In our ongoing lessons on story development, I give you part 6 of “Wanted, A Superhero to Save the World.” This is a shorter-than-usual excerpt, because it completes a chapter, and I want to save the beginning of the following chapter for next week.
In this excerpt, Eddie is distracted from his grief over Damocles by two issues–the strange words of Milligan (from last week’s excerpt) and a startling development you will soon read. In the hero’s journey model, we often give the hero a helper who can act as a peer on an emotional level, such as Sam in Lord of the Rings and Lucy’s siblings in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Since Eddie has faced dismal failure in his first quest, he will need this boost to give him hope. When the next quest becomes clear, that hope will become even more essential.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them.
The moment he turned a corner, I exhaled. Good. He was gone. But his words floated in my mind like a bad odor. Avoid my old man’s fate? What did he mean?
I shook my head. No time to think about that now. After turning off my belt camera, I shot the line again, this time across the alley to my apartment’s side. I leaped and swung to the opposite ladder. Now to get to the roof.
I climbed the ladder to the attached stairway, then ran up the metal stairs, padding quietly so as not to wake anyone inside. Once on the roof, I ran along its flat top to our fire escape, slinked down to our window, and crouched under it. A glow shone from inside. Strange. The nightlight had broken, so something else must have been turned on.
Slowly straightening, I rose until my eyes reached the sill. A metal fragment lay there, and the window was open an inch or two. Strange again. Mom had locked it.
I picked up the metal piece and studied it. It looked like the locking mechanism, bent and broken. I peeked inside. Light from my closet illuminated Sam standing next to my bed as she stared at my desk.
I rose a bit more. Why would she turn my closet light on? She knew she wasn’t supposed to go in there no matter what.
Just as I began lifting the sash, she ducked under the desk. The little squirt probably heard the noise and decided to hide. Well, I wasn’t in the mood to play nice brother. Her shenanigans had to stop.
I pushed the window fully open. Sam shot to her feet, lifting the desk completely off the floor. “Eddie? Is that you?”
“Sam?” My legs trembling, I climbed into the room and took my cowl off. “How could you … what’s going … why are you picking up the desk?”
“My Princess Queenie ball rolled under it.” She set the desk down and emerged from underneath holding a blue and orange striped ball. “See?”
“But how did you … I mean … the desk is so …” I stared at her arms, bare from her short pajama sleeves down to her hands. They looked thicker, strong and toned. “What happened to you?”
She spoke rapid fire. “I got up because I heard something in your closet. I turned on the light and saw a spider on the wall inside. I got a shoe to squish it, but when I hit it, another light came on. It made me tingle all over, so I hit the spider again, and the tingly light turned off. After that, I couldn’t sleep, so I opened the window to find you, but I didn’t see you anywhere. Then I decided to play with my ball to keep me from being lonely, ‘cause it talks.” She bounced it on the floor. A tiny voice squeaked, but the words were too garbled to understand. When it silenced, she grinned. “Princess Queenie says she loves me.”
“But how did you pick up the desk? It must weigh a few hundred pounds.”
She shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe it’s not as heavy as you think.”
“Not likely.” I threw my cowl into the closet and sat on the bed. “Flex your muscles for me.”
She raised both arms and drew her fists toward her head. Her biceps swelled, not as big as those of an athletic male but far bigger than normal for an eight-year-old girl. That meant her muscles developed in a matter of moments. The radiation from my new invention enhanced her muscular cell growth and oxygen absorption.
I whispered, “My superhero generator works!”
Categories: Story Development