All The Worst People Are Crazy

“Theodosia…” For the first time Anthony Merced’s voice betrayed his true feelings and he was alarmed. He stood there gaping down at his hands until the gloves fell to the ground amid a mass of delicate dust. His hands were gone! Theo watched for a moment then ran to his side as the sleeve of his armor collapsed, all the while a fine dust spraying the air. She grabbed his elbows to support him, but the material crumpled and Anthony tumbled to the ground.

“Why, Theodosia?” Anthony’s question sounded like an accusation. His feet were gone now as well and Theo didn’t know what to do.

“Don’t go, Anthony! You’re a hero and I need you. Don’t leave me!” Theo was frantic as she sat at his side holding onto his waist, but the man was disintegrating before her very eyes.

“Why have you done this to me?” Anthony pleaded again sounding so young and scared.

“It isn’t me, Anthony! I promise it isn’t me. Hang on, I can fix this.” But she had no idea what to do or how to do it. Within seconds Anthony Merced was gone and his dust was blown to the curb. She scrambled to her feet clutching the empty armor, the lifeless eyes of that mask boring into her. It had happened so quickly. She looked up and down the alley and the silent city, oblivious to the peculiar death of a young hero, felt like an affront. What if it had been her? Or worse, what if it had been Niko? Did this city truly not care one way or the other?

She could go to the police and tell them what happened here. They needed to know. Surely this young man had some family who would want to know. But what if the police thought she were responsible. After her foolhardy delivery of the bad guys to the precinct they may not believe she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time - twice. She was dragging the armor and helmet along then tossed it in the crate of firearms. She paced around the crate, stopping to look down at Anthony Merced’s armor before turning around to pace the opposite direction. Theo became aware of sirens, their approach nearby and sudden. Then a thought crept into her head and began to grow into a doubt until she was certain of it. That was a terrible series of mental events for someone in Theo’s condition because it was now impossible to convince her otherwise.

“Oh fuck, I killed him. He knew all the secrets to Tom and Jerry and I killed him.” This wasn't a poof; it was a disintegration and that sounded more ominous. Theo needed to get back to the Compound and were it possible for her to recognize or admit it, she needed to get back on her medication as well. She pulled at her fingers and fumbled with the sling ring to get it in place. It took her three tries to open a portal to the Compound; the first had fizzled and collapse straight away and the second led to some dark forest she’d never been to. But the third one got her to the Compound in one piece. Theo stood in the main atrium surrounded by the demolished interior courtesy of those butt-poking murder bots. For reasons unknown to her, or against all reason, she felt compelled to disrobe like she had many times on public busses. It made no sense and she gave it no thought, she just started taking off the red leather suit right where she stood. She looked a mess; bruises from the fight showing in nasty purple welts across her arms and torso, what little makeup she wore was smeared across her face and her hair looked like the scene of some pit fight between a family of pigeons.

Theo tossed the outfit aside and stood there in the nude. “Niko! The janitors are coming for me again and you need to look at my endocrine system. I missed too many of my dietary supplements and killed a superhero with my mind.”

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