The Hero

The Hero

A Story by Steve
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Just a story I put together for a class I am in. It's about a man who really wants to do the right thing.

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            It has been a rough couple days for me. It all started Monday morning. I woke to screaming. I sat up straight in my bed and in that moment realized that the sun was not even up yet. In the darkness of my bedroom I listened for any clues as to what could have happened. I live in an apartment building on the first floor. I have my own entrance to the outside, while higher up in the building is full of hallways and doors. The scream had come from above me, of that I was sure. When no clues presented themselves, I hopped out of bed and slipped on some pants and began looking around for socks and maybe a t-shirt. A weeks’ worth of laundry lay sprawled around my bedroom floor. I was not the neatest of people and today was laundry day. I dug through the mess and pulled a t-shirt over my head.

            Out into the early morning darkness I headed, sliding on some slippers to make up for the lack of socks. It was bitter cold. I exhaled and a puff of white breath appeared in front of my face. Now at this point I began to question whether or not this was a good idea. A strange scream in the night and away I went? Who did I think I was, Batman? That last thought lingered with me as I rounded the apartment building and reached the main building entrance. Maybe I should be Batman. If I wasn’t going to do it, then who would? Sure I could have called the police, this wasn’t Gotham. They most likely would have made a timely arrival, but I was in the mood to be a hero so away I went.

            About the time I reached the top of the stairs a revelation began to dawn on me. There are tons of apartments on the second floor. So I did what any sane and rational person would do in that situation. I began knocking on doors. Now mind you it was early morning, maybe four or five at the latest, and as it turns out people that don’t have to be up that early are not too receptive to aspiring heroes going door to door.

            Knock knock knock. “Hello?” asked the man at the first door. He was still rubbing sleep out of his eyes and gave me a scowl that really took me by surprise.

            “Is everything alright? I heard someone scream.”

            “Oh god, what time is it?”

            “I’ll just let you get back to sleep.” I gave him my friendliest smile.

            “Get the f**k out of here, idiot.” He took that opportunity to slam the door in my face.

I jumped back to avoid getting hit with the door. Well, that hadn’t gone quite as well as I had hoped. Perhaps I needed to rethink my strategy. I started by listening in front of each new door. If I heard snoring or nothing at all I passed it by. If I heard fighting or a struggle or even someone up and about making breakfast, I would knock and check in. The first few doors were all quiet; at the fourth I heard a frying pan cooking something in grease.

Knock knock knock. “I’ll be right there,” called someone from within the apartment.

I waited patiently at the door for a few seconds before the door swung open.

“Yes? What is it?” the woman asked. She had black hair and striking brown eyes. Her features were sharp and distinct, quite a looker this one.

“I heard screaming coming from up here. Is everything alright?”

“Oh that. Yes, I heard it as well. It was coming from a couple apartments down. I went over to see if everything was alright. It’s fine though, just a little argument that got out of control.”

“So no one was hurt? That scream sounded horrible.”

“No, everyone’s fine. I haven’t seen you around here. Did you just move in?”

“I’ve lived here for years. I haven’t really met any of the neighbors, though; I tend to keep to myself.”

“Ah, I see. Well it’s good to know that you are concerned about us at least.” She smiled at me.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one that heard it.”

“Oh, of course not, it was loud. Would you like to come in for breakfast? I’m cooking eggs.”

“I’d love to, but I really should get back home. I’ve got to work soon.”

“What do you do for a living?”

“I work for the cable company. I do new installs and trouble calls. Oh, I’m Todd by the way. Nice to meet you.”

“Sarah. The pleasure is mine. It’s really a shame you can’t stay. I have enough for two.”

“Were you expecting someone?” I asked. I took a look into the apartment. It was a one bedroom. You could see the kitchen from the door, with the stove and refrigerator spotlessly white. She had a couch and a lounge chair in the living room but no television. She must have been a neat person because the floor and walls were immaculate.

“No, not exactly. I just always make too much food. I’m used to cooking for two.”

“Oh,” I replied, “did you lose someone close?”

“Yeah, you could say that. Very close.” She looked behind her further into the apartment.

This was getting fishier by the second. It was time for me to make a move. “Well, maybe I could stay for a little while, if you are making breakfast for two anyway.”

“Alright, come on in.” She stepped back from the door and headed back into the kitchen.

As she went back to cooking, I decided to have a look around the apartment. Do some investigating. This lady had something to hide, and I was going to figure it out. I sat down on the couch. There were photos of friends and family strewn about the side tables and the bookshelf. I looked each one over.

