Love and Magic

Dating a witch is much harder than I expected. Being with Amelia is normal enough. Replace living in an apartment together with a shack at the edge of town, and it’s pretty much the same. We eat together, sleep together, kiss and hug and all that fun stuff dating such an amazing girl comes with.

But there are some…intriguing quirks that I didn’t realize would be in a relationship with magic.

I never expected having to clean up salt sprinkled on the living room floor. I never thought I would wake up to a spirit from a psychedelic dream realm hovering over my face. I never thought I would have an argument about not filling the tub with some sparkling purple concoction when I need to shower.

And then there are her customers. I don’t like the human populace as it is but watching her deal with the cliental of a witch is not helping sway my opinion. Most are normal enough. A good luck charm for a job interview, an enchanted barrette to make their hair shiny for a date, a potion to help with alertness to help cram for a final (because let’s be honest magic is way safer than overdosing on Adderall), reasonable stuff.

Then there are the…special people. Like the pack of wannabe Kardashians demanding for charmed skinny jeans to make their butts bigger as they tortured their purse sized chihuahuas. The dude so plastered on tequila shots he somehow confused a small shack near the woods as a McDonalds, only to realize where he was and slurred out for a what he called “An Infinity Egg McMuffin”. To this day I don’t know what he meant by that. The countless, COUNTLESS number of people asking for love potions, or as I call it date rape with more steps. And my personal favorite, the woman who came at three a.m. with a screaming son devastated about his dead goldfish. She pleaded to revive the croaked little bugger, to which the kid proceeded to barf right onto my pajama bottoms. That was a fun night.

Amelia was always patient though, mixed with a pinch of beautiful sadism. When it was clear the buyer was at her home for selfish or even dangerous purposes, she gave them what they asked for. But as my darling always warned, “magic can be unpredictable, the results may vary”, and that variance came from her. Amelia would never want to kill anyone, just hand over a swift bitch slap of karma. She can’t change them but hopefully they come out a little more humble or wiser after the experience.

They still paid her, anyway. She made good money helping the people in town, and despite the few bad customers she loved doing it. It made her feel rewarded in many ways. About a year ago a family from a county over came for her help. Their daughter was sick, and the desperation was evident on their face. I watched her pour over that brew for a whole week, barely sleeping. She could never get it full proof and suggested to the parents a spoonful a day with whatever medication she had. About a month later she got a letter. The daughter was finally given a clean bill of health, and by the afternoon Amelia had it hung in the living room.

Working with her isn’t that bad either. I don’t have any magic of my own, but I’m the best little partner a witch could ask for. I helped her draw protective runes on the walls, picked herbs and ingredients she needed, keep her potion brews and mythical zoology books in place. I cleaned the dishes while she cleaned up the cauldrons. I dusted the shelves as she dusted her bottles of frog legs and goat tongues. It was nice being domestic with her. And living with magic doesn’t make it less fun seeing it again! I get to watch fire appear out of nowhere and small chimeras that wander nearby, as well get to have sex with her? Who wouldn’t want that!?

There are ups and downs with dating a witch. But magic with benefits is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

Fire and Ice: Part 3

I was once again somewhere I hated to be. Cooped up in a high-end prison cell, with technology to stifle my powers. But since the first mutated freak every prison has a system like this. A quick pickpocket for a guard’s key card and a couple roundhouse kicks I could escape without breaking a sweat. But this was a good place to rest for a moment. The latest fight between the daring flamethrower and myself ended…rough.

I sat up from my bed, feeling every joint and muscle scream I should sit back down. I hobbled over to my mirror, leaning hard on the sink underneath it to hold myself up, checking to see if the damage faded.

It did not.

A black eye was still present, along with a bruised and slightly swollen nose. Scratches ran across my cheekbone, scabbed over and red. I brushed some fingers over a busted lip, wincing at impact. I was in no shape to try and bust out, powers or not. I needed to rest, for a week or so.

