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The Power of Hope
The building crumbled around her. Large chunks of cement and brick clacking against one another as they fell, the wood buttresses already long gone and turned to black ash.
The third building fallen that week.
They fell left and right, family after family. Children's wails in the rubble for their parents or other loved ones, loved because they became a thing of the past while she stood in the lonely present. Her heart beating so loud that it was sure she would be found and taken, too.
The heap of what was once a tall building full of life settled, and in its newfound silence, the sorrowful rumors of its neighbors echoed.
She left the building with torn rubber soles scraping against cement, and the soft tearing of heartstrings tightening her chest. The muffled cries from a small girl could be heard by some, but others heard the newfound determined footsteps of a warrior.
Thousands had come and gone like her. Ones with the strength and speed to destroy, and the power to look the other way.
While she stared it dead in the face.
The place where there were more buildings strewn and broken than there were streets.
The place where there were more orphaned children than there were families.
The place where it was hard to decide if there were more broken bones or broken hearts.
The place where arrogance and ignorance reined hope and will, until someone was broken just enough to find it again.
And in tragedy the broken girl had circled all the way back around to find the meaning of hope.
She stood tall and walked the broken streets, while the rumors of sorrow shifted to questions of hope and confusion.
The ones with hearing strong enough to catch ear of the rumors questioned the uncharacteristic determination of the girl they had broken. Their own rumors forming, wondering what the long lost word of hope meant for them.
They had always been stronger than the pitiful word of hope. Their newfound strength and power had corrupted them into its destruction. Brute force had always managed to overpower the weakened souls and create hopelessness, but they had never accounted for any outliers such as the girl who had lost everything.
She was supposed to break, yet she walked as if nothing could touch her, like her glass house had fallen and been built to stone. And the powerful watched her in awe, because she was different, and their fear of the unknown was unbearable.
They watched on with power so great residing in their bones that combined, they could easily take to the planets core and destroy it from the inside out. But they stood by, paralyzed, and watched. They watched her walk past the last of people suffering in their broken homes, and past each of their own kind who had become powerful and villainous enough to break them. And as they watched, not a single one could shake the stiffness in their bones.
The people of fear itself had discovered their long-lost fear, and watched the girl who harnessed it walk the path to their demise. It was like a contagion that soon infected the small population of people left, and the ones who had the power to destroy humanity were backed into a corner of destruction.
Their power, the collective power of hope.