Grace was currently standing in front of the AMC Fairbrook Meadows 10 in Kingsdale. The movie theater, a large one with a beautiful emerald glass exterior, looked almost like some sort of store, but was in fact a very nice movie theater not far from Grace’s apartment. Grace was standing outside the theater, her back against the building, her foot tapping against the group impatiently as she looked down at her phone. A perk of teleporting was that she always was there on time, and Grace was exactly 2 minutes early to the late movie. It was around 6:00 PM, and the sun, while not down yet, was beginning to set over Castleburg skies and usher in the night.
Grace was donning light colors on this occasion, an airy white tank top and a pair of khaki shorts, and her thin frame was a couple inches taller thanks to a pair of peach-colored wedges on her feet. Draped over her shoulders was a white pea coat with golden trims and shimmering golden buttons, and on the breast of the coat was an embroidered pair of golden wings, underneath it the words “The Wings of Law” in elaborate golden cursive, and underneath that the words “Heroism with Class” in thick golden letters. A nice but strong spring breeze had picked up, causing the coat which was loosely resting on Grace’s shoulders to flutter in the wind. Grace looked down at her phone again. ”He should be here by now…” she muttered quietly as she checked the time.
Tom had a reasonably good reason for being a couple of minutes late - after the revelation that their last meeting had been spied upon by their friends, Tom had spent a little bit of time checking his wallet for any kind of bugging device. Afterwards, he had flown an unpredictable and crazy route over to the cinema just to make sure that nobody who potentially could be driving below in a car to follow him was able to follow him. He was dressed, like their last outing, in a flannel shirt, but this one was blue and black in colouring, matching the denim jeans he was sporting at the same time. He spotted Grace as soon as he turned the street corner - the glaring white coat easy to spot. He floated down before walking across the street to her, hoping she wasn’t annoyed that he was late. But as he got closer, he frowned as he saw her coat more clearly.
”Grace… Why are you wearing that?”
Grace looked over at Tom as he floated down towards her, a thin but pleased smile appearing on her face. ”Hey, Tom,” she said, before looking down at her wool coat. ”Oh, this?” she said, raising an eyebrow as he asked his question, before grinning mischievously, something she didn’t do often. ”Well, I obviously didn’t join! I just really liked their stuff...so I might have portaled into their clubhouse to get them. I got their windbreaker, coat, robe, blanket, towel, everything. It’s really soft, actually. The stuff they make it out of is great...even if they are a bunch of pricks.” Grace looked up at Tom. ”I mean, if it bothers you or anything, I can take it off or put it away or something.”
Tom rubbed his chin as he looked down at Grace. ”I mean… I guess it doesn’t bother me, per se… But what if a journalist walked by and now thinks that you’re part of the Wings?” He shook his head. ”I don’t think they’d take too kindly to a hero wearing their merch… and you don’t want them to try and smear you before you’ve even, like, established yourself here.” He looked up at the cinema. ”It’s not like anyone will see it anyway in the cinema, I guess. Anyway... The Conjuring 6! I didn’t know you were a horror fan, Grace!”
Grace shrugged. ”They invited me, and if they weren’t a bunch of loser dickheads, I would probably join. I think I deserve the merchandise.” She smiled. ”Anyway, I don’t think I care too much of their opinion of me. They can screw off. Quote me.” Her eyes danced over to the interior of the cinema when he mentioned the movie. ”Right! Well, I mean, I’m not really into the horror genre specifically, but I love movies, you know. Besides, it’s the Conjuring. It can’t be that scary, right? I mean, they made 3 spin-offs about a demon nun. This franchise has gone on for way too long…” She shrugged. ”But it’s opening night, so we’ll get to see for ourselves before somebody spoils it. And I’ve heard this theater is one of the best in Castleburg, so it’ll be a great experience, hopefully!”
Tom snickered when Grace insulted the Wings of Law. ”That’s what I like to hear. He began to lead her into the theater, heading over to the ticket counter as he talked. ”I don’t know… The last one was a real resurgence to the franchise, it was pretty scary. I saw it with Blake and he was terrified by it. This one’s by the same director, so hopefully it’ll be just as good!” Tom quickly grabbed the tickets before turning back to Grace, nodding. ”Oh yeah, this cinema is awesome. I saw Blade Runner 2059 here a few months ago and it was awesome, apparently they have the most advanced speakers in the city so the sound is like, perfect… Okay, we’re in Screen 10.” Tom began to head in that direction.
