“Ow!” I shouted. “What the heck, Shay?”
“Not my fault, bro. You needed a good slap,” she answered casually.
Our apartment was still in a disheveled state. We couldn’t afford a new couch at the moment and I’d refused to accept money from our parents, so Shay and I had been sitting on the floor to watch TV.
Malcolm had also managed to fuck up our walls with his bullets. He’d even managed to ruin a few of my posters.
“I’m not crazy, sis. I need to stop being Lightning Bee.”
She slapped me again.
“Will you stop that?!,” I asked, annoyed and in pain.
“Not until you say you’re going to keep being a hero,” Shay said with her arms crossed.
“I’m not good at it though. I couldn’t beat Helioray; I got to that school too late to actually do any good and what I did manage to do there was turn a seriously ill girl into a serious threat to everyone around her.”
Shay put on a false smile, trying to get me to follow suit.
“Come on bro. Think of all the crooks you’ve helped put away. You can’t say that that’s nothing.”
“It is nothing. Bluejay isn’t special anymore. There’s just as much crime here as in any other city and I can barely stop any of it,” I said, walking over to the kitchen. Shay followed me and put her hands on my shoulders.
“Dude, I know things look bad now but this is what we’ve always wanted.” We? “I know you can be a hero.”
“Shay.” I hit the kitchen counter with closed fists as hard as I could. Shay let go of me and stepped back in response.
“I…I’m not King Power. I’m not Bladeburst; I’m not Doctor Ductile and I’m not a superhero.” I lowered my head. “I’m just an ordinary guy who got powers and decided to play dress up.” I walked away and sat on the bullet ridden couch, Shay staring down at me. “Look, I get it. I get it. You wanted to be the one who got powers. You should have been because you’re awesome. But you didn’t. I did. And powers or not, I’m still just a screw up.”
Shay’s eyes watered a little. “I’m so sorry.” She sat down next to me.
“What are you sorry for? You don’t need to apologize for being jealous.”
“Yes I do. We’ve still been hanging out like we always have, but I haven’t been there for you. I don’t mean in the going to fight by your side way.”
“Then what do you mean?,” I asked, not knowing to what she could be referring.
“Since you fought Helioray and really, since you got your powers, I’ve been thinking of you more as Lightning Bee than my little brother. I shouldn’t be calling you about every crime that happens and I certainly should not have sent you into a hostage situation alone; oh my God, what the Hell was I thinking? I just thought of you as someone to help the city, not my little brother who was risking his life.” Tears started running down her cheeks. I hugged her. After a moment, she hugged me back.
“I love you Carter.”
“I love you Shay.”
In that instant, it was like we were kids again. I was reminded of the time Shay helped me up after I hurt my knee the first time I tried riding a bike by myself. Then there was the one time I could remember really being there for Shay, when our dad screamed like Godzilla at her, blaming her for not stopping me from burning our school down. We’d hugged just like this.
There was a knock at the door. Shay wiped her eyes and spoke with an honest smile. “Look at us. A couple of sad saps.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. From what Shay and TV had taught me, couples fought all the time and it took time for things to blow over. But we weren’t a fucking couple. We were siblings. We’d both done things and we’d both said things. None of that mattered. I thought about telling her how my powers worked. I decided not to, not wanting to ruin the moment.
“So what do you think? If you don’t want to be Lightning Bee anymore, I’ll completely understand.”
I smiled. “I’ll get the door.”
I opened the door and saw a very bulky, red haired woman, wearing a butler uniform.
“Are you Carter Myers?,” she asked in a sexy Swedish accent. Shay got off the couch, walking toward the butler and me.
“Who are you and how do you know my brother’s name?,” Shay asked, not seeming to trust the butler.
“Your neighbor told me,” she said. “May I come in?”
“Uh, sure I…”
“Carter get down!,” Shay shouted, tackling me to the ground as the butler pulled out a side arm and fired.
The butler then fired bullets all around our apartment, only stopping to reload. By the time she’d stopped, she’d destroyed our TV, shattered our lamps, and basically ensured that we weren’t getting the safety deposit back on this place. The woman then put her gun into the pocket of her suit.
