[MISC] Thunderclap #1

rickhindle at gmail.com rickhindle at gmail.com
Wed Oct 4 14:32:27 PDT 2006

[Cover: A man in his twenties sits beside a hospital bed in the
foreground.  A superhero (Thunderclap) towers over them in the

	My name is Clay Hunter.
	My life as I knew it ended in the middle of July.


	Pinnacle City had been under a pall for the last week.  We all knew
that the greatest hero in the history of the world was near death.
Crowds numbering in the hundreds gathered outside of Mercy-Mount Sinai
Hospital, awaiting the news on his health.  Channels 2, 3, and 7 were
running around the clock coverage; the rest of the channels were giving
up their precious commercial breaks to give updates.  The front page of
the Herald, the Star-Tribune, and the Ledger all blared health-related
headlines.  The Star-Tribune's website had crashed under the number of
people signing on to sign a digital "Get Well Soon" card for him.
	I hadn't seen him in over the last few years.  It was probably
sometime just after my graduation from college - at a party.  We had
seen him fly by, as majestic as never before.  Everyone was in awe of
him; I had outgrown it.  Growing up in Pinnacle City, you couldn't miss
him.  He was everywhere.  Now, we probably would never get over him.
He hadn't even died yet, but there was already talk of a statue being
built somewhere in the downtown area.
	My mom called me the morning before he died.  She sounded stressed
out.  Mom was always like that.  She was a working mom who raised me by
herself.  Luckily for both of us, she never had to worry about money
for school.
	She had wanted me to go to Whitman College, here in Pinnacle, but I
got away.  Dad was proud in his own way.  He tried to keep in touch,
but with his travel schedule, it was tough.  I played football at South
State, and was named an All-American by some publications.  I got
drafted by my hometown Warriors - but it didn't last long.
	The last day of my first mini-camp, I got matched up with an old
cornerback, Cyrus Mills.  We got tangled up on a jump ball.  My left
knee.  His his shoulder.  One young, promising career over.  One
journeyman's career over.
	Mom wasn't too happy on that phone call.  Her stress was boiling over.
 I kept telling her that I'd come over that Sunday for dinner.  She
didn't believe me.  She kept saying that I'd be like Dad and not carry
out my promise.  Mom's usually right about that - sometimes I'm too
much like Dad.
	My dad couldn't make it to senior night at the stadium, so my Mom
walked out with me to the middle of the field by herself.  At
graduation, it was Mom by herself again.  I always wanted to ask her
why she put up with it all.  I never thought to, though.  It just
didn't seem right.
	"Are you going down to the hospital?" I asked her.
	There was silence on the other side.  I tried guessing her answer:
"You know I don't like crowds, Clay."  Or, "It's just too much,
right now, dear."
	Instead, her answer shocked me.  "I am.  Tomorrow.  I want you to
come with me."
	I didn't know how to respond.  "Wha-Why?"
	"Because," came her simple, time tested answer.  It was the best
Mom answer ever.  And the only one that you couldn't respond to.
	"What time do you want me to come by?"  I gave in.  I had to.
	"I'll meet you at Creek and Seventh.  Five o'clock."
	I nodded my head.  She couldn't see it, but for some reason, I thought
I needed to do it. "I'll be there."
	"I know you will.  Bye, Clay."
	"Bye, Mom," I said before hitting the END button on my cell phone.
 I flipped close the top half and stared out my living room window at
the clouds beginning to form outside.


