6.9: Interlude – Vigilante

Harper held the end of her pencil between her teeth for a few moments as she waited for inspiration to strike. Harper Hard-Heart had just saved a group of innocent school children who’d been forced to take a math test. She broke in through the window, carried the kids to safety, and then laughed maniacally as she watched the school go up in flames!

But what would she do now?

She closed her eyes for a moment, letting the cool autumn breeze hit her face as her ears took in the dull buzzing of noise and movement from the playground. Loud places like the playground or cafeteria were always a challenge for her. The cacophony of sounds tended to blend together into a sort of white noise. It was difficult to follow a conversation in that sort of environment… But it was also easier to focus on her thoughts too.

“Hey, Harper!”

She lifted her head at the sound of her name. Sophie had appeared, running over to her along with Nyla. They each took a seat at the picnic table with her. So much for finishing this story…

Still, she couldn’t help a smile at the sight of her two friends.

“… a minute. Are… homework?!” Sophie asked, giggling. Unfortunately she had chosen the seat across from Harper, and her voice blended easily with the shouts and laughter of the rest of their classmates.

“Huh?”

Beside her, Nyla reached out her hand toward Harper’s forehead. “Sophie’s right… Are you sick or something?” Her words were much easier to make out, at least. Sophie’s fragmented question suddenly made much more sense.

Harper reached up, giggling as she slapped her hand away. “You really think I’d do homework at recess? Do I look like Thad to you?”

Their friend spent nearly every recess doing extra science work with Mr. Phoenix. In fact, Harper was about 90% sure that’s where Thad was that very minute. As if she’d ever dream of wasting her recess like that!

“Well, if it’s not homework, then what are you writing?” Nyla asked.

Sophie leaned a bit closer, speaking slower and more clearly than she had before. This time, Harper could almost make out every word over the giggles and conversation of her classmates. “Is it… story?” She asked. “About… supervillain?”

Harper nodded. “Of course! She just saved a whole bunch of kids from having to do a math test!” She spat the words as though they left an unpleasant taste in her mouth. “I’m just trying to figure out what she’s gonna do next.”

Sophie looked pleased, but Nyla simply shook her head. “I don’t get it.” She said.

“Don’t get what?”

“You always say she’s a villain, but she sure likes to save people.”

“So what?”

“So that’s not a villain.” Nyla shrugged. “That’s a hero, isn’t it?”

Sophie bit her lip. “She does… a point.”

Harper furrowed her brow in frustration at her friends’ words. They were wrong — Heroes were always so nice and good and perfect. All the time! And they could do no wrong, no matter what. That’s SO not me… Or Harper Hard-Heart!

“Just because she saves people doesn’t mean she’s the good guy!” She insisted at last.

“But she can’t… bad guy either, can she?” Sophie asked. “Not unless… all the time.”

Nyla gestured over toward where Katie giggled and played with her friends. “If anybody’s a villain, it’s totally them.” She said.

“Yeah.” Sophie agreed. “They’re evil!”

“Hmm…” Harper’s gaze followed Nyla’s arm toward Katie and her friends. Nyla had a point, didn’t she? If anyone was truly an evil supervillain, it would be Katie Fletcher and her little minions.

“Or what about them?” Nyla’s voice called Harper back to reality as she nodded her head toward a pair of students off to their right. “They’re always getting in trouble.”

“Yeah!” Sophie agreed. “They’re perfect villains!”

“Rylie and Devin?” Harper shook her head. She didn’t know either of them very well… In fact, she’d always been a little scared of them, in a way. They were just so intimidating! But only lately had Harper started to realize how much she actually admired them for it.

“Nah, not them. They’re…” She paused for a moment, thinking. “Different. They’re like my villain, I guess. Or my not-a-villain.” Harper corrected herself. “They’re not bad guys. But they aren’t ‘good’ either… They’re just… them. They do what they want.” She explained.

“Whatever.” Nyla shrugged. “They still seem pretty villain-y to me.”

Harper simply rolled her eyes. They just don’t get it…

Across the table, she could make out Sophie’s soft voice, but the words were all muddled together even worse than before.

Harper whipped her head around to face the other girl. “What? You gotta talk slower, Soph.”

“I said ‘what about us?'” Her friend repeated. Harper focused her full attention on Sophie, and was finally able to make out everything she was saying. “Me and Nyla. Would we be heroes or villains or whatever that third mystery-thing is?”

Harper’s lips curled into a smile. “Well, you’d be the helpless victim stuck in a burning building or something.” She teased. “Not sure what category Nasty Nyla would be in.”

