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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2248027
Boulderman's day off.

Boulderman relaxed into the hammock and sipped his iced tea. The weekend stretched before him and he felt that he'd earned this break, this long moment of leisure in the sun with not a care in the world. Three times already this week he had saved the world from disasters. Seven bank robberies and two terrorist plots had been smashed by his timely intervention. It had been one "Boulderman to the rescue" after another, each succeeding day and the constant round was getting to him.

From the house behind him came the familiar crackle of the police radio and he heard the frantic messages begin. Boulderman, we have a problem... There are three helicopters staging a raid at the Metroville Art Gallery... An enormous hole has opened up on Baker Street and strange creatures are pouring out of it... Astronomers say a new comet has appeared and is heading right for us... Boulderman, come in please... Boulderman...?

Enough, thought Boulderman. Even a superhero needs a day off sometimes. Let Souffleman or the Incredible Sulk field things for a change, he'd earned this rest. He shifted deeper into the hammock and closed his eyes.

The hot afternoon entered his bones and soothed his jangling nerves. Sleep hovered at the edge of his consciousness and the sounds from the radio began to merge with the hum of distant lawnmowers to form a drowsy backdrop of gentle sound. Boulderman slept.

Two words jerked him from delicious unconsciousness. From the shadowy haze of sleep the words clicked into sudden bright clarity, a flashing neon sign switched on to thrust him from the arms of Morpheus. His eyes flicked open instantly.

The Page. From the buzz of the frantic radio the words emerged again. Boulderman frowned but sleep was banished. The Page was back. His nemesis, the one he'd never beaten, the Page had returned to plague him, and on this day of all days. The superhero cursed quietly to himself.

Boulderman lay rigid now, battling with the thoughts that came tumbling through his mind. His duty hammered at the door, insisting that he rise and meet his fate. Yet the need for rest still tugged at him. He longed to ignore the demanding words and drift away once more. From somewhere came the mocking sneer: Coward, you dare not meet him. The superhero cringed inwardly as the memory of their last encounter flooded back in stark recall and he knew that it was true. He feared the Page.

But Boulderman was nothing if not brave. He knew that he had no option but to answer this, perhaps the last call on his services that he would ever know. His jaw set and he rolled out of the hammock to stand up.

And then the fence exploded in a cloud of flying splinters and dust. Striding through the gap, mocking smile upon his lips, emerged the Page, Boulderman's mortal enemy.

"What's this, Pebbleman?" came the well remembered voice, "Too lazy to come and meet me?" He stood and laughed as Boulderman said nothing but glowered back at him.

Boulderman looked at the brazen imp in his fanciful medieval clothes. The reds and yellows, the fleur-de-lys, the feathered cap and pointed shoes, the ridiculous tights, all declaring that here was the Page, the most evil arch-villain of them all, his chosen persona a mockery of subservience. And now the gaudy figure renewed his taunts, enjoying the indecision of his rival.

"Oh, come now, Mr Pebbleman, can you not make a little bolder? Let's see your fancy trick where you change to stone and crush me. Who knows? You might even rock my world a little."

He laughed again, delighted at his wordplay.

Stung at last, Boulderman rumbled out a reply. "You prancing dandy, I'll squash you to pulp. You and your fancy words."

With that the transformation began, the superhero's skin cracking and hardening to stone, his body growing and filling to massive proportions, puffs of rock dust shooting into the air from all his joints, as he became the Boulder. The Page floated and danced before him, ready to dodge and weave his spell around each ponderous attack. How sure of himself he was, so confident that his speed could wrap his formidable opponent in a maze of confusion and defeat. They moved towards each other, entering the inevitable contest.

And then came a flash like lightning, a sudden instant of scything and cutting and slashing, and the Page lay in tatters on the lawn. Boulderman breathed a sigh of relief, released from his doom. He nodded at the new arrival and raised his hand in gratitude.

"You left it late that time. One of these days it'll be too late."

The figure before him, silver and blue in his finery, merely bowed and grinned. "Scissorman never fails," he said.

From the next door yard, two children's voices could be heard chanting, "Rock, paper, scissors. Rock, paper, scissors...

Word Count: 823

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