Chapter 1: Insomnia
One problem with being a superhero is irregular hours. For Sally Joanna Sabrina Vixen, also known as Wondervixen this inevitably meant some days of a horror that was more terrifying than any super villain… late night television.
The rush of being a superhero is a lot like being on stage. There is the sensation of adrenaline. For Sally, the freedom of flight and the chance to assert herself by stopping criminals was a rush like no other. Unfortunately as with all highs there is eventually a low.
As the blearly eyed superhero slumped on the sofa, she flicking her finger on the remote control like a zombie. It seemed every channel followed a familiar pattern. The mouth watering food eaten by a hot model was followed by a diet recommended by a celebrity. This was then followed by a rerun of an expert berating someone for eating too much, not being a good enough parent or not having a clean enough house.
The sensible part of her head told her to go to bed, get some much needed sleep. But by the same token she felt so zoned out that she could not muster the energy to head up toward the stairs. It was then the television seemed to speak out to her.
“You…you are not happy” the voice said. “You are fat. You are stressed. You want to take control of your life.”
Squinting and trying to focus, Sally could just about make out a charismatic young man. He had the kind of goatee that looked like it was crafted with a laser. He had beautiful eyes. His smile was inviting.
“Call me” He said. The number “555- KARG” flashed up. She felt a strange sensation and then promptly fell asleep.
“I’m up!” Sally yelled, her face slumped in ink. Part of the advantage of working in a recording studio was that they could set the appointments. The theory was they would have enough sleep to operate.
Fortunately for Sally, Vibes was on hand with coffee. “You okay Sal? Maybe you should stop doing the night shift.”
“Thanks” Sally smiled as her friend gave her the much needed caffeine. “It’s okay though, I can handle it.”
Vibes knew that Sally could not handle it. While she didn’t know everything about her friend, she did know that she was not good at asking for help. “You will let me know if you need help, right?” she asked again. Sally smiled back at Vibes, trying her best to be gracious.
In Sally’s mind, she was trying her best to fight the irrational thought in her mind. She wants all the fights to herself, she snarled. It was then Sally looked at her reflection in the booth.
Anyone else walking past would be baffled. Sally was quite thin, with blond hair and blue eyes, the classic beauty. But in her mind her cheeks were bloated, her belly fat, her arms and legs wobbling and jiggling.
“Looking good, sexy” A sarcastic voice said in her head. “One day they will all find out the truth about you.”
That night, Sally furiously searched the channels until she found the number. As quietly as possible she rang up 555- KARG…
Chapter 2: Help
Vibes yawned. She had that strange feeling. You don’t need to be psychic to get a strange feeling that something is wrong. She couldn’t quite define what it was. Sometimes she’d get a weird dream or something to signify it.
It was then she saw a wall. It was in her mind. Something was blocking her. But why would anyone be blocking her? It was then she saw Sally.
Sally smiled. She was practically beaming. Then Vibes saw the strange brown mulch that she was eating. It made rabbit food look like five star haute cuisine. “Why are you eating moss?” was the sensitive phrase that blurted out of Vibes’ mouth.
“Oh, just looking after myself. You should think about it.” She grinned, pointing out the sugary concoction that Vibes considered appropriate for breakfast. “You shouldn’t eat all that processed garbage.”
“Alright I get it, Dr Vixen!” Vibes spat her tongue out, childishly. However Vibes couldn’t shake her concern. Something was blocking her and at the same time Sally had somehow inherited this weird mucky stuff.
Little did she know that Sally was doing more than eating “more sensibly.” There was also the small matter of Dr Karg…Dr Karg oozed charm. His office seemed warm and inviting with various tasteful pictures on the wall. The sofa was comfortable, in fact it was too comfortable and soon Sally was asleep. She was jolted by a click of Dr Karg’s fingers.
“I am guessing you are still not sleeping well” He said dryly. “You mentioned that you and your friends do some night work. I am guessing some of your friends are not doing their share?”
“We all do our share” she said defensively. “It’s just…”
“She makes it look easy, doesn’t she?” Dr Karg grinned. Had Sally been more observant, she would have noticed the glint in his eye. He scanned Sally’s face. He could detect the resentment when he referred to “she.”
He turned to his watch. Whether it was deliberately unshowy Sally wasn’t sure, as if he was trying to be modest about his accomplishment. “Time’s up” he laughed. He then turned to her. “I want you to do something for me, Sally. Look in the mirror and visualise yourself how you would like to see yourself.”
