Every superhero is different. This one is the most different than them all.
“The Challenged Avenger”
A Short Story
The light from the hallway was the only thing that lighted the entrance to a small living room after a door is opened. Sarah stepped into that lighted door. She walked into that living room and stopped. “Is there someone in here?”
Sarah flipped on the lights in the living room. She slowly scanned that room with only her eyes. “I know someone is here.”
“I’m deaf, not blind. Saw my light on in my bedroom.”
Suddenly Sarah had a worried look on her face. “Oh no, not the bedroom.”
Sarah almost smashed through the closed door to her bedroom when she ran in there. She did knock the door off its hinges, though. The lights were still on in there. Sarah slowly started scanning that room too. After scanning that room walked over to her closet and opened it. Sarah tapped the underside of the closet shelf. The back wall popped open.
It doesn’t look like you discovered this. She thought as she stared at a costume hanging behind that opened wall.
A few minutes later something that sounded like a lamp or a vase got smashed in the living room. Only it wasn’t Sarah who suddenly appeared from that bedroom. It was a man with that costume on. Just before he entered the sound of a breaking window could be heard by the man in the living room. He looked up just as The Challenged Avenger entered.
The Challenged Avenger appeared in the bedroom doorway. “How dare you take advantage of the challenged. Anyone who tries to do that has to answer to me.”
# # #
“I am Officer Sarah Garden. What can you tell me about what you heard about what happened to you?” Sarah leaned forward in her Officer uniform to be face to face with Kevin.
“Are you blind like me? No, you can’t. You’re a cop. I can’t tell you what I saw because I can’t see.”
Sarah sighed. “I didn’t ask you what you saw. I’m interested in what you heard.”
Kevin suddenly had an embarrassing look on his face. “I’m sorry. I thought you said saw. That’s what they usually ask me when something like this happens.”
“Can you repeat that? I know that you said something because I saw the corner of your mouth moving. But I couldn’t hear what you said.”
A few seconds later Sarah continued. “You need to face my voice when you talk. I’m challenged just like you. Only instead of being blind, I’m deaf. So, can you tell me what you heard.”
Kevin turned slightly to face Sarah. “There isn’t much to say. I was walking down the street when three young sounding men approached me and told me to give them my money.”
“Just then there was a breeze that shot past me,” continued Kevin. “Then I heard what sounded like fighting.”
“Did you ever hear who helped you?” Sarah asked.
“No, I didn’t. But I know who it was. After he said, ‘You shouldn’t have tried to take advantage of the challenge,’ I knew who it was. It was The Challenged Avenger.”
# # #
Monica struggled to free herself from the man sitting on top of her. When she couldn’t do that, Monica started kicking her feet at the dresser with a lit lamp on top of it.
Officer Dean Mitchell knocked on a door. When there was no answer Dean looked over at his partner Sarah. He knocked again. “Police Officers. Is everything okay? We got a report of a possible break-in.”
“Even if she’s in there she’s not going to be able to answer you,” said Sarah. “She can’t speak.”
Sarah and Dean faced the door and kicked it in. They ran in there with their revolvers drawn. Both used their revolvers to scan the living room. Sarah suddenly stopped. Her revolver was pointed at a door with a light flickering under it. She turned toward Dean and whistled softly. Dean looked at Sarah. “I think we just found Monica.”
A few seconds later Dean and Sarah broke in that door. The man was still sitting on Monica. He looked at the door and rolled off her. As he came to a standing position he grabbed Monica. When he reached that position, he had Monica in front of him with a knife to her throat.
Dean and Sarah looked at each other. “You stay here and try to talk him down,” said Sarah. “I’ll go and find him.”
Sarah ran out that room. A few minutes later The Challenged Avenger smashed through the window. The sound of breaking glass caused the man to turn in that direction. As The Challenged Avenger dove into that room, he brought his foot up to smash against the face of that man.