Her friends took her teasing in stride, just as she knew they would. A loud burst of laughter passed Nyla’s lips. “Good one! Sign me up as a villain, I guess. That’d be fun! Except having to hang out with Katie all the time…”

“Maybe you can be like a spy or something?” Sophie suggested. “Like, go undercover to keep an eye on the bad guys?”

Harper’s lips stretched into a smile. Maybe they did get it after all. “Perfect!”

She scribbled the ideas furiously in her notebook, eager to get back inside, turn off her hearing aid, and finish her story during Miss Li’s lecture.

—————————————–

“Harper? Is that you, honey?” Zayne’s deep voice called from the kitchen as Harper dropped her backpack to the floor of the entry hall. In the quiet of the near-empty house,  her father’s voice was hard to miss, even for her.

She noticed her grandmother reading a book in the study as she passed. “Hey there, sweetie-pie.” Jocelyne closed her book and smiled as she caught sight of her granddaughter. “Did you have a good day?”

“I did, thanks Oma.” Harper gave her a brief wave and a smile before making her way toward the kitchen.

Harper was grateful her father had the evening off. When he didn’t, she had to put up with leftovers. Or worse, her mom’s cooking. Yuck! The smell of lemon and fresh herbs grew stronger as she drew closer. Clearly Zayne had gotten an early start on preparing dinner. But what would it be this evening? Chicken? Harper wondered. Fish? Whatever it was, it was sure to be delicious.

“Hi, Papa.” She smiled warmly at her father as she crossed the threshold. Her second guess had been accurate, it seemed. She saw the bright pink salmon fillets laid out on the counter, ready to be seasoned.

“Welcome home, baby girl.” Zayne abandoned his cutting board to address his daughter as she entered. He spoke to her in German, as he usually did when his wife was not home. “Did you have fun at Nyla’s house?”

“Yeah, I guess.” She smiled slightly. “She was kinda jealous that I got to come home for dinner though… I think she misses your cooking, Papa.” It had been a few weeks since she’d invited her friend over for dinner, and Nyla was still raving about his chicken stir-fry.

Her father laughed heartily. “Is that so? Well she’s welcome for dinner whenever she’d like. Just let me know ahead of time” He paused for a moment. “And how was school?”

The little girl shrugged, her smile fading. “It was okay.”

“Just ‘okay’?”

Harper nodded, but said nothing.

“So… wanna talk about it?”

She sighed heavily. I knew he’d start asking annoying questions. There was no use in trying to avoid them though, was there? “It’s just… Everyone was so excited waiting for Coach to tell us who made the team… But not me.” Harper hung her head for a moment. “No one would stop talking about tryouts. It was so annoying!”

“When do you find out?” Zayne asked. “Tomorrow?”

His daughter nodded yet again.

“Well then there’s no need to worry about it until then.” He explained kindly. Zayne seemed to hesitate for a moment before continuing. “And… You might not have anything to worry about anyway. Your mom called the school this morning and talked to your coach about giving you another chance.” He confessed.

“She did?!” Harper groaned in frustration. “Why?”

Zayne’s face fell slightly. “We know you were having a rough day with your asthma. And it sounds like your coach understands too.” He assured her, placing his hands comfortingly on her shoulders.

“Why couldn’t you just drop it?” There was no anger in her voice this time. Just resignation. “I can’t always be perfect, Papa.”

“Don’t tell your mother and I that.”  He smiled warmly at her. “To us, you’ll always be perfect, Pumpkin…” Her father’s eyes suddenly lit up. “Ooh! ‘Perfect Pumpkin’! Hey, that’s pretty good, huh? Could that be your next superhero?”

“Oh my God, Papa!” Harper couldn’t help a small chuckle at her father’s cheesiness. “Lame!

“Aha! There’s the smile!” Zayne gave her a small wink, then leaned forward to plant a soft kiss against her cheek.

“Ewwwww. Papa!

He shrugged innocently. “What?”

Rolling her eyes, Harper finally climbed up on one of the stools by the kitchen counter and watched as her father got back to preparing their supper. She knew her mother would be home any minute. Somehow, her father always seemed to time their evening meal perfectly so it was hot and fresh and ready to eat the moment Hope walked through the door.

Harper sat in silence for a few long moments as he began seasoning the fish and chopping up some of the vegetables.

As her father finally began transferring the fish into the skillet, she finally opened her mouth to speak. “Papa… I have kind of a weird question.”

“Go for it, baby girl.” Zayne smiled.

“You know a lot about superheroes, right? Like… I know Batman’s your favorite. But you know about other superheroes too? And villains?”

Her father raised an eyebrow curiously at her. “I guess I do.” He nodded.