“So who’s this?” I asked, pointing to a picture of a woman and man sitting on a beach.

“Oh, that’s my friend,” she said stirring the eggs around a bit in the pan.

“Is this her husband?”

“Sure.”

“And this girl here, who’s she?”

“Oh, that’s my niece.”

“And her?”

“Breakfast is ready. You like scrambled eggs?”

“Yeah.”

She had brought my inquiry to an end. I was just getting started though. I walked over to the table and sat down. She walked up behind me and placed a plate in front of me, dropping eggs onto it shortly after.

“Would you like some, let’s see here, orange juice?”

“That would be good.”

“So, tell me a little about yourself.”

“I’m Todd. As you already know, I work for the cable company.”

“Well, what else?”

“That’s me. There’s not that much more to it, I suppose.”

She was turning the tables on me here, classic criminal behavior.

“Well that’s disappointing.”

“Can I get a fork?”

“Oh right, let me just get that for you.” She opened a drawer and closed it. She repeated the process four more times before bringing me the fork.

“Did you get lost over there?”

“Yeah, I’m a bit spacey in the mornings.”

“Right, so you know all about me now. So what’s your story?”

It was time to get this investigation back on track. Batman would have brought her to justice by now. I was just beginning though. My crusade against injustice was an infant.

“Me? I just moved to the neighborhood recently. I’m glad I met a new friend today.”

“Where were you living before?”

I had to keep the pressure on. I had to make her sweat, trip up. She was going to make a mistake, and I would catch her in a lie.

“That’s a complicated story I’d prefer not to go into right now.”

“Ok then.”

Damn, her deflection was hard to come back from. There was a moaning sound coming from deeper in the apartment. Finally, a lucky break, I needed to jump on this turn of events.

“Do you have a dog?” I asked.

“That? It’s nothing I’ll be right back.” She walked down the hall and into the bedroom.

I sat in silence for a while before I heard a thud. It sounded a little odd. Like someone punching a steak. “Are you ok back there?”

“I’m fine.”

I doubted that. She was up to something back there. Something sinister I could catch her in the act. But first I needed to finish these eggs. For a despicable criminal she sure did make good eggs. There was more silence for a while and then what sounded like sawing. But not sawing wood. Eggs could wait. “Do you need help back there?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “Aren’t you going to be late to work?”

“I still have some time.” I got up from the table.

“Listen, I don’t need your help.” Her voice sounded irritated.

I walked down the hall and stood at the door listening. The sounds of sawing through meat were quite distinct. I tried to be quiet so maybe I could make out what she was doing in there. It was almost time for me to make a move, the climax of my heroic arc. I was going to bust down the door. I would catch her in the heinous crime. Our confrontation would be legendary, written about in the history books.

“You need to leave,” she said.

“What are you doing back here?”

“It’s none of your business. You ask too many questions.”

The door opened a crack, just enough so she could slip out into the hall. The stench coming from the bedroom was strong. She smiled at me and slammed the door shut. How could she smile after what she had done? She was sick.

“Are you alright?” I asked.

“Fine. Fine.”

“What do you have in there?” I looked past her at the hastily closed door. There was something rotten behind that door and I needed to see what it was. Then I would take her down and justice would be done.

“What is it with you and the questions?”

My nose was being assaulted by the distinct smell of blood. That little bit of iron smell hung in the air. I looked at her face. Her features were empty with no sign of emotion peeking through. Suddenly she smiled. Her eyes turned wild.

“I think it’s time you get going. I don’t want you to be late.”

“Oh, I won’t be late.” I smiled back at her. My spidey-sense was tingling. There was something bad behind that door. “If you want me to leave, I’ll go.”

I walked back down the hall and waited by the door. This was my master plan? Get all the way to the confrontation and then back out. No, this was my moment to shine. Like a beacon of justice, I would burn through her deceit.

“Well good-bye,” she called from down the hall.

“Aren’t you going to see me out?”

I needed to get her away from that door so I could get inside and find her secrets. This moment was pivotal. I needed her to come to me.

“What, you can’t find the door knob?”

“No, I get kind of spacy in stranger’s houses.”

She laughed and headed back down the hall. This was my chance; I was going to find out. It was my civic duty. I was going to rescue a damsel or right a wrong. I dashed from the door as she cleared the hall and swung open the door to the bedroom.

“Wait! Stop!” she called after me.

