Super & Real
Manny walked into the bank and made a withdrawal and bought several cashier’s checks for his bills. Online auto-pay was easier and more convenient, he knew, but the problem was he wanted to have people see him as his male self so that no one wondered where the hell he went. The next trip took him to the local grocery store where he paid his utilities in person and bought a bunch of supplies.
“Hey, Manny!” The cashier, a pleasant woman named Bethany, said.
He returned a warm smile and set his purchases on the belt. “Hey,” he said.
“Haven’t seen you in a few days,” she said. “I was beginning to think you’d become a recluse.” She noticed something, and her eyes went wide. “You’ve lost a lot of weight!”
“Yeah, it’s amazing,” he said. “I finally found a diet that works. Anyway, no, I’m not hiding. I just wanted to take a break.”
“Yeah, I know that feeling,” she replied, ringing up each item. “I’m about to start my new vacation.”
“Great!” he said. “Vacation’s always good.”
“Yup.” She pressed a final key. “That’ll be forty-six eighty-two.”
He fished in his wallet and pulled out his debit card, shoving it in the chip slot. “Thanks,” he said.
“No problem!” She bagged his items and set the bags at the end of the line. “See you later!”
“Later,” he said, grabbing the bags and heading out. He loaded the bags into his car, wary of his surroundings. He looked carefully around him as much as he could.
He shut the trunk and drove away. Now that he had powers, he didn’t want to use them in his male form, because that would cause avoid gender dysphoria, and thus every second he had to spend in his male form made him nervous. Every instant he spent as his vulnerable male self ate away at him. The sooner he could get home, into the safety of his locked doors and turn back into Jennifer where he’d be safe, the better.
Inside his house, he put the groceries up, shut the refrigerator, and sat on his bed. A quick flip of the trigger, and once more, she felt safe.
She looked at herself in the mirror. True to what she’d tested before, she could store an entire appearance of either of her selves, with Manny’s wallet and full outfit he was wearing turning into her outfit every time she changed her body back or forth.
A quick look on the news and she saw quite a few incidents that required her attention. The first would be a man attempting to hold almost a dozen people hostage in an office building. He had superpowers, and apparently, had a religious lean.
A few moments later, she hovered over the Earth, and used her vision powers to see the building in northern England where the man was. It bothered her. After powers became real, people generally didn’t devolve into rioting, and tear society apart. There had been pockets of trouble in the third world, but generally, they had been the exception, not the norm. Most people apparently wanted society to move on. She’d heard a lot of talk, but it was still in the curiosity stage. Why were the religious freaks coming out now?
She zoomed downward, towards the building.
Inside an office building, a man stood poised near a modest group of people tied up and placed side to side against a wall. His days since the lights had been a misery of one pain or another. If it hadn’t been for his abilities, he might never have stumbled across his true calling. Before, he’d been fired, lost his house and his wife, and more than anything, he’d lost his ability to make himself known as a man. The system had made him a joke. Then, he got his powers. Suddenly, the vicar had given him a task. He’d sat, watching the television, changing channels with his electricity manipulation, and came across one of the end-times televangelists rallying on about how the arrival of the lights in the sky had been a sign from God.
“God has chosen his champions,” the man had said, “and the Devil is not far behind. It is up to each of you, ladies and gentlemen, to decide whose side you’re on. Because, my children, if you choose wrong, you’ll have an eternity to regret it.”
He switched off the television without a second thought. The man had told the truth; this was his chance to get himself right by the Lord.
So now, he stood in an office of liars and thieves, who stole from the poor every day, and he would use his God-given abilities to set things right.
“You’re the first one,” he said, raising his hand.
The woman started to scream.
Then she vanished from before him.
His head spun left and right as he desperately searched for the cause. “Who the hell did that?”
“I did,” a feminine voice said.
He turned and saw a busty redhead in casual clothes standing opposite him. “Who the hell are you?” he demanded.
She flickered for a moment and he found himself suddenly tied up in hundreds of feet of Ethernet cable. “Someone who’s not going to put up with this crap,” she said.
He attempted to inflict paralyzing shocks within her body, but nothing happened. “What in the fuck?”
“You can spout all the religious nonsense you want,” she said, “but you’re not killing anybody.”
“You might stop me,” he said, “but you’re not going to stop God’s righteous army!”
She shot him a look. “The hell are you talking about?”
