The two thieves waited silently in the alley, resting their backs against the wall. The tall thin woman, who called herself Vesper, flipped a coin from hand to hand idly. Coal, the short, fat and ugly man, smoked a cigarette.
“He’s late,” Vesper checked her watch irritably, “typical.”
“Good thing justice isn’t,” said a voice from the alley’s mouth.
The thieves looked up, startled. Standing there, blocking out the light, were five teenagers. One of them, who was holding a cricket bat, pointed at Coal, who held in his other hand a small and beautiful brooch.
“That’s not yours now is it?”
“Good guess,” he stubbed the cigarette out on the wall and hurled it to the ground before stuffing the brooch into a back pocket, “what are you? Vigilantes? Give me a break.”
“Criminals who litter,” hissed Lee, “the worst kind!”
“They’re kind of cute aren’t they?” Vesper had wandered over, hands in pockets.
“Hand over the brooch,” Adelaide ignored her, “and this doesn’t need to end in bloodshed.”
“Aww,” Coal pouted theatrically, “but I like bloodshed.”
“If you want the brooch,” Vesper said, “you’ll have to come and take it, now won’t you?”
She flexed her fingers and suddenly her body began to blur and flicker. Coal grinned and breathed out, releasing a cloud of greenish fumes that swirled above their heads before dissipating.
“Oh come on,” Francis put a hand to his face, “guys I just lost ten pounds to the most annoying person in the entire world. You’re so much better than this. Just because you’re super-humans…”
Emma smirked. Neither Coal nor Vesper said anything. Instead, they attacked.
Vesper moved fast, very fast, her body one grey coloured blur. Her fist lashed out with a punch that Adelaide barely avoided, then swept up with a jab that caught her between the ribs and knocked her back, winded. Leaping forward Adelaide retaliated, swinging her cricket bat around. Vesper jerked backwards and ducked under it, then fired a succession of punches towards Adelaide. The first few caught the target in the face, stunning her. The last thudded into the cricket bat and Vesper yelped and pulled her bruised hand away.
Coal had lunged forward and breathed a cloud of his green gas into Francis’ face. He choked and fell back, momentarily blinded and stunned by the fumes. A fist came out of the greenish cloud towards him but he stumbled out of its reach. Coal’s leg kicked out and knocked him off balance, tumbling him to the ground. Coal stood over him and cracked his knuckles. A noise made him look up, and Lydia punched him round the face.
Vesper coiled back her arm to punch Adelaide again but something held it in place and it refused to move. Lee was holding his hands out towards her, his face a mask of concentration. Emma stepped between them, hands aflame. She smiled at Vesper, receiving only a scowl in return. Running forward, once more a blur of speed, Vesper skirted around Emma, who tried to stretch out her hand but was a fraction of a second too slow. Vesper kicked Lee in the ribs and he fell back, winded. Her arm unfreezing, Vesper spun and hit Emma in the side of the head. She fell forward with a yelp, her fires extinguished.
Lydia and Coal were locked in a struggle, Coal punching Lydia repeatedly. She snarled in the back of her throat. Then she unhinged her jaw, the lines on either side swinging open to their full extent, flaps of skin falling down so that they were open hugely wide. Snapping her head forward Lydia attempted to stuff Coal’s face into her mouth. He made a muffled scream and waved his arms around, staggering towards the wall and clawing at his assailant.
Adelaide had run up behind Vesper all the while she had been attacking Lee and Emma, and swung her cricket bat at the back of her head. Vesper seemed to hear it and spun around, catching it deftly in one hand. She grinned at Adelaide, then Emma punched her in the side of the head with a hand of fire and she shrieked with pain. Her hand lashed out to smash Emma’s jaw in, but Emma’s head had already been pulled out of the way. Lee grinned and gave them both a thumbs up.
Francis had got to his feet and advanced on the struggling Coal. He’d just succeeded in pulling Lydia from him and had thrown her away. He came at Francis with a fist that passed through his head, then Francis ducked through him and he was staring around in bafflement. At the same time Lydia jumped up and tried to hit his face. He jerked his head away, or at least that was what he tried to do, but a hand from behind held his head steady, and Lydia punched him right between the eyes.
Adelaide swung her leg around and hit Vesper, her opponent looked about to topple, then she lunged forward with lightning speed and did a hand stand, twisting herself away from the two fiery fists. When she landed though she fell into a crouch, at exactly the same time as Lee’s knee came up and smacked her on the chin. She crumpled backwards into a heap.
There was silence. Coal was lying prone upon the floor, Vesper also spreadeagled messily on the ground. Adelaide looked around her with a triumphant grin.
“Wow guys!” She said, “That was amazing!”
Lee beamed, Emma did a sort of smirk. Lydia and Francis looked at each other. Francis recoiled and Lydia glanced down at herself, then reattached her jaw with an embarrassed groan and a click.
“That was really cool by the way,” Francis said, “you were great.”
“I was terrified,” Lydia replied. Then she smiled, “I guess adrenaline kicked in.”
“Right guys,” Adelaide said, “guess its time we got that brooch and returned it to its rightful owner.”
“Not so fast!”
Adelaide paused and turned around. Vesper had got to her feet and was flexing herself, bending her neck around with small, precise movements.
“You call that a fight?” She said with a scowl, “we were just warming up.”
Behind Francis and Adelaide, Coal stood up. He cracked his knuckles and greenish smoke poured from his mouth. His eyes glittered with menace.
“Yeah,” he said, “now it’s time we really got this party started.”