The Sound Of One Flea Hopping

Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse!  Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!


When the inner sanctum of Armor Guy Tower was designed, it was made to resist all manner of outside attack. Laser beams, bombs, teleportation circles, even chicken golems would be no match for the top notch security measures in place at this pinnacle of weaponized power. As Abigail disembarked from the Sentinel City Emergency Crisis Response vehicle it occurred to her that there was one scenario that no one had taken into account. No one had ever considered the possibility of the entire room being forcibly removed from the building.

The response teams began assembling outside the perimeter of the now severely damaged office space. She felt a tug on her sleeve and turned, coming face to nose with a long and skinny young man with a slightly vacant smile.

“Oh, hi Derek.” she said, “You got called for this one too, huh?”

Derek nodded, “Yup, they needed all the heavy lifters than could get on this one. I guess my telekinesis is as good as your super strength when it comes to lifting walls and pillars.”

Abigail was about to respond when the sound of a megaphone interrupted her. Standing in front of the group was a man whom Abigail knew and wished she didn’t. His name was Harold, otherwise known as The Bloodhound. Arrogant, slightly neurotic, and dim, Harold had grown up a few streets away from Abigail, and they had even attended the Sentinel City Young Supers Summer Camp together. But where Abigail had taken the path of background supporter, Harold had charged headlong into the life of a C-list Superhero. Opening supermarkets, late night commercials for Sapphire Beauty products on the Sentinel Home Shopping Network, and a rather unsuccessful turn on last year’s season of The Next American Sentinel had given him an air of unearned superiority which he used to maximum affect. Apparently, someone in the Response Center had given him a modicum of authority over them, as he was now doling out roles and responsibilities.

Harold stood before the group dressed in a full white hazmat suit, one that he had brought with him from home, wearing nose and earplugs. When asked once in an interview with Sentinel City Superhero News why he wore them, Harold replied that his gifts of super smell and sonic hearing were so intense that the merest hint of boiled onions or the beginnings of a whispered insult were enough to send him to bed for days. It was, he said, practically a matter of life and death.

“If you have any form of super sense, sight, hearing, smell, even taste, then I want you to come and line up to my right. You will be part of my Bloodhound Pack! We will use our talents to search for any survivors. Priority target is Armor Guy. If anyone finds him come to me immediately! If you have any sort of manual labor oriented power, telekinesis, super strength, ability to call woodland animals, group up to the left. You need to remove the larger pieces of rubble from the site so that the Bloodhound Pack can access it. Any questions?”

A few hands went up in the crowd. Harold shook his head, “Don’t care. Let’s get going.”

Abigail rolled her eyes and lined up behind Derek, who turned and grinned at her. They were lead into the site and given a section to start clearing. She and Derek ended up being paired together which was fine with Abigail. Derek was becoming more adept with his powers and, working together, they were soon able to clear a good amount of rubble from their section. It was in the middle of lifting a twisted metal girder that Abigail suddenly stopped and whipped around. There was nothing there and Derek gave her a puzzled look.

“Sorry.” Abigail muttered, “I just…I felt like there was someone behind me.”

She reached out a hand and swept it left and right a few times. Glancing over at Derek, Abigail realized how ridiculous she must look and flushed.

“Sorry.” she said again, “It just…you know when you can feel someone looking at you? Well, that’s what it felt like. Like someone was looking right at me. Someone big and…hairy? We don’t have anyone on the team who can go invisible do we?”

Derek shook his head and Abigail heard a snort from one of the other workers. Looking over she saw that several people were now watching her, including Harold. Ears burning, she put her head down and started working again.

“Is there a problem here?”

Abigail raised her head and found the entire Bloodhound Pack staring at her. Harold adjusted his nose plugs and looked at her impatiently.

Abigail gave a tight smile, “Not at all. Everything’s fine.”

“Everything’s fine…what?”

“Everything’s fine…here?”

Harold sighed and rolled his eyes, “Sir. Everything’s fine, sir.”

“Everything’s fine…sir.” Abigail said, injecting as much ice as she dared into the word. Harold stood for a moment appraising her.

“I know you” he said, “Now where would I know you from? Let me see. The Superhero Academy? No, that can’t be it. Let me think. Oh I know! Was it at the Sentinel City Super Talent Agency? No, no that’s not right.”

He began walking slow and deliberate circles around her. At last he stopped and looked at Abigail.

“Oh wait. Now I know! I’ve seen you on the set of The Next American Sentinel. You’re usually an extra aren’t you? Portraying a superhero that didn’t quite make the cut?”

Abigail kept her mouth shut. Harold was an idiot but he was an idiot with bureaucratic power, which meant that he had some control over her future employment opportunities. Her body suddenly tensed involuntarily and she took a step back. Shaking her head, Abigail looked around the site briefly. Nothing seemed amiss but…

“What now?” came the overly exhausted voice of Harold.

“Nothing. Nothing, sir.”

Empaths.” Harold rolled his eyes and signaled his pack, turning back to the hunt for survivors. Once they were out of earshot, Derek came over.

“Are you OK?” he asked, “What happened just now? You looked queasy for a minute.”

“It was just a feeling. A really weird and slightly…seductive feeling. Just forget about it, it was nothing. It’s probably just low blood sugar.”

They went back to work but Abigail couldn’t shake the feeling that there was someone very close by. She kept feeling as though she was about to bump into someone she knew. A sudden yelp caused her to look up and she saw Derek standing there, shaking his hand as if he had been burnt.

“Sorry!” he said, bashfully, “Electric shock. Just took me by surprise!”

Before anyone else could respond, Harold descended on Derek with the fury of a man who had just removed his protective earplugs.

“What do you think you are doing!” Harold demanded, “We are engaged in highly sensitive work! What do you think a screech like that does to those of us gifted with super sonic hearing!? My ears and nose are so keen that I would hear you thinking and smell the smoke before you were even aware you were having an original thought! You could have killed me with your undignified shrieking!”

He whipped around and came face to face with Abigail, who was tightly gripping a large piece of mason work in her hand. He smirked and crossed his arms, looking smugly at her.

“And what exactly are you doing?” Harold asked.

There were times that in spite of her best efforts, Abigail felt the full force of the emotions inside of her. Generally she attempted to keep them tamped down and under control, but sometimes they grew to be too much and overtook her in a wave. This was one of those times. Before she could stop herself, the words were pouring out of her mouth.

“Me?” she asked, “I’m just mentally weighing how satisfying it would be to drop this piece of wall onto your foot versus how badly I would feel about doing it.”

Harold stared, mouth slightly open, a look of utter disbelief on his face. Abigail shifted slightly on her feet and Harold visibly flinched, recoiling from the impact that never came.

Abigail smiled as she easily chucked the piece of stone onto the pile of rubble nearby, and turned back to Harold. A look of contempt had come over his face as he looked her over.

“You’re lucky you’re strong.” he said, “Otherwise you would be totally useless. One day you’ll realize, working under superheroes will never make you one.”

Harold had a triumphant look on his face and looked like he was about to say more, when suddenly he began sniffing the air.

“I smell smoke!” he shrieked, “Who is smoking? Who is smoking on my site?! Are you all trying to kill me?!”

Totally forgetting about Abigail, Harold turned and dashed off in search of the errant cigarette. She walked back to Derek and started working again, saying nothing.

“Hey, Abigail?” Derek said, quietly.


“Can you get aural hallucinations from a minor electric shock?”

Abigail stared, “I have no earthly idea.”

“Do you know what the word Chad means?” asked Derek, who was beginning to scratch himself as if he had fleas.


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