“Does it hurt?” I turned quickly, regretting the fast movement immediately as my neck was pulsating in anguish. Liam stood there on the other side of the plexi glass. I chuckled through the pain, standing up fully and walking away from the sink. I couldn’t let him see me so weak. If he could hold himself up, then so could I.

“Oh don’t fuss over me. I’m just worried if it’ll leave a scar. This is the money maker you know.” I made a gesture to my face. Liam’s wasn’t any better, similar cuts and purple bruises littered that masterpiece. Ignoring the sudden regret in my chest at hurting him, I pointed to them.

“And you should pray that you get healed up good as well. Won’t be on that many tween magazines with a crooked nose,” I said, sitting down again when I couldn’t continue to stand.

“I never thought I would wish for a permanent facial disfigurement until now…” I laughed as much as my ribs would let me. He cracked a smile. A real one. Not one for photos or news reports, a genuine smile. I ignored the skip in my heartbeat, saving that image in my head. When I close my eyes I wanted it plastered across my dreams.

“Why are you here anyway? You don’t seem to be the one to gloat about beating his arch nemesis.” I crossed my legs, leaning back with my arms propping me up.

“Well I couldn’t gloat even if I wanted to, considering how you almost killed me…”

“Oh I almost killed you? I’m sorry I guess I just imagined in my dastardly haze where you used the force of your fire to hurtle a billboard at me!”

“That was self-defense! You were about to rain down the might of Mt. Everest on top of my head!”

“Only after you sent what I can only describe as the rushing wave of an erupting volcano towards my ass!” I could see him seizing up, about to yell at me more. There was a flicker of something in his eyes. Sparks danced in the corners. Literal sparks. I sat up more. No powers were supposed to be working in here. Not in a single corner, especially not anywhere near me. He stopped himself, pinching the bridge of his nose, rubbing his temples.

“Damn,” I mumbled. Liam looked up at me again, clearly forgetting I was there for a moment.

“You tell no one about that.” He pointed a finger at me.

“As if anyone would believe me. Now, answer my question. Why are you here?” I asked again. He sighed, raking a hand through his hair.

“I’ve never…met someone like me. Sure I’ve fought the occasional mad scientist or evil billionaires but, not another person with powers. I want…” He sighed again. I widened my eyes, realizing what he’s trying to say. At least what I hoped he was saying.

“Is Scorch Mark lonely?” I let out a quick snicker, but my pain seemed to fade from those words. Liam liked my company. He liked my company. He scowled at me.

“After talking with you in my house I realized I never could really relate with anyone else. I’m just asking for some back and forth. You do this, I might be able to reduce your sentence. Deal?” He asked. I couldn’t believe it. Here I thought I would have to convince him, kidnap him, hell even brainwash him if I got desperate (not for that long, only a couple days) just for him to look my way as something more than a threat. Yet here he was wanting to gossip and hang out with me. I blinked and let out a wide, excited smile meant to be a smirk.

“Deal.”

 

Broken Toys

I never understood how children could be so rough. When I was younger I knew the delicacy and permanence of my toys. But in parks or playgrounds or daycare, kids around me would smash and stomp and even chew on whatever poor unsuspecting train or teddy bear that was around. It horrified me, and I will neither confirm nor deny the multitude of fights I had started with classmates. And won. Easily.

I’m much older now, with my temper mostly at bay, in my own little toy shop. Well, it’s my mother’s shop, but I am tasked with the most important job: fixing them. I pound away in the back room of the store, mending together broken toys found in dumps and cheap thrift stores. My workshop consisted of miles of technicolor thread on posts, two or three sewing machines, and a dozen or so bags of tan and white stuffing. The most abundant thing, however, was a full wall packed with boxes of toy parts. Mismatched wheels, robot arms, legs of felt dolls, cabooses of trains, and button eyes popped off.

My mother was out one day, leaving me in my spot as usual, sewing into a stuffed bunny’s tail, keeping the door open so I don’t get high off fumes from my collection of Krazy Glue. I didn’t hear the front door chime. But as someone knocked on the workshop door I jumped out of my seat.

