Girl's Night Out
(Starring the DC teen heroes)


by Sean Taylor

Sonya Moon knew that her brother Joey would never hit her again. She closed her fingers around the jade talisman, feeling the grooves cut by a master craftsman. The fine, strong scales. The long, winding tale. The single, open eye fixed in an eternal, jeweled stare.

The relic looked just like the One-Eyed Dragon from the stories her grandmother told her in the darkness of the old lady's living room. She'd been careful to skip a generation, just as her own grandmother had. And the grandmothers in succession before that, long before the even her own grandmother could trace her lineage.

She knew her grandmother wouldn't approve. The stories were to keep the Moon women afraid of the talisman, not drawn to it. And her mother wouldn't understand. She always believed Joey's side of the story anyway.

After pulling her long, black hair into a thick ponytail, Sonya raised the Dragon to her heart and pressed it there. What was it the odd little man had said? To hold it to her heart and wish? She bit down hard, trapping the curses she knew she wasn't supposed to say. She focused her thoughts, trying to recall each detail of the encounter.

She'd been walking home from school. Joey had escorted her, teasing her and making fun of her as he always did. Then she had picked up the rock, the rock that started it all, and threw it against the back of his head with a loud smack. Jimmy had reached back, felt the blood, and lost his temper completely. He yelled something about how she was lucky that she was a girl, then said never mind, and pulled back and jacked her in the jaw. She had tried to pull away but in his rage, he hit again three more times, causing her mouth and nose to bleed, and her ribs to hurt each time she inhaled. Then he stopped, looked at her face, then his fist, then with a look of shock, rose from where he was sitting on her stomach and ran back toward the school.

In her daze, she had simply lain there, still, letting the other students walk by. Some laughed, some looked away, and a few offered to help her up. She had ignored them all, her eyes focused on the strange little man who was floating a few feet above her.

He had introduced himself as a friend, tipped his old-fashioned purple hat at her, and told her she was the only person who could see him. He told her things about her than only she could know: how the nickname she had privately given herself was "Blue," how she secretly had a crush on Ian Rich, the president of the Student Council -- who never seemed to have time for her since she wasn't "supermodel" enough for him -- and how she wanted more than anything to make Joey pay for hitting her.

She had waited until after the other students finally left her alone, still lying on the ground bleeding. Then she raised to a sitting position, took his hand, and let her help her stand. When she pulled her hand away, she had found it was holding the talisman. But she couldn't remember him ever actually giving it to her.

He told her it had great power, and that with it she could get even with Joey for his cruelty. Then he told her that all she needed to do was hold it to her chest, make a wish, and ... it hit her finally! ... say the name Rumpelstiltskin. She had laughed when he said the name, but he had looked at her sternly and assured her that was the way the talisman worked.

Then he had vanished. Completely.

Rumplestiltskin. What a stupid way to operate a magical Chinese artifact, she thought. And the little man hadn't even been Chinese at all. More like an albino dwarf in a bad suit. Still, if it would help her get revenge on Joey, she'd do what he said, even saying that stupid Rumpelstiltskin name all night if she had too.

Lucky she was a girl. She'd show him. But first she needed a costume, just like those other teen heroes who righted wrongs and got even with the bad guys. She thought of her nickname, then of the traditional Chinese garb for dragon dancers, then turned up the volume on the design to about 11. Still clutching the Dragon, she said the name. "Rumplestiltskin."

Instantly, she was clothed in the iciest blue costume imaginable. Even her skin tone reflected the color. And a swash of darker blue across her eyes and the bridge of her nose topped off the look. And thanks to the magical whammy she'd invoked, she had enough "supermodel" to keep Ian Rich happy for years. She gave the talisman a gentle squeeze.

"Blue Moon," she said in a voice that chilled her and surprised her. Then she said it again. "Blue Moon." This time her new voice seemed just perfect, with the almost sinister edge needed to strike fear in those who would hurt little girls.

Those like Joey Moon.

Lucky to be a girl. Maybe he needed to be so lucky. Maybe all boys did. That would teach them.

The icy voice spoke again. "Rumpelstiltskin."

To be continued ...

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