Author Topic: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City  (Read 1984 times)

Steelclaw

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A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« on: January 28, 2013, 05:14:46 AM »
His name was Theodore Anderson.  He was a non-descript man of five feet eight inches, balding rather badly with a slight bulge over his belt from too many beers after work and not enough sit ups.  He wore round, wire rimmed glasses.  He had a nagging knee injury from back when he thought white men COULD jump.  He was a licensed CPA.

He was also angry.

Anger was new.  Anger was good.  At least it was something different from the clinging, suffocating numbness that had been clogging his mind the past few months.

He stood there with his small hands (girly hands the bullies of his middle school days had called them) clenched into fists at his sides.  Sweat popped out of his balding head like diamonds in the late afternoon sunlight.  His eyes were locked on the scene in front of him.

Three rough looking young men were surrounding a woman who cringed half-heartedly away from the closest of them.  They were dressed in the orange and black colors of the Hellions.  They leered at her.  One of them held a bat which he slapped against his palm repeatedly with a meaty sounding thwack.  While she was obviously scared, there didn’t seem to be any real terror in her eyes, instead there lingered a dull sort of acceptance.  Misery so ingrained it had left calluses. 

Theodore’s (Teddy to his friends) eyes jittered away from the scene to his fellow pedestrians.  No one was stopping to help her.  Indeed, other than himself and the four involved in the drama, no one was paying much attention at all.  A few glanced in colorless curiosity, but that same lethargic horror in the woman’s eyes was reflected in their own.  They gave wide berth to the scene but did nothing to interfere.

The anger grew, flared outwards from its single bright ember.  And, oh, it felt glorious.  Like a mainline of the drugs he’d always heard of but never quite had the courage to try in his college years must feel.  He was high on it.  He was starved for it.  The anger burned through him, making him feel… really FEEL… for the first time since the initial agony of loss the Well’s departure had inflicted had faded into numb acceptance.  It blazed through the numbness like a rising sun through clinging mists in the morning. 

He looked around in amazement; as though seeing for the first time the colors that still existed in the world.  Had they been there all along?  He’d been drowning in grey for two long months, though it felt so much longer than that.

“I’ll be damned,” he whispered at this new visual acuity.  “The world didn’t die after all.”

He heard a gasp of surprise that hissed into pain and snapped his gaze back to the thugs.  The tallest of them had shoved the poor woman to the ground where she sprawled, blood seeping out from under one torn fingernail.  Ted noticed with his new, wondrous sight that one of her high heels had snapped off the sole of her shoe.

The woman did not cry, despite her obvious pain.  She looked up at them with apathetic appeal.  When the one with the bat raised it above his head in preparation to strike, she did not beg, she did not defend herself.

She merely bent her head and closed her eyes; mute.

“Don’t you dare hurt her!”  Ted had wanted his voice to come out deep and forbidding, but the hot, glorious anger had clenched his throat tight.  The words instead came out high and breaking.  But they DID come out.  Oh yes, they did.  And they felt magnificent upon his tongue and lips.

The three paused in shock.  The raised bat did not lower, but its wielder’s head slowly turned to stare incredulously at him.  When the Well of the Furies had departed it took with it every form of super power, magic and high technology with it.  Most villain groups had either ceased to exist or been so severely weakened they might as well have.  The Skulls and the Hellions, having at best minor powers, had barely noticed the loss of them.  They had thrived in the chaos of those hero-less months and now had divided the city between them, uncontested by a Police Force that had grown ineffective after years of dependence on the super powered population.

The bat wielding Hellion turned slowly in place, a wide and darkly amused grin on his face.  On the ground, the woman had dared look up.

“So what are you supposed to be?” the Hellion sneered, going back to his bat-slapping routine.  “Some kind of super hero?”

His cronies found that vastly amusing and broke up laughing, pounding each other on the back.

“No,” Theodore said, finding his voice now came out clear and strong.  The anger was high and fast in his veins, on his nerves.  His fingers clenched so hard into fists that his nails were digging crimson crescents into his palms.  “I’m no super hero.  I’m an accountant.”

The two laughing Hellions nearly collapsed in hilarity at this admission, while their leader played it cool.

Around them, unnoticed by Hellions or Ted, people began to stop.  Their heads began to turn.  And their eyes… their eyes watched… and sharpened.

“An accountant, huh?”  The bat stopped tapping.  It extended out and the butt of it pushed in a hard little shove to the center of Theodore’s chest.  “If I were you Mister Accountant… I’d do a quick refigurin’ of the numbers here and mind your own business.  Three against one ain’t exactly what you’d call promisin’ odds.”

