Freddie Torello was someone I thought I could trust. He seemed so innocent. His kind eyes hid the devil that lived inside of him.
I got to the Sanctuary after a narrow escape. Supers are hunted in my city, and although I worked hard to fight against the stigma, I was still ran out of the city with nothing more than the clothes on my back. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my brother.
Wolf Byrd and Freddie Torello made me feel at home in the giant campgrounds. I learned so much about my own abilities. Copying abilities seems cheap, but it sure comes in handy. Learning how to keep a hold on an ability copied long ago was Wolf’s idea.
He would smile as I tried and failed to lift twigs with my mind. “You’ve got this, Erin,” he would say kindly. “Try again.” So I did. Eventually, I could use his telekinetic powers like they were my own. I can never repay him for his teachings…they ended up saving my life.
I knew after handing him over to the police, Freddie would come for me. It’s something that I knew I would have to face in time. Telling the detectives he was dead was bittersweet. Knowing that if I killed him, none of his victim’s families would ever get closure…but I would feel safe again. It was selfish. Selfish, but needed to be done.
Rachel, the head detective on the case, stood with me as they took him out of my room. The morgue was waiting for him. “Well,” Rachel breathed as soon as we were alone. “That saves me from trial paperwork.”
I looked over at her. She crossed her arms, looking at nothing in particular. Her gaze was pensive. “Miss Evans, do you have family anywhere? Mom, Dad? I can call them and set up everything so you don’t have to live alone if you’d like.”
“I, uh…I don’t know where my brother is.”
Rachel furrowed her brow. She got a small pad of paper and a pen out of her coat pocket. “What’s his name?”
“Nate. Nathan Evans. He lived in Columbus when I left.”
“You left because of…what, exactly?”
I sighed and looked away from her. I could feel her eyes finally in my direction, watching me think. The time passed meant nothing; the memory still fresh on my mind like it had just happened. Our neighbors knew the gang of Anti-Supers that lived around the city. My best friend, Dan, had interesting abilities that helped him in his future swimming career. Breathing underwater seemed like cheating to me, but I copied his ability to spend more time with him.
His life was taken from him way too soon. They tortured him and forced him to tell them where I was. That’s what the gang leader told me as he held me down. It was all I could do to escape with my life, leaving Nate behind to suffer for my sin of being different.
Rachel was still looking at me, her thumb clicking the pen she was holding. “I left because I was going to be killed.”
“By the local chapter of Naturalists?”
A few scribbles on her notepad, then silence. “You don’t have to stay here if you feel unsafe.”
“I’m fine,” I lied.
“You also don’t have to stay in a place where you just killed someone,” Rachel added. When I looked at her wide-eyed, she just shook her head. “Self-defense. I won’t let them arrest you for that.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Somehow I knew Rachel wouldn’t let me down.
Rachel cleared her throat and met my gaze. “Should I arrange something for you? Or are you going to be okay?”
Without thinking, I said, “I can take care of myself.”
“Well…” Rachel sighed, walking towards the doorway. “I’ll see if I can find your brother. You haven’t seen him since you left Columbus, right?”
“I’ll find him. You be safe.” The door closed, and I was alone again.
I had never loved anyone more than Freddie. He had a certain charm, a charisma that was unmatched. Everyone swooned under his gaze, those big brown eyes sparkling from behind those wire frames. Even Wolf, the effervescent guy that he was, fumbled over his words around Freddie. Freddie just had a way of making people feel wanted.
I still remember the first time we touched. It was on accident, but receiving his power was overwhelming enough to send me to the infirmary. It’s the only power that I’ve tried to push out of me.
“I’ve only got super strength,” Freddie had told the nurse while I lay silent, paralyzed in that overwhelming feeling of fear and hunger. I knew I looked comatose, but I was awake. “I don’t know why she won’t wake up.”
He lied that day. He lied the whole time we knew him. Wolf didn’t believe me until it was too late. When I woke up, Freddie was gone and there were so many bodies. Amnesia blocks the rest of the memories of him, the darkness taking these thoughts away from me. How I got to a safe space after the massacre was unknown to me.
