See this chapter's accompanying illustrations at the following link: https://tapas.io/episode/783303
“Mother, may I be excused, please? Bucky Rodgers’s wrestling show is on in five minutes!” excitedly asked Marjorie Clayton.
At age 12, Marjorie was a model child; the kind every parent would love to have. Very polite, proper and considerate, Marjorie was always ready to help anyone in need. As Father always says; the Claytons stand for truth, justice and the American way and so do you! As such, like her parents and everyone in her neighborhood, Marjorie was very patriotic and enamored with her country’s principles.
That isn’t to say that she was perfect; not at all. Like everybody, Marjorie had a few flaws. For instance, she could come off as a self-righteous know-it-all to some. Her goodie-two-shoes nature had often rubbed some of her less than recommendable schoolmates the wrong way before.
“I don’t know sweetheart; a wrestling show? I have told your sister to stop showing you such programming. It is so unbecoming of a proper young lady. Speaking of which, Quinnie is very late for supper. Is she still at the Martin’s house, darling?” replied a prim looking woman complete with the typical 1950`s housewife regalia.
The father was reading the newspaper. His hair perfectly slicked to the back, a lacquered wooden pipe hanging on his lips, reading glassed on the tip on his nose. He too was the typical image of the fatherly figure so prevalent in the various sitcoms featuring a nuclear family structure.
“Don’t be too hard on her. She is helping Mr. Hilton cleaning his attic. As for you, young lady, have you finished all of your homework?” asked the father without even glancing at Marjorie.
“Yes, father,” proudly replied Marjorie.
“What about your chores?” continued the father, his eyes still locked on his newspaper.
“All done!” promptly replied Marjorie, sure that she’d covered all her bases. Father’s approval is imminent!
“Well, since you have been very thorough with your obligations, I see no problem allowing you some entertainment,” said Father.
“Gee whiz, can I really watch the show, father?” asked Marjorie wanting to be sure.
“Yes, you may. Now run along, scamp. Oh, and take your little brother with you,” said Father before burrowing his gaze even deeper in his newspaper.
After carefully clearing her plate from the table, Marjorie picked up her little brother and quickly made her way to the family room where the new television Father had bought a month ago was sitting on its beautiful stand. Television was still very new in the neighborhood and the Claytons were one of the first to ever get one.
Marjorie turned the television on and sat a few feet away, her brother next to her. The pro-wrestling had just begun.
“This is so swell! Bucky Rodgers is about to enter the ring! It is such a shame Quinnie isn’t here to enjoy this week’s show with us! Oh no, watch out Bucky! The Russian Ruffian is sneaking up on you!”
Marjorie’s brother, a 3 years old toddler, was playing with a ball. As soon as the Russian Ruffian showed up on the screen, he threw his ball to the screen as he didn’t care much for his villainous antics.
However, a baby’s aim being what it is coupled with low strength, the ball utterly missed the intended target and rolled under the television stand. Instantly irate at the disappearance of his toy, he started crying.
“Now, there; I have told you time and time again to be careful with your ball!” admonished Marjorie.
The toddler increased his tantrum, trying to coax Marjorie into fetching the ball from under the stand. Marjorie peeked under the stand; the ball was lodged all the way back. Her arm was too short, it couldn’t reach.
“I shouldn’t do this, but I can't stand seeing you sad” said Marjorie.
Marjorie got up, looked left and looked right. The coast was cleared of any potential parental presence. Marjorie crouched and effortlessly lifted it up above her head with one hand. With the other hand, she picked up the ball.
The ball now secured, Marjorie delicately placed the television stand down. Very impressed by her sister’s feat of strength, the toddler was clapping and giggling. Marjorie handed the ball to her brother, increasing his giddiness; his favorite toy was back!
“This is our little secret, understood? Father and mother would be mighty vexed if they knew I used my gift like this.”
A gift. This is how Marjorie’s super-strength, endurance and invulnerability had been rationalized by her parents and the experts that examined her for as long as she could remember. In her father’s eyes, she had been given a special gift, a divine blessing! And as such, she had been raised her in the straight and narrow to never abuse this gift.
And abuse her gift she never did. No one aside from her parents, her siblings and the experts knew of it. Father had been clear about this matter: “My daughter, never use your gift in vain. However, should you find yourself in a situation whence its use would prevent great evil and misery, use it for the benefit of your fellow men, for remaining idle would be a sin.”
