The Grey Giant, illuminated by the streetlights, stood nearly forty feet tall and reached over the side of the building toward Daniel and Cassie.
I picked up a cluster of bricks and threw it at the Giant, hitting him solidly in the back.
It shattered. He turned toward me while Daniel and Cassie lifted off from the roof—or so I assumed. It was dark enough that I couldn’t see them until they landed next to me.
“I’m thinking that he might get pissed enough to keep after us if we throw enough bricks at him,” I said. “The highway’s not too busy at night so we can lead him to it and then just follow the coast when it turns east.”
“Right,” Daniel said.
A stream of bricks started to fly toward the Giant. It was as if someone had turned on a hose. About the time bricks hit him in the face, the Grey Giant's expression turned sour.
Growling, he ran toward us. Cassie and I ran west down Boyce Street, knowing we were only four blocks from the highway. Not having any special physical abilities, Daniel flew next to us while the Giant lumbered behind.
Some things seem like a better idea when you’re thinking about them than when you’re actually trying them.
Leading a forty foot tall super villain down a highway at night is one of those things.
Lakeside Road is a state highway that runs north to Grand Lake and then east around Grand Lake before continuing north. Most of the factories are on the south side of Grand Lake City. It turns into six lane highway in the middle of town, but before and after, it's four lanes wide.
While it does change from city to countryside fairly quickly, the “countryside” is mostly forest, houses with large lots, million dollar lakeside “cottages,” and a few farms.
In other words, we would have to run for miles to lead him some place where he could be left alone.
By the time we reached the highway, we were all in the air again. Daniel telekinetically carried Cassie and himself. I flew under my own power.
The Grey Giant ran behind us. It turns out that when you’re nearly forty feet tall, you have a ridiculously long stride. Cassie and I had no chance of staying ahead of him on the ground.
The chase caused as much chaos as you might expect. People stopped their cars and ran into the darkness off the side of the road. The Grey Giant knocked over a couple streetlights, downed at least one power line, and cursed a blue streak at us.
When we were about a mile out from downtown, he threw a SUV at me. It was a blue Chevy Tahoe. I dodged and watched it disappear into the darkness past the streetlights, grateful that it was unoccupied.
Overall though, I was surprised that I hadn’t seen more cars (or crowds) once the fight started. More often than not, from what I understand, people gather round to watch supers go at it.
To give credit where credit’s due, the government’s run a big PSA campaign over the last five years—you know the one—where some old cop tells you what to do when you see supers fighting. "Don’t stay and watch. Drive away. If you can’t drive away, get out and run away. Don’t stay and become a hostage, a missile or a distraction."
However effective the commercials though, it was only a matter of time before we ran into someone with a death wish.
We didn’t notice it immediately because the mini-van sat on the far side of the northbound lane. We were in the southbound.
We noticed when the Grey Giant lurched to cross the median. That’s the point where I realized that a middle-aged man with a camcorder and his teenage son were filming everything.
Daniel: They’re planning to upload the video to Youtube.
Knowing that I was faster than anyone else while flying, I was already accelerating toward the Grey Giant at full speed and didn’t bother to reply.
One of the settings for the “weaponized” speakers allows me to narrowcast sound at a target. I set it for a decibel level well past the threshold of pain, intending it to be more of a distraction than a serious attempt to hurt him.
Either too slow to react or too distracted by his goal to notice me, he let me get close. I held out my right arm toward his ear and shot in a blast of sound from ten feet away.
He stopped reaching toward the van, missing me as I moved up and away from him, but managing to ding me with his other hand when I slowed down.
I’d thought I was out of his reach.
He followed it up with an open hand smack that sent me back across the median and down into the southbound lane, scraping the road until I rolled onto the gravel and then the grass.
I lay there, winded, wondering what Daniel and Cassie were doing now.
Then I heard a crashing noise, much like that of the warehouse falling down, followed quickly by squealing tires and an accelerating engine.
I pulled myself up.
I saw the minivan, the teenager pointing the camera out the window while his father drove. They stopped fifty feet away.
The Grey Giant lay on the road behind them.
The idiots in the mini-van weren’t the only ones taking pictures. A helicopter from the local NBC affiliate, News 10 hovered above the streetlights. Evidently reporters paid no attention to PSA announcements either.
Of course, I had no right to complain about how stupid a person must be to get anywhere near this fight.
The Grey Giant pulled himself up from the road, leaving deep impressions where he’d landed.
Cassie stood in front of him with the sword out. Behind her, the boy was now pointing the camera out the rear window of the minivan.
Well, at least they hadn’t stepped outside for a better angle.
Daniel: I tripped him.
Me: I’d wondered.
Daniel hung in the air behind Cassie.
Daniel: I’m going to pull Cassie into the air when he attacks and----
But he didn’t. The Grey Giant attacked too quickly for either of us to do anything.
A word about the sword first though: Grandpa’s original idea was to make it just a hilt with a monomolecular wire as the blade, allowing it to cut through just about anything. I guess there were practical problems with this (or maybe Captain Commando just wanted to bash people with the flat of the blade) so he changed it. Now it’s a normal sword blade that reforms into multiple monomolecular wires when it powers on.
Cap never used it on people, but I could understand why Cassie intended to make a special exception at this moment.
He leaned forward and swiped at her with his right hand. She jumped backward, slashing it.
He looked bewildered, then stood fully and examined the back of his hand. It dripped greyish goo.
Cassie jumped forward, slashing his right shin, then jumped away to his right, into the median and out of easy reach.
He turned and ran. Ignoring the men in the van and the three of us, he ran at full speed away from Grand Lake, southbound down the highway.
I started the rockets and began to fly after him while Daniel pulled Cassie into the air.
Neither of us needed to do so.
I’d been hearing police sirens for the last few minutes, but just as I started chasing the Grey Giant I heard a clattering noise from the north.
I knew that noise.
It was Larry, AKA my Crazy Uncle Larry, AKA the Rhino. Like my grandfather, he also used powered armor, but while my grandfather’s was elegant, Larry’s looked a lot like the Michelin man and sounded like a jackhammer.
He hit the Grey Giant from behind at a couple hundred miles per hour, knocking the Giant’s legs out from under him. While Larry skidded to a stop, a tear in reality opened above the road.
Out of it flew too many costumed heroes for me to recognize them individually, but it didn’t matter. They were on the Giant before I had a chance to do anything.
By the time Daniel and I got close enough to participate (if the fight had still been going), the Grey Giant lay on the ground. Hands now manacled in glowing blue energy, he had transformed back into his human form. Cassie’s cuts to his skin had shrunk to just a couple bloody lines.
One of the heroes, a muscular man in a silver costume, looked up from the unconscious body to size us up, commenting to no one in particular, “Damn, the kids get younger every year.”
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Bio: Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it's still kind of cool. Jim didn't attain his goal of never leaving school, but did prolong his stay as long as possible. He majored in religion and sociology at Hope College, gaining enough credits to obtain minors in ancient civilizations and creative writing—had he thought to submit applications to the relevant departments. He attended Western Theological Seminary for two years. He followed that up by getting a masters degree in sociology at Western Michigan University. Once out of school, he took up the most logical occupation for someone with his educational background: web developer and technical support. Simultaneously, he finished all but three credits of a masters in Information Systems, a degree that's actually relevant to his field. He's still not done. In the meantime, he's been writing stories about superheroes and posting them online at http://legionofnothing.com. He's still not sure whether that was a good idea, but continues to do it anyway. He's also not sure why he's writing this in the third person, but he's never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn't want to rock the boat.