Anne Bradford's Bad Day
by Heidi Root

He reached around to her keyboard pointing, "That's BloOdKiLler 666, umm the second L in killer is a capital 'i'". . . She rolled her eyes and backspaced the query. His account then popped up on the screen. "You're 343 short." Silence. She didn't have to see him with his helmet off to know that his expression was blank. Anne rubbed her temples, "Soooo. . . you want the generic, then?" "Umm, yeah". He took the small white box she already had bagged up and ran out.

"I'm takin my break, Jason." She yanked her black hair into a crude knot above her neck and pulled open the door. There was crunch underfoot that made her stop. She smirked and picked up the empty enhancement box and crumpled bag, tossing it in the nearest bin. "Heroes!" she said with a snort.
She shut the apartment door and sunk onto the couch, yanking off her boots and flipping up her eyepatch. "Ugh, these horrible boots are like lead weights." As if retail wasn't humiliating enough without having to dress up for the customers on Halloween. A quick Ramen noodle and an ice cold Coke and she was on her way back down the half a block to Image Inc.

When she walked back in the door, Jason was peering through a camera sight and fiddling with settings. He waved her over, "Come on Anne, the boss wants pics for the newsletter." She posed with a sigh, head tilted with boredom. His hands went up, "Wait. You need a sword." Anne raised her eyebrows, "Last time I checked, we didn't carry Pirate Cutlasses, Jason. . ." He disarmed the security on a plexiglass cabinet, gave her 'the look', and tossed her a small metal handle. "Heh," she cracked a smile and with the flick of her wrist the Collapsible Katana shot out with a tang. She hefted it from hand to hand, "The new model's in I see. . ." "Very cool," Jason smiled as he raised the camera again. He hesitated and his smile disappeared as the electronic door dinged. She tried to look over her shoulder as Jason gently but quickly ushered her behind the security locked counter.

"Sorry guys, you know we're a Heroes only shop. . ." The Lead Shocker put down the Hero O's he was examining, grinned and made a subtle turn of his upheld hand. On cue the others jumped on Jason in a flurry of fists and feet. Things went flying and Anne poked her head up just in time to see Jason winked out by the Medicom Transport. She was alone. A Slicer inched towards her, "Get a load of this Halloween costume babe. I think I'm in the mood for some pirate Booty!"

"Damn," she thought, "what I wouldn't give to see BloOdKiLIer666 right now!" She drilled the police call button under the counter knowing it was utterly useless. She knew she had to keep them from getting all the weapons from the cases. She really didn't want the Hellion's of her neighborhood to have Neutralizer Grenades and Net Projectors! There was only one thing to do- she turned around and quickly punched the night alarm protocol. The lights dimmed. Steel doors descended in the cases and red lasers criss-crossed the room. The Shocker pursed his lips, "You better just turn around and disarm it, girl."

Anne blanched. "Can't- only management can, and you just sent him to the hospital." The Shocker cracked his knuckles in shower of sparks. "Well, why don't I send you there to get him for me, honey." As he began to move in on her, she subconsciously parried and followed up with a slice, cutting him down, almost having forgot the sword was in her hand. The next few minutes were a blur of red.

An officer named Flint took out his notepad. "So what's your name, pirate?" She was dazed, absently rubbing her sore wrist, "It's Anne. . ." He scribbled. "Right, so you're Pirate Anne- that's pretty original. The first thing. . ."

Her eyes grew wide and her head snapped up. " No wait!...You don't understand!"

". . . take these blood samples to Dr. Miller right over there at Steel Canyon Medical Center". He patted her on the shoulder and gave her a gentle push. He began to walk away from her but then called out to her, "By the way, love the boots. . ."
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