“Sorry! Sorry! I thought you-you heard me uh…sorry.” I turned around to face my favorite dumpster diver, Toby. He found most of the toys I needed to fix, along with any parts or pieces. I chuckled.

“It’s fine. My perception of reality is so clouded I’m surprised I haven’t hurt myself already.” I stood and leaned on my desk.

“What’s up?” I asked. He gave me the goofiest, dumb grin his face could stretch.

“Who is your favorite person in the whole wide world?” I furrowed my brows.

“My mom,” I replied without hesitation.

“You sure?” He stepped closer.

“Yes, I am sure.”

“No, she’s not.” He stepped even closer. Before I could snap at how annoying he was he beat me to it.

“Close your eyes.” I crossed my arms.

“Why?” I pressed myself more into the desk, trying to get away from him. He smelled like garbage.

“Just close your eyes.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“Will you just close them?” He kept his smile which made me hesitant. But I sighed and shut them, arms still crossed. I heard him pull something small from his pocket.

“Ok…open,” He said in a quiet tone.

“I swear to all that is holy if this is like a dead bug…” I opened my eyes and to my surprise, relief, and overwhelming joy what sat in his hand was a small piece of jagged porcelain, a bright blue eye painted with orange faded cheek. I gasped.

“You found it!?” I screeched making him flinch. A part of a doll I had long giving up on trying to complete. I pulled him into a deep hug, not caring about the scuffs of dirt and grime on his shirt and sneakers.

“Thank you thank you thank you!” I practically pushed him away, snatching the porcelain face. I plopped down at my seat, grabbing the busted doll from a drawer. After a few minutes, the glue set, and the doll was once again whole after so many years. I dabbed paint onto a brush, blending the crack.

“How did you even manage to find it?” I asked as I brushed small strokes onto her.

“It took a lot of digging at centuries old landfills, but it was nothing, really.” He put on his grin again.

“So, am I your favorite person now?” He asked. I side eyed him.

“Not a chance.”

The Library

Past the county’s rushing river, a hop and skip away from a painted forest, and a leap from mountain range covered in herding goats, there sat a large, worn library. It stood short and stout, a sinking roof with peeling yellow paint chipped away from the harsh weather. The only thing that would catch a wandering man or a woman heading to work was the windows. Tall stained-glass drowning in violets and greens and dripping reds and blues. Pictures of Lancelot and Dracula and great storybook battles with dragons sketched in a burning orange, or a grand pirate ship crashing against glass colored like rushing waves and stormy gray skies. There wasn’t one wall that didn’t have these windows pulsating with hues and adventure. On a warm summer day or a frosty winter morning, right at the peak of dawn, the light pours through these windows, cascading speckled beauty and life across the landscape or the interior. I used to sneak out of my home before the sun would come up and dance and do cartwheels in the colors of the library, before heading inside and reading until I passed out on the carpeted floor. I wanted to spend my life there.

Older, old enough to get a job, I stacked books and swept floors. I spent my childhood here, but never realized the secrets this place held. I would stay late nights helping Mrs. Crater ready the fading library for tomorrow. She mismatched the building, a tall lean woman with sharp pointy cheekbones and a chin that jutted out just a bit too far. The only thing that the two soulmates have in common was worn wrinkled skin and sinking dark gray ceilings. She was quiet, sweet and almost too good with children, and better with adults. Mrs. Crater let me check out whatever book I wanted, if I brought them back how they were, maybe even in greater condition. But only after I do a check and chat with each section of the library. I didn’t misspeak, I meant to say chat. The library was jumping to life with stories and ideas and books. Each section wasn’t just that, it was a country. And each country had a guardian.

I pushed the wheeled metal cart full of books needing to find home again, first heading to the romance division. Immediately I heard unabashed sobbing coming from the back. I sighed and made my way over to Amelia, hunched over on her knees crying into her hands. The walls were carved with different sweethearts, some scratched out angrily. Tissues and rose petals littered the carpet.

“Heart troubles again?” I asked, placing all the Sparks’ books back into the shelf.

