She’ll never leave me again.
. . .
Bio-engineering on the first day of freshman year at Soul University. That is when I first laid eyes on her. She was...is slender, yet defined by gentle curves. Her eyes are the kind of blue that isn’t too sharp or cutting but are kind and magnetic. Such a presence that warms a room, but doesn’t overwhelm it.
As she sat next to me, a collection of her golden hair brushed my arm lightly. Few things could send my cells into such a flurry as her.
“Hi, I’m Angel!”, she introduced herself, extending a friendly hand.
What an ironic name.
“Lilith.” I had responded, taking her hand in return and giving it a light shake.
“I love your earrings.” They were little wire flowers with a pearl in the center, likely homemade.
A flush filled her face. That’s when I noticed her freckles, the little stars unique only to her.
Then the class had started. Our hands both shot up on almost every answer. We shared a smile every time, it was like we shared the same neuro space. Naturally, I asked her out on a date later. It was lovely. Tea at a local place downtown. We had hit it off instantly.
She was sensitive, forcing me to break down the brick walls around my heart. I was bold, encouraging her to experience new things. We were both huge nerds, interested in how the building blocks could be bent to our use.
In fact, that’s where we got the idea for the project. Anime is more inspirational than you would think. We could spend hours ranting over our favorite shows, or watching them on our dorm couch together, snuggled close together. Angel had granted, much more experience in the realm of geek than I had, but that just meant I had that much more I could listen to her about.
And listen I did. We had been discussing superhumans, in particular Your Hero School, and she lamented how annoyingly unexceptional our dimension seemed to be. We were into our last year of our majors, the fourth year of our relationship.
“OMG ahhhh that bothers me on such a spiritual level tooooo.”
“You’d think we’d have figured it out by now, how to make something magical…”
Then it sparked me.
“What if we tried?
“What do you mean?”
Her puzzled face was so cute…
“Like. We’re smart y’know, and our expertise is perfect for it. We could do it as a research project for the university! Use science to make fiction reality!”
“Hmm...I don’t know Lil, that seems like a lot…” she had said, frowning slightly.
“C’mon, that’s why we’ll have each other!”
That had lightened her expression a little.
“With you by my side? How could I not be?” I had curled the most charismatic smile in my arsenal.
And just like that, it had begun. We pitched our idea to the university, and they reluctantly agreed. It was a dreadfully slow process. Every time we seemed to get somewhere, it did a backflip to just an inch before we started. Not to mention finding volunteers to be lab rats. You would think more people would jump at the chance to become extraordinary, but fear is the ultimate restraint to brilliance.
Eventually, we gave in and used ourselves in our experiments. I’m sure I have some wacky chemicals in me to this day. We decided we’d leave it down to a coin flip for fairness though. Yes. A tiny, round piece of cheap metal determined our fates.
Determined her fate.
When we finally got it to work, she had bet on tails. Suddenly, she was capable of lifting things 5 times her size, without a strain. And we had no idea how we did it.
We agreed to keep it a secret for then. We didn’t know the side effects, how it would turn out. If we started production without rigorous testing, we risked not only legal action but countless damages to who knows how many people.
But, of fucking course, it made her a superhero.
It started with stopping a car before it hit some crone in the street. She had gushed at the rush, explaining every detail of it to me like a child with some new toy. From there, the lab slowly lost its appeal to her. It would be easier if it was prestige or glory she was after. Then I could’ve had a real reason to hate her. But no, she was just set on helping people.
“Lil, think of all the lives lost while we wait!”
“This is the last time, I promise!”
Needless to say, it wasn’t. It never was. It never seemed to occur to her that if she spent more time perfecting her new skills, understanding how and why they worked, the number of people she could save then.
She was barely even home then. She would come in exhausted at night, sometimes even with blood crusting on her outfit. I would question about her day, longing to hone in on some topic that would open her up again. Her responses went from hour to hour reports to nondescript simple sentences.
Oh yeah, she developed a “costume” at some point. I was on board for her protection but she really amped it up towards the end…She decided to take her name literally...
She’d crawl into bed, and pass out. It was like sleeping next to a rock. The woman I loved seemed to have forgotten me. Eventually, I wouldn’t even see her in the mornings. I used to crave and relish my alone time, but day after day alone at the breakfast table wore down my spirit. And when we did see each other, we’d be at each other’s throats, and not in the fun way. It was misery.
All my life was spent lonely in a lab, with my only sample out god knows where. There were only so many scientific side tangents I could go on to entertain myself. So naturally, I did what any intelligent scientist would do. I went to go watch my subject in its natural environment.
I did not expect to find my subject in a new petri dish, with another specimen.
I confronted her then and there, furious, words lashing out and cutting deep, in all the little spots that only I knew.
She had the gall to act like she was the victim.
Things were over after that. First, I was depressed. What had made me so worthless in her eyes? Why wasn’t I enough? Tears made my pillow wetter than the clothes washer ever did.
Then I was angry. She took our work and used it all for herself, leaving me behind in the dirt. She sacrificed our love for her own stupid goals. Goals we could have accomplished together. We could have soared to new heights together.
I became obsessed. No longer did I want to be her. No. No no no. I wanted to beat her. I would not become her. Every hero needs a nemesis after all. I watched her press clips, interviews, social media videos of her beating up some criminal. I documented all her struggles, combined them with my own personal knowledge. I even interviewed some of the people she had put behind bars.
I finally devised a trap, something that would get her for sure.
Which is how we got here.
I look at her, unable to move under the thick steel. She glares at me, but I know her well enough to see the fear hidden well underneath. After all, she learned it from me.
“Let me go,” she says, a threat threaded meaningfully in.
I can’t help but laugh,
“Just like you ‘let me go’?”
“What do you mean Lil, I don’t know-”
“Don’t call me that” I snap.
“You know damned well what I mean. Cheating on me with some, some….whore I assume.”
“What are you talking about Lil- I mean Lilith.” her face morphing into what must be feigned confusion.
“Oh ho-oh, don’t act like you don’t know.”
“WE WERE SEPERATED LONG BEFORE THAT!” she cries out.
“We were just going through a rough patch!” I whip around, so I’m no longer facing her.
“You need help, Lilith.”
“No…” I say quietly, “What I need is you.”
Leaving the room, I slam my hand into a table, rattling the desk. Memories flash in and out of my head. Falsifications. She must have done something to me. Some new power she developed under my nose.
It doesn’t matter, it will be irrelevant soon.
I walk back into the room with a clear syringe. She eyes me warily.
“Lilith what is that.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just to knock you out for a bit so I can make some adjustments.” I smile.
“Hey, hey, nonononono don’t do that please, no whatever you’re planning you don’t have to do it”, my Angel begins to plead,
“We can be together again I promise just please don’t do whatever you’re about to do,” she says squirming away from the needle.
“It’ll all be ok soon, lovely,” a calm tone taking over my voice, almost clinical.
“Lilith, I was just trying to help people! To save them”
“And what about saving me?!” the tears I’ve been holding back creep in,
“Look. Things will be better in a minute, ok?” I breathe out.
Before she can say another word, I plunge it down and she loses consciousness almost immediately.
Now the real work begins.
. . .
I have to knock her out a few times in the following days. Change her, feed her. It takes about a week to finish.
I take a deep breath and power her on, just a love tap on the neck.
Her beautiful blue eyes open and she looks at me smiling,
“I missed you, darling.”
“And oh how I missed you,” I respond, cupping my hand around her heart-shaped face.
She leans into it, and the chip is just barely visible beneath her skin.
A tear pulls at my eye again, begging to fall.
She’ll never leave me again.