February 11, 2013 Comments Off on Fortress of Solitude by Christopher DeWan
It was another routine day in Metropolis for Superman, the day he saved the single-engine jet from crashing into the city. The plane had lost power to its stabilizer and gone into a flat spin from which it surely never would have recovered, had Superman not flown in to save the day. The Man of Steel managed to grab the plane by its engine, arrest its spinning, and guide it to a safe landing in a nearby baseball field. The four passengers of the plane were grateful and in tears, while the Little Leaguers stopped their game to cheer.
Unfortunately, the force required to catch the plane in mid-air was also enough to dislodge the jet turbine, which broke loose from the body of the plane, and plummeted out of the sky into an apartment building below. It tore through the building and killed two dozen people.
Superman, exceptional in so many ways, had never been the most thoughtful of Heros: decision-making while flying faster than a speeding bullet does not lend itself to introspection. Good and evil had always been for him, if simplistic, at least clear. When he received the news of the two dozen deaths — deaths which had been directly caused by his own well-intended efforts — he was devastated, and confused like he had never been before.
For the first time in his life, Superman questioned his own ability to discern right from wrong, so he did what any reasonable thinking person would do in such a situation: he stopped rescuing people, and retreated to his Fortress of Solitude, there to wait and contemplate, until which time, his path of action would become infallibly clear, which is to say — never.
© 2012 Christopher DeWan
Christopher DeWan is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles.