Author's Note: And thus is the continuation of my mini short story saga of the moment villains become villains. Although for this character, I imagine more of a situation where that character hovers between the lines of a villain and anti-villain and it's hard to figure out where that character falls. This may be a story about "that moment," but there's really so much more going on that if I tried to fit it in this would be a novel and not a short story. As a result, feel free to fill in the blanks and draw your own conclusions if you must. I don't know about you guys, but I like a good story that makes me think!
Swearing under her breath, she ran as fast as her legs would carry her, black ponytail whipping in the wind. The barking of dogs wasn't far behind. As fast as she was, they were faster, and she had no interest sticking around to personally experienced what they planned to do with her.
This should have been a simple errand. Run in, get the item, and run out. A, B, and C. Then she had to do something as foolish as trip the alarm. Now the dogs were hot on her trail.
She made a sharp turn and swore louder this time. In her blind panic, she trapped herself in a dead end. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
With hardly any time to think, she looked around to find a fire escape. By the time the dogs arrived, she was only high enough for the dogs to jump after her to bite her leg. She needed to hurry; once the handlers found their dogs, they would know where she went.
On the rooftops, she sought the direction she wanted to go. She began to run. Running she was good at, but not so much jumping. However, she didn't know what other choices she had. Staying on the roof to wait for company wasn't appealing. Neither was going back down to face the dogs.
Pushing with all her might, she jumped off the rooftop and landed on the other. The momentum knocked her to her side, but laughing as she rolled, she pushed herself upright and began again. All she needed to do was jump to a few more roofs. Just enough for her pursuers to not know where she was or where she was going. She jumped towards the next building and made it. High on adrenaline, she picked the last building she wanted to reach, took a long running start, jumped . . .
And fell to the concrete ground below.
Pain throbbing in the back of her skull, she woke up and slowly pushed herself into a sitting position. Her back and limbs cried out in protest, but her leg hurt the worst. Looking down, she furrowed her brows to see a cast on it.
Confusion overwhelming her, she scanned the area to find herself in a hideout of sorts. It appeared she was in an abandoned laboratory – broken down computers, shattered test tubes, and desks with data pads covered the area along with the bed in which she lay. The only light came from the rising sun shining through the large windows. She groaned. Not knowing how long she was unconscious, she could only hope this was the morning after her reckless jump.
Remembering the jump and what lead up to it, her heart skipped a beat. She looked around, frantic, for the item. When she saw it on one of the desks, she threw her legs over the bed and rushed to retrieve it. Then she cried out in pain and fell to the tile floor. Grumbling, she deduced that the leg in the cast was broken.
"You shouldn't be standing on that."
As she slowly pushed herself up while being mindful of her leg, she turned her attention towards the voice to find a young woman standing across from her.
The visitor was a young adult woman – possibly her age. Her shoulder length blonde hair framed her doll-like face, and her wide blue eyes looked at her with caution. This woman's stature was short and petite; she wouldn't be a threat if it came to a physical fight.
Her questions came out rapid fire. "Who are you? Where am I? What am I doing here?"
Blue Eyes blinked and smiled. "I saw you fall from the sky and land on top of the dumpsters. Knocked yourself clear out, and a good thing, too. Your femur was sticking right out of your skin. I couldn't just leave you there, so I brought you back to my hideout and treated you. It's been about four days."
Four days? She cursed herself. Her plan was supposed to be enacted yesterday, and now it was too late. She stole the gadget for nothing.
Ignoring Blue Eyes as she pleaded with her to sit back down, she stood again, limped to the item, picked it up, and chucked it towards the wall. It collided with the concrete and clattered on the ground, but it did not break. After rolling a few feet, it came to a complete stop.
"Is that not important?" Blue Eyes furrowed her brows. "With how you clutched it when you fell, I thought it was precious to you."
"It could have been, but it isn't," she spat as she sank to the floor. "It's too late now."
"What was it?"
"Something I could have used to kill the President."
There. She said it. Let this woman turn her in. Let her be punished for her crimes. It was too late to do anything now.
"Oh," Blue Eyes said softly after processing what she had said. "How disappointing."
She looked at Blue Eyes, surprised to see the smaller woman frowning. "Do you have something against the President?"
