Fiction Fragment Friday
Oh Ricochet how I have missed you. For those that don’t know Ricochet was originally created as a character in the Roleplaying Actual Play Podcast Knights of Reignsborough. For me he has grown into so much more. During the original run outside of gaming there were a few short stories and audio fiction I made for the character. I have received some artwork of the character over the years as well and have a custom action figure of him.
Where Ricochet really became something more for my writing was in 2020 when I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time writing his origin story as a novel. It was not the first novel length work I had written, but it showed me that yes I could still do it and I could complete NaNoWriMo as well. That was a huge boost for my confidence.
This weeks story could very well be included in the sequel to my Ricochet novel if I write one. I would need to edit my first novel before moving forward to see what changes in rewrites. This story stands on it’s own though and I think I would like to do more stories and perhaps combine them into a short story anthology of the day to day heroics of the character.
So without further ado I give you Ricochet on a Saturday night.
Words cannot describe the exhilaration that comes from leaping off a building and feeling the air rush past you. You have this moment of pure freedom where nothing else matters except that moment. Bills, relationship troubles, being a general loser at life; all of it just slips away as the adrenaline hits. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have superpowers like I do. The freedom might not come if you didn’t know for sure that you weren’t going to squash into the ground. It really does open your options for what to do on a weekend. This past Saturday was a great example of that.
I found myself lost in the lack of thought as I patrolled around the bad part of town. It would be nice to say that I had gone there looking for trouble, but actually it was just my neighborhood. Superheroing doesn’t pay very well. I should clarify that it doesn’t pay me at all. There are plenty of heroes out there that do make a paycheck out of it. Lots of others are just rich and use it to finance the heroing. My day job is a stand-up comedian, and I am incredible at it if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, the audiences and comedy club bookers don’t have the same opinion of my act. I get paid more for my gig jobs of event security, birthday party appearances, and food delivery. I used to make side money signing up for medical tests, but since getting my powers from one I don’t want anyone taking my blood. I have no idea what it would look like and can’t risk the secret identity.
I landed on the ledge of a roof in a perfect superhero pose. In the age of cell phone cameras, you never know when you are being recorded or photographed so you have to always act like you’re always being watched. Once a bad landing hits social media not even my hacker buddy Lester can make it go away. True me he really tried that time I landed in dog poop and slipped falling on my butt. He ended up spending weeks flooding the internet with memes and trying to bury it. I still sometimes see a new meme with that photo.
The key to finding crime in Reignsborough is to just wait long enough in the right neighborhood and pay attention. Sometimes you will hear a gunshot or a scream. Most of the time it is much quieter. On that Saturday night it was a group of gang bangers breaking into the back door of a gun store. The last thing I need is those guns falling into gang hands. My immediate instinct is to jump right in and start punching. I am not quite lost in the high of my powers enough to forget the lessons I’ve learned in the past few years, so I wait and watch.
Most robbery in this neighborhood is smash and grab work. Break something to gain entrance, grab as much merchandise as you can, and run. It only takes a few moments of watching them to realize this is different. One woman is at the end of the alley watching out for anyone. Unlike ninety percent of people out there she is looking up as well. That means she probably knows I operate in this part of town. The guy at the door is picking the lock instead of just breaking the door. Most noteworthy was that he wasn’t using a lock pick kit. His index finger was shifting shape and flowing into the lock.
“What the hell?” I muttered to myself realizing that at least one of them had powers. This was well organized, and I didn’t know what I would be facing. I still had to stop them, so I tensed my legs ready to leap. My plan was to hit them hard and knock them out before they had a chance to react. That was when I noticed that the woman at the end of the alley was gone.
“Bright red isn’t very stealthy.” I felt the impact of her kick in my back as I heard her words. The hit didn’t hurt and with my powers of kinetic absorption it actually made me slightly stronger. It did however knock me off balance and I tumbled off the roof. This was not a controlled fall, but I was still able to tuck up into a ball and spin in a way to land on my feet. It was a fairly impressive superhero landing for a guy who had been kicked off a roof. I smiled under my mask proud of myself. Then the cattle prod hit my spine sending electricity through my whole body. For the record my powers don’t absorb electricity.
This was when the man at the back door got involved. His hands morphed into large rectangle blocks as he stalked towards me. I struggled to stand, but my body was not quite responding yet. That was when he hit me. It felt like his hands were made of concrete. He pummeled me with hit after hit all the while screaming at me. “You think you are tough. How do you like that hero?”
I leaped to a crouch and caught his hammer fist in my left hand. I balled my right hand into a fit and pulled my arm as far back as it could go. “Felt pretty good. Just what I needed.” I punched him right in the jaw only thinking to pull my punch at the last moment. It was still enough to send him flying down the alley spinning in the air. All his hits had supercharged my abilities and I didn’t know just how strong I was. That isn’t to say that it didn’t hurt. I knew I had bruises under my costume and would be sore in the morning.
“You idiot he absorbs kinetic energy. Stick to the plan.” I didn’t like that she knew so much about how my powers worked. I disliked that they had a plan specifically for me. I really hated that she still had that cattle prod and was jabbing it into my side. There is nothing I hate more than losing control of my own body for any reason.
As I fell back to the ground I kicked out with my left leg. I didn’t receive that satisfying feeling of boot impacting knee that I expected. Instead, I kicked empty air. She materialized in front of my face and stabbed forward with the cattle prod. I just barely dodged and watched her disappear again. On pure instinct I spun around and tackled her to the ground. “Hate to tell you lady, but you’re not my first teleporter.” I grabbed the cattle prod with my left hand and crushed it. I had knocked the air out of her with my tackle and like most teleporters she could not jump unless she could focus. That’s hard to do while you are gasping for air. “Who are you people?”
She disappeared in my hands and reappeared at the other end of the alley over her unconscious partner. “Loco sends his regards.” With that she vanished taking her partner with her. I knew the name. Loco was a super powered gang leader, and we had a history. I had been looking for him for a while with no luck. If he was finally coming for me that was just fine with me. This was far from over. It was just beginning.