Bucky Rodgers, the face of the show and the ultimate good guy, was about to administer his finishing attack on the Russian Ruffian. “Shooting Stars and Stripes!” he shouted before jumping from the turnbuckle and dropping down on his target after an impressive spin. Bucky was just as patriotic and virtuous as Marjorie was. But his amazing athleticism and his devastating finishing attacks were her favorite.
Pumped by Bucky’s finisher, Marjorie immediately hopped on Mother’s sofa, trapped one of the cushions in a chokehold and then threw it on the floor. After climbing up the armrest, she jumped down on the helpless cushion, trying to mimic Bucky’s finisher.
The execution was nearly flawless. Marjorie had practiced her tamer variation of the Shooting Stars and Stripes finisher countless times in her bedroom. However, she accidentally poked the flower vase on the coffee table sending it tumbling down in a muffled crash as it hit the floor.
Alerted by the commotion, Mother stepped in the living room. Upon seeing the mess Marjorie had obviously made, she put her fists on her hips and sternly reprimanded her.
“What in the world is going on here? My vase! My flowers! My cushions! Young lady, you march right to your father’s study, this instant!” said Mother.
“Yes, mother,” replied a dejected Marjorie.
Father was working on a small model boat in a bottle. It was a favorite hobby of his that required a great deal of patience and dexterity, attributes he had in spades.
“What is it that I am hearing? Clearly, you have way too much energy to spare, young lady,” said Father without lifting his eyes from his work.
“I am sorry…” mumbled Marjorie.
“As you should. Now, I believe your excess of energy could be put to a better cause…Why don’t you go join your sister at the Hilton’s and help them finish cleaning his attic?” calmly said Father.
“Poor Mr. Hilton is getting high in age and all of his children have long left their home,” said Mother who joined Father in the study after cleaning Marjorie’s mess.
“Yes, father,” said Marjorie.
Marjorie loved helping, especially the good natured and affable Mr. Hilton. Plus, she couldn’t wait to tell Quinnie about Bucky’s amazing fight against the Russian Ruffian. However, she was still feeling bad about the vase incident. One thing she hated above all was disappointing her parents, especially Father.
Marjorie walked up to Mr. Hilton’s porch and rang the doorbell.
Marjorie tried ringing the bell but no one came still. Intrigued, she walked around the house, peeking through the windows. It was too dark to see.
“What if Mr. Hilton was having a medical emergency? He is quite old after all,” thought Marjorie.
Marjorie waited on the porch for a couple more minutes.
“Quinnie is supposed to be there with Mr. Hilton. Didn’t she hear the doorbell?”
Still trying to see inside the house, Marjorie concluded she had to break into Mr. Hilton’s house.
“Remaining idle in the face of misery is a sin. Forgive me, Mr. Hilton!” said Marjory to herself as she easily unhinged the front door from its moorings. Putting the door aside delicately, she stepped inside the old man’s house. She reached for the lights’ switch.
There was no power coming to Mr. Hilton’s home. Marjorie stepped in deeper, calling out for Mr. Hilton and Quinnie while looking around her carefully.
Marjorie couldn’t find anyone anywhere. Not in the den, his room, the restroom or even the basement. Marjorie was about to go back home and get help from her parents when she thought of the attic. She had yet to search there.
Marjorie quickly found the attic’s hatch. After pulling down the rope which deployed the stairs leading up, she bravely continued up.
The place was very musty and dusty. A cavalcade of boxes containing a lifetime’s memories were neatly placed about, each box labeled and neatly packed. Mr. Hilton had been a stickler for neatness all his life. Still calling out for Mr. Hilton’s name, Marjorie continued her exploration.
And there he was, horrifyingly deformed and clipping through a wall and boxes. Marjorie let out a scream of utter fear and horror upon seeing Mr. Hilton’s mangled body. What sort of madness what this? How did Mr. Hilton get so deformed and embedded in the wall? And the boxes? Where was Quinnie?
Marjorie fought every instinct shouting in her head to run away and get Father and reached out to Mr. Hilton to at least make sure he was still alive.
“Why hello there, Marjorie, have your father sent you over to give me a hand with my attic too?”
