2019-10-09 - The Carter Family


TRIGGER WARNING: Emotional abuse. A slice of Celerity's home life.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 9 00:00:00 2019
Location: The Carters' Apartment

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Celerity Carter closed her curtains against the setting sun. The big problem with a west-facing window: when dusk came around, the sun shone right into her eyes, making it that much harder to study. She still had so much to catch up on, but as long as she followed the plan and kept focused, she'd finish by the end of the night—

A shattering crash came from the main room. Panic flashed and passed in an instant. It probably was not a supervillain attack, so she came out at human speed. What everyone else in Celerity's life thought was 'as fast as she could'.

No supervillain attack, but what she saw still made her heart drop. Steven, knelt down beside the kitchenette sink, frantically trying to collect the pieces of a broken plate. Their mother's favourite plate: Celerity recognised the floral pattern at the edges. The shatter was well beyond anything a bit of glue could put back together, though Steven's first instinct would always be to fix it, to make it like nothing had ever happened.

Steven himself, thank God, hadn't taken any injuries. Not even a scratch, from what Celerity could see. That was good. But even without physical damage, he was already a teary mess. "I-I was just cleaning it," he stammered. "There was this tough stain, so I scrubbed harder, a-and it slipped—"

She fetched the dustpan and knelt down beside her brother to help gather the pieces. "It'll be okay," she said, as warmly as she could. They could gather the pieces and put them somewhere to figure out a plan later. Maybe it could be fixed. Maybe they could just bring it up another day, when she would be in a better mood. They just had to put the pieces away somewhere, before their mother—

A key turned in the apartment door's lock. It provoked the same instincts as the sound of a gun being cocked — it had taken Celerity a week of being Anon, of breaking up armed robberies, before she'd realised why that feeling was so familiar. For her, the instinct wasn't just fearful, but protective. She locked eyes with Steven and whispered, "Follow my lead." Again careful not to move at literally superhuman speed, she rose to stand by the sink and plunge her hands into the water. She'd need soapy arms to be convincing.

The door opened, and Temperance Carter walked in. No, she stomped in, with each heavy step making Celerity flinch. If she was already exhausted and grumpy enough to stomp, she wouldn't be in a forgiving mood. The second she saw Steven there on the floor, with the piled-up remains of what had been her favourite plate, she took in a breath.

Before she actually spoke, Celerity stepped forward, hands held out as she stood between mother and brother. "It's my fault," she said. "I was cleaning it and it slipped. Steven's just helping me pick it up."

"Don't you dare interrupt me, young lady." Temperance's face turned swiftly red. "How could you be so—" Each word came at a higher volume than the last.

Celerity tried to tune them out, but she couldn't turn her ears completely off. It'd be worse for her if she missed one of the rare parts where Temperance actually expected her to respond, without it being 'talking back' which was due its own punishment. So some of the words still filtered through to her consciousness. Reckless. Selfish. Ungrateful. Celerity just weathered it as well as she could, even as her heart twisted into knots. She kept Steven out of it. That was the important thing.

The tirade ended with, "And since you've put one less plate in our cabinet, I'm putting one less plate on the table. Go to your room, and don't you dare come back out tonight." Not for dinner, not for anything. As soon as she was back in her room, Temperance locked the door behind her, from the outside. Celerity knew the drill.

Yet that didn't make her eyes less red. It didn't keep her heart from trying to tear itself apart. There was no way in hell she could study. With tears blurring her vision, she wouldn't even see the page clearly. Yet, she couldn't just sit and cry, either. As powerless as her mother always made her feel, it gave her the urge to get out there, to actually do something.

She felt that costume tight against her skin, the lowermost layer of her clothing. Celerity couldn't get through that locked door, sure. But Anon never left through the front door anyway. Seconds later, she was out among the rooftops, running and leaping to leave her helplessness miles behind in less than a minute, and find someone she could help better than she could help herself.

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