FFM 2020 28
A cow pasture. In the middle of the city. A bright green field of tall grass and a line of distant, dark green trees that top the hill and hide more skyscrapers on the other side. The barbed wire fence with a gaping hole about the width of a pregnant cow.
And no cows.
“So where’d they go?”
Her eyes twitch, scanning the historic brick street - out of place in a city full of asphalt and cement - for any signs of cows. Manure. Displaced old loose bricks. Scrapes on the corners of buildings from too-big trailers squeezing into the too-narrow street. Cows don’t just vanish into thin air.
She puts a hand to the ground. Sorting out and identifying vibrations proves difficult with millions of potential sources. Filtering out the white noise to find the source required.
Oh. How simple.
Three-quarters of a mile down the road, inside the disused civic center with interior decoration that screams "1970s", the local capes gape at the non-humanoid inhabitants.
"So what do we do?" asks the tin man.
"Don't ask me," counters the floating lady. "I grew up in the city. Never seen this before."
“Never even seen a cow pasture in the middle of the city, nevermind escaped cows that managed to get this far,” says Oatmeal.
A proverbial bomb explodes and all the established heroes jump or fly back, eyes glued to the newcomer. “The hell?”
“Who are you and how did you get in here?”
“My my, such powers of perception,” says the stranger, Oatmeal, a young female whose costume much more resembles a halfassed purple Pennsylvania Dutch cosplay than a functional hero or villain costume. Her breath hitches, a failed attempt to suppress laughter. “I just followed the singing.”
The floating lady, Deadra, cocks her head to one side, a confounded expression pasted across her face. “Singing?”
“Yeah,” says Oatmeal. “Cows sing. Did you know that?”
“Hey, they don’t use this building anymore, right? Good.”
Oatmeal cracks her wrists and the wall behind her disintegrates into dust, leaving Tony Stark with a panic attack and forcing Deadra to squint for silhouettes in the dust and use them to make out directional tells. When the dust does settle, only Deadra and Tony remain.
Deadra picks up Iron Man and exits the building, still standing even without its wall, and gains altitude. Tony recovers and gets his suit flying again.
“Forty-two cows,” says Deadra. “She can’t go far without notice.”
And she can’t. Below, near the edge of the cow pasture, stands Oatmeal corralling forty-two stampeding cows into their pasture without a single rumble. Iron Man rushes down while Deadra scratches her head.
“Oh no, you don’t!”
“Come any closer before I’ve finished getting the cows in and you lose your suit.”
“Is that a threat?”
Oatmeal throws up one hand and pushes it at Iron Man. A wall of air throws him against the skyscraper. Deadra flies down at this, but the last cow crosses the fence threshold and Oatmeal’s arms drop to her sides. She walks over to the fence-
-and curses when a laser from behind singes the fabric on her shoulder.
“Don’t take another step or I won’t miss,” says Tony Stark.
“Either put that away or use it to help fix the fence.” The voice echoes right inside Tony’s head, bypassing the speakers built into the suit’s headpiece.
“You’re in no position to be ordering-”
Deadra shakes her head and swoops down to take the fence from Oatmeal’s hands and uses heat vision to start welding it back together.
“Deadra, what are you doing?”
“She has a point,” says the caped woman. “She’s doing what we were sent here to do, and she got it done before even you came up with an idea.”
“Yeah,” says Oatmeal, plopping down on the grass. She still faces away from Tony, her voice still clear despite the acoustics. “Why did they send two supers to chase after some cows anyway?”
FFM 2020 30
I eliminated thought verbs, filter verbs, and -ly adverbs. I also tried to make as little use of is/be/was/are and have/has/had as possible. ** Some of these words still appear in dialogue because that's how people talk.
Incorporated stranger - Oatmeal, who is a stranger to Deadra and Tony Stark. I was also going to include a bargain but I found a better stopping point.
This is fanfiction, but probably not exactly the type you think it is.
Read more about Deadra on my entries for days 7 and 25.
Read more about Oatmeal on my entry for day 10.
Read more about cows on my entry for day 16.
This was almost my day 31 challenge until I learned that magical realism isn't this.
This flash fiction was brought to you by chaotic neutral dreams.