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The Surrender of Dr. Menace

Brian J. Hunt is a longtime science fiction and fantasy fan. He has been previously published at EverydayFiction and 10Flash (sadly, now defunct). He has also edited several books on art, most notably one on Mahlon Blaine. His fiction may be accessed at gumballfiction.com.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Captain Ortega.
I nodded. "You need someone to do it," I said. "Your people still have family, and I won't let him take that from anyone else." I tried not to think of the bank building reduced to a pile of rubble that was now covering my wife's body.
I entered the armored transport and closed the door behind me. Sitting down on the bench across from the prisoner, I looked at all the power drainers attached to him. You can never be too careful with a supervillain. Then we began to move, guided by controls in a vehicle well behind this one.
He raised his head and grinned at me like a predator. "You here to kill me?" he asked.
I could literally feel him studying me, as if I were a book he was riffling through. "No," I answered hesitantly
"Good," he said, casually shrugging off all the hardware attached to him, "because you're no match for me. Then why are you here?"
"I'm supposed to distract you," I told him. "They were worried that you'd try some kind of mischief on the way to The Hole."
He laughed nodding, "So what, you're someone I can play with?" I could feel my face ache. "I wish we had a mirror... Hey, what's your name anyway?"
"George, you look just like the president right now, only he's shorter and stupider looking." I felt my body shrink and my clothes transformed into a clown outfit. My whole body ached with the change, and my vision was partially obscured by the red ball my nose had become.
He laughed looking at me. "So, what did you do to get this crap job?"
I glanced at the huge clown shoes I was now wearing, knowing my feet were shaped to fill them. "I volunteered. During the fight you collapsed a building. My wife was inside, my soulmate. So yes, I'd murder you if I could, but you're right, I have no powers." I could feel tears on my face. "Change me if you want. Kill me. Whatever! I have nothing left to live for!" I watched as white paint tears dripped from my chin onto my rainbow-colored pants.
He stared at me for a minute, then sighed. After a few seconds of pain, I was back to being normal me. "I know this won't mean much, but I am sorry." I stared at the contrite look on the face of the man the world knew as Dr. Menace. "I understand what you're going through," he murmured.
I leapt to my feet and started yelling, "How could you know what I'm going through! I lost my Mary! She was everything to me...."
He raised his eyes to meet mine and the pain in them silenced me. "My daughter. She inherited my powers, but nobody knew, not even me. She got herself into trouble at the orphanage she was in. Kids died. They were going to execute her, but the Government will commute her sentence to life if I turn myself in. I couldn't let her die. She's literally the only thing in the world that means anything to me. I'll never see her again, but at least I'll know she's alive."
I sat down beside him on his bench and took his hand in mine. We were both hurting. My wife always said I was too softhearted, too empathetic.
He squeezed my hand and I shifted surprisingly painlessly into the form of a young girl. "Touch makes this easier," he said softly. "I'm sorry, but I need to see my baby one last time, so I've made you her." He released my hand and turned on the bench to face me.
"I love you honey bear. Daddy's sorry he wasn't there for you." I saw tears in his eyes.
I found myself answering him. "I understand daddy. I forgive you. I'll always love you." He was controlling me to say the words he needed to hear. Then I felt his control slip as his body heaved with wracking sobs. "I love you too, princess," he yelled as he hugged me. In that moment I realized he truly had made me his daughter.
"Daddy?" I said softly.
"What is it, booger bear?"
"You're right." I pulled back from the hug, my hand still on his neck. "Touch does make this easier." With that, I exploded every blood vessel in his head. He slumped back, stone dead, blood pouring from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
Two hours later the transport finally stopped. I stepped out looking exactly like I had when I entered.
Captain Ortega looked inside. "What the hell happened! What did you do?"
"Me?" I answered incredulously. "How could I do that?" I pointed back at the cooling body that had once been the most feared man in the world. "He told me he surrendered to save his little girl but the joke was on you. He knew he was going to die soon as he'd been having debilitating seizures. Then he started shaking so violently he threw off the power drainers, and after the convulsions stopped, the blood started. He was dead not long after." I shuddered. "It wasn't an easy death."
"Good," Ortega murmured quietly, then he put his hand out to me. "I wanted to thank you. What you did today was incredibly brave."
I shook his hand. "I'm glad I did. Seeing him die like that won't bring my wife back, but I feel better."
I saw agents approaching after they looked in the transport. Fortunately I'd had time to think my story over. Keep it simple stupid. Keep it consistent.
As I was being led off, Ortega started bellowing orders to his men. A good officer like that shouldn't have to die of pancreatic cancer, but then again, now he wouldn't. I'd removed it from him when we shook hands.
Touch makes it easier.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021
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