Author’s Note: For this prompt, I decided to revisit a character I wrote about earlier in the challenge, specifically Seeking Solace 5/100. I wrote about a character named Jess, who happened to be a superhero. When I first wrote about Jess, I did not expect her to resurface. I liked her as a character, but I did not see myself writing about her again. Well, she managed to worm her way into my creativity and she is here again. I have come to actually really like her as a character and in the future, I would like to do something with Jess, preferably telling her story. For now, this will do. This is not a continuation to the previous one concerning Jess.
My world seemed gray as I looked at the mask in my hands. A part of my life seemed to flash before my life as I held it in my hands. When I started living a double life, I did not think it would ever come to this. I thought I could live both lives and be fine. I thought I could do everything and I was wrong, so very wrong.
Looking at the mask, I remembered the first time I realized there was something different about me. I was ten and I had been playing with a bunch of other girls. We had decided on a game of Frisbee and were having a grand old time with each other. The Frisbee flew into the yard of my next door neighbor, who was a mean old man. We were all too scared to ask for our Frisbee back. I had the perfect solution and I told my friends not to worry. I remember hopping on the fence and willing the Frisbee to come back into the yard. It hovered shakily above the ground for a few seconds and then, flew into my yard, landing with a thud on the ground. I hopped off the fence and faced my friends with a smile. They stood, wide eyed and scared. A few seconds later, they ran away and I learned my gift was something to be feared. No, I was something to be feared. I was an abomination of humanity. I was a freak.
Years after the incident and miles away from that little house, I was attending a lecture at school for my ethics class. We had wandered onto the topic of those with extraordinary gifts. Should they use them to protect the world or should they hide them from humanity? The conversation was unnervingly real for me. Was I supposed to be using my powers for the betterment of humanity? I had long since learned that I was to hide them from the world. That did not mean that I did not train with my powers, but no one knew I had them. Finally, I worked up the courage to ask my professor what his thoughts on the issue were. He was quiet for a moment and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. “If you have a gift that benefits the world in anyway, you have an obligation to use that gift to benefit the world no matter what the price is.” He said.
After the morality class, I had taken up the persona, Animus. In Latin, Animus meant spirit and had more to do with the will/spirit of a human. Being Telekinetic, I thought it suited me quite well. After all, one had to have a lot of will and focus for telekinesis. I remember the first night I began to patrol the streets as Animus. I wore gray and red, my two favorite colors. As I was moving among the rooftops, I spotted a man who was threatening to harm a poor woman with her young son. He had trapped the two of them in a dark alley.
Using my powers, I lowered myself to the ground behind the man. I cleared my throat and the man turned to face me. I could smell the alcohol on his breath and I wanted to throw up. “Get out of here, Freak. Nothing for you to see.” He growled, waving the knife. I rolled my eyes and concentrated on knocking him backwards. He flew into the wall, behind the woman and the boy. He hit it harder than I meant for him to and I winced at the sound of it. The man did not get up and I went over to check. He was still breathing and seemed to only have been knocked out.
I focused my attention on the woman and her child. The woman pulled her son close, trying to shield him from me. Both seemed scared of me even though I did not have the intention of hurting them. I gave both of them a warm smile and said “I am not going to hurt you. I only wanted to help. You are safe.” The woman released her son, who promptly asked “Are you a superhero?”
I smiled at the young boy and said “Hopefully, one day.”
The boy smiled back at me and was cut off by his mother before he could ask another question. “Thank you!” She said with relief and thankfulness in her voice. The woman scooped her son up in her arms and smiled at me.
“Not a problem.” I replied. The woman began to walk away with her son. I could not blame her; I was eager to get out of here myself. Before the woman and her son walked out of the alley, the son asked “What’s your name?”
I was engaged to Dylan. How did I tell him that I was a Doctor by day and a crime fighting Superhero by night? How did I tell him that my life was full of danger and there was a very real possibility we could never have a real family? How could I ask him to give up his normal life?
I could not, which was why I had to break it off now. I dreamed of spending the rest of my life with Dylan. There was no one else that I wanted to do that with. He was kind and forgiving. Dylan supported me and often encouraged me to go after what I wanted. I did the same for him. It was never about one of us having the upper hand in the relationship; it was always about us working together as partners. It broke my heart to think of him spending his whole life with another woman when I wanted him to spend the rest of his with me. However, Love is giving up the one you care about and giving them a better chance at life.
Everything seemed so gray in that moment. My world felt cold without Dylan in it. I heard him come through the door and close. He took a seat next to me on the couch and asked “Jess, what’s wrong? You sounded upset on the phone.”
The gray was suffocating as I turned my head to face and answer him. “I can’t marry you.” I said emotionless, holding out the ring for him to take.
Dylan stared and I could see the heartbreak on his face. I had to turn away in order to stop myself from bursting into tears myself. Gosh, Everything seemed so gray. “Why?” He asked, hurt.
“I just can’t.” I said, not facing him.
“Jess, please just give me a reason. I need to know. You are the only one I want to spend my life. I thought we both loved each other. Maybe, I was wrong. Maybe, I was the one in love with you.” He said.
“I’m doing this, because I love you. I am giving you the chance to have a real life without me.” I said, trying not to break down.
“Why would you do that? Don’t I have a choice in this? Marriage is between two people who both get to make decisions.” He countered.
I turned to face him with a slightly angry look on my face. “I am a superhero. Actually, I am the superhero, Animus. I am in constant danger and I can’t have a regular life. I have to be the one to protect the world. I couldn’t let you stay with me, because it wasn’t fair to ask you to give up the chance at a normal life.” I said, trying even harder not to break down.
Dylan looked surprised. He would hate me after this. He would want nothing to do with me, just like those girls had. I was an abomination to humanity. I felt his arms wrap around me and pull me close. I was surprised at this, considering I thought he would have run away. “Jess, you don’t have to bear this weight alone anymore. I don’t care if we ever have children or if you want to be a superhero for the rest of your life. I care that I get to spend the rest of my life with you. The world is no longer yours to bear alone. I will be here with you every step of the way. Jess, I still want to marry you if you will have me.”
“Yes, Yes I do.”
A tear leaked done my cheek as I continued to stare at the mask in my hands. It was true that I would get to spend the rest of my life with Dylan. However, Dylan would not get to spend the rest of his with me. The villain threatened to destroy everything I loved if I did not give myself up. I would probably be unmasked and humiliated. In the end, I would die. That would only happen if I decided to give myself up.
Gray is the color of uncertainty and it represented my future at the moment. My whole world was crashing around me and being swallowed up by the gray. The people I cared about were paying the price for my mistakes and for my alter identity. I was being torn apart by two lives: my life as a Doctor and my life as the Superhero, Animus. I would either reveal myself to the world or I would continue to lead the double life. Tomorrow would be the day I would make a choice. Tomorrow would be the day, I walked into the Lion’s den, choosing to end my life as a Superhero and revealing myself to the world.
Word Count: 1633