Day 52 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your character’s roommate is a superhero.
Erin: “It’s time you started pulling your weight around here,” I snapped doing the dishes for the third Friday in a row.
“Excuse me, saving the campus from a mass shooting is not pulling my weight,” Rex snapped taking off his jeans that had some sort of blue liquid spilled on them.
“That was weeks ago, and news flash you’re not the only one with a job,” I threw the drying towel on the counter to storm out.
“Being a super hero is not a job,” Rex insisted.
“Fine, but you are not saving the world at every hour of the day. You’re here enough to dirty dishes. Just make sure you’re here enough to clean them,” I yelled from my room as I slammed the door.
“Next time you’re in danger don’t be surprised if I am too busy with chores to save you,” he growled.
“Like anyone cares enough about me to try and hurt me,” I shouted.
“I do,” I heard just before I placed my headphones on.
Shannon: I opened the door to my soot and blood covered roommate, Ray. It looked like he was in an explosion again. He quickly slid past me without saying a word. I looked outside and waved to a neighbor who was still staring. She was always giving us a questioning look. I thought I might as well help for once. I was working on a good lie for a while now, “Actors,” I huffed. “Never wants to break character no matter how crazy he looks,” I rolled my eyes but when I focused again all I got was an eyebrow raise before she turned back to her door.
I went back inside and found Ray raiding the fridge. “So how was your day,” I questioned.
“Eventful as always,” Ray smiled, before he started chugging the milk out of the container. I was hoping the gallon could last longer than a day, but maybe it was time to get separate jugs.
“So did you get the bad guy,” I asked, waiting for something good.
“No bad guy this time, just a building explosion. I saved a few workers who were trapped inside.
“Do you know what caused the explosion,” I pried.
He shook his head, with an armful of food, as he finally closed the fridge door. “I didn’t hear anything yet, but we should probably turn on the news.”
“So that doesn’t leave out the possibility of a bad guy. You just didn’t see him,” I grabbed the remote, clicking on the T.V. simultaneously.
“Why do you always want it to be a bad guy? That’s never easy on me,” he complained.
“Exactly but you always find a way to defeat him, or her, and it often involves you needing some help from me. It’s boring to just hear stories all the time. I want to be a part of the action. I want stories of my own,” I explained flipping for a station that was covering the accident.
“Stories that you can never tell anyone?” He walked in the living room and plopped down on the coach. Another thing I’d be cleaning later.
“Yeah, and I’ve kept good on that promise,” I pointed back at him. “No one but me knows about you, or about the time when we kicked you-know-who’s ass,” I clenched my fist, getting hyped by the memory as I turned my head back to the screen. “I just like knowing that I’m capable of helping save the day. No matter who knows.” I finally landed on the right channel.
“I get that,” he agreed.
“They’re not ruling out foul play,” I cheered, and he moaned.
Your character is living with a legend, how do you imagine that will go?
The house was a rickety, old colonial without the charm. From the first step I knew it was our perfect place; with enormous, ancient fireplaces throughout the building, a kitchen you could barely stand in and wall paper that couldn’t be legal, it took my breath away. As soon as the keys touched my fingers I was itching to get in there and make some changes. There really was nothing like a little magick to get a house back on its feet, so to speak, though that could be possible.
Quin and I had been living together for a couple months, lazing around our cramped apartment and attending art classes at a nearby college. When this house came up, told to us by a friend of a friend, we knew it was time; I had a bit of money set aside and the house was stupidly cheap. Not surprisingly, the building had been up for years with no one to take care of it, and there was a laundry list of defects from broken floor tiles to mold in the kitchen to no electricity. For a couple of young girls with nothing but time on their hands, it was more than anyone could have ever hoped for.
Under cover of the night, and some pretty heavy auditory charms, we began to fix the problems and make some major improvements to the place. Every floorboard was sanded and reinstalled, the loathsome pink wall paper was taken down and a fresh coat of paint covered every inch of wall space. In the kitchen, walls came down magickally, tile and cabinets were destroyed and the heart of our home became a warm and inviting space. From one side of the first floor you could see the other when we were finished; the electrical was completely redone thanks to a very confused young man who believed we had already payed him.
