Marvel Iron Age: Lady Deathstrike # 15
Ngumi sat on the couch with the Carol Danvers appointed psychologist Janis Snow. Janis would talk about work, her home life that wasn’t in the least bit interesting to Ngumi and how Kikione and Kylie were handling their mother’s death. “So I’ve just gotta know what’s it like?”
Ngumi wasn’t paying attention. She held her arms tight and she tapped her foot on the floor. It was late and the girls were asleep. “So?”
Ngumi snapped back into attention. “Oh what?”
“What’s it like being extremely long lived and looking like you’re barely thirty!” Janis asked in an amazed voice.
“You mean living with the fact that you’ve out lived everyone you know? Remembering how everything used to be different? Or wishing it would all just hurry up and end? “Ngumi said trying her best to sound annoyed by the psychiatrist.
Janis smiled. “You aren’t that sensitive or sentimental. The here and now is what’s really important to you.”
Ngumi raised an eyebrow, “What do you think know about me?” she asked.
“Well when you aren’t actively ignoring me or brushing me off you face the girls’ room and if they are in the room you pay extra attention to them.” She answered in a matter of fact sort of way. “For the last two weeks this month you seem to have gotten antsier. Like that stupid tapping on the floor you’re doing and the way you hold your arms.”
Ngumi nodded and stood up. “I just don’t like being cooped up. I’ve been stuck in a house for two weeks.”
Janis giggled. “I’ll bet you could leave whenever you wanted.” Janis laid flat on the couch with Ngumi standing above her on behind the couch. “You still didn’t answer my question.” She said in a sing-songy voice.
Ngumi huff and sat at the back of the couch. “You meet some people. I’ve made a lot of friends… I guess. If they aren’t dying fighting with me, they die getting old. So getting close is kind of hard.”
“When you do get close, Ngumi I bet you love even harder. That is why Kiki and Kylie’s mothers’ passing is so difficult for you.” Janis added. “I’m so sorry, Ngumi.”
“Why?” Ngumi asked. “Death is all around. It is a constant. Like the wind or the world’s preoccupation with being in danger.”
“Hmm.” Janis got up from the couch and leaned over the side to face Ngumi. “I get the feeling you’ve got a thought or two on the subject.”
“More than one.” Ngumi answered.
“Well...” Janis grabbed a card from her jacket pocket and dropped it in front of Ngumi. “When you’ve got less gloomy thoughts you want to share give that number a call. Our time however is done for today sweet thing.” Janis said with a big smile.
Ngumi’s thoughts however didn’t change that night. She hand the dreams again. The dead called her name; a tornado of blood sweeping her away and a child wailing in the distance. She awoke with Kylie and Kiki still fast asleep. They’ve gotten better in the last two weeks. Their cries are less frequent and their nightmares don’t have them screaming in the night as often. Ngumi crept out of bed without waking the girls; as nightly routine demanded.
She crept into the living room and pushed all the furniture aside to give her the most space possible. She trained. Sparing with her shadow making pretend they were the Supreme Commander, Carol Danvers and even her psychiatrist Janis Snow. Or whoever was a cause for frustration in her life. After finally breaking a sweat after two hours she sat on the floor to catch her breath.
Her heavy breathing echoed through the nearly empty apartment. She hated it. “When you’ve got less gloomy thoughts you want to share give that number a call.” She thought; remembering what Janis had suggested. Her thoughts remained “gloomy” but right now she at least wanted to share them with another human being.
She got up to the counter and took the card that was given to her. She sat at the kitchen table and with a swipe of her hand a holo-screen appeared at the table. She typed in the number in the screen and waited for the call to register. It took awhile that she heard a shuffling from the other end and a picture of who she was calling materialized.
It was a woman. Not Janis who answered. She had long brown hair and though her face looked tired it was no less stunning. “Ngumi?”
Ngumi swallowed hard, wide eyed and full of surprise she answered, “Jess?”
The residence of Janis Snow:
Janis walked in to her loft with a smile on her face. The door was kicked open, but she wasn’t insulted or worried. She simply walked in and shut it behind her, even catching a glimpse of her guest. “If you wanted to hang out you didn’t have to violate your house arrest.” She said in a cheery tone. “Did you miss me, Ngumi?”
“I gave that number a call. You lied to me.” Ngumi said, giving no indication whether or not she was upset or even felt anything.
“I gave you a number. You called it.” Janis said in a m0ore serious tone as she walked by Ngumi to her refrigerator. “Wanna beer?”
“No thanks. Why didn’t you tell me it was Jessica?” Ngumi asked.
“You wouldn’t have called her if you knew.” The psychiatrist answered popping open a beer can. “I’m starting to get to know you. You’ll do it if you want to or you won’t. Simple as that. Did you know Miss Mongoose is one of the good guys now?”
A smile found its way on Ngumi’s lips. “We talked about that. An Avenger, who would have thought the child I raised, who ended up being the most like me would get stuck with that job.”
“You!” Janis exclaimed as she jumped into her seat on the couch next to Ngumi said. “Make that said like a bad thing. She’s not in the Iron Army anymore. I thought you’d like to speak to her.”
“I’m proud of her. Really I am.” Ngumi said defensively. “How do you even know about me and her anyway?”
Janis took a sip of her beer and answered. “The Queen told me. She said when you left Shield the first time and founded your mercenary business you picked up two girls and raised them like your own children.”
She took another sip and continued in her always cheery voice. “Then grumbled something about you being some sort of cradle robber and that just went over my head.”
Ngumi rolled her eyes. “Sure. Jessica and Leann were my little wild pack. I found Jess living in New York pulling a con on tourists. Leann I found on a job in North Africa. Watched them grew up into two beautiful woman. I ruined their lives.”
“You saved both of them. Made them heroes in their own way.” Janis said, taking a big gulp of her beer. “You loved them most importantly!”
Ngumi sat close to Janis and snatched the beer from her hands. “So much.” Ngumi answered as she chugged the last of the can and flicked it into the kitchen. “I was supposed to protect them. Leann dying shows me how miserably well I’ve done at that.”
Janis placed a hand on Ngumi’s thigh and looked her in the eye, “There was nothing you could do.”
“Jess told me everything about that night. Told me she tried to help her.” Ngumi chuckled and continued. “They hated each other. Never could get them to stop fighting. Now we’re both all we’ve got.”
Janis took Ngumi’s hand and squeezed her hand tight. “Isn’t that enough? You, Jessica and the girls. They are family it’s okay to cling to them through a hard time like this.”
“Snow I think you might be right.” Ngumi answered, looking at the psychiatrist. She had a silly smile on her face and a glint in her eye.
“That’s the first time you’ve ever said my name.” Janis said and she bent forward and kissed Ngumi on the cheek. “But it’s really really late and I’m tired. So g’night.”
Ngumi placed her hand on her face and could almost feel the blood rushing to her head as Janis left the room. She looked back out of a window in the kitchen and saw the sun peaking its way up the sky. “Good night then.”
To be continued
Author Note: So how was the chapter? Well this I think is a good place to stop and next chapter we see our Lady Deathstrike actually deal out some ultra-violence! This broody stuff doesn’t fit her right I feel. But what do you all think?