Jon’s mind is a blur. I’ve killed The Captain plays on repeat in his mind as he comes to terms with what just happened.
But I didn’t! Jon Crawler, a two bit criminal mutant who only wants the serum to become normal, has somehow managed to bring down the most powerful superhero in the known galaxy.
That makes him a super villain. Inside, he feels a sense of exhilaration, tinged with guilt and fear. No one will believe that it has been the serum, the military will deny all knowledge of it. Besides, the Captain did wilt under his blows, all the cameras caught it.
He tunnels aimlessly around the outskirts of the city, too afraid to head home. Above ground, the military and Super League are probably tracking him this instant. He stops to rest for a moment, plucking out the last remaining vial from his pocket. With his night vision, he can see the greenish liquid swirling inside. He could end this now, stop living as Jon Crawler, and become just Jon. That is what this everyone else has died for… right?
But he has only one vial left, one for so many. He pockets the precious serum and continues on his way, brooding to himself. By the time he decides to head home, it is way past midnight. His head pops up in the little compost heap he keeps perpetually in the backyard. It is not the Batcave, but it serves well enough to keep nosy neighbors away. Creeping into the house, he cleans himself off at the sink before changing into his PJs, falling exhausted beside his wife.
Margery stirs, turning around to hug him. She cries as she kisses his face, and pounds on his chest.
“…Jon, what do you want for breakfast?”
Jon opens his eyes. Margery is standing over him, looking lovely in her nightgown. She cups a loving hand over his face and kisses him on the lips.
“You came home pretty late last night.”
Jon blinks, “Yea.”
“Why didn’t you come back sooner? We were all so worried.”
He winces as he tries to sit up.
“Poor baby,” Margery says, bending over to kiss him. “How does pancakes with strawberries sound?”
Jon smiles and nods, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Take a shower, there’s still blood on your face.”
Margery leaves the room as Jon gets up. He takes a quick shower and checks himself in the mirror. Jon Creedy’s face is clean now. Satisfied, he walks down to the living room.
His two sons, Aaron and Jake are on the floor in front of the TV, watching morning cartoons.
“Mind if I watch the news for a while?” Jon asks.
The boys let out a groan.
“Just for a while kids,” Jon picks up the remote and switches the channel.
“… Remly Manson, loving father and beloved Crime Fighter…”
“The superhero known affectionately as Captain…”
“… Dead! The superhero community is asking for anyone with the whereabouts of the mutant known as The Crawler to…”
Jake, his younger son, drops his spoon, spilling cereal on the table. “The Captain is dead?” He asks, staring with wide-eyes at the television.
Aaron turns around to glare at his father.
Jon flicks through the news channels. CNN, ABC, Fox, every channel is reporting on the same thing. Already a state funeral is being planned. Jon seethes, listening attentively to the commentary. There is no mention of the five people he killed.
Aaron stands up and storms to his room, while Jake sits there and starts to whimper.
“Honey please, switch back to the cartoons,” Margery shouts from the kitchen.
Jon sighs, flipping the channel back to Dora. He stoops over to pick up his son. “Why are you crying Jakie?”
“Cus the Captain is dead,” The boy sniffles.
“You liked the Captain?”
Jake bawls, “He’s my hero.”
Jon says nothing, feeling the wrenching in his gut. “Sweetie, the Captain isn’t that great, he’s just… well he’s like us.”
“Says who!” The boy says, struggling to free himself from Jon’s arms.
Jon bites his lips in disappointment. “Go watch cartoons in daddy’s room Jakie. Daddy needs to talk to mummy.” He lets Jake go and watch as the boy runs up the stairs.
“You okay hon?” Margery asks, bringing out breakfast.
Jon smothers his face in his hands, letting out his frustration. “I did the impossible Marge. I beat the man who cannot be beaten, yet…”
Margery sets down the plates and hugs him. “Let it go Jon, I’m just glad you made it out alive. I was watching the news together with Aaron. We thought you were dead.”
“I’m sorry,” Jon mumbles, reaching out for Margery’s hand. “But it was too dangerous for me to come back.”
“Did you get the serum?”
Jon hesitates before answering, “No.”
Margery looks away, tears welling in her eyes.
“I’ll try again hon, I promise.”
Margery laughs softly. “How? Everyone is dead Jon. How are you going to find the serum again anyway?”
Jon says nothing.
“That little girl they took in, they’re probably torturing her right now, trying to find out who you are.”
“She doesn’t know who I am Marge… None of them do…”
“How about the blood?” Margery says, flustering. “What if they test the blood on the scene and…”
“Enough, we knew the risk when we decided to do this. Talking about it now isn’t going to change anything.”
“I’m just saying Jon, them league-types gets to call themselves heroes while we get branded as the terrorists. It just ain’t fair.”
“Nobody said it was.”
For a moment, the couple sits quietly on the sofa, holding on to each other as they stare at Dora prancing around on the television.