Rain was pouring down hard and there were a few rumbles of thunder in the air. As of yet there was no lightning but the threat of it was definitely looming. One strike could come down to Earth at any moment. Most sensible people were inside sheltering from the rain and the cool winds.
One person who was not sheltering from the rain was a young man called Andy who was running for his life. He had been running for some time and every muscle in his body ached. He was constantly gasping for breath but no matter how tired he felt he still kept going nonetheless. If he stopped for even a moment he knew that he would be caught and his life will more or less be over.
Eventually Andy ran down an alleyway and he tripped over a brick that seemed to be conveniently placed down on the ground. The fall caused him to twist his ankle but rather than staying down he got back to his feet and still tried to run. Running was impossible however with his injury and the fasted he could go was a slightly quickened power walk. Other than that he was helpless.
Suddenly Andy felt a strong hand grab onto his shoulder and he was quickly spun around. He saw two tall and muscular men that were familiar to him. They were probably the last people that he wanted to see and were even the ones that he was running away from. Now that they had caught him he thought that he was as good as dead.
Both men wore identical attire which consisted of a white shirt and black trousers which was covered by a large red sash which covered parts of their chest. One of these men had a long beard that looked like it had not been groomed for some time while the other didn't have a single hair on his head. They both looked very intimidating and Andy was more than a little scared of them.
"Please leave me be," begged Andy. He would have fallen to the ground but the men were holding him up. "I just want to go home."
""We're here to take you back home," replied the bald man. His muscles were impressive and he could very well be one of the strongest men in the city.
"I mean my real home, I have a family I need to get back to."
"We are your family now and Brother Neymar is more than a little unhappy with what you've done. We're here to take you back to him for judgement."
"No!" There was genuine fear in his voice. It was as if he was going to be led to the electric chair. "I want to be free!"
"I'm sorry that's no longer an option." He nodded to the bearded man who responded with punching Andy. The blow was powerful enough to knock out the relatively scrawny man. He was soon taken off his feet and carried away.
There were no witnesses to this event, for almost everyone in the city it never happened as Andy was taken away to a fate that he could only contemplate in his nightmares. He had wanted freedom but now he was sure to be trapped for the rest of his life no matter how long or short it might be.
By the next morning the rain had subsided and there was someone else running down the street. It wasn't Andy this time who was running for their life, instead it was Sophie who instead was running to get to school on time. The rain from the night before was still on the ground and she accidentally stepped into a couple of puddles much to her annoyance. Despite this she kept going anyway.
The previous night she had been patrolling the streets as At-Lass and had stopped a few burglaries and a carjacking. Unfortunately all her late night activities had caught up with her and caused her to oversleep. Both her parents had already gone out to work and her brother had been stopping around a friend's house. Because of this there had been no one in the house to wake her up. She had rushed through her morning routine which included washing and grabbing a bite to eat.
Being late for school was the last thing that she wanted, her career as At-Lass was already impacting her school and social life. If she lost her grades her basketball scholarship would be more or less taken away from her. If she lost her scholarship her future was more or less over.
Thankfully for Sophie her activities as At-Lass and her basketball training had made her relatively fit so she could run pretty fast at a steady pace. She could see the school not far away and she had to constantly dodge passed people walking on the street. Many of them did look at her quite strangely but most of them just carried on with their daily routine without taking much notice.
A couple of minutes later Sophie was able to run inside of the school and she was lucky to see that students were still entering the classroom, for her first period she had maths which was a class she found particularly difficult. Unfortunately the classroom was practically on the other side of the school.
Like on the streets before Sophie had to dodge passed many students who were also making their way to class. Unfortunately she was getting out of breath, she was fit but she was still human and couldn't run at this pace forever. There was light at the end of the tunnel when she saw her classroom, many students were still entering the room and she was able to join them.
Slowly Sophie walked into the room and sat down at one of the desks. It was then that she was able to catch her breath. Her muscles ached but she was glad that she was finally in school and in her classroom on time. She barely noticed that she was sitting next to her friend Lizzie who had been there for a few minutes. She had been afraid that Sophie would be late again.
