Loop: origins

December 18, 2017
By Hardt, Three Rivers, Michigan
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Hardt, Three Rivers, Michigan
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Author's note:

My inspiration for this peice came from Driver's Ed, when they showed clips of cars being hit by trains. My teacher talked about a girl who shoved a boy off the tracks when he was playing chicken, and was killed. It sounded like a really good origin story for a super hero, so I created one.

This is the first story I've ever actually posted anywhere, and I hope peple like it and get a lot from it.

Chicago, 2017
Sara walked down the street towards the bus stop. Faint mist floated low to the pavement giving the air a damp quality. The fall weather was chilly, and the morning light was faint, though just bright enough to see. She soon reached the bus stop and began waiting. She heard quick, approaching footsteps echoing down the street. Slowly, she turned to see the expected boy emerge from the mist, his dark hair and skin glowing in the early morning light. He stopped next to her and quickly checked his phone to see the time.
“Damn. Did you miss the bus too?” He inquired.
“It hasn’t come yet.” She stated evenly, and he let out a breath of relief.
They stood in silence for a few moments, before the bus lights became visible as it turned the corner to stop in front of them. The doors opened, and Sara climbed on with the boy following behind. She sat down, staring out the window, and he plopped down in the seat next to her.
“So,” he said, “are you going to see my game tomorrow?”
“Probably not.” She said, without glancing away from the window.
“Oh.” He said, looking down with disappointment, then back up. “Why?”
She glanced away from the window to look at him. She was silent for a few moments, and he squirmed slightly under her scrutiny.
Finally, she spoke, “I’m not a fan of large crowds.”
After a long, uncomfortable silence, the bus arrived at school. When they got off he started to walk away, towards his friends.
“See you later, Sara.” He called, smiling.
“Bye, Scott.” She said, rolling her eyes.
His grin widened, and he ran off. She wondered why he was so nice when she was so rude back. People had always confused her, even more these days. She never got used to them, no matter how long she lived, and she was far older than she looked.
Sara Dean was born in Alexandrea, Virginia. Her looks would suggest her birth being around 1999, but in reality, she was born in the year 1916. Sara Dean was over a century old. She hadn’t been struck by lightning or experimented on, she had been hit by a train.

Alexandrea, 1932
A small group of teenagers meandered their way up a steep hill, towards a set a railroad tracks. The summer night was thick with humidity, and Sara’s short, blonde hair stuck to her forehead and cheeks. Bugs clustered around solitary street lamps, and the moon was full, with not a cloud in sight. The group, comprised of two boys and two girls, laughed, and generally made more noise than respectable.
One of the boys began to run ahead, calling behind him, “Come on, Sara! Your sixteenth birthday only happens once!”
She began to run after him, stumbling a little at the start, “Eddie, why are we here?”
“Excitement! Adrenaline!” He exclaimed, grabbing her hand.
She tripped over her skirt, but he held her steady. She pulled her hand away swiftly.
“I can make it to the top of the hill by myself, Edward.” She quipped, starting to run, and passing him so he had to scrambled after her.
“Now,” Sara said, repeating her question once they reached the top, “why are we here?”
He grinned, “Have you ever played chicken… with a train, miss Dean?”
“No!” Exclaimed Sara, worried, as he hopped onto the tracks.
“Go, Eddie!” said the other girl upon arriving, and the boy next to her whooped.
Sara whipped her head toward them, “This is stupid, Marry. Don’t encourage him.” She looked back at Eddie, “Get down from there.”
“It’s just a rush, Sara.” He said, staying where he was.
Then they all heard it. The train.
“Please, get down, Edward.” She said, her voice shaking nervously.
The train was in sight now.
“EDDIE, PLEASE!” She yelled, but the train was so loud now, they could hardly hear her.
The train was getting too close. Surely, he would jump out of the way soon. He didn’t move, only held his ground. The whistle sounded, making her ears throb, and drowning out all other noise. She saw the other’s mouths move as they yelled for him to jump. Why wouldn’t he move? He needed to move. She didn’t think, she couldn’t just stand there. It was too close. Sara jumped onto the tracks, pushing him off, and down the other side of the hill. It hit her.
That was the first time Sara Dean died, but it wouldn’t be the last.
She’d woken up on the tracks, friends gone, train gone. She felt fine, but she remembered the train hitting her. The excruciating pain of being, in essence, a fly on a windshield. Why did she feel better, stronger than she’d ever felt before? Was she dead? Was this heaven? She sat up, looking around. It was early morning, the sun had peaked over the horizon, warming her face. She stood. Her dress was in tatters, and she’d lost her stockings. Surprisingly, she still had one shoe, though how the stocking had come off without it, she couldn’t fathom. She started to walk, then tripped and fell. Catching herself on the metal rail, one hand gripping it tightly. It gave, creating a crumpled indent of the inside of her fist. She stared at it in shock. Screwing her courage, she smashed the ground with her other fist, driving a hole almost to her shoulder. She pulled her arm out, starting to panic.
What had that train done?
She stumbled down the hill. Not because she was weary, but because she was in shock. She wandered down the street, into town. It was too early for most people to be up, but she heard scuffling and a pained whimper. She quickened her pace, rounding a corner into an ally where a woman knelt in front of a man. He held a gun at his side, but he soon raised it toward the woman. Sara darted forward, faster than she ever could have the night before. The bullet sank into her, and she collapsed to the ground on her knees. The woman shrieked behind her. Why hadn’t she distracted the man instead of heedlessly darting in front of the woman? Now he would just shoot the woman and be done with the both of them. She hadn’t saved the woman, she’d just postponed her death.
“How did you..?” The man muttered, taking a step back.
He shuffled his feet, and she could see him trying to understand her sudden appearance. But, only a moment after stepping back, he sneered, stepping forward again and placing the gun at her temple. Anger grew inside her. He couldn’t even let her have a moment to contemplate her own stupidity? He had to be a d***. She stood quickly, grabbing him by the throat and throwing him against the opposite side of the ally. He cracked the wall, leaving a faint imprint, before falling to the ground. She collapsed, her energy spent. The last thing she saw was the woman running away.
She’d continued to save people in her town, secretly. People called her Loop, because no matter how many times she died descriptions of the same girl with super strength and speed showed up again, and again. However, soon she realized she couldn’t really save anyone. People died naturally, and she couldn’t save them. Her grandparents died. Her parents died. Eventually even her brother died in the war. She shouldn’t save him, or any other soldiers that went away.  Why should she save anyone, if they were going to die soon anyway? How could they ask her to die for them again, and again? For nothing.

