Playing The Hero by Lia
Playing the Hero
By Lia Vallejo
Hero took a deep breath before she stepped into her new office. Well, ‘office’ wasn’t really the right word. After all she worked in a Police Department.
Hero had barely made it a foot into her new department when she was approached. A woman in a suit with long brown hair was steadily making her way over. When she had finally made it over, Hero made note of their differences. Hero had blue eyes while the woman had brown. Hero was pale and the woman not. And while their hair may be the same, Hero was not only taller, but leaner. Hero could see that though this woman had muscle, she had more.
Hero was jolted out of her thoughts at the sound of the woman’s voice.
“Hi. My name is Bianca. Is there anything that I can help you with?” Hero glanced down at Bianca’s police badge, which now visible on her belt, and felt a flash of disgust.
“Yes.” Hero looked around. “I’m transferring from Maine and I’m supposed to be meeting with Chief Francis. Can you please tell me where to find her?”
Bianca smiled, motioned for Hero to follow her, and started to stroll away. Hero quickly followed her and was led to what looked like the only office in the building. Bianca opened the door and said, “Come on in.” Then she walked in.
Hero followed her lead and went into the office only to find Bianca sitting behind the only desk in the room.
Bianca looked at her.
“I take it that you already know what you’ll be giving up.”
Hero took the seat in front of the desk. “Yes Chief. I know that I’ll lose the rank that I had at my old job.” Not that it really matters.
Bianca nodded, “Good. You wouldn’t believe how many people didn’t know that.” She shuffled through some files that were sitting on her desk before pulling one out. “Your name is Hero Johnson, is that correct? And your rank before was Sergeant, is that correct? And what is your reason for transferring to the New York?”
Needed to get away from my parents.
“Just needed a change of scenery.” Hero allowed her lips to curl in what she hoped was a friendly smile.
Bianca raised an eyebrow, “Well come with me. I’ll introduce you to the team.”
Bianca led Hero through the building and to a room that was labeled with the word ‘Lounge’.
Hero forced a smile and thought too late to back out now as Bianca opened the door.
“Gentlemen!” Bianca nodded to the few other women in the room, “And ladies. I would like you to meet your new colleague.” She gestured to Hero, “I’ll leave the introductions to you.” Bianca turned to leave before pausing and looking back at Hero, “Oh, and before I forget. We already have an officer Johnson so you’ll have to go by your first name.” With that she left, throwing Hero to the sharks without a care.
Hero bit back the urge to run and felt her throat close. Slowly she turned to look at her new coworkers.
Looking around the room, Hero noted that there were seven people, besides herself. Of the seven, only two were girls.
Hero stared at them, not really taking in any other details, and they stared back. When it became obvious that she wasn’t going to say anything, one of the guys who was sitting at the only table there, stood up and walked towards her.
“Hey. My name is Michael Wolfert.” Michael threw his arm over her shoulder. Hero briefly closed her eyes and resisted the urge to vomit at the contact. He pointed to people as he took it upon himself to introduce them. “The one who was sitting next to me is Jasper McCoy. Don’t mind him, he constantly looks angry.” Michael continued to talk, ignoring the ‘Hey’ that was sent his way by Jasper. “The guy sitting on the table is Arthur Bennet. Just a fair warning, his hair is always a different color. Sherman Park is the only one in here with a drink. Lynn is the one who’s half asleep in the corner, her last name is Taylor by the way. Then there’s Alice Maxwell. And lastly Bruce Johnson.” Michael leaned closer to Hero and whispered, “He’s our superior officer.”
At this Alice, who had been leaning against the wall until this point, strode over and pulled Michael off Hero.
“Oh, get off her already. You’re smothering her.” Alice smiled at Hero and held out a hand, “Hi. I’m Alice. What’s your name?”
Hero stared at the hand until Alice slowly lowered it, the smile falling off her face. “Hello Alice.” Looking at the expectant faces of those around her, she sighed. “My name is Hero Johnson.”
Michael barked out a laugh before he could stop it.
“I’m sorry.” He said, still laughing, “It’s just-” Another round of laughter cut him off, “That was a funny joke.” Michael took a deep breath, “I mean, what kind of name is Hero?”
