The Stranger (excerpt)

I sit slouched in my car, right in front of the church. Covered by the shadow it casts over the street I watch as people slowly enter. It seems like an excessive building for such a small occasion. The service wasn’t even mentioned in the newspaper. They wanted to keep it private. I only found out through my connections. Such a silly thing to spend $1000 on. I just felt like I had to do it. The church bell echoes out signaling a new hour starts. I’ve been here two hours now, long before the family arrived. Punctuality was always my strong point. I should just go in but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have to do it. Maybe I shouldn’t. It seems like it’ll rain soon and this suit is a rental. I wouldn’t want to get it wet.

I force myself out of the car, one step at a time. It can’t be that hard. It’s just walking. I close the door and calmly brush any lint off my suit. Rented, I won’t need another suit unless I’m in court. I force myself into the church. I try to make my way into the sanctuary for the funeral. I’m stopped by a little old lady, she insists I sign the guest book. I use my real name. No need for an alias here. As far as they’re concerned, I’m just a close friend that heard about the funeral on Facebook or something.

I take my seat in the back pew. In the event I burst into flames I won’t have far to run to the door. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been inside a church. My parents would probably be disappointed. Shame it takes a funeral to bring me to a church. I can’t say I planned to ever walk into a church again but here I am. For a funeral, of someone I barely even know. Not even a work friend but an enemy from work. I wait patiently for the service to start and continue to scope out my surroundings. It’s a habit I’ve developed over the years and it helps me to pass time.

I can’t say I see any other heroes or villains here. I’ve paid for the identities of every hero I’ve crossed paths with. It’s why secret identies are to be protected. If you slip up, people will find out who you are. The Voiceless Stranger was the only one I had to track down myself. I couldn’t even bring myself to use it for blackmail as I had done in the past. Armani Williams was too kind a person to do that to. A lot of heroes have their vices and issues outside the game. Some are drug addicts. Some steal from the villains they arrest. Some do black market mercenary jobs. Armani Williams didn’t do any of that. She was a good person in and out.

To be Continued in Super Shorts
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