Posts Tagged ‘hero’

Sophia awoke covered in water. The stream has risen over night, slowly turning into a river as the current became stronger. Silver was barking, in an attempt to wake everyone not on the edge of the water, already awoken by the sudden dampness. There was a low rumbling in the distance, as it drew closer Silver’s barks drew louder and more panicked, Sophia couldn’t make any sense of the sound but trusted Silver’s instincts enough to know that it wasn’t good. Jace had just woken up and looked around, and started to wake the others.

Sophia stood still scanning the river bank, looking for a way up and out. The bank on the far side of the river where they had jumped down was only about 6 or 7 feet tall with a gently sloping hillside after that. But the bank on this side was closer to 15 feet with a cliff over hang. Climbing, on this side, didn’t look to be an option. The water was now up to her knees, the current growing strong all the time. At its deepest it was probably up to 4 feet now, and rising. With the pull of the water and the depth they might be swept away before making it back to the other side. There has to be a way out.

Everyone was awake and some of them where starting to panic, cries and screams were surfacing everywhere, and all the time the rumble was growing stronger. The bend in the river hiding the approach of whatever it was, for now at least.   

“Silver” Sophia called. The dog stopped barking for a moment and looked at her locking eyes. “Lead” Sophia commanded. Silver barked and turned to run, Sophia followed and the others followed her.

Silver ran 100 yards downstream then seemed to disappear from sight. When Sophia came to this spot she discovered a fallen tree, it had sheltered the dirt and rock behind it, somewhat, from the water’s erosion creating a slope in the cliff face behind it. Silver was sitting half way up the slope waiting for Sophia to follow. The water was almost up to her waist, the current trying to dragger along with it. She looked back over her solder to see if the others were following and that’s when she saw it.

A wall of water spiraling down the river bed, it was as though a dame had burst somewhere up stream. Some of those who had trailed behind where starting to get swept up in it, they reached out to grab on to anything they could, often having their hands closes firmly around thin air.

Soph had started running backward before she knew what her feet where doing, unable to take her eyes off of the swirl of rushing water. She slipped and felt Silver’s body under hers the only thing which kept her from falling down. Jace ran the remaining yards between the two of them and pulled her to her feet while Sid and a few others ran past.

She turned around and ran like the others. They made it to the top just as the rushing water hit the base of the slope. It splashed up and over the side threatening to pull the few who has made it up to the top back in. As the wave passed the water settled just below the lip of the cliff and extended to the hill top on the other side. There was no sign of anyone who had not made it out. They were far down stream by now.

As the water settled and the rumble dissipated Soph looked around. Jace had made it up and was standing beside her looking out over the area in disbelief. Sid, and three others were also with them. The rest were nowhere to be seen.

“Flash… flood…” someone mumbled under their breath, not entirely sure if they had come up with the correct term. Whatever it was it was devastating. What could have caused such a thing was beyond them.

“Come on, let’s keep going” Sid stated. They were all tired, hungry, wet and still in shock but none of them could think of a good reason to stay.

“Which way?” Sophia directed her question to Jace who was still standing staring in puzzlement at the river. The water was continuing to calm and lower as the torrent moved further down stream and the water spread out across the river bed. Jace didn’t seem to hear Soph.

“Follow the river?” Sid suggested in Jace’s silence.

“Jace” Soph asked again, “What do you think?” They wouldn’t have made it this far without him and there was something about Jace that she trusted over the others in the group. She for one was not going to move on without his opinion.

Jace continued to stare at the water’s edge but spoke “Yes, follow the river, that ways we have water at least, but move up stream. I want to see if we can find what caused this.” Jace crouched by the river and stuck a finger in, watching the ripples created move away.

“Okay,” replied Soph, looking around the group for any sign of objection. Sid did not look overly happy about it but he did not voice any concerns, “Let’s go” Soph moved towards Jace and extended her hand to him. He took it and stood. Then they started up stream.

