Tears, Cherry Pie, And Why

Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse!  Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!


There was nothing quite like a slice of cherry pie to help alleviate the sting of unemployment. Well, aside from an actual job that was. Abigail spooned up another mouthful and regarded it. It had been twelve hours since she was suspended but she was still upset about it. Of course, she should have expected it. Punching Harold in the sternum was probably not the smartest thing she had done all week and while none of the other rescue squad members had said anything, Harold had been on the phone with his higher ups as soon as he had stopped choking on his gum.

“Hey Abigail.”

She turned and saw Derek standing there.

“How’re you doing?” he asked.

“Great, Derek. I punched a person who had the ability to get me fired, which he did quite happily, and now I’m suspended from applying for any job in Sentinel City for the next month. Oh, and I get to have a disciplinary hearing WITH Harold. So, I’m doing absolutely fantastic. Thanks for asking.” Abigail replied.

Derek looked sympathetic, “I’m really sorry Abigail. It’s completely unfair of them to do that to you. I mean, it’s not like you smashed Harold with a piece of wall or anything.”

“Or punched him in the brain.” she muttered.

Derek sat down next to her at the counter and spun the stool to face her. Abigail kept her eyes down, staring at the pie in front of her.

“What do you think of this new place?” he asked, changing the subject.

Abigail looked up, “Joe’s Diner? It’s nice. They have really good mozzarella sticks.”

Derek nodded and looked like he was about to say something more when Abigail suddenly dropped her spoon. She sat back with a choked sob and started fumbling with her bag.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” asked Derek.

Abigail didn’t answer, tossing money onto the counter instead, as she hurriedly left the diner. Derek followed as quickly as he could but when he reached the front sidewalk, Abigail was nowhere to be found. He looked left and right to no avail. He was about to go back inside when he heard sniffling in the alley next to the diner. Coming around the corner, he found Abigail sitting on the ground with her back against the wall. She had her head in her hands and was taking slow, shaky breaths.

“A-Abigail? Are you okay?” Derek asked again, “What’s going on? Are you crying? Oh, you are. You’re crying. Abigail…Abigail please don’t cry. I know things are hard right now but you’ll get another job! Please don’t cry. If you cry, you’re going to make me cry and my girlfriend tells me I shouldn’t cry so much.”

Abigail sighed and raised her head. She looked over at Derek, who appeared ready to burst into tears at any moment. After a few seconds she had calmed herself enough to trust her own voice again.

“I’m fine, Derek. I’m fine. It’s just the benefits of being an empath. Dumbest power ever. I’m pretty much my own worst enemy.”

“It could be worse”, Derek said, “You could have the power of poison ducks.”

“That guy is awesome and you know it.” Abigail replied.

Derek smiled and offered her a hand, which she accepted. Dusting off her legs, Abigail leaned back against the brick wall behind her and smiled wryly.

“I must look extremely together and professional. Crying in a back alley, that’s a new personal best for me.”

“You’re fine.” said Derek, “What happened? Is it because of the job? Is it Harold?”

Abigail shook her head, “Surprisingly no.”

She took a moment and gave Derek an appraising look. She seemed to reach a decision about something and crossed her arms.

“Your powers…have they ever changed? Grown? Anything like that?”

Derek considered for a moment, “Not really. I mean, I can move stuff with my mind. I’ve just been able to get better at it. I can lift a pencil and a bus now, instead of just the bus.”

“How long have you had your powers?”

“My whole life. So, nineteen years?”

Abigail groaned, “Oh God, you’re nineteen?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Nothing. Just feeling old..” Abigail waved a hand, “It’s…something weird is going on.”

She slid back down into a seated position and Derek plopped down next to her.

“I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this. Ever since I was little I’ve had my powers. They never changed, there wasn’t much to improve. I was always able to feel the emotions of others, just to varying degrees depending on the situation. I could talk to someone and know what they were feeling in that moment, and sometimes the emotion would be strong enough that it would bleed over onto me.”

Abigail took a deep breath before continuing, “A couple of months ago things started changing. I started feeling more things, things that were farther away, things from more people.”

She turned and gestured behind her, “I can feel every single one of those people in there.”

Derek nodded slowly, “Okay. Maybe you’re finally becoming super level?”

“No, it isn’t that. It’s like something woke up. Look, I’ll give you an example. Two weeks ago you went out to eat with your girlfriend and something happened that made you upset.”

Derek looked surprised, “Yeah. We went out for our anniversary and they didn’t have any chocolate pudding. I love chocolate pudding so I was disappointed, especially since I had pre-ordered our desserts specially.”

Abigail nodded, “I know. You know how I know that? Because while you were mourning the loss of your pudding, I was three blocks away doing my laundry at the Sentinel City Suds and Cycle and I felt your disappointment. In fact, I felt it so much I had to leave my load and go home. I had lay on my couch for an hour just to get over it. Explain that to me. How does that happen? How do I feel your lack of pudding when we aren’t even in the same room?”

Derek stared, “I…I have no idea. Maybe because we’re friends?”

“I thought of that. That could be it, we have an emotional connection as friends so I’m more attuned to you. But that still doesn’t explain how I can feel that connection over three city blocks away!”

They sat in silence for a moment. Finally, Abigail spoke again.

“In there just now, I had the worst feeling of my life. Something bad is happening, something awful. People are being hurt. People are being betrayed. Somewhere in this city something terrible is happening to someone and I have no idea who or what. And you want to know what the worst part is? There isn’t a thing I can do about it. I just have to sit here and feel like this, knowing that I can’t help at all.”

“Why not?”

She turned and looked at Derek incredulously, “Why not? Because I’m not a superhero, Derek. I’m a person who can hit things, a person who can throw things, a person who can lift things, a person who can feel things. I’m not a person who can fix things. I’m not a hero. I can’t help. I can’t be extraordinary.”

Derek was quiet for a moment.

“Well, it seems like you’ve got some free time on your hands.” he said, “And it seems like your powers are trying to tell you something.”

Abigail laughed hollowly, “Oh yeah. They’re trying to tell me I shouldn’t have gotten fired from my day job. Face it Derek. There are heroes in this world and I am not one of them.”

Derek stood up and patted Abigail’s shoulder gently.

“Why not?”

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