“Am I ugly? Why doesn’t he even look at me? I know he likes me! Am I ugly!?” I looked over at the snotty and makeup smeared face, trying to find the right words.

“…No?” This caused a larger crying fit. I quickly got back to the cart and power walked away. As her sniffles faded they were replaced with the sounds of a gun’s trigger. I picked up some books, passing Billy, large cowboy hat tipped down. Sand and dirt crunched under my feet, a tumbleweed skittering past us and the buffalo skulls that decorated the brackets. I could feel his cold steel eyes on my back, but I haven’t felt a chill since my first week here. He cocks his pistol over and over to intimidate me. It didn’t work.

“You going to say something or are you going to be the strong and silent outlaw?” I asked, putting on a painfully bad southern accent. A husky chuckle came from his throat.

“I can’t git anythang pas’ you, can I?” He flicked his hat up, sending a stubble covered smile my way. I shrugged.

“You’re going to have to try harder than that,” I replied, back to my cart and leaving him and his Western section alone. I picked through the next bundle of books when a cannon ball whizzed above my head. I felt hairs tickle the bottom of it. I dropped to my knees, the loud cackle of a dumb adventure boy hovering over me.

“Finn! We’ve talked about this!” I stood snatching the stack of books I needed to return. Finn hopped onto one of the shelves, the one marked adventure, as he continued to laugh.

You talked to me. I just pretended to listen and chose to ignore it.”

“You could hurt someone or worse, one of the literal thousand-year-old books in the back!”

“Oh lighten up, I know where to aim so that doesn’t happen. And Crater lets me express myself.” He bent backwards, standing up on his hands, walking down the shelf. He avoided the rope and swords he laid haphazardly around his unit of books. The only neat thing in that place was the large model ship sat at the end of rows of books. I tossed a book at him. He tumbled down onto the carpeted floor with an ‘oof!’ I slammed the stack needed to be returned there into his chest.

“Then be useful while you’re at it.” I headed back to the cart, pushing to the next section.

“You can’t subject me to stacking duty!” Finn yelled, but I ignored it. Soon I couldn’t hear his whining anymore. But the farther I pushed the darker it got. I was getting to the worst division in the library.

Horror wasn’t a bad genre, but it wasn’t fun to be around it so much. The tall shelves almost reached the sky, a slight fog creeping out between the dark abyss in the middle. Cobwebs and thorn covered vines stuck to the walls, slithering in between the few spines I could see. Pressing the to be returned books to the edge, I never even thought of setting foot in the there. I swallowed hard and tugged the gates around both sides, closed, locking them in place. This was the only section that needed to be secured each night. I never met the guardian of this one. On occasion I swear I could see a silhouette of something, but only for a brief moment. Sometimes I caught long boney fingers, other times I thought I saw horns the size of tree trunks. Whatever large creature lurked inside it never made a sound. I felt a sudden cold gust on my back and booked it to my cart, almost running to the next part of the library.

My dread was soon replaced with the sound of a bouncing ball. I smiled, looking down at the tiny girl in dark pigtails and red overalls occupying the children’s section. She played with a large purple kickball, amongst the other toys covering the entire place. A slide and swing set mingled with the wood shelving.

“Hey there Joselyn.” She turned to me and grinned ear to ear.

“More books!” She ran over to me, reaching for the stack in my hands.

“Can I put them back! Please please pleaaaase!” I chuckled and handed her them.

“Ok just be careful.” She didn’t stick around to heed my warning, hopping between shelves with the books around her chest. I shook my head, kicking the ball over to the corner before she could stumble over it.

My next trip was to sci-fi, which was honestly the easiest one of my rounds. I stepped inside, placing everything that was checked back in onto hard steel racks, blinking with multicolored lights. My eyes would glance at the guardian floating at the end of the division. An alien, no name, hovered legs crossed, four arms folded into his lap. Large orange eyes, a few dozen on either side, contrasted with sky blue skin. I slipped the last book back in place, much closer to him, or her, or it I wasn’t sure. I looked up at it. It looked back, nodding in some mutual respect. I nodded back and once more headed to my cart.