Within the hour their clothes had dried from the heat of the sun. Soph found herself almost wishing for the heavy discomfort of her soaking jeans again as the sweat started to bead on the back of her neck. The water levels were lowering, though the ground anywhere near the water’s edge had turned to mud, farther out the ground was so dry and brittle it cracked under foot. Soph was thirsty, as were many of the others, but the ground near the water’s edge was so saturated that you sunk almost waist deep into it when you stepped on it. It had taken an hour to pull out the first person who tried it and others had gotten stuck in the process. It wasn’t worth it.

So they walked on. Tired, thirsty, hungry, hot, no shade as far as they eye could see. After a while Soph stopped looking up to see if that had changed. After a while longer she stopped trusting her eyes when she did look up, so when the figures first appeared on the horizon she, Jace and the others all assumed they had imagined them. They didn’t stop to ask if anyone else saw it to. When the thin dark grey line started to stretch across the horizon along the top of the river bank they each dismissed it known how desperately they were hoping for shade, knowing how far their body was pushed and how easily their brain could be playing tricks on them. When long tall blobs started poking up out of the land in front of them, again, they thought they must be seeing things. It wasn’t until Silver started barking at those human shaped blobs on the skyline that they began to believe that what they were seeing might be real.

Jace was the first to stop, “do you see….” He muttered. Unwilling to commit to the words even now.

Soph just nodded. A chill went down her spine. Are those people? She thought as she realized the three blobs seemed to be coming closer even though they had all stopped. The long grey line over the river remained in its place, though now that they were closer she could see some pock marks in the outline, round holes which the light seemed to glisten though.

“Maybe we should turn back” Sid’s voice trembled with a hint of fear. Some of the others shook their heads in agreement. A few took a step or two backwards.

“No!” Jace’s voice was forceful. Soph turned and frowned at him, confused. She was inclined at agree with him, though she understood the fear of the others. They were banned for civilization, and if they had stumbled back upon they had been warned the punishment would be worse then what they were facing now, yet this didn’t look like civilization to her.

“They must be like us”

“That’s crazy” Sid chimed in “We all know we were sent out here to die, this idea we have a chance is just what they tell themselves to let them sleep at night. No way has anyone survived this.” Sid was just saying what they were all thinking but didn’t want to believe.

The blobs on the horizon continued to grow, come closer and take shape as they argued. Occasionally someone would shuffle a couple feet one way or the other as the frustrated rhetoric of Sid and Jace swayed them one way or the other. The two men were too enveloped in their own word to realized that their decision would be made for them before too long.

Soph, took a seat and called Silver over to her side. She stroked Silver’s fur, clumps of it coming off in her hands as the dog shed due to the over whelming heat. Soph wished she had thought to bring a brush with her. Combing Silver’s fur with her finger Soph watched the others come closer.

There were indeed three of them. Two appeared to be taller than the other, though as they came closer Soph realized that one of them was only made taller by the way in which they had their hair mounded into a braided spiral on top of their head, they all appeared to be carrying heavy packs on their back, their clothing was the colour of everything else around them, tan from being matted with dirt and mud. Definitely not civilization, Soph thought.

When the others came within about two hundred meters one of them raised their hand all but grunted “Oi.”

The voice of the stranger silenced Jace and Sid’s squabbling, they turned to look in the direction of the sound, both in a kind of stunned shock.

The other’s jogged the remaining space between them, stopping about fifteen feet away from the rest of the group. The same on who had gotten their attention earlier continued in a casual joking voice “Where did you come from?”

Two women and the man who was talking were in the group, and as Soph has suspected they were all carrying packs on their back – one of the women had a bow strapped across their shoulders as well. The others had what appeared to be hand carved spear heads at their belts. The man addressing them had a hand resting near the base of the spear head, ready to turn off the charm and resort to other means if necessary.  

