Mockingbird

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Raven stared incredulously. With a proper kick, he could break a concrete block. The force-enhancers built into his suit could double that strength. Any attack aimed at She-Tank would require his full strength just to make her stagger.

So how did a twig of a girl block it with one hand?

“Don’t hurt her!” she said. She pushed Raven away. It was a simple motion, but Raven hit the thick iron door across the hall hard enough to dent it. “It’s not her fault! The violet man played bad songs!”

Raven winced as he picked himself off the ground. His suit wasn’t designed to take that kind of abuse.

The girl was maybe five feet tall, with an underfed look to her. Her rust-colored hair was cut short, and sweat plastered it to her dark skin.

“Who are you?” he asked, more to himself than anything. He’d fought a most of the supervillains in the city, and read all of the files on anyone he hadn’t, but she didn’t fit any of them.

“If I tell you my name, will you leave my friend alone?” she asked, a note of uncertainty cutting through her brave tone.

“I’m here for Mayhem. If she lets me pass, and stays in the hospital, I have no desire to hurt her.”

“You promise?”

“I swear.”

“Okay, my name is…” she frowned. She suddenly fell to her knees, clutching at her head. “I forgot! They took my name! They took it!”

She-Tank let out a low growl and stepped forward, a physical embodiment of aggression. The smaller girl grabbed her leg as she went past, but She-Tank was nine feet tall and weighed five-hundred pounds. She didn’t even notice the extra weight.

“You hurt my mockingbird!” she roared, her voice deafening in the narrow hallway. “You took her name! Give it back!”

A sudden tensing in her shoulder muscles was all the warning Raven got. He dropped to the ground as She-Tank’s fist bashed the dented door out of it’s frame and cracked the walls around it.

This wasn’t good. She-Tanks was a bruiser. She wasn’t very smart, and she didn’t have any real skills beyond “hit hard”. In most situations, beating her wasn’t hard, but the asylum’s halls would make dodging her blows almost impossible.

He lashed out with a kick aimed at her shin. Her shin might as well have been an iron wall, but that was fine. His goal was to put some distance between him and She-Tank, and the force was enough to push him through the ruined doorway and into the next hall.

The giant knocked large chucks of the wall loose as she stomped after him. Then the nameless girl zipped between She-Tank’s feet and flew to levitate in front of her. She put her hands on She-Tank’s shoulders, and they looked tiny against the rippling muscles.

“You have to stop, Lacey,” she said, tears in her voice. “Please, stop. He’ll hurt you.”

One girl can rip through walls, Raven thought to himself, and the other is… whatever she is. So why am I being treated like the monster?

“He hurt you,” She-Tank said, with an anger in her voice Raven had never heard from her before. It was the adrenaline fueled rage he was used to, but a deep, personal anger. “I’ll kill him for that.”

“No!” the tiny girl insisted, and she actually prevented She-Tank from stepping forward. “I don’t want you to hurt him. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. He didn’t hurt me. The Others did. I shouldn’t have tried to remember. It was my fault.”

She-Tank clutched at her temples and roared. “No! He hurt you!”

“He didn’t,” the other girl said in soothing tones. “Listen to me, Lacey. He didn’t hurt me.”

“I… I… He’s here to take you away from me! I hate him!”

“No you don’t. It’s the violet man and his songs. Don’t listen to him.”

“If I kill him, the songs will go away!” She pushed forward, and the small girl started to lose ground.

“No, the songs were here before him. The violet man brought them. He doesn’t want you to be Lacey, but I do. Don’t listen to his songs.”

“They’re in my head. They won’t go away. Sing for me, mockingbird. Make them go away.”

The small girl nodded. She hovered to sing into the giant’s ear, practically sitting on her shoulder.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word.

Momma’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird won’t sing.

Momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”

There was nothing magical about the song. Raven had encountered enough magic to recognize one when he saw it. But with every verse the girl sang, She-Tank relaxed more and more. Raven had never seen her so calm before.

Without any warning, She-Tank grabbed a large piece of concrete from the remnants of the door, and smashed it against her own head. The concrete shattered into powder, and she collapsed to the ground.

“Lacey!” the girl cried out.

Raven put a hand to She-Tank’s neck. Finding her pulse was about as difficult as finding a band at rock concert.

“She’s okay,” he said.

“Why did she…”

“She probably figured it was the only way to fight whatever Mayhem put in her head.”

“Are you going after the violet man?”

“Mayhem, yes. He’s probably gotten whoever he was here for and gone by now. She-Tank – I mean Lacey. He just used her to slow me down.”

She bent over Lacey and kissed her gently on the forehead. “I want to help. I don’t… I don’t like seeing people get hurt. But he can’t go around taking people away from themselves. Let me help, mister. Please?”

Raven really didn’t want to take her with him. She was clearly here for a reason, and he’d be responsible for anything she did. On the other hand, he suspected that if she wanted to follow him, there wasn’t a lot he could do to stop her.

“Call me Raven,” he said. “And I need something to call you.”

She frowned. “They took my name. Please don’t ask me that.”

Raven glanced at the sleeping She-Tank. Other than a dark bruise forming under her ash-grey skin, she looked remarkably peaceful.

“She called you ‘mockingbird,’ but that doesn’t sound right for herowork. How about ‘Lark’?”

“I like that,” she said with a smile.

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Prompt: Superhero Recruitment

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This week’s prompt tips its hat to the Avengers movie. Write a prompt about someone being recruited to join a superhero squad. Amusingly, I’ll have the sample up before I get a chance to see the movie.

Good Luck and good writing.