Flash Fiction Challenge: Superdude

SuperDudeThis is one of the inmates I met on my little adventure to the asylum. Everyone called him SuperDude.

Most of the time, he seemed as regular a person as you’d ever meet. Once in a while, he would put on his cape and his “helmet of invisibility,” and he would stand watch like this.

I thought it quite amusing until the riot back in November. He showed us all something that day.

In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and/or the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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5 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Superdude”

  1. Byron Kent works alone this night, with instructions to produce plans for a new casino. Lightning crackles across the city. Thunder explodes, and a wild wind attacks the office block. His foot taps time to music but when a knocking sound persists he leaves his stool.
    In a distorted reflection in an urn he’s taller and hunched like Jack the janitor who came in earlier with industrial cleaning equipment strapped to his frame. Jack tipped waste into black, plastic bags. Left everything orderly. Called to Byron from the exit. “Goodnight.”
    “’Night Jack. Drive carefully…roads’ll be slippery.”
    Byron edges down the corridor, tests the glass door. It’s locked. He creeps through the toilets, smells pine disinfectant, peers under cubicle doors. Someone once grabbed him in a place like this. He was eight, he kicked the man’s shin, wriggled free, ran home.
    Back at his desk, he hears a crash. Convinced he’s not alone, he waits. Moments tick by. He leans forward and sees the door to a tall cupboard swing out, in.
    Time for action. Clad in his invisible superhero gear, he aligns himself with the wall, squints into the cupboard.
    Sharp eyes discern baggy overalls, black boots.
    Byron stiffens then staggers backwards.
    Armed with a heavy lamp, he lunges at the door.
    A deafening crash splits the timber, splinters fly.
    Silence hits the air.
    He returns to his stool, types a message to his boss.
    Mark, sorry about the damage. Blame it on Jack’s disembodied work apparel. Will explain later.

  2. Prisoners running amok in the ‘yard’. Guards attacked. Men yelling, some screaming in rage or pain. Bullets flying from too few panicked guards. Then all of a sudden up high on the edge of the building – it’s Superdude – a figure familiar to one and all. The rioters stopped long enough to look at him and wonder what he would do, Just long enough for the support helicopters to come in and spray a combination of tear gas and sleeping gas to knock everyone out. Sometimes you don’t need superpowers – just a strong presence to capture everyone’s imagination.

  3. Bennie came to the asylum when he was only eleven. He had just lost his entire family in a house fire. His father heroically saved Bennie, but his mother and sister died that day; his father the next.

    For almost twenty years, Bennie had not spoken and was almost catatonic. On occasion we found him on the rooftop in a cape and red hat chanting “SuperDude, SuperDude”, but never anything else.

    That all changed last week with the fire in his barracks. It caused quite a riot. We found Bennie curled up in his room with his “cape of invisibility” draped around him and moaning, “superdude, superdude.” When he looked up and saw me he ran and hugged me, and said “thank you for saving me”.

    The fire had obviously triggered something. For the next hour we talked; about his family, the asylum, and why for so many years he would only say Superdude.

    Bennie explained, “Since that awful day I have been afraid, especially of fire. One day I had a dream and saw my father calling me. I was ready to be rescued from this horrid place, but I could not speak. Later, I was on the roof and the word just came to me, so I began to call out to him. Each time, when I was afraid, I would put on my cape and hat and climb onto the roof and call him”.

    “But why Superdude?”, I asked.

    “No”, he declared, “ I was saying SuperDad.”

  4. “Thin Air”

    Like Aristide Bruant in the Toulouse-Lautrec poster, he was sporting a cape, but instead of a red scarf, he had his scarlet invisibility toque. The brick building, with its sinister history, loomed up behind him. He turned toward the voice.

    “You went off your meds and attacked another patient,” it said.

    “Those pills…they make me feel wasted…they dull my senses.”

    “But they’re necessary. You know…they found your journal today. Your psychiatrist says you suffer from paranoid delusions. And bipolar disorder.”

    “Because I hear voices?”

    “That. And the violent outbursts.”

    “You’d react, too, if you were locked up in this loony bin. The people here…they’re crazy… really crazy.”


    “Cut!” cried the director.” We’ll break for dinner.”


    Back in his trailer, Ari looked at a character description:

    “They’d been drugging him for years. His brain was drowning in anti-depressants. Pharmaceuticals were chemically altering his synapses. Sometimes he’d manage to cough up the capsules.”

    And synopsis:

    “Scene 3: a fire breaks out in the old wing of the institute, bringing staff members with buckets and extinguishers to put out the flames. The protagonist manages to slip through the unguarded door and escape into the fog. He heads toward the woods. At dawn, a manhunt ensues. They bring in sniffer dogs and helicopters, but to no avail.”

    Putting down the script, Ari paused.

    An hour later there was a knock on the door: “Mr. Geist—you’re due on set.”

    No response.

    “Mr. Geist?”

  5. Food flying everywhere, mayhem with no hope of control, confusion planned by a couple patients that wanted something more, the morphine from the pharmacy. Superdude had taken a food tray to the face and broke his nose in the cafeteria war. He saw them on his way to the infirmary.

    One kept lookout while the other broke the handle of the door and pushed his way inside. The guard had a sharpened butter knife that he tossed back and forth between his hands. Superdude shouldn’t have approached him.

    He couldn’t stand by and do nothing, couldn’t continue his march for his own personal needs. Instead Superdude confronted the inmate/guard. With a fist to the man’s nose and then another to his chin, Superdude took him down.

    With the first one down he took guard at the door and waited for the other to come out. The second patient called out to his friend, then appeared in the doorway when he received no answer. Superdude stood there in a halo of light reflected from the safety corner mirrors, his hands on his hips. “You can’t win, ruffian,” he said.

    The patient sprang for the knife on the floor and threw his shoulder into Superdudes belly. They tumbled to the floor, a scuffle for possession of the blade. After several slashes across his hands and arms they both stopped their struggles. Winded and bleeding Superdude crawled away from the patient lying there with a knife stuck in his chest.

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