The woman carrying the bow was the one Soph had taken for taller at first with her hair mounded in the spiral of braids on her head. The other woman had the sides of her head shaved, and the hair that remained was in dreads which fell down the back of her head and well past her waist.

The man speaking to them had opted to completely shave his head, though it wouldn’t have surprised Soph if this had been done with the spear head at his waist. The hair was cut off in uneven clumps, though one might not notice this if they were not looking too closely.

“I could ask the same of you” Sid said, the first to recover from the shock of having the decision forced on him.

Jace soon followed with a “that depends on what you are asking. We came from downstream just now if that’s what you mean.”

“And before that?” The man smirked and directed the question to Jace.

“Same place as you I suspect” Jace replied nonchalantly.

This brought a smile to the man’s lips “Your name?” he inquired.

“If you give me yours” Jace replied.

“Fair enough. You look thirsty, you all do, here.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a canteen, he walked forward, as did Jace. They met in the middle of the no man’s land between the groups. The man signaled for the women to do the same, Soph, walked up to meet one of them, Sid met the other. Once they drank they returned to their group and passed the canteen around. Once everyone else had drank Soph took back a canteen and indicated her dog to the others, when they nodded she poured out some water into a cupped hand and let silver lap it up appreciatively. They then returned the canteens.

“Where are you headed?” he asked Jace.

“I can’t speak for everyone but I was trying to find you, or others like you.”

“How…?” the man look dumbfound. Soph also had to wonder how Jace knew there were be others here. That wasn’t the type of thing you would say in a situation like this if one didn’t mean it. The statement had them back on guard. “Are you…?”

“I’m not connected,” Jace turned to reveal the fresh wound on his neck from having the link removed. “The rest I will tell you on the way if you invite us to shelter with you. If you leave us to the elements that will have to be a secret I take with me as I take my chance out here.”

There was a long pause. The others retreated a few paces and discussed the decision in hushed voices. After a moment they gave a wave for the group to follow, and Jace jogged up to the lead to uphold his half of the arrangement.

After making sure the group was following Soph and jogged up to listen in along with Sid, who looked somehow personally offended by all this. Why was beyond Soph, a chance at life was worth it to her. Even if, as it turned out, Jace was more willing to tell a stranger how he knew what he knew than he had been willing to tell her.


Her neck was still throbbing with tenderness from the incision when the bus came to another stop and the latch on her compartment popped open. Every time the bus had stopped Sophia had held her breath and waited for the metallic click of the lock releasing, but until now it hadn’t.

She’d lost track of how much time had passed, the entire ride had been spent cloaked in darkness. The windows were covered over so you couldn’t see out or in. No passing of the sun to tell you how long it had been since the last stop. You could barely tell if your eyes were open or closed. She had a feeling from the stiffness in her arms and legs that they had been traveling for the better part of a day if not longer.

Soph didn’t even know if she was the only one on the bus or if at every stop they had let someone who wasn’t her off. When the light came in through the crack in the door it was all but blinding. Soph took a moment to let her eyes start to adjust; a moment to wonder and fear what would lay on the other side of the door.

Finally, she got up the courage to open the door and step outside. The sun was high in the sky and blindingly bright. The ground under her feet was rocky and uneven. There was little shade in the area, few trees, little plant life other than grass.

Just as she was beginning to realize that she was being left in the middle of now where, just as the panic started to sink in, she head the door of her compartment click closed behind her and the engine of the bus start again. Before she could react the bus was pulling away, kicking up dust behind it. Soph was in too much shock to cry or scream, still trying to process everything that had happened in the last 48 hours or so. When the dust finally settled and the bus had faded into the distance Soph took a proper look around.

For the first time she noticed that she wasn’t the only one abandoned in this… this..wherever they were. There were a few other figures scattered in a line long where the bus had stopped. A couple of them were sitting on the ground. A couple had started to wander towards the few trees in the distance. A couple, like her, were just standing there, like her, staring at the disappearing bus.