The sight of Mr. Hilton’s mangled body from which his normal and placid voice came out as if nothing was ever wrong was too much from Marjorie. Then, Mr. Hilton’s voice started skipping rapidly as the attic started to mangle itself up, crumbling over itself just like Mr. Hilton. Marjorie ran out of the house in sheer horror.
But once outside, things got much worse as the world around her was completely messed up! Everything was getting twisted and tortured…some of the neighborhood was erasing itself!
“I have to get back home!” thought Marjorie as she was trying to calm herself. “Father will know what is going on. He will make it all get back to the way it was,”
Where in the world was Quinnie, thought Marjorie as she ran back home.
No one was there.
Father, mother, little brother. They weren’t there. Marjorie looked out and saw the world seemingly collapsing towards her.
Panicked, Marjorie ran out her home as hard as she could, tear rolling on her cheeks, her nice Sunday clothes stained and ripped. But it was in vain. The world was collapsing around her, zooming in on her. Soon the world had contracted to the size of a baseball stadium. Marjorie had stopped running. In front of her were bizarre tall metallic men-like figures. They looked like the robots Marjorie would see in the cartoons she enjoyed so much.
“It is time for you to wake up, little one. To wake up and fight, kiddo!” said one of the metallic men.
Fight? Did these things know about her gift? Did they kidnap her family? What in the world is a kiddo? With so many overwhelming events crashing over her and her state of extreme panic, Marjorie had two choices: fight or flight. Seeing as the world was collapsing on itself, only fight was apparently left.
For the first time ever, Marjorie let her gift loose and charged at the metallic men with full force. With one swing of her closed fist, she easily shattered them. But it was all for naught as they reconstructed themselves behind her, as if nothing had happened.
Completely shaken to her core, Marjorie dropped to her knees and wept.
“Leave my sister alone, you meanies!” shouted a familiar voice.
Marjorie looked up; it was Quinnie! She was standing between her and the metallic men.
“She is not ready yet! What are you doing? Who are you?” said Quinnie.
“Don’t stop us, girlie! We are going to get her out of here,” said one of the metallic men.
“We aren’t the bad guys; we are here to save you, kiddo!” said the other metallic man to Marjorie.
“I said, leave my sister alone!” repeated Quinnie as she outstretched her arm. A round shield materialized in her hand. A gust of red, white and blue flames surrounds her body. Quinnie then put the shield in front of her and rushed the metallic men.
She completely obliterated the metallic men on contact.
“But, how? Quinnie…” said Marjorie.
“What, you thought you were the only gifted one in this family, Margie?” said Quinnie as she facetiously winked at Marjorie.
Margie. That’s what Quinnie always called her little sister.
However, the metallic men were here still. One of them violently hit Quinnie away, knocking her into the nothingness that was closing in on them.
“QUINNIE!” shouted Marjorie as she saw Quinnie being disintegrated by the light.
“Reach for the portal, just reach for it!” said one of the metallic men.
After the metallic stranger spoke a portal opened behind them. An intense light was emanating from it.
“You killed my sister, you murderers!” screamed Marjorie at the top of her lungs.
“Just reach for the portal,” repeated the metallic men as he ignored Marjorie’s accusations.
“Reach and you will be freed!” said the other.
The only thing Marjorie’s mind could conjure was an image of her standing with her family. They looked happy, at peace. Maybe if she touched the portal, she would be at peace too. She would be with her family.
Hesitantly Marjorie reached up. As her fingers touched the portal’s light, her body became completely bathed in it, the mental image of her family gradually disappearing.
“See you on the flipside, kiddo.” These were the last word Marjorie Clayton heard for a while.
The end of WWII ushered a new age of weapons of mass destruction. Chief among them was the atomic bomb: powerful, ruthless, terrifying, and indiscriminate. Dr. Bethany Bless, one of the most brilliant minds of her time, sought to develop an alternate kind of weapon with just as much power but with sentience and the capacity for human emotions. Hence the seed core powered Champions were born.
Endowed with a human-like personality and fueled by your common alcohols or spirits, these Champions would be helpful to the common citizen. However, when comes time for a heavy punch, they can match the destructive power of any atomic bomb, with a smile! Endowed with judgment and emotions, the Champions can deliver surgical strikes that these bombs never could!
Now deep into the Cold War, will these Champions bring about a peaceful resolution? Follow the adventures of the Girls of Spirits to find out!
End of Chapter 1
See this chapter's accompanying illustrations at the following link: https://tapas.io/episode/783303