Backstories Anonymous: Drabble #2 – Orientation
“What do you mean ‘Death by backstory’? I fell off a roof!”
“Ah, but WHY did you fall off a roof?” countered Ben as if he was coaching a fifth grader who was almost on the verge of learning something important.
“Because everyone was panicking!”
Ben made a shooing motion with his hands. “That’s how, not why. You died for the same reason I did. A hero needed your death for motivation.”
“You’re mixing up cause and effect there, Ben,” I replied. “Sure you’re not a dream?”
“Positive,” said Ben. “Tell you what. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe some of the others in our group. We were warned you were on the way, so there’s a meeting all ready for you.”
This dream was getting more surreal by the minute. “What group? What meeting?”
“Backstories Anonymous,” said Ben. “Ready or not, here it comes.”
Everything changed in the blink of an eye. Ben and I were still standing, but suddenly we were in front of several rows of chairs. Seated people were looking at us. Or at least the front row were people. The row behind the people contained people-like figures as if it were the casting pool for Star Trek extras. The row behind that had a lion in it. A LION.
A startled little squeak came out of my mouth and my knees buckled. Ben caught me by the elbow before I hit the floor and gently pulled me back up.
“Careful now,” he said. “No sense falling twice in one day.”
A well-dressed woman in the front row said, “Take a deep breath, dear. This is a safe space.”
“L-l-l-i-o-n,” I stuttered.
The lion coughed and rose off his haunches. “Hi, I’m Mufasa, and I died for my son’s backstory.”
“Hi, Mufasa,” chorused the others.
“And what is your name?” asked the lion.
All eyes were on me. Ben gave my elbow a reassuring squeeze. “Go on. Like Martha said, this is a safe space.”
I still think this is a crazy dream, but peer pressure is a wonderful thing. “I’m Kate Nightingale.”
“And?” prompted the lion.
I know the formula, but enough is enough. “And my death was dumb and meaningless.”
“You wouldn’t be here if that were the case,” said the distinguished man sitting next to Martha.
Ben said, “The notice said her daughter will become a heroine called ‘The Night Terror’.”
I shook my head vehemently. “No way. Not my Kelly. She will run around endangering herself in some skimpy spandex outfit over my dead body.”
“Yes, exactly,” said a pretty blonde teen.
My stomach turned over and my ass made another attempt to hit the floor. Luckily Ben hadn’t released my elbow so he hauled me up again. My Kelly. My beautiful little girl. My doom. I took a deep breath and tried again.
“Hi. I’m Kate, and I died for my daughter’s backstory.”