Altogether there were maybe 10 people here. She wondered where the others who had come and gone had ended up. Where they all on the bus and just let off on earlier stops? Had they been forgiven for their transgressions? Had they been sent down a different hall to a different fate? She didn’t think she would ever know the answer.

“Fancy seeing you here,” his voice was a shock to hear, both because her ears were not used to the sound and because there was no way she should have been hearing it again. No way should the man from the hall be here with her now.

She turned to face him, “How long have you been standing there?” he looked, adjusted… the only person in the whole group who wasn’t in total shock. Though there was a little worry in his eyes.

“About as long as you.” He replied. “We should get going, find somewhere less exposed before nightfall.”

Soph looked around at the others. A few still seemed to be in shock, those who weren’t still more or less where the bus had dropped them had all headed out towards the distant trees, trying to find somewhere to get out of the sun that was beating down on all of them. “Should we get the rest of them to come with us?” Soph didn’t know if she wanted his answer to be yes of now. She didn’t want to deal with the burden of caring for anyone but herself, yet she couldn’t bring herself to leave these people here in silent tears.

There was a long pause before he answered, “I suppose we should try at least.” And together they headed over to the nearest person. The first and the second didn’t seem to hear them, or realize they were there. The third looked at them dumbfounded as they talked and covered their ears. Based on their dress Soph wondered if they had ever communicated on anything other than the link. They opened and closed their mouth as though trying to talk but nothing came out. After a moment they stood and followed them.

About half of those who had not headed out already ended up joining them. The rest had just stared back blankly, unmoving, uncaring. They had done all they could, probably more than they should have. They started walking towards the nearest tree where most of the others had headed before them.

“We should head west.” There was something about the sureness with which he said it which shocked her.

“Why west?”

“Just trust me.”

“Why should I trust you? I don’t even know your name.”

He stopped walking for a second and turned to smile at her, “I’m sorry I thought I told you, or at least that you knew Sophia. I’m Jace Acher.”

Soph didn’t know what shocked her more. The fact that he knew her name or the fact that despite everything she had ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere with the last man that her parents had try to set her up with. If only they knew how perfect he had actually been for her, at least so far. Soph started to laugh, and kept laughing until she cried.

“What?” Jace asked.

“You don’t find this funny? That we end up here together after all this?” Sophia gasped out between rounds of shocked laughter.

Jace smiled slightly, “I suppose it is.”

“Well then, I guess you just have to convince the rest of them that we’re headed in the right direction.”

“I don’t think it’ll be that hard” Jace replied.

Looking around Soph thought he was probably right. Most of the people with them had followed with little or no fight; they were all in too much shock to really do anything or think past putting their feet one in front of the other. Even Soph was still shaken, part of her had followed Jace blindly too. Yet, there was something about Jace’s presence, his calmness and sureness that had put Soph at ease. To some extent Jace’s presence before things was the reason she was here at all. His words to her in the fall beforehand had been the whole reason she had stuck to her guns. Soph had no doubt that Jace could have the same effect on the others. The only question was why was he so calm?

Soph wracked her brain to try to remember everything her mother had told her about Jace and his family, everything that she had so blissfully ignored earlier. They walked as she thought and missed the link for the first time. Had she still been connected she would have been able to draw up and re-play the conversation. She would know everything that she was forgetting in a few seconds, know exactly how much faith she should put into Jace and exactly why things were so easy for him.

Without it Soph was struggling to remember much more than his name. She knew that he was from one of the upper-level families. This didn’t explain how he got here though. The higher up the rungs you were the more likely you were to continue on your family legacy, give in to your parents’ wishes. That being said when people of the upper class did turn they tended to, like her, turn harder. They had more information and resources then the lower classes. When Soph was just a girl one such youth had led a protest in the square. Few joined in; all those who did hadn’t been heard from again. Had they ended up out here like the sorry group here now?