The only thing I remembered was the kiss. Not who kissed me, not the physical feeling of it, but the aftermath. I was flying. The new moon hung low in the sky, wind whipping through my hair, cold searing my skin.
And then I was in my apartment. Seemingly safe, with money to pay for whatever I needed whenever I needed it. I didn’t question anything. I stayed put, researching and pouring myself into making sure the world knew that Supers were people too. I didn’t want to be hunted anymore.
No matter what I did, no one would listen to anything I had to say. No one except Rachel and the rest of her department. Supers were rich in the area. “The Sanctuary is only a few miles down the road from Terrysville,” she had told me one day during a meeting. “We have to keep an eye on them anyway. Why not make a deal with a Super? Keeps everyone safe.”
We had to find Freddie. Keeping him from killing again was her top priority, while mine was catching him and showing that Supers weren’t all bad.
Of course, killing him ruined that plan. How was I to prove we were safe when I had blood on my hands too?
Alone, staring outside at the city below me. The hotel balcony was vacant, giving me the time to take everything in. Columbus was something else at golden hour. The orange and pink sky was vibrant, the clouds parting so delicately. I wanted to touch the golden rays peering through them.
I watched the cars go by, hearing the commotion of city life…everyone had their own worries, their own struggles. What was I doing, waiting around for something that might not happen? Terryville Police couldn’t possibly get anyone from CPD to help find someone who doesn’t matter. Nate was probably dead anyway.
Despite shoving his powers down, I could still feel that itch. I wonder if Freddie knew I had copied his curse? Even now, I gripped onto the railing, feeing my heart race at the thought of his dead body below me. His eyes lifeless but still full of that evil glee, the knowing that even in death, he had won.
I should’ve taken my time with him. He had done the same to so many in his short life. That snapped neck was too good for what he deserved. I should’ve taken his blades, made them my own, skinned him like the animal he was…
“Miss Evans?” A voice snapped me out of my white knuckled thoughts. Letting go of the now bent railing, I turned to see a hotel employee standing in the doorway. He glanced down at the railing and his eyes widened. “Your room is ready.” He sounded dumbfounded.
“I’ll pay to fix that,” I offered, motioning behind me to the railing.
“We’ll put the charge on your room,” he assured me.
I went to Room 567, collapsing on the bed as if I had just run a marathon. I couldn’t let his Superpower take over my mind. The powers I collected so far from my friends, my mentors, they were strong as well. I couldn’t let my mind give into the same darkness that Freddie’s did. I would be no better than him, and I wanted to prove him wrong. Supers could be saved in society. We just needed to prove that we aren’t all bad, just like the average Joe.
Phantom hands wrapped around my throat at the thought of denying the Killer Instinct Freddie had accidentally given me. His influence would be hard to deny…but I needed to deny it. The love I had for him wasn’t real, and the idea of living without fear of death or prosecution was all I wanted.
I took in a long, deep breath. I was ready for whatever fight I’d stumble into next. I couldn’t afford to let my guard down any longer.
Hello everyone! This was supposed to be the extra post for last week, but as you can see, procrastination and lack of inspiration came at the literal worst time! Yay!
I looked back on some older posts to see if there was something I could continue writing about and ran into my old characters in “Confessional”, a post from 2019 that featured Freddie Torello’s dark history. Erin Evans, the protagonist from my first big NaNoWriMo project, “value”, is featured in this short continuation. I’m hoping to revisit “value” after I’m all done with the novel I’m writing now (“Years Apart” is the working title, but I refuse to let that be the official title…it doesn’t make sense with the new draft!). We’ll see if Freddie, Erin, and Wolf can pull me back into their story!
Thanks for reading as always. I appreciate it so much!! If you liked what you’ve read, please consider donating to “Mary’s Self-Publishing Fund” on ko-fi! Feel free to subscribe on Medium, as well as follow me on Twitter for daily goofs and gaffs. I just finished watching Squid Game, and the new Animal Crossing stuff comes out soon, so that’s probably what my Twitter will be about for the next several weeks. Gotta love some good hyperfixations!
We’ll get together next week for the monthly roundup!