by Abby Gayle
Best to stay away from those . . . unless you're Nadia Thrussell!
"Are you sure, Nadia?" her mother asked.
"It's literally broken, mom," the girl rolled her eyes. "Come in and see."
The woman ran into the room, her eyes wide at the sight of the computer. It had a crack down the middle that went all the way through and almost all the way down. The computer was almost completely apart, like a loose tooth hanging by only a thread. The inside was showing and some of the things inside were in two or more pieces.
"What happened?" Nadia's mom asked.
"I don't know," Nadia said, "I heard a whirring sound. I went away for just a moment, and when I came back, it looked like this."
"I'm going to call the repairman or . . . someone," Nadia's mom said, "In the meantime, keep away from the computer and make sure Nathan stays away, too. I don't want anyone getting electrocuted, so be careful."
"Wa-wa," Nathan whined shortly after their mother had exited the room. He looked up at Nadia.
"Okay, Natey, I'll get you your wa-wa," Nadia agreed. "Stay right here while I go get it, though."
Nadia left the room and grabbed his sippy cup. As she filled it, she thought she heard him giggle. She walked to the living room.
"Natey, I got your wa-wa," Nadia called out. "No, no, get down!"
Nadia dropped the bottle and ran over to Nathan. She felt like the world was in slow motion as her brother's chuppy finger approached the split wires. Just as he was about to make contact with the electronics, Nadia grabbed his hand and pulled him away.
"No, no, Natey. Do you want your water now?" Nadia asked.
"Follow me," Nadia said.
She tried to walk away, but her hair was caught. She turned around to see her long blonde hair tangled up with the computer. Nadia tugged harder, wincing, but it didn't do any good. Then she tried to carefully untangle the hair off the wires. However, her finger brushed against the sparky wire. Electricity streamed through her body. She screamed.
"Nadia! Nadia, are you okay?" her mother shrieked. Nadia could barely hear her, her surroundings fading as she fell unconscious.
"Where am I?" Nadia mumbled. It took her a moment to recognize it as her bedroom.
Feeling much better, she stood up. Nadia stretched, raising her hands high above her head. Electricity flew through her fingers and into the air, shattering the light bulbs above her.
Nadia jumped back, dodging the falling glass.
"What. On Earth. Just happened?" Nadia wondered, shrinking away from the glass shards.
She felt the energy running throughout her body. Her fingertips crackled with electricity. Nadia's arm shook in fear as she stretched it out and pointed at the wall. A thin, laser-like beam of electricity burnt a small black dot into the wall.
"Okay, this is a dream," Nadia told herself, doubting every word. "I'm going to wake up any time now, and this is all going to be just a dream."
Nadia's father burst into the room.
"Are you okay?" he asked, noticing the glass.
"I'm fine," Nadia answered. She hid her hands behind her back, hoping she didn't look too suspicious. "How long was I out?"
"Two days," he said. Nadia's eyes opened wide and she stumbled back.
"Are you sure you're alright?" he asked.
"T-two days?" Nadia's throat felt dry, making it hard for her to speak. Her father nodded.
"Now, your mother wanted me to ask you what kind of cake you wanted."
"Cake?" A confused look plastered itself on Nadia's face.
"Yeah, you're turning fourteen today, remember?"
"Uh, yeah. How about chocolate." Nadia was too distracted to think about cakes. She was trying to figure out how to keep from electricuting everything at her party.
"I'll go get the broom," her father volunteered, running out of the room.
While her father was gone, Nadia tried to remember everything she could about electricity. She snapped her fingers, creating a strange lightning and thunder effect, then dashed over to her closet. She dug around a moment, before pulling out a pair of thick rubber gloves. They had been work gloves, but several years before, Nadia had painted them bright pink with red flowers. She squeezed her hands into them. Nadia pointed at the wall, right next to the burn mark already there. Electricity streamed through her body and into her fingertips, but it couldn't flow past the rubber insulation.
"Yes!" Nadia cheered. She would hate to have to cancel her birthday party just so she wouldn't electricute anybody.
Just then, Nadia's father came back in with a broom and dust pan. He seemed even more excited about the birthday than Nadia herself.