“Just listen to what Jack Hurst has to say!”
Her blood ran cold at the familiar name. Had the mad reverend revealed himself to the public? A headache began to form as she imagined it. She tied him up to a pillar and went over to one of the office computers. She pulled up YouTube and typed in the reverend’s name.
Her teeth clenched at what she saw.
The megachurch belonged to one of those big-name television televangelists that made millions, Jack knew as he sat in his waiting room. It hadn’t taken much convincing on his part to get the rich H.F. Masterfield to give him a platform. His holy partner and master had been kind enough to do that for him. It was a Sunday morning, and millions of people worldwide would be tuning in to hear the good news. He took a sip of water from the bottle and the makeup ladies finished their job on his face.
Reverend Masterfield took the stage and made some announcement. It honestly didn’t matter to Jack as he heard the introduction. Everything he needed existed in his mind and the presence of his Lord. Upon hearing his cue, he took the stage. The audience went silent, not entirely knowing what to expect or why this unknown man stood on the stage.
“Hello, ladies and gentlemen,” Jack Hurst began, making sure his clipped-on microphone could be heard and smiling to his audience as he walked around, gesturing. “Almost all of you have never heard my name before this moment. I am Reverend Jack Hurst of the Full Revival Baptist Church, just a few hundred miles north of here in a small, no-name town in Oklahoma. Before I say a word, let me introduce you to the reason why I'm standing here." He gestured off stage. The gasps and audible shouts grew to a cacophony as the figure of the Lord appeared out of thin air on stage. The Lord raised his hands slightly, and each person in the audience got lifted into the air, and placed gently in a standing position, shouts and other noises causing a ruckus. After that, the audience went silent.
“Now,” the Lord spoke, and everyone present heard. “You shall listen to my emissary’s words. I have chosen him to speak on behalf of my Father and no longer shall the question of the Father’s existence be raised. Shall you believe?” The audience made a collective answer. He stepped aside and gestured to Jack.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Jack continued, “we are at war. We’re not at war with an enemy who has a capital that can be taken. We are not at war with a nation that can be demoralized and broken down. We are at war with evil itself. The final stages of holy struggle between God’s perfection and Satan’s horrible rebellion are at hand. Not that long ago, the sky lit up with every color human eyes can see, and then some. This was not, as the scientists say, merely a natural event that simply lacks explanation. I shall tell you there is an explanation.” The roar of the audience raised to rock concert levels. A quick extension of his arm and lowering of his hand silenced them.
“No, save your cheers for the end. I do not bring merely happy news. The responsibility of this war has fallen to us, mortal humans. God will only do his work once we have done ours. We must prove ourselves. This light show in the sky heralded people across the world gaining powers previously only seen in children’s cartoons and comic books for the masses. These are not accidents, people. These are dice cast in the holy game between the glorious Lord and the machinations of Satan. There have been people around the world who did nothing. Those who got their powers and felt too afraid to even act. They wanted to keep going to work and going to shop, and they wanted their comfortable bed and their three meals a day. Do not be fooled; this may be why our society hasn’t collapsed yet, but these people will be drawn into the war, like it or not.
“You must take action. You must oppose the forces of Satan. You have been drafted, and making no choice at all is still making a choice.” He pounded his fists on the podium. “God has chosen his champions, and the Devil is not far behind.” He shot a deadly serious look at the audience. “It is up to each of you, ladies and gentlemen, to decide whose side you’re on. Because, my children, if you choose wrong, you’ll have an eternity to regret it.”
Jennifer watched the whole ordeal livestreamed and wanted to throw up. The fact that the fake Jesus went about healing a few of the sick in the audience and returning lost limbs to a war paraplegic didn’t change the facts at hand. Here was a man who had just become the next Jim Jones. People were going to die just from the words that already had been spoken. Jack Hurst had just unleashed upon the world a beast more terrible than any that ever walked before. She could already see in her mind millions of people, desperate to find a target to attack, eager to unleash their destructive urges upon a ‘villain’ and have the moral certitude to do it, causing untold destruction by mere use of their gullibility and hatred. These people lacked the critical thinking skills to ponder the fact that Jesus suddenly appearing to one man right after comic book-style superpowers appeared to millions of people around the world should be treated suspiciously.
He may have just ended civilization with a speech, she thought.
