Some just stick with you.
I don’t know why. I’ve seen death…so much death, in too many of its gruesome permutations. Burned, electrocuted, drowned; you name it, I’ve probably seen it.
People, normal people, seem to think we fly above it all.
I can’t fly.
No, I’m right there on the ground, covered in the blood and waste, dealing with the aftermath.
Emergency lights flashed, painting the world in red and blue. EMT’s scurried about setting up a triage area, desperately giving aid to those they could, ruthlessly moving on from those that can’t be saved. Police barked orders at onlookers, holding the line against the rubberneckers, gawkers, and vultures with their cell phones looking to become internet famous.
Firefighters blasted water at the inferno started by Flamestar during the battle. Armor-clad Feds bustled the members of The Anarchy into specially reinforced paddy-wagons designed for Powereds. Everyone not involved in something else climbed, dug, and searched for survivors buried among the tons of rubble stacked in mini-mountains along the street. The cloud-darkened skies dumped buckets of snow, whitewashing the area and hindering rescue efforts because Mother Nature cares not for our petty squabbles.
We always try to take the fights out of the city, but the bad guys don’t always accommodate us. The Anarchy decided to cause chaos, in some protest against the ” increasing commercialism of false holidays” or something similarly stupid, and cause it they did. They hit Woodfield Mall, O’Hare, and The Magnificent Mile, causing us to split up, decreasing our effectiveness.
We put them down, but not nearly fast enough.
It’s never fast enough.
My head jerked over to stare at the corner of North Michigan and Delaware where a Presbyterian church used to stand. When we soared in, Apkallu carrying me by my arms, I remembered seeing a brunette wearing a black jacket and red stocking cap. The guy with her pointed a Polaroid in her face and snapped a picture of her horrified expression as Flamestar and Jackhammer rampaged down the street.
I watched as Flamestar unleashed a fiery hell on the church, unable to do anything but rage. I didn’t see what happened to the woman and the man with her.
I started to jog over to the corner, three blocks away. My feet picked up speed and I barreled through the crowds, unheeding of their complaints and threats of lawsuits. Smoke rose as the building hissed from water and heat colliding. My nose picked up the sickening sweet smell of cooked meat. I aimed for a mound topped by two cars crumpled beyond recognition, and tore through it.
I kept enough presence of mind to throw the cars away from any populated area, but beyond that I don’t remember much, until…
“Go on,” Dr. Allen said.
I found the picture, her face twisted in a scream. That didn’t…bother me. No, the fear and resignation in her eyes, as if every hope she carried died at once.
That bothered me.
I looked around, and I swear I saw that same look in every bystander, every first responder.
In the mirror.
“And what do you think that means?” Dr. Allen said.
It means we lost. It doesn’t matter that we beat the bad guys; they stole their hope. I mean, that’s why we do this. We dress up in primary-color costumes, help out with disasters, and “save the world” to give people hope.
When that gets taken away…
“And how does that make you feel?”
News channels excoriate us, politicians praise us with one breath and call for us to be sent to camps with the other, while generals and spies cry “National Security!” as they lobby for creating a Powered-draft. I won’t even get into how the evangelicals treat us.
But none of that bothers me. The accusations that I don’t care; that somehow I don’t feel pain because my body’s strong and resilient. That bothers me.
I do hurt. I sleep very little, afraid of the faces that swirl in my subconscious.
“You said some stick with you. What did you mean?”
That brunette I mentioned. She’s haunted my dreams, and from that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.
Speakeasy #137. This week’s prompt(s): “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.” Used as the last line and:
My entry is a little different, mostly because I’m weird like that 😉
But on a more serious note, while studies show that suicides during the holidays do NOT rise, they actually peak in the spring and fall, it is a problem that occurs year-round. I chose to use “superheroes” to put a little distance to the subject, not to make fun of it in anyway. I could just have easily used any type of uniformed civil servant and not changed a great portion of the story.
I hold no illusion that some random blog post will change someone’s mind, but on the off-chance that it does, then please seek out some form of help if you are having thoughts and feelings of hurting yourself. I’ve had those feelings, and it can get better. I would have missed out on a lot of great things if I hadn’t received help.
Peace, Love, and I hope everyone enjoys their holiday season, no matter what you celebrate.
Head on over to Speakeasy and check out some great writers. The challenge is open to everyone, so feel free to join in the fun.
Happy Reading and Writing!