#CAFSC – The Bank Hiest

Mark Ethridge
732 Words
Anthology – Yes
Charity – Spark Summit

Name of female superhero: Crystal

Name of human alter ego, if different: Cynthia Gardner

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Crystalline surface, no figure (cylindrical, but changeable)

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): Brunette, shoulder length hair with bangs, 5’8” tall. Something like a 34, 28, 36 figure.

Costume: None. She looks like a big cylinder, or whatever.

Personality: Very observant. Very adaptable.

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): Made of nano-machines by genius scientist working for some corporation, as part of his way of protecting the world from the exploitation of his work.

Powers: Automatic repair of any physical damage. Networked (can leave parts here or there for “spying/information collection”. Far quicker than any human. Staggeringly intelligent. Far stronger than expected (she is, after all, a machine). Able to change appearance at will.

The Story:

Cynthia Gardner stood in front of the teller at the bank, “I have to deposit this,” she smiled, handing the teller her paycheck. The teller smiled back, then she looked surprised, then terrified. “Oh, God.”

There were four people with guns drawn, two by the entrance, one next to the security guard, and one at the teller next to Cynthia. A single gunshot echoed in the ears of everyone in the bank, sounding far louder in the enclosed space than it would have on the street. The security guard collapsed, a large red spot appearing on his chest, and thick red pool  forming beneath him.

The man at the teller next to Cynthia belted out, “Do exactly what we say, and no one else gets hurt!”

The two men at the door waved their guns, menacingly. The man who had shot the guard screamed, “Down! On the Ground! Everyone!”

Cynthia thought, “Dang-it,” as she got to the ground. “First thing’s first.” She ordered a string of nanobots to cross the room to the security guard, to render any assistance they could to him. The bots formed an invisible line on the floor, as they crossed the bank, and disappeared into the guard’s wounds. Cynthia received their reports on blood pressure, pulse rate, and physical damage incurred.

The guard was dead. The gunman had known exactly where to shoot. “So much for being nice,” she thought, reprogramming the detached nanobots, and programming another three groups. Each group targeted one of the gunmen.  Cynthia made sure the nanobot detachments were from hidden spaces, so no one would notice peices of her were missing. Toes from inside her shoes, parts of her self she was sitting on, her tongue and teeth, which she didn’t exactly need at the moment.

The nanobot detachments moved to the gunmens weapons, attacking the metal and fiber composite structure of the guns, pulling the molecular structure of the firing mechanisms apart, rendering the guns useless. They searched each gunman for additional weapons, removing sharp edges and points from any knives they found, reporting back to Cynthia what they’d found, and done.

The gunmen kept moving, not knowing anything was happening. They pulled watches, cell phones, laptop computers, cash, credit cards, and other valuables from the people in the bank, quickly filling up the bags they’d brought with them.

As they did, the nanobot detachments informed Cynthia the gunmen were fully disarmed. Cynthia sent them commands to disable the gunmen by disrupting their central nervous systems, blocking the flow of information from their brains to their muscles. Within a minute, the gunmen collapsed, one by one, falling to the floor, unable to move, quickly falling into unconscious states.

With the gunmen disabled, Cynthia knew everyone was safe, and the immediate crisis of the robbery was over. She issued return orders to the nanobot detachments. When they’d returned, she got to her feet, and walked up to each gunman. They would all live. “It’s OK, everyone. I don’t know what happened, but they’re all unconscious.”

The bank tellers set off the silent alarms indicating a robbery in progress, and a few minutes later, the police arrived. They found Cynthia kneeling next to the dead security guard. She wondered if he’d had any family. Any children. She wondered how humans could be so heartless, shooting someone for no reason other than a few trinkets, and some money.

“Miss? Are you OK.” One of the officers asked.

“Yes,” she pointed at the dead guard. “But he’s not.”

The officer nodded. “Do you know what happened here today?”

