Secrets of the Superheroe’s Ring?
- Title: The Secrets of the Supuerheroes Ring
- Author: Steve Frederick
- Genre: children’s
In Oct 2021, next week, I will be releasing an interview with the author, Steve Frederick, so stay tuned.
Kyle Alexander is scared and frustrated. The magic ring that gave him the power to fly and to become the superhero named Cockroach isn’t working. He still isn’t as strong as his idol, Captain Nightmare! That’s bad news because the school bully is after him and the Grizzly Bear Gang, led by the nasty Fozzy Bearenstein, are out to hurt superheroes. Fozzy has already put one superhero in the hospital.
Kyle learns that his magic ring is different and actually more powerful than Captain Nightmare’s ring. But he must somehow figure out how to unlock its great powers. Unfortunately, he can’t ask Captain Nightmare, who’s unhappy that a child has his dead brother’s ring. So, Kyle and his best friend, Carlos Santana, must learn the secrets of the magic ring on their own. They discover that perhaps The Captain’s brother, Marfando, died because he wasn’t worthy of the ring. Kyle is sure he’s not worthy either and wonders whether using the ring’s powers will put his own life in danger. But other superheroes may die if he doesn’t use it!
The Days That Change Your Life
Certain days change your life forever. They smash your old life to bits, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put it back together again.
Many of these life-changing days are quite unexpected. BAM! You receive hundreds of letters summoning you to a school of witchcraft and wizardry. ZWAP! A radioactive spider drops from the ceiling and bites you. KABOOM! The planet you live on explodes just after your parents load you into a rocket ship and blast you into space.
A boy named Kyle Alexander recently had one of those quite unexpected days (that story is told in the book called Breakfast of Superheroes). His mother surprised him by bringing home a specially-marked box of corn flakes. The box was supposed to contain a toy copy of the magic ring that once belonged to Marfando, the deceased brother of the superhero named Captain Nightmare.
But the ring inside the box Kyle’s mother bought wasn’t a toy— and it wouldn’t come off Kyle’s finger.Steve Frederick, chapter 2
The Evening News
It was the dead of night. Downtown Chicago was quiet and nearly deserted when the roar of an engine shattered the silence. A black van sped east across Michigan Avenue. It crashed through the majestic arched glass doorway of the Markiss Neemun store, sending glass flying in all directions. The van’s doors burst open and four figures dressed in furry bear costumes leaped out. The Grizzly Bear Gang was striking again.
The tall, broad-shouldered driver barked orders as the gang fanned out, clutching large trash bags. They stuffed shoes, purses, jewelry, dresses, and suits into the bags and tossed them into the back of the van. In a few short minutes, the van was crammed full of bags of overpriced merchandise.
They slammed shut the van’s back doors and jumped back into their seats – except for the driver. He turned to face the security camera, removed the head and gloves of his grizzly bear costume, and gestured at the camera. Then, reaching inside his bear outfit, he pulled out a handful of glittery dust and tossed it into the air. The other Grizzlies motioned impatiently for him to get back in the van and drive. Finally, he too leaped into his seat, slammed the door, and hit the gas. With a squeal of tires, the van turned around and smashed what was left of the doorway on the way out. It sped south and disappeared minutes before police arrived on the scene.
When the evening news came on, 11-year-old Kyle Alexander was in bed with a nasty cold. His blond hair was damp with sweat. His tall, skinny body hurt all over as he coughed up yet another wad of green yuck from his lungs. After disposing of the disgusting tissue in the overflowing wastebasket, he flopped back on his pillow, exhausted. His sheepdog, Parker, who had been by the side of his bed all day, licked his hand.
This was his third day in bed since he, dressed as the superhero now known as “Cockroach,” had come face to face with the dangerous criminal, Rocky the Rat. Rocky and his gang were now locked up in the Big Muddy Water Correctional Facility.
Cockroach had gotten credit for catching these crooks, but he hadn’t really done it. He’d also been blamed for flooding the streets and cutting the power to a number of houses in the neighborhood. He hadn’t done that either. He HAD gotten lost on the way home, and flying around soaking wet on a chilly night had brought on this nasty cold.
