[mc, mf, md, cb, tr]
((One of the few male dominant stories you’ll find in this site. It was written for JN who challenged me to come up with something involving “mirrors” and “telekinesis“. This is also the first superhero/supervillain tale ever! ))
Rachel Haynes, also known as Crimson Lightning, entered Warehouse number 13 by the docks of Titanville with her senses in high alert. She had received a report that her arch-nemesis, Destructo, had been spotted near the vicinities and there was no way she was going to let an opportunity to finally bring him to justice pass her by.
It was terribly dark on the inside, almost pitch black, and the voice in her head was telling her that all sorts of traps were in store for her. Pressing a small circular button embedded on the left wrist of her skin-tight catsuit, she activated her personal force field and continued to tread carefully.
The lights came on all at once, temporarily blinding her. As her eyes adjusted to the contrast in visibility conditions, she saw herself reflected many times and a familiar figure appearing to be smiling from behind his silver and black armour. Destructo was known for enjoying his games before moving on to the total annihilation of those that stood in his way, and he had just successfully lured her into a maze of mirrors.
“Do you like my Fun House, Crimson Lightning?” one hundred copies or more asked in unison. His voice was being amplified and distributed throughout the entire length of the warehouse and with so many focal points staring at her, she had no way of knowing what was real and what was just a light refraction.
“It’s not exactly a statement of originality, Destructo.” she retorted with roving eyes. In her left hand, she was already holding her weapon of choice, an extendable metal staff.
“May be not, but as long as it does the trick….”
“And what exactly are you planning this time around?”
“I finally found the necessary means to take control of all Titanville but, as I’m sure you understand, I can’t let you run free interfering with my plans. That’s why I brought you here, today.”
“So, you’re the one who was behind the sighting report…. In any case, whatever the crazy scheme you’ve got going this time around, I’m going to stop it!”
“We’ll see about that….”
A sudden movement in one of the images to her right signalled the beginning of the confrontation. Through the use of his notoriously dangerous telekinetic powers, Destructo sent a handful of glass shards across her way, but Rachel quickly stepped out the line of fire. After all, she wasn’t called Crimson Lightning for being slow on her feet.
“If that’s how you want to play, bring it!” The staff grew in her hands and was brandished against the nearest set of mirrors, a movement she repeated over and over again, using her powerful acrobatic moves to dodge the enemy’s onslaught.
The plan was to find a way out of the maze in order to locate Destructo more easily. However, her actions came with a risk: the more mirrors she broke, the more ammunition she seemed to supply him, and the attacks became more powerful with each passing second. A rain of pointy edges came down on her from every direction, and whilst the majority of them were deflected by the force field, on occasions some managed to pass through.
One of them hit her right foot, catching her in the middle of a jump and almost causing her to lose her balance. The pain wasn’t severe, but somewhat troublesome and specks of blood, no matter how small, were never a good sign. Rachel extended her staff once again, executed a back flip and tried to stay focused on the task at hands. More than a quarter of the reflecting surfaces had already been shattered, yet there were still too many gruesome masks looming over her, a feeling that was both claustrophobic and precarious.
Destructo moved forward in the middle of the conflicting images, hands raised high as if preparing to part the Red Sea, just like Moses. There were no mirrors cracking this time around, but something definitely moved. Having been hidden in-between the obfuscating lights above, an electrified square cage plummeted in her direction, catching her completely off-guard.
Rachel only had time for a half jump using the staff as a pole. It was enough to avoid capture, but insufficient to ensure her defensive line remained as strong as required. Seizing the confusion, Destructo projected all of his mental strength onto a single burst of energy and hit her straight in the chest, hurling her into the positively charged bars. The shock was sizzling and violent, as the current sought out the weak spots of her force field like an intelligent predator and then proceeded to effectively destroy it from within.
“I bet you didn’t see this one coming….” Destructo laughed. His mechanical armour clanked and whirred as he moved towards her. “Sweet dreams.” He said, before using her own weapon to knock her unconscious.
* * *
Rachel woke up twenty minutes later, give or take, but, under the circumstances, perhaps it would have been better if she hadn’t done so. Upon opening her eyes, she realized she had been taken to a different location altogether, namely an underground laboratory of sorts; her crimson catsuit had been completely shredded to pieces and she was dangling by her wrists a couple of meters above an octagonal tank filled to the brim with a silver substance. On the ground level and to the left, Destructo stood next to a massive console in a victorious pose, undoubtedly smiling like a mad man underneath the horrible façade.
“Ah, you’ve finally come to your senses.” He said, triumphantly. “That will make what’s about to happen to you much more interesting….”
The superheroine didn’t leave him without a prompt reply:
“The only thing interesting to happen in the foreseeable future is me kicking your ass around!”
“Still feisty, I see, but you’re wasting your breath. Those chains are unbreakable, and I got rid of all of your toys so there’s really nothing you can do to! Take a good look at my perfect creation: it will consume your very soul!”
“Silver mud?!” she asked in disbelief, whislt trying to force the restraints with every ounce of strength she had left. “How exactly will that help you, Destructo?”
The disguised villain started fiddling with a couple of buttons. As a result of his actions, the material in the tank began to stir, oozy bubbles emerging. In-between the ripples at the surface, emaciated tentacles stretched out high….
“This ‘mud’ is in fact a revolutionary protoplasmic living entity of my own design. I’ve given it both parasitic and symbiotic properties, and I’ll launch it against the unsuspecting town to turn all of its residents into my devoted servants. You’ll get to have the honour of being the first!” he pressed yet another button and the winch holding Rachel from harm’s way started to fall down, straight into the depths of the tank and the horror within.
Sensing the approach of a prey, the wobbling mass altered its shape until it became a sort of a tight net with protuberances growing on all sides. Two of the tentacles combined into a longer one that, almost instantly, wrapped around her waist with undeniable might.
Rachel was repulsed at the touch of the thing, yet totally incapable of stopping its advances. A ball of slime hit her legs, another one covered her arms and, next thing she knew, the deliquescent creature was covering almost ninety percent of her body.
“I can’t really say it was a pleasure to have you as an enemy, Crimson Lightning, but it will most certainly be one to have you as a slave!” Destructo laughed and, without another sound, leaned back to watch the end of the show.
* * *
Rachel’s ultimate demise wasn’t fast or painless. For more than an hour, the fibres of her twitching body struggled hard against the alien imposition. Her mind did the same when new memories stormed in, and she screamed hard as the amorphous being slithered through her pores, and dove deep into her lungs to change them, as well as other major organs, from inside out.
She was still conscious when the ravenous force contained in the tank enveloped her whole to precipitate the disintegration of every personality trait. Her life had been colourful up to that day, but now it would be dull and meaningless, a simple vessel under the sway of a lunatic.
When she was finally released from her confines, there was no sign left of the proud defender of the weak. In her place, stood a dehumanized grey automaton whose task would be to lead the first wave of Titanville’s conversion to the supreme will of her Master.
Unfortunately for everyone, she played her new role admirably….