Prompt: Create a superhero and write about their adventures.
Disclaimer: the usual disclaimers I put on my stories may apply.
By day Claire Montoya was a very unassuming college student who lived in a large house her parents purchased for her and her friends. By night, she was the enigmatic superhero and skilled detective Cat Call. Along with a band of other superheroes, mostly friends from her old neighborhood, she brought justice to white collar criminals through accessing their internet search history and subjecting them to extortion and blackmail until they confessed their crimes to the police.
The problem, though, is that lately, Claire wasn’t feeling her fantasies, and without her usual biting sarcasm and embarrassment inducing wit, the criminals weren’t taking her threats seriously. The first one to notice this problem was her male sidekick Cuckoo Bird. She usually kept a list of criminals, their most atrocious crimes, and their most scandalous deeds on her computer, where she’d write humiliating stories about them using a thinly veiled pseudonym, but…lately she hadn’t opened up any new documents. This was highly unusual for her. Bringing evil-doers to their knees via humiliation-induced justice was her most passionate hobby. She cooked up schemes to cut these foul businessmen down to size even when she was almost too sick to walk.
After logging into her account and checking her computer for a whole week, he finally decided to ask her. “Hey, Claire, can I ask you something?”
Claire was lying in her bed in her room staring at the ceiling; they all had their own rooms at the hideout. Her hair was uncombed and she looked unkempt. “Leave me alone,” she groaned.
“I…just noticed that you haven’t come up with any new pranks to play on the bad guys,” Cuckoo Bird said with a look of concern. “I was wondering if anything was wrong?”
She sat up and gave a long sigh before replying. “James, I…just don’t feel like myself. I haven’t been able to get into it lately. I’ve gone to fetish sites where I’m a well-known contributor and read some of my favorite stories only for my stomach to turn. I feel sorrow, anger, desire, even, but not that peculiar little tickle and gives me pleasure from someone else’s pain. I think I lost my sadomasochism somehow,” she said with a serious face.
James giggled a little, causing her to give him a sharp disappointed look. “Sorry,” he apologized. “It’s just…that’s not the kind of complaint people hear all of the time. Usually people are happy when they’re not addicted to porn,” James quipped.
Claire gave another loud angry sigh. “Look, if I can’t feel what I think my targets are feeling, I can’t hit those nerves and make them afraid of us. I mean, without our abilities to find and wield embarrassing information against our targets and threaten them with it in a way that it stings, what are we, really? Just a bunch of college students with too much time and some weird fetishes that we express in the form of a hobby that sometimes acts like a public service.”
“Claire, relax, I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. You still know the basic formula, don’t you? Hack into bad guy’s computer, find something the would never want the public to know, and then keep a comically long paper trail to threaten them with when the time is right.”
“Yeah, but…without the setup, it won’t work. See James, what makes us threatening is our presentation. If we come off like incompetent kids instead of experienced blackmailers, no one will take us seriously, and it doesn’t matter how serious we are about our threats. It’s a social manipulation trick.”
James scratched his head and gave a small sigh of understanding. “Well, what do you want us to do? You’re the one who created this whole operation, and we need you to continue catching and punishing criminals who are normally above them law.”
“I know…I just…maybe if someone could help me experience the pain I want to bring to the criminals?” Claire said absentmindedly.
James gave a confused shrug. “I don’t know, that kind of sounds like we’d be fulfilling an unnecessary fetish.”
Claire sighed again. “I wish it was my current fetish. Then everything would be right. I just…can’t get that sense of life ruining social horror. My internalized social anxiety is surprisingly low. I actually feel like mortifying social humiliation is survivable without lasting damage. I don’t usually feel like this, and I don’t like it.”
James sucked on his teeth and gave a clicking sound in response. “What do you want us to do, then? Call a bunch of your old middle school bullies and get them to come up with a ‘life ruining scenario’ for you? What would it even be?”
Claire smiled a bit at the thought before turning serious again. “Heh. No, because most of them are the children of our targets, and chances are whatever they came up with would be a lot more than just harmless play.”
“But, maybe it’s the idea that it’s just play that’s blocking you? Remember our origin stories? We were all bullied terribly in middle school; it was part of a campaign to get certain people to commit suicide. They were not playing with us back then, and we knew it.”
“Yep. That campaign is where I discovered my superpower, finding and exploiting other people’s weaknesses using the internet…and a sexual fetish…diaper BDSM and humiliation porn. Back then, there was nothing more humiliating for us teens than the prospect of becoming babies again. Getting caught with an embarrassing secret like that would have ruined me, at least in my mind.”
James gave a small nod of understanding.
“But…as an adult, I started to have a different connection with it. People with strange fetishes aren’t the only ones who wear diapers, after all. Some people do it because they’re disabled and still others do it because they can’t always control when they go to the bathroom. I mean, look at it that way, and there’s nothing dirty or embarrassing about it at all, but I’m usually not in that mindset. This past week has been very weird.”
“I think it’s more about tapping into how they feel about it, though? I mean, if you wear diapers because of a medical condition, maybe you’ll be harder to embarrass, but if people are convinced you wear diapers for some other reason, on the other hand?”
“If you told rumors about that person, then, you’re kind of a terrible person, aren’t you? I know, I normally don’t think like this at all.”
Her friend smiled and put his hand on her shoulder. “Or maybe our little Claire is finally growing up?”
“I don’t wanna grow out of this. I was happy the way I was,” Claire said with a pout. “Besides, I have a practical reason for needing to get into their heads, but I can’t like this.”
“I understand,” James said.
Claire yawned, collapsed back on her pillow and turned her back to her visitor. “Now, leave me alone. I’m trying to get back into that mindset I was in before, and talking isn’t helping.”
“Oh, okay,” James said before quietly walking out of Claire’s room.