Addison found the box one Sunday afternoon when her mom asked her to clean out the closet in the guest bedroom. It was a dusty old cardboard thing, and inside, she found a few notebooks with her late grandma’s name on the front and a beautiful silver necklace with a jeweled rose pendant.
“Look what I found,” she said, bringing the box to her mom.
Her mom turned from her computer, and her eyes widened. “I remember that. I kept it just in case…”
“In case what?”
Addison pestered (She was good at pestering) until her mom heaved a sigh and sat her down for a Serious Talk.
Dave set their suitcases on the dresser and stretched, still stiff from the flight. He surveyed the cozy bedroom, taking a moment to appreciate the view of the mountains out the window.
“This is nice,” he said to Val.
“I need to have it redecorated,” she called back from the bathroom, where she was touching up her make-up before their dinner reservation. “Everything’s horribly out of date—which I guess I should’ve expected. I haven’t used this place in years.”
Dave was just happy to visit one of her properties on a vacation and not as a safehouse to hide in while someone was trying to kill them. He pulled off his watch, wanting to wear a nicer one for dinner, and opened the top draw of the nightstand to put it in.
Ever wonder how the wise old mentor character puts up with the whiny, annoying hero he’s training? Then have I got the tale for you.
My short story, A Magical Education, follows a group of aging mentors drinking mead and venting about the next generation of heroes they’re trying to educate. It’s a humorous fantasy short, and you can find it in Issue 81 of Swords and Sorcery Magazinehere or by clicking the image below.
Check out the magazine’s archives while you’re there. It’s full of entertaining and adventurous sword and sorcery fiction. Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted any short fiction on my blog, so here’s a little something from The White Knight & Black Valentine Series. Enjoy!
How to Stop Trains (A Guide for Superheroes)
An excerpt from White Knight’s lecture at the Academy on April 15, 2002.
Remember the acronym TAD: Time and Distance. You may be strong enough to stop a runaway train in a split second, but if you bring a train moving a hundred miles per hour to a sudden stop, the passengers are going to keep moving forward at a hundred miles per hour. They’d have a better chance of survival if you threw them headfirst into a brick wall. Continue reading Short Story: How to Stop Trains (A Guide for Superheroes)
It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. Here are four free short stories to kick off your week with (and if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists).
La Gorda and the City of Silver
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.
Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix
This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.
When the Devil Drives
Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.
Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is over. Looking back, the first post is dated June 28, 2016, which feels like forever ago. Now that it’s finished, I find myself with a gap in my blog schedule and no idea what to fill it with. So help me out, super readers, especially those of you who signed up to get these posts by email. What do you want to read on this blog? I’ve thrown out some ideas I’ve been considering below, but if you have another request, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.
A week passed before Val got the chance to speak with her father. With Blueblood dead and Leo arrested, the Black Valentine was only supervillain from the DSA break-in who was still at large. She’d risen to the top of the DSA’s Most Wanted List, an achievement she’d commemorated by framing a copy of her wanted poster. (It wasn’t the most flattering picture, but you couldn’t have everything.)
Her father’s trial had gone badly. The prosecution’s primary witness had been eloquent and sympathetic, swaying the jury so completely that further evidence had been a mere formality. Things really would have been different if Joey and Madame Morphine had succeeded in taking him out. Val had snuck into the courthouse using a wig and a liberal use of telepathy, and she caught her father in a hallway as prison guards were escorting him to the van that would return him to his holding cell.
Val entered the guards’ mind to convince them to pause, but she shouldn’t have bothered. Her father saw her and lifted his hand. “A moment, please,” he said, and the guard pushing his wheelchair stopped and retreated a respectful distance away. Typical. Her father’s four-year prison sentence was going to be a simple change of scenery for him. The law couldn’t snap the web of influence that stretched out from him; the strands would lengthen and shift no matter where the old spider moved.
Tidal Wave was slumped in the back of a police car, his cheek pressed against the smooth glass window. The sedative hadn’t completely knocked him out yet, but it was close. His eyelids felt like they weighed five pounds each, and the movements of the car seemed to rock him to sleep. He was taken off guard, then, when another car crashed into them.
The next thing he knew, he was lying across the back seat. Muffled shouts and gunshots came from outside, but he was only vaguely interested in their cause. Certainly not interested enough to lift his head and see what was going on. No, that would be way too much effort. He rested against the seat cushion and drifted off.
The car door opened, and Tidal Wave was just coherent enough to recognize the person who opened it as a junior member of the Tsubaki Syndicate. Hey, I know that guy, he thought happily. Then he passed out. Continue reading “Everybody Fights” – Part 13
JB wondered if everyone had forgotten about him. For what must have been the tenth time, he flipped up the protective glass covering of his watch and felt the clock hand and embossments. Not even two full minutes had passed since the last time he checked. He snapped the covering closed and resisted the urge to groan.
Cleto was impatient, too. The two of them sat in the apartment’s living room, both left behind by the rest of the gang to wait with their least favorite person. Cleto had the news on TV, trying to glean information about how things were going, but nobody seemed to have figured out what was happening yet. Every few seconds, Cleto would flip to a different channel to see if they had better updates.
“—earlier today when the festivities were attacked—”
Dave broke down the process of standing up into steps. First, he got onto his hands and knees. The small movement ignited the pain in his back. It felt like he’d gotten lashed by a bullwhip that had been soaked in gasoline and set on fire. Except that metaphor didn’t work, because it was less extreme than what had actually happened. He should probably just stick to the truth: he felt like he’d gotten mauled by spinning helicopter blades.
He lifted himself into a kneeling position, pausing to give himself a rest. In case he’d forgotten his fight with Giordano, his cheek and ribs throbbed in reminder. He put his right foot flat on the floor, and by the time he’d finally managed to stand, Val was walking back from the crashed helicopter. Strands of black hair had come undone from her ponytail, and her eyes were red-rimmed from the tear gas, but her smile shone like the sun.