Flash Fiction The White Snake (well, Adder)
This week’s flash fiction challenge ably hosted by Terribleminds.com is a bit of a mash-up thing. First we needed to go to a page of Grimm fairy tales. (here) select the one we wanted, and then with the help of a random number generator decide which genre the tale would be rewritten in.
I decided I would choose the tale of The White Snake for mine (full tale can be found here) and I got super-hero as the genre. It’s not a word for word rewrite of course, I have taken a fair amount of creative license with this but I think the result still worked well.
Here is my re-written super-hero tale called…
Flash Fiction The White Snake (well, Adder)
The White Adder or George as he shall henceforth be called stood at the doorway of Chlorothorn’s lair, watching him feverishly water his window boxes that contained a gallimaufry of mutated and extremely irritable plants.
George’s life had started off well enough. Well, ok not ‘well’ exactly, more ordinary. Everything had changed for him during a trip to the zoo, and one misguided attempt to pet what would turn out to be a radioactive white snake. George had become The White Adder, a super-hero. Now your mind is likely filled with images of super strength, and phenomenal venom-spitting powers. Not for George, the entire breadth of his super-powers accounted to the unfathomable ability to communicate with animals, and a rather interesting snake-eyes effect on his pupils.
If it wasn’t for Geiaropolis’ mandatory superhero registration scheme, he would likely still be at home asking the birds for help with his laundry, and getting the rats to take his rubbish out and not being forced to confront his plant-obsessed, computer profile-matched nemesis (another ill-advised program instituted by the government to provide auditable regulations for super-powered crime fighting.)
He’d tried to avoid being processed altogether but his ego had gotten the better of him. He’d asked a nearby ant colony to spell out his phone number to impress an attractive yet seemingly disinterested woman, who just happened to be a government official. A government official who immediately called for backup, and had George brought in, tagged, and processed. The ants hadn’t even written his phone number correctly.
The government had been nice enough to give him a rather snug-fitting white spandex outfit with a green cloak and an image of a snake on his chest. They’d allocated him a sidekick, although due to an administration error he had been given ‘Flu-boy’ who had unsurprisingly failed to make it out of bed. George suspected that a weak, and wobbly, flu-ridden sidekick prone to sneezing fits and feinting is not likely to be of much help in any situation.
Looking around the room, it was just as any real villains lair would be with metal walls filled with monitors, and control panels covered with levers and flashing buttons and a large dominating leather chair at the end of the room in which sat a wiry looking man in a bright green suit.
‘Excuse me?’ George asked.
Chlorothorn spun round in his chair and smiled at George ‘Who are you?’
‘I’m the White Adder’ said George
‘Oh, like the band?’
‘That’s White Snake’ George corrected.
‘Oh, well White Adder why are you here? Are you here to stop me?’ Chlorothorn spoke in a voice that was probably a little overdramatic .
‘I am going to stop you, and your crazy mutant plants, Chlorothorn’ said George. ‘You’re the only thing standing between me and being a real super-hero.’
Chlorothorn sighed ‘You see, that’s the trouble these days. Even super-hero’s are only doing it for the money.’
‘I still have to eat!’ George said defensively ‘It’s not like I get a discount on my bills or anything, so give me a break.’
‘Say what you like, but you’re not here to defeat me because of any sense of justice or moral outrage, you’ve just been told to. Let me guess, my name and address appeared on a computer screen as your latest nemesis and you just thought you’d trot on over here and eliminate me without even taken the time to think about if I deserve it.’
‘Deserve it? You’re planning on growing large mutant plants and setting them free in Geiaropolis.’
‘True, but my point remains valid.’
‘Can we do just this already? I’m not paid by the hour you know.’
‘Point proven’ said Chlorothorn under his breath.
‘Shut up. Prepare to be beaten.’ George put all his strength into a signal, a mental signal that would be sent to every animal within range to request their help. A signal that unfortunately didn’t get further than the room due to Chlorothorn plants growing at an incredible rate and smothering George in a thick impenetrable web of vines and branches.
‘You see that proves my point. If you were here because you wanted to be, you would have fought like you actually cared and not been captured within seconds of entering the room’
George responded with a feint muffled grunt.
‘…and White Adder? I’m going to kill you. Not because I’m getting paid to but because I have a work ethic, you see? I don’t need to be hired by the government to be evil. Having said that, I can’t deny that a large proportion of my mental instability is due to an isolated and abusive childhood. Though that’s something your corpse and I can discuss later.’
George was now finding it difficult to breathe, on the plus side the noise of the continued ranting of Chlorothorn was being blocked out, although George could still see him gesticulating wildly through the vines.
Then it happened, through the lair doors came a brown furry stream of rats that swarmed into the room, accompanied by a flock of birds that swooped and picked at Chlorothorn and his mutant plants. The rats got to work on freeing George. They crawled all over him biting and gnawing at the vines and branches, until George broke free, tearing at the remaining plants and throwing them to the floor.
Chlorothorn was already running towards the door, flailing wildly with bloodied arms at the birds that still picked and scratched at him. The sound of his screams and the birds squawking continued down the hall where they both eventually faded out.
George looked towards the sea of rats that were all sat facing him. The rat at the front spoke. Everyone, else would have heard a simple squeak but George heard something much different.
George laughed. ‘I expect he will’ he said. ‘I expect he will.’