Monday, July 21, 2008

Teth-Morae, 327 words

We had it. Finally, we had it.

I wanted to cheer, to dance, to grab Emara by the shoulders and kiss her. Hells, I wanted to grab Jotian by the shoulders and kiss him. We’d finally found the map that could guide us to the teth-morae’s hiding place. We could kill them in their sleep, as long as we got there before the year was up.

“Open it up, open it up,” I insisted. Emara had the map’s case, a little round metal tube, and was working its lid off.

“I’m trying,” she said. “It’s stuck. It’s old and something probably rusted on.”

“Here, you take one end and I’ll take the other, and maybe we can pull it apart,” I suggested. I grabbed the lid and turned it in Emara’s hands so she had to hold on to the other end. Grinning, made silly by relief and the impending end of the threat of the teth-morae, I acted like a child on a holiday.

“One, two, three,” I counted, and hauled back. Emara pulled against me. For a long moment, it seemed like nothing would move, and then finally the lid popped off. Emara stumbled back with the tube in her hands, and I nearly fell flat on my rear with the lid. Carefully, she shook the map out, and unrolled the crackling parchment.

She frowned.

Curious, I got up and hurried to her side. Jotian looked over her other shoulder, and we saw what she held: on the parchment, a map of the whole world had been inked. No single spot was marked, no coordinates labeling the precise location of the teth-morae.

“What is it,” I asked. “What does it mean? Where’s their hiding place?”

“Maybe it’s written in some kind of enchanted ink,” Emara said, half a question. “Maybe there’s something we have to do to reveal the coordinates?”

“No,” Jotian said, his voice quiet and horrified. “I know what it means.

“They’re everywhere.”

Monday, July 07, 2008

"Never Special," Introduction, pt. 1, 260 words

I was never special.

Oh, I’ve been… different from a lot of people. Most people, in fact. More than 99% of the human race, or 99.99%...

I have powers. There’re more than ten thousand people out there with powers now. There’s no formal census data, but the last estimate I saw suggested about fifteen thousand by the end of this year. And it impresses people, at first, but there’s no end of clubs out there that are far more exclusive. Hollywood movie stars, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates… Lots of things that, at the end of the day, people aspire to more than just being powered. Things that people respect more than being powered. Or, at least, my particular set of powers.

I’m super, but I’m not special. I can fly, I am functionally invulnerable, I’m inhumanly strong, and I’ve got speed on my side. Of those maybe-fifteen-thousand powered people out there, easily two thousand have that same power set. That’s still less exclusive than the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. I’m not sure about major Hollywood stars. Those that anyone remembers, anyways.

I just got my powers two weeks ago, actually. The first night, they were exhilarating. Now, they’re just… what a lot of other people already have. They don’t make me great, and I can’t believe they ever will. It’s not like I have the talent or training to use them all that effectively. I’m still a loser, but now I’m a super-powered loser.

You know that old maxim about power corrupting? It’s wrong. Power doesn’t corrupt. It distills.