A Super Hero Thing – Pathos


She took a deep breath, remembering the hours of meditation she’d accumulated over the years. Everything was going to be okay. She’d done this many times.

But what if mess up. I always mess up.

No, that’s an intrusive thought.

Her eyes closed, she pressed the palms of her hands together, as if praying, and whispered, “I am the master of my thoughts.”

She smiled, regaining control of her thoughts. She stood at the top of a building, looking down at around 60 feet or so. From there, she looked through a pair of binoculars, looking around the area. This was her nightly routine ever since she discovered her powers.

She was 16 when they manifested, and to this day she had no idea if the age was of any importance.

On that day, she sat in the cafeteria when the self-proclaimed hottest guy of the school came up to her and asked her out for the coming dance. She refused. She did not like him and didn’t understand why any of the girls did. Besides, she had other preferences.

He didn’t take it lightly.

“You should be lucky I even asked you, you whore. I know what you did with Kyle, you whore,” he said.

She remembered his wise words, down to his poetic repetition. Other students looked at them, and she felt the pressure of the room increase. It was as if it got hot all of a sudden, and the room shrunk. Her heart pained, and her hands tingled with slight numbness. She began breathing faster.

Attention was a nightmare. That’s why she like spending time alone. Well, she did like company, but she was afraid of talking to anyone. It was just so embarrassing.

Although she wished this had been the first time she had an attack like this, it wasn’t. It happened every other day. She even saw a shrink for it, but it hadn’t completely worked. Not yet anyway.

But then something happened: a thought.

I wish he were the one who felt this.

She didn’t know where it came from. But she was extremely sure that’s what she wanted.

And then it happened.

He began shaking. She could even see sweat roll down his forehead and down his chin. He took a few steps back, shooting glances around the room. Then he clutched his heart and started screaming, “I’m having a heart attack!”

News spread as fast as it does in high school. He was fine. He’d just had an anxiety attack. Apparently, he couldn’t take getting rejected well. Of course, people blamed her. Why not? He was a cute boy asking her out. She should’ve gone out with him. That’s what they said.

More importantly though, she discovered she had the power to pass down what she felt. And to this day, she grinned whenever she thought about it. So many people back in high school paid for their sins. By the time she graduated, the school’s psychologist knew most of the people in her class very well.

Now, ten years later, she considered herself the night watch and a vigilante. From good vantage points, she watched like a sniper, looking for any crimes. She had even gotten a police scanner for her room, so that she could get there quickly.

The only downside to this was that a lot of the criminals ended up being able to argue for psychological help in court, and reduced their sentences.

Still, it was cathartic.

Literally.

Something about transferring her anxiety came with an equivalent exchange. Within a few crime-fighting sessions, she’d grown addicted. She particularly loved the feeling car chases gave her.

Sudden gunshots caught her attention. And like an owl, she turned to look at her prey.

Oh sweet, a robbery.

She watched, concentrating on the man. Instantly, she could taste a little of the rush he had from robbing a convenience store. But she held back. That was just a taste, and he’d gotten a little taste of fear from messing up. Fear of being caught. But, she wasn’t fishing for something small like him. She wanted bigger fish.

So she decided to let him go, but kept her attention on him.

He jumped onto a car and slammed the acceleration.

She licked her lips, already tasting the adrenaline.

The street was packed, so he was forced to stop, the police sirens already singing their boring tune.

Dammit, they’re going to ruin it. It’s too early.

She concentrated on the cops coming along, taking their determination, giving them second thoughts. What if they missed the shot at the criminal, and the criminal shot them. What about their families? Could they leave them by themselves? Who would provide? What if the criminal is not alone? What if this is a huge plan? What if it starts a riot?

The sirens continued, but she could see the cops stop too. One car even turned around and fled.

She smiled. Oh, how good their determination had tasted. She was so sure this was going to work perfectly. She had this.

The road cleared for the criminal, and she saw him drive down the street. Thankfully he drove parallel to her, so she could see him go. But she knew he’d quickly disappear if she didn’t keep up, so she jumped onto the fire escape ladder, rand down a few flights, and jumped into her apartment’s window. There, she opened her laptop and tapped onto some of the camera’s around the city. Simultaneously, she opened several news websites to see if the chase had gone onto live tv.

It had. She grinned and watched closely as the news helicopter traced the guy by the road. He went into the freeway and swerved through traffic.

Touching the monitor, she closed her eyes, going for yet another taste. It was nearly orgasmic. But she let it go. She didn’t want to put too much fear into him. A little anxiety was good. It made the blood rush faster in a chase, but it often made people make stupid mistakes. She didn’t want him killing himself. Not yet anyway.

More cops showed up, chasing him but keeping themselves distanced. Now it was getting good. She could feel how the adrenaline kicked in. The rush, oh god it was ecstasy.

The guy drove faster, probably from the fear of being caught. Maybe tasting him twice was too much for him. Not many people could deal with crippling anxiety like that. It took a lot of work and a lot of control. But this was a good thing. The faster he drove, the more his adrenaline kept him going.

Pressing her hand on the monitor again, she couldn’t hold back anymore. Maybe it was time. She had to stop him before he did any real trouble. Sometimes investments like this could turn bad. They had in the past.

She passed all her anxiety. She passed her depression. She gave him her darkest thoughts, the ones that brought her to tears in her bed, and the ones that stopped her from leaving her apartment for weeks. She let go of everything, relinquishing the self-hatred, the voice inside of her that said, “no one would miss you.”

The car chase ended quickly. He hit an SUV. They rolled. They caught on fire. The helicopter lingered over the scene.

She exhaled and felt the adrenaline kick in. She wouldn’t be sleeping that night. But, she’d gotten rid of so much of her emotions that she’d be fine for a few days as well. Nothing could keep her down.

Until the next day, when she read the aftermath. That SUV had a family inside. Both kids died. The parents made it alive.

You’re no hero.

She didn’t leave bed.

You’re a villain.

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