# # #
“Who is The Challenged Avenger?” Brandon asked. “Where did he come from? What is he doing here now? Why does he only go after those trying to take advantage of the Challenged?”
“I’m Brandon Jamison, and you are watching The Brandon Jamison Show. Today we are talking about The Challenged Avenger. And to help us learn more about him I have invited the one person who seems to know him best, Officer Sarah Garden.”
Brandon sat in a chair across from Sarah. Dean stood next to Brandon. He was using sign language to communicate with Sarah. “The first thing that I think everyone wants to know is how do you know The Challenged Avenger? Is it because both of you are deaf?”
“The first time I meet him he saved me from a mugger. When he learned I was a cop, he asked me to keep my eyes open and to let him know whenever a challenged person was in trouble.”
Over the next hour Brandon had a lot of questions for Sarah. And she did her best to answer all of them. “The show is almost over with for today, and we only have time for one more question. And that question is, who is the stupidest crook that The Challenged Avenger has stopped?”
Sarah didn’t answer him for about a minute. “There has been a lot of them. But the stupidest one has to be the one who told the armless man to raise his hands.”
# # #
William sped up his wheelchair as he rolled down a semi-busy sidewalk. He glanced over his shoulder and saw four young men running toward him. So, he picked up his speed by pushing his speed control forward. William returned his gaze in front of him just as he reached the top of that small him.
Suddenly, William pulled back on his speed control as he started rolling down the other side of that hill fast. His brakes squealed. But it didn’t slow him down. William kept pulling back on his speed control. The wheelchair started to slow him down a little, but not enough. He started speeding up again.
The four young men were running right behind him. They were almost caught up him when a breeze shot past them. That breeze was The Challenged Avenger. He stopped in front of William. The Challenged Avenger placed his outstretched hands on the arms of William’s wheelchair. Then he used his feet to stop that wheelchair as it reached the bottom of that hill. It stopped just before entering a busy intersection.
“We didn’t try to rob him,” said one of the four young men as they ran into the back of William. “All we were doing was teasing him.”
“Maybe you weren’t going to rob him, but you shouldn’t be teasing him either,” said The Challenged Avenger as he walked up to the four young men. “You still shouldn’t be doing it.”
# # # # #
Sarah and Dean were walking down a hallway. Dean stopped and tapped Sarah on her shoulder. Sarah stopped too and faced Dean. “What apartment does Karen live in again?”
“It’s apartment twenty-three.” Sarah pointed to the third door on her side. “It should be that one.”
“On the way here, you said that Karen was different than most challenged individuals,” said Dean. “Do you know who this Karen is?”
“Why did you ask me that?” Sarah asked. “Is it because both of us are deaf.”
Dean sighed. “You know me better than that.”
A few seconds later she continued. “So, what makes her different than the rest of you?”
“Most of us know sign language or read lips. Some can do both, like me. Karen is one of them that can’t do either.”
Sarah and Dean walked up to door twenty-three. Dean knocks on the door. “You’re not going to get her attention like that,” said Sarah.
“This is how we get her attention,” said Sarah as she ran Karen’s doorbell. Then she looked down to the crack under the door. There was a light flickering under it.
Dean was looking down too. Sarah looked at Dean. Then she looked at Karen’s doorbell. She thought as she read the note above that doorbell, “I’m deaf. Do not knock. Please, ring my doorbell.”
Sarah looked at Dean who was now looking at that Doorbell too. “No wonder she has been attacked or robbed so many times.”
# # #
“A couple of months ago we did a show about The Challenge Avengers,” said Brandon. “It was one of the biggest ratings show The Brandon Jamison Show ever had.”
“We have decided to do another show,” continued Brandon. “Only this time instead of me asking Officer Sarah Garden the questions you will be doing it.”
Both Brandon and Sarah were facing a packed audience. Dean stood next to a podium in front of the stage and audience. A line of about fifty individuals was standing behind that podium. One of them was a man with artificial legs about halfway down that line.