The truth was that the police had caught the criminals. A goon named Eddie had smashed a fire hydrant, while trying to kill Cockroach with a sledgehammer. That caused the flood. The telephone pole had cracked and fallen when Rocky’s getaway car crashed into it. That’s why the neighbors lost power for several hours.
The getaway car had crashed because the driver was laughing so hard at Cockroach’s clumsiness and because he thought his costume looked rather stupid. The red sweat pants and the yellow shirt with the thunderbolt were too small for him, so his ankles and belly button showed. His cape was his old blue blankie, and even Kyle thought his purple swim goggles made him look odd.
Kyle had dozed off just before the 7:00 news program started, but the story of the bold robbery pulled off by the Grizzly Bears made him sit up quick. He stared at the TV as the news program showed video from the store security camera, watching intently as the van smashed through the front door. With great precision, the Grizzly Bears snatched the most valuable items from each department, hurled the bags in the back, and three of the Grizzlies raced back to their seats.
Kyle was astounded as he watched the driver pause and look directly into the lens of the security camera. Yanking off his bear head and gloves, he shook out his long, black, braided hair. He seemed to want everyone to know who he was. The light from a green glow stick around his neck made his eyes look terrifying.
Kyle recognized him immediately from the USA BadGuys website. It was Kodiak Bearenski, formerly of the Grabowski Gang. Kodiak had a deep mean streak, and a warped sense of humor that led him to dress in bear costumes and give everyone in his gang bear names. He boasted about wanting to hurt superheroes. It wasn’t just talk either. The Grabowskis had put the Hornet in the hospital, and doctors said he was finished as a superhero. He would never fly again.
Kodiak was obviously daring the police and the superheroes to catch him, and daring one superhero in particular. He made the letter “C” with his fingers, then the letter “N.” Kyle gasped. He’s dissing Captain Nightmare. He remembered reading about how Captain Nightmare had captured the Grabowskis. But prison couldn’t hold Kodiak, and he’d escaped after less than a year behind bars.
On the TV, the driver kissed his hand and patted his furry bear butt. Sticking his other hand inside his bear suit, he pulled out some strange, sparkly dust and tossed it into the air. While the dust settled, the man erupted into crazy laughter and jumped into the van, slammed the van door, and sped off. On the way out, he made sure he destroyed the other half of the doorway.
Kyle’s eyes were nearly popping out of his head. This was one bold and scary criminal. This guy wants to hurt superheroes. Maybe being a superhero wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe Cockroach wouldn’t be so lucky next time.
Despite his fear, seeing that video got his brain working overtime. He turned on YouTube and replayed the security camera footage and stopped the video when Kodiak threw the dust. Kyle squinted at the dust, wondering, what is that stuff? He hopped out of bed and revisited USA Badguys, Dastardly Criminals, and other websites on his computer to read about Kodiak.
About fifteen miles away, someone else was watching TV. The superhero named Captain Nightmare knew exactly what that dust was and where Kodiak had gotten it. He snarled, “Delilah betrayed me!”Steve Fredrick
Monday Night Fever
That news broadcast brought up all the doubts he’d been having about being a superhero. True, it was sort of because of him that the city’s most dangerous criminal, Rocky the Rat, was now locked up. He looked at the magic ring on his finger, and thought about how it once belonged to Captain Nightmare’s brother. Kyle idolized The Captain, aind he loved wearing his brother’s ring—at times. At other times, t he fear he felt nearly made him sick to his stomach.
He’d read The Captain had vowed to keep that ring safe until he could find someone worthy of wearing it. But now it was on his finger—and he, Kyle Alexander, surely wasn’t worthy. No way! But it was stuck on his finger and wouldn’t come off. He’d tugged and tugged on it, but it wouldn’t budge. That was strange because the ring had been too big for his friend, Carlos, who has bigger fingers.
