I’m doing another free write. Remember the superhero short story contest I judged not too long ago? Yeah. I finally caved. I’m writing my own superhero short story based on the superhero I created. Meet The Resplendent Shooting Star.
With her daughter, Sophie, on her lap, Emily flipped through the pages of Sophie’s favorite comic- The Resplendent Shooting Star vs. Nightfall, the Director of Darkness. It was the comic that first featured Nightfall, Shooting Star’s nemesis and total opposite. Shooting Star got her power from absorbing light energy. Nightfall got his energy from absorbing dark energy. It’s what made their battles so interesting.
Sophie yawned, so Emily scooped her daughter up off her own lap and placed her in bed. After a good night kiss, she maneuvered her wheelchair out of the room, but not before she remembered to turn on the Shooting Star logo night light so Sophie wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming that Nightfall was coming to attack her.
Emily rolled her wheelchair down the hall, pausing momentarily outside her office, before going inside. On the desk sat a dusty picture frame, among other things. The picture was seven years old, when Emily was still pregnant with Sophie. Standing next to her in the picture was Kyle, her husband. It was taken only a few days before the car accident that took the use of Emily’s legs, and Kyle’s life.
She reached behind the frame and untaped the key. It fit into the middle desk drawer, but it didn’t unlock the desk. When she inserted the key, the wall next to her opened up to reveal Shooting’s Star’s navy blue bodysuit with the silver Shooting Star logo that shone on Sophie’s ceiling. Around it was various memorabilia, newspaper articles, letters of thanks, etc.
Emily turned back to the key and twisted it, unlocking the opposite wall. It revealed the black and red bodysuit that belonged to Nightfall. Next to the suit, was a photograph of Nightfall and Shooting Star during one of their battles. It was signed. The red lettering read, “Stars can’t shine without darkness, just like it takes light for people to see darkness. Thanks for being my other half. Love, Kyle.”
She floated up out of the wheelchair to look at the picture. Tears flowed from her eyes. The Resplendent Shooting Star wasn’t retired because she was now crippled, or because she had a child. She was retired because the darkness that allowed her to shine was now gone.
From the moment they fell in love, the government had forced them into hiding, and the comic book writers who had made them so popular kept producing fictional stories of their battles. The superhero and super villain falling in love didn’t make a good story, because it had an end, and people couldn’t make money if the stories ended.
She sighed and resigned herself back to her wheelchair. Without the income from the paraphernalia, Emily and Sophie would be homeless. There weren’t enough jobs for an everyday single mother in a wheelchair. If she wanted to take care of her child, she had take whatever money she could get.
So the stories of the Resplendent Shooting Star were told, and Nightfall’s legacy was twisted out of shape so everyone hated him. His own daughter feared him every night as she fell asleep.
It was always Kyle who made her something great. She wasn’t a hero until he made her one. She wasn’t a mother until he made her one. She wasn’t a widow until he made her one.
Emily pulled out the key so that the truth was covered once again by fake walls, and returned it to it’s tape behind the picture frame. She was no longer a hero, despite her powers. She was a mother who did whatever she could to take care of her daughter.
The lies would torment her forever, but she had no choice. He would always be known as the villain. She would always see him as her hero, while she would always be her own nemesis.