Fire and the Shield: A Short Story


The birds chirped from the trees around me. I could also hear the faint sound of traffic coming from the big city of New York. I sat near the pond in front of my underground house, letting sparks fly from my hands, wondering what I should do for my next villainous scheme.

“Maybe you should challenge Mr. Lightning.” A voice said in my head. I pondered a bit longer before nodding in agreement. I took my brown, silky hair out of its ponytail and headed inside.

My mask lay on the couch, calling to me as I picked it up. I went into the bathroom to change, and when I looked into the mirror, I saw my dad. After all, I had his freckles and eye color. I only had one blue eye, and the green came from my mom. She died when I was just a baby.

I pulled my hair behind my pointy elf ears and strode back outside. It only took ten minutes for me to get to the city, and as soon as I cut around the corner, I saw the “mighty” hero flexing in front of a group of young women.

His jet black hair and his cheeky smile did not flatter me, so I continued walking. I threw my black hood over my head when I caught him staring at me. Just as I had planned, Lightning flew over and began to walk with me.

I only stared at his freckled arms. “I haven’t seen you around. Do you want to sit and talk? Maybe I can give you a tour.” I hated his friendliness. I responded with, “Back off! I live here, and stop treating me like I’m one of your fangirls.”

His stubbornness was perfect for my plan. “Sorry, how about we introduce ourselves?” I angrily kicked his chest, causing my hood to fly off.

He stumbled back a bit before recognizing me. “It’s you!” He said, shocked. I glared at him then shot a blaze of fire in his direction. Lightning dodged my attack and leaped at me.

His strength caused me to break the glass window behind me. Screams filled the air. I pushed Lightning off and grimaced as I got up. “I won’t let you take over New York, Rue!” He yelled. I didn’t question how he knew my name. I balled up my fists and scowled.

My eyes widened as I saw him holding a huge piece of the concrete. He threw the boulder at me, but I quickly jumped out of its way. Before I could react, Lightning punched my mask.

I could feel the blood rushing to my nose, but I wasn’t concerned. I watched as my mask crumbled to the ground. Cursing aloud, I bolted past Lightning and ran around the corner, back to my house. Surprisingly, nobody tried to stop me or pursue me.

I ran inside and slammed the door shut behind me. Crying would get me nowhere, so I sat on the couch and zoned out. When I looked up, a shadow loomed out of the kitchen.

Curious, for it was still light outside, I wandered over. A black mist floating a few inches off the ground didn’t frighten me. A devilish tail and horns revealed my dad with his scruffy brown beard – barely visible under his mask – and icy blue eyes.

“Rue, you said you would avenge my death. Sitting here, about to give up, is not helping anything.” He had somehow read my mind.

“I don’t think I can do it, Dad. He saw my face.” I admitted. He scoffed and crossed his arms. “So what? Don’t let that stop you. He’s seen my face many times. WIll it make you feel better if I give you my mask?” I looked down, then quickly nodded before he changed his mind.

He gently removed his mask and rested it on my face. I wasn’t able to thank him before the mist engulfed him. I confidently walked back out the door with my hood off.

I could hear the police still talking to Lightning when I got back to the corner. They had their backs turned, hiding the hero from me. I yelled over their voices. “You should know better than to think I would give up that easily!”

The police parted to reveal Lightning in his yellow and red jumpsuit. He smirked his cheeky smile. “Guess I should’ve remembered who your father was.” He said, striding towards me. His face was barely an inch from mine.

“May the best fighter win.” I whispered in his ear so only he could hear. A cop began to approach and touched Lightning’s shoulder. Once his hand made contact, Lightning grabbed the collar of my hoodie and flew upwards.

He almost snarled out the words. “Just leave my city alone! Give up.” I clawed at his hand, but it was no use. “I’ll give up when my father walks this Earth again!” I spat back.

A wave of recognition went across his face. The mask. He recognized my dad’s mask. “How did you get that?” He demanded. I took the chance to kick his stomach.

He loosened his grip, but I guess I hadn’t thought my plan through. The air whipped my hair as I fell. I closed my eyes, knowing there was no possible way I would survive. I felt an arm wrap around my back before Lightning put his body under me to stop the blow. My breath left my body when we hit the ground.

A crowd began to form. I turned my body to face my nemesis. He had that cheeky smile again! “You’re not like your father. You actually know how to fight.” He murmured. I bit back a remark.

He continued. “What would your mom think? She was so kind.” I got off of him as a tear fell. “I’m so sorry.” I was lost for words. He lifted himself up and buried me into a hug.

“It’s not too late to change.” He muttered into my ear. I gently pushed him away and stood up. “So, how about we start over?” I asked, smiling. Tears still tickled my cheeks. Lightning used his thumb to wipe them away.

“I’m Henry.” He said. I shook his extended hand then turned towards the group of police. I grabbed the handcuffs off a nearby cop and snapped them around my wrists.

“I surrender.”