The only other thing about Jace and his family she seemed to remember was that his father worked in the government offices, but that wasn’t abnormal for someone of the upper classes. Her own parents worked in the lower level offices. She assumed his father worked in the capital building, but that didn’t tell her anything.

Soph looked at Jace and watched him walk. She watched the sureness in his steps, the glances he made over his shoulder to see who was keeping up, the adjustments he made to his pace to be sure not to lose anyone. Jace seemed to know the area, as though he had been here before. But that couldn’t be. No one would be out here, it wouldn’t be habitable. They must be miles from the nearest city. Still, there was a sureness in Jace that made her feel as though it would be okay in the end. Without the link she would have to trust her gut on this one, and her gut was telling her to trust him.

Note from the author:

Some of my friends and family have been bugging me to play with this character again, the girl who cannot die from “A Thousand Times Again.” The original short story was written back in October of 2013, so some of these people have been bugging me to pick up this character for a while now. After a person whose opinion I highly respect on this matter agreed I thought I’d give in. When I had some time this past week I went and “asked” the character if she had another story to tell. It turns out she did. And we will have to see if there are any others down the line she decides to “reveal” to me.  (Yes I am one of those writers whose creative process includes looking to the characters to reveal their story, so sue me).

Hope those of you who have been bugging me for this enjoy. Hope those of you who have just started reading my blog are also loving it.


The Sirens’ Roar:

She woke up to the sound of sirens.

Her head was pounding, her breath was shallow, her foot was resting on the ground behind her head.

The sirens where getting closer.

Her right arm seemed to be intact. With it she grabbed her left shoulder and popped it back into place.

Joint by joint, limb by limb she popped every body part back into place.

Crack, pop, crack.

The whole time the sirens drew nearer.

Her body throbbed as the bones started to net together and her skin closed in over the gashes the fall had created. She watched the pool of blood around her grow. Her heart was still beating and blood still flowing out of the hole in the back of her head.

Slowly the pool of blood stopped growing. She pushed herself up into a seated position.

The sirens were deafening now and the lights were visible just down the street.

She pushed herself up until she was standing.

Her spine popped back into place as she straightened herself up to walk away.

She took the first step forward and almost fell back to the ground. Her bones were still knitting together, her knees ready to give out on her.

She took another step forward. This time her step was more stable, her leg more ready to take the weight. She could feel the scabs peeling off the areas where her skin had meshed together. The bruises would be hitting their darkest blue now, but almost black.

Another step. This time stable but with the throbbing pain associated with stepping on a freshly sprained ankle. The pain radiated up her limbs.

Again a step and stab of pain.



A then it was gone. As the ambulance pulled up to the spot where she had fallen she was breaking into a run. She dodged down an alley and ran until the red tracks left behind faded and stopped entirely.

She dodged into a back alley. She took a second to listen and made sure that no one had followed her. The sirens could still be heard in the distance but she couldn’t hear any voices or footfalls. She was safe, for now.

Her breathing slowed and a dull ache returned to her body- that kind of ache you feel when you overwork a recent injury. She turned and walked gingerly down the alley. Checking the signs above the alley doors she searched for a clothing store.

The worst part of this whole thing what the way it made you appear. No one ever believed it was your own blood, after all there wouldn’t be so much as a scratch on her in a few moments, barely a bruise after a couple of hours. Near the end of the alley she came upon the kind of shop she was looking for and ducked in.

The store was closed and dark. She kept it that way. Turning on the lights would only draw unwanted attention. The clothes were the basic jeans and t-shirt, nothing flashy, nothing that would stand out.  This was exactly what she needed. She pulled down a grey tee, black hoodie, a pair of washed out jeans and some skate shoes.

She reached into the pocket of her blood-soaked jeans and pulled out her wallet and what was left of her cell phone. Leaving them on the front counter she headed to the back of the store with the new clothes to find the washroom. Closing the door to it she turned on the light and took a look at herself in the mirror.

