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First Time

by on January 5, 2015

Another high point in every superhero’s life is the first time he or she goes public. Rarely is it the first time they use their powers. There’sĀ  always the usual string of unexplained incidents: lives being saved in mysterious fashion, loud noises late at night, bursts of light where no light should be. For Gaseous Girl, she had performed 17 heroic rescues, averted 32 crimes of middling severity, and saved the planet from collapsing into an alternate hell-dimension before people finally noticed her.

She’d been asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Elizabeth’s wedding. Elizabeth had chosen purple for her bridesmaid’s dresses. Madeleine wasn’t wildly fond of purple, but there were worse colors, so she made her peace with it. She dutifully marched down the aisle, took her place up front, and tried not to yawn as Elizabeth and what’s his face promised to love and cherish, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, etc. Then came the reception, a bit of dancing, various small speeches, and finally the throwing of the bouquet. Madeleine gathered with the rest of her unattached companions and watched as the flowers traced a lazy arc towards her.

Of course, the Owl Bandit would pick that moment to attack. Why he decided to rob a wedding reception no one ever knew. But rob it he did, or tried to. He stormed into the reception hall, waved around his Death Ray, and demanded that everyone get down right now, or else. Then he launched into what seemed a prepared speech about Society, and the Economy, and Systemic Problems, and several other grievances, the solution to which involved everyone there handing over their money and valuables to him.

Madeleine thought quickly. There were six different ways she could take out the Owl Bandit, but all of them involved going public. If she only had a mask or something she could make a stab at preserving her real identity, but she didn’t have one. Normally she carried a mask in her pocket just in case, but her fancy purple bridesmaid’s dress didn’t have a pocket. Granted, Elizabeth would not have expected her bridesmaids to cavort around in their dresses saving the world, but come on. What was she supposed to do?

There was only one solution. With a sigh, Madeleine carefully tore a strip of cloth from the dress. Two tiny flame bursts got her a pair of eyeholes. Wincing as she thought of losing her damage deposit, she wrapped the strip of cloth around her face. She had miscalculated. The right hole wasn’t anywhere near her right eye, so half her field of vision was swallowed up by purple cloth. It couldn’t be helped. Madeleine leaped to her feet, fire rippling from her hands. She had, at least, prepared her first line. “Back off, Owl Bandit, or know the fiery fury of justice!”

It had sounded ringing and heroic when she’d practiced. Now, in the reception hall, with people looking on, it sounded stupid. Fiery fury? Really? Oy. Madeleine wished she could do it over, but she didn’t have time. “Who the heck are you?” the Owl Bandit said in mild bemusement.

She had forgotten this part. She hadn’t picked a name yet. Madeleine almost face-palmed. All the work on her line, on costume design, on power practice, and she’d forgotten a name. Then the Owl Bandit mooted the point. “Whoever you are, prepare to eat death ray!” He promptly fired it at her. The blast knocked her right through the wedding cake. The cake was irretrievably destroyed. Madeleine, fortunately, wasn’t. She bounded up and burped fire at the Owl Bandit, knocking him into the sound system. He wasn’t a flying brick like her, so the impact put him nicely down for the count. Madeleine had a second line prepared, something about how evil never triumphs over good, but she gave it up with a sigh. Instead, she leaped over the maid of honor, ran through the reception hall’s main doors, and soared away into the sky.

She never could explain to the bridal shop how her dress had been ripped up and scorched so badly. “There was an accident with the unity candle,” she tried, and left it at that. She still had to pay through the nose for the damage. And so began her heroic career as Gaseous Girl.



  1. Gaseous Girl rocks! Thank you for a really fun read. Nicely done!

  2. Ah, so this was how Gaseous Girl came to be! I love her character and the ‘Owl Bandit’ sounds very funny. I’m still trying to picture ‘mild bemusement’ on an Owls face šŸ˜€ Well done for a fab story!

    • I left it deliberately ambiguous as to whether the Owl Bandit is an actual owl or someone dressing up as an owl, like Owlman from Justice League: Crisis on Two Worlds. Either interpretation works. šŸ™‚

  3. Haha! Love it. Another page in the development of a superhero. I love how the adlib mask didn’t quite work out. That’s actually perfect. And then having to pay for the damages to the dress, that’s real superheroing. Great fun as always.

    • A lot of superhero movies don’t attend to these little details, I find. šŸ˜€

  4. That was just fantastic. Like Eric, I really enjoyed your attending to the finer details, and especially the way you effortlessly worked “cavort” into the story.

  5. Now that is a backstory. Love that her reveal happened at a wedding. Hopefully, the bride didn’t feel too upstaged. I’m enjoying getting to know Gaseous Girl better. šŸ™‚

    • I’m getting married myself next December, so I suppose weddings are on my mind. I don’t imagine my bride will have a superheroine as her bridesmaid, though…. šŸ˜‰

  6. Who doesn’t love a good origin story šŸ™‚ I love the fiery fury fail, and I totally understand the desire to face palm. And hey, congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

    • Thanks! And I like the phrase “fiery fury fail.” Say that three times fast.

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