Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Flash Fiction: A Night Off

Hello all! Today I'm doing another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge. This time I used a random number generator to give me a subgenre, conflict, and element to include in the story. I got the following:

Subgenre: Superhero
Conflict: Get the Band Back Together!
Element to Include: Flying Monkeys

Hope you enjoy A Night Off!


           “Did you get my evite?”
            Darcy didn’t look up from her computer. “I was giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming it was a joke.”
            Lounging in the doorway, Anna sighed heavily. All of the papers went flying off the desk.
            Darcy closed her eyes momentarily before finally looking toward her visitor.
            “Sorry.” Anna winced, grabbing at the loose pages.
            “Why are you here?”
            “Lunch break. And you hadn’t answered.”
            “So, not a joke?”
            Darcy turned back to her computer. “Fine, I’ll decline and you can go back to work.”
            “Darce, come on.” Anna dropped the papers on the desk and flopped into the chair across from her friend.
            “Absolutely not.”
            “What if I said it was a matter of life and death?”
            Darcy rolled her eyes. “I’d say you were full of it.”
            “Fate of the world being at stake?”
            “Same answer. More expletives.”
            Anna dropped her head. “We need a night off. More, we deserve it. We save people lives every day. I mean, we’re superheroes! Who deserves it more?”
            Darcy flicked her wrist and, across the room, the office door slammed shut. “What time is it?”
            Anna sighed again, but managed to keep it controlled. “12:23 in the afternoon.”
            “Well, if that’s the time, then what I am is a human resources representative. And what you are is a librarian who needs to keep her mouth shut.”
            “You’re right. I’m sorry. We just all really need this.”
            Darcy rubbed her eyes. It had been a difficult year and it was no secret that the League’s morale was on the less sunny side of the street. Losing one of your own did that.
            “You guys take the night. I’ll patrol,” Darcy offered.
            Anna shook her head. “Lara and Jen are only in if you’re in too.” She rushed on before Darcy could refuse. “It’s not going to take long. An hour, maybe two. Still time for prime patrolling.”
            Were they crazy? “First time we were on stage, we were all struck by lightning.”
            “Freak storm.”
            “Which turned us into the same. And the second – ”
            “You threw up, I know.”
            Darcy laughed without humor. “I think you’re underselling it a little.”
            “Fine.” Anna groaned. “You got all up in everyone’s head and made the whole audience throw up, too. Not great, I know. But you were still getting used to your powers. That doesn’t still happen. It’s why you work in HR, because you’re so good around people.”
            Even just thinking back to those early days made Darcy mildly nauseous. “On an individual level or small groups. But I avoid crowds and you know that. So, we’re done talking.”
            “You used to live to play.”
            The twinge she felt only made Darcy angrier. She flicked her wrist, opening the office door. And ignored her friend’s pleas as she mentally pushed Anna’s chair from the room, slamming the door behind her. “Done.”
            They banged on her apartment door for a good fifteen minutes before losing patience. Finally, Jen walked through the wall and unlocked the door for the others. Darcy was surprised it took that long.
            She glanced up from her book. “You know that’s rude.”
            “It was either me, or Lara was going to rip the door off the hinges.” Jen shrugged daintily.
            “Apparently the subtlety of a locked door is a little too much for you, so to spell it out, I don’t want you here.”
            The other three women didn’t appear overly insulted, simply taking their favored spots around the room as they had done countless times before. Darcy made a point of not looking at the empty ottoman in the corner.
            A high pitched gibbering sounded from above and a small winged marmoset landed on the couch behind Darcy’s shoulder.
            Jen shuttered. “I still don’t understand why you kept that little horror. A guest sees a flying monkey and they’re going to ask questions.”
            “Yet another reason not to have guests.” Darcy drew the marmoset into her lap, lightly petting his wings. “Anyway, Lenny’s a sweetheart, aren’t you? It’s not your fault your creator was an evil mastermind who we had to imprison in the Arctic, is it?”
            “Well, this is enthralling.” Lara stood up to pace. She never sat for long. Darcy figured there was just too much power in her body for it to be comfortable at rest. “Now, get your fiddle, we’ve got a show.”
            Anna moaned. “Darcy, come on. One night! If there’s any vomiting, we’ll never ask you again. But, let’s have some fun first. We were gonna be the next big thing, remember?”
            “Yeah. Always such a high demand for girl groups singing traditional Celtic tunes. And do you really think our lives suffer from a lack of notoriety?” Darcy gestured to the day’s newspaper, adorned with a full page photo of their recent interruption of a bank robbery.
            “This isn’t about the League. This is about us. Who we really are.” Jen continued softly, “I know you were blood, but she was a sister to all of us, Darce.”
            Darcy focused on Lenny as Jen spoke. “We all miss her and it’s taking its toll. If we don’t find ways to recharge, we’re going to be worse than of no use to the world. We’re going to be a danger.”
            “And you really think that playing in some dive bar is going to stop that?” Darcy asked bitterly. “Stop me from lobotomizing the city that killed her, simply because I can?”
            Jen knelt in front of her, taking her hands. “We’re hoping it’s a start.”
            Darcy looked up at her friends, seeing their concern clearly for the first time. Her eyes darted against her will to the empty ottoman.
            She pulled her hands back and gave Lenny a little pat. He flew up to rest on the stationary fan blades. Ripping her gaze from the ottoman, she stood up. “I’ll get the damn fiddle.”