Cynthia shook her head. “They all just fell over. It was like magic.”

The officer offered her a hand, helped her get to her feet. “I just glad they didn’t get away with it.”

The officers asked questions of everyone in the bank, what they’d seen, what the gunmen had done, what had happened to cause the gunmen to collapse. No one knew anything. “It was like God struck them down.” “It was like some invisible gas or something hit them all.” No one could explain what happened.

Cynthia knew. She’d stopped the men. She’d tried to help the security guard, but had failed. She knew what the police would find when they examined the weapons of the gunmen. She knew no one would ever understand what had happened.

But she knew. And she could never tell.


I hope you have enjoyed my entry into the “Creating a Female Super Hero Challenge (#CASFC). There are lots of excellent entries, and amazing proposals for female super heroes in the challenge. Please go read them all.

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Mark.

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Like The Roses Do

The roses were beautiful.
In so many colors.
White, pink, yellow, red.
And so many more.
Peach, bronze, and silver-pink.
Each rose a work of art
To me.

I wondered as I walked
Through that garden
Filled with roses,
Why humans are so stupid.
Why they can’t even see
What’s right before
Their noses.

The truth was obvious to me.
Just with the roses.
For the roses were so many kinds.
Some grew like vines,
Others like bushes.
Some blooms were tiny,
Maybe quarter sized.
Such works of art they were.
Other roses were whopping big.
With blooms twice the size of my fist.
Blooms I couldn’t even hold
In a single hand.

Roses that had just a few petals,
And were open.
You could see the pistol,
And the pollen
In the heart of them.

Roses that had petals by the dozens.
Tightly packed together.
Layer upon layer.
Like spiral flowers.

Some roses were in full bloom.
Some were not.
Some hadn’t bloomed at all.

Each bush had different leaves.
Some small and tiny,
Packed densely around the stems.
Others had a big leaf,
With saw-toothed edges,
Every now and then.

Some roses bloomed in clumps.
Four, five, or more blossoms
In a single group.
Blooming all at once.

Some bloomed by themselves.
A bloom here.
Another there.
Scattered everywhere.

Some looked like rose bloom families.
A big bloom in the midst
Of an ocean of baby roses
That hadn’t spread their petals
Yet.

The roses came
In more sizes,
Colors
And types
Than I could count.

And I didn’t care at all.
Each rose
Was beautiful.

And I wondered
As I walked
Looking at the roses,
Thanking life
For every bloom.

Why humans are
So very silly,
And so mean,
That they can’t see the beauty
In another human being.
That they have to use
Cruel names,
And unkind words,
To hurt someone
That’s not like them.

Why can’t humans watch the roses
And learn to see the beauty
In diversity.
Like the roses do.

 

The Kraken

I watched the last fairy die. The US Army hunted her down, trapping her in her home. A pretty, green alcove filled with peonies, bluets, trillium and orchids. The humans set it on fire, leaving her a choice. Die in the fire, or flee. She fled. When she did, the Army opened fire on her. And the last fairy, the last guardian of the forest, died. Brought down by far too many bullets from human guns.

Mother Earth cried in anguish, “They murdered Orchid! They murdered the last fairy!”

I was silent and unmoving on the ocean floor. There was nothing to be done. Nothing to say. We had always known the day would come when the humans murdered Orchid.

“The last guardian of the forests, and the murdered her! Just like they murdered the last mermaid, the last dragon, the last unicorn, the last siren, the last centaur.”

“Indeed, milady. They did.” I knew what she would say, what she would do. The humans had built their economic machine, their society, and become dependent on it. They’d lost their way, becoming encased in their ways, their never-ending need to rule the world, to bend nature to their will. “They’d doomed themselves, and all life.”

