“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglet.”
- A. A. Milne
Mattie realized that she had nearly died and quickly wandered over to Fable and Croft.
“Hey, I’m Mattie” she said smiling “we’ve been through a lot together.”
Croft nodded weakly at Mattie and then at Fable before she picked up her brief case and walked towards the door.
“Good bye, Voltaire” Croft said quickly. She looked around at everyone and then walked out of the hotel entrance. Everyone watched her go.
“See what you did?” Voltaire asked Mattie angrily.
“I didn’t say a thing!” Mattie said. “Maybe she’s just like me. Maybe, you were blackmailing her too and she just doesn’t want to be here!”
“I have this,” Fable said as he ran after her. He found Croft sitting just outside the hotel, on the ground, with her head in her hands, shaking.
“What’s wrong?” Fable said. Croft remained silent and Fable continued “Croft, thanks to you I can go to work every day and fight the good fight. As much as I hate to admit it, I owe you everything. Besides, we established that we can trust each other.”
“I couldn’t have saved you.” Croft said “I would have scrambled your brain if I tried to carry you away using my speed.”
“What are you talking about?” Fable asked as he walked over to Croft. “Do you want me to leave you alone?”
“No,” Croft said. “I need to get something out. I can’t tell Petra. I can’t. I love her. But I can’t. I thought I could take it to the grave. I can’t.”
“I told you everything,” Fable said. “There’s nothing you could say that would make me judge you. I told you about Tale, about how I love him, how he betrayed me, and how I killed him for it. I trusted him with everything like a fool. Now, I’ve trusted you with everything …”
“Be prepared for a long drawn out tale then,” Croft said getting comfortable.
“How could it be any other way?” Fable said leaning against the hotel wall.
“Ten years ago I discovered I could run at an unusual speed,” Croft said. “I was training for a marathon. Every day I would race around the pond at the park. I was running. I was also beginning to tire. I pulled though the pain in my legs. I kept running past my limit. Suddenly, I did not feel tired anymore. It was like being on a roller coaster. I ran faster and faster until everything around me blurred. I could feel the dust and dirt in the air. It cut my skin. The faster I ran, the more it hurt. I could not stop. I caught on fire and received third degree burns. I only survived because I fell into a pond.”
“Oh, this will take a while” Fable said teasingly as he sat down next to Croft.
“After I recovered, I tried again,” Croft said smiling. “I wore a flame resistant suit. The suit was cut up by the sand. I got bugs in my eyes and mouth. Despite this, I decided I was destined to save the world. I managed to find a heavy special suit to protect my body. The mask had to be metal. The eye pieces had to be ordered. I got the money through thieving. I used my physical ability to be a pickpocket and luckily I was never caught. No one ever saw my hands moving. That’s why I had the gloves made first. I thought that I would make up for it. I thought I was doing it for the greater good. I was saving lives. A few stolen dollars would mean nothing.”
“You can always pay those people back,” Fable offered. “Croft, I understand. Like me, you once had a mission that was more important than anything. What happened to you?”
“I killed someone I was trying to save,” said Croft after shushing Fable. “It takes me one tenth of a second to react to people in my way. Things went well until a child accidentally stepped in my path while I was running at top speed. I had thought about it during training. I thought I would only need to pick up the person, and slow to a stop to avoid hurting them. I did that, but she died. Her brain was crashed into the side of her skull when I picked her up. I stopped and her brain hit the other side of the skull. I quit trying to be a hero after that.”
“Oh,” Fable said quietly.
“Do you know how I met Voltaire? We were stealing the same painting. That is who I am now. I’m a theft. I ended up sticking with the profession. It turns out I am good at being a thief. I am a terrible hero, but a great thief.”
“Croft, I killed people in war. I can justify it and live with it. I’m not even upset that I killed Tale. In truth, I am actually just upset because I betrayed a friend. So I think I can help you deal with what happened. I think at one time you were just like me and I also think we could see each other again as friends.”
“Yes.” Croft said. “But it is pointless. We aren’t friends. You are a soldier. I am a child killing thief. No one in my network would trust me, if we became friends. You are a slave to the current system who would suspect you of corruption if you were ever seen with me.”
“You cannot judge a whole system if you are just focused on the mistakes.” Fable said. “You are right about one thing; the military would not like me being friends with a criminal.”
“I don’t know why I care so much about you,” Croft said smiling. “I wanted to save your life. I’m willing to trust you. I must be going soft.”
“Maybe we both are,” Fable said, putting a hand on Croft’s neck. She lowered her head into her knees and let him hold onto her. She did not see a limo drive up to the hotel and or the plastic woman who exited the limo.
Disclaimer: This is an original story that is not based on any real people or events. It is a work of fiction that is purely for your entertainment.