Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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Vermilion Widow, Issue #007

August 10, 2013 in Adventures Of Vermilion Widow Tags:

vermilion widow cover
Issue #007 – – – – – controlled by Bill Treadwell – – – – – Credits 18

To somebody else, an angry five hundred pound man charging at them with intent to injure would probably be terrifying.  Cassandra stayed absolutely calm.  Stepping to one side she pivoted on her foot in order to be precisely where Ralph was not.  The huge man crashed into the wall behind her, bringing down three wooden shelves loaded with ornaments, a hanging painting of a clay pot and a glass vase full of yellow flowers.  He left a huge man-shaped dent in the plaster wall.  The noise was immense.  That was too much damage, Cassandra thought.  That wasn’t just his weight.  There were powers at work, here.

“Kill you!” The giant man roared, struggling to rise from his crush against the wall.  Cassandra kicked one arm away causing him to fall onto his gut.  Ralph’s wife screeched, which was a little irritating but was somewhat lost amidst all the other noise as he floundered around trying to get back to his feet.  “Stay down,” Cassandra told him.  “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Kill you!”
“Yes,” Cassandra said, “I think you mentioned that already.”  She stepped forwards and planted her foot in the middle of his back, pressing down so that he was pressed hard to the floor.  Clearly, Ralph could not understand how this woman was able to exert such force onto a man his size.  It must have seemed like an amazing feat of strength, but there was no trick to it.  He had no leverage and his own weight was working against him.  She could feel his raw power, enhanced and impressive, but his angle made it impossible for him to use it effectively.  She planned to keep it that way.

Again Ralph tried to rise, bellowing his anger at being denied.  Cassandra stepped across his body and stamped on his right elbow with her foot causing him to buckle to the floor again.  She dropped a knee into the small of his back and punched him in the back of the neck to take some of the fight out of him.  It was like hitting a rhinoceros.   “Really, you should just stay down.  I can keep this up all day, can you?”
Ralph tried once more to rise.  Shielding her hands from view with her body, Cassandra used her speed to strike him a dozen times with the flat of her palm about the sides of his head.  To Ralph this was probably like a fly batting against his skin, but it sent a message about her ability to both keep him down and strike him as and when she wanted to.  She wasn’t doing him any damage, but she was making a point.

“Stop hurting my Dad,” Tag said, rising from his huddle on the armchair.  “Stop it!”
“I’m not hurting him,” Cassandra told the boy, “I’m stopping him hurting me.”
Ralph, whose massive size was equalled only by his catastrophic lack of fitness, ran out of steam.  Puffing laboriously and sweating buckets, he collapsed onto his face and lay still.  “Okay!  Okay!  Let me up.  I wont fight you.”
“I don’t believe you,” Cassandra said.  “Stay where you are for a minute and let’s all take a breath.”
“My Dad hasn’t done anything,” Tag told her.
“Sure he has, son.  He attacked an officer of the law.  That’s definitely something.”
“It’s not him you want,” the mother cried from the doorway.
“I know,” Cassandra agreed.  “It’s your son who is the abnormal.”  She looked at Tag.  “My question is – are you just unlicensed, or are you a misfit?  You aren’t to blame for your Dad’s bad behaviour.  I just want the truth.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tag said, but he looked terrified.
“I think you do,” Cassandra took her foot from his father and helped the massive man rise to his feet, keeping a close eye on him.  “Easy now, Big Man,” she said.  “Let’s stay relaxed this time, huh?”

Ten minutes and two cups of coffee later, Cassandra was sitting with the family in the front lounge and had gained considerably more information.  It seemed that both the father and the son were unlicensed Abnormals.  Ralph had some limited strength and agility which he had largely destroyed by years of over-eating.  Still, he was considerably more able than somebody else his size would be.  He explained that his rage was tied to his use of his powers, such as they were.  He needed to get angry to access them.  Tag was more reticent about his powers, though he did admit both to having them and to using them to keep an eye on his neighbourhood.  He denied being part of any disturbance, but Cassandra was not worried about that since she had invented the disturbance as a premise for entering their home.
“We don’t want any trouble,” his mother said.  “You hear stuff, you know, about The Institute.  We don’t want our boy experimented on by those people.”
“He ain’t got any powers worth writing home about,” Ralph said.  His face was still florid, but was beginning to return to its natural shade.   His wife gave him a look that led Cassandra to think maybe he was lying about the extent of his Son’s powers.

“If you’re going to patrol your neighbourhood, people are going to see you,” Cassandra said.  “That’s a recipe for getting caught if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“I’m careful,” Tag said.  “Well … I thought I was careful.”
“Look, you don’t need to worry.  I’m not going to hand you in to the authorities.  I’m not here with the police today, anyway.”
“Huh?” Ralph frowned.  “What do ya’ mean?”
Cassandra held up one hand.  For a moment it was wreathed in flame, the flickering fires dancing between her fingers.  She winked.
“You?” Tag gaped.  “You’re an abnormal too.”
“Yep,” Cassandra said.  “No license here either.  A friend of mine sent me to see if you might want to help us out.”
“Help you out in what way?” Ralph asked, looking concerned.  Cassandra decided she had misjudged him.  What seemed to be a dangerous violent man actually appeared to be a concerned and caring father.  At least, beneath the violent power-induced fury.
“It’s like this,” Cassandra said.  “So far, your Son has avoided identification, but if my people can find him then other people can find him.  The authorities have their own detection methods.  Sooner or later the knock on your door is going to be for real.  Depending on his powers it will be somebody who wants to enlist him for government use, or take a close and personal look at bits of his brain, or lock him up and throw away the key.”
Tag’s mother nodded.  She looked like she was going to cry.  “We’ve expected this.  I tell him to be careful.”
“With great power comes great responsibility,” Tag said.
“Spider Man?  Really?” His Mother cursed.  “This is real life!  You could get killed and you’re quoting comic books?”
“Why don’t you let me take him to meet my friends?” Cassandra said.  “We can help him hide, help him learn to use his powers without being detected, offer him support when he’s in trouble.”
“How do I know we can trust you?” Ralph asked.  “This is our son!”
“I’m a police officer and a super-hero, apparently,” Cassandra said.  She was still a little surprised about it herself.  “If you can’t trust me, who can you trust?”
“If you’re a super-hero, what is your name?” Tag asked.
“Vermilion Widow,” She answered.  The name fit her like a glove.  It felt right.
“Nice to meet you,” Tag said.  “I’m Fantastic.”
“I’m sure you are,” Cassandra said, taken aback by the sudden boast.
“No,” Tag blushed.  “I’m not saying I am fantastic.  I’m saying that’s my hero name.  Fantastic.”
“Oh,” Cassandra grinned.  “We should probably get you somewhere to check out your powers then.  Find out if the name is suitable.”
“It is,” Ralph told her, putting one arm about his Son’s shoulders.  “Trust me.  It is.”

2 Responses to “Vermilion Widow, Issue #007”

  1. False Bill Says:

    Yay, that went better than expect, which is a nice change for twisted Helix City.

    Still wonder what an abnormal called fantastic can do.

    PS Steve enjoy your well earned Holiday. I’m going to need the extra time to plan my next move.

  2. Junius Stone Says:

    Vermillion Widow. I just dig the name.


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