Supervillains Anonymous Chapter 3

6/23/2015 11:00:00 AM Unknown 0 Comments





Chapter 1 | Chapter 2


The problem with discovering your roommate has a terrifying disease that focused on you: it doesn’t lead to quality sleep. I tossed and turned half the night, hoping it was all a nightmare. I woke up to Rita poking my side. “We’re going to be late.”

I shoved her hand away. “Late for what? I thought this place was basically the Elysian fields.”

“For work. Move your tiny superhero ass. Elysian fields. Pah.” She walked off, rolling her eyes.

I sat up and looked owlishly around our room. As tired as I was, I was loath to emerge from the two-thousand-thread-count sheets. It had been like being cradled softly by a cloud in my sleep.

Wait, had she said work? We were in the fanciest place on the planet, surrounded by criminals who had essentially blackmailed Davenport into handing over Michelin-rated sushi chefs and all of the fine accoutrements of life. And they expected us to work? What could they possibly expect a group of supervillains to do for employment? In the end, curiosity dragged me out of the bed. I stumbled to the sink, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and tried not to look at myself in the mirror. The bruises were in their final stages of healing, and that color always made me feel ill.

“When I said move your ass, that was not secret code for ‘take forever and make us both late,’ you know,” Rita said from the door.

I yawned and pulled on a shirt. “After you, sunshine.”

I trailed after her since there was no way I was ever letting her walk behind me. We passed the dining room, which made my stomach rumble hopefully for breakfast, but Rita only collected two boxes from a table stacked with them. “Don’t sulk,” she said. “It’s a croissant day. They’re delicious even if you’ll have to eat them at your desk.”

“What desk?”

Rita, as expected, did not answer me. We stepped into a crowd all heading in the same direction. They gave her—and by default me—a wide berth, as we headed down a hallway that hadn’t been part of Perky Tabitha’s orientation. I spotted Lady Danger and resignedly returned her little wave. At least Rita’s presence was scaring off any of the actual villains who hated me from attempting to track me down and get revenge. I had, I realized, become a flunky to the very first supervillain.

It figured. It really did.

“Hey, Rita,” I said, lengthening my stride to catch up. “I have a question.”

“Of course you do.”

“Do I get a phone call?”

“Who would you be calling? That caped boyfriend of yours?”

“He doesn’t wear a cape.” I hadn’t seen Guy since he’d kissed me and flown off to save Naomi Gunn, the reporter I’d been meeting at the mall that had been destroyed. I’d talked to him on the phone afterward, but we’d been cut off. And I needed to warn him that Chelsea was after him.

Rita sneered. “Didn’t anybody ever tell you not to waste your time dating superheroes?”

“Weren’t you married to the very first superhero?”

“What of it?”

We turned a corner and Detmer High Security Prison shifted from a day spa to a very posh office building. Glass walls exhibited offices with mahogany desks, rolling chairs with actual lumbar support, and some of the finest computers I had ever seen.

I actually stopped in the middle of the hallway to stare.

Rita reached back, hauling me easily into motion. “What did I say about not embarrassing me?”

“Yeah, I’m going to level with you, I’m not very good at listening to people, no matter how terrifying I find them. What is all of this? Why are there offices?” Ahead of us in the hallway, inmates—guests, Perky Tabitha’s voice reminded me—filed in through a set of double doors and filtered their way to the cubicles. The doors faced another set, through which I could see male prisoners filing in. My stomach dropped. “But I need to know: do I get that phone call?”

“Talk to a guard.”

“Fine, I will,” I said, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the middle-aged man who entered among the throng of other prisoners.

He looked like an accountant. He wasn’t particularly tall, but he was a little round and his comb-over had only grown more severe in the two years since I’d last seen him. My brain whispered at me to run, to get away right now, but I couldn’t move. It was like my feet had been bolted to the ground.

Razor X had scared me the day before. Encounters with Razor X usually ended in pain and tears, after all.

My one encounter with this man, with Shock Value, had ended in a crater in the middle of Naperville.

I saw the moment he spotted me, his eyes narrowing behind the smudged lenses of his glasses. And just like that, I was back in the bottom of a silo that had been turned into a labyrinth, trying desperately to scream and warn Blaze about the razor blades. His face went from blandly pleasant to a mask of fury and rage. He let out a yell and charged through the crowd, right at me. I couldn’t do anything but watch him loom larger and larger, hands stretched out to choke me.