“So like… Obviously I know what a superhero is. And a supervillain too… But… What do you call the in-between kinda person?”

“In-between?”

“Yeah. Like somebody who saves the day sometimes, or punishes a bad guy… But they do it in a kinda bad way? They don’t follow anybody’s rules. They make their own.”

Zayne laughed softly. “Sounds like a vigilante to me.”

“Vigil… what?”

“Vigilante.” He repeated. “Batman’s kind of a vigilante himself, actually.” Her father appeared thoughtful for a moment. “It’s kind of like what you said. Somebody who takes the law into their own hands… They don’t follow the rules. They believe in justice, but… Not the usual kind of justice I guess.”

“Justice? Like… revenge?”

“Kinda.”

Harper nodded. “Thanks, Papa. I think I get it now.”

A vigilante… It was perfect! Way better than a superhero, but even better than a villain too! Somebody who didn’t care about following anyone’s dumb rules or living up to any expectations… Someone who just did whatever they wanted and beat up the bad guys whenever they needed to. Now THAT’S Harper Hard-Heart!

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with that story you’re writing, would it?” Zayne asked, calling Harper’s attention back to the present. “The one with the supervillain?”

“Yup!” She eagerly returned her father’s smile. “Except now I think she’s really a super vigilante! Isn’t that way cooler?”

“Ha! I love it.” Zayne chuckled softly to himself. “So you’re a vigilante now, huh? And what about your old man? Does he get a role in this story too?”

“Sure.” Harper smirked playfully at him. “You get to be the Perfect Pumpkin.”

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56 Responses to 6.9: Interlude – Vigilante

  1. sourocha1 says:

    I can understand why harper had a bad time with the villan-or-hero situation…Childrem are usually teached to either go to one extreme to another, either bad or good, no in-between…But, I’m glad she founded her in-betweeen! That whole things reminds me of something I readed somewhere, a while ago…”‘Are you a bad person that sometimes does good things, or, a good person that sometimes does bad things?”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Trip says:

    Did Sophie forget that her parents are the crummy heroes of their own story? 😛

    Zayne is a friendly orange pumpkin but like one that started rotting on its right side. And he is such a sickeningly doting parent. Go to timeout (unlike what you’ll do with Harper lol)

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      But I thought we didn’t know the identity of her parents…? 😉 Hehe

      YES, “Sickeningly doting” is the perfect description, unfortunately 😂 (also dying at Zayne the pumpkin rotting on one side 😂)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. um I hope Harper is aware that the person she calls “grandma’ isn’t actually her grandma but her grandaunt. Since I don’t think she would like the shock of the fact she calls her grandaunt ‘grandma”.

    Like

  4. Arrowleaf says:

    Awhhhh, I thought Harper was gonna make an anti-hero (which I guess it sounds like she still is). Vigilantes are cool too though, and the entire scene with Zayne was really really cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahaha yeah, Harper Hard-Heart is still a bit of an anti-hero too 😛 Glad you enjoyed overly-doting Zayne haha It was fun to write!

      Like

  5. julyvee94 says:

    I love harper’s personality 🙂 you’re getting it across well in these chapters. I hope she can serve justice to katie sometime lmao.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks, July! She’s been so fun to write and develop 🙂 And you want Harper serving up some vigilante justice? Hehehehe Hey, it could happen. We’ll see 😉

      Like

  6. witchazard says:

    Dark WitcHazard: Laughing maniacally at the sight of a sight of a burning building Harper Hard-Heart you get me!😎 Also two new super powers! Sonokinetic Flight: User releases strong sound pulses to give them the ability of flight!
    Sonokinetic Constuct: manipulates the element of sound to form weapons, tools, and other objects!

    Lover WitcHazard: Oh I just thought of the cutest thing when Harper gets her first crush she can totally turn him into some kind of obstacle that Harper Hard-Heart has to over come. She not trying to do it on purpose but he keeps unconsciously ending up in the storyline. Then she uses the courage of her inner vigilante to make the first move! Eeeeeeekkkk so adorable!❤️❤️❤️

    Shipper WitcHazard: Eeeeeeekkk that’s so adorable! He could be a rival whose out doing Hx3(nickname for Harper Hard-Heart) who starts to get frustrated when in actuality he’s only doing it to impress her!

    Lover and Shipper WitcHazard: Aaaaaawwwwwwww!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Dark WitcHazard: SILENCE!!!! Don’t bring that mess around Hx3 she’s a independent fierce vigilante not some ditsy magical girl!👿🔥🔥🔥

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Haha some fun and cute idea from the WitcHazards as usual! Only time will tell what’s in store for her… 😉 Love the new superpowers hehe

      Like

  7. shamanarza says:

    Well, Harper’s about to get hella-bullied when she ends up on the soccer team and no one else thinks she belongs. And girl-bullied at that, which is so easy for others to dismiss.

