes later, I heard a knock on my door.

"Go away mom." I said, "I don't want to talk right now."

"Mom?" I heard a gruff older gentleman's voice. "I'm not your mom."

My eyes shot open. "Who the fuck are you?"

"Look. I'm not here to harm you. Your mom let me in. I know better than to enter a teenager's room without permission."

"Who the fuck are you?" I repeated.

"I am agent Scarn of the Super Persons Federation, also called SPF, the world's protection against evil's radiation." There was a brief pause, "We need you. The world needs you."

"Me? What do you mean?"

"You're a super. With the right training, you could be one of the best."

I thought back to the events throughout the day and realized that time only seemed to freeze when I was filled with adrenaline. "So wait. When Jake froze today... That was me?"

"Yes. We don't really know the source of your power, but you seem to be able to stop time and have super strength."

It was a lot to process, but after several months of testing, we found the source of my power: shame.

The more embarrassed I was about a situation, the more time would stop and the stronger I would become. That's why the league gave me the skimpiest possible outfit, complete with pink cat ears and slightly mismatched leg warmers. They also said my catch-phrase would be "Pride Power!" and paired me with the villain with the silliest name: Dr. Professor Piggly Wiggly.

This brings us to today: my first day of work. There I was, strapped to a rocket with my new nemesis monologuing, ready to send me to space when my belt began to buzz. I shifted slightly, causing it to pick up on speaker phone.

"Hey huuuuun!" It was my mother, "Just calling to check in on you! How is the day going?"

"Shut it, mom! You're embarrassing me!" I felt my face flush red and a familiar fight or flight sensation tingle throughout my body. "Wait. On second thought, stay on the line a bit longer."

I then ripped through my restraints and used them to tie up Dr. Professor Piggly Wiggly before he even finished explaining how he was going to take over the tri-state area.

I then ran home as quickly as possible to give my mom a hug. She might be the most embarrassing woman in history, but she had saved my life.

PS: Sorry it was kinda long!

Prompt: First day as a Superhero. And it's going to be great - if Mom ever stops calling!

results matching ""

    No results matching ""