"Your first guest is at the door," he exclaimed.
Nadia ran down the stairs and to the front door. She opened it and let a girl her age in. They looked pretty similar, except that Nadia's hair was blonde and her friend's was black. And Nadia had ridiculous-looking gloves on.
"Hey, Ava!" Nadia exclaimed. "How's it going?"
"How come you get to take two whole days off school but I don't?" Ava asked angrily.
"I'm sorry, I didn't even know I slept that — "
Ava interrupted her explanation with a burst of laughter. "I know, Nadia, I know," Ava giggled. "Your mom told me. What are those gloves for, though? Your mom didn't tell me anything about that."
"For safety," Nadia answered, nodding.
"Safety from what? The candles in the cake?" Ava chuckled.
"No," Nadia said seriously. "Safety for everyone else."
"What do you mean?"
"Come upstairs with me."
The two girls ran up. They met Nadia's father on the stairs, who was excitedly heading down. Nadia closed the door as soon as they got in. She took one glove off. Electricity once again crackled at her fingertips.
"What happened?" Ava asked.
"I don't even know." Nadia shook her head. " But when I do this — " she pointed at the wall " — there's lightning." She balled her hand up into a fist, keeping the electricity from burning the hole too deep.
"Whoa, that's cool!" Ava exclaimed.
"Please don't tell my parents," Nadia pleaded as she slipped the tight glove back on. "Or, for that matter, anyone else."
"Eh, it's all part of having a friend with superpowers."
"Wait, superpowers? That's a bit far, don't you think?"
"I dunno. It seems like it fits right. I mean, what else would you use to explain this?" Ava asked.
"I . . . guess you're right. So does that mean I'm, like, a superhero now?"
The doorbell rang and Nadia ran downstairs, not letting her friend answer her question. In walked three other friends of hers. The three girls were neighbors and often stuck pretty close together.
"Hi, come on in and welcome to my party!" Nadia exclaimed.
The next three hours were pure fun and games with Nadia and her thirteen guests. Nadia loved every minute of it, the only thing keeping her from completely forgetting how dangerous she could be were the gloves that pinched her skin. Then out came the cake. Nadia's mother set it out on the table and lit the fourteen candles.
Crash! A tall, sleek, red robot ran through the window and, without even stopping, grabbed at the cake with its clawed hand. Screams filled the room as everyone ran around, panicked.
"What is that thing?" asked Penny, the only one besides Nadia and Ava who stayed calm.
The lights went out. Everyone was so busy running around and screaming, none of them noticed Nadia do it. Then, in the dark, Nadia snuck up to the robot. She pulled her gloves off, her hands throbbing as the pressure lessened.
Nadia clapped her hands onto the robot's arm. She could feel power surging from her into the metal. It struggled to get away from her, but she held on as tight as she could to it. Nadia let go only once she felt the machine go limp.
That night, Nadia thought hard about what she had done. The robot had been sent in to be examined, and Nadia was pretty sure there was some evil villain somewhere was wondering what had happened to his or her invention.
Nadia snatched her phone. It began quickly recharging just as she touched it.
Im going to your room, Nadia texted Ava. C u soon!
Nadia set her phone down and touched the cord to her desk lamp. Her fingers tingled, then the feeling spread to the rest of her body. She closed her eyes and relaxed. It took less than a second before she appeared in Ava's room.
"Whoa, how'd you do that?" Ava asked. "You just texted me."
"Eh, it's all part of having superpowers." Nadia could only keep a straight face for a moment before she broke out in a grin. "Anyway, I was just wondering if you could do me a favor?"
"What is it?" Ava asked.
"Okay, I know you're pretty good at sewing and I think I have an answer to my question I asked earlier."
"After today, I decided I do want to be a superhero."
"So . . . "
"Could you pretty please help me with a costume?"
The very next week, their town — and the world — had a brand new superhero to save them from any troubles they might have. Nadia Thrussell, masked and suited up, stood atop a tall building, watching, waiting.
On Second street, a fire-breathing dragon broke into a grocery store. Nadia jumped into action, dashing after the criminal in a streak of electricity.