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With Great Burrowing…

by on September 18, 2015

“So,” Gaseous Girl said, as the police carted Hiccup Holly away, “Wombat. That’s an interesting name.”  She didn’t exactly mean interesting in the dictionary sense, as in, “attracting one’s attention, creating interest, not dull or boring.” She meant it as a placeholder, for lack of anything else to say.

“Yeah,” said the Wombat. “Sadly necessary. Relates to my superpower. I burrow.”

“You burrow,” Gaseous Girl repeated.

“Yes. I can burrow through pretty much anything. Unstoppable underground, that’s me.”

There was a long, awkward pause. “So…has that been helpful?”

The Wombat shrugged. “You’d be surprised. Even the bad guys who can fly have to come down sometime. When they do, I’m there.”

Gaseous Girl could feel laughter bubbling inside her. It would be rude to laugh at a fellow hero’s power, no matter how dorky it was. She’d never laughed at Buttercup, for example, or the Shining Spork, or Captain Happily Married. She resolutely tried not to think of burrowing, and changed topics. “What’s your origin story? Parents killed tragically when you were eight?”

Two seconds after she said this, she realized she shouldn’t have. Fortunately, the Wombat didn’t seem bothered. “Actually, no. Both my parents are alive and well. They live in Iowa.”

“Oh. You’re the small-town farmer type.”

“Not that either,” the Wombat said. “My dad’s a corporate lawyer. Mom’s a nurse practitioner. Nah, after I got my powers I figured I should set up in my own city.”

Gaseous Girl raised her eyebrows. “Don’t tell me. You were bitten by a radioactive wombat.”

“Genetically enhanced, actually. It might’ve been radioactive too, come to think of it. Didn’t think to ask.”

“Naturally,” Gaseous Girl said. “So then you decided that with great burrowing comes great responsibility?”

“More or less. Seemed like the thing to do.”

Gaseous Girl felt the laughter rising again. Desperately she searched for a new topic. “Got a nemesis yet?”

The Wombat looked grim. “The Hummingbird.”

“Of course. And what’s his deal?”

“It’s a her. She spins. Whirls about like you wouldn’t believe. Never gets dizzy. And she wants to take over the world. Or at least the city block. I don’t think she’s ever got past the city block, actually. Bit myopic.”

“Your nemesis is the Hummingbird.” Gaseous Girl felt like she was repeating things too much. Still, a whirling supervillain? She had a picture of a cape whizzing around in circles like a top. This was not helping her urge to dissolve in giggles. “Look, we don’t have a formal association here in the city or anything, but sometimes we get together on Friday nights. Drinks and whatnot. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Love to,” the Wombat said, looking genuinely pleased. “I thought about joining some group like the Caped Coasties or the LMD, but the Coasties are way out west and I didn’t want to go that far. And the LMD’s headquarters is up on that floating platform carrier thing. Can’t fly, sadly. Just the burrowing.

“Of…course…” Gaseous Girl made a little choking noise. “I’m sorry. I have to go. Sudden emergency. Thanks for the assist.”

“No problem,” said the Wombat. “See you Friday.”  He quite suddenly turned about and dove into the earth. It was a small patch of dirt, an interruption in the sidewalk just big enough to hold a wilted-looking tree. It was apparently sufficient for the Boundless Burrower, though. He was gone in a flash and a spray of earth. Gaseous Girl collapsed in laughter. She didn’t stop for several minutes.

  1. For someone who got teased for being *gaseous* girl, she’s surprisingly unsympathetic to our new wombat-y friend… And she hangs out with someone named Shining Spork? I hope SS shows up in one of the later stories…

    • Oh, I’m sure he will. 🙂
      I think it’s human nature, alas, to be unsympathetic when others are experiencing a problem we have dealt with ourselves. C’est la vie…

  2. Kudos to GG for holding it together. I think I would’ve started laughing or least smirking. The conversation is so casual, like an ordinary conversation, but they’re discussing superpowers and origin stories. You had me grinning from beginning to end. So much fun!

  3. You have the best use of words.. I love the “interruption in the sidewalk” What a picture you paint!

  4. “With great burrowing comes great responsibility” – that has to be one of my most favourite lines ever. 😀

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