Flash: Show Me How

He is broken, and tired of being broken.

His most relentless enemy is free and beautiful. When she falls, others help her up again. She does not have to fight for everything. People give her things. Once or twice, he’s been tempted to give her things. Alone of all his enemies, she does not seem to despise him. She looks at him with thoughtful eyes as he fights and runs and curses her.

He is tired of being alone.

He sits on the edge of the building until she finds him. She approaches, just close enough to speak, not nearly close enough to touch. He has a bottle. He pitches it off the edge. She catches it. She would.

“You might hurt somebody,” she says.

“You wouldn’t let that happen.” He leans back against the wall, wonders what it would be like to just fall. Would she catch him, too?

“No,” she agrees. “What are you doing up here?”

He stands, unsteady. “Saying goodbye.”

She arches one lovely eyebrow. He waves expansively at the twilight city. “This city… I loved it once, you know? But it’s got nothing for me. Kicks me like a dog. Nothing. No place, no reason. No point.” He realizs how drunk he is, and tries to pull himself together. He’d hoped she would come, if he waited long enough. And she had. So much easier than breaking into vaults, or hiring himself out to a bastard with a big plan.

“I don’t want to be here anymore.” He shows her the gun in his other hand. “Don’t worry. I wasn’t going to just jump. Make a big mess. Might hurt someone. Don’t want to inconvenience you.”

He turns and climbs back up the ladder to the rooftop. She drifts up after him. He hates some of the fliers, but she is– but why hurt himself with those thoughts now?

“–,” she says. He flinches. Of course she knows his real name. His file is easy enough to come by, for one of them. “Do you expect me to just watch? I care about more than messes.”

He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment. When he opens them again, he gives her his best smile and lifts the gun. She moves, then, as fast as he’d ever seen her. Her hand wraps around his wrist, keeping his hand out, and her body is so close to his. “There are other answers,” she whispers.

Her words twang against his tension and he convulsively tries to yank his hand away from her grip. “Hospitals?” he growls. “Therapy? Group sessions?  I’d be better off dead. Save your pity for somebody who wants it.”

A frown flickers across her face. She doesn’t let him go.  He wants to pull her to him but he can’t. “What do you want? If you want to kill yourself, you don’t want me as an audience. You must know I won’t let you.”

“I don’t want your pity,” he repeats. I want you. Oh, please, God, I want you. He shies away from her question. “What do you want? Why did you come here? There are so much better ways to spend your energy. Drag me off to the lockup, already. Wash your hands.”

She hesitates. “I’ve… I… ” She stares at him. “I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.” Of course.

His mouth is dry, and he can taste the bitterness of her answer. But he has nothing else to lose, so finally, awkwardly, he asks his question. “Do you think– Am I even worth saving?” Give me a reason to try to become worthy of you. Oh please.

He has seen her smile before, in interviews, on television. Never in person. It is dazzling. “Oh yes. I’ve always thought you had… potential.”

He opens his hand and lets the gun fall to the roof.

Someday.

9 thoughts on “Flash: Show Me How

  1. There’s a good sense of urgency in this piece. I must admit I don’t understand the “-” before “Of course she knows his real name.” Maybe you meant to go back and add the name? Or maybe I’m just tired….

    Welcome to #fridayflash!

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  2. Thank you for the welcome, everybody! Deanna, I didn’t want to include actual names. I was thinking of how in Jane Austen, sometimes actual names are excluded. I don’t think I handled it clearly, though.

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  3. Chrysoula, welcome to Friday flash. I liked your phrase “He’d hoped she would come, if he waited long enough. And she had. So much easier than breaking into vaults, or hiring himself out to a bastard with a big plan.” it hints at a deeper internal struggle.

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  4. The despair and desperation in this are palpable. From that first terrific line (great opener) right on through — with just a glimmer of hope right at the end. Nicely done. Nice debut. Welcome to #fridayflash.
    ~jon

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