Mother Earth cried, tears of rain fell from the sky over the home of the last fairy for weeks. The  blood of the fairy was washed away. I remembered Orchid. For over 1000 years, she’d been the last fairy, the last guardian of the forests. Despite everything the humans had done, Orchid had manage to maintain the fragile balance of nature in the forests through that time. She’d survived 1000 years, alone, after the humans murdered the rest of her kind. She’d worked so hard for those centuries, keeping the forests alive.

Until the humans found her. Until the humans murdered her. Like they’d murdered all the guardians. Like they murdered everything they touched. Without Orchid, the forests would die within two or three decades. No forests would be left, save for the human wildlife parks.

“You are the last, you know.”

“I know, milady. I know.” I was the last guardian. The only guardian the humans had not found, had not hunted down, had not murdered. So long as I lived, the seas would survive. Their balance as fragile as the balance of the forests Orchid had protected for so long. “Remember, milady. Remember your promise.”

I knew she did. She’d given her word to Orchid and me. She would not unleash the plagues until the last guardian was no more. She’d honored that promise for 1000 years. She’d honor it now.

But we both knew the day was coming when the humans and their technology, their machines, would find their way to the bottom of the sea. There, they would find me, the sea monster of their legends. The Kraken.

When they did, Mother Earth would unleash her plagues upon the humans and restore the balance of nature herself.

Sometimes

I went to the gardens
That I know so very well.
That I love so very much.
The gardens that help me
Heal my heart and soul.

And there,
I walked.
Alone.

Just me.
And my music
Playing in my ears.

I took my time.
Stopped and looked
Any time I wanted.

Took the time
To feel the breeze.
To feel the sun
Shining down on me.

To listen to the leaves
On the trees.
The birds singing songs
Of so many kinds.

I watched the bees
Buzzing through the wildflowers.
Pollen packed upon their legs.
As they moved from one bloom
To another.

I watched squirrels
Climbing in the trees,
Running along the ground
As they searched
For the perfect feast.

There was a group
Of tiny birds.
They looked like finches
To me.

My hands
Would have dwarfed
Any one of them.

They ate petals
Off yellow flowers.
And watched me
Watching them.

I watched grasshoppers
Playing games.
Chasing each other
Through the bushes,
Grass and mulch.

I took the time to stare
At a black dragon-fly
With the golden stripes
Down both of it’s sides.

I’d only seen one like it
One other time.

I studied the details
In its wings.
The way they looked
Like fine wire frames
With a film stretched
Over them.

I walked through the butterflies
In the butterfly house.
I lost count
Of how many I saw there.

But then,
I didn’t really care.
I was just there
To enjoy the patterns
On their wings.

The grace with which they flew.

Then I walked once more
Among the trees.
Through the forest named
Enchanted.

And I remembered.
And I saw.
And I felt.

I walked alone.

Just me.
That’s how it is for me.
I have no one to ask
On days like today.

I’d have loved to take her hand
And walk with her.
But she was at work.

Work.
Where I spent more than half
Of the life
I’ve been blessed with.

Work.

That which nearly
Destroyed me.

There are parts of me
I know are gone.
That’s all.
Just gone.
Like a missing hand.
Or foot.

Sometimes I can almost remember
What they felt.
Those missing parts of me.

I walked alone.

Wishing, as I have
Thousands of times before,
The people I once knew
Would make the time,
Would take the time
To walk through the flowers,
And the trees.

Knowing they never will.
Even on a vacation.
Or a day off.

I walked alone today,

Through the flowers
And the trees,
Of the gardens
I love so very much.

I’ll walk there
Many times
In the years ahead.

I have to.
You see.
I have to.

For on days like this
I know
The walks I take
Through the flowers
And the trees,

Define a fragile line for me.
Between the darkness
And the light.

Give a hope to me
I can’t hold on to
On my own.

In a world
I never made.

Where I walk alone.

#FlashFriday #29 : Mona Lisa

"La Gioconda," by Leonardo da Vinci“Is that the Mona Lisa?”

I took a sip of my wine, savoring the flavor on my tongue. “Of course not. Like I could afford the Mona List.”

