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Heroes

Craig Lincoln's fiction has previously appeared in the Drabblecast and the Singularity. He used to fuel airplanes, but now spends his time as an editorial assistant for science journals. His twitter is @craigabyte and he resides in Durham, NC with his fiancee.
Darnell stopped throwing bags into the back of the garbage truck for a moment to look up at the two streaks chasing each other across the sky above the city: one red, one blue. He rubbed his callused hands against each other, working the dirt and dust further into the lines of his palms. "Hey, Leena," he said.
Leena climbed down from the garbage truck's cab and walked over. She wiped sweat from her forehead, smearing it with grit. "What's up?"
"The blue one's the one who's protecting us, right?"
She shook her head. "Not now. He was. But he just found out his dad is the emperor of some nonsense called the Gamma Zone, and now he wants to impress him by capturing a planet."
Above, the red streak caught up to the blue one, and smashed into it, sending the blue plummeting into the streets. A distant cloud of smoke rose from the impact.
"But the red one was here a month ago trying to destroy the city."
"Yeah," Leena laughed. "But she was under the control of some mind collar. She didn't know what she was doing."
"So now she's helping?"
"She's fighting the blue one, isn't she?"
The blue streak shot up suddenly, and a yellow beam shot from it, piercing the red streak, which began to fly erratically, like a clipped bird, and skidded roughly onto the roof of a nearby skyscraper.
Darnell shook his head. "I don't know how you keep all this straight."
"Just gotta keep up with current events, my man," Leena clapped him on his shoulder. "Read the papers once in a while."
"I'm just glad the green one is staying away."
"You can say that again. We'd be cleaning up after him for weeks." She squinted at the sky. "These two haven't been bad so far."
"Don't jinx it."
Just then, the red streak took flight and slammed into the blue streak, driving it through the floor-to-ceiling windows of a modernist skyscraper. Shattered glass fell like rain as the two streaks, looking like one purple streak now, passed through the walls as if they were made of wet paper. The building leaned, its structure compromised.
"Don't say it, Darnell," Leena said.
"Me? Say, 'I told you not to jinx it?' I would never."
"Come on," she said, ignoring his sarcasm. "Someone needs to clean this crap up."
Darnell climbed onto the back of the truck while Leena took the wheel. As she started the engine, Darnell shouted to her, "You know, it's funny how they all look about as big as ants from down here."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 23rd, 2016

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