It was a cold night, much too cold
to be late July. A freak windstorm had come up out of the northeast,
bringing with it an unseasonal blast of arctic air. What had been
a sweltering heatwave in the nineties had been slashed to barely half
that temperature, sending people running for sweaters, jackets, even
Despite the ferocity of the wind that blew around him,
Jon stood still out on the deck of the home he shared with his team.
He remembered his grandmother telling him that any winds coming out
of the east were ill omens, referring to them as “witches winds.”
He smiled slightly; the thought of his grandmother, the woman who
raised him, was always a comforting one. She was sour, headstrong
and deeply opinionated, but she always let Jon know she adored him.
Of course, he sighed, he could never think about her without thinking
about the day that completely changed his life, the day the Hellions
came to visit. What had started as a break-in turned into his grandmother’s
murder and Jon’s joining the Skulls, which in turn had led to other
A chill ran down his spine. He wasn’t superstitious, but there
was something unsettling about this storm. He turned back to the house
to go inside to ask Kirk. The younger man’s gifts of foresight had
gotten stronger over the past six months through their constant use,
and he could now see events as far as two weeks out. That knowledge
made him smile more; not even Azuria could predict something that
As he came inside, he saw JD, Carlos, Kirk and some new person
dressed in a black t-shirt and black jeans. The four were glued to
the large tv screen, intently playing a video game.
When did you get here?” Jon asked as he casually went to the fridge.
“Just got here. Scarlett was on some sort of crazy redecorating rampage.
I had to leave.”
“Welcome to the world of the serious relationship,
my friend.” Jon chuckled as he popped open a beer.
“Any idea when
Bianca and the girls are coming back?” asked Kirk.
“I think the photo
shoot was today, but I hope they don’t try driving home in this mess.”
Jon answered, not failing to miss Kirk’s concern for Bianca. The young
man had an unrequited crush on the British bombshell. He saw a pile
of dollar bills on the table. “You guys order pizza?”
don’t like me eating unhealthy, so this is the only chance I got to
eat it.” JD piped in as he suddenly tapped ferociously on one of his
control pad’s buttons. “No! Dang it!” he yelled at the screen.
girls, Sara, Xandria, Flora and Bianca, had all been invited to do
an advertisement for Revlon. They were revamping an old campaign from
twenty-years ago, changing the slogan from “The Most Unforgettable
Women Wear Revlon” to something involving superheroes. Revlon had
asked Sara and Xandria, the only superheroes with a modeling background,
to do the shoot, but had included Flora and Bianca as well. Other
heroines were also asked to be part of the campaign, since the makeup
company liked to have a variety of models wearing their product.
can’t imagine what that room must be like. Probably catfight city
in there!” commented Ferguson. He chuckled. “Remember the fight that
Sara and Scarlett got into after that party we were all at?”
the fight, but what started it?” asked Kirk.
“Sara called Scarlett
‘dye-job’, like she’s got the market cornered on being a real redhead.”
the former cosmic entity rolled his eyes.
“Girls, go figure.” said
“You’re still young, kiddo.” said Jon. “When you got a second,
Kirk, I need to ask you something.”
“I can only do the lottery thing
a few times, Jon. I told you that.”
JD gave their group leader a sharp
look. He had been lectured many times by Jon about using Kirk’s talent
for personal gain. “Hey, now! If I ain’t allowed to do that, then
why should you?”
Kirk gave JD a wink, making the electrically-gifted
man realize that he had just been had.
“Seriously, what do you need,
“Is there anything you see unusual about this storm?”
from the fact we’re having a noreaster in July? You’re looking for
something else?” Kirk paused the game to the consternation of the
others. He closed his eyes and tried to see if the storm was indeed
a portent of doom.
Visions swirled around him; as always, brief flashes
of future timelines. He never did understand how he had this ability,
only that he was able to do so after the Rikti invasion. Kirk saw
the team fighting men in red and black, flames, and a woman in a very
provocative leather outfit. A few other fractured images came and
went, but those were the stand outs. As he pulled his mind back to
the present, he blinked his eyes rapidly, as if he needed to refocus
“I saw us fighting the Hellions, a lot of fire,
and some woman. Whether any of it has to do with this storm, I can’t
say.” Kirk shrugged apologetically.
“Well, at least it’s not the Winter
King again.” JD quipped.
“Hmm.” was all Jon said, his mind, of course
going back into Worry Mode. The doorbell rang, breaking him out of
Gathering the pile of money, he straightened it out
and went to the door. It was just a freak storm, he told himself,
absolutely nothing to worry about.
The woman lit the candles like
she did every night. She had found it odd that for almost a year,
the candles never diminished in height. She had tried getting someone
from the magic-based superhero division over to look at it, but they
never did. She decided to dismiss the carved candlesticks as harmlessly
Ever since her husband had purchased the mirror,
she had a bizarre fixation with it, especially when the candles were
lit. She swore she heard drumming, but her husband told her that she
was imagining it.
Tonight, however, it seemed different. Liz moved
closer, peering into the mirror’s image. As she looked, she saw something,
barely visible, but still present. It had the vague outline of a man.
Startled, she jumped back from the mirror, letting out a small scream
when she saw a man’s face staring back at her. As quickly as it had
come, the face vanished, and all she saw was her own reflection again.
