The next day it rained again. When Jimmy got off the bus at the end of the day, Hank did not meet him with an umbrella. All Jimmy found was a hastily scrawled note about staying with the neighbor till his mom came home.
Hank wandered down a city street a few miles away. For hours he’d walked block after block, in the cold, relentless rain, listening. Finally he heard it: a scream.
He stepped into an alley and tore off his raincoat. A white V stood out on his chest. A red cape flew out from behind him as a gust of wind picked it up. The grappling gun hung from a metal clip at his belt and when he pulled on the mask, he felt once more like the hero he had been so many years ago. With the confidence of a much younger man, he sprinted toward the scream.
The Valiant rounded the corner and came upon a woman jabbering into a phone. Another woman rubbed her back and held an umbrella over her head.
“Which way did he go?” The Valiant asked. He no longer filled out the costume the way he once had. It drooped and wrinkled in odd places, much like his skin.
The woman with the umbrella raised an eyebrow. She pointed in front of her. A man lay on the ground, twitching. Two electrical leads spiraled their way from the man’s chest to a device in the upset woman’s hand. A moment later sirens sounded in the distance.
Hank’s heart began to throb. He backed away, turned, and ran toward the alley. He lunged for the shadows, pulled his raincoat over his costume, and yanked off the mask.
He coughed and hacked. His heart beat through his chest. His knees buckled and he fell to the ground.
When the police arrived to help the mugging victim, one of them noticed an old man in a raincoat lying face down in the street.
To Be Continued…