Superhero Story: The Cape and the Cop


First Post
I've wanted to write a story for a long time, but I haven't done it. Currently I have some extra time so I'm going to give it a serious shot. I read that Tom Wolfe wrote Bonfire of the Vanities by having deadline pressure since he was serializing it in Rolling Stone. I'm going to try and post short weekly updates here and on another forum. Let me know what you think of this public first draft.

Chapter One: The Cape

I hated getting shot. Even for a superhero, bullet wounds were no fun. At first it felt like a hard punch, then like a hot iron going through my shoulder and down my arm. My knees wobbled, I fell down, and the tall man pumped his sawed-off shotgun. He said something but I blocked out the words. I needed to ignore the pain and focus on shooting some fire at my attacker. A thin red lance came out of my palm and the man screamed for a moment before falling over, a small hole smoldering in his chest.

I hadn’t planned on getting shot tonight. I was targeting a particularly violent street gang. They had been waging a hostile takeover of the neighborhood drug business, and recently graduated from shooting other criminals to gunning down a couple high school students in a botched drive-by.

Drug dealers are creatures of habit. A week of surveillance let me know everything I needed. Every night, two young men stood below an abandoned storefront on the corner of Hayes Avenue and 28th Street. They had a pretty clever setup. The two on the corner didn't have any drugs. Instead, customers paid them and got the number of whatever apartment the crew is selling out of in the nearby high-rise.

The plan was to jump off the roof, take them by surprise, and interrogate one of them for the apartment number. Jumping off the roof went well. I landed right behind the one I had seen holding a gun, and knocked him out with a punch to the head.

Then the other one shot me. I had never seen him with a gun before. For someone at the bottom rung of a drug gang, he was good with a gun. He pulled it out from his leather jacket as fast as a trained soldier would, and hit me shooting from the hip. I was twenty feet away, but some of these thugs would have missed even from that range. My reaction time is better than any normal human and plenty of gangsters hold their gun sideways.

I could tell at least some of the pellets are still inside me. My shoulder hurt but my healing factor was already stopping the blood loss. The holes will be scabs in a few minutes, but heroism would have to wait for another day. I can’t take down a drug gang if there’s a sharp pain when I move my left arm. It ruins the concentration I need to summon fire.

I needed a doctor. First, I had a choice. The guy I punched is unconscious but alive, and he saw me. If I leave him alive, his boss will know what’s going on. After all, there aren’t too many people running around Crown City shooting fire out of their hands while wearing a ski mask and a black turtleneck. On the other hand, I killed the other one by burning a hole through his heart. The element of surprise is already lost.

I walked over to the man I punched, took the pistol from his waistband, and shook him awake with my good arm. Until I got close, I didn’t realize how young he was. The kid's face is bleeding from where he hit the pavement, but even through the blood I can see his acne. He’d have shot me just as quickly as the other one. But I’m a sucker and felt charitable, so it was time to try and scare somebody straight.

“Change your ways or you’ll die just like your friend did. I’m not the police. I can find you wherever you are, wherever you hide. And next time, it’ll be you screaming as your blood boils.”

The speech sounded less corny in my head. The kid mumbled something, and I sprinted down an alley and texted my driver. Running with a gunshot wound wasn’t easy – the pain was getting worse and I almost fell over when one of my strides sent a fresh lance of pain down my shoulder. I wanted to have the car come right to me, but I didn’t want the kid seeing it since odds were that the next time I saw him, he’d still be trying to kill me. I had run a few blocks when I see my car pull out from around a corner.

She looks bland and boxy, but a Buick Regal is the perfect car for a superhero who needs a ride. Nondescript enough not to be associated with me, especially if I change the license plate every month. The windows are bullet proof and the engine has been swapped out for something that’s good in a chase.

When I got in the passenger’s seat, John looked at my shoulder and says, “You’ve been shot?” He phrased it like a question and for a moment I reconsidered my choice in sidekicks. Then he starts cleaning out my wound while I explain what happened, and I remember why he’s such a good choice. John Garner and I grew up together, but he went into the army while I was busying failing out of expensive colleges and then pretending to be a reporter. I got my powers visiting him in Afghanistan, but that’s a whole other story.

He put a tourniquet on my shoulder and started driving towards my doctor. Her name is Linda Garrity, she runs a clinic in South Crown and has been my doctor since I put on the mask. John met her in the army, and she joined civilian life right when I left it. The timing couldn’t have been better. Between the gunshot wounds, broken bones, and that time I got poisoned, I need a doctor who won’t ask questions.

“So why didn’t you do the fire shield thing and melt the pellets?” John asks.

“I didn’t have time. It takes concentration and he had shotgun out so fast.”

“You should work on the shield. Make it a reflex. If that gangster wasn’t shooting from the hip you’d be dead.”

Only John would lecture me while I had buckshot in my shoulder, but I knew he was right. I wished superpowers came with an instruction manual. But I didn’t even get a wise mentor who could teach me his ways before dying and motivating me to avenge him. I just had John. He’s been good about martial arts stuff, but it’s hard finding someone to teach fire summoning.​


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