"There you are," said Lizzie while Sophie was still catching her breath. "I was beginning to think that you were going to be late. At least now I don't have to come up with an excuse for you."
"Sorry," replied Sophie as she continued to catch her breath. "I overslept."
"Let me guess, were you gaming for too long last night?" This was more or less a code word between the two girls. It was how they were able to talk about At-Lass without the others realising.
"Yeah I was." She gave a sigh. "I just couldn't stop until all the activities were completed. You know what I'm like, I can't rest until I know that it's all done. I just wish it hadn't have gone so late."
"You could take a break from it, have a vacation maybe."
"You know I can't." She wanted to say more but she along with the rest of the class fell silent as the teacher walked into the room.
The maths teacher was an old man who looked to be in his sixties. He more or less wore a suit for the class and he wore glasses so thick that it was close to impossible to see his eyes. When he had been younger he had aspired to be a professor but he had been stuck with teaching high school level maths and a small part of him hated this. Regardless he had performed his duty quite well over the last few decades.
Most of the class were waiting for whatever boring assignment he had waiting for them. Most of them would love nothing more than to skip Maths as a grade and carry on with more interesting subjects. This wasn't a possibility so they would have to endure it for now and power through it as best as they could.
"Glad to see so many eager faces this morning," said the Teacher. There was a slight rasp to his voice as he was still fighting a cold that had been bugging him for the last week. "Before we get started we have a new student joining us today. I expect all of you to treat her with respect and dignity." He looked towards the door for a moment. "Ok you may come in now." He coughed briefly to try and clear his throat.
No sooner had the Teacher finished speaking the door slowly opened and everyone waited to see who would walk through. A couple of moments passed and eventually the new student entered. She was a young woman with blue hair that at first looked to be dyed and she wore black clothing. She had numerous piercings in her ears and one in her lip. Her clothing gave her a very gothic/emo appearance. She had quite a pretty face with a small amount of black eyeliner and a coat of pale lipstick. One thing that was very striking about her was her height, she was a respectable six foot four tall and she was easily the tallest girl in the class if not the entire school.
Sophie looked at her with a small amount of amazement. She had been used to being around tall people all of her life as her family were naturally very tall. But to others they did feel intimidated by the new students. There were a few whispers between some of the students but when the Teacher cleared his throat the whispers died down.
"Students this is Mary and I expect all of you to show her respect," said the Teacher. He looked up to her, he was easily six feet tall but she still towered above him. "Now if you wouldn't mind young lady can you take a seat so that we can begin the class?"
Mary didn't say a word as she stepped towards the back of the class where there was an empty desk. Most of the students turned to look at her as she sat down, unfortunately she had a couple of problems fitting into the desk. It took her a couple of moments to fit in properly and the lesson soon began.
Sophie was almost bored to sleep as the lesson went on. The Teacher lectured them about mathematical equations and symbols that she thought would have no importance in normal life. She just wanted to get the class over and done with since the next class was art. She was quite good at art and she enjoyed it. She almost enjoyed it as much as basketball but she knew that she wasn't talented enough to pursue a career in art.
After an hour much to everyone's relief the class came to an end and the Teacher dismissed the class but not before giving them homework. Everyone stood up from their desks and a few of the students noticed Mary. A couple of them sniggered and Sophie did notice this. She knew that it was never easy being the tall girl in the class.
One thing that Sophie did notice was that Mary was walking in the same direction as her. It seemed like Mary was heading to the same art class as Sophie. She saw this as the perfect opportunity to talk to her. It was never easy for a new student to fit into a school and she hoped that she could help her ease the process.
"Hey," said Sophie in a friendly manner as she was able to catch up with Mary. It felt strange for her to look up to another woman. She was used to looking up at her sister but not a fellow female student.
"What do you want?" replied Mary in a somewhat annoyed tone. This made Sophie a little hesitant but she carried on anyway.