During his laughing fit, the others had allowed their own smiles and chuckles loose, coming to the same conclusion as Michael.
Hero clenched her hands into fists at her side, trying to fight off a wave of anger that would only get her trouble. She snapped, “It’s not a joke. My name is Hero. Or would you like to see my ID?”
Everyone suppressed their laughter and started to send what they thought were sly glances at one another.
Bruce was the only who ended the awkward silence.
“Follow me, Hero.” Was all he said before leaving the room.
Hero hadn’t even closed the door before the laughter in the lounge had resumed. She wanted nothing more than to fling the door open and give them a piece of her mind. Instead she took a deep breath and followed Bruce as he marched away, “Um? Where are we going?”
Bruce didn’t even spare her a glance as he answered, “I’m showing you to your new desk.”
Not another word was spoken until they reached their destination.
Bruce and Hero weaved their way through desks until they reached on that was bare except for a computer, a mouse, a pen, and a Manilla file.
“This is your desk. I understand that you have been working as a cop for five years now, however you still have proved your skills. Because of this you will receive training along with the other rookies.” Bruce picked up the file, “I understand that you have already filled these out, however, it never hurts to fill out a spare. That and I need to have one for my paperwork.” Bruce turned to Hero, causing her to start.
“When was your curfew?”
Hero cocked her head before answering, “Eleven O’clock sir.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow. “Well, you’ll find this another thing you’ll have to get used to. Curfew in New York is Nine O’clock.”
Hero blanched, “Nine?” She asked in disbelief, “Why so early?”
Bruce threw the folder back on the desk and leaned in closer to Hero.
“Now listen here, Hero. You’ll find that things in New York are very different from Maine. This is the city. The Villains are much, much worse than those little petty thieves you’re used to getting.” Hero clenched her jaw throughout his speech. She hated him already. “Whatever accomplishments you’ve had until now might as well be trash. This is the big boy league. Get used to it. Now, your curfew is Nine O’clock. You understand?
“Good. Wait here one second.” Bruce turned and left leaving Hero no other option other than to wait.
When he came back a couple minutes later he had a badge and a radio in his hand.
“These are yours. The badge is only temporary. You’ll get one with your name on it in a couple days.”
Bruce handed Hero the badge and radio and tapped the file, “Make sure you bring this to me when you’re done. You can go home when you finish this.”
I hate this place.
Hero had just stepped out the Police Department when her phone started to ring. Glancing down she saw the word Mother.
Hero took a deep, calming breath and answered.
“What are you saying ‘Hello’ for?!” Shrieked a shrill voice, “You just up and left without a word! No goodbye! No explanation! What were you thinking!? Do you want to end up like that man!?”
“Mom.” Hero’s voice was tight, “I moved to New York. And I’m not going to end up like Uncle Claymore.”
“Don’t call him that! That name is a disgrace to this family!” My mother continued to grumble under her breath about disgraces and disappointments.
“Is there a reason you called me or can I go?”
“Don’t talk to me that way. I wanted to know if you gave up your job as a cop as well as your family when you moved. You better not have. We named you Hero for a reason you know. You’re not going to end up in jail like the psycho.”
“No Mom. I’m still a cop.”
“Good. Can’t believe the nerve of that man. He just goes and becomes a Villain. No regard to his family at all. You won’t believe the amount of embarrassment your father endured. His brother, a Villain.” She scoffed, “They had to move you know.”
“You know for someone who hates Uncle Claymore you sure do talk about him a lot.”
“Don’t call him that!! And I expect check ins from you at least twice a week.”
“Mom-” Hero was cut off by the dial tone. She looked at the phone with an eyebrow raised, “She hung up on me.” Hero shrugged, “Whatever.”
She looked around before mumbling, “Might as well get my To Do List done.”
Hero was walking home with bags of groceries in both hands when she decided to stop at a café she had passed.
I still have 30 minutes until curfew. That’s enough time.
Hero had just stepped in when the radio on her hip crackled to life.
“To all active officers. The Hunter….spotted on near Central Park. It would….to let the Heroes handle this. However, you are expected to….citizens to safety.”
