Tales of the First – Wendy’s Secret Part One

April 19th, 2019  |  Published in Tales of the First  |  3 Comments

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“Are you girl’s planning to go out again today?” Sienna’s father asked the next morning after they’d had breakfast.

“We’d like to,” Sienna said. “But in the circumstances we’ll understand if you want us to stay here. It’s obviously not safe out there.”

“My gut says to no,” her mother said. “But I doubt you’d be any safer here if those monsters decide you’re a target. Not if they’re banging down doors to get to people.”

“But you should know that killing you saw yesterday wasn’t the only one,” her father said. “People are very tense. If you are going out try not to give them reason to be tenser.”

“And ring us at least once an hour so we know you’re safe,” her mother added.

“I can do that, Mum,” Sienna agreed.

***

This time they got through the streets to the ruined factory that Wendy still insisted on calling her secret base but Sienna could see what her mother meant by tense. There were people standing around in almost every street glaring balefully at any strangers who dared to pass through though thankfully none of them attacked the two girls. Sienna got the definite impression that their targets were the killers should they dare to target any houses in their streets. It seemed their warnings and attempts to terrorize people had only stirred up stubborn resistance rather than compliance.

“I don’t envy those guys if they try that again,” Wendy muttered as they climbed through a hole in the chain link fence around the factory. “Even with guns they’ll come out on the losing end of a mob.” She gave a half smile. “But boy would they deserve it.”

Sienna just nodded grimly. “You’re sure there are no cameras here?”

“None,” Wendy said. “Martin checked before we set up here.” She led Sienna through a broken door into what would have once been the shop floor of the factory. Now it was a vast empty space full only of leaves and other detritus blown in through the broken windows. There was a surprising lack of graffiti or other vandalism but some signs that the homeless used it for shelter at night. She commented on this and Wendy nodded.

“They do, but they ignore us using the place too as long as we don’t disturb them. We leave them some food and stuff as well which helps. I just wish I could do more.” She pointed to a rucksack full of sandwiches and cartons of fruit juice leaning against one wall. “Which Martin has dealt with today. Come on.” She headed to an intact door at one ends of the factory which she pushed open to reveal a flight of stairs. “Down here.”

Sienna followed Wendy into the stairwell. Wendy turned and closed the door behind them, bolting it shut with two large metal bolts before heading down the stairs. They ended up in what Sienna suspected had once been a back up generator room. It was a fairly small room compared to the vast space upstairs and had no windows. It would have been dark but for the lightbulb powered by the generator in the corner and completely stark but for the brightly coloured rugs on the floor and the swathes of batik fabric hanging on the walls.

“You’re here!” Martin stood up from the tatty computer desk and hurried over to hug his step-sister. Sienna always thought they made quite a pair – his skin was as pale as Wendy’s was dark and he had tousled blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was also at least four inches shorter than Wendy though his tendency to slouch made it look more. “Great! I want to see this for myself.”

“I’m not sure I can do it on demand,” Sienna said knowing he was talking about her powers.

“From what Wendy said you should,” he said.

“Before we get to that did gran and Dave convince Mum to split up with Keith?” Wendy asked.

“I think so,” he said. “At least she slammed the door on his apology last night. I think the fact he actually hit her this time was a wake up call. He’s never got physical before.”

“Wait! He hit her?” Sienna said.

Wendy nodded solemnly. “Only a slap but it was a definite escalation, but back to business. We need to know if any cameras could have caught what happened with Sienna and that guy.”

“I can check,” Martin said. “Where were you?”

“Castle Street, near the music shop,” Wendy said.

“Hmm, maybe, maybe not,” Martin said. “Can you be a bit more specific?”

“We were right by the newsagent about two shops down from the music shop,” Sienna said.

“Oh, no then. You’re lucky that’s a blind spot for the cameras. Why? Do you think that’s how the shooters are finding people?”

“It’s not just that.” Sienna described what the police officer had said to her and he frowned.

“That does sound like he knew something, but if he did it’s not because of the cameras.”

“Somehow that’s even more worrying,” Sienna said dryly.

“It is,” he agreed. “But at least it means that if these people are finding their targets via the CCTV network they won’t know about you.”

“That’s a very minor comfort when people who want to kill you are out there,” Sienna said.

“I know,” he said. “But for now it’s all I’ve got.” He pulled aside a bright blue batik wall hanging to reveal another door. “But let’s go into the main lab and see if you’re really psychokinetic.”

“I really hope that I can,” Sienna followed him and Wendy. “That way I might be able to hide it.”

The second room was both larger and far starker than the first. There were a few hangings but no rugs and half of the floor was taken up by a robot fighting arena where the step-siblings obviously tested their creations. Sienna barely had time to take it in before Martin dragged her to a table and pushed a chair at her.

“Sit down and try to move these pieces of metal.” He dumped some small pieces of mangled metal that looked like pieces of destroyed robots on the table.

Sienna stared at the pieces of metal. “I’ll try,” she said hesitantly. “But I’m not sure how I did it before.”

“I don’t know either,” he said. “But from what Wendy said you had some sort of control over it.”

“I seemed to,” Sienna admitted. “I just wanted him to be away from us and it happened.”

“Then try imagining them moving,” he suggested.

