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!
Rita was running. Channeling her super strength, she pushed herself to go faster than she ever had before. She had to get away, she had to. Judging by the creeping feeling of anger that was climbing up the back of her neck, The Radicals were closing in. For a brief moment her own panic threatened to overwhelm her and she could feel herself starting to lose control. It took everything she had to force it back down, to bring herself back into focus. She vaulted over a chainlink fence and kept running.
This was all a mistake, an awful, terrible mistake. She never meant to hurt anyone. She never meant for any of this to happen. All she wanted was a normal life, to be an ordinary teenaged girl with ordinary teenaged problems. She wanted to worry about homework, friends, boys, drivers licenses. Instead what was she doing? Running away from a group of superheroes who were ready to bring her in for something that she had never meant to do in the first place.
Rita stopped short, panting, and stared in horror at the stone wall in front of her. Of course. She would run smack into a blind alley while fleeing for her life. Typical. Great job, Rita. She briefly considered smashing through the wall but decided that wouldn’t be the most stealthy way to escape. There was nothing for it, she’d have to try to climb it. She took a running start and launched herself toward the side wall.
In hindsight, believing herself capable of parkour after only seeing it in movies was a mistake.
Rita stifled a yell as she felt her left ankle twist hard against the stone. She reached forward and managed to grab a hold on the top of the wall. It wasn’t graceful, or parkour, but it got the job done. She pulled herself up and over, landing in a fairly undignified heap on the ground. Rita groaned as the wind was knocked out of her and she rolled onto her side, putting as little weight onto her ankle as possible as she pushed herself up into a seated position, and froze.
Sitting about ten feet in front of her was a monkey. No, a chimp.
“Crap.” Rita muttered under her breath. If Rosencrantz was here, Butch wouldn’t be far behind. The chimp regarded her intelligently for a moment before speaking.
“You realize you’re under arrest?”
“Technically, I think you need to put handcuffs on me for that to work.” Rita winced as she stood up.
“Well, that’s merely a formality at this point. Don’t you think?”
The fear, the sadness, the anger, it was all coming back now and Rita felt it flooding over her. She felt the rush of strength allowing her to ignore the pain in her ankle. She felt the grip of her self control slipping as her own grip on a nearby dumpster tightened.
“Please.” she said, “Please, it was a mistake. It’s not what you think.”
Rosencrantz cocked his head slightly, “For there is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
“That’s a bit on the nose, don’t you think?”
“Perhaps. But you’re still under arrest.”
Rita threw the dumpster. Rosencrantz leapt and mostly dodged it but the corner managed to knock him backward several feet. She heard him land in a pile of day old newspapers as she ran by. She hadn’t even realized she was throwing the dumpster, she hadn’t even thought to do it. That terrified her. Maybe they were right, all of them. Maybe she was dangerous, a risk to the populace. But she couldn’t be, right? After all, what had happened had been an accident. How could anyone ever think that she had meant to-
Rita skidded to a stop. Butch Baker regarded her with a mixed expression on his face. She felt the emotions coming from him. Concern for Rosencrantz, anger at her, but also…worry for her? That didn’t make sense. She must be losing it even more than she thought she was.
“Did you kill my friend?” he asked.
Rita shook her head, “No. I just winged him with a dumpster.”
Butch nodded slowly, “OK. I have to arrest you now.”
She backed up as he advanced, “No! Please, this is a mistake!”
“It’s not. You know what you did.”
“But I didn’t mean to!” she screamed, her anger overwhelming her at last. It wasn’t fair. Every moment of every day she felt every emotion from every single person around her. They choked the air out of her. She couldn’t think, couldn’t move. She couldn’t even tell what her own feelings were any more. The only emotion she could rely on was anger, she knew that came from her. But at the same time she was terrified. The anger felt limitless and endless, and sometimes she felt herself slip beneath its surface and begin to drown.
She didn’t know what to do any more. No one wanted her around, no one. She was a risk, a lunatic, a weirdo. The one time she made a mistake, the one time in her whole life she lapsed, and it was going to cost her everything. No one understood. No one cared.
Well, fine. If that’s what they thought of her then that’s what she would be. If they wanted to make her into a raging villain then that’s what she would become. She leapt at Butch.
He had the decency to look somewhat surprised as she attacked him. Rita swung hard and felt her hand connect with his cheek. His head whipped to the side and he staggered back a few paces. Grimacing, Butch looked up at her and stared.
“Come on.” Rita panted, “This is what you wanted right? This is who I am isn’t it?! COME ON AND FIGHT ME!”
She rushed forward again punching his left side and bringing her knee up to connect with his nose. The anger was almost blinding, she barely had time to think of her next move before she was doing it. Her vision tunneled and all she could see was the increasingly bruised face of Butch Baker looking at her.
But he never threw a punch. He never tried to push her off or kick her. He simply stood and took every blow silently. Rita continued swinging but her breath was coming in ragged pants now. She was surprised to find that she was crying as she hit him. The anger lapsed and new emotions found their way in. Pain, fear, exhaustion, loneliness, she knew them well and did her utmost to keep them tamped down where they couldn’t bother her. But the emotions she felt from Butch had changed as well. There was no anger, no thirst for justice. There was calm. There was pity. There was understanding.
Rita could hardly see for the tears now, could barely breath as the sobs racked her body. Butch was on his knees, one eye swelling shut as she stood over him.
“Fight back!” she yelled. He didn’t move.
“Fight back!” she screamed again, voice breaking.
Nothing. She fell to her knees sobbing.
“Please.” she begged, “Please just fight back.”
Butch stood slowly and approached. She felt his hand on her shoulder, not the firm hand of justice but the comforting hand of someone who saw her.
“I don’t want to fight you Abbi.” he said.
She began crying again as the handcuffs fastened around her wrists.