Her hair was matted with blood.  Her forehead had a huge scratch across it which was slowly fading. Both of her eyes were black. But none of that is what drew her attention. It was her nose which she had noticed first. It was on crooked. She hated it when this happened.

She pulled out a wad of paper towel and stuffed it in her mouth, counted to three and… CRACK… her scream was muffled by the towels in her mouth.

Blood trickled out of her nose. She turned on the tap and started splashing water over her face and hair, rinsing off the blood while her nose re-healed, straight this time.

She took off her shirt and examined her upper body. Breaking and re-setting the bones which hadn’t healed properly the first time as she went, rinsing off her skin when she was done.

Tearing off her shoes and jeans she repeated the process again. Once the sticky feel of drying blood on her skin was gone she grabbed more paper towel and began drying off her skin and hair.

Why can’t I just stay dead for once? She thought to herself. When she had jumped it was out of the window of another lab. Another place looking to use her “gift” for the good of mankind.  Another cold, white, clinical, clean room where facts were all that mattered and she was nothing more or less than a puzzle to be solved. She was desperate to get out of there and not entirely sure if this lab had been one that her parents had agreed to give her to or one of the ones that the doctors had shipped her off to after the ambulance had gotten there before she came back. Right now she didn’t care.

She needed to get out of there, to get away from the needles and tissue samples. Away from the doctors, if they were even doctors. By the time she jumped she was hoping that it would be the last time she had to die. Failing that she was hoping that she would wake up before the ambulance got there. At least her later hope came true.

She stared putting the new clothes on. Tearing off the price tags as she went and stacking them on the edge of the sink. Ten dollars, thirty dollars, twenty dollars, forty dollars, money she wasn’t sure she had. But this was a necessary evil.

When she was dressed she rooted around in the cupboard over the sink. She found a hair elastic and tied her matted hair back. She took one last look at her face.

Her nose was straight. Her eyes we still bruised but better than before. It just looked like she need some sleep. She pulled up the hood up over her head, with the shadow of the hood the bruising was barely noticeable.   She grabbed the pile of clothes off the ground and pulled a kitchen sized trash bag out of the same cupboard she had found the elastic. Her clothes went inside it. The trash bag would come with her until she could find a better place to dump things.

She turned off the light and opened the bathroom door. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness of the store. When they did she made her way carefully to the front. She grabbed the shattered remains of her cell phone and threw it in the trash bag with her clothes. Then she picked up her wallet and opened it. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, a hundred, plus the handful of pre-paid credit cards her parents had given her.

The labs she was constantly sent to were similar to college dorms. They had the illusion of freedom, as long as you were willing and stayed inside their walls there was nothing you could want for. Then again, to her they had always been more like a prison in that sense.

At least she could pay for the clothing, she wouldn’t be stealing. Not really. She left the cash on the counter and headed back into the alley where she had come in.

This time she wasn’t going back to one of those labs. This time she wouldn’t make the same mistakes she had in the past. This time she would stay free.

She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. What gave her the right? Why was she the only one who acted as judge, jury and executioner? Why was this role not only allowed but celebrated by the society around her?

The sun set on the day as she reflected on her sins. The blood under her fingernails started to dry as the lights in the city started to flicker on. The bruise under her ribs began to throb along with the beat of her heart-another reminder that her heart was beating while their heart was not. Or if it was, it would be assisted by machines and tubes by now. She hadn’t stuck around to hear the verdict. As always she had left to cheers when the sirens sounded in the distance. Someone else would finish cleaning up her mess. She swept the scum into tidy little piles. Someone else threw what was left of it into the trash for her. This was the way it always was; this was the way it always would be.

She could vaguely remember the day on which this had all started. Her mother sat in the arm chair by her hospital bed crying again, another treatment had failed them. Another doctor told her mother in a hushed voice that there was no hope, at this point whatever happened was the will of God, the universe or whatever higher power or fate you believed in. There was nothing else modern medicine could do. She remembered watching the tears stream down her mother’s face and being too weak to even so much as lift a hand towards her to offer her a hug. Her hair matted to her head with sweat the same way the blood now matted it.

