I’m back from the conference and I’m about 500 words away from tonight’s goal of 33,600. I’m feeling good. Here’s another excerpt to tide you over.
HELEN OF TROY
Helen knew she was behaving like a giddy teenager, but she couldn’t help it. When she saw Pendragon take charge, ordering the rest of the heroes down, opening fire, her heart actually fluttered a bit in her chest. He was powerful, he was brave, he was the most incredible superhero she’d ever met. Watching him in action must have been like watching the real King Arthur, or even the old superhero Lionheart. He had that kind of presence, that way of inspiring people. It made her want to be better.
The enormous creature that used to be Doomsayre launched itself at Pendragon, leaving two deep pits in the concrete behind it. Each step the thing took seemed to pulverize the ground below its feet, and when he leapt, it almost carved out its path. Pendragon didn’t flinch at the charging beast. Instead, he just fired the rockets in his boots, timing his launch precisely so that the monster wouldn’t make contact, but instead would get blasted by the rockets themselves. There were twin streaks of charred flesh running down its back, but the creature didn’t show any sign of pain. Instead, it roared, snapped a parking meter out of the ground, and hurled it at Pendragon.
Helen flew after the projectile, catching it and hurling it back at the monster. She had a vision in her mind of the meter smashing Doomsayre’s face in, as if his secret weakness would turn out to be Rhode Island quarters, and watching him crumble back to his old, spindly, easily-beatable Mad Scientist self. It didn’t quite work that way. The meter did smash into the creature’s face, exploding in a rain of quarters that fell about it, rolling away and bouncing into the gutter. It didn’t seem to hurt it, but it at least it was distracted for the moment.
“Thanks for the assist, luv,” Pendragon said, sending her pulse racing. How was this possible? How did she feel so giddy about a man whose face was always hidden behind a helmet? Pendragon had showed up a few years ago wearing his high-tech suit of battle armor (an armor, Helen had noticed, with no visible power source to charge up its various functions), claiming to be the reincarnation of King Arthur. She never really believed that story, but when you’re dealing with a man so totally inspiring, you have to be prepared to accept a few minor eccentricities.
She tossed Pendragon a wink (one she hoped had the appropriate sultry effect) and turned back to Doomsayre. Drawing back, she flew in ready to punch his head in. Her mystical strength was far greater than the servomotors in Pendragon’s armor… in fact, with all due humility, she was pretty certain she was physically the strongest hero here.
So why was Doomsayre smiling?
As she approached him at top speed, she was the nine-foot monster suddenly collapse in on himself. His body shrank, shriveling back to the tiny little mad scientist she’d defeated so many times before. He grabbed the pants that now dangled, shredded, from his tiny form, and cowered in anticipation of her blow. His tiny human body looked incredibly frail compared to the monster he was just seconds ago, and at this speed, her attack would almost certainly decapitate him. Helen bucked in midair, narrowly avoiding him, hurtling past the scientist and smashing into an appliance storefront. She crashed through the brick façade of the building, and the shockwave shattered the huge plate glass window next to her. She smashed right through a display of refrigerators, crushing four different units and sliding into a washing machine before finally coming to a stop. When she looked out through the gap in the front of the building, Doomsayre had reverted back to his monstrous form. Twin beams of pure white force erupted from his eyes, blasting Helen in the face and taking her out of the fight.