The last section was honestly my favorite to read. I had always loved fantasy books, ever since I was a child pouring over fairytales to myself. Flowers bloomed between cracks, along with shimmery ribbons of gold and silver. A cobblestone strip was set under my feet. I made my way in-between shelves, placing stories back in their home once more. Suddenly glittery little droplets rained down and tickled my nose. I sneezed.

“Hey Petunia.” I sniffed and turned around facing the fairy no bigger than my pinky. She twirled around my head in an excited flurry.

“Pleasure to see you again. Thought I would send a little magic along your way!” Her squeaky voice filled my ears softly. More glitter rained down onto me.

“Thank you, Petunia. But again, I think I’m allergic.” I sneezed again, much harder. Petunia went sailing back landing into one of the lilies.

“It’s too similar to pollen…” I finished, picking her up in my hand. She gathered herself, shaking off dust and possibly snot.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, wiping my nose with my sleeve.

“Oh, it’s alright dear. Thank you for the books.” She flew out of my palm and  sat herself on the spine of one of the books.

“No problem. Stay safe.”

“You stay safer!” She twinkled, a slight chime of bells following. With an empty metal cart, I made my way to the circled check out desk. Mrs. Crater sent a toothy smile my way.

“Hope everything went alright for you,” She said. I shrugged.

“As good as it could be,” I replied, parking the cart with the others.

“Guardians are a bit intense.”

“It’s all fine, really. I’m just glad to be here.”

“Well that’s good. So what books are picking up?” I paused at her question, twisting my lips.

“I think I might wait until I finish the ones I have at home,” I said. She raised a pencil thin eyebrow.

“Really?”

“No not really. I already grabbed a new one.”

I stepped out into the brisk dusk air, my jacket clinging to my skin, book tucked in my side. I looked back at the decaying structure, walls and roof worrying my mind that it might collapse one day. But as I looked at the gleaming windows, that all dissipated. The library will always be here.

No matter what.

Who Are You?

The classic question of The Caterpillar. Blue as his blood, shades of indigo and robin’s egg swirl in mismatching spots up his back. His haughty nose turned up to the sky is the color of ink, nostrils flared. The only think cutting through the sweet-smelling smog he wafts through the forest is his piercing eyes. He asks it with a sneer.

“Who. Are. You?”

It’s hard to stand tall when you’re only nine inches high. And with his throne of fungus and weeds towering above you feel even smaller. Speaking only comes out in coughs as your lungs burn. His hookah sits firmly next to him, puffing perforated sludge into him, billowing from the corners of his lips. He looks like a dragon.

Are you deaf girl!?” He snaps “I said Who. Are. You?”

There is so much noise in each silence he takes between words. A paragraph of insults and spite loaded in each period, drenching in disgust. Finally, you just snap.

“I’m me dammit!” The Caterpillar is taken aback. You also surprise yourself. It’s never sounded so confident. So much control into two words you’ve said over and over to try and appease the storm in your head. You repeat yourself.

“I’m me! I’m nobody else and I’m certainly not you! So, deal with it! I. Am. Me.” Despite them watering, your eyes stare back at his in a new defiance. His demeanor has changed. A once puffed chest was now deflated, pushing smoke out in much larger doses. His multitude of wriggling feet twitch and scurry against the harsh top of the mushroom.

He’s scared.

It was now you who turned up your nose.

“Now it’s my turn to ask: Who. Are. You?” He stumbles, words tripping on his tongue. He inhales more of the hookah, the air becoming thicker and thicker in a cloud of purple and blue. It dissipates, and what’s left in your wake is a hollow skin and empty shoes.

You jut out your chin, hold your head high, and smile. Nine inches feels a lot taller now.

 

Fire and Ice: Part 1

Many villains will do wickedly bad things for a purpose. A tragic backstory, monetary gain, a warped righteous sense of morals, the standard motivations. But I never had any of that, nor have I ever wanted any of that. Villains have no code, no boundaries. They get to do whatever they please and go along their merry way without any hang ups or binding connections. And it’s a damn good time doing it. I could never be a hero. Ever since I gained my powers when I was little I’ve loved running that cold fear down a person’s back. Just the thought of their frozen state as they gazed at me in pure horror sent me all giggly. Cold and frozen things weren’t new to me. I had ice powers. Destructive, deadly, and gorgeous.

