Sad Fantasy Fiction


The Hero screamed, punching the resilient wall with his fist. 

“I almost had her! I almost had her!”

I didn’t flinch. The poor wall was peeling and cracked, bruised and broken, loose sediment falling off it with each forceful blow but it never gave way. The room shook, almost as if it were trembling in fear. I, however, did not hold fear for the mercurial man before me, nor did I look at him in awe or admiration as I once had, not even with pity.

Resentment - it was with resentment that I watched him as he pounded away manically against the concrete masonry, hands bleeding, voice splitting. It stirred a bitter, cold feeling in my jaded heart; I was disgusted. He called it out for a fifth time: I almost had her.

~ ~ ~

Things in my life come in 5s. I was born on the 5th day of the 5th month. I was 1 of 5 children. I had 5 shirts to my name back then at the house - boy was I lucky compared to the other kids at the rookery for that. More importantly though, it only took 5 seconds for my life to change completely.

See, at one point in my life there were a lot of things I was willing to do to survive. I would do any job if it paid enough - 55 shillings was more than worth it. I would help my brother bury a body and still wake up the next day well slept - death was a difficult concept for a 5 year old to grasp. I’d stay up extra late and get up extra early to make matchsticks with the other children - a routine I had grown used to that permitted only 5 hours of sleep on even the best of days. 

That was my life until he saved me. I was walking to the factory one day. My outgrown boots were falling apart and with each step a gritty flap-thwack could be heard against the gravel as my shoe’s struggling soles clung precariously to its leather. The wind was howling and the early morning fog had not yet dispersed. It was calm, my head hung low, my feet dragged and my sighs were frequent. I had stayed up later than usual, so I was less cheery that morning; less alert… Maybe things would have been different if I had moved out of the way in time.

Occurrences of supervillain attacks were growing more prominent in our neighbourhoods in the earlier weeks of that month. It seemed homes forgotten by the government were the easiest prey to pick on -  take from the poor, you see, no one will care. We were an easy target, I was an easy target. To this day I still can’t fathom why such an infamous criminal like Kerra would spare any interest in a frivolous orphaned youngin like me but there I was, walking along that dirt path one second and lying on the floor dazed and confused the next as a wicked darkness loomed over me. 

I’m not quite sure what happened or why but before I knew it, my vision was blurred and my ears were ringing and my body aching. You’d think my senses would become more attentive when threatened with death but perhaps my small body was already eager to give up. So motionless I lay, welcoming death. That was until the menacing presence was no longer casting its horrific shadow over me - this must have been the part where he joined the fray, because before I knew it, I was wrapped, swaddled like a baby burrito in one of those shiny thermal blankets and being carried away in a strong embrace. I felt safe. 

That’s how my life began; that’s when I started to realise the world had so much more to offer than matchmaking. After that day, I decided to devote my entire existence to helping this stranger, a man who at one point, promised me a home; redemption; hot meals, a warm bed, a roof over my head; anything a starving bastard child from the slums could hope for. Forever, my loyalty, my faith, I have been always indebted to this man the city calls their hero.

Most people refer to him as The Watcher. Why? Perhaps because he’s vowed to watch over and protect the people of our homeland. Or perhaps, as I’m beginning to understand, there’s really only ever been one person he watched ceaselessly and it certainly wasn’t me. 

Yet, the day he saved me was the day I caught a glimpse of humanity; it fed my little naive shriveled heart with hope; a hope that better days were to come and better friends were to be made. I had hoped. I had trusted. I had been fooled.

He taught me everything he knew - why me, I’m still not sure - but to him, I was like a son. I’d tag along on his missions sometimes; I’d help the injured civilians and comfort them in the aftermath; I would help rebuild and clean homes destroyed in his fightings; I’d crave his attention, his pride, his fatherly affection. 

A small town hero he used to be and now he was known all ‘round the country as the people’s savior; they’re Watcher. Years it had taken for him to build up his reputation. Years it had taken for me to help him get there. Years he spent fighting the same battles against the same villainess and not once did my faith in him falter. 

That was until he started growing relentless. Every night he’d spend making plans, plotting her viciously horrific downfall.

There was one duel, I remember, where he had come close to cornering her. She had just set a building ablaze, crushed its support pillars and made a run for it. I ran into the collapsing building. I had no special powers but I knew The Watcher would have my back and we’d carry out our usual plans to get all the civilians out safely. I may have rescued three by the time the fire-fighters arrived and I myself had to be taken to hospital for burns and smoke inhalation. 

As I lay on the rickety gurney, an oxygen mask thrusted against my face, nurses and doctors rushing above me, all I could think was: Where was he? Where was my father? 

As I later would find out, he was with her. His rival, his foe, like Joker and The Batman they hunted each other obsessively back and forth, each to no avail. 

My phone had not rung for me once during the night and I drove myself home from the hospital the next morning. 