She went back and grabbed the villain she’d just defeated and led him downstairs to the Police. She stayed long enough to give them tips on his powers and help them contain him, and then returned home.
Jericho sat waiting for her in her bedroom. “Sorry for barging in,” he said. “But did you see that?”
She grit her teeth and forced herself calm. “Yes,” she said. “I wish I hadn’t. I wish no one had.”
“This is a disaster,” he replied.
“That’s an understatement,” she countered. “This could be the worst thing anyone has ever done.”
“So,” she asked, “what do we do?” She folded her arms. “We have to confront him.”
“Not yet,” Jericho said. “Wait until he actually tries to kill someone.”
She pointed. “But you know he’s going to kill someone!”
He nodded. “I do, but if we attack him out of the blue, it gives him martyrdom. That’s exactly what he wants.”
“This sucks,” she said, tapping her feet. “We have to wait until it may be too late.”
“That doesn’t mean we can’t observe,” he pointed out. “Close up.”
“As close up as we can,” she clarified. “We’re going to see everything that bastard does.”
Jack Hurst sat and met with Reverend Masterfield. The man he’d seen on television before, although the massive audience and enormous for-profit operation sat outside what he felt Christianity was all about. The older man, his white hair perfectly teased into a professional set up, sat down in the office chair, making a deliberate motion of stretching as he sat. A look of professional falseness was drawn on his smiling, pleasant face. It bothered Jack, though he didn’t show it. He wouldn’t even be talking to this man if he didn’t need his audience.
“Well, Reverend Hurst,” Hiram Masterfield said, a down-to-Earth roughness in his gravel voice. “I’m always glad to meet a fellow man of Christ. What can I do for you?”
Jack made sure his smile didn’t falter. That’s a fucking lie, he thought, as he pondered the likelihood he’d even be speaking to this man if he hadn’t heard from some of his own congregation about Jack. He shook the man’s extended hand. “Honestly, if I may be so blunt,” Jack replied, “I want to get straight to the point.” A familiar twinge appeared in his head, and that indicated his Lord would appear.
“What point?” Reverend Masterfield asked. A moment later, a light emerged from behind his guest. A human figure emerged from the intense glow. Hiram’s breath left his body as he stared in disbelief. “Oh…my…”
“I have arrived,” The Lord said, “and my chosen person is here to speak on my behalf.”
Hiram glanced at Jack for just a moment. “My…My Lord!” he shouted. “I thought your arrival followed the Rapture!”
“Do not merely follow the writings of men,” The Lord said. “My father’s will be done, and that means I expect my followers to listen and obey.”
Hiram fell from his chair and hit his knees. “Anything for you, my Lord!” he swore.
“For your obedience,” The Lord replied, “I will forgive your past indiscretions towards my father’s Laws. You shall provide your platform and audience to Jack Hurst here for the purposes of spreading my message.”
“Absolutely!” Reverend Masterfield said. “Your will be done, My Lord!”
“Thank you for your help, Reverend,” Jack said. “You’re helping the cause of the Lord.”
Reverend Masterfield took his feet as the Lord stepped aside. “So, do you want me to introduce you to the audience before you speak?” he asked.
“Could you be so kind?” Jack said. “I really appreciate it.”
The audience cheered and clapped as their familiar televangelist took the stage. Thirty thousand cheers greeted him. Television cameras broadcast his face across the globe. A few local news stations were in the front two rows. He made some token announcement, and the audience’s confusion went live. A dreadful, awkward silence broken only by the occasional cough overcame the building as their familiar face went off stage and Jack took his position. He introduced himself, as basically as he could. He motioned and the reason he stood before them appeared.
Someone could be forgiven for assuming a gunshot had rung out, based on the reaction of the crowd. The Lord appeared out of thin air, a glow about him. With the audience gasping in surprise, he raised his hands and they levitated out of their seats a foot into the air before being gently lowered into their seats. The Lord made his pronouncement, and they obeyed, as per his instruction. Jack saw they had opened their hearts, and he had to resist the urge to wipe a tear from his eye.
He began his sermon. If someone had put a gun to his head afterward and demanded he tell them exactly how long he spoke, he wouldn’t have been able to answer. Time passed at a mysterious rate for him. Words came from his heart and poured into the air by the speakers. The cheers and shouts and applause came soon enough. The importance of driving home the fact that this was mankind’s one chance to defeat the forces of evil could not have been clearer. Every face in the crowd looked either excited or terrified at the prospect. God’s will would be done, and millions were watching around the world. After a long and winding road of emotion, he finished his sermon to a cacophony of shouts for the Lord.
