The Halloween disco at North Santa Monica High School was in full swing. Music blared over the speakers, courtesy of the reasonably-priced DJ, who was taking pleasure in managing to palm off his ever-unchanging library of 80s and 90s Halloween songs to yet another crowd of students who were too young to recognise most of what he was playing. As most of the students danced the night away, some better than others, a figure in chrome-plated Stormtrooper armour made their way past the fringes of the dancefloor, taking care to make sure no-one stepped foot on their cloak. Eventually, they found what they were looking for: a girl with long, blonde hair, who was tucked away in the corner of the room, dressed in a witch’s outfit, and typing something on her phone.
“Soldier!” came the Stormtrooper’s voice. “I haven’t seen you dance once tonight. I order you to put that thing down and join me on the dancefloor.”
The witch looked across to the Stormtrooper, took a moment to look it up and down, and then smirked. “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?” she asked.
“Short?!” came the reply, “I’m 5’9”, you know! That’s taller than most of the soccer team, at least.”
“Yeah, but Captain Phasma’s supposed to be what, six-two, six-three? Compared to her, you’re still a midget, Kate.”
“Ah, well. I’ll let you know when I find a Stormtrooper costume that has heels.”
With that, the Stormtrooper removed its helmet, revealing the smiling face of a young woman with red, chin-length hair. She’d intended to spend as much of the night as possible in full costume, but she didn’t mind revealing her identity to the girl in front of her. For as long as they had known each other, Kate Zuel and Cassandra Sandsmark had been outsiders to the various cliques within the school, but this had only strengthened their friendship.
“I really like your costume, Cass.” Kate said. “Shows off your legs.”
“Thanks!” Cassandra replied. “Though I wasn’t really trying to get noticed. I, well, kinda picked it to annoy my aunt and uncle. See if they’d lecture me about disrespecting their Wiccan beliefs.”
“Oh, no!” Kate laughed. “How did they react?”
“They didn’t.” came Cassandra’s reply. “They went out before I had time to get changed into this. I’d forgotten that today was their wedding anniversary, so… yeah, they had plans.”
“They got married on Halloween?” Kate asked, with surprise. “I mean, I guess that’s one way to dodge the trick-or-treaters, but still…”
“Yeah. Well, whatever, they can have tonight to themselves. I’ll just try to be quiet when I go back home, I guess…” Cassandra started to say.
“Hey, hey. Listen, why don’t you come back to my place tonight? Let your aunt and uncle enjoy themselves in private.” Kate said, reaching out and taking Cassandra’s hand.
“Really? We’ve known each other for two years, and you’ve never invited me round to your home before.” Cassandra replied, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, it’s a few miles outside the city, remember? Not very easy to get to without a lift. But mom’s given me the money for a cab, and I’m sure she’d drop you off back home in the morning.” replied Kate.
Cassandra shrugged, and then smiled. “Okay, why the hell not? I could use a change of scenery!”
“That’s more like it!” added Kate, before gesturing towards the dancefloor. “Now come on, I’m gonna get you to dance at least once tonight!”
For a moment, Cassandra grimaced. “You sure about that? I mean, knowing our luck, people are gonna be spreading rumours about how I’m sleeping with Ms. Zuel’s daughter to get better English grades.”
“You know what this place is like. Chances are someone’s saying that already. Besides, if it’s between that and people reminding me of what my dad did for the twelve-thousandth time, well…” Kate said, before glancing down at the floor.
“Hey, hey. Anyone starts with that bullshit again, just tell me.” Cassandra said, reassuringly, as she took Kate’s hand. “I’ll give them a first-hand demonstration of my judo skills.”
“Didn’t you get in trouble for that just after we first met?” Kate asked, as she tilted her head. “You kicked Jack Todd’s ass after he mouthed off at me?”
Cassandra smirked. “Mmm, not exactly. I’d only just started learning judo, I didn’t know enough to pin someone back then. So I just kicked him in the balls instead. Got a week’s detention, but it was totally worth it.”
“Damn!” laughed Kate. “And you wonder why mom thinks you might be a bad influence on me?”
“Eh, she’s still the coolest teacher here. I’ll forgive her for that.” Cassandra said. “Now, the question is, do you really think you can dance in that armor?”
Kate laughed again. “Are you kidding? I’m a crappy dancer at the best of times. But at least this way, I’ll have an excuse for why my dancing looks so terrible.”
