The lights burned my skin. Waking up daily in a dark room never gets better. A man stormed into the room and pulled me to my feet by my hair. If I even slightly struggled, he would tug harder. Today, I will have my very first therapy session in a year. C.A.R.M.A. thought that it would be best if they tried their best to get my mental health to be less of a concern than what it is. They will just go back to slowly killing me, so what’s the point of bringing me to a therapist? The man then pushed me into the gray army truck I am used to, between two heavily armed soldiers. That day, they dressed me in black joggers and a black T-shirt that itched my skin. Before I knew it, we had arrived at a tall brick building. I figured I would be behind glass again. I was right.
My eyes peered back into mine when I looked at the reflective glass in front of me. Two people were standing there. They would lie and say that they were an organization that specializes in the regrowth of mental stability. C.A.R.M.A. stood for Chains After the Rooms in Minds. Apart from what they call themselves. Everyone thinks it means that they treat people the way they should after traumatic events. No. They take those who are dangerous and break them down, to fall into their trap. They’ll control you. I should know, they’ve done it to me daily. But this might help me think of a way to escape. Two men walked through the door with guns. Even though I stood, they pushed me around. I felt stressed the second a man came into my view. His freshly cut hair made me grin internally. Just from a glance, I could tell he hated it, they passed me onto him, and a woman smiled at me, holding out her hand. She quickly pulled it back, turning to the lightly stubbled man.
“This is James Barnes. He’ll be taking care of you for a while. Is that okay?” Her short blond bob bothered me. I nodded. She smiled, clasped her hands together, and spun around to James.
“I’ll leave you two then! Have fun! Your therapy check-ins are every two weeks. However, you’ll have to bring her today, just for them to meet for the first time.” The woman nodded and strutted out. ‘Fake bitch,’ he mumbled. I crossed my arms and waited. Within seconds, I felt like crying. Why someone I don’t know? And someone who scares me?
We sat in his black pickup truck, silent. The roads were busy, so we hit traffic every five seconds. He had a leather glove over his left hand. Why? He didn’t look like he had not smiled in a long time or at all. His eyes were narrow when the truck stopped again. My right hand messed with the loose string on my pants. The tight sneakers bothered me. My feet hurt so bad. C.A.R.M.A. didn’t care if I was happy or not, they like seeing me suffer. The green blinker turned on, making an annoying clicking sound. We pulled into a strange plaza. Cars and people roamed, making loud sounds.
James stopped the truck and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. I Slowly looked at him, scared.
“Those shoes don’t fit you, you hate those clothes, and you’re going to need more clothes anyway, so. . .Here we are.” His door opened, and he hopped out. Getting the hint, I opened the door and followed him. James was a lot taller than me and scarier, too. Seeing some girls walk by, I realized I was smaller than them. My legs, arms, stomach, everything was small on my body. After walking around for a bit, a girl in a red shirt walked up to us smiling.
“Do you need any help today?” she asked, holding a walkie-talking in her hand. James looked flustered and cleared his throat.
“Clothes for her?” His cheeks just barely turned a light pink. Maggie, like her name tag said, giggled and directed us to the woman’s section. She then realized that maybe I wouldn’t fit in women's clothing, so she took us to the teens section. I felt a sweater with stripes. Maggie walked over to me and held a box of bras and underwear. She put them in a plastic bag, winking. Maggie paid for them. How can people be that nice?
After trying on pairs of shorts and shirts, I was okay. Finally, we were heading to the front. Without warning, James whipped around and pulled my arm. Shoes, right? He let go and told me to sit. The very uncomfortable stool made me feel taller, but not very much. James came back with 3 boxes and sat on a small box with wheels, rolling himself over. He opened them, one-by-one. The second I pulled the tight gray sneakers off, a drop of blood fell to the floor.
“I knew they were too tight.” He groaned and walked away. When he came back, he had a red box in hand. The tan medical tape wrapped around my ankle gently.
“Better?” James asked, I nodded and tried on the pair of shoes in the last box in line. He rolled his eyes at me, not starting at the beginning. They were black with stars on the side. I nodded, putting my old shoes in the box and standing. Once we paid for everything, we were out of there again. This time, he spoke. He rambled about how his house isn’t that big and that it’s messy. I cared little, to be honest.
