Chloe Banks October 2021 Commended

If Everyone Was A Superhero

by Chloe Banks

Well, maybe not everyone. Some people. A few. Enough, anyway. If enough people were superheroes, we would get used to it in the end: the runaway trains stopping at cliff edges, children plucked from the windows of burning buildings.

There would come a moment at the start of every drama when we expected it. As the car skidded out of control we would scan the high-rise windows for a caped figure. We would side-eye mums with prams, pizza boys on mopeds, to see who revealed themselves first. At the corner of every street there would be an alarm to summon them. Press the glass for a shrill damsel’s scream.

There would be a new column in the Sunday Times each week – a list of mundane rescues, a roll call of saved lives. Nobody would read it. Teenagers would roll their eyes at Mum’s freakish strength, Dad’s totally lame freeze-ray fingers. Everything would be epic; nothing would be cool.

On days like this, there would be no needles or grainy ultrasound images.No chats about Time Remaining. Your doctor would stride to your bedside with a laugh. Sorry I’m late – woman tied to the tracks outside Waterloo. All fine now. He would lower his glasses, green x-ray beams sweeping your body. Ah yes, I see the problem.

It wouldn’t be easy – nothing about this is easy. He would place his hands on you, tendons straining, eyes popping as he hunted them down. Every lump.Every rogue cell. But just when our hero looked set for defeat, he would fall back with ragged breath. All gone, he’d say. You’re free to go.

If everyone was a superhero we’d no longer be plummeting, free-falling through time. We would jump hand-in-hand from the hospital roof, capes billowing.

And we would fly.

About the Author

Chloe Banks is a teller of tales: some short, some long and some prize-winning. Her novel, The Art of Letting Go, was published by Thistle Publishing in 2014 and her novella, At the Bottom of the Stairs, will be published by Reflex Press in 2022. She is currently working on her first play scripts as well as continuing to dabble in flash fiction. Chloe lives on the edge of Dartmoor with her husband and two young sons. When not taming words or children, she likes to take long walks, eat chocolate and look at pretty graphs. @ChloeTellsTales

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