Fiction | Relationships | Short Story


Karen Brenchley
2 min readMay 4, 2023
Image use purchased from Unsplash+

She was a hero, she reminded herself. She had superpowers and wore a spandex costume and little girls dressed up as her for Halloween. She took another sip of her coffee, which had cooled. Should she bother getting another cup? Hot coffee hurt worse when it was thrown.

Her wristband flashed, letting her know her husband had won his latest battle. Her hand shook, causing waves in her cup and a rattle against the table. Her stomach clenched.

She pushed back her chair from the kitchen table, not caring that the table slid across the floor to hit the wall. The coffee cup broke, and pale brown liquid slid down the wall. She should clean that. She didn’t want to get slapped.

She loved her husband, she really did. Well, everybody else did, too. Everybody loves a handsome hero who saves puppies and babies and keeps buildings from falling down. Bile rose in her throat.

She turned up the running news channel in hopes of hearing of a disaster, big enough and far enough away that her help would be needed and appreciated. And explainable, for why she wasn’t home.

She’d spoken to some other elites, women and even one man, about options. She’d been slowly building her own Fortress of Privacy, with strong walls and the best encryption on the locks. Best of all, she’d hidden it very, very well.

She needed to get to it. Her face flushed, heat rising up. Or hope. Maybe he’d be in a good mood. She hoped he’d saved happy people, who called his name and maybe some beautiful women kissed him. She desperately needed him to feel magnanimous.

She couldn’t just walk out without saying anything. That would make him feel like a loser, and he’d never stop trying to get revenge for making him feel ashamed. She ran through her speech in her head. She tried to smile, but she knew it would look like a grimace. She wanted to scream, to faint, to become invisible, but her power made her strong.

Just not strong enough.

He’d be home soon.

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Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, 2021



Karen Brenchley

Product manager for machine learning and data science, aikido nidan, published fiction writer, MS survivor