By the time the next summer arrived and the snow had melted, leaving a fresh coat of greenery behind, everyone admired our lovely home. But it was enormous and sparsely populated, with there just being the two of us. We decided, since there were five extra bedrooms apart from the ones we used, that a roommate or two couldn’t hurt.
The day we started advertising we had two takers; we accepted whole-heartedly. Though we couldn’t wander around the house in our underwear we figured that was a fair sacrifice to have some company and cut down on the bills. One young woman, Joan, was a firecracker. She was a mechanic at the shop just down the street and had a thing for her boss. Every night until about two in the morning she blasted the worst punk metal you’ve ever heard so loud it shook the chandeliers, but she was sweet and could cook any Italian dish you could think of.
Emily on the other hand, was a quiet soul. She kept mostly to herself unless it was meal time; even then she usually spent our time together huddled in her wooden chair. No one really got to know Emily before she left in the middle of the night, leaving a note stuck through with a carving knife that she wouldn’t be back.
After that, though, we became more selective with our applicants. Three candidates later we had a gentle soul named Kiara living in the west bedroom; she was a culinary student with high aspirations but was having a tough year. Quin and I had been talking to her for about five minutes when we realized what was going on with her.
As we’d done with all our applicants we met at the café down the way, the one I could never remember the name of, to review their information in a calming environment. People sipped on burnt coffee and nibbled the dry muffins the shop claimed to bake every day in the steamy little restaurant. Without a glance at the menu Kiara had requested a glass of water before joining us at the corner booth. When she sat down, shooting the two of us a nervous smile, she stared into the glass.
Cheerfully we’d talked back and forth about her references and why she wanted the room; it was a comfortable, casual conversation. But when we asked about how her schooling was going drops of water spilled over the rim of her glass, unnoticed by anyone else in the room. She tentatively talked about how stressful it was and how she just wanted to cook without the scrutiny on technique. As she got less happy about the direction of the conversation the tiny ice cubes floating in her water listed dangerously to the side. Still, no one but me seemed to notice.
Just when I thought she was going to melt into her bench, I said yes. It was more spur-of-the-moment than I hoped, but I knew it was the right thing. As soon as the syllables left my lips the trembling water calmed and Kiara turned her dinner-plate eyes on me, scanning my face for doubt. Beside me I could feel Quin tense slightly, but she didn’t say anything against me.
After a couple weeks of spectacular food prepared morning, noon and night Quin and I thought up a plan to coax Kiara into showing us her ability; we knew she needed help. But the night we were going to “accidently” show her our abilities she disappeared shortly after dinner. Nervously we had wandered the house three times, interrupted Joan’s date with texts five times and had nearly put out an alert in the magickal community. Without any luck all night we went to bed just hoping she was safe, wherever she was.
We awoke the next morning to the smell of bacon frying and an off-tune whistle that was unmistakably Kiara. I crept downstairs in my pajamas to confirm it was actually her flipping eggs a foot into the air while keeping a humungous pan of bacon from burning. As soon as I touched the creaky floorboard I nearly jumped out of my skin but she stayed comfortably cooking breakfast.
“Mornin’ Lily. Toast?” she asked, back still turned to me.
Without thinking I blurted out, “You have magick.” The next egg flipped gracefully through the air and landed on a sparkling plate along with a few strips of crispy bacon. After a few moments of weighted silence another egg flopped onto the next plate.
Moving the pans off the heated burners and taking in a deep breath Kiara turned to me with stormy eyes, “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about Lily. Here’s your breakfast.” Her direct eye contact was too hard, like she was in a staring contest, but I couldn’t look away. When she broke away and began moving some clutter from the counters I sighed loudly.
After ensuring no one was going to come down the steps I picked up a cup of water and concentrated all my energy on the water molecules. They began to vibrate faster until the glass began to singe my flesh slightly. Gradually the water bubbled over, dripping down my arm and onto the hardwood floors in a gush of scalding liquid. In the window I could see Kiara staring at the glass, flushed and stiff with horror.
