Bug Boy


"Grant, we have to go," Clara cried. Her face appeared in the door briefly, then vanished again.

Grant looked up from his book. "Why? Can't you do it yourself?"

"What? No," came her voice. "I need your help too."

Grant sighed and put his bookmark on the page he'd just read. He knew she was right. He just didn't want her to be. "What are we even doing this time?"

Clara ran into the room. She had already changed into her super outfit, essentially modified sportswear with a screen-printed the front. "What are you doing?" We have to go. "I'll explain on the way." Grant sighed and changed into his leggings, tank and technical jacket.

It was Dr. L again — of course. It was a biohazard lab this time and he was already in the process of blowing up the second layer of doors when Clara and Grant ran up. Grant's leg muscles were long and loose from the sprint — a sprint that would have been impossible before his change.

"He's always got to make a show, doesn't he?" Clara said. "Why doesn't he try to do this at night when no one's here?"

"Because you're right. He wants the show." Grant stepped over the rubble from the first set of doors into the lab.

Clara signaled to the police lined up behind them. "We're going in. Please wait at least five minutes."

They jogged through the main lobby and past a set of double doors that had seen better days. Dr. L had already broken through the second doors when they go there.

"Man, look at all those hallways," Grant said.

"You know, if you called up your bugs, they could probably sniff out where he is."

"I'll call them when I need them," Grant snapped.

Clara sighed. She held up her arms, then forced them down quick. Four cycles about the size of a person swirled into the air and shot off down the hallways. Clara listened for a minute.

"He's got to be on the upper floor," she said.

Grant sighed. Of course Clara got the cool power when they changed. He was stuck with bugs. He hated bugs. He always had. As kids, Clara had killed the bugs or put them outside under a cup. When Grant saw a bug, he'd scream and go hid in the other room. He didn't do that anymore, thank God, but he still preferred to keep them, far, far away.

They found Dr. L soldering open the containment door.

"Really?" Clara said. "A biolab? How cliche can you be?"

Dr. L stopped and looked at them. "Typhoon. HiveMind."

Yep. Still hated his name.

Clara stepped forward. "I know you're not going to listen, but I have to ask..."

Before she said anything more, Dr. L lashed out. In an instant, he had her next to him, wrapped tight with some kind of metal rope.

"Typhoon!" Grant cried, at least having the presence of mind not to call her by her real name.

Clara wriggled, but her arms were pinned too close to her sides and her legs were tied tight. She couldn't get the air moving.

"Uh uh." Dr. L put a gun to her head.

Grant blinked. No he couldn't cry now. His sister needed him. He raised his hands and called out to the insects. The chemical signals radiated through his fingertips, through every pore.

"Let me pass bug boy," Dr. L said. "What are you going to do? Give me some ant bites?"

Grant just stared at him. His work was already done. He heard the buzzing echoing down the hall. He shrunk out of the way as a horde of hornets zoomed down the hall and engulfed Dr. L. Grant could see them — sense them — flying down his shirt, crawling up his sleeves.

Dr. L began to scream. The rope on Clara slacked and she scrambled away as Dr. L collapsed to the ground.

"That's enough," she said.

Grant nodded and called them off. The hornets began flying away, leaving behind them a writhing, whimpering Dr. L.

"You've never controlled them so well," Clara said. "They always sense your fear."

"I wasn't afraid this time," Grant said. "I was angry."

Clara looked at him a second. "Come on. Let's call EMS in here."

Grant stayed pinned to the wall as the last hornets swarmed by. When the left, he breathed a sigh of relief. "All right bugs. I don't like you. But maybe we can come to some kind of understanding."

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