The Dark Half

This week, I’ve decided to do a flash fiction challenge. It’s created by the amazingly creative Chuck Wendig, who’s asked us to put a spin on titles of Stephen King’s books. Now, I absolutely adore Mr. King, so of course I jumped at this challenge. What we basically have to do is steal the title, but not the story. His title, my story. Without further ado, let’s grab a snack and get into it.

Avril knew she was no good at this. Annoyed, she crossed out the twentieth name from her notebook.

“You have to do better, Rill dear,” her mom scolded her gently. “Mauve Lynx sounds more like a heroine’s name than a villain’s.”

Avril sighed. Everyone on her mother’s side before her had been a supervillain. Her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother. They’d married villains and birthed villains- all except her mother, who’d done the former but not the latter.

Avril didn’t want to be a villain. She didn’t want to be a heroine either. She just wanted to be a normal person with superpowers, just like everyone else.

“Have you ever heard of a term called ‘occupational mobility’, mom?” she said, as her mother pressed her to think of a better supervillain-name for herself.

“We can’t discontinue now, Rill dear. We’ve been supervillains since the beginning of our family. You can’t give up. Do one thing. Leave the name for now. Go and meditate in the church. Allow your dark half to take over. Let the power of Satan-”

Avril had heard this speech a million times. She rolled her eyes. “I know, I know. But mom, look at the weather outside. It’s so pleasant. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming-”

“You’re supposed to hate them. You’re supposed to like stormy weather,” she said sternly.

“I’m going out, mom,” Avril said, slinging her bag over her shoulder.

“But-”

“Love you, mom,” giving her a peck on her cheek, she walked out of the door.

***

Avril glanced at her watch as the man at the counter took down her order. Five-twelve. Any minute now.

“Anything else, ma’am?”

Avril didn’t even have to think to remember it. “Almond fudge with extra chocolate sauce, five drops of raspberry syrup and three brownie squares on top.” His favourite ice-cream flavour. He always took that.

That was one of the things her parents didn’t know. Her actual dark side.

Avril, next supervillain , was dating the next superhero.

“I’ll be at the bench by the fountain, Carl,” she said as the man handed her the bill.

“Very well, madam. I will have it delivered there.”

It was five-fourteen when Avril went outside the ice-cream parlour and placed her bag down on the light blue bench by the fountain in the park. The ice-cream parlour was just adjacent to that large park, and having ice-cream at the bench by the fountain with him was the perfect date for her. She liked sitting near that fountain. It was tall and ornately carved, little birds cooling off in it. A constant spray of mist enveloped the person who would sit on that bench, and that was why Avril liked the fountain so much.

He arrived at precisely five-fifteen. Of course he did. He was a budding superhero. He had to be punctual.

As always, she didn’t see him coming. He wasn’t there when she turned her head to throw the bill in the trash can. He was sitting beside her casually when she turned her head back. “Do you always have to be this dramatic?” she sighed.

He grinned in that impish way which had made her fall for him. “Of course. I’m a superhero.”

“Have you put on the shield?” The two switched on shields which made them appear like someone else to everyone but them when they were hanging out together, so that the people won’t go mad and spread the news that the supervillain and the superhero were dating.

“Have you?” he said, crossing his right leg on his left and leaning back to survey her.

“You never answer my questions.” She frowned.

“Neither do you.”

Just then, a tray covered in pink striped cloth with a little stand-up cardboard sign that said ‘Order no. 125 from Scoopdoodle’ with two tall glasses of ice-cream came floating towards them. Taking their glasses, he put an Aurclon in the tray. The tray thanked him and left.

“You’re being generous today,” said Avril, taking her glass of peach ice-cream topped with black currants from him.

“I always am. I’m a superhero, remember?” he said, tapping her forehead with the handle of his spoon.

“Talking about that, have you thought about your superhero name yet?”

“Nah. I like the name Zephyr. In fact, I think the whole concept of made-up names is stupid.”

He kept on rambling about the idiocy of made-up names. It gave Avril an excuse to stare at him. His eyes were greenish-grey, like the reflection of a leaf in a muddy pond. His rounded nose made him look cute instead of handsome, but that was alright, because Avril preferred cute over handsome. His messy brown hair kept blowing in the wind. What she liked the most about him, though, was neither his eyes nor his impish smile. Neither his nose, nor his hair. Not even his character and demeanour for which she actually loved him. It was his name. She liked its meaning. She liked the way it sounded. She liked the way it was spelled. She especially loved the way she almost felt a light cool breeze when she said it.

Zephyr was just talking about how precious time and brain-space were wasted thinking about a name when it could be utilised for more constructive purposes, when his whole face turned a pale blue. He coughed and his hands went to his throat, like someone was choking him.

“Avril! Help me!” he shouted helplessly as he looked into her fiery amber eyes.

“I’m sorry, my love,” she said as she kissed him on the lips.

Deadly midnightshade. Worked every time.

It was a pity she had had to poison someone with such a pretty name.

4 thoughts on “The Dark Half

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