    At least she doesn’t seem to be too comfortable with the coddling, at least not according to her internal monologue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Oh yeah, Harper is definitely getting sick and tired of the coddling. I think when she was little it was fun but now she’s at the age where she’s starting to recognize that it’s just too much and her parents are over-the-top. I feel for her! 😦

      I wish Hope and Zayne recognized that they are probably doing more harm than good.

      Like

  8. OnyxRaven says:

    Vigilante, huh? That works…. Maybe she’ll be a secret agent when she grows up? We’ll have to see…. I liked this chapter. Zayne is such a doting father. One would think so, after losing a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Love your idea for Harper’s future! Haha yes, we will see! 😀

      Glad you enjoyed this one 🙂 I enjoy writing doting-Zayne a lot (even though he’s annoying haha) And you’re very right about where a lot of this is coming from! Harper will forever be on a pedestal in her parents’ eyes, I fear.

      Thank you for reading! ^_^

      Like

  9. A vigilante! That’s great! I’m so happy she’s writing stories in her journal. The thing about vigilantes though is they’re like Batman, the Punisher, Green Arrow, etc. and they all have incredibly sad backstories. They aren’t vigilantes because they’re a normal in-between, they’re vigilantes because they’re trying to avenge something or someone (usually a murdered family member). Harper may be annoyed that her parents are overly doting, but she wouldn’t want to lose them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      That is true and a very good point! And, at Harper’s age, she knows now about Luc and Hazel, so she understands her father’s tragedy. And you are so right, she’d never ever ever want to lose her parents the way he lost his 😦

      I guess she wants to be a vigilante minus the tragic backstory haha

      Liked by 1 person

  10. megiare says:

    I’m sitting here chuckling because of all the coffee pots in the kitchen lolol

    Liked by 3 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahahaha good observation LOL Welllll they’re loaded and we learned back in Gen 5 that Zayne and Hope are both caffeine addicts hehe so they have a normal coffee maker, a fancy tea maker, AND a fancy espresso-maker… The Rosebrooks do not fool around when it comes to caffeine 😛

      Like

  11. audreyfld says:

    Okay – I totally missed the coffee pots! That was way too funny Megiare!

    I am falling in love with Harper! I can see now that Katie is going to do something mean when Harper makes the team and Harper will extract her vigilantism on her and get in a whole heap of trouble. Then it will be Vigilante Harper Hard Heart vs Perfect Pumpkin!

    And Trip – I really hope Sophie is more well grounded than her parents. Good thing we don’t know who they are or Zayne would forbid Harper to associate with her.

    Liked by 3 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Im so glad you love Harper so much! I do too 🙂 Nice prediction about Harper dealing some vigilante justice 😉 We shall see! 😛

      And LOL about Sophie’s parents! She seems like a pretty well adjusted kid, considering what she came from 😂

      Liked by 3 people

    • pammiechick says:

      Lol! I so agree! If Zayne ever met Thuel…🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      • CitizenErased14 says:

        Accurate! Haha Well, Axel and Zayne were friends back in the day, but I definitely think Zayne would not appreciate the very dark path his friend has been going down… Would definitely not approve of unsupervised visits to that household 😂 (unless in this future, Axel and Thu miraculously got their shit together? We can dream? Haha)

        Like

  12. Jes2G says:

    Nyla is so cute. She’s gonna be straight up gorgeous when she’s older.

    “Don’t tell your mother and I that.” He smiled warmly at her. “To us, you’ll always be perfect, Pumpkin…”
    He better be joking. Way to put even more pressure on your kid who’s already under tons of pressure, Brat Prince.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      She’s surprisingly not-that-beautiful when she’s a teen haha but I think part of that is her style (She’s a casting call sim. Poor thing has glasses and acne as a teen haha But underneath it, her face is definitely pretty!)