"I just wanted to say hello to you." She tried to be as friendly as she could so that Mary could see that there wasn't any malice to their meeting. "I saw you in class and I thought that you might want to talk."
"About what exactly?"
"Anything you want really, I'll start us off… My name is Sophie and I'm guessing that your name is Mary."
"That's right." She didn't seem to be all that interested in the conversation as she just wanted to get through the day.
"I have to say that I love your hair. You've gotta tell me what kind of dye you use on it." This was her way of trying to be friendly but she saw Mary roll her eyes with some annoyance.
"It's not dyed and I would appreciate if you don't bring it up again. Now are we done or do you have to point out another of my abnormalities?"
"I'm sorry I didn't mean too…" She was at a loss for words. She had been sure that Mary's hair had been dyed. The fact that it wasn't surprised her more than the fact that a person could grow or shrink in size.
"It's alright." She gave a sigh. "I'm sorry if I'm being short with you but I've just had a difficult time."
"That's fine, I am here to talk to you if you need me."
With that Mary walked ahead and Sophie looked at her. She could see that she was an unusual person. It wasn't even the fact that she was so tall that was most shocking but the fact that her hair wasn't dyed. She had seen blue haired people in cartoons but never had she seen someone with natural blue hair. She just thought that it was odd and if she were to talk to the young woman again she wouldn't bring it up.
Another part of the day seemed to flash by and eventually it was time for lunch. Sophie was hungrier than she like to admit as she had missed breakfast. Also using the At-Lass suit would sap some of her calories and her body would desperately need compensation. Because of this at lunch that day she ate a meal that was easily twice the amount that she would normally eat. If anyone asked her why she was eating so much she would say that it was a late growth spurt. The truth was that she was still growing and at this point in time she was actually closer to being six feet tall rather than five eleven. She didn't expect to have a big growth spurt, just one that would increase her height by an inch, two at the most.
As usual Lizzie sat at the same table with Sophie. They spoke to one another about things such as schoolwork and basketball practice. Their coach Emilia had been pushing them hard and it seemed to be working for the better. They had won the last couple of games but their next match was against Trammere High which had yet to lose a game. If they could win this they were well on their way to reaching the reginal championships.
At one point while Sophie was eating Lizzie noticed a couple of spots on Sophie's arms. As she looked at them she realised that they weren't spot but tiny bruises. She looked at Sophie who was still eating and she didn't seem to notice what her friend was looking at until it was blatantly obvious.
"What are you looking at?" asked Sophie as she ate a spoonful of beans along with some mashed potato.
"It's just your arm," replied Lizzie. "You have tiny bruises on them, how did you get those?"
"They're nothing." She looked around to check if anyone else was listening. "They're gunshot wounds." Her voice was so quiet that it was almost like a whisper. The answer surprised Lizzie though.
"Gunshot wounds?" Her voice was quiet but barely. "You've been shot?"
"Yeah it happens from time to time, it's not that big of a deal." She took another big mouthful of mashed potato. "Don't worry my suit is bulletproof so instead of killing me it just leaves a bruise."
"But what about your head? The suit doesn't cover your head?"
"That's why I have to be careful, I try to take down the bad guys before they can shoot me but sometimes they got a shot or two in before I get the chance."
Lizzie wanted to say more but their conversation was cut short when they saw Mary standing by the table. She hadn't heard what they were saying and her sudden appearance did catch them by surprise. She loomed over them at sitting down it only made the new girl look even taller.
"Sorry if I bothered you," said Mary as she looked down at the two women. "I was just wondering if I could sit here."
"Sure," replied Sophie. "There's plenty of room." She didn't say another word before Mary placed her tray on the table and then sat down. Like the desk she had a small amount of difficulty squeezing into it.
"Thanks, is the cafeteria normally this busy?"
"Nah not really, it's just that they're serving pizza today." She took a bite out of the pizza that was in her hand. She chewed it for a few moments before swallowing it. "It's not even all that good."