She remembered thinking that her next breath would be her last.

She remembered dying.

But then, suddenly she was not dead, suddenly she was alive, more alive than ever before. Suddenly she could lift her hands, her head, stand, and walk for the first time in her life. Suddenly the pain was gone, not a gradual recession, just gone. She died and came back to life healthier than she had ever been since birth. She was healthier than any human on the planet ever had been.

Her mom called it a miracle and started going to church.

Her father, who had not shown his face since she was two, came back into their lives and never left her side again.

Her doctors spent well into her teenage years trying to explain it. All they could tell was that at some point her cancer mutated. Instead of her body rejecting the cells it started to accept them, incorporating them into her very being, and at some point that incorporation had made her stronger than she was before. At some point cancer won.

It killed her, or so she thought, then brought her back to live out the rest of what she came to know as a cursed life.

At first it was small things. She was able to climb a tree that a neighbourhood kid couldn’t and saved a cat. Cliché as it may be, that cat in the tree was when it had all started. She had slipped and fallen the better part of two stories on the way back down and walked away with little more than a scraped knee which healed inside a day.

Later she was at a sleepover; the kids decided to tell ghost stories by candle light, someone got scared and knocked over the candle. Before they knew what happened the family and friends had all been dragged out of the burning house by this little girl, covered in third degree burns that seemed to be healing while you watched her walk. By the time the paramedics arrived they were all but gone.

Another round of tests…

Another round of second opinions…

No one knew how, but this all seemed to be related to her childhood illness.

Then things started to get scary.

She had been run over by a car and walked away from it. Rapidly healing was one thing but surviving when she should have died, that was on a whole new level of weird. She got labeled a freak and was an outcast in her teenage years. The scariest part was that no one but her knew that she actually had died that day for a second time. She died; she just never seemed to stay dead.

A few years passed.

She moved a lot. Always to another city, another school, another second opinion.

She found her way into university and that’s when the mask came into her life.

She was walking home from a campus dance late one night and heard a scream. A girl was being mugged on the path ahead of her. She was still wearing the feathered mask her date had given her though she had changed out of the dress to walk home. She ran to help. She had shielded the girl from a stab with her body, pulled the knife out when the bandit let go and returned the favour. The other girl had pressed one of the campus panic buttons. Sirens blared and she ran, suddenly thankful for the mask.

Her description had been all over the papers the next day, some called her a hero; others labeled her a freak. The bandit had survived, though he was suffering from wounds which would have long since healed on her. Between the mask, the make-up and the darkness no one seems to recognize her from the description the other girl had given.

She decided this was a good thing.

She went to a costume store and bought a different mask, one that her date would not recognize. She bought paint at another store to change its appearance further so even the store clerk wouldn’t know it to be her.

She became the guardian of the path.

She put other bandits in hospital.

Sometimes she died, but she never stayed dead.

This was her blessing, as much as it was her curse.

As she snapped back to the present she felt the pain in her ribs start to subside and the throbbing had all but ceased. She was still standing on the roof top looking out at the city as it went to sleep.

The lights were starting to flick off in the buildings surrounding her. The windows went black, just like the eyes of all those she had killed, sometimes in the defense of the innocent, sometimes the innocent themselves. It wasn’t fair, it should never have been her call. It wasn’t right that she had ended those lives. It wasn’t right that she lived on when she should be dead one thousand times over.

She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. She looked down. Watching the cars on the street go by, she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this time would be the last time. Maybe tomorrow night she wouldn’t have to relive this nightmare.

She felt her heart begin to race and focused on her breathing to slow it down.

Maybe this time things would be different.

She took one last deep breath.

Maybe this time things would be…

She jumped…

She fell…

And died again.