I scared myself sick thinking about why he hadn’t come to see me, check on me, watch over me. Could it possibly be… What if he had also been badly injured? Or killed? Or captured and tortured? My thoughts were intrusive and grew more and more disturbing with each red light.

When I got home, I found him. Asleep. Bent over his desk with paper everywhere, a half drunk beer to his left and an ink stained notepad to his right, a box of Bryant and Mays to the side which leant unsteadily against his Meerschaum pipe. Bryant and Mays. The little brown box made my stomach churn. 


He didn’t stir. I walked over and shook him. “Dad?” His iconic purple supersuit smelt stale and sour, like he’d been out all night chugging back shots of woe. The collection of notes which pillowed his face all contained scribbled words, the only one I could identify was the same name repeated again and again in bold red ink: Kerra

I felt nauseous and turned on the TV to watch the news. The incident from that night was being reported. A clip was provided from security cameras of The Watcher chasing “heroically,” they say, after the supervillain until he eventually lost her some hours before the break of dawn. He had completely disregarded the burning building in his incessant hunting. A seed of doubt grew in me that day, disappointment almost, anger. 5 casualties (there’s that ugly number again): 2 injured, 3 killed. I couldn’t save everyone but I knew if he had been there, we could have. 

That was the first sign.

Sometimes I’d have to disguise myself as him to take on his missions when he was blackout drunk. I was burying bodies once again but this time with the well known consciousness  of its weight; too much money was spent on immortelles. I had to do public apologies whenever The Watcher messed up and where I could, I took credit for his mistakes to help protect his symbol. The people needed him; his image; his symbol, I could see that. The town never really got the chance to rebuild, catastrophes were becoming more frequent. He stopped paying much mind to me, he didn’t visit my room or thank me, cook my meals and read bedtime stories like he once had. He looked through me, nowadays; those glassy eyes of stone.

I told him that day he saved me that I owed him my life, however, and I intended to stay true to that. 

Until the day Kerra died. Not even by his hand, but by a terrible plague which not everyone could afford a vaccine for. However, his cold glare did not show relief, as I had imagined it would. Instead, he glared down at that news article with skepticism.

He spent the day kicking and punching public property, knocking over trash cans, throwing pebbles at trees. He grabbed me by the shoulders and jerked me around, yelling that the journalists were wrong. He said it was one big ruse. Kerra wasn’t really dead, this was just another one of her games to drive him insane. If you asked me, whether it was part of her plan or not, she certainly had achieved in driving the man mad. 

I had never seen such a fierce look in my father’s eyes before. It disturbed me. It was hungry and impulsive and wild. The same ravenous looks that populated the slums, etched into every child’s face when someone collapsed or died and their possessions were finally free for the taking.

It was that night that the drunk Watcher stumbled into a lively backstreet and attacked a civilian. It was that night that he comatosed an innocent woman who he had mistaken for Kerra; she had shared her dark hair and tall figure but that had been it. She had kind eyes, a nice smile, two children. Or so I heard. I was busy doing some side commissions so I could pay for that week’s rent (superheroism wasn’t exactly a steady income anymore). 

“I’ll kill you!” He had screamed out at her. “I’ll kill you!” 

By the time the police had shown up the woman was barely breathing. They had to tranquilize him - you guessed it - 5 times before they were finally able to sedate him… The woman died in the hospital shortly afterwards. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day but it sure as hell burned in one - because in less than twenty-four hours he had turned his carefully curated persona of peace into a murderous merciless monster.  And boy did he burn. He burnt bright and he burnt fast.

News of the tragic incident spread like wildfire: Innocent Civilian Slaughtered by World Famous Watcher.

The world had lost a Hero that day, but I had lost a father. 

~ ~ ~

A small slit in the wall is what I looked through when I visited him - this slit was also used for providing him with food and water but sometimes on his calmer days I’d sneak through books, paper, pens.

You see, Reader, due to his unstable mind and lethal super powers, he was taken away to an isolated place where he stayed locked up in a small room, layers and layers of security surrounding him. The walls in his little room were always shaking and I would watch him senselessly beat the crap out of it week after week, month after month, year after year. For my entire life I thought he was the most perfect person but now I realise he was missing something: restraint. 

I earn $5000 dollars a week from my 5-star Hero Training Business - I want more. I have faced more death than any 25 year old should ever have - I feel so numb. I have 5 pairs of shoes for every occasion - I’ve donated so much more than that to charity though. 

However out of my life in 5’s, only 4 words keep me up at night:

I almost had her. 

April 29, 2023 03:33

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Avonlea Seifried
20:40 May 05, 2023

This is so underrated. Best story I've seen on this website!!!! This inspired me, so I thank you, kind writer!


Louise Wernham
09:35 May 07, 2023

Hi! Thanks for reading my story! As a new writer on this platform, I was feeling a little insecure but you’ve certainly motivated me to keep writing, so thank you! And I’m really glad my writing could connect with you - it makes writing these stories so much more worth it.


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