He entered his apartment using his “other” entrance. Battered and sore from the night’s activities, Scott began to pull the fitted leather jacket from his aching body, letting it fall to the floor as he walked down the dimly lit hall. All he could think of was getting into the shower and let the heat sooth his aching muscles and wash away the grime.
Inside the shower, he stood under the water in relative darkness so that he didn’t see the color of the water at the bottom of the tub. He tried not to think of anything and just let the heat help his battered body. It didn’t work, it never really did. Every time he closed his eyes he was was transported back in time to that night when everything changed.
He had been happy with his lovely Rebecca by his side. They had been discussing the movie they had just left and were trying to decide if they wanted to get something to eat or just call it a night.
In a blink of an eye, their happy life had been destroyed. There was nothing he could have done. According to the police report, it was a gang initiation attack and nothing more. Scott had been hit on the head with a pipe and knocked unconscious but his beloved wasn’t as lucky.
When he woke up Scott was in the hospital with a severe concussion, broken ribs and was in a world of hurt, but he was alive. Rebecca wasn’t as lucky and lay in the morgue while he lay in his hospital bed.
The doctors had been amazed with how fast Scott had healed from his injuries, much faster than normal. He didn’t care about healing. He was angry. Angry at the gang members that had attacked them, at the EMT crew for not getting there fast enough, the doctors for not saving Rebecca, the world and mostly himself for letting it all happen and still surviving.
Scott drug his butt out of the shower only when the hot water became lukewarm. After toweling off, he wiped the towel over the steamy mirror to survey the damage of the night.
The black eye was the worst of the lot. He only vaguely cataloged the other injuries he sustained that night. Nothing a bit of Vicodin couldn’t cure.
Before climbing into bed just as the night’s sky was turning from its inky blackness to shades of purples and oranges, Scott checked his calender to make sure he didn’t have an early appointment that his day job seemed to like too torture him with. He was lucky that all he had was a conference call at ten that morning. Something he could do from his bed if he had to.
“Where were you last night?” Carl asked via the instant messenger on his computer.
“Off line. Had some stuff to do around the apartment,” Scott typed back.
“I tried calling.”
“Forgot to charge my cell… again,” he explained, hoping that it was a good enough excuse.
“Wanna grab some lunch?”
“Come on dude. Ya gotta leave that apartment once in a while.”
Scott checked to see how his eye was healing before replying. The bruises were almost all gone by now.
“Uh, I guess.”
“Cool. Twelve-thirty at Harry’s?” Carl asked. Harry’s Pub was Carl’s favorite lunch spot for now, mostly because of the waitress Carl had his eye.
“Sure.” Scott rolled his eyes knowing they were not going for the cuisine but the at least the beer was always cold.
“Did you hear that there was another sighting of that mysterious guy again? Stopped a mugging and was caught on a traffic camera.”
‘Oh Shit,’ Scott thought. “No, I haven’t seen the news yet today.”
“Yeah, he put some gang members in the hospital. Looks like they were about to make a drug deal or something too. The news said they had coke on them. Enough to get ‘intent to sell’ charges on them when the get out of the hospital.”
“Really?” Scott asked, glad the gang members would hopefully see some jail time . But that was only if Robert Ricardo, the big Gang boss, didn’t find them some sleazy lawyer to get them out of it. “Any idea on the mystery guy is?” Scott asked, hoping the media was still completely clueless.
“Not much really. He’s too fast to really get caught. They say he’s got super speed or something. That and it looks like he can really take a beating. The police want to “meet” with him. I think they just don’t like having him go all vigilante for them.”
‘I bet they want to talk,’ Scott thought.
“But all they really seem to know is that he always wears a dark leather and a hat or hoodie under it.”
“At least he’s not wearing yellow spandex or worse,” Scott joked.
“Yeah, you bet man.”
“What’s the media calling this vigilante?” he asked a bit curious.
“Nothing catchy yet. I’m sure they will come up with something ‘Super’ soon, unless he turns out to be some kind of psycho or something worse than a gang member.”
Scott read his friend’s words, knowing Carl was only joking around but the idea that he was getting seen and may be considered worse than the gangs made him want to hurl.
“Gotta get some work done before lunch. Talk later,” Scott typed, needing to get away from the conversation.
Scott sat in his apartment, after promising himself that he wouldn’t go out that night. He had gotten too close to getting caught last night and didn’t want to answer questions by the authorities or worse. The media would rip him apart, asking questions he didn’t want to answer or couldn’t answer and digging up all of his past. His past was buried along with Rebecca.
Before he even realized it, Scott was dressed in his leather jacket with gloves and his gray hoodie and was opening the hatch to the roof of the apartment building. Rebecca loved that they “owned” the roof even though the apartment below was a bit on the small side for the two of them.
It only took a moment for him to hear the tell tale sounds of someone in trouble somewhere down below. The city was alive. He could hear it calling to him, to protect those who couldn’t be protected, for justice, for Rebecca. Maybe someday the gangs would disappear and he could be at peace again but that was not tonight.