Bring Balance

…or “Who Will You Follow, Daughter?”
First posted 09/11/10

The city is large, densely packed, and full of crime and corruption. I watch from a shadowed spot and I listen. I can choose to hear anything I want from all over the city. I hear a shoot out, but know that the police have it in hand. I hear a mugging, but it’s in a territory closely watched by a Hero. He’ll be there soon. Then I hear what I seek… for I seek only balance.

It’s a quiet neighborhood. The Hero in this place has things well in hand. Too well in hand. The break-in happening is the first real crime in months and it should happen. A small part of me is aware of the dream… why am I doing this? Why are some crimes allowed to happen and others aren’t? I catch the Hero en route and delay him. He doesn’t know who I am, which I find odd. Either he hasn’t heard of me, or the stories he’s heard he refuses to believe. Many refuse to believe. Many think you are a Hero or a Villain, there is no in between.

“Who do you serve, vile Villain!?” He thinks me a minion.

“Only Balance,” I tell him as I disappear into the night sky, the break-in complete and the criminal safely away.

Similar scenes play throughout the night. Others know me and avoid me. Our origins and abilities are varied, and I am the strongest. This troubles me, in order to keep the balance I must constantly check myself because I have no equal who could bring me down should I sway too far on one side or the other.

Before the sky begins to show its predawn light, I go to the same place I always do. Only one other ever dares meet me there. I know him, both in life and in the night. We were married once, this Hero and I. He thought he could “save” me, as though I needed it. I think he still feels that way. It was what eventually tore our marriage apart.

“She wants to follow in our footsteps.” He gives no preamble, I know he’s talking about our daughter. She just turned eighteen, the age we told her she could begin living in the night if she so chose.

“I know, I’ve seen her.” She’s skilled, knowing everything we taught her.

“I thought you might see through the name and disguise.”

“Has she seen through yours?”

“Yes. She knows who I am. She still asks me who you are though.”

I know that our daughter thinks we were once a Hero team. She’s been searching old newspapers and trying to link my ex-husband to other Heroes and see which were women.

“She’s about to start searching rivals.”

“Gone through all your partners has she?”

“Yes… I haven’t told her…”

“Good.”

The night ends and I leave. The agreement with our daughter is that she can ask once a month if we are who she suspects. I’ve already made contact with her in the night and begun to sow the seeds of confusion. I will make sure she never thinks it is me. Some nights I guide her, showing her some of the horrible truths of the night. Perhaps she will see that there is black and there is white, but for there to be one there must be the other.

Life is Balance.

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