Thursday, February 22, 2007


She had been stunned, at first, to see him standing there, uninvited, in her bedroom. She saw a glint of metal in his hand. Grabbing him by the wrist, she flung him across the room. Then she had recognized him: Dr. Kammerich.

Cowering against a wall, he told his former patient that he hadn't meant to hurt her, that he only came to see her. A syringe eight feet away said otherwise. She wanted to hurt him then, but something inside her, something that reminded her of Alex, kept her from lashing out.

He explained that he'd been checking up on her periodically throughout the years. He'd seen her secretly get well, and had even followed her to New City. "Why?" she asked. After years of simultaneously wanting and not wanting to confront the man who had molested her, the man who had taken her innocence, and yell at him, beat him, the only thing she could think to ask him was "why." Not "Why did you prey on a young girl's desire to feel less like a disfigured child and more like a beautiful woman?" She had wanted to be touched and adored, like most young people, so she had welcomed his advances, or tolerated them, at least. But she never felt adored. She felt used and confused. And even after years of sorting and resorting her thoughts and emotions on this subject, she could only think to ask him, "why?"

"Because I regret what I did to you the most." That apology, if one could call it that, sounded odd to Miranda. What else was there to regret? she thought. And who else? The doctor saw that the young woman was not satisfied with his answer. He explained, "I have 'enhanced' several people over the years, and, although you didn't turn out as poorly as some of the others, I saw you struggle to keep your changes a secret from everyone. Though you seem to have come out of your shell here in New City." He seemed to have more pride in his achievement than regret for his mistake.

"Wait, you mean the mistake you regret was ... curing me?" Miranda crossed her arms self-conciously.

The doctor realized his blunder immediately. "You have to understand, that wasn't you, really. I was in adoration of what I was going to accomplish with you, what you would become," he said, not knowing if the words were true or not. "It could have been anyone," he almost added, but thankfully censored himself.

Miranda had been waiting most of a decade to hear an apology or at least an explanation. That's it? she thought. Her rage bubbled inside her like lava. She wanted to spew epithets and curses at him and rain blows down on him. But again, something held her back, some fragile chain with links ready to snap barely restrained her. So, her anger came shooting out of her eyes and her mouth. She screamed, roared really, tiny fists clenched, thin neck straining. She took a step toward the man leaning up against the wall.

That's all it took to send him tripping over himself to get to the nearest door. By the time she had taken another step, he was plunging out of her bedroom door. After several more steps, she heard him paw at the door to her apartment frantically, open it, then scamper down the hallway. She slammed the door after him, then stomped back to her bedroom. She picked up the plastic syringe and crushed it. A clear, odorless liquid dripped down her hand.

The water poured over her shoulders, turning her pale skin red. Steam swirled about her small frame. Miranda covered her face with her hands and sank to the floor of the shower. Hot tears meandered through her fingers, mixing with the scalding water dripping down her face. Sobs wracked her body like convulsions, and she opened her mouth to let them out.

She was angry. Angry for not hurting someone who had injured her. Angry for wanting revenge. Angry for thinking she had to hide her wellness and angry for knowing she had to hide her strength. Angry for being so strong and yet so powerless. Angry at him for touching her. Angry at herself for having let him. Angry for wanting to be touched and held again, and to have it not remind her of being a frightened little girl.

1 comment:

  1. this brings up a question i have pondered for years: are true heroes more tortured than the villains they face? are they the same as the villains they face with the exception that the villains broke first and began their psychopathic careers? is being superhuman not being more than human, but being too human?


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