	He was laying in the bed, hooked up to a number of machines when we
walked into the room.  They didn't know what was causing his injuries
or the infections that were racking his body.  It was a very clean,
sanitary room.  It scared the hell out of me.
	Mom walked up and put her tiny hands on top of his big, strong hands.
At least, that's the way I always remembered them.  They were a bit
frailer then what I remembered.  I think that scared me more.
	She was whispering to him, tears beginning to roll down her eyes.
Somehow, she managed to keep talking without missing a beat.  Deep
down, I knew my Mom was always the stronger one.  No matter where my
Dad went, he always came back.  And no matter how bruised or battered
he was, she was the one who held him together.  The one who stitched
his cuts, wrapped his cracked ribs, and iced his black eyes.
	Maybe my Mom was the superhero, after all.
	Dad was Thunderclap - the superhuman with an ability to knock his
opponents to the ground with a simple clap of his hands.  He could fly,
was super strong, and nearly invincible.
	And now here he was, laying strapped to a bunch of machines with my
Mom hovering over him.
	I walked up to her and put my right hand on her left shoulder.  She
glanced at me and then back down to Dad.  His eyes were closed.  His
breathing was ragged.  He had refused any machine help other then the
massive bag of morphine that was dripping slowly by Mom's head.
	"Clay's here, hon," she whispered.
	I'm not sure if Dad opened his eyes or it was just a trick of the
light.  I moved to stand over him, my Mom and I switching places.
	I could swear the left corner of his mouth twitched just a bit.
"Hey, little buddy," he managed to gasp.
	"Dad," was all I could say.  I was choked up.  I'll be honest.  He
somehow reached his hand up and place his right hand over my hands.  I
tried to say 'Dad' again, but I couldn't choke it out.
	I closed my eyes tight as I heard a distant roar of thunder.  The
lights in the hospital room flickered.  A bolt of lightning then ripped
down from the heavens out in front of the hospital, followed closely by
an ear splitting roll of thunder.
	Mom gasped.
	The lights came back on.
	Dad was gone.
	I stood there for what seemed light an eternity.
	Mom couldn't hold it together anymore.  She collapsed against me,
sliding to the floor as I just stood, looking over my father.
	It was then I felt it in my hands.  I managed to wiggle free of his
grasp and looked down at my hands.
	The pin.
	Dad always more a lightning shaped pin.  When someone asked what it
meant, he said it was the unit that he had served with while in the
Army.  Dad never served in the Army.
	I eventually found out that the pin was what had given my father is
awesome powers.  I never learned the origin; I never expected to.
	I just stared down at it, feeling the power ebb and flow in my hand.
I then heard a voice in my head.  "Good luck, son," was all I
	At about that point, a doctor pushed me aside to stand over my father
to pronounce him.  A nurse tried to help Mom up, but she was anchored
to the ground.  I put the pin into the pocket of my pants and then
tried to lift her up.


	There were two funerals.  The first was a small, private affair held
at St. Catherine's for family and close friends.  Mom and I sat in the
front, next to Aunt Sandy, her husband Carl, and my Uncle Barney.  This
was the funeral for Nathan Hunter.  Some of Dad's non-superhuman
friends were there.  Even some of the superhuman ones.  Some were there
in disguise, or maybe as their everyday self.
	We didn't go to the second funeral.  Mom refused to watch it on
television.  I caught a peak at it while on the balcony at my boy
Tommy's place.  He, his girl Suzie, and a few other friends were
gathered inside watching it.  I sat outside, nursing a glass of water.
They were numb in a different way that I was as I kept alternating
looks between the eighteen inch television and the view of the
Millenium Tower in the distance.
	"...a sad day for not just Pinnacle City, but the world," I heard
Mayor James Stockard say.  He had been a superhero once, operating as
Rush.  Dad and Rush had been on the Protectors together before Dad left
them and the mayor got hurt and hung up the spandex.
	"We will soon build a statue in Glidden Park for the entire city to
pay homage to one of the great heroes of the modern world," he
continued.  "We will all miss you, Thunderclap."
	I stood from my chair and went to the railing.  I leaned forward,
placing my elbows on the rusty black railing and looked out at the
setting sun.  After I took a sip of water, I reached my hand into my
pocket and pulled out the lightning bolt.  People had started wearing
faux-Thunderclap pins in memoriam.
	Looking it over, I realized that it had no actual pin to it.  I hefted
it a couple of times, considering my options.
	I remembered back to when I was younger, when I saw Dad wearing that
same pin, right above his heart, on everything he wore.
	For the first time in a long time, I did what my father would do.  I
felt the incredible power flow through me.  I tried not to make a noise
- I didn't want to startle Tommy and the others.
	I decided then to try something stupid.  And boy, was it stupid.
Quietly, I put the glass down on the table, and then braced my hands on
the railing.  "You are so dumb," I told myself as I swung myself
over the side.
	It was five stories from Tommy's balcony to the surface of Highfield
Street.  All it took was three stories before I learned what it was to


	My name is Clay Hunter.
	In the middle of July, I became Thunderclap.

#1 - "Will of the Father"
by Rick Hindle

Author's Notes: Nothing really to say right now.  I've got some further
stuff for this already finished, so I'm spending some time going over
my notes and having fun with this.  It feels good to write again.

Boston, 10/4/06

More information about the racc mailing list