“I don’t know how many questions we can get answers to,” said Brandon. “We will get as many as we can within the next hour though.”
The first question came from a woman. “Did you ever find out why The Challenged Avenger started helping those challenged that needed help.”
“Yes, I did. The Challenged Avenger told me that he was one of those challenged that was a victim of a mugger. He didn’t want that to happen to him again or anyone else like him.”
About a half hour later the line had reached the man with artificial legs. “I’m not really here to ask Sarah a question. I am here to thank The Challenged Avenger. A couple of years ago I was also a victim of a mugger. He saved me. Only he disappeared before I had a chance to thank him.”
# # #
Olivia cocked her head to the left. Then she slowly scanned her living room with her cocked head. “If there is anyone here to rob or attack me you had better leave now.”
“I’m blind, not deaf. I know that someone is here. If you don’t leave now I’m going to call The Challenged Avenger.”
Slowly, Olivia started walking around her living room. “I don’t know how he knows it, and I don’t care. All I know is that if you are challenged The Challenged Avenger knows when you need him.”
Olivia just passed one closed door when it quickly opened. She turned toward that door. “I heard that. Who’s in there?”
Sarah walked through that door. A few seconds later Dean did too. “Don’t panic. It’s me, Officer Sarah Garden. My partner Officer Dean Jackson is here with me.”
“A neighbor noticed that your door was ajar and since they knew that you wouldn’t be home until about now they called us. We were just finishing our search of your apartment when you got home,” said Dean.
“We have searched this whole place, and we didn’t find anyone,” said Sarah while she continued looking at Dean. “If there was someone here they left before we arrived.”
# # #
Victor wrote everything down on the sheets of yellow paper in front of him. Dean sat next to him and signed what Victor wrote as he spoke it out loud. Sarah sat across from them as she asked a series of questions to Victor. “I want to give you my statement about what almost happened to me.”
“I want to tell you how The Challenged Avenger saved me from three young adults,” said Dean. “Two were men and the other one was a woman.”
“Please, take your time.” “We want to know all of it so that we can put this scum behind bars for a very long time,” said Sarah.
Victor wrote something down. Dean read it before he signed it for Sarah. “I want to tell you everything, but we all know nothing is going to come out of it. They aren’t going anywhere because I am challenged, and that isn’t a crime to take advantage of us.”
“Yes, it is. They will be punished for what they tried to do to you with your help,” said Sarah.
Sarah turned off the recorder between them. “It’s true that there are still a lot of people out there who think that what happens to us challenged isn’t a crime but trust me it’s getting better.”
“I know that most of them think that The Challenged Avenger is the criminal because he’s a vigilante, but we don’t. Without him, there would be a lot more crimes committed against us.”
# # #
“The Challenged Avenger has struck again. This time he helped a female in a wheelchair that was being threatened by a mugger.” Sarah mumble what she read on the closed caption from the news anchorman on the television in front of her.
Sarah sat on a couch watching the news. She still had on The Challenged Avenger uniform. At least the husky body of it was still on her. Her head looked small on top of that uniform. Sarah turned off her television first. Then she got up and picked up the rubber face sitting next to her. It looked like a head sitting on that couch.
After picking up her head, Sarah walked into her bedroom where she opened her secret closet that held The Challenged Avenger uniform. Sarah took off that uniform with hidden zippers along both sides of it. When she stepped out of it she was still in her police officer uniform. She put The Challenged Avenger uniform in the hidden closet. Then she put her head on the shelf above that uniform.
“Everyone knows the head is fake, but they believe it’s to hide the real identity of The Challenged Avenger. It’s the perfect disguise,” thought Sarah.
“As long as everyone thinks that The Challenged Avenger is a man my real identity is safe. My petite slim female body is easily hidden in that bulky male uniform. No one will ever know that I am The Challenged Avenger.” Sarah continued her thinking as she started removing her police officer uniform.
Word Count = 2,482