July 11, 2015

The Emergents

Just because you develop superpowers there’s no guarantee you’ll become a hero or even want to. 


“Do what we say and only some of you will get hurt,” I shout. “Your phones aren’t going to work, the alarm isn’t going to work. Jack here,” I point to the boy with spiky hair standing beside me, “has the power to control technology meaning you’re on your own in here with us. Jack?”

With a flick of his hand the ATMs in the bank began spewing money across the floor. Out of the corner of my eye I see a woman trying to crawl across the floor to grab the dollars as they flowed out of the machine. I lash out with a shadowy ball which latches itself onto the woman’s outstretched hand and simply dissolves it. The process can be quick or slow, but I want to make an impression.

The shadow tears away at the woman’s hand and as she screams, I put on my darkest smile, the one I’ve spent more time than I’m willing to admit practising in front of a mirror, and call out, “and that’s my power. Does anyone else want to try something stupid?”

No one moves and I cut off the flow of power until only a stump remains of the woman’s arm. She stops screaming, all she can do now is look at it in shocked silence. I almost prefer the screams, they excite me, remind me of my power, but I’m on a mission and the clock is ticking.

Stepping down from the counter I’ve been standing on I turn to Kate who’s been watching the whole thing as if she’s bored. She’s just perfecting her Ice Queen Bitch routine, “you know what to do.”

Kate nods and crystals of ice form around her hands in silent warning. I walk through the bank’s offices and down to the vault, a security guard is pinned to the wall with bolts of lightning holding him in place. As I pass I bend down and pick his gun up off the floor, I see he’d been able to fire it twice when I check the chamber, Scott is getting careless. I’ll have to talk to him about that.

Tightening my grip on the weapon, I use it to knock the guard out and continue to the vault. Scott’s hood is up, Jack had made sure the bank’s cameras weren’t working, but Scott was always like this. Paranoid and a little bit hyper, he’s pacing but nods as I approach. “He’s in there?” I ask.

“Yeah Sara, yeah. Of course he’s in there, where else would he be?” Scott blurts out. His words have a way of running into each other, like he’s already thinking of what to say next. If anyone else were to speak to me like that I’d hurt then but Scott doesn’t get sarcasm and hadn’t meant it. That’s just how he is.

We’re not waiting long before Aaron’s hand appears through the door of the vault, a sack of money in hand. I latch onto it with a trail of shadow power and pull each one he passes through. In the end he sends her twenty bags before stepping through the metal with a tight little grin on his face.

“We did it!” he proclaims and I can’t help but groan, the smugness is going to be unbearable now.

“We’re not out of here yet,” I answer and drag the bags along behind me as we walk back to the lobby, each one is suspended by a thread of shadow and I don’t feel tired, I’m getting stronger.

Jack is still standing where I left him, glowering at everyone, sometimes I think that’s a second superpower of his, but Kate has turned the chandelier over the lobby into a huge icicle. She’s an artist, she actually paints and draws in her spare time or tinkers away with pictures on Instagram and PhotoShop, but I think Kate’s icework is her best.

“Come on, we need to go.”

“You get everything?” Jack asks gruffly.

“Cleared the place out,” Aaron replies with that same cheesy grin I’m not sure I hate or love.

The five of us walk for the door, “wait,” a voice calls out behind us, “what are you?”

I turn around and walk to the old man who had spoken, his voice is weak but he isn’t afraid. I’m impressed but I grasp the man’s neck with my gloves. “Today we’re thieves but tomorrow… tomorrow we’ll be gods.”

With that shadow pours forth from my hands in a flurry of dark energy that ripples through his body until it reaches his heart. The life drains from his eyes and I turn away without a backward glance and walk into the sunny street outside where no one is any the wiser as to what happened. They will be soon but even if everyone in that bank tells the same story, who’s going to believe them?


Image: Marvel Entertainment (yes, that is Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Appropriate images are hard to find, okay?)

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About Stephen Daly

Co-editor of game culture and lifestyle site gamemoir.com and a news editor for Gameranx. You can follow me on Twitter at @StephenDaly_ or email sdaly@gamemoir.com.

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