Hero sucked in a breath and dropped her bags. Central Park was a 10 minute walk from here. She looked around and saw that everyone in the café was looking at her, terror in their eyes. One of the ladies working as a waitress had even started to cry.
“There’s no need to worry.” Hero masked her annoyance with sympathy, “The Heroes will take care of everything. However, I must ask you to get home earlier than you planned. It’s not going to be safe in this area for a little while.”
The café was silent before it burst alive with activity. Everyone was gathering their things, and running from the café. After it was emptied, Hero left in search of other citizens who needed to be warned of the oncoming danger.
Hero had just ordered a group of teenagers to go home when she saw him across the street. It was a face that she’d only ever seen on wanted posters but one she recognized none the less. The Hunter.
Hero grabbed her gun and pointed it straight at his chest.
“Put your hands above your head!”
The Hunter only laughed and ran in the opposite direction.
Hero ran after the Hunter, her legs burning and aching with every step. Her lungs stinging with every breath. Her entire body begged her to stop, to give up the chase, but there was no way she would. No way she could. She needed to prove that she was a hero. That naming her Hero wasn’t a mistake despite what everyone around her thought and maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t hate her job so much. With this thought in her head, Hero was determined to try to catch the Villain.
Hero followed the Hunter all the way to Central Park. One quick glance showed that it was deserted. Hero let out a huff of relief. The police had done their job. Good.
When Hero finally stood in front of the Hunter (who was sitting almost casually on a bench), her lungs were deprived of much needed air, and she felt as though she would pass out. But there was no way she was going to, she wasn’t going to show weakness in front of the enemy. There was no way she was going to let him win. Instead she lifted her gun.
Hero took a deep, calculated breath, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” Hero licked her lips, “You have the right-”
“I know my rights.” The villain threw his hands over the back of the bench, “You can save your breath.”
Hero nodded, “Good.”
Hero started to approach him, taking out a pair of handcuffs and holstering her gun. She steadily made her way toward him. She was halfway to the Hunter, when she had the sense of mind to call for back-up.
“Dispatch, this is Officer Hero, I have The Hunter in sights and am making the move to arrest. Back-up is requested.”
The voice over the radio was static, coming in and out.
“-do not…-wait…..-Heroes will be there…do not engage…”
Hero ignored the instructions, ignoring her instincts in the process, and continued her way to the villain. She was a foot in front of him when she heard him laugh.
“Your name is Hero?” He cackled, “Now this is amusing. Did those parents of yours really want you to become a hero that much?” He continued to laugh.
Hero felt her heart constrict with fear, her palms started to sweat, “It’s not like that.” She croaked.
The Hunter stood, making Hero take a step back.
“Oh?” His voice was soft, masking the cruelty behind his words, “It’s not like what? Go on you can tell me.” When Hero didn’t respond he kept going, “You resent your name don’t you?”
Hero’s response was immediate, “No!”
He hummed, “You resent your parents as well.” This time he stated it as a fact instead of a question. Hero shook her head violently. “You hate the fact that they felt the need to name you Hero. Though at the same time you feel as though you need to live up to your name. After all, what kind of name is Hero if you don’t live up to it?”
Hero stumbled back and tripped, landing on the ground. When she tried to get back up she couldn’t, her body was shaking too much.
“How?” She whispered, her head bent toward the ground.
“How did I know?” He asked, “It was easy, because I would’ve felt the same way. I would’ve felt pressured to be the best I could be. I would’ve felt that I didn’t have a choice on how I got to live my life.”
In the distance, she could hear the sirens, belonging to the back-up she had called. The Hunter walked slowly toward Hero and knelt down next to her.
“It’s time to make your own decisions. Come with me and you will be able to do just that.”
Hero looked up sharply at him, “What?” She breathed.
“Stop playing the Hero.” He held out his hand to her, “Become the Villain.”
Hero took a deep breath, and slowly held out her hand until it was gently clasped in the villain’s hand.
“It’s time I made my own decisions.”
The Hunter grinned, “Of course it is.”
“They’re wrong you know.” She whispered.
The Hunter cocked his head to the side, “Excuse me?”
“I’m not going to end up like Uncle Claymore. I’m not going to rot in jail. I’m not going to get caught.”
He smirked, “Obviously. I would never allow it, my dear Hero.”