“Well, in that case, please lead the way, soldier.” Cassandra said, with a slight giggle.
Kate smiled, then replaced her helmet. “Yes, ma’am!” she said.
The remainder of the disco was relatively uneventful for Kate and Cassandra, outside of one or two snarky remarks that were really the sort of thing both had gotten used to dealing with by now. Plus, they could at least take pleasure in watching at least a half-dozen of their classmates get busted for possession of weed, booze or both over the course of the night. Eventually, the event came to a close, and both girls were soon sat in the back of a taxi, heading up the Pacific Coast Highway.
“You know, I think I’ve seen this road before, on Grand Theft Auto V. Gotta say, it looks better in the game. Less cluttered.” Cassandra said, as she looked out the window.
“Probably more cops around as well. Less need for super-beings to keep order.” Kate added.
Soon, the taxi pulled up outside a large, angular house a couple of miles outside of the city limits. Cassandra looked up at the house in shock as she got out of the taxi, completely taken aback by the scale of the building. On top of that, even with the sun having set, she could hear the gentle sounds of the ocean coming from behind the house. All this time, Kate had been living in a massive oceanfront house, and she’d never told Cassandra the details. At least, nothing beyond her house being “kinda big.”
“Holy crap, this place is huge!” Cassandra called out. “How the hell much does your mom earn, anyway?”
“Not enough to afford a place like this, that’s for sure.” Kate replied, as she handed payment over to the cab driver. “It’s really Nancy’s home. She got it just before she met mom.”
“Oh, right, now I remember. She has rich parents, doesn’t she?” Cassandra said, as the two walked towards the front door.
“That’s right. Truth be told, they don’t speak very often, but they make sure Nancy doesn’t want for anything.” Kate responded, as she reached for her keys. The actual truth was a different matter entirely – Nancy’s house had been furnished upon her by none other than the Justice League of America – but she reasoned there was no need to let Cassandra in on the full details just yet. After unlocking the front door, the two girls walked into the entrance lobby, where Kate deactivated the burglar alarm.
“Guess mom and Nancy got a last-minute party invite or something.” she said, before turning on the lights. “Oh well, means we can raid the fridge without having to worry about being caught.”
Cassandra took a few moments to take in the scale of the house she was stood in, then spotted something out of the back window. “You’ve got a swimming pool as well? I am SO jealous!” she yelled.
“Yeah, it’s a really nice place to live in, no question.” Kate said, as she tossed her Stormtrooper helmet aside and began removing her gloves. “Though it’s a little… isolated. It’s why I prefer hanging around at your place, to be honest, it’s actually in the middle of civilisation.”
“Point taken, but still… one of us needs to get a driving licence and car ASAP, then I can start visiting here more often. And since your mom can probably buy you a nicer car – scratch that, she’d probably buy you a car, period – I volunteer that you do it.” Cassandra replied.
“I was actually thinking of learning how to ride a motorcycle. But yeah, fair point. Listen, I’m just gonna change into something less bulky. You make yourself at home, get something to drink if you like.” Kate said, before ascending the stairs up to her bedroom.
“Sure, I can do that! See you in a minute.” Cassandra called out, before wandering into the living room. Even the living room of this house was probably larger than her aunt and uncle’s house in its entirety. Large, ceiling-height windows opened out onto the swimming pool she had seen earlier, next to which were a table and chairs. An ornate grand piano sat in one corner of the living room, with a huge TV set dominating another corner, and a bookcase and desk taking up another. It looked like the sort of room Cassandra might have built on The Sims with an infinite money cheat. Still, she wasn’t going to begrudge Kate for living in a place like this. Just so long as she got to share the benefits a little more often.
Cassandra then walked through to the kitchen, which she immediately noticed was dominated by several large Wayne Enterprises appliances, almost to the point where it looked like some sort of electrical showroom. Aside from that, it was immaculately clean and well-organised, though that made sense; Cassandra remembered Kate saying that Nancy was a food blogger or something similar. There was only one thing that Cassandra was interested in, however. She made her way over to the fridge, and opened it up to reveal several bottles of wine stashed away in the door compartment.
“Jackpot!” she thought to herself.
After quickly checking over the bottles, she picked up a bottle of white wine that was already open, then took a glass from a nearby cupboard and filled it most of the way. If she was going to have a Halloween treat tonight, this was it.
