I looked cool. I knew I looked cool, but the tightness of the suit wasn’t remotely comfortable, and I couldn’t really claim to look heroic. My suit was straight black. The material was textured with the center of my chest having an emblem that matched Calamity’s. “The Shade of Calamity” was the agreed upon name between my friends. The name was meant to further demonstrate that I was just a sidekick, since I shouldn’t be outshining the hero herself.
I was using magic to bend light around me inconsistently, creating dark areas in deeper darkness over the whole suit. Alma had helped me tailor the spell to cover the cape well, since my initial attempt was less than perfect. In a darkened room, I’d practically be invisible. In the light, I looked as an ever-shifting shadow free of any person projecting me. Due to how the light was being shifted, I didn’t actually cast my own shadow, which I thought was pretty neat.
“James, I see him.” stated Portentia.
“I’m coming.” I replied.
Both of our suits had a large number of electronics built into them, letting Mila track all sorts of information as well as project speech onto Portentia’s eyepieces. I didn’t even realize Mila was helping in Portentia’s crime-fighting until tonight. With Mila’s aid, Portentia was able to find out where crime was happening in real time, greatly increasing the number of crimes she stopped per day.
The only reason Portentia used her ticket tonight was because she had confronted a “supervillain” last night after Jarod’s reception. The man was stronger and faster than her, able to elude her easily. Oddly, her account of the encounters made no mention of the man attempting to fight her. He just broke free of her grip and ran repeatedly.
I crouched next to Portentia on the second floor balcony of the abandoned church. Then I touched her shoulder to make sure she knew I was there. A faint, red circle surrounded a man’s head through my suit’s lenses.
“That’s him?” I asked in a whisper.
The man was overweight, possibly in his mid-fifties. His balding head had a mix of brown and grey hair. His suit was surprisingly immaculate, save for being a bit large on him.
“What has this guy done?” I asked.
“Watch, master.” stated Mila.
The lenses of my suit illuminated with poor quality video, probably from a security camera. The man grabbed a woman as she was passing an alley, pulling her into it. The poor quality of the video made me question whether this was the same man, but the clothes and recognizable features were very similar if not identical.
“They might have known each other.” I suggested.
“All I found was her phone and one of her shoes.” replied Portentia.
“Who’s the other guy?” I asked.
“Michael T. Williams, a petty thief with a large rap sheet.” replied Mila, displaying his convictions for me.
“Fine-fine. Shall we jump down and greet them then?” I asked.
Portentia grinned and jumped.
“You again? I told you to leave me alone!” exclaimed the balding man.
I jumped behind them.
“Hey! I haven’t done anything!” exclaimed Michael.
“Today.” stated Portentia. Then she pointed to the balding man and said, “You still haven’t told me what happened to that woman?”
“What woman?” he replied with an amused tone.
“Marla Allen.” she told him.
“You keep following me, and I’m going to have to hurt you, Calamity.” he claimed. “Yes, I’ve heard about you.”
I grabbed his shoulder and said, “Just don’t.” The distortion provided by the suit was pretty neat sounding.
The man sneered and seemed to melt under my grasp. I clutched his wrist, but his body might as well have been a thick goo. I quickly created a spell Alma had shown me for dealing with slippery vampires, hoping it’d work as I tried to grab him a few more times. Releasing the spell, I took a step back and watched the man float into the air. His eyes went wide and he made a few attempts to force his way out, but there wasn’t a way without magic as long as I could maintain the spell.
“What are you people!?” exclaimed Michael.
“Superheroes, Michael T. Williams. We know where you live. Don’t go back to crime. We’ll know.” stated Portentia. Then she motioned for him to leave.
He ran quickly, stumbling over debris in his haste.
The balding man was still fighting to break free, but the spell reacted to motion, creating a telekinetic force to oppose any movement that would break its boundaries. Against humans, the spell was dangerous, potentially cutting them off from air. Fortunately, this man didn’t seem very human.
“Are you a vampire?” I asked.
He glared at me.
“If you’re not, I don’t want you to suffocate.” I told him.
“I’m not then. Release me.” he replied, obviously lying.
“We can’t hand him over to the police.” I stated.
Portentia nodded but said, “We can’t let him go either if he’s a murderer.” She sounded determined.
“Master, a phone just turned on, possibly inside him.” stated Mila. “He attempted to call a John Smith, probably an alias.”
“Who are you calling?” asked Portentia. “Your boss?”
Shock was quite evident on the man’s face.
“I’m sorry, but this is probably the worst city for whatever endeavors you hope to accomplish.” I told him.
Portentia stepped between the man and me and started signing <Should we turn him over to Alma? She’ll just kill him. I haven’t actually caught an older, bad vampire before. You’re sure he is one, right?>
I nodded. :Aaliyah, is this man a murderer?: I asked in my head.
:Oh, he’s killed people, boss-man, sir, but he always believes in his reasons. He came to town planning to avenge his boss, his friend, whom Alma had killed.: she replied.
Back and forth they went. Slayers killed vampires, vampires killed the family of the Slayers.
“Call Zachary Blood.” I stated.
“Who’s that?” asked Portentia.
I smiled and said, “He knows. His new jailor.”
“Jailor? What’s this? Are you in town?” asked Zachary.
“No, but I was hoping you could speak to a vampire for me about coming to visit you. He murdered someone, upset the local superhero, and is going to get himself killed at this rate.” I explained.
“Oh, I see. Thank you. Please, put him on.” stated Zachary.
“Mila, can you add him to the call?” I asked.
“Of course, master.” she replied.
“Hello?” asked the man, his voice quivering.
The conversation was brief, but I simply let the man go afterward.
“That’s it? Why wouldn’t he run?” demanded Portentia.
“He won’t. He gave his word to one of the eldest vampires in the world, someone I believe he respects.” I told her.
“But…” started Portentia.
I interrupted her, saying, “I trust him. Trust me on this. He won’t cause any more trouble.”
“Fine, but there are still some bad guys out there. Is Mila showing you the gunfire near the docks?” asked Portentia.
“Let’s go stop a gang fight.” I told her, lifting her and running.
With my help, Portentia made a new personal record for crimes stopped in a night. The gang members were fortunately human and easily subdued. We left them for the police and ambulance after a bit of first aid and plenty of duct tape. Mila was great at leaving “tips from Calamity” through anonymous texts, calls, and emails, which she did repeatedly as we stopped a number of smaller crimes before the sun rose. Overall, I felt good about the night.