"He killed my mom, but I could get over that." Blue Eyes shrugged, and she felt a chill run down her spine at this woman's lack of sadness for her mother. Sensing this, Blue Eyes quietly explained, "She wasn't a nice person. Sure, she did try to bring down the President, and came close to it too, but she wouldn't have been a better dictator. We're all better off without her. Especially me."
The last part was said so softly she almost didn't hear Blue Eyes mutter it. "What did the President do that you couldn't get over?" she asked.
"Captured and tortured my best friend before slicing her into little pieces," Blue Eyes answered, her eyes going distant as she gazed at something the other couldn't see. Blue Eyes shook her head. "It was her own fault for being out in the open like that, but I still can't forgive him for treating her that way. She was the only person I had left, you know? We each had lost everyone else in our lives. After spending so long being all the other had, her death ripped away something in me." Tilting her head, Blue Eyes asked, "And what about you? What did the President do to deserve your wrath?"
"He killed my brother," she answered, teeth gritted. "I watched him die, and I was helpless to do anything about it."
"And I'm sorry for your friend."
"No, thank you." She hugged herself. "You're one of the only people who seem to care. After the incident, most people just ignored me."
"Most people don't know how to comfort someone who's hurting so deeply," Blue Eyes responded, taking her by surprise. With another small smile, Blue Eyes said, "Stay or go, it's up to you."
"Stay?" she questioned.
Blue Eyes nodded. "Stay until your leg is healed, or stay forever. You're not my prisoner or anything. Do whatever you want." With that said, Blue Eyes spun on her heel and walked away.
Her first thought was to go. Then she wondered what the point would be. Her plan had failed, and if she was being honest with herself, it was nice to talk to someone who wasn't trying to kill her.
Perhaps she could remain until she could walk on her leg again.
"And that is why I don't like bees." Blue Eyes shuddered. "Aggressive little creatures."
"To be fair," she said, setting her empty soup bowl aside, "their hive was messed with."
"I didn't mess with it."
"Yeah, that was an unfortunate case of wrong place wrong time."
Blue Eyes shrugged before tipping the bowl back and drinking the rest of her broth. When she finished, she looked at her and asked, "What about you? Any childhood fears that keep you up at night?"
Frowning, she looked at her knees. She sat on one of the desks, her legs kicking underneath. Her broken leg healed weeks ago, but she found no reason to leave. Not when for the first time in the longest time, she had a friend. Although she wasn't looking for a companion, Blue Eyes quickly became one she couldn't imagine living without.
"Monsters," she finally answered. "Disgusting, aggressive beasts that know no kindness and kill without hesitation. They are what keep me awake at night."
"I understand," Blue Eyes replied, speaking as if she truly recognized what her companion had said. "My nightmares are littered with them."
So that was what Blue Eyes usually screamed about in the dead of night. She typically heard Blue Eyes crying out, but she never checked on her friend to see what had her so distraught.
"You know," Blue Eyes suddenly said, leaning against the wall after she set her bowl aside, "sometimes I like to think there's another world a lot like this, but also not."
This intrigued her. "What do you mean?"
"I mean . . ." Blue Eyes pressed her lips together. "I guess a world where you, me, and the people we love are all alive and happy. There are no gangs running the streets; no drug lords striking fear into the hearts of every man, woman, and child; and no President letting all of it happen in the empire he built. In this world, we're all free to be the people we want to be without fear following our every step. In that world, my best friend and your brother are alive. Maybe, just maybe, in that world, we're just as good friends there as we are here.
"Then I think," Blue Eyes said, suddenly changing the subject as her happy smile fell to the floor, "if there's a happy world, then maybe there's one just as bad. Everyone I love is dead. The world is in worst chaos than even this one. All of it is so dreadfully awful, I give up all the good in me. I give up any kindness in my heart in favor of becoming a monster. I become a monster just so I can survive in a world that's slowly eating me alive."
After Blue Eyes had finished speaking, she asked, "Why are you telling me this?"
Shrugging, Blue Eyes answered, "To put things into perspective, I think. When I think of the me in the happy world, I'm happy she's probably happy and can take comfort in knowing that in some other universe, I'm surrounded by people I love. Then I think of the me who is more or less evil, and I realize how if I'm not careful, I will become her. I don't want to be her. I feel sorry for her."
