Anxiety crept up my back for what seemed like the thousandth time as I laid in bed, unable to rip my gaze away from the ceiling.
There’s gotta be something to do…
Go find something.
I huffed, wiggling my toes. The action made it easier to breathe. Remembering to do so was hard these days.
I had been so active, so present in my life before this outbreak. Working with the mayor, the governor, even the president wanted to speak to me on how to prevent another Super/Human Civil War. Making sure all the loose ends of that case were tied and stored away. Arresting the appropriate people, grieving the others. Because I was the one who stopped the war, I was the one who had to put the pieces back together. Wolf, as experienced he was, was not emotionally prepared to take on the role as liaison. He had lost too much.
I took the reigns of the Byrd Foundation, giving Wolf time to grieve his family. Even though his sister began the war, he still loved her.
But then Coronavirus happened. Suddenly, Supers weren’t as much of a threat as the virus. All my plans to make moves for my community were shattered. We weren’t being killed in the streets anymore, but no one could be safe regardless. COVID-19 sealed our fates.
So I laid in bed. Wolf came home from Chicago right before the lockdown. I did my hair and makeup for various video calls, but nothing was solidified as a step in the right direction. How could I work with lawmakers when our Internet connections just weren’t working? When more and more of them and us were getting sick? It was a struggle to make plans when nothing was set in stone.
There was no way to know if Supers would be protected after all of this. Notoriously spat upon by the general public, Supers were the number one people discriminated against ever since the first sighting of one years ago. So many of us were killed in the streets, in broad daylight. With the only fear for Humans being our power. All of that proper fighting was over, but the stigma still remained relevant.
Who knew if we’d stay there on the bottom like we had been? Something in my heart told me that it would be even harder for people to understand us now that there was a new problem to focus on. No one cared to leave us where we laid.
The depression I faced from not being able to do anything was overwhelming, and the anxiety more so. Knowing it and trying to find the motivation to fight it, however, was the hardest part of it all.
I barely even reacted upon hearing my front door open. Wolf was home from the grocery store. He called for me; I didn’t answer. I listened to his heavy footsteps get closer, and finally tore my eyes away from the ceiling just as he peeked his head around the door.
He gave me a weak smile. “I got grape juice,” he said as he held up a huge container. “I know it wasn’t on the list, but I also know you love it.”
Trying to return the smile resulted in a worried look from Wolf. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He paused, looking around our room. “Can I come in?” I hummed a yes, and he walked in, setting the grape juice down on the bedside table. I pressed my head into his thigh. “Sad day?”
“Mmhmm,” I hummed into him.
“Damn.” He rested his hands on my head, moving my hair from my face. “I know it’s hard out here,” he said softly. “But you’ll be back at it in no time! This virus can’t last forever.”
“I know, I know.” It didn’t feel like it would ever go away. Wolf seemed to know exactly what I was thinking as he ran his hands through my hair. “It just feels…”
“Impossibly hard, yeah?” I nodded as Wolf spoke. “Neverending?” I nodded again. “I feel it too, Erin. Trust me.” He squeezed my shoulder lightly. “Why don’t we do something to distract from all of this?”
I looked up at him, meeting his grey eyes. “Like what?”
Wolf gave me a smile, that same smile I fell in love with. “Why don’t we go on a walk? I’m sure it’ll make you feel better. Or…” That familiar mischievous twinkle sparked in his eyes.
“We could…you know…” He pointed up to the ceiling.
“No.” I sat up. “We could get into trouble! You know that. Plus, I’m not sure I could even get up there right now…”
Wolf turned into me, grabbing my hands as his smile grew brighter. “We could get away with it! If you can’t lift off, I can help you. I’ve done it before, remember?” I thought back to our first meeting, when he used his power and mind to lift me off my feet. Upon looking back it was cheesy how he ‘swept me off my feet’ so literally. It made me smile, which made Wolf excitedly stand up, pulling me up with him. “We’re gonna try it, lady,” he decided, leading me over to the closet. “You need to put some shoes on, though.”
All I could do was chuckle and begin putting clothes on. No matter what I said now, Wolf had made up his mind. It was a constant theme in our relationship. He was a very stubborn man sometimes, which had its ups and downs. In a time like this, it was much needed. I knew I had to do something. If trying to fly was that something, then I guess I had to put my shoes on.