“Okay.” Sienna stared at the metal again and decided to try and move a small piece – about the size of her thumb nail. She imagined putting her hand on it and dragging it towards her. It twitched and moved slightly but not much. What was she doing wrong? She frowned and tried to figure out what was missing. Could it be that when she had thrown that guy she had been stressed and afraid? She took a breathe and let all all anxiety about the current situation flow to the surface before trying again. This time the piece of metal screeched across the table towards her stopping just by the hand she had imagined moving it.

“Woah,” Martin said. “That is freaky, but it took you a while to get it moving.”

“I had to focus on how scared I am,” Sienna said.

“Stress,” he said. “I suppose that makes sense. It’s dangerous though, what if your powers activate unconsciously in a bad situation.”

“I don’t think that’s a problem,” Wendy said. “It didn’t happen yesterday.”

“True,” he said. “But I think we still need to be sure. I saw it on Youtube.” He looked a little ill at that. “They didn’t shoot that guy until the fireball. If they do find her she needs to be able to fool them that they’re mistaken.”

“Oooh! Good point.” Sienna said.

“It is,” Wendy said. “So first we’ll make sure of that then Sienna can start practising moving things without making herself anxious because that can’t be healthy.”

“I’ll be happy just to be sure it won’t happen again,” Sienna said. “I don’t know that I need to control it otherwise.”

“Sure you do,” Wendy said cheerfully. “You’ve always said that you want to help people. Now you can.”

“Huh?” Sienna said. “What… how…” She hesitated as she realized what Wendy was thinking. “Wait you want me to become a superhero? Superheroes aren’t real, Wendy.”

“Only because superpowers aren’t real,” Wendy said. “Or they weren’t until now. Anyway someone needs to stand up to these guys and once you’ve got a handle on your powers you can.”

Sienna just stared at her open mouthed.

“Wendy has a real thing about superheroes,” Martin said. “She thinks she can be one herself.” He grinned as Sienna tilted her head at him.

“Wendy hasn’t got superpowers,” Sienna said. “Well not unless we’re counting be extremely intelligent as a superpower. Are we?”

“Not exactly.” Martin pulled aside one of the hangings to reveal an alcove that must once have been a cupboard. There was something standing in it. Something that looked like a suit of armour made from scrap.

Sienna raised an eyebrow and looked over at Wendy. “This is what you meant when you said ‘other scrapyard projects’?” she asked. “You’re building a suit like Ironman?”

“Sort of, I guess,” Wendy looked embarrassed. “Though not really. It makes me run a little faster, reduces fatigue and lets me dead-lift about two hundred pounds more than I can without it.”

“By a little faster she means she could give Olympic Sprinters a run for their money,” Martin said. “And run a marathon at that pace. She built it from scrap and the batteries last for hours. It shouldn’t be possible, so maybe she does have a superpower.”

“It’s not fully functional yet,” Wendy said. “There’s a few things I want to tweak and I’ve been trying to work out a way to get some ballistic protection for it without leaving a trail by ordering it online.” She gave her step-brother a grin. “And you did the ridiculously complex software for it so if I have a superpower so do you.”

“Wait,” Sienna said. “You’re actually planning to go out and fight crime in that?”

“Yes,” she said. “Well more try and be a deterrent. It doesn’t have any weapons. I don’t want to break any laws.”

“You’re mad,” Sienna said.

“Maybe,” Wendy said. “But someone has to do something. The police are too reactive. Especially now. For heaven’s sake, Sienna, there are people running around shooting people in broad daylight and getting away with it.”

“Yes, but you didn’t know that when you started building it,” Martin said. “We’ve hardly got the highest crime rates in Britain here.”

“They’re bad enough,” Wendy said. “If me walking around in this will enable to scare off the rapists and muggers it’ll help.” Her expression tightened. “And if I can stop those men we saw yesterday that’s even better.”

Sienna continued staring at Wendy in disbelief. She could believe her friend might have built something like this just to see if she could, but she actually intended to use it?

“You’ll be arrested,” she said finally. “I’m pretty sure walking around in some sort of power armour is illegal.”

“Not if I don’t get caught,” Wendy said. “But I don’t think it is – no one has thought to ban it yet.”

“How do you intend to not get caught?” Sienna tilted. “At the very least the mask is against the law.”

“That’s my job,” Martin said. “I think she’s mad too but I’m not letting her get arrested. I’ll monitor police activity while she’s out and help her avoid the cameras.”

“And yeah, the mask thing is an issue, but that’s a stupid law,” Wendy said.

“I see.” Sienna shook her head. “I really don’t know what to say.”

“Say that you’ll help,” Wendy said.

Sienna chewed on her lip unhappily. She wanted to say no. This was a really bad idea. If it weren’t for what had happened yesterday she would have said no, but those men were not going to leave her in peace, were they? Wendy was right someone had to do something about them.

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3 Responses to “Tales of the First – Wendy’s Secret Part One”

  1. White Tiger says:

    I’m loving Wendy more and more. Great new chapter. Thanks!! 😊

  2. torvawk says:

    Becca,

    Why am I worried the “she is never wrong” person is not using cameras and is able to sense the use of these powers somehow. The way you are writing this, there seems to be a group that already has powers and wants to keep the powers to themselves so they are hunting those that just acquired some powers.

    I am wondering if she is going to have to shield her use of her new powers somehow or if she is going to be forced to go vigilante, just because the other group keeps hunting her.

Leave a Reply to torvawk