He waited for Sally to leave the office. He then reached for a remote control hidden in a drawer. The art slid from the walls to reveal a television screen of Mega Fox.
“I want progress, Karg” Mega Fox scowled, avoiding any pleasantries as usual.
“Please Mega Fox” Karg begged. “Once she learns to transfer her psychological damage, her friends will become completely powerless…”
Chapter 3: Transference
Sally did what Dr Karg asked her to. She focused on turning that bloated blob in the mirror into something better. She watched as she began to feel stronger, her muscles more solid. Her eyes began to sparkle and she felt more confident. Dr Karg was starting to keep his promise.
“What do you mean you’ve got a block?” Guillermo asked. “And what does that have to do with Sal?”
“You’ve got to admit she’s been acting differently lately.” Vibes countered. “I mean it’s great she’s more confident and everything but it’s…”
“Not her?” interrupted Guillermo. “I know what you mean. Tux is annoyed because she won’t touch his food, Anty doesn’t like having another therapist on his turf…”
“What about Rotecol?” asked Vibes.
“Oh he’s just grouchy anyway. Doesn’t really make a difference.” Guillermo laughed.
He then noticed Vibes was looking down at her belly. “Do I look…bigger?” she asked. Even as she said it, Vibes realised this did not sound like her….
At Dr Antibiotix’s Alternative Therapy Centre, “Anty” offered different treatments to help people with their ailments as well as offering sessions on the couch. Unknown to his patients he was also a shaman with the ability to create potions.
Fortunately for Vibes and Guillermo they had come during a quiet period, giving him a bit of time to talk about the Sally situation. “So you said this block and feelings came around the time she started this diet?” asked Anty.
“Yes” Vibes admitted. It was then she heard her stomach start to gurgle. “Maybe Sal was right, I am getting…chubby.”
Meanwhile, Sally was starting to feel stronger. She could feel power surging through her body, something beyond mere superpowers. She flew towards the city, energy glowing behind her.
By contrast, Guillermo and Vibes were clutching their bellies in pain. “Anty, help us!” Vibes yelled in panic as they both became enormously fat.
“Please Vibes you must stay calm” but even as Anty said it, he knew this was virtually impossible, like asking fire to try being cold for a change. “This is some kind of trick.”
He looked around for a suitable potion. “Shut your eyes and focus on your normal forms.”
As the pair sniffed the potion they tried to focus on being their normal selves. As they began to restore their bodies and minds back to reality Vibes then realised what the wall in her head could be referring to.
“Sally is trying to block me!” Vibes realised. “There is something she doesn’t want me to know.”
“But you’re psychic” Guillermo raised an eyebrow. “I though reading minds was the whole point?”
“It’s not that simple” Vibes explained. “If someone really wants to keep me out they can do. Although I imagine it’s not doing her a whole lot of good.”
“What are you talking about?” Guillermo now seemed stumped.
“Keeping stuff like that bottled up on a subconscious level is rarely healthy. It then means they act out in other ways…”
Dr Karg smiled. His creation was flying above the city. A cross between AK Girl, Wondervixen and Hyper Rob. Wondervixen smiled. She could feel herself getting more and more of their powers. And they would suffer like she did…
Chapter 4: Layers
“We need to find Dr Karg” Vibes scowled. She and Guillermo prepared to transform into their superhero forms. But as they both tried to transform nothing happened. “What the heck?”
“OK if you don’t know what’s going on this isn’t good.” Guillermo growled.
“This block seems to be affecting both of us now” Vibes snarled. “I was really hoping to beat in his big smug head.”
“We may not have our powers but that can still be arranged.” Guillermo smiled.
At this point Dr Karg was filming another of his late night commercials. He could feel the neuroses of the people around him, grinning as he felt them feed his power. Soon enough the full extent of his abilities would be revealed.
But for now he had to content himself with Vibes punching him and knocking him to the floor. Even without her powers, she could still pack a massive wallop. Two burly security guards went to grab them but they were both tripped over by Guillermo’s hook gun.
With his usual subtlety Guillermo grabbed Dr Karg against the wall. “We know what you’ve done, Karg!” he growled. “You’d better change things back to normal or I’ll snap your head off!”
Dr Karg laughed in Guillermo’s face. “You really think you have the physical power to threaten me, Guillermo? Believe me, I know everything about you. I know your worst nightmares.”