      And as for Zayne… Not joking, unfortunately. 😦 He and Hope are both way overly doting and sappy and essentially obsessed with their child haha. And no matter how good their intentions are, I think they don’t realize that they might be doing more harm than good :-/ Wednesday’s chapter is a Zayne journal that will give us a little more insight into what he’s thinking when he makes those sort of comments

      Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      But yeah… The Brat Prince is still under there, somewhere haha. I think fatherhood has brought the beast back out XD (Maybe THAT should be his superhero name instead… The Brat Prince LMAO)

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Luna says:

    So Harper sticks to her Harper Hard Heart story. It is cute, but also a warning sign, to me. I don’t know what superheroes or supervillains she was thinking of, but i guess it was the perfect hero and evil just because villain stuff, that stuff from kids tv, plain and simple. What Zayne describes with his hero Batman just is the thing Harper noticed on her own – humans are not like that, humans struggle between good and bad urges, they are not necessarily good because they save someone, they are not necessarily bad because they hurt someone, there is no clear black and white like kids like to see the world. Her vigilante can be some sort of hero, or some sort of villain, or neither of those, just selfish. Saving kids from math tests sounds like kids-hero to me, and Harper doesn’t tend to be mean or overly selfish, and her hero seems to mirror some of her wishes.

    I am not really happy with the way this situation works out. Harper gets a second chance on the tryouts, and maybe she will make it just to have a breakdown at an important game, or at every other training. Her parents might mean well, but they shouldn’t put her under pressure like that. It would be different if Harper asked for it or actively sought out that opportunity, but she wants to be left alone, and more important, she doesn’t want to be perfect. That behavior of her parents will just encourage Harper to keep her hobbies and interests for herself. I also don’t like the fact she doesn’t meets up with her friend any more. It might be for any reason, but I suspect either Harper has a difficult mood and tries to distance herself a bit, or she simply doesn’t want her parents to talk to her friends, and be asked about what Harper does ect. That would be problematic.

    There are clear hints Harper might try out going her own way against the rules, but she isn’t quite ready yet. There is going to be some kind of trigger, maybe something her enemy Katie does or something her parents might do. I am very keen to hear her parents point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Luna! We will be hearing Zayne’s perspective in Wednesday’s chapter that might help at least explain why Zayne and Hope treat Harper this way. They mean well and their hearts are definitely in the right place… but that doesn’t mean what’s they are doing isn’t going to be bad for their child in the long-run!

      I think Harper doesn’t have friends over as much mostly because both of her parents work and often both of them are not home (Joce always is, but I don’t know if an old woman has the patience to deal with a couple of 11-year-olds! Haha). However, you do make some great observations about how Hope and Zayne could be pushing Harper away with how they treat her! Time will tell how things go down the line…

      Thank you again for both reading and commenting 🙂 I appreciate it!

      Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      (And sorry that my replies are rarely as long or articulate as your great comments! I really appreciate how well thought-out they are and I love reading them!!!)

      Like

      • Luna says:

        I don’t mind your comments being shorter, you mostly respond to my important points and of course you can’t really discuss what I assume without being tempted to tell too much. I really like your story and I am having fun speculating, thanks for appreciating that, but it’s entirely your fault 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          Haha it’s true, it’s so hard for me to address speculation too much without being tempted to say “OMG You’re right!” Or “Nope, not gonna happen” haha. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and speculation. I’m glad you’re having fun and I am so happy you read. Thank you!!!

          Like

  14. Bugsie2016 says:

    Harper is hilarious. Zayne, cool it. You need to exchange your glasses, yours seemed to be rose-tinted. She won’t always be perfect, you were far from perfect. Ask Joce.

    First Prediction: I sense a rebel Harper as a teen because she wants her parents to realise she isn’t as perfect as they imagine. Zayne you and Hope need to exchange your glasses, yours seemed to be rose-tinted.
    Second Prediction: Joce explains to Zayne what he’s doing to his daughter. She raised 4 kids, she’ll know what she’s talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Simmie says:

    I know I’ve said it before, but Harper at school is the cutest!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. aww this was so cute x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. sonniejj says:

    Excuse me while I laugh forever at the image of Zayne as a Perfect Pumpkin :p

    Liked by 1 person

  18. raerei says:

    Perfect pumpkin….pffffft. Dying with the image of him in costume.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. fabtiffsim says:

    haha ZING
    good one Harper.
    I like the conversation the kids were having, it’s cute to watch them talking to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I totally wanna find some kind of cc costume and take a picture of Zayne as the Perfect Pumpkin 😂😂😂

      Glad you enjoyed seeing the kids interact! It’s fun to write 🙂 Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. shehadasim says:

    Ii was hoping she would take this route; sometimes you gotta be bad to be good

    Liked by 1 person

  21. MrsRacooney says:

    Aw, the interactions between those two are just so sweet! I understand why Harper was disappointed by Hope talking to the coach. Sometimes you just prefer to have a reason to be angry or depressed to let off steam and Harper sure has a lot of steam to be let off with Katie and the general knowledge that she’s “different”. Hope she’ll find it good in the aftermath, though. 🙂 And she has two wonderful friends as it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

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