Even without him asking, I grabbed all the bags and walked to the door. He made his way over and unlocked the door. When he walked inside, I followed. I glided into every room and was excited. James found me in an empty room and nodded. Minutes later, he pushed a mattress while he pointed to the closet.
“Clothes go in there, obviously. You can stay with her. You never have to leave if you don’t want to. The only thing that I ask is that you don’t make any messes. Also, if you want someone to eat just ask me.” He nodded, then walked out, closing the door behind him. I changed into a baggy shirt and pajama shorts. Then, just like that, I was crying on the bed that I’d pushed to the corner of the dark room.
I hate the nighttime. Mainly because it gets dark, but also because people fall asleep, and no one is awake to know that you’re hurting. A few cars pass by now and then but that’s all I hear, nothing more. James hadn’t made a single sound since he left me alone. My legs carried me out of the room and through the cold house. It was small, perfect for someone who lives alone. That’s what got me thinking; Why does he live alone? Most people live with other people, right? That’s what I think at least. James looked like the person to have kids and a wife and be happy but he’s sad looking. He looks like he hasn’t smiled in years, not like I could say anything. I can’t think about him without thinking of a sad puppy on the side of a street, begging for food.
I heard his snoring from the kitchen, but it was soft and not very. . .Heavy? The only snoring I’ve heard is from the last hospital they sent me to, and my doctor fell asleep in the room. My feet gently patterned against the floor, making my way to his door. I’ve always wanted to normally, but I can’t if I don’t know how to. A bright light peeked through the window, forcing me to look away. I unlocked the door and walked outside, going down the sidewalk. The ground was cold, but I still sat down, looking up at the moon and stairs. I don’t even care if he’s mad at me for walking out of the house, but the light is so bright. In the room they kept me in, there weren’t any windows because they didn’t want us to get distracted. How are we supposed to get distracted when we know that pain is still coming our way? The socks itched my calves, but I didn’t fix them. James lives in a quiet place, mostly. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. It’s quiet that someone can be okay with without being scared. The door opened behind me, making me jump. He stood there in sweatpants and a T-shirt. Looking at me with a scared expression. I pointed my head forward and looked back at the sky. James sat down beside me and looked up, too.
“I’ve never actually looked at the stars before.” I mumbled, fumbling with my fingers. Dr. Raynor told him I don’t talk the day before, and yet here I am. It scared me too. A shiver went up my spine the second he chuckled. My head shot in his direction. James laughed again and stretched his legs out.
“And so, she speaks.” He sighed while he stood, holding out his hand. My hand looked small when I took it. He pulled me to my feet, and we walked back inside. We sat on the couch together, the TV flashing its colors at us. James snored again, making me smile. He falls asleep somewhat easily. I looked closer at him and noticed how calm he was. I hugged my knees, facing him. Maybe it was the sound of his breathing, or knowing that I was safe with him, but I fell asleep.
A sound startled me, nearly making me jump to my feet. Scraping metal and clanging glass made my ears ring. I looked around, seeing James putting plates into the cupboard. He didn’t realize I had woken up. I walked down the hallway and into the room I called my own. The pair of black yoga pants I pulled over my hips made me look like I had curves. New. Quickly after I pulled on a hoodie, I walked back down the hallway and spun around. James looked me up and down.
“You know, I have places to go today,” He pulled a box off the top of the fridge. I nodded and walked to the couch. “And you have to come with me, per Dr. Asshats rules.” He poured the contents of the box into a bowl. My hand shook, seeing a hat that had a star on it while it sat on a nail that was stabbed into the wall. We got into the truck and sped off again. We seem to always speed quickly at first when he starts the truck. I think maybe it’s because he likes the feeling of being able to just glide. The radio played softly while he tightened his grip on the steering wheel, the leather squeaking. After a couple hours, we pulled into a very long driveway. A large building spread across a grassy field. The truck came to a quick stop, yanking me forward. James breathed out and took the key out of the ignition. The windows reflected the sun, blinding me. We both climbed out of the truck and made our way into the scary building. I stayed behind him, watching his shoulders as he walked. Voices grew louder and louder the farther we went. James stopped and told me to stay calm. Just barely nodding, we walked forward.