The moon was beginning to rise but there was still some sun on the horizon as we walked outside into the dusk. No one was in the courtyard. Last year at this time, there would be so many of our neighbors grilling out, playing Frisbee, their kids running and playing and being kids. It was strange how silent it was.
Wolf took my hand and squeezed. “When was the last time you left our place?” I couldn’t remember. My lack of an answer didn’t phase Wolf. Instead, he asked another question. “When was the last time you tried to use your power?”
“I tried to get the remote over to where I was the other day, but it just floated for a moment and fell on the rug,” I admitted. Wolf began to laugh, and I couldn’t help but giggle along with him. It did sound pretty pathetic for someone who could adapt to any power she could cook up in her mind.
Wolf ended his laugh with a happy sigh. “This is going to be a little bit harder than that, but I think we can make it work. You ready?” I gulped, but nodded all the same. I needed to do something, anything, to get me out of this mood. Wolf knew just as well as I did that it was time.
I watched as my boyfriend began to breathe slowly, closing his eyes and furrowing his brow. It took a moment, but soon his feet left the ground. Hovering only an inch or two above the concrete, he opened his eyes and looked down at me. “Well, come on, try it,” he said softly, that twinkle in his eye. My hands were a little shaky, but I began to try to breathe normally, envisioning myself high above the clouds.
It was hard to use and control my powers before the war. Not a lot of people could control their powers as they manifested, and I was one of the unlucky few that had the ability to Power Shift, an extremely rare and difficult power to control.
The Byrd Foundation made huge strides for Superhumans to be taught how to use their powers responsibly. My time there was spent learning and teaching others about my power, about how to regulate and safely use all the powers available in my imagination. Flying was one of the first things I was able to master. Other flying Supers compare it to riding a bike. It was so, so easy.
So why couldn’t my feet leave the ground?
I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the clouds above. The feeling of the night air in my hair, Wolf by my side as we glided over the city skyline. The dampness of the clouds. The shocking cold of the sky above them. It was a unique feeling that I was trying to focus on, one that I used to be familiar with.
Wolf’s lips met my forehead, and when I opened my eyes, I was still on the ground. He was parallel to the concrete below, his face level with mine. “You need a little boost?” he asked.
“I think so,” I sadly said, looking down at the ground. It was embarrassing to not be able to do something so simple. Of course, Wolf didn’t mind. He was stubborn but patient when it came to me.
Wolf touched my shoulders and kissed my forehead again. I lifted a foot off of the ground and felt the familiar feeling of resisting gravity as the other lifted off on its own. With his telekinetic ability, Wolf was able to get me started in the air. “Okay, now you concentrate and I’ll let go of you slowly, yeah?”
“Yeah,” I breathed, closing my eyes again. The imagery of flying popped into my head again, and I focused on it as I felt myself get further and further away from the ground. When I opened my eyes back up, Wolf and I were high above the courtyard, legs moving back and forth as if we were swimming in the air. I smiled excitedly. “Hey!”
“Where do you want to go?”
The two of us then propelled ourselves up into the sky. It was strange to be in the air again after being trapped in the house thanks to an invisible enemy. Strange, but ultimately exhilarating. I could feel myself wavering slightly due to not using my power for a while, but Wolf never let go of my hand as we floated further and further into the atmosphere.
When we got to the clouds, we stopped, hovering in the air gently. “So,” Wolf started, grinning from ear to ear. “How are you feeling now?”
My mind went back to my empty bed, and a part of me wanted to go back. The rest of me, however, took a huge breath and smiled at my happy boyfriend. “I’m feeling better.” I paused before adding, “better and a little rusty, superpower wise.”
Wolf just shook his head, smiling as he pulled me close. I rested my head on his chest, listening to the whipping wind around us. It was a little loud, but I welcomed the almost forgotten sound.
Just as I started to get lost in the moment, Wolf pulled me off of him and we began decending. “What’s happening?” I looked up at him, seeing his worried expression.
“Plane,” he said simply. As we fell, I looked up to see a plane right above us, passing by. “I almost didn’t see it, but that wind was a little too strong.”