"If we don't eat it we could always use it as superglue," added Lizzie who had decided to go with a salad that day. All three of the girls laughed for a moment before they each ate a little more of their lunch.
For the next few minutes not a single girl spoke as they continued to eat their lunches. They were not the tastiest of lunches but it would be enough to give them the energy that they needed for the rest of the day. They were just disappointed that there wasn't that much flavour to them.
"Where did you move from anyway?" asked Lizzie as she looked over to Mary. There had been some introductions prior to this and she just wanted to know more about this tall, blue haired girl.
"I was from St Louis but my dad got himself a job here so we had to move." She gave a sigh. "Now I feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere, no offense."
"None taken, what is it like in St Louis anyway? It's one of those places I've always wanted to visit."
"It's a pretty nice city, but it's not like New York or Las Vegas. But there is one thing that this city has in common with St Louis, it also had a superhero."
"I think that we've heard about that," replied Sophie. She knew that she wasn't the only superhero in the world but she was always curious to hear about others. "I forget who he is though?"
"Well technically no one knows who he really is. He goes by the name of Captain Superior and I saw him once when I was out shopping. I remember there was a car flying through the air and I would have been crushed if he hadn't of caught it in the air." She could imagine the scene playing in her head as she spoke. She did have a small crush on him although she kept this information to herself. "Have you guys seen your superhero? I forget her name now, what was it?"
"It's At-Lass and no we haven't seen her." She wanted to play things cool as she didn't want anyone to figure out that she was the superheroine. "I've seen her on the news but never in the flesh."
"Too bad, I couldn't imagine standing next to someone that big. Everyone considers me to be tall but compared to her I would be like a doll. I wonder one day if I will see her, it would be weird though."
"I can imagine." It felt a little odd for her for someone to be talking about her like this. For now no one knew that she was At-Lass but it was likely that there were people trying to connect the dots. When she was At-Lass only her goggles covered her face but thankfully her suit allowed her to change her body type. Rather than looking for a tall, skinny girl they would be looking for a shorter and more muscular woman. It was subtle changes like that which helped keep her identity secret. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you get so tall? I'm tall because my dad's like six and a half feet tall and I have a brother and sister that are both taller than me. Do you have tall parents but if you don't want to answer that's fine, I can imagine that it's a touchy subject."
"My parents are average, it's just me that's really tall." Sophie was surprised that Mary actually answered but in a way she was glad that she did. "I would have been even taller but I was given these drugs to stop growing. If I hadn't taken those I could have been around six eight or maybe even taller.
"Oh I see." She wanted to say something else but she decided to keep quiet. She thought what she might say could be seen as offensive so she kept it to herself.
The three young woman continued to talk to one another. To Sophie it seemed nice that Mary seemed to be fitting in. She would like to think that she had found a friend but she did have to tread carefully, she didn't want to do anything that could potentially force her new friend away.
Hours passed and the school day flew by very quickly. Before Sophie knew it she was out on the streets again. She was once again flying through the air as At-Lass and so far it seemed to be a quiet night. Nothing of any real interest was taking place and her mind was beginning to wander towards her real life.
If things stayed this quiet she thought that she could call it an early night and make her way back home. She was behind on her sleep and she really needed a good night's sleep. If she went through the day overly tired she wouldn't be helping anyone, especially those who really needed it.
"Hey Doc I've been flying for hours but nothing seems to be happening," said At-Lass as she continued to fly through the air. When she had first been able to fly like this it had been a great feeling but the novelty had worn off and it had become somewhat tedious for her. "I haven't had a decent night's sleep for a week."
"We'll keep going for a little while longer," replied Doctor Julius who spoke to her through her communicator. "I have a feeling that if we pack this in early something big might happen."
"You're just being paranoid."
"That might be true…" He paused for a moment as he heard something on a police radio which was close to where he was sitting. He had to wait to hear the entire message before he fed it back to At-Lass. "Sophie I've just heard something on the radio. There's a man whose going to jump off a building along Terrence Way, you're not far from there. Can you do something to try and help him?"