I froze. There, on the bed, was a girl spread eagle and definitely dead. Parts of her limbs had been sawn off with a hacksaw. That was sitting along with her feet in the corner. My mouth dropped open and I stared in disbelief. I knew that something was wrong back here, but this? This was something more, something I wasn’t expecting. This woman had murdered this girl while I sat in the kitchen and ate eggs. What kind of hero was I?

Sarah rushed to the door completely out of breath. She was brandishing a fork in her right hand. This was my big moment. I was confused though. This was not how it was supposed to turn out. I was supposed to save the girl. She got away with it. This wasn’t right.

“You just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Here I am trying to be a good neighbor and you had to go and look a gift horse in the mouth.”

 I stared at her in disbelief. She had gotten away with it. It wasn’t right, this isn’t how it ends.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked.

 “What’s wrong with me? Nothing’s wrong with me. She had it coming. She thought she could just move into my apartment? Well I showed her the error of her ways.”

“She, moved into your apartment? That’s why you killed her?”

“More questions. That’s all it is with you. Do you really think I can let you leave this room? Who are you going to tell my answers to?”

“I’m just trying to make sense of this.”

She laughed. That wild look returned to her eyes. She was a full-fledged super villain. She had murdered this girl under my nose and I was powerless to stop her. Batman would have caught her in the act. Just before she did the deed he would have swept in and rescued the damsel. He would have had a snappy one-liner. There would have been banter. Not so with me. I was inept.

“You want to make sense of this? I can’t make sense of it, but you are more than welcome to try. You better make it quick though. Your time is short.”

What could I do? I wasn’t Batman. I looked behind me to the window. Since I wasn’t Batman I couldn’t grapple hook out the window, or glide away on my cape to fight another day. So I improvised.

Crash. Out the window I flew. Well not so much flew but plummeted. I landed hard on my back. Batman would have landed on his feet, just another reminder of my ineptitude. There were shards of glass stuck in my arms and legs. I looked up to the second story and saw Sarah standing there shocked in the window. Now I had some time to think. No one in the complex came to help the screaming girl but me. What were the chances I would be saved by their goodwill? Maybe this was more like Gotham than I realized.

I lay there in the grass behind the apartment building. I could see my house from there. I tried to sit up but there was a sharp pain in my spine. That probably wasn’t a good sign. Sarah had disappeared from the window. She was probably on her way down here right now to finish me off. Well my heroic arc crashed there.

As Sarah rounded the corner of the apartment building fork still in hand I decided I only had one option left.

“You don’t need to do this Sarah.”

“I really do. Sorry Todd can’t have you asking anymore questions.”

“Can’t we talk about this?”

“I said no more questions.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

This was my last ditch effort at heroism. If I could stall her long enough maybe someone would call a real hero to stop her.

“No, you really aren’t.” She just kept on advancing not even breaking stride.

“Why not relish it then? Isn’t that why you do it, for the thrills?”

“You think you know all about me then? Please go on. I’d love to hear my motivation in all this.”

This was great, maybe I could get out of this after all. I could be a hero after all. Not Batman though, maybe Aquaman. Good in certain situations.

“Well why else would you have invited me in?”

“Maybe I just like serving eggs.”

“Or maybe you like the thrill of having an unsuspecting witness.”

“Then again maybe I wanted someone else to kill.”

“That does seem to be where this is headed.”

Just a few more moments, my head was pounding and spots were forming in my eyes. The shock was wearing off and the pain of my spine was intensifying. Come on though, I could do this. The last thing I remember was flashing blue and red lights and the distant sound of sirens. I didn’t even get to see her dragged into the back of a cruiser. Some hero I was.

© 2014 Steve


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Wow! This story goes to show you that you never really know people or what they can be capable of! Sarah served him eggs while that girl's body lay dismembered in the other room! People do no not want to play the hero to the extent that they ignored a frightened girls screams of terror. That is a sad commentary on the times in which we live that Steve the cable guy was the only one who cared enough to investigate but got sidetracked by a plate of eggs. You really captured the reality of the times in which we live with this story. Great read! Thanks for sharing :)

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Wow! This story goes to show you that you never really know people or what they can be capable of! Sarah served him eggs while that girl's body lay dismembered in the other room! People do no not want to play the hero to the extent that they ignored a frightened girls screams of terror. That is a sad commentary on the times in which we live that Steve the cable guy was the only one who cared enough to investigate but got sidetracked by a plate of eggs. You really captured the reality of the times in which we live with this story. Great read! Thanks for sharing :)

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on April 16, 2014
Last Updated on April 16, 2014

Author

Steve
Steve

Clarkston, MI



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I like to write comedy. more..

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