“Now that I’m finished driving home the important point,” Jack said, finishing, “The Lord has an important message for you.”
The Lord stepped forth. “Those of you who are true to the Father,” he announced, “shall come forth and be healed.” He motioned to the aisle in front of him. “Make a line here.”
Each seat emptied as a massive line formed. Jack watched in awe as arthritic hands moved freely again. This time, he could not avoid wiping his eyes dry. A gentleman with a wooden leg walked on two legs again. Heart conditions were made better. All in all, every person in the audience had their medical maladies eliminated. Truly, the age of God had come about, and he felt more blessed than anyone that he could be at the center of it.
After the display, the news crews attempted to rush the stage. Security escorted Jack away from the crowd. He made his way to his car. The Lord went away to conduct business of his own and security helped the Reverend escape from the building. On his way back home, he heard on the radio a local station making a news story about him. He smiled as he realized the news had picked up the message and would spread it farther. This was the final battle, after all; he had to get the news out.
The car pulled into the driveway and he had to slow his racing heart. The look on his wife’s face would lift him even higher. His kids would be thrilled to know their dad was the Lord’s chosen spokesman. He shoved the door open and, a smile on his face, threw the lights on.
“Emily!” Jack Hurst shouted. “I’ve got great news for you!” Her lovely voice, accompanied by footsteps, would be coming down the hall any moment.
As he set his notes on the counter, he listened. Only the quiet whistle of the air conditioning greeted him. He strolled over to the fridge and pulled out a Coke. “Eric?” he asked, taking a swig. He strolled over to the living room and flipped the switch. No one sat on the couch or loveseat. “Tim?” He pushed the door to the laundry room open and saw the folded, dry clothes in the hamper above the dryer. Nothing else appeared to him. His cellphone came out of his pocket and he found himself dialing as he climbed the steps. After six rings, her voice mail greeting appeared. “Honey? What’s going on? Why aren’t the kids here? If you’re shopping, why didn’t you call me if it was this late?” He hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket.
Her room and the kids’ rooms were empty. His heart began to race for a different reason. The suitcase from the closet, along with about five changes of clothes, were gone from their closet. He checked the closets in the kids’ rooms, and both their suitcases were gone as well. He sat on Tim’s bed and clasped his hands together.
“Dear Lord,” he prayed. “I need your help.”
A light flashed as a familiar twinge appeared in his head. The Lord stood before him in His brilliance. “My faithful servant,” He said, “tell me what ails you.”
Jack looked up at his Lord. “My Lord,” he said, beseeching him. “I’m not worthy to ask your help, but my wife and sons are missing.”
The Lord looked upward with his eyes closed. A long moment passed, and he opened them, an angry look on his face. “I have found them,” He said. “You may not want to know where they are.”
Jack almost jerked to his feet. “What?” he almost gasped.
“Someone I felt certain I had punished,” The Lord replied, “has aided them in their escape from you.”
The words sank in slowly, as a dawning anger drew itself across Jack Hurst’s face. “You don’t mean!” he swore.
“That man, Jericho Torvalds,” The Lord explained, “is attempting to hide them.”
“But why would they hide from me?” Jack implored.
“Come,” The Lord offered, extending his hand. “I’ll take you to them and you shall find out.”
“No,” Jack said, raising his hand. “Pardon me, my Lord, but if she’s so afraid of me, then I need to make it known that I’m not a threat.”
Jericho and Jennifer arrived at the house as soon as they could. He knocked on the door and she stood next to him. As the front door opened, the woman stood there, a mixture of confusion and fear on her face. “You’re the guy on the phone!” she said.
Jericho extended his hand. “Ma’am,” he said, “we’ve got to go now.”
“Are you sure?” she said.
“Look,” Jennifer cut in, “your husband may not believe it, but his thoughts are driving this fake Jesus that he summoned. He’s secretly behind the wheel. I imagine in the next few days, he’ll direct his anger towards different people and his summoned monster will respond. You don’t deserve to suffer.”
Tears streaked from the woman’s eyes. “Why is this happening?” she pleaded.
Jennifer hugged her. “It isn’t fair,” she said, “but your husband is the worst kind of person to get this power.”
