Saving Lives

A 2-post collection

Challenge #00821-B090: Super Ordinary

Just because you’re wearing the cape doesn’t mean you can fly.

[AN: Trigger warning for suicide mention and suicidal narrative]

Ellie had been clinging to life by her fingertips. The hardest question of her life before her. As well as the end of it. The question to be answered was… would anyone really care? Sure, for about ten minutes, she might be a splashy headline. For two hours, she’d be a job to clean up.

And the world would forget she ever existed.

Even the police, far below, seemed disinterested in helping. They were standing around and occasionally looking up. She hadn’t even stopped traffic.

She stopped looking down. Staring out at the buildings across the void.

If that kid would just turn away… I’d drop off in a cold second.

The kid did look up. Tracking something dropping…

Shit. No. Someone stole my thunder?

Ellie looked up. A bare glimpse of a lurid lycra costume and a flapping cape… And someone landed next to her. Or more accurately, someone flung a bungee lasso around the stonework and eventually bounced to a stop next to her.

There was a bright red cape. Brilliant, sparkling, amber helmet and elbow pads. Green tights and skivvy. The knee pads and boots were silver and chrome. The body armour bright purple. As was the silicon diamond-pattern mask stuck to their face.

“Hi,” said the breathless stranger. “Thanks for letting me drop in.” She had a completely useless and way-too-short silver skirt on. Possibly in an effort to make up for her streamlined physique and practical pixie cut.

“Hardy har har,” Ellie deadpanned. “Of course this is a joke. Why not? Get everyone to laugh at me.”

“Sorry,” said the wierdo. She was hammering in pitons. “You’d be surprised how often a lame joke works in this situation. I honestly don’t find your situation humorous.” She added cable to a shockingly invisible harness and reclaimed the bungee. “I go by Aunty Gravity, by the way. What’s your name?”

Ellie almost answered her truthfully. “Deadfall.”

“You really wanna go by that?”

“All things considered?” The kid across the street was jumping up and down. Mama mama mama come lookit! “Yeah. Matches my fate.”

“I’m here to listen. I have all the time you have for me.”

The kid’s mother finally turned up. And started recording the proceedings on her phone. Why not? It wasn’t as if things could get much worse. Ellie adjusted her grip on the rooftop wall. She sighed. Readied herself for an influx of the usual violence and began: “Do you have any idea how hard it is to Transition in Texas?”

“Actually yes. And it’s worse when you’re not white.”

Serious eyes. Serious face. The subtle signs jumped up, now. This was a girl who didn’t start off life as a girl. When she drew her first breath, the doctors made a very critical misdiagnosis.

Just like Ellie.

“I fought so hard for so long,” Ellie whispered. “I’m tired of it. I’m tired of my cheques being made out to EARL McKean. I’m tired of having to sneak into the disabled bathroom because everyone has guns… and there’s laws now that let people shoot people like me…“

“They won’t call you a girl until you get The Surgery, right?” said Aunty Gravity.


“Can’t afford it, can’t get it, don’t want to?” she prompted.

“More like… have to find a doctor who will… and have to declare myself insane to get it… and have to spend time in an asylum again[1].”

“Sounds like it’d be saner to move out.”

“Except they won’t update my ID and they won’t let me out of the state without it.”

“They’ll let you out of the country without it,” said Aunty Gravity. “Your passport isn’t issued by Texas, it’s issued by the US Government. So pack up everything you want to keep. Sell everything you don’t, and catch a train to Mexico. Then, any time you want, you can catch a cruise boat to California. Your choice for surgery or self-identity thereafter.”

Ellie stared at her in disbelief. “That… works?”

A big, wide grin. “Worked for me. Worked for a dozen or so more. As long as we don’t talk about it online, the idiots in the capital are no wiser. And more asinine laws don’t get passed.”

“Are you going to help me?”

“Of course. I’ll even turn up out of costume if you want me to.”

Ellie made a decision. “Ellie.”


“Get me back up onto the roof, please?”

“Sure thing.”

It was harder than climbing out, climbing back in. Possibly because the threat of an unwanted death was back on the table. And despite the swarming cops and the waving guns and the fact that Auntie Gravity just… bounced her way out of the line of fire… Ellie had never felt lighter.

Nobody could fly. Not yet. But in this minute, in this hour? Ellie felt like she could soar all the way to the sun.

And she felt it again when Joanne O’Malley turned up as her lawyer. In a green power suit with a Superman brooch on her lapel.

[1] Extrapolated from the already boggling anti-trans laws happening in the US right now.

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