It was one of those nights I was up stupidly late, because I couldn’t shut my brain cells down. They kept looking for answers. “Who owned the building before the incident?” “Who owns the building now?” “How do I figure out what a shell company is?” “How do I find her, before they make her destroy something else?”
It wasn’t the first time I passed out at my desk, with my head on my arms. “I’ll just close my eyes for a minute.” Boom! Out cold. Dreaming. And remembering.
Deborah had been in the same boat. Some rich, nasty guy owned her. Made her tell him what his business partners, and associates were feeling and thinking, so he could take advantage of them, and make himself richer. Thanks to her, he’d destroyed dozens of people’s lives. Left them in financial ruins. No one could ever find anything he’d done that was illegal.
That’s when I’d turned up, like the bad penny I am. Armed to the teeth, throwing hand grenades like a flower girl throwing flower petals at a wedding. “Here! Catch!” Shot my way in. Found her. “You asked for help?” Got her out of there.
And took months before I could walk again. I have no clue how many times I got shot. Anyone else would have died. Me? I’m a hidden one. You can shoot me a thousand times, and I’ll heal up, eventually. Not like those comic book characters. You cut my hand off, it’s going to stay off, not going to grow back. And I have scars. More than you can imagine.
Deborah had stayed with me as I healed. She’d hauled me to a hospital. They’d dug out pounds of shrapnel, and wondered why I wasn’t dead. “He’s just lucky, I guess.”
She knew I was a hidden one. Like her.
Like her, yeah. But not like her at all. See. Deborah was empty inside. After what that rich bastard had done, how he’d used her, and abused her, and all the other things men do to women, that women never talk about, everything inside her had died. She was nothing but an empty shell that looked like a woman, but had no dreams, no goals, no hopes.
I’d always tried to reach her, wherever she was. Draw her back into that body, so I could meet her. She’d never returned. Over 10 years since I’d gotten her out of that nightmare. And she’d never returned. All I knew was her name, that she was an empath, how old she was. She never even mentioned what she liked, what she hated, what she wished I would or wouldn’t do.
Not once. In over 10 years.
Now, I was looking for another one of us, another hidden one. This one could turn the air solid, and hit things with it, crush things with it.
As I slept, head on desk, I wondered if this new person was going to be as empty inside as Deborah. I wondered if maybe, this time, I should straight up kill the bad guy, instead of just rescuing the girl.
Have you ever slept at your desk, sitting in your chair, head resting on your arms, for hours? Waking up wasn’t fun that morning. But wake up I did. And Deborah was standing next to me, “You’re not a killer.”
“I know. The damage is already done. All I can do is get her out, so they can’t use her anymore.”
“I’ll fix you something to eat. You should get a shower.”
She didn’t say, “and take your pain killers.” She didn’t have to.
The picture for Week 223 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge got to me. I had to figure out how to put what it said to me into words others can read if they wish. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.