HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 193

“Huh?” Angela muttered.

“This thing,” Fatima said. “Where did you see it?”

Angela opened her eyes and looked up. Fatima held out Angela’s drawing, depicting a shambling mass of disjointed limbs and rheumy eyes.

“Oh, I read your mind,” Angela said. “It’s a real mess in there, you know.”

“Okay, you’re leaving now,” Fatima said.

She reached down and hauled Angela to her feet.

“Sorry,” Angela said. “I’m normally not that blunt. I tend to take on the traits of people whose minds I read.”

“Are you done yet?” Fatima asked. “Or do you want to insult me some more while I throw you out?”

“I’d rather not get thrown out at all,” Angela replied.

Fatima rolled her eyes and led Angela toward the door. Angela glanced around the apartment. It was a large, open space, cluttered with boxes and tables and cloth-draped easels. A kitchen was tucked into one corner. A makeshift weight room sat in another.

“How about a wager?” Angela said.

Fatima sighed and stopped walking.

“What are you on about now?” she asked.

“We’ll arm wrestle,” Angela replied. “If you win, I’ll get out of your hair forever. But if I win, you have to talk to me about whatever it is that’s going on with you.”

Fatima looked Angela up and down. Angela held out her hand.

“Deal?” she asked.

“Is this really the only way I’m going to get you to leave me alone?” Fatima replied.

“Yep,” Angela said.

They shook on it. Angela winced as Fatima squeezed her knuckles. Fatima turned away and set up two stools on either side of a desk. Angela summoned up a memory from months ago, when she met a superhero named Miss Judgement.

She spoke a word in an alien language and grew a foot taller. Her clothes strained against their seams as muscles sprouted all over her body. Fatima turned to Angela and her jaw dropped.