Linda Maye Adams is published in Kevin J. Anderson's anthology Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem. Publisher's Weekly reviewed her story as "especially delightful." She is a two-time silver honorable award winner in the prestigious Writers of the Future award and also has received seven honorable mentions. She is currently writing two series, GALCOM Universe and Dice Ford, Superhero.

Superhero Portal by Linda Maye Adams

Two time Silver Award nominee, Writers of the Future.

Being a superhero could kill her…

Plumber Dice Ford has her hands full. While on a plumbing job at the convention center, she accidentally touches the Superhero Portal.

Zap! She's suddenly a superhero.

But it's got the aliens who brought the portal all up in her business. Quanta, nefarious alien head honcho, covets the power the suit will give him. He'll kill anyone in his path, including Dice's family.

Dice must learn to use her new suit on the run, try not to crash into trees, and stay out of the aliens' greedy three-fingered hands. If she has enough time…




Plumbing is never routine. There's always something for me to puzzle out, math to work out, or physics to think out. But aliens?

You know, green guys. Well, lavender guys.

Their spaceship hovered above Metro City's convention center, its two-mile-long body providing shade against the sun deciding to drop summer on us on time.

My name is Dice Ford. The Dice is short for Candice. Yeah, you're making that face, too. I hate the name, and Candy…just… no. no one's calling me a food. My parents hate Dice. I'm okay with it. Besides, they hate me for being a plumber, too.

Well, okay, journeyman plumber. I worked for Hank Alden Plumbing. Hank kept saying I wasn't ready for the test.

This call came in as a late afternoon emergency. Busted pipe in the sprinkler system, flooding the exhibition hall with the Superhero Portal. Tomorrow, the portal opened. No one wanted to tell this Quanta dude to postpone, so building maintenance called for reinforcements.

One of the Shar waited in the hallway by the open double doors. Two men in black suits and sunglasses lingered alongside him, resembling twins. A third, his hair cut so flat on top it qualified as a landing strip, watched me lug the huge-ass floor fan. His lips curved in a smirk.

"Want some help?" he said. "Fan's bigger than you are."

I felt my face heat with anger. Seriously, dude, don't mess with me.

"I'm fine," I growled.

Adjusting my sweaty grip on the fan's handle, I lifted my chin defiantly.

The Shar stepped in my path, his burnished nickel eyes tracking me. Lavender skin, plum lips. A spill of curls in a blue so pale it appeared white. The Medusa-curls reminded me of my hair, which remained a mystery to my family. I expected him to wear a white bodysuit like everyone in the future did on TV. He wore a screaming red Hawaiian shirt with white plumerias over plaid pants I thought suspiciously resembled pajama bottoms..

Lurching to a stop, I set the fan on the ugly carpet and flexed stiff fingers.

"Good afternoon?" I said uncertainly.

The alien made me nervous. Lavender skin, the three fingers. My brain wanted to stare to make sense of it.

He held out both hands. "I'm Planck," he said.

I expected him to smell like lilacs because of his lavender skin. Silly, yeah. Instead, he reminded me of rocks in a river after a storm.

Qualms battered at the butterflies in my stomach. I wiped off my hands on my navy blue sateen coveralls and checked for goop. Nope. Alien-safe. Yeah, I hoped Planck found something more interesting than me.

"Hello, Planck," I said.

His fingers folded around mine, feverishly warm against my icy hands. The warmth rushed into me. The sounds of the crew inside the exhibition hall came to me sharp and clear. I felt the leaden wetness in my coveralls hanging against my skin and the weight of a Phillips screwdriver in the right pocket. Water pooled in my steel-toed boots, squishing between my toes. Warmth wiggled through my toes, up into my aching knees. It burrowed into a bruise from whacking my thigh this morning, swirling up my body. The warmth loosened the tension between my shoulders and eased the ache in my left arm from carrying the fan. A cloak of cobwebs settled across my shoulders, filling cracks inside me.

Huh? What happened? I blinked, feeling as if I'd lost time.

Planck gave me an affable smile and stepped back, bowing his head three times.

"Dice!" Hank's voice bellowed from inside the exhibition hall.

Right, right. I kneeled to use my legs to lift the heavy fan and lurched through the open exhibition hall doors. The stench of moldy water made me grimace. An army of floor fans whirred and buzzed, drying the floor in the cavernous room.

I didn't look at the Superhero Portal in the back third of the exhibition hall. The air vibrated with the hum of its energy.

I squeezed my free hand into a fist until the thunderstorm in my belly calmed.

Hank strode out to me, his scarred boots splashing in the water accumulating in the low spots. Six foot five put him a foot taller than me. Hair the shade of coffee with a lot of sugar and eyes like an old Golden Retriever. His thin and wiry build made his elbows into sharp points jutting out of the short sleeves of his navy coveralls.

"Here, I got it," Hank said, taking the fan easily from me. His right sleeve pulled back to expose a three-inch raised white scar. "Check around the portal and see if we need to give it any fan love. After that, cut out of here for dinner."

The reminder of dinner with my parents made the thunderstorm flee from my belly. Even it wanted nothing to do with my parents. Instead, I said, "You want me to go near that creepy alien thing?"

"Yup. Creeps me out, too."

"I didn't know guys got the creeps," I said. Hank was thirty-eight. Seemed like anyone that old wouldn't be creeped out by anything.

"It's called instincts, Dice. We all get them. Always respect them." Hank waved at me. "Go. Fan love."

I glared up at said creepy alien thing. "You aren't going to bite me, are you?"

Of course, the Superhero Portal didn't answer.