A superhero has to confront his inner demons with the help of his therapist.
|You know, there are days when you just go „Fuck the world, I wish all of it would just burn to the ground!” Nothing wrong with that, totally normal human reaction to all the crap that piles up in our lives.
Except if you’re like me, someone who could actually, you know, burn this world to the very ground in an instant.
My name is Alex, but you probably know me under a different name.
It’s a superhero thing, don’t ask. You can’t just waltz down the street and save hostages or stop bank robbers with the name Alex. That’s just the way it is. I learned that the hard way, trust me.
If you’ve watched any tv in the last couple of decades, read a newspaper, or you know, just went online, it’s probably not news to you that superhuman beings are amongst us. And not just from Earth; they’re all over the galaxy. Some are
nice, some less so. Y’know, like most people. Except they have powers beyond normal human limits, and I’m one of them.
So just the other day, I was going around, minding my own business, living my undercover, everyday life, like most folks on the super end of the spectrum. For some, it was the day the Kraliath Empire from across the stars decided to pay our little blue mudball a visit, but for me, it was a Tuesday. Shit like this happens more often then you’d think.
Anyway, our alien visitors decided to attack New York – where else? I sometimes feel like that’s literally the only place aliens know on Earth – and I happened to be around. If your game is stopping bad guys, you go where the action starts.
You know, most super folks have powers like, heat vision, or superspeed, maybe they can lift a few tons. Me, I’m a whole different animal. Remember my codename, the „Cavalry”? It’s not by accident they decided to call me that. It’s ’cause I only go into action when all the other heroes have already gotten their faces kicked in by the bad guys. You know, multiversal conquerors, extinction level events, that sort of thing.
Why? Because I’m just. That. Strong.
Don’t believe me? Last month I was pushed into a sun! A bloody sun! And I didn’t even drop a sweat. The other guy, well, let’s say he won’t be doing anymore planet enslaving in the future.
You’d think that being a god amongst gods is like being the king of the world. Bullshit. It’s the worst. Sure, I can fly, I can lift mountains, crush planets, pretty much stop anyone dead in their tracks, but you know what’s not so great, when having the power of a god? Having the mind of a man. Because for all my powers, all my might, inside, I’m just an average Joe. My body may be nigh-invulnerable, but my mind isn’t, and that’s just the problem.
I’m not omnipresent, I’m not omniscient; I’m just a guy. A guy with doubts, desires, fears and all the fucked up shit you can find in a human mind.
Anyway, I’m getting really off-track here. So that invasion on Tuesday? Most of Earth’s heroes had already been defeated when I got to the scene. Those Kraliath guys didn’t joke around, that’s for sure.
When you’re a superhero, and you arrive with half the city already being in ruins and your comrades defeated, you don’t ask many questions. You’re here to protect, they’re here to conquer. It’s that simple.
So I did what I usually do in those situations – I rushed in and showed those alien bitches who’s boss. Usually, I’m almost sorry for alien invaders, because when facing me, they normally have no idea what they’re walking into. It’s like waltzing into a coffee shop, except the shop is on fire, you’re on fire, everything is on fire, and you have no idea what hit you.
This day was no different at first. It didn’t take much of my power to bring down their spaceships and stop their elite warriors. I know, sounds arrogant, but when you’re me, that’s still being modest. Trust me.
So what made this day different? Well, remember that inside, I’m just a guy? Turns out, that can be a wee bit problematic, when the aliens you fight detonate a secret bomb in Chicago while you’re engaged with them in New York. For all my power, I can’t be everywhere at once, and I sure as hell couldn’t have known what these freaking monsters were planning.
So I was almost done rounding the Kraliaths up in New York when the bomb hit Chicago. You know, having superhearing? Not so great, when all you hear is the dying screams of an entire city full of your people.
At first, I froze. I never freeze, but in that moment, I was literally overwhelmed by what just occured.
When I realised what had just happened, I snapped. Usually I hold myself back quite a bit, as my full power would be overkill for pretty much any situation. But when you witness, with all your senses, how an alien invasion had just killed an entire city of civilians, your first impulse is… I don’t know what the fuck, but it sure as hell ain’t holding back.
So I went nuts. I pretty much ripped apart their ships and massacred every. Last. One of them. I could see it in their eyes – the fear, the pain, the sheer horror of having to endure the unbridled rage of an angry god. I didn’t care, just like they didn’t care when they blew up our city. I had friends there, dammit!
The battle was quickly over. You would think that was the end of this story, but nope. Turns out, the people of New York saw what I did, and they were not happy about it. Sure, I just saved their asses, but that didn’t stop them from calling me a monster. You know, it’s almost funny how quickly public opinion can shift. One minute, you’re the hero they all adore. Next, you’re a
bloodthursty maniac, who should be behind bars. Power scares people, and there’s no one more powerful than me.
That day, they realised this, when I decided not to hold back. They saw what I could do, and their minds went right to the question – what if he one day decides to use that power against us?
I’m pretty fast, but I barely had enough time to blink before the goverment got involved. They said I was a risk, and had to be safeguarded. There are rules, they said. Regulations. Laws.
So they did what they always do when a hero gets out of line or does something they don’t agree with – they sent me to the Ravencroft Institution.
What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s basically a psychiatry for extreme cases. Nutjobs, supervillains, that kind of thing.
So here I was, waiting for my shrink, so he could find out whether or not I’m a danger to humanity. Petty, isn’t it? You have one bad day, and you get on the naughty list for months. I’ve always had this power. I’ve always used it to protect Earth. But once they actually saw what kind of power I wielded, they panicked. Suddenly, I’m not a hero anymore, but a „risk”.
I’d been sitting in my chair for like half an hour by that time. Punctuality was appearently not a priority when it comes to deciding whether the most powerful man on Earth is a nutjob or not. A great start.
I heard steps on the floor coming down the hallway, and suddenly, the door opened. My therapist, a goodlooking, middle-aged woman, walked into the room. What? I said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m just a guy. If you’d seen her, you would have checked her out too.
„Good day, Mr. Cavalry!” She said, shaking my hand, then proceeded to sit down in the chair that was across mine. „Please, sit down”.
So I did. I tried not to be too weird about it. As if that was possible in such a situation…
She looked at her papers, and then gazed over at me. Pretty eyes, I thought to myself. „I understand, you’re a bit of a special case…”
„Special case,” I smirked. That’s what they called us supers in institutions like this. It’s not as if literally every-fuckin’-body was a special case here. After all, that’s what the Ravencroft Institution was for. Special cases. When people say crap, like „Everyone is special”, they basically unwittingly admit, that in truth, no one is.
„Just cut to the chase, doc!” I said. „I might have to save the world again while we’re chatting it up”.
She answered with an amused smile, and put her papers on her lap. She wore a short skirt. Not the slutty kind, but the elegant one. Pretty much my type, the thought crossed my mind. „As you wish. So, you’re here because of the president…”
„I know, why I’m here…” I added. „Just tell them whether I’m a villain or a hero, and I’ll be on my way.”
She smiled again. Not an arrogant smile, like I would have expected, but an empathetic one. It was as if she already knew me, like she saw through the charade and all the superhero-tough guy attitude I was putting up.
„Very well then.” She nodded. „Let’s get started.”