Strolling back through to the living room, Cassandra sipped from the glass, enjoying the taste of the liquid inside. It was tangy and fruity, but with a definite sharp zing to it. She then made her way over to a sideboard, on top of which a collection of framed photographs sat. Her attention was immediately drawn to one near the middle of the collection, which she picked up and studied closer. Standing against the backdrop of a city skyline – Metropolis, by the looks of it – was Kate, looking a couple of years younger than she did now; the photograph was probably from around the first time that she and Cassandra first met. Stood with Kate was a woman with the same shade of crimson-red hair, though it was somewhat longer, and the woman had green eyes instead of Kate’s blue eyes. In turn, she had her arm around another woman, with shorter, brown hair. Cassandra immediately recognised them both, one of them as the woman who taught her English, and the other of whom she usually saw dropping Kate off at soccer practice.
“Nice family shot, huh?” came Kate’s voice.
Cassandra looked up and saw Kate, who was now stood next to her, and wearing a t-shirt and long pajama bottoms.
“Yeah, it is. Where were you, in Metropolis?” asked Cassandra.
“Yep, my aunt and her family live there.” Kate replied. “That was from two summers ago.”
As Cassandra placed the photograph down, another one caught her eye. This one showed Ms. Zuel and Nancy wearing swimsuits and sat by the edge of their swimming pool, framed by the setting sun, with their lips locked in a kiss.
“You know, I’ve never been big on romance. But even I have to admit, your mom and Nancy make a cute couple.” Cassandra added, as she indicated the photograph.
“Oh, that’s one of their favorites!” Kate enthused. “They’d only been dating for a couple of weeks back then, and we’d just bought this waterproof camera. I was screwing around with it in the pool, and just by chance, I ended up getting that photo. Nancy really liked it, insisted that we had it framed.”
“I can see why. It’s a nice photo.” commented Cassandra.
“Well, more than that. You see, her relationship with mom was the first time she’d tried dating another woman. In the early days, she was still a bit nervous about whether things would work out. But whenever she looked at that picture, it reminded her that she and mom were meant to be together.”
“That’s nice. I’m glad your parents found each other.” Cassandra said, before taking another sip of her drink, and looking off to the side. “And I’m glad you found your mom, even if it took 13 years.”
“Yeah. Though knowing what sort of life she’d had if she hadn’t taken the deal from my father, I can’t really begrudge her for…” Kate began to say, before trailing off. “Oh, god, Cass, sorry. It’s been two years now, hasn’t it?”
“It was two years ago on Wednesday. I didn’t want to make a fuss about it. Besides, mom’s not gone forever, she’s just… missing.” Cassandra said, softly, before gulping down what was left of her drink.
“Of course she is. And I’m sure you won’t have to wait anywhere near as long as I did before you meet her again.” Kate said, taking Cassandra’s free hand.
“Yeah, sure. It just… hurts, I guess. I dunno.” Cassandra mumbled.
“She’ll be back. Sooner or later, you’ll see her again. I know you will.”
Cassandra pondered Kate’s words for a few moments, before squeezing her hand. “Thanks, Kate. I think I need some more wine, though.” she said, before walking back towards the kitchen.
“Uh, Cass, did you find that wine in the fridge door?” Kate asked, as she followed Cassandra.
“Yep! Why, do your parents have some harder stuff stashed away?” Cassandra asked, setting her glass down on the kitchen island.
“Kinda the opposite, actually. That was cooking wine you just drank.” Kate said, stifling a giggle. “Non-alcoholic cooking wine, to be exact.”
“What?! Who the hell makes wine with no alcohol?” Cassandra asked, incredulously.
“Alcohol boils away when you heat it up, so that stuff’s just to add flavor.” Kate explained. “Truth be told, we don’t keep anything alcoholic in the house at all. Well… except for today…”
With that, Kate reached into the pocket of her pajama bottoms and produced a small bottle, filled with a clear liquid.
Cassandra’s eyes widened. “Where the hell did you get THAT?” she asked.
“Back at the disco. Sonya Bridges smuggled two little bottles of vodka in, and someone ratted her out. My Stormtrooper outfit was a handy place to stash the bottles in before she could get caught. But I ‘persuaded’ her that letting me keep one bottle was a fair price to pay for avoiding an after-school detention.”
“Wow!” Cassandra laughed. “Kate Zuel, you continue to surprise me.”
“I try my best. Now, wanna try spicing up the wine?”
Kate poured a small measure of vodka into the bottom of Cassandra’s glass, and then Cassandra filled the glass the rest of the way with wine.