Rita stepped into Shock Value’s path and calmly clotheslined him. She barely even seemed to move, but in the next second, she was holding him up by the throat. While hovering three feet off the ground. She looked down into Shock Value’s rapidly purpling face without a single expression of violence or anger in her eyes, and in that moment, I understood what made Rita Detmer so dangerous.

“And just what, pray tell, do you think you’re doing?” she asked, her tone almost bored.

Shock Value garbled something and tried to break free of her grip, Velcro shoes kicking uselessly at the air.

Rita merely tightened her grip. “No, I think you misunderstand,” she said, her tone never changing. “It doesn’t matter what happened between you and Miss Godwin, or that she is the reason you’re in here. She’s mine now. Get me?”

Shock Value made a high-pitched wheeze.

“Thought so,” Rita said, and threw him against the wall so hard, I heard the metal clang. He lay in a motionless heap.

Rita, on the other hand, drifted back to the ground. Tucking her breakfast under her arm, she pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket. She wiped her hand clean, meticulously. “Any questions?” she asked the gathered crowd.

Unsurprisingly, nobody had any. People hurried past Shock Value’s prone body, keeping their heads down so they wouldn’t have to meet Rita’s eye or look at me. Rita sniffed and turned to me.

“Why did you do that?” I asked, dual feelings of dread and relief rising through me.

She shrugged. “You cry enough as it is.”

“Thanks, I guess,” I said, my voice frosty.

She started walking toward the offices again, completely blasĂ© about the fact that she had maybe just killed a man. “At least you bothered to say thank you. My last roommate wasn’t so circumspect.”

I really, really didn’t want to know what happened to her last roommate.

“Somebody’ll be along to show you to your cubicle. Toodle-oo,” Rita said, as we walked past a receptionist. I checked to make sure it wasn’t the same receptionist from my old job at Mirror Reality. But even though I might think Portia McPeak was the worst, the justice system didn’t seem to believe she belonged in prison. The receptionist was a young man with spiky blue hair that matched the spikes protruding from his wrists and elbows.

“Wait,” I said before Rita could walk off. “What do we even do here?”

“Girlie, we’re supervillains. What else would we do?” She pointed up.

The sign hung from the ceiling. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, HEADQUARTERS.

“Oh, that is not good,” I said, and Rita cackled as she walked off.

A second later, a new figure rounded the corner, and I wanted to sigh. I’d already faced my worst-nightmare villain that morning, so of course it made sense that they would send my most frequent villain to apparently turn me into an IRS agent. “You’re not here to attack me, are you? Rita doesn’t take kindly to that sort of thing, and she’s scarier than you, no offense.”

Razor X, however, gave me a hurt look through her face shield. It was weird seeing her without her little cape though apparently the bulbous purple helmet was allowed in the prison. Maybe it helped her breathe.

“How could you?” she asked.

“Huh?”

I was supposed to be your archnemesis, but you went and got yourself another one. I’m so offended. Did all of our time together mean nothing to you?”

She’d dosed me with so many painful concoctions of her own making so many times, I’d lost count. I didn’t want to give her any sort of loyalty. I wanted to give her a punch in the face. “What are you talking about? You’re a villain!”

“Oh, come on. That hardly means anything if you don’t kill people. You were going to develop powers sooner or later, so I was perfectly positioned to be your personal archnemesis. I had it all worked out, but apparently you went and found Chelsea. Yeah, Lady Danger and Venus-von-Shut-Your-Trapp told me all about it. Ugh. She doesn’t even have a real villain name.”

“What is even happening?” I asked the ceiling.

“You’re my cubicle mate, so we’ll always have that, I guess.” Razor X flopped petulantly into a desk chair. “We could’ve been great, Girl.”

“Gail.” I dropped into the other chair. “You want to be my nemesis, get my damn name right.”

“Fine. You can call me Raze.”

“I didn’t pick my archnemesis. She killed a good friend of mine,” I said, setting my breakfast on the desk and lining the box up neatly against the edge. Focusing on the precise movements helped. Otherwise, I really would hit something. Chelsea was out there, free, and AngĂ©lica was dead. I breathed deep and looked over my shoulder at Raze. “Whereas you only managed to give me a headache more than a dozen times. Why didn’t you ever learn a new trick?”

