There was something powerful in the air tonight, and Halcyon would have realized it had her mind been anywhere other than the drop below her.
Her feet toed the edge of a bridge, her arms resting on the rail in front of her, and her head resting on them. The wind blew into her face insistently, hoping that she would notice the energy in the world, beating right in front of her, like a drum.
The bridge spanned a modest gap, a train track below that ran under it every morning and night at seven o'clock, give or take a few minutes. The undergrowth was bushy on either side, complementing the trees that grew up from the steep hillside. In the middle of the bridge, it was quite a drop to the ground.
Somewhere else in the world, something was happening. But here, in the New Jersey count of Temperance, known for its location just outside of urban, dangerous Gotham, it seemed as if nothing was happening. As if nothing was ever going to happen.
And Halcyon hoped it would maintain its serenity long enough for her to get this out of the way.
There was no holding back now. It had been three days. Then it had been three weeks. Then three months. And she had thought she was getting better. She had thought that things might have been, maybe, looking up. And then, unexpectedly, one day it became another three months. And then three weeks.
Three days ago, she had hardly been able to bare it. The one emotion running through her the overwhelming desire to get out. To get away and get gone and get...get dead.
She had had a lot of time to think, and too much time to want.
Now she looked over the bridge, hoping that the drop from the middle would be far enough.
Her hands clenched, and mechanically she removed her arms from the railing. She wasn’t excited. She wasn’t afraid.
She couldn’t feel anything, if she were to tell you the truth.
Hal was dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a loose t-shirt, a ratty pair of sneakers and the oldest bra she had. Hopefully, they would be able to give the rest of her stuff away,
As she stepped up onto the railing, her long, curly blonde hair pushed apathetically into her hair. Balancing on the rail, both arms out, she thought for a moment about what she might’ve been doing in the moment had she gotten medicine.
Before the thought could overwhelm her, she stepped off the edge.
Her stomach dropped, and the world melted into a blur in front of her eyes. Wind pushed and pushed and pushed at her. A roaring took over her ears. Then, the anticipated pain struck her- hard. But it didn’t stop. The wind kept pushing at her, and her ears kept roaring, and the world didn’t go black, but instead melted with more and more colors.
The colors you would see going seventy down a back country highway, not the colors Hal was expecting to see having jumped off the unnamed bridge a mile and a half from her neighborhood.
And the wind and the colors stopped, leaving just her ears and the pain as she felt her body skid to a stop.
It took a moment, especially as the unexpected nausea overwhelmed her, before she realized that she was not, in fact, dead.In addition, she wasn’t at the bottom of her fall, she wasn’t even near her bridge.
“It worked!” A voice above her exclaimed, adding to her confusion. Why is there a voice...oh...she was on the ground. She looked up, now understanding the placement of the noise. “I can’t believe it actually worked! I’m friggin Superman!”
Hal swallowed back her stomach, waited for it to settle comfortably in her middle, and looked up at the boy standing above her. Immediately, she blanked.
It was...the flash?
No. This boy was something else. And for some reason, she could see straight through him. His appearance was thin, and the unlined road behind him was easy to see, straight through the Flash-like costume.
“Did you just catch me?” Halcyon asked, before bending back over and reconsidering the perceived location of her stomach.
“Yup. You’re welcome!” The boy said pleasantly, and the girl looked up at him with difficulty, due to the nausea. She examined him for a moment, before crawling off the side of the back country road he had dropped her on and hurling into the grass.
He was see-through. Transparent. Translucent? Whatever he was, he wasn’t solid.
“Oh my god, you’re a ghost.” She gasped after spitting up the last of the puke, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and looking at the boy almost accusingly. “You’re a fucking ghost!” She breathed out, almost angrily.
The boy blinked, looked down at himself, and shrugged. “Yeah, it’s not news to me.” He stared blankly, walking over on ghost feet and ghost-kneeling beside her. “Are you alright? Am I going to have to stick around to make sure you don’t try that again?”
She furrowed her eyebrows, putting a hand on his shoulder. “What…?” She murmured, her hand making contact with him, a light blue glow lighting up around the perimeter of where her hand met his shoulder.
“You can touch me!” The boy exclaimed at the same time she whispered “am I touching a ghost?”
They looked at each other. “No one else can even see me.” He said in awe, and she pulled back her hand, before shakily rising to her feet.