“But it looks so real.”

“It’s just a copy. Like the Picasso, the Van Gogh, and the Manet.”

“Oh.” She looked disappointed. “Yeah. A copy.”

She was like all the other women I’d brought home. She’d spend the night, and then be gone. Because I was a pretender. I collected copies of artwork, and displayed them in my cheap apartment. I wasn’t the rich man she wanted.

But the night would be fun. And in a few weeks, I’d bring home that painting from Degas I’d had my eyes on. Like the rest, it wouldn’t be a copy, but the real thing, though I could never admit it. I savored more of my wine. The advantages of being a museum caretaker were better than anyone thought.

“Technology lets them make really good copies these days, doesn’t it.”

165 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 29. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

#MWBB 18 : Tinta

“There is magic in this forest.”

I laughed at the old man, sitting on an old wooden stool on the stone porch of his small cabin. “Yeah, right. Magic.”

The old man smiled. “You are young, with the brashness, and arrogance of youth.” He looked pas me, to the forest surrounding his home. “You will see.” His eyes gleamed a brilliant blue, “You will see.”

I thanked him for the water, and the meal, and took my leave of him, heading north, into the forest. I was following someone. A girl. I’d seen her in the village, south of the forest, two days ago. I’d called out to her, tried to get her attention, but she didn’t hear me. When she left the village, she headed north. Into the forest. I followed her.

I don’t know why. I’d asked why I was following her for the past two days. Was it because she was pretty? Was it because I was curious? Perhaps I wanted to make sure her journey through the forest went well, and she arrived wherever she was going safely.

The old man at the cabin had just smiled. “She went north,” he’d said.

“Who?”

“Tinta.” He watched my reaction, saw my hesitation to answer him, to ask him questions. “She knows you’re following her.” He’d smiled again, “Why don’t you stop for a bit, have lunch, and a drink. Then continue your journey.”

“I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Oh, son. You are no bother. I get few visitors here. Let me practice my hospitality.”

He’d fixed sandwiches, more than we’d eaten. He’d put the rest in a bag, and handed it to me. “For Tinta.”

Tinta kept going north. I kept following her trail. It wasn’t hard. Her footprints were easy to spot in the snow. It was easy to see the tree branches she’d brushed against.

“There is magic in the forest.” I kept hearing the words of the old man, as the sun set on the second day, and I found a small alcove in the trees to camp for the night. I was glad the old man had given me the sandwiches, as I ate one that night.

Some say I never woke up. And I do remember looking at myself, sleeping on the ground under the trees. But it wasn’t really me. It was must an image. A mirage. As I looked down on myself, she walked into the alcove and stood next to me. She took my hand. She kissed me.

“I’m Tinta.”

“I’m Raven.”

“I know.” She led me into the forest, heading north. As we walked, the snow faded, and the forest filled with colors, the sounds of birds, the music of leaves being played by soft breezes, and the magic of the sun’s beams painting patterns of light as it shined through the forests canopy.

It was beautiful. So was Tinta.

“There is one thing,” she said to me. “Now that you’re here, you know, don’t you.”

“I can never leave.”

I have never missed the world I left behind.

There was indeed magic in the forest. The old man had been right. It was the magic of dreams. I’d always dreamed of finding her. I’d always known when I did, she’d bring color to my world. I’d always known I’d never return to the world I’d always known. That I’d stay with my true love. Walking hand-in-hand, through the trees. In a world where winter never came.

581 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 18 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence Part 13

As we started toward the trucks, I noticed a cat on the roof of the cabin, watching me. The man waved at the cat. “One of Taran’s friends, checking to see everything’s OK.”

The woman in lingerie smiled, “He’ll be expecting us.”

The man laughed, “So will Alice.”

I had to ask, “Who is Taran?”

55 words

@LurchMunster


This is part 13 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. And yes, it is part of the same world that Taran and Alice are in. Now, please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.