I've had a few submissions for the collected fantholoy later this year. (Yes, I just invented that word and I like it). Nemesis, by Don Goodrum runs to to more than five thousand words. This is just a taster from the opening pars.
Hero’s Log: Tuesday 2:24am CST
I stand watch over my city. Watching as the night chokes the tiny metropolis in thick dark folds like a blanket or a shroud. Watching as the light from the city fights its way upward like a drowning man fighting the current of a river. Watching as a gibbous moon casts a baleful eye across the stage below, waiting for the show to begin.
Watching. And the city watches back.
I am the Crimson Avatar. Defender of the Weak and Protector of the City of Pensacola, Florida, I patrol these mean streets, stopping crime; turning back evil; making the world-
-making the world a better place. Safer, cleaner-
“Seriously Doug, are you in there? Are you awake?”
And unfortunately, I don’t work alone.
I turned and looked at the person standing next to me on the roof of the Saenger Theatre, overlooking Palafox Avenue. Shorter and slighter than my own chiseled physique, he wore a yellow tunic with red piping and red pants tucked into matching red boots. Top it all off with a red domino mask and his own mop of curly red hair, he looked much like a combination between the original Kid Flash from the comics and the current leather-clad one on TV. A fact I’ve pointed out to him more than once.
“Cameron,” I said in a long-suffering voice. “Wildfyre. Haven’t I asked you at least a million times not to interrupt me when I’m making log entries? And you know the rule; we don’t call one another by our real names when we’re in costume. You’re putting our loved ones at risk.”
“What loved ones? What risk? When was the last time we did anything other than stand up on this rooftop like a couple of morons in their skintight suits telling lies to one another?”
“We stopped that mugger a few weeks ago,” I said, lamely. “And we work in the soup kitchen every Wednesday.”
“That mugger was a panhandler begging for loose change,” Wildfyre snapped. “And dishing up bowls of chicken noodle is not my idea of fighting crime.”
“We just need to be vigilant.” I said, trying to convince myself. “Sooner or later, our time will come. What we need is a purpose, a calling. What we need is a Nemesis.”
“A nemesis? You mean like Lex Luthor or the Joker?” Wildfyre got some kind of alert on his phone and pulled it out of his utility belt to look at it. “We can barely hold our own against a down on his luck alkie with brain rot and you want to go looking for a super villain? Give me a fuckin’ break, Doug.”
“I will not warn you again about the profanity,” I said sternly in a voice that sounded eerily like my mother. “And please do not refer to me by my secret identity.”
I waited impatiently for a response while he focused on his phone. “Wildfyre?”
He had least had the decency to look chagrined as he said, “Sorry Doug-uh, I mean, Avatar,” but it didn’t last. Brandishing his phone in my face, he said, “But have you seen what’s going on in New Orleans? It’s amazing!”
“You know what I think is amazing, Wildfyre? That you’re spending your time watching YouTube videos when you’re supposed to be keeping an eye on this city and its citizens.”
“But you gotta see this Doug,” he pleaded, sticking the phone right into my face. “There are monsters in New Orleans, man. Fuckin’ monsters!”
“Hey! Language, dude,” I barked, snatching the phone from his hand. “I told you, we don’t use that kind of language when we’re in – costume.” By this point my eyes had finally focused on the video in front of me. It was shot somewhere in the French Quarter, apparently; Bourbon Street or somewhere close to it, given the number of Mardi Gras beads everyone was wearing. But verifying the location wasn’t really on my mind just then; I was too busy looking at the hideous Lizard-Man centered in the frame. Standing at least seven or eight feet high, the creature wore what looked like leather armor and chain mail and carried a huge sword he was currently using as a street sweeper to clear the area around him. Fuck.
Hey, I didn’t say I don’t curse. I just don’t curse in costume. Out loud.
“You see, Doug?” it’s those same things they were talking about yesterday from that oil rig. Only this time there’s more of ‘em and there’s pictures!”