“Because the old one was funny. Why mess with perfection?”

There was no arguing with that, and frankly, I was too worn-out to try. So instead, I poked through the box of food. In addition to a croissant, there was a little tube of juice, a pat of butter shaped like a rose, half an orange, and some spreadable cheese. It would last me maybe an hour if I was lucky, but it was all I had, so I finished it all. Finally, I turned my attention to the computer.

It occurred to me that I did not have a degree in accounting, tax law, or anything numeric in nature. Also, I wasn’t evil, so I really didn’t know how to be an IRS agent. “Uh, what am I supposed to be doing?”

“Pretty much whatever you want. Ruin as many lives as you like. But I should warn you, they keep an eye on that.” Raze’s voice made it clear that she thought it was totally lame that she couldn’t just destroy thousands of people’s livelihoods. “You should probably do actual work to keep it balanced. I don’t know. I mostly just play Solitaire.”

“Prison,” I said, staring bleakly at the screen. “It’s office work.”

“Yeah, right. Like real office computers have actual Solitaire on them these days.”

I poked around through the computer, trying to figure out what I could and couldn’t do. All types of communication seemed to be forbidden. I couldn’t reach any of the messenger boards, and even the Domino was blocked. So I’d been handed a computer, but it was useless.

“What’s she like?” Raze asked, breaking the silence.

“Who?” I asked.

“Your other nemesis.” Raze’s voice held all of the hurt of a kid accidentally forgotten after school. “She has a stupid name.”

“She killed my friend and she did her best to kill me. Trust me, I’d rather you were my archnemesis,” I said, paging through the files available to me.

“You really mean that?”

Though I was about to open my mouth to say that of course I did because Razor X hadn’t actually managed to do any lasting harm, it occurred to me that maybe pissing off my cubicle mate was probably not the wisest policy. “Yeah,” I said instead. “I mean that.”

“That’s the nicest thing anybody’s ever said to me.” She spun back around to play Solitaire again.

“Great,” I said under my breath. “That’s not gonna come back to bite me in the ass at all.”

“Miss Godwin?” One of the guards appeared. It wasn’t Perky Tabitha, but it could have been a close relation. She had the same one-sudden-move-away-from-running-for-my-life smile. “Your boyfriend’s here to see you.”

My heart leapt. I was on my feet so fast that Raze shook her head at me, but I didn’t care. Guy had finally made it out to the prison. Finally, I would start to get some answers. I followed my new guard out of the office, through all of the places I’d already visited, and finally into a little hallway near Processing. She dropped me off with two guards who were wearing the same blue-gray uniforms I recognized from the transport van.

“Check her implant,” one said, and the other pushed down hard on the side of my neck, where I had a little bump in my shoulder. I swiped at his hand, but he’d already pulled it back. “Still active?”

“Affirmative.”

“Thanks.” The first guard held up a set of handcuffs, which automatically made my stomach jump. But if it meant seeing Guy … I held up my wrists. “You will be granted fifteen minutes to meet with your visitor. Any talk about what happens inside these walls will be grounds for immediate removal of both you and the visitor from the area and subsequent removal of all visiting privileges. Is this understood?”

“I can’t … talk about anything at Detmer?” I asked, squinting at him.

Instead of giving me a simple yes or no answer, he repeated the entire spiel.

“Fine, fine,” I said, hoping to stop a third repeat of the speech. “Understood. I won’t talk about Detmer.”

“You will be under constant watch the entire time,” my guard said, taking me by the elbow and leading me through a vault door into the visitor’s area.

The bamboo floors and pristine walls were immediately replaced by scuffed linoleum and plaster. Several low tables were spaced throughout the room. A guard was posted at every window, with several weapons on display. I swallowed hard. The windows and doors probably all contained the taser that would incapacitate me easily if Rita was to be believed. I could see blue sky beyond, beating down hard over what looked like a barren, empty field. August in northern Illinois had struck hard, it appeared.

I forgot all about that when my eyes fell on the tall man with green eyes sitting at one of the tables.

“Hey, babe,” Jeremy Collins said. “Miss me?”

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Please keep it PG. My mom reads this blog.