Theodore got knocked back two full steps by that hard poke to the chest.  The Hellion’s mouth dropped loosely and his two partners’ laughter dried up fast when, instead of retreating, the accountant advanced.  Theodore took two hard strides forward and collided chest first with the tip of that bat which had struck him.  He didn’t just touch it, he assaulted it, he leaned into it and forced the Hellions’ arm to take his weight.

His face was beat red and streaming sweat.  He should have looked ludicrous.  He DID look ludicrous in fact… tie askew… neck bulging up over a collar that was too tight… tiny hands curled into shaking fists… Until you looked in his eyes.  The Hellions looked into them and saw the anger… the righteous rage… that burned there.

They looked nervously at each other.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to work.

“I’m no super hero,” Theodore repeated, glaring at them with his unblinking eyes.  His words came out deep and clear, chuffing around the edges as his lungs and heart worked like pistons in a super charged engine.  “But I’ve SEEN super heroes.  I’ve been INSPIRED by super heroes.  I am ashamed to admit that I RELIED on super heroes.”

More people stopping.  Some of them were shaking their heads as if to clear away a clinging fog.  Some of them were frowning deep in thought.  A few… a growing few… were nodding… their eyes sharp and clear.

The Hellion stared in pole-axed amazement as one of the accountant’s doll sized hands swept up and slapped the bat away as though it were an insect.

“Hey… you can’t do tha…”

“But there aren’t any super heroes here any more,” Theodore overrode him easily.  The accountant marched that distance between them and thudded his index finger hard into the Hellion leader’s chest.  “No super hero to fly down here and rescue this woman.  No super hero to beat you up and put you in jail.  No super heroes to take the burden of doing good onto THEIR shoulders so I can go to work, earn my pay and enjoy beer and barbecue on the weekend.”

He paused.  All around him was silence.  The Hellions, the woman on the ground, and the many people who had stopped, all waited with strained eagerness.  Even the thugs seemed almost to lean towards him, desperate to catch his every word.

“So…” said Theodore Anderson in a voice that was soft with sudden realization.  “So… I guess… if I still want to live here… walk these streets without fear… I guess I’ll just have to do something about it myself.”

The lead Hellion was much off his game.  He looked at his two running buddies but they just stared back in confusion.  This was not how the scene was supposed to play out.  The civilians NEVER fought back.  Their leader took a deep breath and faced Theodore once again, falling back on bravado.

“Alone?”  He managed to dredge up a sneer over his growing sense of unease.  “I’d like to see you try…”

“No,” the woman, their former victim, said as she surged up to her feet.  “Not alone.”  She shoved one of the Hellion minions aside and limped on her broken shoe to stand beside Theodore.  “He’s right.  I’m TIRED of being a victim.  This is OUR city, not yours…”

More and more people stopped.  More and more of them were nodding with looks of grim agreement… and an even grimmer anticipation.  In mocking imitation of the leader’s bat trick, several men had started smacking their fists into cupped palms.

“This is Hellion’s turf!”  Their leader said and this time it was his voice that cracked and warbled uncertainly.

“No,” Theodore said.  “This is Paragon.  This is OUR city.  This is OUR home.  It was built by super heroes… but it was built and protected FOR US.  You go back to your gang and you tell them… tell them they’re no longer welcome here.”

The Hellions drew closer together, noticing for the first time just how many civilians there were.  How outnumbered they’d instantaneously become.  How angry everyone seemed to look all of a sudden.

The bat clattered to the sidewalk and boots hit in quick succession afterwards as the street thugs ran away.

The word spread.  The fog lifted in patches, then in a rising tide.

The next day Theodore Anderson’s picture was on the front page of the Paragon City newspaper.

The headline: Citizen’s Initiative!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 05:25:59 AM by Steelclaw »

Aggelakis

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 05:20:56 AM »
Bob Dole!! Bob Dole. Bob Dole! Bob Dole. Bob Dole. Bob Dole... Bob Dole... Bob... Dole...... Bob...


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Tenzhi

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 05:32:31 AM »
Stupid enemies randomly running away.  Now he'll have to chase them all over the place.
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Reiraku

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 05:48:59 AM »
Even worse, if he's melee, he can't attack them unless he queues up an attack and gets ahead of them.

Arachnion

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 06:31:57 PM »
That was awesome.

Great post, man.

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 11:19:53 PM »
Awesome. :D

Ashen Fury

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 12:39:57 AM »
Loved this.
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Jetfire99

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 01:19:01 AM »
I think even my Crab Spider smirked at this.

Megajoule

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 08:04:52 AM »
;salute

Sailboat

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 05:36:41 PM »
I'll stand with the accountant.  Bravo!

LadyShin

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Re: A Fitting Epilogue for Paragon City
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 09:04:27 PM »
And...Roll credits!


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