Seven Months Before Impact Day
“Can I talk to you?” Sadie asked, fidgeting nervously.
“Of course you can,” I said, putting my book down.
It was nearly four in the morning, and I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d slept. My body seemed to have given up on it entirely.
“I… wanted to apologise,” Sadie said. “For everything I’ve said.”
“What brought this on?”
“I don’t know,” she confessed. “A bad feeling, I guess. If something happened to you…”
“Nothing’s gonna happen to me,” I said. “You know I’ll be fine.”
“So you keep saying. Just humour me, okay?”
“Alright, I’m listening. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry I gave you a hard time about Rachel,” she said. “That was really douchey of me. I think I was just jealous, because you had someone else to, you know.”
She looked so forlorn. I reached out, placing a hand on hers.
“You know you’re always gonna be important to me, don’t you? You’re the only family I have.”
“That’s why I’m so worried about all this vigilante stuff,” she said. “I know I keep saying this, but I can’t get the idea out of my head. What if they take you and lock you up somewhere?”
“Then at least I’ll have you,” I told her. “And besides, whatever they do to me, Rachel will find me.”
“Why can’t you take anything seriously?”
I sighed, closing my eyes and leaning back.
“Because everything about this is ridiculous,” I told her. “I’m living in a goddamned comic book, Sadie. My sister’s a ghost, I’m immortal, our city is more full of gang crime than Gotham. My best friends are an assassin and… I don’t even know what Aidan is. My girlfriend is a genius, and everywhere I look, I see cracks.”
I couldn’t help but to laugh.
“I don’t know what’s going on, Sadie. Everywhere I look, it’s like the world is falling apart. There are cracks everywhere, cracks in impossible places, and I’d swear I was losing my mind if not for everything else that was going on.”
I’d never actually said that out loud before. It felt surprisingly cathartic.
“I don’t understand you,” Sadie said. “You act like all of this is so unbelievable, so extraordinary, but this is the world we live in. You’re the only one who finds it strange.”
She had a point, though I hated to admit it. People were surprised, sure, but nobody seemed to be filled with the same sense of the impossible as me. Nobody else acted like there was something wrong with the world.
“I don’t understand why everyone else just rolls with it,” I said. “It just seems so obviously… Well, whatever.”
“This is what I’m talking about,” Sadie complained. “You can’t take anything seriously.”
“You think I’m not taking this all seriously? Sadie, half a year ago, I tried to kill myself. You think I’ve forgotten that?”
“You think I have?”
“I’m so terrified I’ll end up back in that place, Sadie. I feel like I can’t ever stop, because if I do, I’ll fall apart.”
“I’m not okay, Sadie. I’m not suddenly over every negative thought that’s been poisoning my brain. I just have enough distractions that I can push them away, at least for now.” I laughed darkly. “Besides, it’s a little hard to be suicidal when you can’t die.”
“That’s not funny,” Sadie scolded me.
“Who cares? My whole goddamned life is a joke, and it isn’t worth shit. Don’t you get it?”
“I think you’re actually losing your mind, Charlie. You need help.”
“And who’s gonna help me, Sadie?” I asked, suddenly annoyed. “You think this is the kind of shit a psychiatrist is equipped to handle?”
“Yes!” she cried.
“Well, thanks for your professional opinion,” I snipped. “And thanks for the heart-to-heart. Really.”
“Let me put things this way,” I said, trying to control my temper. “If I’m right, and there’s something wrong with the world, I’m doing the only thing it’s possible for me to do.”
“And if you’re wrong?”
“Then I’m already doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” I said with a sigh. “And I don’t know which of those options is worse.”
Next Week: You Think I Don’t Know What You’re Up To?