She quickly blew the candles out and ran to the phone. Someone from
City Hall had to hear about this, she thought. This was something
“Hello, City Hall, Department of Heroes. How can I help
you?” came the voice.
“Yes, I need to speak to someone in MAGI.” she
said, her voice shaking.
Liz waited nervously, looking
around the apartment. Why, why, why did weird things have to happen
when Dwayne was out of town, she thought. She looked back at the mirror,
and her skin crawled as she saw that the candles had re-lit themselves.
“MAGI, this is Russ speaking.” came a friendly sounding voice.
I’ve called before. I have a mirror and candlesticks that my husband
had purchased a year ago from the old church in Perez Park. The candles
won’t extinguish and I just saw a man’s face appear in the mirror.”
“Would you like us to send someone out to look at it?” Russ asked.
“Please. I need to know what to do, or if it can be fixed or something!”
she said in a panic-stricken tone. She went to the candle and blew
harder. The flame lengthened, but did not die. “This is freaking me
“Ok, ma’am. We’ll get someone out there right away. Would you
like to stay on the line?”
“Yes, thank you, Russ. I was just thinking
that it’s always, hello? Hello? Russ?” she looked at the phone, which
had gone dead. She tapped the phone. No dial tone whatsoever.
grabbed her cell and tried to make a call; again, there was no dial
“Liz….help…me….” came a voice.
She didn’t have to look to see
who was speaking. Steeling herself, she went to the mirror to see
what it wanted.
“How do I help you?” she said.
“Free me.” the spectral face requested.
“If I do, will you leave me
alone?” she demanded, her fear slowly melting into annoyed curiosity.
He smiled. “Absolutely.”
“What do I do?”
“Write this list down. It
is the ingredients for a drink. Make the drink, and bring it here.”
Liz grabbed a pencil and paper, and with an irritated sigh requested
for the specter to begin.
“So, why exactly did you give up modeling
again?” asked Flora out loud as the masseuse kneaded her back muscles.
She let out a deep sigh of contentment. “I could have one of these
“You were there, darling, you know why.” Sara said from
her chair. She too was being attended to by several manicurists, as
well as receiving a facial. She had sprung for a full spa treatment
for the girls, partly as thanks, partly as a bribe, and mostly because
they earned it.
“Miss, what have you been doing with your nails?”
chided the woman working on Sara’s fingernails. “They are all sharp
Sara flexed her forearm muscles, allowing the claws to
extend themselves fully. The gasp of surprise from Mrs. Khao brought
a perverse smile to Sara’s face. She didn’t have to see to know that
the Thai woman was exchanging horrified glances with the team working
“Sara, be nice to Mrs. Khao!” yelled Xandria from the next
room. She and Bianca had opted for the hot rock massage. “I want to
stay in her good graces. Besides, you ruined my last stylist. You
“Will you get over that? That was years ago!” yelled Sara.
“What happened?” asked Bianca.
“She insinuated I was seeing another
stylist. I went in for my appointment, and he lopped off my hair in
revenge. I wanted to kill Sara for that.” She paused. “By the way,
what was up with that little exchange between you and Ms. Liberty?
The last time I saw cattiness like that was Naomi and Linda in Paris
a few years ago.”
Sara came waddling into the room, cottonballs between
her toes, hair wrapped in a towel and her face green with the muck
they were using on her face. “Gossip! I want to hear this!”
came running in as well, her towel barely covering her. “I was curious
about that too.”
Bianca smiled sweetly at the other three. “Let’s
just say she and I have dated someone in common, and if given the
choice, he’d choose me over her. That knowledge doesn’t sit too well
with Miss Goody Two Shoes.”
“So….Who’s the guy?” asked Sara.
motioned for them to come closer, and when they leaned in, she whispered.
“No!!!” gasped Flora, in imitation of Sara.
“Him?” Xandria processed
the information for a moment. “But he’s so old!”
“That Power of Will
that he’s always talking about gives him more than super strength,
darlings.” She casually spaced her fingers apart and gave them all
a knowing look. The other superheroines burst into giggles as they
each went back to their rooms to be finished off by the waiting attendants.
“So, how long have you two known each other, Bianca?” asked Xandria.
“Several years now. We met when he tried to rescue me from a couple
of Skulls.” she laughed a little. “Not that I needed rescuing. But
I decided he needed a proper reward.”
So, is he Delilah’s father?
It would certainly explain a lot about her, she added telepathically.
Yes, and no one save Edward knows. Not even Marcus knows he’s the
father. He met her once, but never put two and two together. I told
him she was someone else’s. Fortunately, he’s never bothered to check
on my story.
Why not tell him?
Two reasons: first, if it was known
that Delilah was Statesman’s daughter, she would probably be the number
one target for every villain in Paragon City. Secondly, as weird as
this sounds, it’s to protect him, as a man and as an icon. You can
imagine what a public relations nightmare it would be for him if he
had to publicly admit he had an illegitimate child. I do not doubt
that he would be an excellent father to our daughter, but his love
for the people of the city is greater.
“Hey! What are you two
thinking about over there?” shouted Sara.
“Mom-type stuff. You wouldn’t
Sara sighed. Xandria was right; she wasn’t interested.
She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, letting the women
finish working on her nails.