I was sending a wide spread panic into my new city, or a more fitting name, my new target practice. I’ve turned four already into giant ice cubes and now I was going to bring it up to number five. To think, twenty years old and already about to break a supervillain record!

I was finishing up the mindless doodles I had blasted with sleet into the front of a bank, ready to ice skate my way downtown, when I heard it.

“I would stop that if I were you…” I rolled my eyes. I should have known. It was my fault for not expecting a “protector of the city” in at least one place I blanketed cold. Almost every town has one of these spandex doofs. Another goody two shoes superhero to try and lock up the insidious bad guy. He even had a cliché phrase to start this whole charade.

“Wow, that certainly changed my ways. I WILL stop because I soooo want to be like…” I turned around to face my competitor and did something I never in a billion eons thought of doing.

I paused, and I ogled. He wasn’t like anything I had seen. He had this mature swagger about him, a stiff and straight stance, the natural aura of power. He was confident, a presence that could send hope into hearts of millions and fear up the spines of any threat or terror. It was every superhero shoved into one poster child for the extraordinary, for the brave, for the protectors of mankind.

And holy shit he was hot! Honey brown eyes that almost melted a heart that was frozen over years ago, framed with shiny dark hair swept back to reveal a soft complexion under a sharp and sculpted jaw. All was set off with red lips that even from this distance I could see were plump and so bitable.

“…you,” I finished, finding my voice again. For a split second he seemed to stumble, confused by my reaction. He gained his bravado again, hands on his hips, chest puffed.

“You are not welcomed in Haven City!” He bellowed at me. I gave him a once over. If it wasn’t for that ridiculous getup he was wearing I would be drooling over that firm and tight body. But seriously, matching red pants and jacket with obnoxious, orange stripes? Why can’t superheroes choose the subtly of villain’s costume? While he was a walking fire hydrant I stuck with something classier. Blue leather trench coat, monochromatic under shirt, hair slicked back with a slight spike. Simple, elegant, but still makes clear my powers.

I regained myself as well, noticing in his fumble he placed his hands a bit too high on his sides, coming closer to the top of his ribs. To mask the livewire that was my nerves I resorted to sarcasm and chuckled darkly.

“No shit, Sherlock. Unless you’re the city of Stockholm Syndromed citizens I doubt a villain who’s freezing their asses would be welcomed. Oh, and uh…nice chicken wings.” I copied his pose mockingly and laughed again when he readjusted himself, obviously embarrassed. He hid the slip up as best he could from the cowering hostages I trapped in ice.

“I do not take kindly to your attitude. I’m giving you a chance to leave, I don’t want to fight.” He stepped closer to me, the face a scolding parent would give a misbehaving child sat on his own.

“Yes, you do,” I smirked stepping closer as well, “Heroes need to fight for the fame poor hapless fans cities like these give you.” I gestured to the scared onlookers. Something in his eyes flickered that I had never seen before on a hero, especially a young one. Shame. Doubt. Fear. Like I had confirmed something that held him awake at night and maybe even believed. I didn’t want to admit myself the mixture of vulnerability and confidence was making him more infuriatingly attractive, however I couldn’t lie to my body the way he was trying to. The hero cleared his throat.

“One more chance. Leave. Now,” He jerked his arms down, sparking two large fireballs into his palms. I looked down at them and snickered, at myself this time. The chance of not only finding but falling for my literal opposite could only happen to me. He, though, took my little jovial moment as another taunt against him. A flash of anger seeped into his eyes, the orbs becoming hotter. I went a few paces back, charging my powers, feeling the stark chill come to my fingertips once more.

“Be gentle, this is my first time,” I said coyly. I watched as red flushed up to his cheeks, briefly stopping. But he gained his composure and the fight began.

