There was chatter on the police scanner about an armed robbery from some man who had some sort of ice powers. He and some other masked goons were stomping around some bank in downtown Drake and it was just a short flight away for Traci to get there. However, there were two many eyes and cameras in the downtown area and Traci had agreed with her mother that she was not ready for Drake to have hard evidence of her existence yet. That was why her father had moved the family out to the suburbs before he disappeared. So he could keep his secret identity hidden a little easier. As far as Traci and her mom knew, that secret was still safe so Traci was not going to do anything to endanger that or her own secret.
It sucked because Traci knew that taking on a bunch of guys with guns and somebody with ice powers would be really fun. She had yet to encounter anyone with powers yet as most of them had kept a low profile in recent years. Either that or the powers and abilities themselves were just now re-emerging after a long dormant period. Kind of like Dr. Laco’s lectures about cicadas. Whatever the case, Traci sometimes got a little stir crazy attending pep rallies and study sessions instead of being out with other people with powers. That frustration sometimes made her want to punch something. As the tree in the backyard could attest, that punch was a truly destructive force. She and her mom had to lie and say that lightning struck it.
So now Traci was out flying out over the forests one county over in Lucas County. It was peaceful out there and it had become Traci’s version of going out for a jog. Of course, she jogged too but with a few of her friends and she had to pace herself so she did not outrun them all. Out here in the wilds, she could really cut loose as long as she kept a low profile and watched for lights out in the wilderness. The rush of the wind along her body was a total thrill and these were the only times she was sorry that she had cut her hair so short. At least she felt safe enough not to wear her mask out here in the country air. It felt awesome to be free in that night air to dart around over the trees. One day, she would feel this free in the middle of Drake City.
Her watched chimed as she was doing some lazy circles around the tallest oak in the forest which meant it was time to go back home. If she did not get to bed, she would not be remotely willing to get up in the morning to face the day. High school was daunting enough with eight hours of sleep, Traci could not imagine how bad it could get if she was sleepy and slightly grumpy all day. Besides, if she stayed out much longer her mother would worry and there would be a lecture and plenty of guilt. Nobody wanted that. Traci used her compass to point herself toward home and started to fly at a steady pace.
“What are you doing out here alone?” said a shouted female voice from her left. Traci stopped short to look in that direction. There was a woman dressed in some form-fitting black leather costume who was watching Traci with an amused look on her face. It was important to note that both of them were currently several stories above the trees and even further from the ground. Traci scrambled to pull her mask on. This had obviously never happened before.
“Who are you?” Traci shouted back. It was the best thing she could think of saying even if it sounded a little too flustered and silly after she said it.
“I call myself the Hammer,” the woman said. “What do you call yourself, young lady?”
“That’s confidential,” Traci answered. She was trying to keep her voice neutral. She was also trying to keep some space between herself and the woman.
“Mysterious. So, I guess we have to fight now,” the Hammer said.
“Wait, what!?” Traci asked. “Are you crazy?” Of course, Traci did not get an answer to that because the Hammer lunged and swung a fist at Traci’s face. Traci was so stunned that the punch landed and she found herself hurtling through the air. She was seeing stars for the first time in her life. She somehow avoided flying into a tree in that blindness. She looked around and could not see the woman around as she wove her way through the trees.
Suddenly, the woman lunged from behind a tree but, this time, Traci evaded her strike and threw a punch of her own. Her fist connected and it was now the Hammer’s turn to fly off into the trees. Of course, Traci could instantly feel that she had broken her thumb. Maybe it would be good to actually learn how to throw a punch before the next fight. Traci looked around but the Hammer was nowhere in sight. She flew into the night and wondered what that crazy woman’s intentions had been. Was she still out there?