Man of Iron, Man of Fear This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 29, 2013
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The phone wakes me in the middle of the night, piercing through my dreams like a knife through a piece of thick cheese.
I grope awkwardly through the darkness for the small ringing piece of metal on my table. It’s only then that I notice the bed is empty.
“Tony?” I say it quietly, so as not to awaken the silence that lingers in the darkness, but the phone’s insistent ringing has already done that.
Reluctantly, I press the “talk” button.
“Hello?” I don’t realize how clogged with sleep my voice is until I hear myself.
“Hello? Pepper.” For a moment, I don’t recognize the voice “It’s Happy.”
“Oh.” I sit up in bed, and wipe my arm across my eyes. “What time is it?”
“I-I don’t know.” His usually calm voice is strained. “Pepper, where’s Tony?”
“Tony?” Once again, I peer into the impenetrable darkness of the bedroom. “I don’t know.”
“Pepper, you need to find him right now. Something’s wrong.”
I’m already on my feet, holding the wireless phone.
Happy continues “Tony called me about five minutes ago. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying… he didn’t sound good.”
I sigh. This has happened far too often. “Thanks, Happy. I’ll find him. Go back to bed.”
“Are you sure?” He sounds more awake then I am.
“Yes. Don’t worry. I’ll call you if I need you.”
I pad across the cold stone of the living room and downstairs. My fingers fumble with the code to open the door to Tony’s workshop, but somehow I get it open.
It’s very dark, and for a moment, I am consumed by the blackness.
“Tony?” I call furtively.
For a moment, there is silence, and then I hear a sniffle followed by a whine of machinery.
The darkness opens up for a moment, revealing the blue shine of Tony’s arc reactor.
It illuminates the slack body of my love, thrown across the ground like an old piece of twisted metal.
There’s another sniffle, and I can’t stand it any longer.
I run across the slippery floor, strewn with bits of metal.
“Jarvis,” I tell Tony’s computer “Turn on the lights.”
In an instant, the room is bathed in the harsh glow of florescent lighting.
It bites into my eyes, leaving white blisters trickling across my vision.
When I can see again, I find myself beside Tony.
His face is turned away from me, and I panic. I can’t see if he’s breathing or not.
“Tony?” I try.
And for a moment there is a dreadful silence, and then a horrible, heart wrenching sob.
Tony doubles up, as if he has been shot.Tears are splattered across his face like a Jackson Pollock painting gone terribly wrong. They dry, leaving crusty trails, even while he gives birth to new ones.
“Tony.” I like my lips trying to stay calm. I have no idea what’s wrong, but that doesn’t matter. “You need to take deep breathes. It’s okay…It’s okay I’m here.”
He whimpers, and I feel slick droplets of salt water running down my cheeks. Tony is my love, my hero. He has saved so many lives….I can’t stand to see him like this.
Slowly his breathing returns to normal, and the sweat dries on his forehead. My knees ache from crouching on the hard floor, but my heart hurts far more.
“What happened?” I ask as I slowly ease him up.
“Nothing.” He rolls his eyes as if he could just make it all go away. I’ve lived with Tony for years. I’ve seen him drunk with alcohol, but never with fear.
“Did you call Happy?”
“I-I” his voice quavers uncharacteristically. “I’m not sure.”
“You’re not sure?”
“I was dreaming—I panicked.” He stands up, and I struggle to my feet.
“Was it the same dream?”
“Nightmare more like.”
I know Tony’s been having nightmares but I had no idea they were this bad. Ever since he came back from New York, something hasn’t been right. Ever since he fought alongside a demi-god, a rage monster, and a man from a different century against aliens, all in the same day, he hasn’t had the same self-assurance that he once did.
I follow him up the steps, past his shining suits.
We reach the living room, and the darkness envelopes us again. I remember we have to ask Jarvis to turn the lights on. First world problems.
“Pepper.” He looks into my eyes, and I stare into his dark retinas. “Pepper—I don’t know what to do. I can’t sleep any more, and when I do I have nightmares.” His voice rises desperately until he ends at almost a scream.
“Shh. You’ll be OK.” I murmur, but I’m not sure he will be.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Thalion said...
Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:59 am
An ok article...not exactly much like the movie Pepper or Tony Stark, but I guess it would be more emotional coming from Pepper's mind. The only thing that really wierded me out was the line about his tears" leaving crusty trails as he gave birth to new one." The sounds disturbing and disgusting!!! Otherwise, not too bad...
JRaye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm
I'm honestly not exactly and Ironman-super-fan, but oh my GOSH! This is great! :) I love the point of veiw you chose, it made the whole thing come together. Great job, keep it up! :)
Irenie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 30, 2013 at 4:18 am
Glad you enjoyed it even though you're not a fan :)
E.J.Mathews This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm
I think you captured Tony Stark's fear well, and I really love how you felt the need to emphasize that part of the movie. I also liked how you told the story from Pepper's point of view. I think she has become a forgotten charactor, and you really brought her back to life.
Irenie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 28, 2013 at 12:16 am
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it :)
Jade.I.Am This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 12, 2013 at 9:34 am
This is really, really good. You are an amazing writer! Some of the imagery, like him crying, really affected me great job!!!
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