As he said it, the faces of the crowd all changed, their eyes glowing red. Guillermo looked round to see Dr Karg was gone. Instead he saw Mega Fox choking his father Dante.
“It’s an illusion!” yelled out Vibes. “He’s making your worst nightmares real!”
“Oh if only it were that simple” laughed Dr Karg in Vibes’ face. “I go beyond mere nightmares. With my subconscious program, you two will be enslaved like your friend!”
As soon as he said it, Vibes felt her body turn robotic. “No…you wouldn’t!”
“Your psychic powers are gone, Veronica” Dr Karg grinned. “I can turn you into anything I want and there is nothing you can do about it!”
Chapter 5: The Most Super Of Superheroes
“Vibes and Guillermo have gone missing too” Anty groaned. “We’ve got to find them.”
Rotecol grinned, pulling out his tracking device. “You always used to say this was unethical, I bet you’re glad I have it now.”
Anty rolled his eyes. “Oh alright Rotecol you win. We need to find them quickly before something happens…”
Meanwhile, Wondervixen was revelling in her new found superpowers. She clicked her fingers and bad guys willingly walked into jails. Her flight was now so fast she could stop crimes in seconds. She felt like she was the most efficient superhero in the world.
What she did not expect was to hear a loud soundwave crashing towards her, knocking her down to the ground. She looked up to see Rotecol carrying what looked like a bulky megaphone. “Sorry but we needed to get your attention” admitted Rotecol.
“OK you’ve got a few minutes before the next robbery I need to stop” Wondervixen laughed. “I always knew I’d make better use of AK Girl’s powers.”
“That’s the point, they’re not yours.” Anty sternly pointed out. “She and Guillermo are now Dr Karg’s prisoners.”
“What are you talking about?” Wondervixen was baffled. “Dr Karg has been helping me. He’s made me more powerful!”
“He’s been tricking you” Anty insisted. “He gains power from the neuroses of others. You need to save them because they can’t save themselves.”
Wondervixen thought about it. While she didn’t want to admit it the theory made a lot of sense. “OK. Looks like I’m going to have to take him on.”
“But you don’t know where he is!” Rotecol objected.
Wondervixen tapped her head. “He’ll come to me!” she laughed.
As she closed her eyes she imagined Dr Karg invading her mind. “Come on Karg, come and get me!” she yelled.
It was there she found herself on what looked like a desolate planet. All of a sudden a giant cake slammed her to the ground. Without hesitation Wondervixen threw it away. But as she threw that away more and more giant food flew at her head.
“I know what you’re trying to do” Wondervixen snarled.
“You forget that I know everything about you” Dr Karg grinned. Only now he was a giant robot, towering over Wondervixen. “Have you forgotten that you’ve been following my diet?”
Wondervixen looked down to see her body transformed into a tree. “AK Girl was right, it is just like eating bark” laughed Dr Karg. “But then you really thought I could solve all your problems by calling a phone number.”
To his surprise, Wondervixen did not look scared. In fact she was the one laughing. “You said you knew everything about me. Well you’re wrong. You know everything that I wanted you to know.”
She continued with Dr Karg looking shocked as she tore through the tree that was supposedly her body. He noticed a metal sheen on her body. “There are sides to me that nobody knows about. Something that Mega Fox himself probably didn’t tell you.”
Dr Karg knew he only had one shot- he showed AK Girl, inflated to a gigantic form. To his surprise, Wondervixen kept moving towards him. He showed Hyper Rob getting gunned down. She barely flinched.
“This is impossible! Don’t you have any compassion? Your friends are…” Dr Karg’s protests fell on deaf ears as Wondervixen slammed him to the ground.
“I know these are all illusions, Karg” snarled Wondervixen. “This form is an illusion. The difference is that you only exist with something to feed off. And this knowledge is the one thing that is truly yours.”
And with those words, Karg was left alone in a black void, slowly starved of any emotions to feed off…
Chapter 6: They Think It’s All Over
Sally was shocked. There was Vibes…eating a low fat yoghurt! She was happy to see that Vibes was her old self. “It’s good to have you back to normal…well, near enough” laughed Sally.
“Yeah, I figured you may have had a point on the whole ‘looking after yourself’ thing.” Vibes grinned. But then she looked serious for a second. “You do know you can talk to us, right?”
“Sure” Sally grinned, hesitantly.
But as Sally left to go to work, Vibes was aware that the wall was still there…