Chicago, 2017
Sara turned toward the commotion behind her, startled from her memories by the sound. She saw a cloud of black smoke billowing up from farther in the city. All the students outside the school froze, stunned, but soon many were running toward the smoke, while others ran into the school. Sara stood, stationary, as students darted past her in either direction.
“Sara!” Called Scott, drawing near her. “I’m gonna go see if I can help. Come on!”
She stood still, only for a second, then shook her head. “No.”
“No?” He asked, confused.
“Why should I?” She fired back.
He was speechless, “B-Because it’s the right thing to do.”
The yard was almost empty now.
“Why, Scott? What can you do?” Her tone was void of emotion, despite the fact she silently wished for the reason behind his actions, and her own existence.
He struggled for a moment. She could see the turmoil inside of him as he desperately searched for an answer.
“I know you want to help,” Sara said, resigned, “and that’s admirable, really, but you can’t. If those people don’t die today, they’ll die tomorrow, next week, or in a few years. You can’t save them from that, so why risk the time you have?”
He looked at her disgusted.
“Maybe they will.” He said. “But if I don’t help them, how can I ask anyone to help me? If I was about to die, I couldn’t ask anyone to save me, because I wouldn’t save them.” He started to run away, then stopped and looked back. “People are worth saving, because even if they die eventually, they’ll have gotten to live.”
She stared after him as he ran away, his words affecting her more than he knew. She couldn’t move. Damn, couldn’t he just let her wallow in self-pity? Why should she listen to him? He was just an average boy. She’d been alive for over a hundred years. She knew more than he ever would, but… somehow, he was right. After all her years of rationalizing, and building a wall of reason, it’d come crashing down because of one teenage boy’s pity for others. She felt like she had when the train was thundering down the tracks, blowing its whistle. She didn’t entirely know why, but she ran toward the black smoke, a sad, but almost triumphant smile on her lips.
She expected to get there before Scott, but he must have known a shortcut she did not, because he was already rushing people to safety. She saw that there had been some kind of explosion in the center of one of Chicago’s river bridges. Cars were in the water, and others were being abandoned by civilians trying to flee the scene. Beyond Scott the police had set up a perimeter, which she scanned for the best possible breach point. Taking a few steps back, she ran toward the bridge at full speed, passing everyone else easily. Getting close, she leapt high, over the heads of stunned police officers and their cars. She landed on one knee, fists in the ground to stop her momentum, smashing the pavement. She stood, surveying the carnage, then she ran forward to into the smoke.
No one tried to stop her.
It was awhile before she saw Scott again, and it wasn’t pleasant when she did. She was helping a family by pulling their car away from the chasm in the bridge. Once the car was far enough away, she pulled the door right off. The parents and their two children scrambled out, the woman even uttering a hasty “thank you.” As Sara turned, looking for someone else to help, she saw Scott. Somehow, he’d gotten past the police, and was helping a boy, around 16, out of a car that was moments from plunging into the water below. The boy was either dead, or unconscious, because he did nothing to assist the older boy trying to pull him out. Scott managed to tear him from the car and throw him to the ground farther away from the cliff like edge. The bridge, however, was through holding up the car, and a chunk peeled away taking the car, and Scott, down with it. Sara ran forward looking over the edge. A sigh of relief rushed through her. Stott had somehow managed to grab hold of a bar protruding from the ragged edge of the bridge. She reached, trying to grab the hand he extended toward her, but he was too far away. She stood, taking a deep breath in, and jumped. As she fell, the world slowed down. She grabbed the bar he held on to with one hand, and with the other she grabbed him and threw him up, over the edge of the bridge. She saw him roll to safety, but he came scrambling back.
“SARA!” He screamed, reaching uselessly toward her with one hand, tears streaking his soot covered face.
The jolt of her weight had been the last for the bar she held. She smiled at Scott as he tried desperately to reach her. The bar broke away from the bridge. She fell.
Her neck snapped upon contact with the river, and the last thing she saw was bubbles.

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