By Jaegerjaquez 0 Comments
Finally, after weeks spent becoming an armchair MMA expert, the time had come for Anya to officially place herself in the hero game. Most of the notable bad guys had gone silent, either in jail or, for unknown reasons, simply vanished. Although she had her eyes set on the riddlemaster, Puzzler, he, too, had gone silent, and Bethany convinced her that it was just as well to get full practice in the field with some random mook. Her outfit was made by hand, something Bethany crafted with skills paid for since childhood, rather bright, for her own tastes, but not like she planned only on operating at night. The key is to stay unpredictable, they had agreed.
“Anya? Hey, Anya, you read me?” Bethany chimed, testing the Bluetooth connection between the phones she’d personally bought for them just for this purpose.
Anya stood over a rooftop, peering over the edge, having yet to fully accustom herself to heights, and dealing with a bit of a sensory overload. “I hear ya. I hear a lotta things. Hard to tell the difference.”
“It’s cool. You’ve got super senses. You can run, jump, look, smell ,whatever you want. Just concentrate. Listen for a scream, or a…crying, somebody getting beat up, something.”
“Alright, I’m trying.” Shrugging, Anya jumped across the rooftop to the next, trying to direct her senses. A preternatural sense of grace and balance guided her movements through the concrete jungle, despite lacking any formal training in gymnastics or true athletic skill prior to the manifestation of her mutation. Absent of the physical focus, she primed her mind to sounds of trouble, whatever they could be, trying to sift through the various sounds of the city.
“Ugh! Wait…Jus-just hold o-agh-n!”
And there it was. Just the sound she was looking for. With haste, Anya adjusted the blue domino mask over her face and leapt down to street level, landing with abnormal grace, crouching on all fours. Tracing the sound in a sort of game of hot-and-cold, she merely followed where the sounds grew louder until she’d caught them in her sights. Two men in an alley on a lone street, one pressed against the wall and getting a pretty serious beating, although in his fetal position, she couldn’t get a direct read on him.
“Hey!” Anya shouted as she ran up to the duo, grabbing the assailant by the shoulder and tossing him into an adjacent pile of garbage – accidentally adding a bit too much umph behind it, forgetting her strength. Turning to the injured man, she looked down and offered a hand. “Hey, you alr–!” What she saw upon closer inspection made her instinctively jerk her hand back, staggering back against the wall. Fearfully staring back into her eyes was the face of her father, Julien, likewise stunned; whether for the fact that he’d just been saved or because he recognised her in that brief moment, she couldn’t tell, but remained unsure of what she should do in that moment. The wounds accumulated over a short lifetime had yet to heal.
“Hey,” Bethany called in. “What’s going on? Are you alright?”
“Huh?” At virtually the same time, she detected emergence from the garbage pile, but unfocused and untrained, hadn’t discerned enough in time to dodge the shot.
A gunshot rang out from where he stood, and a sharp surge of pain shot through the girl’s back. She shrieked as she fell and he rushed over, grounding her with a knee to the head, issuing a few follow-up kicks and stomps to disallow any recovery. Julien started to slink away but was quickly halted when the pistol was turned on him. “Ah-tat! Back where you were, ‘less you want one too.” Kneeling over the wannabe heroine, he pulled the Bluetooth device in which Bethany was screaming from her ear and tossed it aside, grabbing a fistful of her hair and jerking her head back, bringing him eye to eye with the now wide-eyed and fearful teen. He revelled in it.
“Yeah! Shoulda thought o’ that before you decided you wanted to play dress-up an’ be a hero. Nobody cares about scum like this. City’s full of it. Damn shame, too. Pretty young thing.” With no further words, he put two more slugs in her abdomen and dropped her, turning his malevolent attention back on her father. “Now, then, Jule, where were we?”
Where she lay, Anya struggled to breathe, and to get over the continual ringing the gunshots left in her ears. Vision hazy, the smell of her blood pouring out of the open wounds overpowered all other scents. But she could feel. Aside from the pain, still strong as ever, she could feel, with a heightened kinaesthetic sense, air currents shifting with every movement. She was healing, gradually, and growing faster as the adrenal response activated, pumping stimulating hormones throughout her body.
Slowly, but surely, she began to move, reaching out and swiping the man’s legs from underneath him. He scrambled quickly back to his feet, as did she, bounding after him as he moved deeper into the alley, narrowly ducking her attempt at a pounce. Two more shots embedded themselves in her chest, but at that point, the constant flow of endorphins stifled the pain and allowed her to push through. He was just about out of bullets. Anya pounced again, landing atop him, but was quickly tossed aside herself, shaking the wall as she collided with the bricks. “You some kinda freak, ain’tchoo?” he shouted, emptying the last of his ammo into the vigilante. Pushing just once more, Anya pumped her arms forward, shoving him back into the wall. His head rebounded off the bricks and his body was left embedded within.
Anya fell back with a sigh. Adrenaline rush calmed and the pain came creeping back. She was healing; mostly complete, in fact. But it still hurt. With a body that even her enhanced strength could barely hold, she picked herself up and staggered over to retrieve her Bluetooth, then to her injured father, caught between an altruistic deed and a desire to forgive, as well as an unwillingness to forget the various pains she’d suffered because of his abuse and neglect over the years.
But I’m a hero, she told herself, looking down with a smile, something akin to pride, even. She extended her arm and helped him up, laying him over her shoulders in a fireman carry. To the hospital, she decided. Lay him out front and they’ll get ‘im.
“Yeah, B? I’m good. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Got sumthin’ else to take care of first.” Disconnecting the phone call, she started in a slow walk, sprinting as she began to feel better, not stopping until she’d made it to her destination. Calmly, she laid Julien down and knocked on the glass door to gain staff attention. And as they took notice, she turned and ran off.
The last thing Julien saw before he lost consciousness was her blood-stained backside. That hair…That voice…That girl…There was no mistaking it in his mind. But he, too, was afraid of her just as much as she him. “Th-thank…y-...uunghh.” The words came out in a slow whisper and he passed out just as hospital staff and crew came to admit him.