I looked around us as we met the city skyline. A couple of windows were occupied with people trying to see what was happening. “Wolf, look,” I whispered, motioning in the direction of a particularly nosy couple. “You think they’re taking pictures?”
“Probably,” Wolf responded, looking stern all of a sudden. We met the ground gently. Hand in hand, we began to walk back into our building. If I didn’t know any better I wouldn’t have seen the worried look on Wolf’s face. We made it back to our place and he locked the door behind us. “Sorry,”, he said gently. “I always forget that people usually react to seeing flying people. It still bothers you to be watched, yeah?”
“A little,” I admitted. I used to be terrified of using my powers in public. “It’s gotten easier to be outside with it, though.” I shrugged. “After being in the public eye for so long, you get used to walking on eggshells.”
A sad smile crept up on Wolf’s face. I returned it as we entered our living room, sitting on the couch together. He took my hands in his. “Do you at least feel a little better after leaving the house? I know we didn’t get to go anywhere, but it must’ve been nice to get some fresh air.”
Nodding, I said, “Yeah I feel a little better. It’s just so weird, being in the house all the time. I wish things would go back to normal already.”
Wolf looked down, furrowing his brow. “Erin, I don’t think things are going back to normal any time soon.”
I blinked. “What do you mean?”
“Well,” he started, not making eye contact, “it’s just…so many people have been affected. I’m not sure if the world can recover all the way from all of this.”
“There’s got to be a way to get back to something close to normal, though, right?” I asked, leaning forward. Wolf looked at me, eyes betraying his steady voice. “Maybe Supers and Humans can get along by working together and making the world close to normal. The new normal, maybe?”
Shrugging, Wolf sighed. “Maybe the new normal can happen one day. For now,” he stood up, “we have to be careful. We can improve the world once things are…well, safer.”
“Shouldn’t we be trying to make them safer now?” Pausing, Wolf looked away thoughtfully. I waited for him to say something, but he didn’t. Instead, he stood up and walked away. “Where are you going?”
Wolf didn’t speak as he walked into the kitchen. He came back pretty fast, holding his phone. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to look at what we can do to make life a little easier right now, yeah?”
I’m sure the confusion on my face was clear. He smiled and looked down at his phone, tapping away for a few moments. He then looked up at me and held his phone out. “What is this?” I asked, looking at the list of names he had pulled up.
“That is a list of people that need help getting supplies while they’re in quarantine. Why don’t we start making masks and getting food for people? That might make you feel better about the state of the world.”
I looked through the names quietly. The list was on what looked like a forum. From what I could tell, these people were in a group that was specifically made for the Coronavirus outbreak. “How long have you known about this forum?”
“A day or two,” Wolf said. “I didn’t think too hard about it because I didn’t know what to do with the information, but if we can help other people, I feel like it’ll make life a little better for both them and yourself.”
“And you too?” I asked him, smiling up at him.
He smiled back. “And me too. Let’s see what we need to do to make this happen.” The next few hours were spent making lists, looking people up and contacting them through the forum, gathering what we already had and making note of what we didn’t. It seemed like Wolf had planned this all along. I was obviously needing a distraction from wallowing, and he had given me not only that, but something to work towards. It was pretty neat.
Wolf clapped twice as we stood around all the supplies we had gathered. Lots of canned foods we weren’t going to eat, lots of blankets and old books, lots of loose fabric I had from back when I used to craft more. “Tomorrow, we should start delivering this stuff and go pick up other things for the Needy List! You ready to start making masks?”
I looked down at all the fabric I had, knowing that I was about to be putting in some work. For the first time in a while, the thought of doing something wasn’t scary or urgent. It was almost…exciting. “Let’s get started, shall we?”
Thanks for reading! Even though these two have superpowers, they still have to be quarantined! I wanted to write this mostly because I figured we can all relate to the hopelessness Erin feels during this pandemic. Plus I love writing my OCs in real situations like this, so it was a natural topic for today’s post.
If you liked this short story, feel free to follow me on Twitter for updates on the next post! You’ll also get a lot of me being goofy, so it’s basically a win-win. If you’re interested in more short stories, let me know! I love getting ideas from you guys when it comes to what to write next. So thanks, y’all! I’ll see ya next week!