He fired one attack after the other. I swung my own right back at him. They collided in the air and diffused themselves as fire met ice. A splash of water followed suit. I sent a wave of icicles sharp to the point at him. He ducked away from them with ease. All shattered into a few disregarded cars.

As he got up I ducked behind an overturned bus. I conjured a large ball of ice in my hands, ready for the right moment. I got up to a crouch when a sphere of what I can only describe as lava rocketed into the bus. I jumped, falling back onto the street, and observing the damage the young super had made. All that was left was a burnt side of a building and a singed gaping hole right through the center of the vehicle.

I was stunned for a moment, quickly realize the intensity of his powers. This wasn’t just fire he had control of. This was every force of nature that could destroy miles of land, all in his fingertips. I knew I couldn’t defeat him one on one.

So, I had to play dirty. I emerged from behind the bus. My ice ball careened towards him. He countered with ease behind a small circle of fire. While he was distracted I created more icicles, hovering in the air. They were not over him, though. The super watched in horror as I let them fall over one of the citizens I had trapped. She screamed, trying to pull her frozen legs free. The hero being the hero, never one to let a bystander die, reacted quickly.

When he rushed to her, I made my move. Pounding attack after attack against his back, I sent waves of icy metric tons where he couldn’t fight back. He stumbled and grunted at each impact. The icicles continued to fall. Her screams becoming louder and louder. The hero seemed about to crash to his knees. I smirked, ready to land my finally blow. I let an enormous ball of sleet form above him, ready to send my distraction away. But before I could even make a move to drop it, he slammed his fists into the asphalt with a loud roar.

I didn’t know what happened at first. All I saw was a flash of orange. Then I was sent hurtling and onto my back several feet away from him. All the frosty damage I had done to the area was now melted. The icicles were gone. The sleet was gone. Every bit of ice I had created was gone. In the entire city. The. Entire. Fucking. City.

The hostages and other citizens were all unharmed. Wet and covered in ash, but in one piece. The only sounds were soft footsteps and the drips of water into puddles.

I groaned and sat up as much as could with being thrown to the street like ragdoll. While everything inside me ached, I watched as the hero stood, gazing at his hands. He panted heavily and walked over to me tall and in a quick pace. My attacks left no damage. I looked up at him, his warm eyes piercing into my cold stare. There was something behind them. Something…darker. A sense of uncontrolled and unbridled fury he could almost bury with the fear that flickered inside him too. Almost.

I had underestimated him. He was stronger than me, more powerful than me, protected this whole city because he could, and he did it every day. He wasn’t invincible, but that didn’t make him weak. It just proved that he could do the implausible, because, for him, nothing was impossible.

I raised my arms without hesitation. I had lost fair and square. I’ll let him haul me off to jail where I would escape. My original plan was to get out and head to the next town without looking back. Now, I was going to stick around. He wasn’t a common pretty boy superhero. He was a threat, a rival, an equal. I knew this wasn’t some school yard crush anymore.

I was going to make him mine, himself and that darkness. And if that meant committing a thousand crimes for him to notice me than so be it.

Night Prince

Dr. Gold didn’t know what to expect. Surely nothing, there had to be nothing, he wanted it to be nothing. But in fear of something, and maybe a hint of curiosity, he was going to stay in his office until it was dark.

Two months or so before, Dr. Gold had received a note. It was two sentences, but each ran his blood cold.

‘I will be visiting your office at night on October 25th. Wait for me, do not do anything rash.

-Dracula’

Dracula. This had to be a fake. A joke from a student. Revenge from a colleague. Dr. Gold was a cryptologist, he had studied and poured over every shadowy beast this world might have to offer.

But Dracula? No, no it couldn’t possibly be real. That gnawing feeling haunted him for two months, though. A part of him wanted it to be real. To prove all his years of research led to something tangible.

Sun, his only source of any protection, slowly dipped from the sky, turning the whole atmosphere pink. And then violet. Then indigo. Finally, the heavens above were an inky black, speckled with white stars.

It was nighttime.