“People are going to flock towards him,” Jericho reminded, “and I don’t trust him with the kind of authority he’s going to get.”
Emily looked at the two of them, skepticism still drawn on her face. “I don’t know…” she said.
Jericho extended a hand. “I can actually show you what I experienced,” he offered.
She regarded his hand nervously. Then, she blinked her eyes clear and took his hand. An instant later, she jolted as if shocked. “Oh my god,” she exclaimed, gasping for breath. She regarded him with amazement. “That’s what he did?” Jericho nodded, wordlessly. Her hand covered her mouth. “Oh, goodness.” She turned to the house behind her. “Kids! Let’s go!”
Two above-average, modestly athletic early teens approached. “Mom, who are these people?” the darker haired of the two asked.
“In the interest of full transparency,” Jericho said, taking Jennifer’s right hand in his left and extending his right hand. “It’s better if I just show you.”
“You shouldn’t!” Emily interjected.
“We can’t keep secrets in situations like these,” Jennifer said. “It’s better if they simply know.”
The kids looked suspiciously at them, and then the mother, before she nodded, and they took Jericho’s hand.
The entire ordeal up to that point, including all the events that had led Manny to become Jennifer and back again, as well as Jericho’s experiences since getting powers and meeting his newfound ally, became known to them. After the moment passed, they had almost the same reaction as the mother. Shock passed over them, and they quickly rushed to get their suitcases. “I can’t believe this,” Emily said, as she departed to get their stuff.
Jennifer did a look around the neighborhood. They’d snuck in with no attention as most of the people either had windows drawn or were not at home. “We’re good on being noticed,” she said. “No one is looking at us and Jack’s nowhere nearby.”
“Good,” Jericho said. “We’ve got a better chance of getting away with this.”
About ten minutes later, the three came by with their suitcases. Jennifer grabbed the two boys around the waist in her arms, with suitcases in each hand. Channeling her power through them connected them to her and protected them. Jericho channeled several abilities in order to do something similar with Emily. The two then took off into the sky at incredible speed. Less than a minute later, they arrived at a cabin in the northern part of New York. Jericho activated a power and the door flew open. “This place can only be opened by me,” he explained. “I set it up shortly after developing powers.”
They entered the cabin. “Oh, wow!” Eric shouted.
The three stood agape at what greeted them. Despite being a wood building, it looked perfectly insulated and modernized, with a living room the size of their entire house, a kitchen her master bedroom could fit in, and more fancy gizmos than she’d ever seen in her life. “I…I don’t know if I can accept this,” Emily said.
“I confess I’m not merely being generous,” Jericho admitted. “I need something from you.”
She turned. “What do you mean?” she asked. “What help could I provide?”
“I wasn’t able to empathically touch your husband’s memories,” Jericho explained. “I don’t know anything about him beyond the superficial.”
She grabbed his hand and touched it to her forehead. “Go ahead,” she said.
Jericho touched her memories with his empathic abilities. Enhanced by an intellect power, he zoomed through a lifetime of memories of her marriage to Jack Hurst in an instant. All their beautiful highs and anger-fueled lows came to him. He experienced their painful disagreements and wonderful reconciliations. The fact of their combined beliefs enhancing their marriage to each other wasn’t a small detail, either. An important fact, he noticed, was that her belief wasn’t quite as powerful or as detailed as his. With effort, he focused on all the moments Jack expressed his anger and frustration towards those he perceived as “sinners” in the world. The man seemed genuinely interested in saving people’s souls from hell but had a near-hateful perception of those who didn’t obey the Word of God. As he focused on each important detail, he painted a picture in his mind of what would be problematic and likely to be the most destructive. “Thank you,” he said, finishing the image. He turned to the kids. “If you would, I’d appreciate it.”
Each child extended their hands. He took each one. Processing both at once wasn’t easy, but he dealt with it. It shocked him how good a father Jack was. Somehow, the man had found a near-flawless level of balance between strict and lenient. He had his flaws, but he did not succumb to rage or let injustices go by. The boys got pushed a decent amount, but not oppressively so. Most importantly, he always stood open to compassion. He couldn’t believe how violently the image he experienced through the man’s family’s memories clashed with the path he sat on.
He stood back, shaking his head. “You’ve helped me enormously,” he said. He touched Jennifer and gave his experiences to her, who came out of it equally shaken and confused. A touch and he granted each of them a protective and a regenerative ability. “I can’t keep you here, and I can’t guarantee he won’t be able to penetrate my abilities, but I can give you some basic protection.”
