Friday Flashfic: Careful

Again, with thanks to Tami for the prompt.

I lowered my head and charged straight at the lizard-man, hardening my skin as I went. When I collided with him my head and shoulders were solid metal, and he went flying.

My name’s Jake. I’ve got super powers.

The lizard-man didn’t seem too fazed by his fall, or by the fact that I’d already knocked out his buddy. He whipped his tail, flipping himself back upright and slashed down with wicked looking claws. They sparked as they glanced off my metal skin, but the force of the blow still bowled me over. I hit the parking lot pavement hard, and the lizard-man landed squarely on top of me.

I tried to shove him off me, but I didn’t have super strength, and a full-size lizard man totally outweighs one scrawny twelve-year-old, even one with super powers. But I had to defeat him. I had to prove that I was good enough to be a Super Ranger.

The lizard-man realized he wasn’t going to be able to injure me, not with my skin all slivered. But he could still make a clean getaway – he dashed off, away from the nearby shopping mall and toward the tree line. I tried to go after him but I’d had the wind knocked out of me – and superspeed isn’t one of my powers.

But before the lizard vanished into the trees, he was struck by a bolt of blue lighting. I whipped around, just in time to see a woman in a bright blue jumpsuit with black stripes jump down from the hood of a car. Tiny bolts of blue electricity crackled along her arms.

I pinched myself. Electra, here?? She was the leader of the Super Rangers team, and she’d won ExtraOrdinary Magazine’s Superhero of the Year award for three years running. She was amazing.

Electra glanced around the parking lot, noting the unconscious lizard-man by the shopping cart return. “Not bad, kiddo.”

I flushed bright red, though Electra wouldn’t be able to see it under my mask. I hoped. “Do you really – uh, I mean, thanks!”

“Will I see you at the tryouts next month?”

“Definitely,” I said, with a confidence I didn’t feel. I’d have to come up with some excuse for my parents – an overnight field trip, maybe, or a fake sleepover if I could convince Cyrus to help me out.

“Good.”

The Super Rangers were the top superhero team in the country, and they only took the best of the best as members and apprentices. They had tryouts once a year. If Electra thought I was ready for tryouts…

I tried to remember to breathe.

“Um, do you think –“ I was interrupted by my watch beeping. Damn, damn, double-dog damn. “Sorry, gotta go, late for something,” I gasped out, turning and running for the mall entrance. I could change in one of the bathrooms and go out the back door, where my bike was leaned up against the wall.

“Wait!” Electra called after me, but I ignored her.

Mom was just coming up from the basement, a basket of laundry balanced on her hip, when I crashed through the front door.

“You’re cutting it close,” she said, one eyebrow raised.

“I know, I know, sorry.” I kicked off my sneakers into the pile of shoes by the door. I didn’t see Ellie’s flats yet – I’d gotten here before my tutor. You’d think saving the world would get me a break on algebra, but I was too scared to tell my parents about my, uh, new extracurricular activity. I could just imagine them freaking out about it being dangerous and grounding me forever, and then I’d never get to be a Super Ranger.

“There’s yogurt in the fridge, and a new jar of peanut butter in the cabinet. Make yourself a good snack – you have to keep your strength up if you’re going to be ready for the Super Ranger tryouts.”

“Uh huh,” I said, shuffling toward the fridge. “Wait, what?” I realized what she’d said and dashed back into the hallway.

“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she was in the dark. Please don’t ground me.

Mom grinned, and pulled up her sleeve to reveal a formfitting jumpsuit: electric blue with a black stripe down the side.

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