These Masked Vigilantes and Over-Powered Wackos are Getting Out of Hand.

Posted: May 22, 2012 in Allosaurus, sci fi
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Re: Superheroes.

“Just before she puts her right boot on, every night before patrols, she ties a tag to her big toe. Just in case. Then, the socks, the army boots, the armored vest with the yellow cross-hair target. All her equipment, sourced from the black market. All of it, illegal. Most of it is the type of stuff that the ordinary public is not even supposed to imagine exists. We’re not supposed to suspect the existence of impact-amplifying gauntlets, or taser-whips, or stickybombs, for example. Francine, however, will regularly employ these gadgets at will, even using a device like the quantum dis-entangler (whose long term effects on the stability of the mind are not well known by anyone at this point) to cancel gravity and to become transparent to the EM band.  She’s not well. She’s not right in the head.”

“That’s good,” Francine remarked, reading over Cheryl’s shoulder. “I like the suggestion that I might not be all that sane. It’ll make people think twice if they see me in a dark alley.”

” ‘Suggestion’?” Cheryl remarked. She turned away from her laptop, snapping it shut. “Frannie, I don’t like this. I don’t like what you’ve gotten yourself into, I don’t like sitting up every night wondering if tonight’s the night you’re gonna get killed, I hate the whole damn ‘toe tag’ bit, I hate myself for, for enabling  you, and I hate this whole crazy crime-fighter business. It’s sick.”

Francine crossed her arms over her chest. Her face darkened.

“Don’t call me ‘Frannie’. Ever.” She glanced out the window. In the daytime, things looked nice, almost innocent. They lived on a picturesque street of antiqued brownstones and shady elm trees, a rent-controlled gentrified neighborhood with coffeehouses and bodegas all within easy walking distance. Francine felt it was all a lie. She rubbed her jaw. The scar still ached sometimes, especially when it was about to rain.

“If you hate it so much,” Francine whispered, “why are you still here?” Then, louder: “Go, then.”

Cheryl stood, walked behind Francine. She was taller than Francine; almost everyone was, almost everyone had at first glance taken her tiny frame for frailty. Cheryl knew better. She knew Francine’s power, but she also knew where Francine was vulnerable. She put her arms around her, resting her chin in Francine’s close-cropped hair.

“Someone’s got to look out for you,” Cheryl whispered.

Someone has to.”


The night was the special time. The day belonged to all those normal, well-adjusted folks, the ones who watched Real Housewives and listened to NPR (or Limbaugh, or whatever). They counted their calories and asked their doctors if Liprozap(tm) was right for them. They traded pictures with each other over the internet; cats with atrocious grammar and spelling, wanting cheeseburgers and laughing out loud. Daytime was theirs, and as far as Francine was concerned, they could have it. In the dark, in the shadows, she found she could live. She could sift through traffic on her motorbike like a stray thought. She could scurry up the sides of the buildings in silence, hovering in watchful patience.

Watching them.

Like roaches.

No, like something even worse, something lower.


Feeding off each other – cancerous, photophobic little monsters and their prey. Validating each other in a circular dance of sickness and disease. She’d have to put a stop to it. She’d have to; no one else  could or would. No one else but Francine should.

No, not Francine, not Frannie, never again. Francine thought she knew it all; Frannie was just too scared, too useless to be anything but a victim. Those two girls didn’t make it out alive. Francine died when her sense of entitlement gave way to disbelief that the horrible … thing … had happened to her. Frannie rolled herself into a fetal ball and just gave up when she heard the sound of her own jaw breaking. The only one who remembered it all, the sickening thud, the stench, the violation, was the one who seethed with rage. The one who swore to get revenge. The one whose fear died. Who had no more use for rules, because she’d learned what rules were really for. Rules had let the horrible thing happen to her.

She had come out of a long dark tunnel as an acronym: Fearless Revenge Anarchy Nihilism.

F.R.A.N. watched and waited.

Soon enough, she found what she was looking for. A mugger. Classic. Big and tough in his own mind. The muggie was young and scared. Her bladder was probably emptying itself right now. F.R.A.N. swooped in with night stick ready.




There were teeth, and blood, and bits of skin. The mugger moaned and whimpered. The muggie was wide-eyed; terror mixed with admiration. F.R.A.N. could tell that the girl was fighting the shakes and losing.

“Thank you – ” the girl began.

“Don’t!” F.R.A.N. barked. She bent down and began zip-tying the mugger’s limbs together. “Call the cops. Tell them you found this guy. Then leave.” F.R.A.N. straightened  up and cast a glance over to the girl, who stood stock still and transfixed. “DO IT NOW!” she ordered. Like a  reflex, the girl whipped out a phone and began to dial, never once blinking. F.R.A.N. shook her head. “You are pathetic,” she growled.

“Wha … huh?” the girl stammered.

“Worst part of a bad neighborhood, broken streetlights, holding your purse all wrong, jewelry flashing. Do you want to be attacked?”

Slowly, the girl’s expression changed to anger. “Where the hell do you get off with this ‘blame the victim’ crap, you crazy -”

“Where was this sense of outrage when ‘bleedy’ here was about to slit your throat over a hundred bucks and a bootleg Louis Vuitton? Are you a tourist or something? How long have you been in this city?” F.R.A.N. shook her head, letting the fullness of her disgust play out. “I’ll save somebody like you once. After that, you’re on your own.”

The phone crackled into life. “9-1-1, please state the nature of your emergency,” it said. The girl looked down at the mugger, then the phone, then back up to F.R.A.N.

F.R.A.N. had vanished.

The girl’s eyes began to burn with the tears about to fall. She sniffled.

“I … there’s a guy here all beat up and bloody …”

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

Allosaurus continues in Step 1: Get a Lit Match and a Can of Gasoline.

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