“So, how will this help if it didn’t stop Jack from hurting you?” Emily asked.
“I’m not expecting it to protect you from him,” Jericho explained.
“We’re going to be protecting you from him,” Jennifer cut in. “This is to protect you from other things.”
“I’m hoping to keep you safe,” Jericho explained, “but you’re not a prisoner. If you need to travel around, I can teleport you there.”
Emily wiped her eyes. “Thank you,” she said. “I can’t begin to say how much this hurts.”
“You’re not likely to be the last,” Jennifer said. “Things are going to get really worse before they get any better.”
The magnitude of the ordeal hit her. “Oh god,” she exclaimed. “World War III might start!”
“I know,” Jennifer replied. “That’s why we’re watching this situation intensely.”
The kids went about unpacking their bags and getting acquainted with the cabin and its surroundings. Emily took her bags into one of the bedrooms and began setting her clothes in the chest of drawers and the closet. Jennifer flew outside the cabin and checked out the surroundings with her enhanced senses. A forest surrounded them, and the nearest town was eighteen miles away. No sign of impending doom greeted her.
“How is it?” Jericho said.
“Good so far,” she said. “But I expect his friend to find us, and even if he doesn’t, people will.”
Emily came out of the room. “Quick! Look at this!” she exclaimed.
She held up his smartphone, opened to YouTube. It was Jack.
Jack Hurst stood in the center of Times Square in New York City. His Lord had taken him there. “My children,” The Lord spoke, his voice amplified. “I have brought to you my messenger upon this Earth.” A wave of his hand cleared an area of two square meters, and a section of the concrete copied upwards to form a platform levitating above the ground. He took his place behind Jack.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Jack spoke, the Lord enhancing his voice. “I have come here to bring to you a message of hope and love, as well as righteous anger.” He looked at the people staring in awe at the glowing figure behind him. Some looked at him in bewildered confusion. “Satan has infiltrated every element of our culture and poisoned our own wives and children against us with fear of our brother and anger towards our kin. We fall in love with his machinations and succumb to such sins as lust and praise our own siblings and children for being ‘gay,’ or ‘transgender,’ when such are the work of Satan. It wasn’t enough just to live and let live, no, we had to go and make defiance of the will of God almighty a prideful thing.” He gestured with his fists as he walked around the platform, glancing at each person. Jeers and commotions of resentment came up from the crowd.
“Hey! Fuck you man!” a man spoke from the crowd.
“You! My child!” The Lord spoke. A finger point brought the man levitating above the crowd. “You speak in anger for you live this defiance of my father every day. I can bring you absolution. Defy your evil ways and bend the knee to me, and you bend your knee to the Father.” He brought the man forward onto the platform. “This is your last chance for salvation.”
The man began to quiver, to struggle against the invisible bonds pulling him before the Lord. “Christ, please don’t kill me,” the man pleaded.
“I will not kill you,” The Lord corrected. “You will be killing you. That is, in the event you refuse the Will of The Father.” He touched a hand to the man’s cheek, soaked with tears and shaking. “Don’t you want to be saved?”
“Please don’t hurt me!”
The Lord drew his head mere inches away. “That is not an answer,” He reminded. “You need to decide, right now, are you going to Heaven or to Hell?”
The man visibly wet himself. “I…I can’t…”
The Lord drew away. “Words cannot express my grief,” He said. “At the thought of Satan gaining another.”
“What?” The man’s question escaped his mouth. A moment later his piercing scream echoed throughout the city as his body lit up in a great light. Flames erupted beneath his feet and the smell of burning flesh and fat filled the air. The crowd broke into pandemonium almost instantly, various screams echoing throughout as people dashed in opposing directions.
The Lord lifted his right hand upward by bending the elbow. A wall of semi-transparent light surrounded the exits to Times Square. People smashed into the walls and found themselves trapped. “You shall not escape from the Truth!” Jack spoke. “Witness the pain of refusing the Glory of God! You have had every single chance to redeem yourselves, to repent. This is it. Now is the last chance you will ever get to be a part of salvation.” He paused, taking a breath. “The forces of evil are marching on, and we are marching to gather faithful souls to oppose them! You have until we find you to make a last decision!”
