wasn’t touching her, but I was close, very close, and the force of the impact knocks me ass-over-teakettle. The refugees freak out and scatter, and several of them actually were touching her when the alien boy struck. Two of them were killed outright, another lost both arms, and bled to death before we could do anything about it. I screamed at them to run, and we scrambled off in to an old, half-collapsed apartment complex on the intersection of Peachtree and Peachtree.
Inside, we heard the battle raging. Their fists made noises like thunder when they struck, our hovel shuddered several times from the force of the nearby blows. The ground shook when one or another of them piled in to the pavement. The windows shattered. There were screams and curses and sobs from both sides of their battle, and we huddled together and prayed for deliverance to any real, non-profane God who might be out there, and we quaked with fear, and one of the refugees freaked out and ran off, and we never saw him again. Gradually, though the grunts from the warring gods became progressively higher pitched, and the sobs became more constant, then becoming a wracking cry which was more horrible than even the sounds of the battle itself had been. A woman’s terrified wail, a teenaged boy screaming profanity and punctuating it with body blows and cuts, and finally Clarion screaming over and over again “Just end it, just end it, I beg you please just kill me,” in an unhinged, gurgling fashion, and eventually, after a long time, Superjunge did. Then the wracking cry returned, but it was him this time, not the woman he’d killed, and somehow that was even worse. This went on for a long time in the distance, until finally we heard the sonic boom of him flying away.
We quickly left the apartment complex, and stumbled across her body. She wasn’t lovely no more.
I left Atlanta before the Supeheroes took over the world. First I moved the greater New York City area, which, after the takeover became Fille de Pouvoir Land, a vassal state consisting of Newark, Manhattan, and Connecticut, shepherded by a smokin’ hot chesty blonde in a low-cut white leotard with a thonged butt and no shoes at all. I don’t know why, but the barefoot thing was quite the turn on. Supervillain activity grew worse, so I left for Dahlonega, since I had family there, and not a moment too soon: the Punster blew up the city. Fille de Pouvoir herself survived, of course, with a kicky new ‘do to indicate her mourning for the lives lost.
Eventually, the super villainy thing got so bad in Atlanta that they moved all the ‘civilans’ (Read: Mortals) out of the city. Atlanta remained common territory, a meeting grounds for all the supers. After a big protest and some resistance to the forced relocation, they just decided to move us all of us Georgians to the planet Venus. Fortunately, Venus had been retconned by this point.
I got a temp job working at a Venusian gas station on the outskirts of Nyarlethholethboleth Shibop, a thriving metropolis of five million Venusians. Venusians look pretty much like Gumby from the old Art Clokey shorts, only people-sized. And they’re shape shifters, too. Ever wonder what the Venusan Vigilante looks like when he’s not in human form? He looks a lot like Eddie Murphy pretending to be Gumby on Saturday Night Live.
It was a terrible job, and Venus was a terrible place, but I learned some interesting stuff there. I learned that the whole ‘superhero’ thing wasn’t new, for instance.
Once upon a time, humanity had been a hermaphroditic quadruped species, and fairly advanced. Advanced enough to start monkeying around with technology and genetics, and producing superheroes. They called these “Zeus” and “Hera” and “Helios” and so forth. We know them as the pagan gods, but in fact they were just an earlier cycle of supers, dammit. Doctor Ducaleon re-engineered the gods to have gender and only two legs, which was considered basically a matter of fashion at the time, and they assumed command of the world. The world resisted, so the superhero gods wiped them out, and then Doctor Ducaleon created *our* species from scratch and populated the world with us. The four-legged hermaphrodites were the ones that got wiped out of course, when Duclaeon started his own species, he decided to make them look like the gods. This was around