Shay stood up and said, “You know, I’m really not liking this whole thing where villains my brother doesn’t even know find out his identity and try to kill him.” The butler just continued to give Shay a cold stare, contrasting Shay’s very emotive face. “I mean the last guy didn’t have powers but he was definitely something special. You? You look stronger than that. I’m almost sure you have some crazy ability that makes you unbelievably powerful. But here’s the thing. You came here to fuck with my kid brother,” Shay smiled widely. “Bitch, that’s not a good idea.”
Shay whipped out her gun, running towards the butler while shooting at her. No damage seemed to have affected her, but Shay didn’t care and tried to punch her in the face.
My sister is so cool.
The butler crossed her arms and used an x block to defend herself.
Shay’s face turned to one expressing a great deal of pain. The butler must have been a Demigod. Taking a closer look, that suspicion was confirmed, as the bullets Shay had fired were now located between the butler’s fingertips. I considered jumping in, but with my track record, I was pretty sure Shay had a better chance of winning this by herself than with my help.
Shay jumped back, shaking off the wound, while the butler let the bullets fall to the floor.
“You see that Carter? I was right about her being strong. That’s good. It might be a challenge.”
Shay reloaded and performed a dive roll, going behind the butler and getting out of the apartment. She leaped up and did a lightning fast roundhouse kick, but the butler, apparently having an insanely quick reaction time, blocked with just her left arm.
I could see another look of agony on Shay’s face.
“Gotcha bitch,” she said with a pained smile.
Shay’s leg and the butler’s arm still in contact, Shay back flipped and kicked off of the wall behind her, sending her over the butler’s head. Shay fired at her from above, the butler jumping back to avoid the onslaught and then opening her mouth to breathe.
Sis landed right in front of the butler and the instant she did, she thrust her arm forward and fired directly into the butler’s mouth.
The latter spat out the bullets.
The butler raised her arm and smacked Shay into and across the apartment.
While Shay struggled to get up, and wiped blood off her face, the butler just dusted off her jacket.
Without her gun, Shay charged the butler, who had stepped back into the apartment. Shay did a long kata, consisting of a variety of punches, kicks, and chops, the butler just standing still and taking it. Sweating and breathing heavily, Shay decided to head bash the butler.
“Weakling,” the butler said, kneeing Shay in the stomach.
I wanted to help, but if Shay couldn’t take her, I didn’t have any chance. I just stayed on the floor, hoping this would blow over. I couldn’t stop myself from being scared though, and electricity surrounded my body. Shay was now on the floor as well, and seemed unable to get up. I could see that she was bleeding into her shirt.
The butler slowly walked into the kitchen, looking all around the apartment along the way. She took off her white gloves and pocketed them before destroying the kitchen. She smashed our blender and coffee maker, and then began going into our cabinets and emptied them out, most of the stuff breaking. She finished her rampage by picking up the fridge and ripping it apart.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to screw up again. I really didn’t want to get my ass handed to me, and the last thing I ever wanted in the world was to accidentally hurt Shay. I hit the ground, and the butler re-entered the living room.
She spoke. “You do not fight by your family’s side.” My eyes now clenched closed, the butler came over and kicked me in the face, sending me rolling back, my head banging into Shay’s bookshelf. “You disgust me.”
I disgusted her?
Was I being that bad a brother?
I’d fought super villains before but I was still so scared. She’d beaten Shay without breaking a sweat. There was nothing I could do to her. We were both going to die and it was all because I’d been a wimp.
Shay was going to die.
Lightning erupted from every part of my body, launching the butler into the air and sending her crashing against a wall. The lights were flickering on and off, and while my vision had become blurry, I could see that I was destroying the apartment.
I struggled to stand up but I succeeded. I tried to calm myself down so I could focus the lightning but it was still just going everywhere.
The butler got up, her costume damaged and her bowler hat knocked off, and casually started walking towards me, ignoring the omnipresent lightning.
She was going to murder me and then she was going to murder Shay.
I just kept hearing those words in my head, and no matter what I tried to think, I couldn’t get over my fear of those things happening. I couldn’t control my powers at all.
My vision starting to clear up, I could see that I’d pretty much managed to damage or wreck every single part of the apartment, including the roof and walls.
