by Vaishnavi Kurupath, age 10
“Okay, so you’re telling me that you have superpowers,” said Diane.
“It could be true. Humans only use ten percent of their brains,” said Emma, putting her book down.
“I know it sounds weird, but it’s true,” insisted Nicola. “I can prove it. Watch very carefully.”
Nicola lifted her hands. She squinted her eyes. She stared hard at Emma’s book. Suddenly, the book started shaking. It slowly lifted itself up and moved next to Diane. Plop!
Diane was petrified with shock. “What the…?”
“There. All good,” said Emma.
Nicola put on her cape. It was red and green and brought out her green eyes, partly covered by brown hair.
“What’s the purpose of this?” asked Nicola.
“It should motivate you to find out your other powers, if you have any,” said Emma.
“Plus, it makes you look more like a real superhero,” said Diane as she flipped through the pages of her magazine.
“All right, here goes,” said Nicola. She tried to life up her bed, but she couldn’t. It was too heavy.
“Nope,” said Emma. “Wait—I have an idea. Sorry about what I’m going to do.” Emma reached over and pinched Nicola, hard.
“Ow!” said Nicola.
“Quick: what ice cream flavor am I thinking of and what’s my mom going to cook for dinner?”
Nicola answered without hesitation, “Vanilla, and spaghetti.”
“Wow, that’s correct! Decent powers you have,” Emma said. “It’s pretty useful.”
“Nicola, you can watch TV for fifteen minutes, but then turn it off and play with Teresa. Don’t leave your little sister lonely,” said Nicola’s mom. “I’m going to get groceries at the store.”
“Okay, Mom,” said Nicola, clicking on the TV. “Hey! Surviving the Wilderness is on!”
After only a couple minutes of watching her favorite show, the TV screen filled with static. Then the screen showed a tall man with a rectangular face, salt-and-pepper hair, and a scar on his right cheek. He stated, “Dear citizens, I am taking over your town, Bendley. With the help of my five-hundred robots, I will be mayor and you will obey me. You will wear black and the T-shirts I hand out. Thank you. By the way, my name is E. Larry.”
The TV screen faded out to static.
Nicola switched off the TV. She didn’t know what to think. Was this some sort of prank?
Ring! Ring! Ring! Nicola answered the telephone. “This is the Milani residence. How may I help you?”
“All right,” said Diane. “You have the superpowers and the costume. You can save our town!”
“What about my five-year-old sister?” asked Nicola.
“Drop Teresa at Emma’s. She’s good at babysitting. Now go!” exclaimed Diane.
Nicola rushed to her bedroom. She changed into her outfit, stuffed some toys into a gym bag, and lifted Teresa into her arms. She left a note on the front door for her mom: Went to hang out at Emma’s. Have Teresa and toys.
Carrying the gym bag and her sister, Nicola left the house.
E. Larry was poised on a grandstand, ready to speak to the town of Bendley. Diane rushed up to him.
“Sir, may I say something?” she asked. “It’s very nice, don’t worry.”
E. Larry hesitated. “Fine,” he said. “Make it quick.”
Diane cleared her throat, then spoke into the microphone. “People of Bendley, we have been overthrown by Mr. E. Larry. But don’t fear. My friend Nicola will help you. She has superpowers!”
“Little girl, this is silly,” said E. Larry, grabbing the microphone from Diane and pushing her aside.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that!” yelled Nicola, running onto the scene in her cape.
E. Larry scoffed. “What! A fourteen-year-old superhero! What nonsense!” he exclaimed.
“I think overthrowing Bendley is a little overrated,” said Nicola. “How about practicing in prison instead?”
“Are you threatening me?” asked E. Larry.
“What does it look like?” replied Nicola. With that, she threw him a punch.
“All the robots are on that airship,” Emma said, pointing up in the sky. “We need to defeat them, but how?”
“Come on, I have a plan,” said Diane. She whispered her idea to Emma.
“I think it just might work!” Emma exclaimed.
Emma and Diane climbed into the basket of Bendley’s hot-air balloon. They untied the ropes and the hot-air balloon floated into the air. It was only a matter of time before the girls were able to sneak aboard the airship.
“Stall the captain, and I’ll get the speaker,” ordered Diane.
Emma nodded and hurried to the cockpit.
Diane rushed to the speaker. “Robots,” she said in a manly voice. “You are needed in the hall to celebrate, um… E. Larry’s birthday! Right now!”
All the robots obediently marched to the hall. But when they reached what they thought was the hall, they all fell off the ship into the sea.
“How is this possible?” the captain yelled.
Diane and Emma high-fived each other. They had switched the signs on the rooms of the airship, and the “hall” was actually an exit! The robots could not pay attention or think for themselves, only obey orders.
“Happy birthday, E. Larry,” said Diane with a smile. With that, she and Emma left the airship.
Nicola and E. Larry were evenly matched fighters. Neither one of them was winning.
If I want to defeat this guy, I need a strategy, thought Nicola. People not listening to him is his weakness, so maybe if I…
“Hey, little girl! Are you listening? Listen to me! Come on! Listen!" yelled E. Larry. He was weakened from his anger.
“Ha-yah!” shouted Nicola. With that, she took him down.
Now, Bendley has statues of Nicola, Diane and Emma in the town square. They are proof that anyone can become a superhero—you just need to tap into your own special powers to do so!