The Lord moved his hand and a person’s cell phone camera came closer to Jack. The man stared into the camera. “People of God’s World, you have one last decision to make: repent and be faithful or face eternal hellfire.”
A sonic boom high above the city broke the sermon. A redhead wearing a boring t-shirt and sweatpants combo descended from the sky and hovered a few meters in front of Jack and his Lord. “You’re not killing anyone else,” she yelled at him.
“I have not condemned anyone,” The Lord spoke. “They condemned themselves by not accepting me. No one gets to the Father except through me.”
“Don’t give me that shit!” Jennifer shouted. “You’ve just killed a man, and you tried to kill another! No more!” She turned to Jack. “You shut this ‘thing’ down right now!”
Jack laughed. “The Lord cannot be ‘shut down,’ child of Satan!” he shouted. “You accuse me of having a power? No! This is the Lord!”
The Lord stepped forth. “My child, you will submit to me now,” he stated.
Jennifer didn’t wait for him to finish. She slammed into him and knocked him into the sky. This psychic creation of a brainwashed bigot bothered her. The fact that this fake Jesus looked like the white Jesus always portrayed in paintings didn’t escape her. It bothered her that people would fall for this shit. Now that the monster had murdered, and declared war, she had to stop him.
Jennifer slammed a fist into the monster, who got caught by surprise and flew backwards out of the city limits. She followed and blasted the creature with a few dozen punches and kicks. His anger boiled over, and he let out a shout, and knocked her back with a shockwave. He swiped a hand in her direction and a wave of fire struck her, and her power blocked the fire, but the heat ate deep within her. She let out a scream and fought through it, plowing forward into him like a torpedo.
“Enough!” He shouted.
An invisible force grabbed her and froze her in place. He hovered closer to her. “You’re going to have to kill me,” Jennifer replied. “That’s the only way you’re going to stop me from keeping you from killing anyone else.”
He paused to take a breath. “My child,” He began. “You have enormous potential to do the Father’s work upon this Earth. I would hate to have to subject you to…”
“You just said you don’t condemn anyone,” she interjected. “You said they condemn themselves. Which is it?”
He grit his teeth and fire engulfed her. She let out a screech and fought through the pain. “It seems you fight against the Father,” The Lord said, “and I cannot save you if you will not submit.”
Her flesh resisted burning, but the pain felt intense. Thought became difficult as she pushed through the agony. The light nearly blinded her, but her eyes fought through to see her target. She pushed against her bonds and fought to manipulate the energy surrounding her. Pain began to bleed from every pore of her body. Individual parts stopped hurting as her body became a mass of agony. Her invisible bonds held firm as muscles pulsed with strength, she barely knew she had, even as a superpowered being. A thought appeared in her mind in response to a need. She focused her energy manipulation and discovered her bonds didn’t hold it back.
The Lord felt his nervous system almost shut down for a moment as his body’s electrical impulses went wild. Before he knew what had caused it, or how such a thing could be possible, his foe smashed into him at super speed once again and began pummeling him with impossible force. This should not be possible, He thought, as unfamiliar sensations like pain began to appear in his mind.
“You cannot defeat me!” He shouted, grabbing her fists and holding her back as they slammed into the ground.
“Don’t bet on it!” she yelled, smashing him into the dirt. She’d gotten him out of the city and away from the people he posed a threat to.
Suddenly, the Lord’s expression changed, and he blasted away from her in a beam of light. She tore off as fast as she could to follow him.
“You’re finished, Jack Hurst!” A voice cried out.
Jack turned around. “How’d you…?” he asked.
Jericho prepared to smash a hand down on the reverend’s head.
The Lord appeared a moment later and a burst of pressure knocked the businessman away from the reverend. Jennifer rocketed in at incredible speed. The two shared a glance then took off towards their enemies at once from opposing angles. “You’ll never defeat God’s Will!” He screamed and threw his hands upward.
A brilliant light shot upward, and the two flew down, and the light screamed towards them.
Jennifer attempted to turn around, but the blast moved too quickly. “Jericho!”
“Son of a…!”
Jericho’s screech cut off mid-sentence.
The reverend looked upward as the crowd’s fearful screams reached a crescendo and then fell. “Two agents of the devil have been destroyed!” he shouted. The Lord waved his hands, and his disheveled appearance returned to normal. “The Lord will always prevail! No one can defeat the Lord!”