When the butler was within just a few inches of me, Shay leaped up and wrapped her legs around the butler. Maintaining that position, she began strangling the butler.
Oh god, what if my lightning hit Shay? This electricity seemed to be more powerful than usual and I wasn’t sure she could take it.
The butler grabbed Shay by the hands, flung her around, and struck me with her body.
Shay screamed in pain after making contact with my lightning covered body.
I had hurt her.
“You evil slut!,” I shouted.
The electricity stopped firing everywhere and the reminder of it all went around my hands.
The butler did a right hook and at the same time, I punched her face with more strength than I’d ever felt before. Some of the electricity even seemed to turn blue.
We both made direct contact with each other.
A moment later, I fell to the ground. The butler continued to stand tall, her face only bruised. I could do nothing but watch in horror as she reached into her coat pocket. She’d beaten us both to a bloody pulp and now she was going to shoot us. However, rather than pull out her gun, she withdrew two envelopes. She laid one down on a seemingly unconscious Shay and handed the other one to me.
“You and your sister are both cordially invited to Andrew Davenport’s charity benefit tonight at 8. It is a black tie event so please dress appropriately.”
The butler then just walked away. The lightning was all gone and I fell unconscious.
“Come on bro, wake up. Wake up!,” I heard Shay scream as I came to. My eyes opened and Shay hugged me, saying “Oh thank God you’re okay. You were out for a few hours.”
A few hours? I didn’t think I’d been beaten that badly. Maybe it was just one of the side effects to losing control of my powers.
“You’re okay too,” I smiled.
“I had to go to the station to get my stomach fixed by our healer, but other than hurting all over, yeah, I’m okay. How are you feeling?”
“Honestly? Exhausted, but I’m not feeling too much pain.”
Maybe another side effect of losing control of my powers was that it sped up my healing factor. Knowing me, these assumptions I was making were probably wrong, but I could still hope I was right. It would be a decent trade off.
“Can’t say that our apartment is okay though. Fuck, what am I supposed to tell the landlord? How did she even do this much damage?”
She hadn’t noticed all of my lightning. She must have been so out of it that all she could focus on was the butler. It was a relief that I wouldn’t have to explain to her just what had happened with me.
“How about we just tell him that a crazy super villain came in and wrecked everything?”
She smiled. “That should work. We’ll be out on the street and mom and dad are gonna have to pay a shitload of money and are probably never going to help us pay for an apartment again, but yeah, it’ll work.”
We laughed. Her smile went away. “On a more serious note,” Shay pulled out one of the invitations we’d been given. “It’s an invitation to a party being hosted by Andrew Davenport.”
That name sounded familiar.
“You don’t know? He’s the richest man in the world and the CEO of Panda corp. More importantly though, his daughter is Raina Davenport, and if what you told me is true, Queen.”
“She’s calling us out.”
Shay nodded. “My guess is she’s going to try and commit a crime, and she wants us there to try and stop her. Not even sure how she found out about me, but I guess I should be flattered that I’m included. Do you have any idea what she might try to do?”
The last time I’d spoken to Queen, she’d been talking about never showing mercy again, and making the whole world burn. Before that, she was telling me about her idea to eliminate the poor and middle class. Put those things together and…
“She’s going to kill everyone at that party.” Shay had a look of horror. “She wants to get the world’s attention and she’s going to do it by killing everyone.”
“With that butler as a lackey, she could probably do it too.” Shay stood up. “Troyan told me he’s gonna be at that party. All I need to do is tell him what’s going to happen, and he can have Andrew cancel the party.”
I shook my head. “That won’t work. The only way to validate the story would be to tell him the whole thing and that would be pretty hard to do without mentioning that I’m Lightning Bee.”
“I thought you were done being Lightning Bee.”
I thought for a moment.
“I am. But Troyan won’t believe us over the richest man in the world, who also seems to be a friend of his. Someone needs to save those people, and I’m going to do my damnedest to do it.”
“After what we just went through, that’s not happening.” We looked into each others’ eyes. “We’re doing this together.” I smiled and nodded.
“Alrighty. Let’s get ready for a party. We have 5,001 people to save.”