He had brought them to the top of a nearby hill, maybe a quarter of a mile down the road from the bridge. She didn’t bother to brush off the dirt on her pants, only stooping to wipe the back of her hand off on the grass.
Then, she turns and glanced at the boy warily. “Is there anyway you’re gonna let me….?” She gestures back in the direction of the bridge, and the boy took on an unexpectedly brutal look of determination. That would be, in her professional opinion, a hard no.
She scuffed her foot on the ground, pinching her lips together as they stared each other down. “I’m pretty sure I’m already dead, and this is just a weird after dead dream- or maybe I died just a minute ago. Now we’re both ghosts, and I can just see you?” She suggested, saying more than she had at once in a few weeks.
Her tongue felt dry. She wanted water, but her house was miles away.
Suddenly, the boy was gone. Hal blinked, looked around for a moment, shrugged, and started walking. Oh yeah, she was definitely death-hallucinating. No doubt about it-
And with a gust of wind, the boy was in front of her again. “Nope, you’re body wasn’t there. Also I went and checked, normal people still can’t see me. That rules out a ghost purgatory of any kind.” He reported, and Hal widened her eyes in response. She swiveled around on her heel and started walking the other direction, up the hill, hoping that some merciful bear would come around the corner and put her out of her misery.
“And using any logical reasoning, deductive, inductive, whatever- you’re definitely still alive, and you can see ghosts.” The boy, determined, having sped up to her side the instant she began walking away.
“Look,” Hal stopped and faced her, “do you want something? I get it, whatever, you heroes wanna stop people from jumping. You’re Superman. Good for you!” Hal snapped at him, her voice alive for the first time in months.
The boy looked at her, a thoughtful expression on his face. He didn’t seem intimidated by her words in the slightest. He didn’t look off put, or confused or uncomfortable. This boy was simply looking at her.
“I need your help.” He determined in the next moment, nodding his head thoughtfully. “By the looks of it, kid, you need it too.”
Her shoulders slumped, and her mouth rose in a slight sneer. Fuck. “Fuck.” She said, rolling her eyes.
This, he did seem to recoil at.
Oh no. Oh hell no. He did not just ask her for help. The one thing, the only thing in the world she knew was going to stop her from resting. The one, goddamn, thing.
“Fuck you. Fine, whatever the fuck. What do you need? To be put to rest? To talk to your family one last time?” She asked, throwing up her hands.
The boy looked taken aback, like he didn’t know what to do, how to respond to this. Everything else, he seemed to have had a ready response, but this one… He just frowned, like he was trying to solve a puzzle in his head. Like he was trying to remember something he couldn’t.
Hal took in his expression and breathed out through her nose. This wasn’t her, she knew, this wasn’t something she ever wanted to be, not really.
She just wanted to be done, she was so, so tired. But as long as she was here, alive, she knew she wanted to be something, anything close to who she used to be.
“I’m sorry.” She said carefully. “For yelling. Not for...listen, I’ll help you. If I can.” She emphasized as sincerely as she could. For all she knew, she had just pissed off a ghost. Now how was she going to find any rest?
But instead, the boy’s face lit up in a smile, as bright as the bright orange hair peeking out of his Flash costume. “Thanks! I just need help with one thing, really, that I can’t seem to figure out.”
Hal nods, prompting him to continue by moving her hand in a rolling motion.
The boy’s expression shifted again, this one to another, more thoughtful frown.
“I don’t... I don't know what my name is.”
Hal appraised this information, taking in his outfit, his face- his attitude. None of this was typical amnesiacs, or at least the picture of them that Hal had in her head. In fact, something about the boy seemed oddly familiar. As if she should've known him or have heard of him somewhere before. But she didn't even know his "superhero" name, and she had to guess he was a hero, based on the Flash get-up.
"I guess, well, I don't exactly have any plans. And I can't go home, so." Hal shrugged, looking around before stuffing her hands into her pockets. "Let's look into that symbol on your chest." She suggested, nodding toward him.
The boy looked down, raising his eyebrows. "Oh...." He was acting as if he hand't even noticed it. "Why can't you go home."
Hal looked at him, not even considering telling him the answer to that question. Instead, she raised her eyebrows and dryly declared, "I'm going to call you Spector, just until we figure out your name." She patted her pockets, looking around as the boy took in the information, he looked like he was about to object as she turns and said, "can we go back to the bridge? I left my stuff there."