Grace nodded sagely as Tom spoke about the last one. ”Frank Brewer is a cinematic genius,” she praised as he spoke about the film. ”I haven’t bothered with this franchise since The Conjuring 3, but I hope you’re right,” she said with a smile as she followed him. ”The Blade Runner movie was great. Such a good cast, and the effects were gorgeous." She made her way to Screen 10, quickly examining the comfy-looking red interior of the viewing area. Talk about fancy. Grace looked to Tom. "Where were we supposed to sit again?" she asked him.
”Oh man, this cinema is so awesome.” Tom mused as he looked around the extremely plush theater. ”Right at the back, best view in the cinema.” Tom smiled as he took Grace up there, taking his comfy cinema seat next to her. After settling in he dug around in his bag for a moment before pulling out a pack of store-bought popcorn he had purchased on the way. He cracked it open and offered some to Grace. ”Cinema prices are an absolute rip-off, and these are just as good.” He grinned.
Grace grinned as she took a seat next to Tom, lounging into the cushiony chair seat, relaxing as some advertisements flickered past on the big screen. She looked over to Tom and his bag of popcorn. ”You know, technically you aren’t supposed to bring that in here,” she whispered to him, but still grabbed a handful of popcorn without hesitation, tossing them into her mouth one by one. She shrugged. ”It’s good, though.”
The movie had quite suddenly started, eerie post-modern music filling the theater as a young girl ran through some haunted woods, some weird serial killer phantom guy chasing after her with a magic hacksaw. Grace put on her brave face, pretending to be unphased by the events unfolding, but that didn’t stop her from subconsciously slipping a hand over to Tom’s thigh, resting it there as her body quietly trembled from the unfolding drama onscreen.
Tom meanwhile, having watched a lot of horror movies, was truly quite unphased by the events unfolding on screen, as he munched on his popcorn happily. He did get caught by a jumpscare though, and as he jumped in his seat he realised that he felt something on his thigh. He thought it was his phone until he glanced down and saw that it was Grace’s slightly shaking hand. He toyed with the idea of holding her hand, but instead he tapped the back of her hand gently and whispered: ”Are you good?” before resting his hand right next to hers.
”Good? Yeah, of course.” Grace kept her poker face on as some very large-looking monstrous bats were attacking a man onscreen. She saw Tom’s hand next to hers and considered briefly moving her hand on top of his, but shooed that thought away. Dumb idea, she thought to herself as she instead retreated her hand to the popcorn, taking another handful and popping them one at a time into her mouth again.
The next scene of the movie very much shocked her- out of nowhere, the bats came out of the screen and flapped over towards the seats. They were large, human-sized bats with velvety wings, fur-matted figures and hideous fangs and were extremely realistic. ”Woah!” Grace yipped instinctively as the two bats landed on top of one of the seats, scaring the couple sitting a few rows in front of Tom and Grace. Grace was about to be truly impressed by both the theater and the film, but was tipped off when the couple did not stop screaming, and the bats started to lean in towards the two moviegoers, mouths open, their fangs moving slowly towards the unfortunate couple.
Purple light began to gather around Grace’s hands. ”Tom! This is not part of the film!” Grace called out loudly as she looked over at the Bloodsuckers, having suddenly lost all interest in the movie. For good reason, too.
Tom was starting to get genuinely quite unnerved by what was going on, which surprised him. It was all just so realistic! For a few moments Tom was just about to hold Grace's hand, having decided he should, before he was suddenly ripped from this by the screaming. ”Huh… Wait, what? Oh, fuck!” Tom yelled out, standing up sharply and spilling popcorn everywhere. He glanced down at Grace for a moment. ”Just don't exert yourself too much… I don't want your hand rotting off.”
And with that, he leapt at the nearer of the bats, grabbing a tight hold of its fur and using his powers to make the bat fall through the cinema screen. Before climbing through after it, he called out to Grace again. ”If it's about to kill you, please call for me!” Tom stepped through the hole, the angry looking bat squaring him down as Tom looked for something he could use as a weapon.
”Oh, wow, I was going to slowly disintegrate my hand, but if you insist,” Grace muttered with a very healthy dose of sarcasm, the purple energy accumulating in her hand into the size of a frisbee. Grace launched the portal frisbee across the room, the disc slamming into the bat and sending it away from the now very scared couple and launching it down a few rows. Grace caught the flying bat in another portal and, after a moment of thought, launched the bat from a new portal into the light fixture. There was a loud screech from the bat as the electricity from the fixture shocked the creature, before it dropped to the ground.
”Hohoho,” a voice rang out from the back of the theater.
Grace turned to the source of the voice- a man wearing a three-piece navy suit, an elaborate cape draped over his shoulders, a white half-mask on his face, revealing a half of his pale face and combed brown hair. ”Greetings, hero. I am the Phantom of the Cinema. I haunt theaters all across Castleburg.”
