Divided We Fall

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[MACK]

The pain is instant.

It's like my blood has turned to lava, burning, scouring every inch of my body. My muscles ache, tightening and spasming. But the worst is my head. I have a headache that feels like someone is running over my skull with an eighteen wheeler. It's worse than any migraine or any pain I ever felt. My vision starts to blur over with black dots and I cry out in pain but the sound feels far away. I can feel my hold on the world slipping. Is this it? It'd be so easy just to slip away. Close my eyes and never open them again.

Death would finally be peaceful and it's calling me closer.

My eyes flutter quickly and I can make out a blurry shape walking closer, just a silhouette against the skies. My chest convulses up and down against the floor. The pain doesn't stop.

I can't take this...

... can't hold on.

Dreamlike images start flickering through my brain. There's Cammie and I getting ready for our eighth grade formal dance, sneaking too red lipstick from her mom's makeup bag. Her stupid t-shirts with the Hero's face. Her and I doubling over with laughter at the mall. Her throwing pizza at Atlas to save me. I think of Mike playing basketball, the star of the school. Then there's him in the sewers, risking his life to save the boy I loved. Him professing his love to me after the school dance and then him slinging his arm over my shoulder as we walk to class. I think of Circe and I's fight in my parking garage when we first met and then it flickers to her helping us fight the Olympians on the bridge to her helping me escape Piper's laboratory to her cuddling on the couch with Mike. I think of Atlas in the coffee shop and kissing Cammie in the park and being the only kind person to me in Piper's lab. I think of the rest of the Olympians and even Abbey and the Detective.

I'm not sure how much time has passed, probably only a few seconds even though it feels like years. I can feel the tears running down my face.

... stupid.

... not strong enough to fight it.

I think of my father. Him taking me to the park across the street when I was little. Him me helping me with my homework. Coming to all my track meets. Us laughing over take-out dinners after he burned his meals. And then I think of how angry I was with him when I discovered he was behind Genesis Labs. When he tried to have me kidnapped. I was so angry and now I just miss him so much.

"What did you do?" a voice says even though I'm too far gone to listen, "You killed yourself."

I think of Finn. When he first saved me from that monster and him outside my window and us being heroes together. He's my best friend and partner.

And then there's Levi. The guy I did all this for. The guy I just killed myself to stop. But you know what? I still love him.

My heart stops beating. My pulse flatlines. I can't move. I can barely think. All I want to do is give into the darkness.

No.

I refuse to give up. All my life I haven't been strong enough. Not strong enough to fight a Super. To save myself or my dad or the city. But right now? I'm going to be strong.

For a moment, the pain washes away and I think this is it. I'm dead. But instead of just numb an energy starts to grow inside of me. The pain is all gone and instead I feel better than ever.

No, I feel Super.

My eyes shoot open and Levi, who's standing over me, bursts back. I jump to my feet and suddenly the world feels like it turned to HD. Every sense is amplified a hundred times. I feel like I'm made of steel. I can feel the power running through me. My heart thumps louder and louder like a train engine.

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