When I knew she’d seen enough of that I set the glass gently on the marble counter again, silently cursing myself for choosing such a painful display of ability. I was about to speak when the top stair creaked in its sleepy way and the symphony of warped steps started up. While it was just Quin I cleared my throat and stuttered, “S-s-so s-sorry Kiara. Clumsy am, uh, am I before coffee.” Chuckling dryly I winked at Quin, who just looked concerned.
“Baby, are you okay?” her face creased as she touched my red skin carefully. I held my breath and attempted to communicate telepathically with her as we embraced but couldn’t get the connection right. “How about we get some aloe on that arm before it sinks in, huh?” Leaning on Quin’s arm I let her escort me to the powder room and she rummaged for the cream.
Glancing at the mirror I gasped at the angry scarlet streaks and got to work with a healing spell; it was alright, as long as Kiara knew I had magick, to do this kind of spell. She might not know it was magickal anyway. “Thanks, Quin. I showed her that trick with heating water but forgot to watch for the bubbles.” When the spell began to repair the skin I gasped again, this time in pain.
“At least the glass didn’t break this time,” she answered without looking up from the cabinet. Finding the jar and passing it to me, I slathered it on in a thin layer.
Sighing with the diminished burning sensation I leaned against the teal wall. I bit my lip as I let Quin in on my plan, “She’s not going to know you have magick. Let’s just let my power sink in before we bring you in.” Without waiting for an answer I sauntered out of the tiny room and back to the kitchen.
Yawning loudly, Quin gave me a kiss when we got to the stairs and waved to Kiara before ascending the steps to our room. I turned back to Kiara and sighed, “She doesn’t know yet. I haven’t had the heart to tell her.”
With a subtle smirk Kiara replied, her first words on magick, “I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it. For the past few years I’ve been helping the fire department,” laughing, she continued, “They don’t know I help them, but I do. I guide the water. And people who are drowning.” After a breath she answered my unasked question with vigor, “I was out saving a girl who fell off the bridge. I guess I can breathe underwater or something.”
I’d never seen someone so happy to have an elemental ability in my life. Everyone I grew up with knew they had powers and how to use them; there was no worry about not being able to do something extraordinary. In fact, people with less power were extraordinary in our world. The woman before me thought she was a real life superhero. And, the truly amazing part about her was that she was acting like one.
Created to Write:
Nikki trudges up the stairs, scanning her card. She walks into the resident hall, yawning. She takes the elevator leaning on the railing as she watches the numbers count up. At the fifth floor, she walks out, finding her room.
The moment the door opens, Lydia is in her face. “Where were you?”
Nikki sighs, “It’s late, can’t this wait?”
“Nikki, you were out so late. Something could have happened to you,” Lydia fusses. Nikki closes the door and goes to her side of the room.
Lydia, her freshman year roommate, instantly attached to Nikki. She’s friendly, but gets too nosy when she isn’t told something. Nikki figures the evenings are not going to be the highlight of this semester.
“I was out with friends, Lydia. I was safe,” Nikki assures. She takes off her jacket and boots, deciding to collapse on her bed and deal with any personal upkeep later.
“What is that!”
Nikki ignores Lydia, until Lydia pokes her shoulder.
“What?” Lydia points to farther down Nikki’s arm. There, she finds a purpling bruise. ‘Oh… I forgot about that.’
“Please explain how you were safe when you have a bruise?”
Nikki sighs, quickly explaining, “My friends’ mom has a dojo. They were teaching me a few moves. I must have hit the mat too hard.”
With that she rolled over onto her side, the bruise pointing to the ceiling. It takes Lydia a moment to realize that was all she was going to hear, so she climbs into her bed and turns off her lamp. “Goodnight.”
Nikki doesn’t tell Lydia about how her leg also has a few bruises. She doesn’t show her wrapped abdomen, the scars from past injuries and stitches. And she definitely won’t invite her to her ‘friendly outings,’ not like Lydia would ask. They are all in the evening.
‘Lydia has no idea how safe I am, and how much danger she would be in if she found out what I am.’
(I swapped it. My character is the superhero and they have a roommate.)