“Well, bottoms up!” Cassandra said, before raising the glass to her lips and gulping down a mouthful of whatever drink they had just invented.
“How is it?” Kate asked, pensively.
Cassandra winced, and tried not to laugh, as she swallowed the liquid in her mouth. “Awful!” she giggled, as she lowered the glass from her lips. “It tasted WAY better without the vodka.”
“Aw, crap. Guess I’d better try it, huh?” Kate said, wryly, as Cassandra passed her the glass. She then swallowed a good portion of the remaining liquid, before coughing and spluttering as she set it down on the kitchen island. “Yeah, I see what you mean. Either way, we’d better get rid of this bottle quickly as we can. Mom and Nancy would hit the roof if they found us with booze.”
Cassandra took the glass, downed the rest of the questionable-tasting liquid inside, then placed it back on the counter. “Well, we’ll have to find something nicer to mix it with.” she said.
“Let’s keep it simple, shall we? We’ll just add some cola.” Kate said, as she took a bottle of cola out of the cupboard. “Grab a couple of big glasses out of that cupboard, we’ll get rid of as much of this stuff as we can in one shot.”
Cassandra set down a couple of large glasses, then divided the remaining vodka between them, before Kate filled them with cola and slipped the now-empty vodka bottle back in her pocket.
“Well, here’s to… a happy Halloween, I guess?” Kate said, as she raised her glass.
“Works for me!” Cassandra said, as she touched glasses with Kate.
The two girls then drank a mouthful each of their drinks, before making their way through to the living, sitting down in front of the TV, and starting to surf through the channels.
“Hey, Cass, thank you. For being friends.” Kate said, as she set her glass down on the table in front of the couch and put an arm around Cassandra’s shoulder.
“I should be thanking you, I guess.” Cassandra replied, putting her own free arm around Kate. “I mean, you’re the only person at school who’s ever really wanted to know me.”
“That’s not true! It might not seem like it, but the other girls on the soccer team do like you. For the most part.”
“Yeah, but only because they know not to piss me off.”
“Well, whatever the case may be, I’m really glad to have you as my friend, Cass.”
“Yeah, me too, Kate.”
“Katrina. Katrina, wake up, darling!”
Kate stirred. Had she fallen asleep on the couch? Where was Cassandra? Wearily, she opened her eyes, and was quickly overwhelmed by the light coming through the windows. As the light slowly died down, Kate found herself looking up at a man with greying-blonde hair and glasses, dressed in a smart suit. After a moment or two of confusion, Kate felt completely shocked and mortified.
“Dad?!” she cried out.
The man in front of her smiled. “I told you I’d come back for you someday, didn’t I?”
“But… but… you should be in prison for another fifteen years!” Kate yelled.
“I got the rest of my sentence commuted for good behaviour.” came the reply. “You know, Doris and her partner have done a good job of raising you. But now it’s time for you to come home.”
“Home?! This is my home! Mom and Nancy are my parents, you and that… that bitch you’re married to, you’re nothing to me!” Kate yelled, as she stumbled to her feet. “Besides, I’m 18 now, you can’t make me do jack!”
“Katrina, please don’t make this difficult, if you’d just—”
Suddenly, an almighty roar came from outside the house. “GET AWAY FROM HER, ASSHOLE!”
“…Doris?” the man whispered, suddenly turning white as a sheet.
The ground shook, nearly knocking the man off his feet, and moments later the living room wall cracked, then crumbled, as a gargantuan pair of hands tore through the structure, sending bits of wood, plaster and concrete crashing to the floor. With an almighty heave, the hands tore down the rest of the wall, revealing the enormous form of Kate’s mother, towering over the house and looking supremely pissed off. She was dressed in the outfit she usually wore while teaching, a long-sleeved blouse and tan-colored pants… wait, that didn’t seem right, somehow.
“I told you not to ever go near Kate again. But you just wouldn’t listen, would you?” Doris snarled.
“Doris, darling, please, remember our agreement. You provide me with a daughter, and in return I—”
“I don’t care what we agreed! You gave up your right to have anything to do with Kate the moment you were arrested.” Doris said, as she started reaching towards him.
“Katrina, please! Help me, tell your mother to—” he said, with a pleading expression.
Kate stared flatly at the man. “I’m not called Katrina any more.” came the response. “My name’s Kate.”
