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Just a Dream
By Myths n’ Wraiths
There are people you never see fail. You never see them weak or tired. You never see them make one bad call or shed one tear. Those are the type that rise up no matter how hard life gets or how tough the crisis gets. They are the ones that you know will always be there even after everyone else breaks down, crumbles and fades away. Jake is one of those people. He is Primal Justice, the Hero that rose from the dust of a Rogue Isle apartment to rival Statesman in renown. The people of this city adore him, the villains fear him, and I… love him. He is the strongest man I know, and that is why this is so confusing.
How could that be him? That man there, broken, weeping and cradling himself like a scared child. He isn’t hurt; he isn’t injured; he can’t be screaming like that, but he is. I just don’t understand it.
I should be holding him; I should be comforting him, but I can’t. I can’t even move toward him. I just can’t believe that this is real. This must be a dream; it must be about to end. There is no way that any of this could be true.
Dear God how can he scream like that? He- he’s Primal Justice… isn’t he?
* * *
The brightly adorned woman shook her fearful face, trying to cast off the spell of desperation and bewilderment that had her transfixed. Her yellow and green boots carried her silently toward the crouched and writhing form of what was normally a stout and strong man.
His arms were wrapped around his broad frame, cradling himself and rolling on the ground in a growing puddle of his own tears. His thick fingers dug into his own shoulders, tearing the thick fabric of his titanium fiber suit and gouging his own impervious skin. His face was tucked into his chest, his mouth gaping in cries of utter loss. The Hero was a picture of inhuman torment, a testimony of pain beyond comprehension.
“Jake,” She whispered, the words sticking in her slender neck and getting lost in the clamor of his pain long before they reached his ears.
“Jake, please,” She said louder after finding her voice. Tears formed in her blue eyes and began to stain her smooth cheeks.
“I cant!” He bellowed, his fist leaving his shoulder and pounding on the steel framework of the water tower she had found him atop of. The two inch thick metal bent pathetically under his strength, but that didn’t stop him from pounding his own chest even harder.
“Wh-what happened?” She coughed through the tears that were now streaming down her face.
The man rolled over pathetically, his heavy frame settling feebly into a sitting position. His face was ashen and smeared with dirt and tears. His eyes were blood red and wide in terror.
His crying stopped for a brief and horribly silent moment before his lips curled and began to form the words, “Tell me I’m dreaming.”
* * *
It has to be a dream. It must be. She is there, waiting for me. That’s why this doesn’t make any sense. She couldn’t have found me here.
When Karey asked me to play with her this morning and I told her I couldn’t because I had to finish the interview. When my baby came to me asking me where Mommy was and I told her to go outside and swing, it couldn’t have been real. I wouldn’t have said that, wouldn’t have said I was too busy.
When the scanner rang and I reached for my suit she shouldn’t have been in the house, pilling pillows in front of the door so I wouldn’t leave and crying daddy don’t go. I wouldn’t have left if she had. There is no way I would have walked out on her. I’d give my arm for her; literally give my life for her. She’s my baby, my blood. I’m her daddy, her shelter. I’d crush this earth to dust for her. Fight every last villain, thug, monster, and minion on this world or any other, just for a smile from her.
I try to shelter her from all this madness. I try and save her every day. I see her eyes on every face I rescue and hear her voice in every thank you. She doesn’t understand that its all for her; she is the reason I do it all. But it’s harder than I ever could have imagined. They scream my name so loud I can’t sleep and even in my lowest moment I have to be strong enough for all of them. I am, I am strong enough to hold them all up. I have to be.
I am stronger then that beast. It wraps its long legs around the tower below me, trying to pull the whole thing down to get to me. But it doesn’t realize that that’s the last thing it wants. I’m the worst thing it could ever ask for. I would let it eat me just so I would get a chance to strike its heart, and I wouldn’t stop pounding till I had crushed everything from its bowls to its brains.
If it truly threatened a hair on my little girl’s head then I would drag it from the water with my own bare hands and crush this whole city with its drying carcass. That’s why this has to be a dream, because it wouldn’t have dared. Nothing in this city would have.
If she had really found me here, and ran up to me crying, calling me a liar. If she had really said those things, that I had told her I would never leave her again, that I loved everyone more than her and mommy. I wouldn’t have thought twice about these people, this city; I would have picked her up in my arms and carried her over the war walls to own bed so she could sleep safe and warm. This port be damned.
This is Independence Port. She couldn’t have gotten here. She followed me? Why would she call me a liar? God, don’t ever let her call me that.
If she really had done it, come all this way crying, then that beast would have ran. He wouldn’t have dared to come closer to me. He’d have been too damn scared to even think about swinging those fucking tentacles at me. Even if he had been so stupid, he never would have missed and…
It is a dream, and when I get home I’ll wake up. I’ll have that tea party with her, push her on that swing set I got for her, and go work things out with her Mom. I want to have a cup of her tea. Just let me have one little pink cup of tea.
* * *
The water tower shifted awkwardly, its solid metal scaffolding screaming under the pressure of eight massive tentacles ripping its frame apart. The world spun around the tilting structure, but Primal Justice rose smoothly to his feet despite the turmoil.
The strength and resolve of that simple movement only served to shock Spirit Angel even more. She grasped at the railing, fighting for her footing but refusing to pry her eyes of the broken shell of a man.
“Jake, we have to go!” she shouted over the scream of the monster below them.
The Hero’s solid frame stepped resolutely over to the edge and looked into the abyss of a snapping beak and writhing limbs. His tears fell rhythmically from his cheeks to join with the sea but he no longer seemed to notice them. He no longer seemed to notice anything or anyone.
“Just one cup,” he whispered so low she barely understood his cracking voice.
Her scream of disbelief came too late. He had already stepped over the ledge, and fallen half the distance between the toppling tower and the crushing mouth of the giant before she even realized he was gone.
“JAKE!” She screamed and ran to the edge, slipping in the puddle of his tears and nearly following him on his path of death.
The only sound that answered her was the satisfied cries of creature born from below the depths of oceans and Hell.
* * *
Scream you bastard. scream all you want. I’ll be there soon enough and you can end this pain for me. You call that a scream? You sound like a damn bird. I hope you bite harder than you bark because I need you to end this for me now.
Why do you sound like a bird?
“Daddy, wake up and play with me,”
Stop fucking with me you bastard. Just kill me already.
“Daddy. Daddy, wake up I want to play.”
* * *
Karey skipped out into the back yard ahead of her Dad. She squealed in delight as she ran toward the swing set and jumped head first into the seat. She landed on her tummy and rocked forward, breaking free from the ground and sailing into the air.
“Push me!” she shouted between giggles.
After the eternity of waiting that past in the next few seconds, Karey hopped of the swing in mid arc and went tumbling to the dirty earth. If it hurt then she forgot it before taking her next breath and ran back up to the house where her Daddy was standing holding his phone.
“Yeah its me,” He said in that tone that she knew he only used for one person.
“Is it Mommy?” She shrieked in glee.
“Yeah honey, its Mommy,” her Dad said wiping his face. “I need you to come over,” he said into the phone. He bent low, catching Karey up in his big arms and hugging her so tight she had to cough for air.
“I just need to see you, I need… things need to change.”