"I think so, if I can't talk him out of it hopefully I can catch him if he does decide to jump. Change my course Doc."
With a couple of keystrokes Doctor Julius changed the direction that At-Lass was flying. Quickly she began to head towards Terrence Way and she flew quite fast. A few times she had to dodge passed some objects, if she were to strike them the impact and fall would likely kill her.
Within a couple of minutes At-Lass arrived on the scene and saw the man standing on top of a relatively tall building. There were some police on the ground and the fire service had set up a net in case he decided to jump. Quickly At-Lass landed on the ground and grew to around six feet tall. She walked up to one of the officers on the scene, normally they would tell civilians to step aside but with At-Lass they knew that someone like her could help them. She could definitely reach the suicidal man quicker than anyone there.
""What's happening here?" asked At-Lass as she looked up at the building and then looked at the officer.
"We've got a jumper," replied the Officer. He was quite tall and at her present height At-Lass did have to look up to him although that could change within a moment. "For the moment we have no idea who he is but he's rambling on about escaping. Not sure exactly what he's escaping from."
"Maybe he's escaping life itself." She then looked up at the building once again. "I can grow and pick him up from the building before he decides to jump. I think I can grow that tall."
"Be careful, when someone is like this they can be very unpredictable. What you might see as trying to help them they might see as you trying to harm them. Take great care and hopefully things will turn out for the better."
At-Lass nodded as she took a few steps towards the building. She spoke a couple of words to Doctor Julius before she felt herself beginning to grow. The world around her was shrinking rapidly as her height increased dramatically. From her point of view it was like she was on some kind of elevator and within seconds she was as tall as the building. She continued to grow until she was a hundred feet tall and although her strength was not at its maximum it would do for the task at hand. She also knew that she had to be quick, she couldn't really stay at this size for too long before her body began to feel the effects. She could be at sixty feet for as long as she wanted but anything bigger than that would become a strain.
Her sudden appearance did scare the man and he jolted back a few steps. She could see the tears rolling down his face and the distinct look of fear. However she knew that it wasn't her that he was afraid of. It was something else, something that was more terrifying than she could have imagined.
"Hi there?" said At-Lass in a cheery voice. She tried to seem upbeat and happy in order to make the man feel better. "If you've been living under a rock for the last few months then I'll have to introduce myself. I'm At-Lass and I'm here to help you in any way I can, first off what's your name?"
"A-Adam," replied the man with some shock in his voice. The fact that he was staring into the face of a one hundred foot woman was one of the last things he expected to happen on this night.
"Ok Adam, I've come here because you're threatening to do something that I consider to be very silly. Now tell me why you're trying to do this." Her voice was very pleasant and she was purposely keeping her voice relatively quiet. This was to try and keep Adam as relaxed as possible.
"I need to escape. There's no other way of me doing it." There was still panic in his voice which made At-lass somewhat on edge. She was ready to grab him if need be but she wanted to use her words first.
"Escape from what exactly? Life itself?"
"N-No, not that."
"Then what is it?"
Adam couldn't say the words and he quickly darted towards one the edge of the building. He went to jump but just as he jumped At-Lass grabbed him from out of the air. She was surprised that she could somewhat feel his weight. It was just another reminder that she wasn't as strong as she looked.
"Oh no you don't," said At-Lass. "I don't care how much you want to die I'm not letting you." She began to slowly lower him to the ground and she could see a few policemen swarming around her feet. However rather than wanting to arrest a criminal they were eager to help this poor man in his time of need. When his feet touched the ground she gently let go of him and someone placed a blanket around him.
Mere moments later an ambulance appeared to take Adam to hospital. They were going to have to take him to the psychiatric ward for observation. At-Lass stood to her full height and watched as the ambulance pulled away. She had no idea what had caused the man to want to kill himself but she was just glad that she could help him in his time of need.