It was becoming painful to breath. Every ounce of air seemed to press against the broken ribs in her chest. painfully jolting her back to wakefulness. Only her pain had accompanied her the last thee hours, bringing each fracture, break and cut into painful focus.
The door nearby opened and a woman of about medium height walked in. She opened a folding chair, and threw a first aid kit at the broken girl before sitting down and lighting a smoke. With great care the woman pulled out a cell phone and laid it on the counter.
“Is that the detonator?” She asked between ragged coughs as she opened the kit and looked through it.
“Yes.” The woman simply replied.
“Why?” The question left her hacking on the floor struggling for breath.
“Hmmm… Why indeed. I guess you could say I find this world to be broken. Beaten down by the whims of a petulant race, stretched beyond it’s breaking point and left out to dry. You know, I found it a sobering day when I realized that after twenty years of hard work the world was no better off today than it was then. One city was repaired and five fell. For every hero there were thirty villains and even the heroes could never agree on what the hell they were trying to accomplish anyways.”
“Betrayal?” It was a question, but in her hoarse whisper it could have been confused for accusation.
“I suppose you would think so.” The woman answered simply.
“Won’t fix…” She could barely get out.
The woman laughed for a few moments. “You really are a naive little bitch aren’t you. I don’t give a shit about fixing this horrid little world of ours. My only interest at this point is making it scream, scaring all the little ants with their deepest fear. They want to despise us, so be it. I’ll be their angry god, their living nightmare and I will make them quake in fear at the thought of leaving their small little houses and stepping out into the real world.”
The two women starred at each other for a few minutes. One searching the others eyes for some sign that this wasn’t real, wasn’t true. The other holding only steel in her gaze.
Finally the woman grabbed the cell phone, flipped it open and pressed a key. Then she left, letting the sound of the phone’s ringer fill the room. A few seconds later the building shook with the impact of a far off explosion.
The girl wept for the world, for her mentor, and even herself, yet went through the motions of bandaging herself all the same. The era in which the world looked to Watchword for safety had just ended. How had their greatest hero become such a monster?
* * *
Watchword let the tears well out of her eyes as she drove away towards the outer edges of the city. She could almost feel the blood staining her hands now and she couldn’t get the names of the people she knew would be dead now out of her mind. The tears fell for a few seconds and then she stopped, steeling herself.
They had become to dependant on her, on the very best of her kind. The protectors of the world had gotten lazy, complacent, bored even. It wasn’t enough, there was a new wave coming, something worse than she had ever seen in her days, she could feel it. Two years maybe, and it would be on them.
Not much time, but maybe enough to get things in order. To shock them all, to route out chaff, to make them see.
She was out of time to feel. Now she could only act.