Fear and excitement gripped him as he replayed the news video and watched Kodiak Bearenski’s face. Being a superhero was dangerous – and confusing. He had this amazing ring! He had superpowers, just as he’d always dreamed. But he wondered, who am I kidding? I’m just a kid. I’m clumsy and I’m not very strong. How am I going to fight guys like Kodiak? Then he thought, but maybe the ring can make me strong—like Captain Nightmare.
He drifted off to sleep, fearing yet another bad dream—and he got one. Once again, he was dressed in his superhero costume. He saw Rocky’s nasty face and heard Rocky scornfully call him “Cockroach.” He shuddered as Rocky’s henchman, Eddie, stalked him with a sledgehammer. He felt that sledgehammer graze his head and heard it hit the fire hydrant, sending water spewing in all directions. Kyle screamed.
He woke up, drenched with sweat. His mom was standing in the doorway in her nightgown. She flicked on the light and squinted at him in the sudden bright light.
“Sweetie, what’s wrong? Why did you scream?” “Uh … bad dream,” Kyle croaked.
“What did you dream about?”
“Uh … I don’t remember. Monsters. Yeah, I had a dream about monsters.”
“Well, you know monsters don’t exist, so you can go back to sleep.” She leaned over and felt his forehead. “You still have a fever. Take some of this.” She picked up the bottle of flu medicine from his dresser and handed it to him. Kyle poured himself a spoonful.
“I can sit with you for a while.”
“No thanks, Mom.”
“Are you sure?” she asked.
Kyle knew that she’d been staying up late for almost two weeks, working on a project for her job. She could hardly keep her eyes open. “No, Mom. I’m OK. You go to bed.”
She turned off the light and left Kyle alone in the dark with all his doubts, all his fears, and all his shameful memories.
Kyle thought back to that night and relived the terror he had felt as Cockroach. He trembled again as he remembered flying away to save himself – leaving that nice young woman alone in Rocky’s clutches. He’d wanted to fly away and go home, but the ring hadn’t let him. If that wasn’t bad enough, Kyle had gotten lost on the way home.
I’m no superhero. I’m not worthy of having this ring. I’m even afraid to sleep on the top bunk in my own bedroom. And people call me “Cockroach” instead of one of the cool names I’d picked for myself. Kyle felt ridiculous.Steve Frederick – 7
Phew! Cockroach survived his encounter with Kodiak Bearenski and the Grizzly Bear Gang. He has managed to apprehend Shotgun Anthony Jones and Luke. But will he have what it takes when he faces daring and mysterious bank robbers? In the upcoming book, The Bangle Bombers Blast Banks, Kyle and Carlos try to solve the mystery of bank robbers who blow up banks, grab the money, and then disappear into thin air. The only thing they leave behind is a bangle—whatever that is. Hint: a bangle is NOT a round piece of bread with a hole in the middle. That’s a bagel.
Now, a bit of advice. Should you happen to find a ring with magical powers, be sure that you think very carefully before you put it on your finger. You might not be able to get it off. And then what?
These books are available on Amazon.com, but if you go the website, www.ThunderboltStories.com, you can get a better deal—and signed copies!
About the Author
Steve Frederick has learned to never give up on his dreams. When he was a kid, he wanted to be a superhero, but unfortunately, he never got super powers.
But years later, his son, Ryan, became a fan of superhero stories. After Steve told him all he could remember from his years of reading comic books, he made up stories with his own characters.
When Ryan’s school had a special day for parents to read stories to the kids, Steve wrote down a story and shared it with Ryan’s kindergarten class. Since the kids loved the story, he wrote more. Over the next few years, he read superhero stories to Ryan’s class a number of times. Soon, he became known as “The Superhero Dad.”
Besides becoming a superhero later in life, Steve is a career coach and freelance writer. His writing has won awards and appeared in several Chicago area publications. He’s also won a number of awards for his speeches in Toastmasters International. He won second place in the Chicago Area for a speech about an unlucky pitcher named Harvey Haddix who pitched 12 perfect innings, but still lost the game. He hopes to publish The Greatest Game Ever Pitched as a picture book sometime soon.