A Pep Talk for Heroes (Image from Era: The Empowered – Lacuna #1)

“Don’t take it so hard, Ace.” Penumbra relaxed across the ledge of a rooftop. Salt from the soft pretzel in her hand drifted down to the quiet evening street below. “Having powers and being powerful are two very different things.”

“I hate it when you start talking like a fortune cookie.” Lacuna complained. “What does that even mean?” Penumbra smirked up at him and took a bite of the pretzel. Lacuna flopped next to her and put his head on his arm. “Let’s face it, I’m just not great at this whole ‘being a hero’ routine.”


Lacuna looked up with one raised eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

“I hate heroes,” Penumbra sniffed dramatically. “They’re stuffy, they’re boring, and they always want to tell you about ‘That time they saved the world once’… ugh!”

“But, isn’t that what you’ve been training me for?” Lacuna stretched out his arms to include the rooftop skyline. “Isn’t that what all this rooftop tag is for? To turn me into a hero.”

“Oh god no,” Penumbra finished her snack and slid her mask back down over her face. She dropped her voice to a whisper and leaned close to Lacuna, “I’ll tell you a secret. I’m not really a hero.”

“Yeah,” Lacuna shrugged his shoulders and looked out over the city. “I kind of figured that out when you tried to get me to drop that giant cheese wheel on the hot dog vendor who stiffed you two bucks in change.”

“I still think you should have done it,” Penumbra laughed and smiled through her mask. “I wasn’t training you to be a hero, kid. I was teaching you how to relax and have some fun for once in your life. What good is saving the world if you’re not even going to enjoy living in it?”

With that, Penumbra dropped off the edge of the roof and down a spiral slide of shadows, shouting back up over her shoulder.

“Last one to Wrigley Field has to wear one of those giant foam number one hands for the rest of the night!”

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