It had all happened too quickly that night.
First things first for lest we forget — Katrina Gawain was in the legendary high tech combat suit once dutifully worn by the superhero known as Nightmare, and more importantly, the anonymous user of that suit was talking her through every detail via radio.
The past few hours were something of a fever dream. Details were vivid but so explosive from her norm that they demanded to be organized into narrative before any introspection. She flew through the city in the hot pursuit of the enemy with no air of reality weighing down on her, and something about the whole outing felt like an answer to every question ever.
An unknown assailant had shot her trans father at point-black range during a celebration of identity at the LGBT Center. Passed off as a hate crime, efforts were more centralized on waking Lucius Gawain up from his coma. World collapsed from under her, sixteen year old Katrina Gawain launched her own investigation to figure out why Lucius had been targeted. Which lead her to the Nightmare’s Bunker, or rather what she thought would be a dilapidated home in a bad neighborhood.
Coincidentally, the man who shot her father had uncovered this treasure at the same time and the second she set eyes on him from a safe distance away, something within her died. But what was lost wasn’t something she remembered for years to come.
Secondly, and more immediately, this horrible man whom she later learned was named Clancy, was about to run his van over her — and one of his own men. A man whose name was Mugsy, a tall bearded man with a deep smoker’s voice and a slight slouch. Mugsy also had a mean, indiscriminate left hook. His dull hazel eyes were wide with fear at the sight of the Nightmare, not knowing it was just a teenage girl encased within the armor.
He was too absorbed in stopping her to see the van coming. Clancy saw Mugsy though; he just didn’t care. Whatever it was that brought him to the bunker that night was something unquestionably important. Chin almost touching the wheel, Clancy glared past the broken windshield with malice in his eyes, shoulders hunched.
Katrina couldn’t explain why she did it, or even rationalize the act of doing so, but she didn’t run; she wrapped an arm around the bewildered goon and threw both of them into the air, first tumbling onto the hood of the van as it rushed past. As thick as the armor was, it still hurt like hell, her shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. They bounced onto the roof, rolling across it fast, van still a blur below them, and Mugsy began to slip from her grasp.
Again — she couldn’t articulate her feelings — but one gauntlet slammed into the van, steel scallops cutting through the iron, gripping her to the truck. Her other gauntlet went for Mugsy and grabbed his gloved hand, his body bouncing into the steel, dangling as they throttled down the street.
A strain quickly began building across her body, a pressure mounting that she had to keep thinking wouldn’t kill her. Her eyes widened as reality began to settle as unshakable. She didn’t want to believe it was her own actions that lead to this; she wanted this to be something out of her control, but she felt the tension in a chest that wasn’t hers.
He was with her. The Nightmare that is.
(This is a soft reboot to my Katrina Gawain stories. I’m really excited to be moving in this more serial direction and I hope that you’ll stay with me (hoohoo!) as I write this.)