Friday nights are my favorite.
Fridays I get to go out on the town and I don't have to worry about hauling my butt out of bed the next morning.
Fridays I get to wear my favorite clothes.
Little bit of leather. Little bit of spandex. Lots of black.
My wardrobe got an upgrade recently.
My black leather combat boots served me well for a while. At the very least they kept me from twisting an ankle when climbing out my dorm window.
My new boots have a special sole made out of an experimental polymer. It adsorbs vibrations, cushioning impacts. It also lets me walk almost silently.
Perks of being best friends with a polymer science major.
I was thinking about my boots when I slipped through the shadows, inching my way closer to the local drug dealer.
He was waiting on a quiet corner to ambush drunk college students.
Apparently bit of coke doesn't sound too bad after a few shots of Fireball and this dude is one hell of a salesman.
One guy crashed his car into a tree last Friday night.
He's lucky. He's going to be okay.
The next person might not be that lucky, so someone needs to make sure there isn't a next time.
I tried the cops.
They didn't listen.
Not that I blame them. Who would listen to little girl like me? I had no hard evidence and no influence in the department.
So the drug dealer became Shadow's problem.
I was able to creep right up behind the dealer. He was in his forties, average height, and average build.
Spikey blond hair and a black tattoo of a rose that wrapped around the man's neck told me I had found my guy.
I reached out, tapped the dealer on the shoulder, and said, "Boo!"
The dealer whipped around. His hand went to his waist,reaching for the gun I'd been told he carried.
My fist hit his jaw before he could draw the gun.
The dealer staggered backwards, slipped off the edge of the sidewalk, and fell in the gutter.
He laid there dazed as I stalked forward.
"What the hell?" the man mumbled.
All he saw above him was a blur of black that blocked out the stars.
"My name is Shadow. This is my city and people like you are not welcome," I growled.
The man swallowed. I could see his adam's apple jump.
"This is your only warning. Either you disappear on your own or I will make you," I warned.
The dealer nodded quickly.
Then I made a mistake.
I walked away.
I only made it three steps.
The dealer pulled his gun and fired twice. The first bullet hit my back and the second hit the back of my right thigh.
I felt the pressure as the bullets hit. I knew I'd have horrendous bruises, but in the moment I didn't feel the pain.
I was on the dealer again immediately.
I kicked the gun out of his hand and heard a snap.
The gun went flying. I heard it hit the street.
I think I broke the man's wrist. He howled in pain.
I tied the dealer's feet together with parachute cord I'd bought off craigslist. Cash transaction. Hard to trace.
Then I searched the man's pockets. He had a burner cell on him. I used that to call 911.
I left the phone ringing and retreated to the shadows.
I watched, hidden, as the dealer held his wrist and sobbed in the street.
I watched the police and the ambulance arrive.
I watched the police find the baggies of drug the man had.
I watched the police read the the dealer his rights and load him into an ambulance.
His feet were still tied.
Then I went home.
I took off my black gloves, slipped off my mask, and undid my hair.
It felt good to undo the tight french braid that held my hair against my scalp.
I ran my fingers through my hair and winced at how that pulled my muscles.
Next I stripped off my kevlar armor and tossed my boots back in the closet.
I stood in front of the mirror and surveyed the damage.
Being a superhero wreaks havoc on your body.
Three months of this and I have no body fat left. The muscles in my back and thighs are bulky.
I can lift myself up onto a roof from a dead hang. I can kick down doors.
My body is littered with scars. I have a nasty one on my left elbow from where a knife slipped between the pieces of rollerblading pads.
I bought a full suit of Kevlar armor off the darknet after that.
That Kevlar has saved my life more times than I care to think about.
The new bruise just to the right of my spine is proof it works.
Everything hurts, but I accomplished something tonight.
I doubt another dealer will be quick to set up on campus.
I've made quite a name for myself as Shadow and Shadow doesn't tolerate drug dealers anywhere near schools.
I don't let myself think about how the dealer's bones cracked when I kicked him.
If I think about that I'll be sick.
I don't like hurting people, but if it keeps everyone else safe I'm willing to sacrifice some of my morals.
Or at least that's what I tell myself on the nights I'm too scared to sleep for fear of what I will see myself do.
I won't kill though. I won't cross that line.
Maybe it's selfish. Everyone asks why Batman doesn't just kill the Joker.
"Look how many lives it would save in the long run!" they cry.
If I kill someone I will never forgive myself. I will forever think about who I left without a father or mother or brother or sister or friend.
I think I might be too soft for this job. That will probably get me killed.
Oh well. At the very least I'll die doing something good.
At the very least I'm not a one time use hero.
I put all my gear in a drawer underneath an ugly Christmas sweater.
If anyone ever finds this stuff, they're going to think I have one hell of a fetish.
One more Friday night in the books.