Grace internally groaned. ”Such a lame title. Seriously, you’re just going to rip off-” Before she could finish her insult, the Phantom of the Cinema moved at unperceivable speeds, grabbing Grace and pulling her tightly against his chest, a golden stiletto hovering dangerously near her neck. ”I will kill you just like the Forest Murderer kills Bethany in the film!”
”I didn’t finish the film, stupid, your bat minions interrupted it not even halfway through.”
”Shut up!” the very campy villain declared, his blade bearing down on her throat. Grace shrieked loudly, her voice echoing out through the now-abandoned screen. ”TOM! HELP!”
Tom had found a conveniently placed metal pole of some sort lying on the dusty floor, which he quickly picked up to face off the bat creature with. Luckily it was a creature without any sort of strategic ability, and so Tom was able to pretty easily weave and avoid the snarling creature’s attempts to attack him. Eventually, he managed to get the beast on its back, and plunged the metal pole through it. However, before Tom could even chuckle at the humour in staking an evil bat through the heart, he heard a piercing screech.
He rushed out with almost instinctual speed, seeing Grace at the mercy of some bizarre, campy looking villain. He cautiously stepped forward a couple of steps, not wanting Grace to be stabbed in the throat. ”What the fuck? Who are you? Get off her!”
The Phantom of the Cinema laughed evilly. ”I am one of the greatest villains in Castleburg! The Phantom of the Cinema, at our service.” He waved his blade around Grace’s neck area. ”I have longed to harken back to the good classic days of film...before these pathetic hackneyed films began to spoil the golden artform that is the cinema!”
”Alright, alright, enough of this!” Grace swung her palm into the man’s side, a sharp hidden blade shooting out of her white wool jacket and piercing the Phantom’s side. As he howled in pain, Grace pulled away from his grip before opening a portal beneath his feet. ”Tom, catch!” she called, before ejecting him out of a second portal and sending him hurling quickly towards Tom.
Tom rolled his eyes as the villain. ”Oh, there are plenty of good movies that come out today, stop being a - Oh!” He was cut short by Grace's sudden and unexpected fightback, and he couldn't help but get in a quick grin at her quick thinking and resourcefulness as the villain vanished into the portal. Tom had a few seconds to think of his plan. When the villain came hurtling out of the portal towards him, Tom suddenly stopped everything and kept the villain floating in mid air for a moment.
Then, he sent the Phantom crashing to the floor of the cinema appropriately hard, where the villain slid down a couple of steps, groaning and clearly out of it. Tom laughed and looked down at him, before quickly heading over to Grace. ”Is your neck okay?”
”My neck is fine,” Grace said dismissively, rubbing her neck, a grin on her face. ”I bet you’re glad I brought that Wings of Law jacket now, huh? I told you they were good.” Her eyes drifted over to the villain. ”What do we do about-...SHIT!” Grace exclaimed, looking at the ground where the Phantom once was, though now he had vanished with a puff of smoke.
”Crap, I didn’t realize he could do that...sorry,” she muttered, scratching the back of her head, before looking up at Tom. ”I guess that was ruined,” she grumbled annoyedly, looking around the wrecked screen room. ”I guess I owe you another movie?” she asked as she surveyed the damage.
”I suppose I am glad… Dye it a different colour and take off the shitty Wings logo and you can wear it all the time!” He grinned back, glancing down at the spot where the villain once was, not really caring that much about his sudden escape. ”Damn right you owe me another movie… Definitely another scary one. The next Insidious is coming out next week, we should go and see that! Tom seemed oblivious to the fact he'd just essentially asked Grace out on another date.
”Sounds like a plan. Next week, then...” Grace made a mental note. ”I guess I’ll text you the details. Hopefully without any sort of...stupid cinematic-themed villain.” She nodded, lips tight. ”Well, thanks for the assist, Tom.”
No problem. Our powers go really well together, we make a great team! In hero work, I mean, yeah. I feel sorry for the poor cinema worker who has to clean this up though.” Tom winced and laughed as he began to walk out of the theater with Grace.
”Right, right, just as heroes. Not as anything else,” Grace said quickly. ”But, yeah...we work well together.” As they walked out into the now-dark city, Grace waved as she turned towards her car. ”See you, Tom,.” she said pleasantly as she opened the door to her fancy car, her violet eyes gazing into his before she stepped in and drove off into the Castleburg night.
Tom kept the smile on his face as he watched Grace drive off down the street. He had definitely enjoyed himself, despite the obvious villain interruption. He played over the previous events in his head as he lifted himself up off the ground and began the scenic float back to his apartment.