“Get out of the way!”
Pushes and pulls, nothing new. Getting stabbed in the gut by a sharp object wasn’t out of the ordinary for a dangerous job. The sensation of the object making contact was the thing most memorable. Do you know what that feels like? It hurt for a moment. Then a flower of fire bloomed from your wound, spreading through your insides and engulfing your throat with thick flames. Something sour flew to the tongue, and it tainted your taste buds with a flavor, coppery and unpleasant. Your legs tingle, as if poked by thousands of small pins, icy and cold. The back of your eye sockets seemed to tinge with poison, and your eyes hurt to move. The world was a sickening pale for a moment, before the thing that impaled you is pulled out.
That’s the worst part.
It feels like your heart is being gouged out of your chest, and hot coals suddenly turn to steam, clogging your lungs with red and your teeth become sticky as if they’d been coated with salt water taffy. Your legs give out for a moment, and your body lurches forward as you grasp the scorching wound with a shaky hand.
You want to yell for help but you can’t.
Your vocal chords won’t cooperate.
You can’t breath without wheezing, making pitiful sounds. How is it that you can make a sound unintentionally when you’re in pain, yet you can’t when you’re trying to form words?
This is when you realize that you’re doomed.
You’re only fifteen.
But y’know what, Llewella?
You can’t die yet.
What would Ma think?
What would Angelica think?
Oh Angelica, I’m so sorry…
What should my last words be?
‘It’s been a fun run’, ‘All I wanted was a ******* normal life!’, ‘Screw this!’ or maybe ‘Oops’.
Though I had expected I’d die soon, and had thought countless times of what I’d say when my grand time came, I had nothing.
At least I went down swinging, even if I wasn’t in my heroic costume and cool high knee boots.
The shoes of my attacker tracked softly on the gravel road of the alleyway, stopping beside me and giving me a good kick in the ribs, like a mean afterthought.
I couldn’t help but wince.
I could hear the crack of his head as he looked back down the alleyway, right at the little girl I had protected.
She was probably traumatized! She just saw a teenager get stabbed, and probably thought she was dead.
I wanted to do something.
I still had one more thing to do.
My body moved like clockwork, jolting up like a machine full of springs, and I was flung forward. I wasn’t thinking, I had already given up. Why was my body doing this to me now?
Why can’t you just give up, Bird ?
My arms were tired, aching with pain, but they still moved forward to punch the offender.
My legs were full of invisible needles, but they still swung and slammed his face in.
My head was pounding, but it was still able to knock right into his, and send him sprawling into a heap.
The press said it was a miracle, a fifteen year old miraculously surviving and being able to ‘beat up’ a grown man after being stabbed in the gut.
My sister was so mad, she grounded me for at least a month.
The little girl I saved? She didn’t even know my name.
I don’t remember hers.
But that was how being a hero worked. In costume, or not.
You don’t know who you’re saving. If they’re a bad person, if they’re a good one. If they had just killed a guy, or if they’d just saved a man’s life. You don’t know. It’s just your duty to do it anyway, and if you fail, no matter who it is, you get a kick in the face and a newspaper article about how you should just leave all the work to the boys in blue.
Skipping my little rant, I’ve got something to tell you. This isn’t your normal ‘superhero’ story. You’re probably rolling your eyes at that now, thinking this is the cheesiest thing you’ve ever heard. Like you’ve had enough clichés in your life.
Well it isn’t like other stories.
The heroes don’t always win or save the day. Heroes are humans too. They die, and they don’t come back. The bad guys won’t always lose. The ‘good guys’ don’t protect the civilians because they want to. They didn’t choose this path. Spider Man could’ve kept his powers a secret and never went slinging around in red spandex. Batman could’ve just stayed a rich playboy, running a business with no connection to villainy. But we didn’t have a choice. The bad guys don’t come around for fame, jealousy of the heroes, or to get revenge on them. The heroes are just a wall for a bigger picture.
I’m Llewella Morris. Llewella’s a weird name, no question about it, I’ll have you know that the origin is Welsh. I’ve never met another person with my name, and I’ll bet you haven’t either. My other name is ‘Mockingbird’. Not because it’s fancy, and the origin is definitely not Welsh, but because it’s named after something. I’m not sure what it is yet.
I go around in a gray suit, nothing special about it, flying around the sky on a pair of feathery wings. I don’t have a cape, or decorations or anything extra on my suit, I don’t have a large array of weapons, and I don’t have an extremely tragic origin story.
I told you, this isn’t like your normal superhero extravaganza. There’s definitely no pomp in the job. It’s pretty plain, but people still see me like some floating angel in the sky.
I don’t really get it, but that’s alright.
Why am I speaking like this is happening now? Actually, this was around four or five years ago. Since then, Mockingbird was thought to either be out of work, or kicking the bucket somewhere. Coverage on Mockingbird had dropped ever since she’d stopped appearing, and she became a background noise to all the other events in the world.
I’m happy to be rid of the mask, and I get to move on and live a normal civilian life. No attacks, no worries, no leaving parties early without a good excuse… It’s pretty great. I could get used to this.
But I knew that soon enough, I’d have to change back into that darned suit.