"But these other versions of you don't exist," she pointed out. "You're the only you. All the others are just a fairytale."
"I know," Blue Eyes sighed, "but I still like to pretend otherwise."
It wasn't supposed to be anything dangerous. All they needed was groceries. There was no reason for anything to go as wrong as it did.
As the duo snuck through the streets, something got her attention. Ears perked, she motioned to Blue Eyes to be quiet and listened for anything unusual. Nothing.
She sighed. "Sorry. False ala—"
A pack of dogs jumped from the sides.
"RUN!" She didn't know if she or Blue Eyes said it, but either way both girls took the advice.
Fleeing down the street, both girls tried with little success to find an escape route. They couldn't outrun the dogs, and their lead wouldn't hold forever. If they didn't get out soon, the President's hounds would be upon them.
"This way!" Without waiting for a response, Blue Eyes grabbed her friend by the elbow and dragged her into an alley.
"Why are you—?" Before her question could be finished, Blue Eyes opened a door, dragged them both inside, and slammed it shut.
Her heart pounded against her ribcage. Her breathing heavy. Blue Eyes seemed calmer in comparison, but she could see the panic in Blue Eyes's demeanor.
"How did they . . . ?" she wondered aloud, unable to finish.
"That . . . ," she swallowed, "that might be might fault." At Blue Eyes's confusion, she produced the black orb from her pocket.
"I thought you discarded that!" Blue Eyes hissed. "You said it was useless."
"Not as useless as I initially thought, it seems," she replied. "I wasn't expecting the President to try to get it back."
"But why were you carrying it on you? Do you carry it with you everywhere?"
"I keep it on me to remember," she said quietly. "To remember that life isn't always about revenge."
At this admission, Blue Eyes was at a loss for words. She smiled softly, but only for a moment. "This isn't going to end well."
"Don't talk like that."
"I've always been honest with you, haven't I? This is me being honest again. This isn't going to end well."
She furrowed her brows. "What do you mean?"
"This." Faster than she could react, Blue Eyes snatched the orb from her companion's hand. "I'll lead them away," she said. "You go somewhere safe."
Before she could process what was happening, Blue Eyes dashed out the door, ran past the dogs, and lead them away. Once what just occurred suddenly made sense to her, she followed after Blue Eyes but couldn't find where her companion went. Following the barking of the dogs, she gave chase.
She rounded a corner and then backed up to hide behind it. Blue Eyes was facing the President. He glared at her, looking down upon her as if she was a nasty roach in his freshly clean kitchen.
Unable to hear the words that were exchanged, she couldn't imagine what Blue Eyes was saying to the President. At first she thought Blue Eyes was betraying her, then she felt guilt for assuming such from her companion, then she felt foolish for not seeing this betrayal coming. First chance she had, Blue Eyes took the orb and ran. She had probably been waiting for this moment ever since finding her with a broken leg.
It was just as she was about to turn away that the President pulled a gun on Blue Eyes, fired it, watched her small frame hit the ground without so much as a sound, retrieved the orb, and walked away with his dogs on his heels. With it happening so fast, she had to take a moment to digest what she had just witnessed. When the coast was clear, she ran towards Blue Eyes.
She hoped Blue Eyes still held on. She needed to know what had happened. Was this a betrayal that backfired against Blue Eyes, or was she really a victim of wrong place wrong time just like in her bee story?
Unfortunately, she would never know. Blue Eyes was shot in the center of her forehead. The blonde woman had to have died before even hitting the ground.
She hadn't been back to their hideout since Blue Eyes died. There was no need. Not when the only good she had left in the world was ripped away from her so violently and finally.
First her brother. Then her life. And now Blue Eyes. Hadn't the President taken enough? Just when she thought there was nothing else to take, the President took the last remaining good she had left.
She thought of Blue Eyes's story, of the her in a happy world and the her in a far worse world. If there was a worse world than this, she wanted to see it. More than anything, she wanted to see the world that would turn someone as sweet as Blue Eyes into a monster.
Because this world was more than enough for her.
Blue Eyes said there was more to life than revenge, but that only applied if you had more to live for than the pressing need to repay someone for all they have done to you. That was all driving her now. She would live and die by seeking vengeance for all the innocents who died by the hand of the President.
If she died in the process, so be it.