Before he could respond, Kate’s father found himself in the grip of Doris’s enormous hand, her fingers pressing hard into his chest, leaving him barely able to breathe.
“It’s really a shame, isn’t it?” Doris said, as she raised him up to her eye level. “You got freed for good behavior, and your first action was to seek out and attempt to kill your only daughter for ratting you out. Thus leaving me with no choice but to eliminate you.”
“That’s not true! You know it isn’t!”
“Maybe. But who’s going to know? You won’t be in any position to give your side of the story.” Doris said, as she dangled him upside down.
“Mom, wait!” Kate suddenly called out. “I… I don’t want him killed. No matter what he’s done.”
Doris looked down at her daughter and smirked. “Hmph. I guess you really do take after your stepmother after all. Besides, you must know none of this is real. What does it matter if I chew up your father like a piece of beef jerky?”
“Yeah, I’d worked out this was a dream, but still…”
“Urgh, you’re no fun. Very well, then. Nancy!”
With that, the equally-gigantic form of Doris’s partner of five years, Nancy, strode into view. And she was… dressed like a cheerleader? The hell?
“Nancy, we’d better send him back to prison. The prisoner transport, if you please?”
Nancy smiled. “With pleasure.” she said, before taking out a gigantic piece of paper, and folding it into an aeroplane shape.
“Okay, now this is just getting weird.” Kate thought to herself.
As Nancy finished the plane, Doris seated the tiny figure she was holding in the middle. “Next stop, Alcatraz!” she said.
“Bon voyage!” added Nancy, who then gave the plane her strongest throw. Moments later, the plane disappeared over the horizon.
“Excellent throw, my darling!” Doris said, embracing Nancy.
“Thanks!” Nancy giggled, as Doris slowly ran her hands up her partner’s shapely thigh, and then began kissing her.
“Hey, you two, what are we going to do about this hole in the wall?” Kate called out to her parents.
“Oh, forget about that, Kate. Tell you what, why don’t you get big and we’ll have a walk down the shore. Just the three of us.”
“Umm, aren’t you forgetting something, mom? You got your powers when I was 12 years old, I didn’t inherit them! I don’t have any more special powers than the average joe.”
“Sure you do! Like mother, like daughter, as the saying goes. Just close your eyes and focus on getting big!”
“Well… alright, but I’m telling you, this isn’t going to work!”
With that, Kate closed her eyes, imagined herself getting bigger, stronger… and then suddenly felt dizzy as her head rushed upwards, before breaking through the ceiling. Moments later, the whole building collapsed around her, leaving her looking very much embarrassed – though still fully-clothed, mercifully – among the ruins of her home.
“Oops, sorry.” she said, with an awkward grin on her face. At least she’d managed to stop growing at the same height as Doris and Nancy.
“Ah, don’t sweat it. I was thinking of having the place remodelled anyways.” Nancy said, taking Kate’s hand.
“Now, let’s have that walk, shall we?” Doris added, as she took Kate’s other hand, and the three giantesses started walking down the coastline, towards central Los Angeles, leaving enormous footprints in the sand behind them.
Kate enjoyed the feeling of pressing her feet down into the sand, the grains seemingly impossibly fine as they brushed up against her massive feet. She likely wouldn’t ever be able to experience anything like this in real life. But it was going be a nice dream while it lasted.
“You know, some day, I’d like to join you both, help you save the world, even if I don’t have any actual powers. Think Bruce might be in the market for a new Batgirl anytime soon?” she asked.
“I think he’s happy with the one he’s got.” Nancy chuckled. “But if a vacancy opens up, I’ll let you know.”
“Really? You’d both really be okay with me joining the Justice League someday?” Kate asked, hopefully.
“I’d be okay with it, sure!” Doris replied, putting an arm around Kate’s waist. “But your actual mom and stepmom? Somehow I don’t think they’d be so enthusiastic.”
“Yeah. You’re probably right.” Kate sighed.
With that, Kate looked over the shoreline, enjoying the cool, gentle breeze on her face, and taking in the views of Los Angeles from her current, enormous height. In all, Kate didn’t really have too much to complain about in her life. But despite all that, deep down she felt the slightest tinge of sadness, knowing that she’d never experience the world in quite the same way that her parents were able to. This was probably as close as she was ever going to get to it, but she was going to enjoy it while it lasted. And maybe someday it could be more than a fantasy… no. She wasn’t going to get her hopes up.
“Well, a girl can dream, right?” she thought to herself.