Theatre of Heels, Chapter 2- While You Were Sleeping
“Hey! Are you okay? Speak to me!”
“Oh, Thank God!” Someone said above her. “I’m not going to lie. You had me worried there for a minute. At first, I thought I tackled out of the way a little too fast. I always try to be careful, but we were literally in the heat of the moment.” The figure, a thin man from the outline of his shadow above her, whistled. “Man, I thought for sure that that psychopath was going to flash-fry the pair of us.”
Erica grabbed her head and sat up, moaning, “What are you talking . . . about?”
Beneath her goggles, her eyes bulged. Kneeling next to her was the superhero, Sprinter.
She confirmed this by saying, “You’re Sprinter.”
He grinned at her sheepishly. “In the running shoes.”
He gently helped her sit up. “Sorry about that sudden appearance. Knocking someone out of harm’s way isn’t an exact science.”
She looked at him, confused, “Knocking someone out of—Oh my God!”
Memories of Skullord and the oncoming glow of his energy blast, bathing her in its heat, flooded back to her. She vaguely remembered the sound of rushing wind as her eyes rolled up in her head when she fainted.
She screamed, “He—Skullord Chaos tried to kill me!”
Sprinter nodded. “That’s what it looked like, all right. Are you okay?”
“Am I . . . okay,” she repeated. “Other than an international super-criminal trying to murder me in broad daylight, I feel okay. I think?”
He smiled at her, reassuringly, “Okay, is good.” He patted her on the shoulder. “I’m just glad I could get you out of there in time.” He exhaled, “Phew! I don’t mind telling you this, but that was way too close for comfort.”
To emphasize his point, he raised his foot. The soul of his shoe was melted away.
Erica stared. “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”
Sprinter knelt into her line of sight. “Hey. You’re okay. Something bad ‘almost’ happened to you. From where I’m sitting, that’s a win. You get to stand up, walk out of here, and go to therapy to talk about it, like a normal adult.”
She grinned despite herself. “You’re funny.”
He shrugged with his easy smile. “I’ve been known to crack a smile here and there. Besides, you can’t let a little thing, like almost dying, get in your way, especially on a big day like today.”
Erica stared at the hero, confused. “A day like today? I’m sorry, what are——”
“Oh, come on,” he laughed. “You’re Erica.” He waved at her outfit. “You have that blog, Sidekick: The Confessions of a Wannabe Superhero.”
She gaped, “You know about my blog?”
“Absolutely! Your weekly blog has me rolling!”
“It does?” Erica suddenly remembered.
“I’ve seen every single one!”
Erica felt the heat rise in her face as she remembered some cringe-worthy fanfiction she read aloud on her vlog. Some of which involving Sprinter and some of his teammates. “You even saw—”
Sprinter’s grin broadened.
“I . . . I—”
He waved her response down. “It’s cool. You have got way too much going on today. You start your day out with a superhero fight, on top of your exit interview at the academy. Holy wow! I wouldn’t know where to keep up with all that, and I have superspeed.”
“You know about that?”
“Oh, come on! You’ve been talking about that for months. It’s all over your social media feeds.”
“You follow me on social media?”
He gave her a knowing wink, then winced as he rubbed his temple.
She sat up, suddenly alarmed. “Are you okay?”
“It’s nothing.” He shook his head, and his grin returned. “Oh, by the way, you almost dropped this, but I caught it.” He placed the object in her hand.
“My phone!” She exclaimed.
Sprinter nodded. “Yeah. I hope you don’t mind, but I made a quick cameo on the thing to tell your fans that you’re okay.”
He laughed, “One dude, in particular, Pedal-Metal-Something-other was really worried. He wanted to know more details. I told him you be in touch with them in a bit and then closed your feed. Do you know him? Is your boyfriend or something?”
“PedalMetalCruiser? God no! He’s my older brother!”
Sprinter’s smile broadened, “Okay, cool!”
Erica stared at him strangely. Was Sprinter, and honest to God superhero, happy that she told him that some rando wasn’t her boyfriend. Before she could contemplate that line of thought any closer, something streaked down from above.
Erica screamed as a spear struck the asphalt next to them, impaling its tip into the street. An instant later, the air pulsed out with a resounding pop as the athletic figure of Spearhawk appeared.
He snatched the spear out of the ground effortlessly. “There you are,” he said without preamble.
Sprinter nodded to the other hero, “Sup, buddy!”
Erica’s breath caught. Sprinter was one thing. He was skinny, likable, and funny, but Spearhawk was in a whole different category of delight. Spearhawk had always carried himself in interviews and footage with a quiet self-assurance. Standing, or rather, sitting in his presence, his confidence was palpable and reassuring. Also, Erica was having trouble averting her eyes from the way he filled out his skintight costume.
Spearhawk regarded the pair of them with a gentle smile. “Sleek said you were probably off flirting.”
Fliting, Erica thought. With me? Her face went hot.
“You tell the ice—Sleek, that I wasn’t off flirting. I was saving Erica here from certain doom.”
Spearhawk stared. “Oh, wow! Was this the girl that Skullord tried to blast?”
Sprinter nodded, “Yep! The very same.”
Spearhawk knelt beside her, and his muscular thigh brushed her elbow. Erica had to repress her thought on the other fan fiction she wrote that even she didn’t have the guts to share online.
“Miss, are you okay?”
Erica nodded numbly, “Yeah.”
He smiled at her. “I’m glad to hear it.”
She said breathlessly, “You are?”
Looking between them, Sprinter interjected himself. “Spearhawk, this is Erica. She’s a student at the Kirby Lee Sidekick
Academy. In fact, she’s taking her final exit interview!”
“That’s amazing, Erica. I’m sure you’ll do well!”
She asked dreamily, “You really think so?”
He started to nod, but stood up abruptly, touching his ear. Erica noticed a tiny radio transceiver within it. After a moment’s pause, his expression sobered. He looked at Sprinter. “Skullord’s on the run, and Block and Sleek are in pursuit. We need to go, or Block is going to have kittens.”
Sprinter’s back stiffened, “Oh Geez! You’re not going to tell him that I—”
Spearhawk interjected, “Took the time to run a victim to the hospital. No, you can tell him that. I only caught up to you on your way back.”
Sprinter looked relieved, “Thanks, bud!”
“Don’t thank me yet,” said Spearhawk. “We need to get going.” He regarded Erica with a nod. “It was nice meeting you,
Erica. Good luck today. I hope to see you out here with us.”
With that, he hurled his spear straight up! The air popped as suddenly Spearhawk disappeared. An instant later he teleported directly beside his spear over two blocks above the street. In one fluid motion, he snatched the spear out of the air and threw it off into the distance. He then vanished from sight.
“Wow,” she whispered.
“He is impressive.”
Erica blinked when she realized that Sprinter was looking up at the sky beside her.
“You’re still here!”
He shrugged. “Yeah, I suppose I better go,” he sighed. “Anyways, good luck today. I’m rooting for you.”
“Thank you. Not only for that but for saving my life too.”
He grinned. “We’re superheroes. It’s what we do.”
His formed then blurred, and an instant later, he disappeared torrential gale. Erica watched the rushing wind until a piece of garbage blew into her face.