Dr. Gold waited like instructed. An hour past, two hours. His eyes gazing out his window for any sort of movement. Nothing.

Gold let out a huff, feeling ridiculous.

Of course it wasn’t real. It was just a joke, a good laugh at the good doctor. All of this nonsense made him miss supper.

He turned to grab his coat. And then something moved in his peripheral. Gold looked out again to the street below. A streak of something moved past the corner of his eye. A person, moving too fast for any mortal being. They weren’t human. He pressed his face to the glass, ragged breath fogging his view as he tried to see more.

Figures shrouded in darkness darted under him.

Towards his unlocked front door.

“Dr. Gold?” He whipped around at the voice behind him. A young man, no more than nineteen, stood in the doorway, dressed in a red vest and long black coat. A cane in one hand, a dark top hat perched on his darker curls.

“Dracula?” Gold hissed.

The young man smirked.

“Pleasure to meet you, sit. Forgive me for such a sudden entrance. There’s only so many hours I can be out.” He removed his hat and coat. The doctor still didn’t speak.

“May I sit?” Dracula asked as he did so anyway, pressing both palms on the top of his cane. He raised an eyebrow.

“Your heart’s beating fast, Dr. Gold,” He said, almost musing to himself. Gold didn’t know what to say, do, God he couldn’t move. He could barely breathe. He swallowed thickly.

“You…you’re…real.” It wasn’t a question. A statement. Something needed to be said out loud so Gold could process it. Dracula was real.

“I am, Doctor. And I came for your assistance. I’ve watched empires build and ruin themselves, great leaders once so prosperous I watched fall onto their death beds. The world has evolved before my eyes. And yet, people just…get everything wrong about me. Everything. From the moment I’ve been here. I’ve tried, by God I tried, but I can’t seem to convince the masses. You however…” he pointed the cane towards Doctor Gold. A silver-plated skull of some creature laid on top.

“You can convince them. You’re books on everything that goes bump in the night have done perpetually well.”

“I…I guess,” Gold mumbled.

“So modest. And quiet too. You are more perfect for the job than I could ever imagine.”
“What job?” Dracula smirked at the doctor’s question.

“Writing my autobiography. I’m tired of lurking in masked corners as some fairytale. I’m ready for the public to really know who I am.”

“H-How will I do that?

“You will interview me, I’ll instruct you on how I want it written, I’ll look at drafts very diligently Dr. Gold, so any opinions you have might be best kept to yourself.” He chuckled as if what he said was a joke. Dr. Gold swallowed again, afraid to ask but he just had to.

“And what if I say no?”

Dracula’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t say anything for a minute, which felt like an hour to Gold. The vampire tilted the top of his cane where the skull adornment lied towards himself.

“Do you know what animal has this skull, Dr. Gold?” He asked. Gold hesitantly nodded no.

“Oh come now, surely a doctor would know?” Dracula teased, knowing very well a cryptologist actually wouldn’t know. He stood and started to pace.

“Over the millenniums I’ve been able to collect a hefty amount of followers towards my side.” He clicked the silver skull with his nail.

“Wolves being one of them.” As if on cue, a howl echoed outside, chilling Gold to his core.

“I’ve also gained a loyal group of breatharian who are right now distracting the doorman downstairs who let us in.” Dracula leaned forward, palms pressed firmly on the desk, cane between his thumb and forefinger.

“So mark my words by God’s light and the Devil’s inferno if you deny my request or in any way destroy it in the process, my wolves, my men, and myself included will eviscerate every single adult, child, and infant that lives in the two blocks near your office.”

Gold let out a muffled wretch deep from his stomach, a small cry escaping his lips.

“Now you’re not so cruel as to let gallons of innocent blood seep into your hands, are you?” Dracula asked, barely pretending to care. Gold knew that this was all a game to the midnight creature, either way he would win.

Gold looked Dracula in the eye, jaw square, a forsaken crease in his brow.

“I’ll do it.” He gruffed, sealing his fate inside a coffin. Dracula smiled, fangs finally presenting themselves.

“I knew you’d see it my way.”