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- Helen frowned as she tried to keep up with the math assignment she was working on. Her earlier schoolwork had been a breeze, but the work her teacher wanted her to do just wasn’t enough.
- “Hey, Light?” Mimi asked softly as she approached her aunt.
- “What is it, Shadow?” Helen asked and scooped her up, grateful for a distraction.
- “I wanna go to the movies. Can we go see The Wizard of Oz?”
- Helen smiled at her little niece. Her big brown eyes were wide with wonder – a far cry from the shell of a girl she had been a year ago. Helen smiled and ran a hand through Mimi’s curls. “Of course we can.”
- “Yay!” Mimi darted off, and Helen closed her book. She smiled when she saw Mimi in the barn, sitting between the handlebars of Helen’s bicycle.
- “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” Mimi chanted.
- “Gimme a second,” Helen chided playfully as she grabbed the handlebars of the bike – careful not to move her niece.
- Peter came into the barn then, and Helen grinned at her father. “Hey, Pop!” She greeted. “Mimi and I are going into town, you want anything?”
- “Where you goin’?”
- “She’s taking me to see The Wizard of Oz!” Mimi beamed.
- “Yeah?” Peter asked, and he ruffled Mimi’s hair just like Helen did. Helen smiled when Mimi’s ears popped out. “Your mom and I saw that last night. Really good. I think you’ll like it.”
- “Tuck your ears in, Mimi,” Helen said softly. “We gotta keep your secret, just like we gotta keep mine.”
- Mimi closed her eyes and her ears receded back into her head, her normal human ones appearing in their rightful spots.
- “That’s my girl,” Peter said. “You’re gaining control of your powers pretty quick there, Puppy.”
- “Thanks, Daddy,” Mimi said.
- “Well, you girls have fun at the theater.” He handed Helen a ten-dollar bill, and Helen put it in the pocket of her jeans.
- They arrived at the corner theater, and Helen parked her bicycle against the side of the building. Helen’s eyes scanned the alley when she heard a sudden clang, and she gasped when she saw a trio of tall, hulking men approach them. “Mimi,” she whispered. “Listen carefully. Go inside, and wait for me there. I’ll be in in a minute. Run.”
- Mimi did as she was told, and Helen breathed a sigh of relief. One of the men grinned. “Well now, that wasn’t very smart, was it?” He chuckled as he pinned Helen to the brick wall of the theater. “I know you. You’re Truax’s little brat, aren’t you?”
- Helen spit in his face.
- “Are you tryin’ to piss me off, kid?”
- Helen’s heart raced. She shouldn’t – couldn’t – use her powers. Lady Volant had said she wasn’t ready.
- “That’s it. I’m gonna kill you. Say goodbye, bit-“
- Helen could feel her bones and muscles elongating as she stretched, kicking her legs out square into the man’s sternum and into the opposite wall.
- “What the hell – she’s a super! Club her in the head!” He cried out in anger. “Knock her out!”
- Helen glared. “Just try it.”
- They advanced toward her, and Helen took a fighting stance. She stretched out her arm, launching her fist into one of the other guys.
- Her eyes widened when she heard the click of a gun and the sound of wooden crates crashing together. The gun was pointed at her, the crates to her right.
- Helen’s heart nearly stopped completely when she heard the barking of a puppy.
- “Please, no,” she whispered.
- She breathed heavily as she watched Mimi – her Shadow – launch herself towards the man with the gun. Helen bit her lip nervously as she watched, then her resolve sparked once more. She swung her fist out and knocked out the mugger, breathing a sigh of relief when the dog trotted over to her as if nothing were wrong.
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