Vim jumped down from the one story building, landing on the sidewalk, and darted across the dark street. He had followed the three thugs for several blocks and now they entered Joe’s Grocery. Since the toughs had robbed two vehicles that night, Vim figured they would hit up a convenient store. Joe’s was the closest one and here they were. Not tonight.
A quick check through the front window, then Vim pushed through the glad door. Two thugs restrained the struggling cashier while the third grabbed the cash from the till.
Stop evil doers. Vim is here to put an end to your dastardly ways. That won’t work.
Keeping it simple, Vim shouted, “Stop!” He stood with fists clenched at his side and a menacing glare on his face. “This store is under my protection. Now drop the cash and get out or you will have to deal with me.” Vim cracked his knuckles.
“Shit! It’s him!” The robber with the cash stood slacked jawed.
All the robbers, and the cashier, looked at the dark-red costume with bright yellow trim. All of their eyes zipped to the yellow and blue Yin-Yang emblem in the center of his chest.
“That’s right!” Vim took a step forward. “Now – -”
The three would-be robbers dropped and let go of the cashier in unison, then jammed for the door.
Vim slid his foot back and blinked several times as his head turned to follow each thug out the door. He turned back and stated at the cashier with his mouth open.
“Joe is not going to believe this.” The woman shook her head as she massaged her arms. “He says he pays you protection money, but that you never really protection anything.” She collected the loose bills and out them back in the register. “I don’t believe it and I watched it.”
Raising his eyebrows and shrugging, Vim said, “First time for everything.” Vim ran from the store.
Charlie didn’t know what to think. He had worked for two years to get in shape to look like a super hero, and with the help of his new costume, he was one. Tonight was his first time on patrols and he stopped a store robbery. The cashier was probably saved too. He would count it to be sure.
It took Charlie an hour to drive home and another ten minutes to sneak back into his house. His sister, Vanessa, waited for him in his room. She had a large emergency first-aid kit at her feet. Charlie turned on his light and Vanessa stood.
“You aren’t cut, bruised, or beat up! What gives?” She approached him with a pout on her lips and disappointment in her eyes.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, sis.” He sighed and plopped on his bread. “I am better than anticipated. I scared them.” Charlie smiled. “Anyway, I can handle street punks. I take out the first one that steps up. The rest will pause enough for me to knock out the second one. After that, the rest will run.” The logic behind rid was simple and would work on kids or those without enough experience.
“Yeah, you said that before.” Vanessa hefted the backpack kit to a shoulder. “The guru at the gym told you that.” She slumped down the hall and into her room.
It took Charlie another hours to come off the high from the evening.
Two nights late, Vim traveled the rooftops of the same party of the city. It was a rough post, seedy, and had a high crime rate. This evening was productive as well. He stopped three muggings, a car jacking, and was following a purse-snatcher now.
Vaulting an alley, Vim shifted to the fire escape and descended to the asphalt. The thief turned down this alley and was hiding in the dark recesses. The sound of a garbage can banging pulled Vim further into the darkened areas. With the dim moonlight, he spotted the thief.
“Give me the bag and I will let you go.” Vim had given up on the snappy sayings and witty banter. Keeping it simple worked best for him.
“What the fuck are you supposed..to..be..Oh shit!” The thief flung the large purse at Vim then ran further into the alley.
Vim took the bag the five blocks where the woman was calling the police. She looked at the muscles man in his costume.
“You ain’t gonna believe this. I got the purse back. Yeah. It’s right here. I know. But it’s who brung it back.” The woman took the purse from Vim’s hands.
“Have a good night.” Vim ran from the scene as a police car came into view. If the cops caught him, it would not be good. He didn’t have any powers, just the gym-built muscles and some basic fighting he picked up from the self-teaching DVDs. A single cop could arrest him no problem.
Once again, Charlie drove home with a sense of accomplishment and that of bewilderment. Guys, the old guy at his gym, told him it would be hard work and take time to establish himself. So far, Guys had been correct. Charlie liked what he was doing. But it was going faster than expected.
At home he sneaked in again. After stashing his costume in his closet, Charlie tried to focus on his homework. He was falling behind in his second year of college, and that was not good.
A month went by as Charlie, in the guise of Vim, patrolled his new favorite part of the city. Eventually Vim had to fight. Not just once, a few different times. So he followed his plan. He wasn’t fast enough to verbally fight, do he just punched of kicked anyone that got rough. This brought in a second person, do Vim put that one down too. The rest, following his theory, ran.
On patrol, Vim spotted a young couple approaching an ATM. Judging by their style of dress, and their constant head turning, they didn’t belong in this part of the city. When the couple pulled away from the ATM, a dark figure peeled away from a wall and approached. The couple stopped and Vim went into action.
Sliding down a downspout, Vim dashed the two blocks where the mugging was happening.
“Stop! Get away from those two.” Vim shoved the mugger back several paces, knocking him to the pavement. He looked at the couple. “Get in your car and get out of here.” The couple took Vim’s advice.
The mugger scrambled to his feet and then shouted, “Hey! He’s here.”
Vim scanned the immediate area to see who the mugger was calling. He couldn’t make out the recipient of the call.
“I’m right here.” Vim stepped closer to the mugger. “I would leave if I were you. While you still can.” Vim tightened his fists and set his jaw.
“Whoa.” The mugger held up his hands. “Save it. Wreck will be here shortly. Then he will deal with you.”
“Who is Wreck?”
The mugger looked up then pointed. “Yup. There he is. I want front row seats.” The mugger moved several steps away, with a wide grin.
Vim followed the where the mugger pointed. A darker shadow floated overhead, blocking out some stars. Then the shadow got bigger. It was a full twenty seconds when the shadow landed in front of Vim.
Both costumed individuals stared at each other. It was like looking into a mirror, or a duplicate. The costumes were the same color scheme and even the same emblem. The masks matched down to the stitching, even the small tuft of hair that stuck out. The men were the same height, build, and even the same eye color.
A scar on the newcomers chin was a visible difference. Then there was the power thing that separated them. The newcomer could fly. Finally, there was the fact that people knew Wreck by name. No one had bothered to get Vim’s name.
Vim’s Adam’s apple bobbed rapidly and he sucked in a sharp breath through his mouth.
“So, you want in on my territory.” Wreck folded his arms across his chest. “You’ll have to earn it.” Wreck’s grey eyes glowed a deep orange color and smoke issued from them.
Vim crossed his arms over his head, let out a blood-curdling scream, and feel to the road.