My sneakers were splitting at the sides. Bounding from ledge to ledge through the Financial District, desolate nights of urban canyons below me, I attempted to clear my head. I needed to practice my powers and regain my foothold in this city. Remember the subtleties of it's concrete skin, it's curves and angles. It's power and passion.
I spent more than a few nights looking up at the moon, alone atop the elephant graveyard that is Wall St. Swinging and leaping through the metropolitan jungle, suit covered savages picking clean the massive glass bones of Mammon below me, I found a tower, complete with princess.
I was the lost boy, long hair and shipwrecked beard, red t-shirt flapping in the winds. I hid behind a spire and watched her on the balcony. Dark, full hair draped over the edge as she let the midnight breeze sway her into a sense of freedom, of flight. She had an earthly sense about her and being so far in the sky made her seem small, like a seedling, draped on a branch of a dead tree, ready to fall.
When she tumbled over the railing backwards, she hadn't uttered a noise. No scream, no cry. Just a sense of calm that she must had stolen from me as I slipped into instinct to keep the panic at bay. My reflexes shot me forward, slung through the air, snapping into position below her.
I slowed my fall and she floated down into my arms. Kicking off the side of the building, I propelled us back up. She hung from my neck, eyes closed, dreaming heavy. A sleeping princess full of promise, awaiting a kiss, aching to awake.
With her back in bed, I looked back as I leapt from the ledge, sailing into the open night sky. As she got smaller, her beauty grew, magnifying her brilliance. A shimmering gem, a treasure of great beauty, inspiring action.
Battles were fought invisibly among the masses during the day, and daring rescues thanklessly executed each night. I laid low and played it cool 9 to 5, lone wolf in sheep's clothing looking out for enemies, taking them down before they saw through this secret identity. Charles Crown walked among you, and Thrust fought beside you, but it was the kid that visited her every night.
It was a sleepwalking drama that played out each night the same. She, in a slumber, tumbles to her doom. He, pulsed with power, flies to her rescue. He leaves her alone, untouched, in her bed. Not wishing to smudge her sheen, the kid keeps her pristine.
Until the one night, where, with a kiss, she drew him in. Inside and through, and back into, himself, reversed, flipped into a parallel dementia where darkness was light, and day was night. A spell was cast, a rogue now lost, although lightning fast, he had paid the cost. Lost in the gloom of this otherworldly tomb, he'd be forever searching, adrift in this eternal womb.
Life felt the same. Perhaps there was no curse, no judgment for his fool's kiss to lips that weren't meant for his. Charles was still accepted by his peers, and Thrust still fought the good fight. As for the kid, well, seemed like he stayed behind in the dark heart of the city. The princess, the jewel, was all but a fuzzy memory.