The woman stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked up, hands in fists.
The hands on the keyboard stopped, eyes stared in disbelief at the screen.
“I’m not going. I know what this is, what you’re doing.”
She turned on her heel and the Writer tried desperately to do something, anything, to stop her.
“You have to!”
She strode purposefully back the way she had come, stopping only to pull out her phone and do a quick search for a martial arts studio that had beginner lessons.
“Because, if you don’t, then he will never-“
“And there’s the problem. How about instead, I do it?”
The Writer stopped and blinked.
“Can I what? Put on a mask? Fight crime? If you thought he could without any training just because he wanted revenge, then why can’t I with some training and a will to survive? Either way, I will not be his tragic backstory.”
She slammed the door to her apartment and the Writer grabbed the outline and a pen to do some quick rewrites.
“So, you never did tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
“Why is it always a tragic backstory?”
She was sitting on the roof, talking to the sky. The Writer sighed and shrugged at his keyboard.
“I don’t know…it’s easy to write?”
She laughed and adjusted the seat of the mask on her face.
“So, I’m a challenge? That it? Too hard for you?”
“I-I didn’t say that!”
Another laugh and she stood again, looking off into the distance over her city.
“So, who’s it gonna be today, Writer?”
“That’s what you always say.”
The Writer smiled and watched her take off over the rooftops, wishing yet again that she wasn’t just his creation.
The Writer’s fingers flew over the keyboard, bullets narrowly missing his heroine as she fought for her life and the lives of the hostages trapped inside the bank. She was alone, with her back against the wall and her tricks exhausted.
“This can’t be how it ends…”
His voice was soft, almost scared. She looked up and smiled shakily.
“It’s been a good run, but we both knew going into this that the hostages come first.”
She charged. One leap and the air caught her for a moment, suspended there as though she could fly. Then she slammed into the masked man with the gun, knocking him to the ground. They wrestled for it while the hostages ran, knowing this could be their only chance. There were two pops. Two unearthly cracks that shattered the scene. Sure, the man in the mask was down. But so was she. There were tears on the Writer’s face as he wrote of the police bursting in to find hero and villain alike dead. The final thing he could offer to her was the decency of them waiting until they were away from the crowds to take off her mask.