Two men stood there with their arms crossed. Then a woman walked into the room, noticed us and walked over. I walked closer to James, nearly grabbing his arm. Her fiery red hair made her look like a god. Her eyes pierced mine, but she didn’t look scared. One man made his way over to me and smacked my shoulder, gently.
“So, he got himself a little girlfriend?” He said as his metal armor made mechanical sounds. James scoffed at him, moving in front of me.
“No. My therapist thought that bringing someone else into my life would make everything so much better and so, here we are. I must feed and house a person who I don’t know.” His words hurt me. I thought he liked me. Like, Maybe I was wrong and maybe he was just putting on that fake face for the moment. I know he just wants me gone and doesn’t really care about me. But, when he took my hand, I felt that one butterfly left in my stomach saying ‘He’s sweet! You can trust him!’. Can I though? I tried my best to not show the hurt on my face. The man backed up, holding his hands up as a reaction. This was James Rhodes. A military man that was close to Tony Stark, a billionaire from a young age and brought tech to the world. The other man presented himself as Falcon, then crossed his arms, adding his name was Sam Wilson. Wanda Maximoff’s eyes still made me think she was a demon who was searching for her next meal, only she wasn’t ready to carry out the killing.
“She’s weak.” Her Sokovian accent was strong and hit me harder than I thought it would. James looked at her and just continued, not denying the fact that she just called me weak. Wanda then walked over to me and rested a hand on my shoulder. “You’ll grow stronger, they always do when they have to deal with people like us.” She kindly grinned, then disappeared. Two James’? This is going to be harder than I thought.
“I’m sure Bucky has told you how stupid I am.” Sam chuckled. Bucky? I looked swiftly at James, who nodded, proudly. I guess he had when he went on the rant about how disgusting his house is, when it really isn’t. Should I address him as Bucky? How am I supposed to ask him when there are so many people around? I’m not very good at talking to one person but add a few more and it’s damn near impossible to get me to mutter a single syllable. I was comfortable talking to James, or Bucky. But then James Rhodes and Sam Wilson being there completely ruined the mood. I will have to ask him later, then. We made our way through the compound, the men chatting while my eyes peered around through windows full of people working with mechanical items. Bucky turned to me and smiled gently, trying to make me feel comfortable. He didn’t even smile fully. Just a paltry attempt. What are we doing here? Are You all going to kill me? Can you save me? I have so many questions but not enough words to ask them.
I blinked, and they were gone. Sam, James, and Bucky. Gone. The walls felt like they were closing in on me, giving me the feeling of suffocation. My lungs were being squeezed by the devil himself. Falling to the floor, my hands wrapped around my throat, gasping for air. Tears poured like waterfalls draining into a trench. The cold floor reminded me of too much. I saw that star book again. The one he used to turn me into the monster I had become. In less than a week, he forced me to kill 500 people. In a month, over one thousand. I could hear those words again. Longing. Rusted. Seventeen. Daybreak. Furnace. Nine. Benign. Homecoming. One. Freight car. The man spoke to me like I could trust him. Of course, this is when I could actually understand Russian. I’m too scared to listen to it long enough. My eyes peered to my hands, causing me to freeze in horror. Blood stained skin stuck to me. A pile of bodies lie ahead of me.
“Long. . .ing. Rus. . .ted. Seven. . .teen.” I mumbled. The world became a dark cave, echoing my words. Fireworks set off on my eyelids. My mouth, sealed tight, wouldn’t let me scream for help. I want help. I need help. But I can't even call for it. Sirens rang in my ears, making me squeeze my eyes shut tight. A voice spun around and around me, saying something soft that I couldn’t make out. Just like that, I blacked out.
Sam, as annoying as it is to admit it, is pretty smart. He knew what had happened to Eirin to cause her to black out. Maybe I look calm on the outside, but deep down, I’m terrified. Fear sat on my shoulder, waiting for her to wake up. He told me something about trauma. The leather glove tightened when he said that all I could do was wait. I hated this. It made me think of looking at all the dead men during battle and the people I killed. Sam also said that he heard her mumble something. I’ve heard her talk once. I don’t even think she remembered I was even there, but she spoke. Raynor, my ass-hat of a therapist, said she hasn’t spoken for 15 years. Maybe she gave me this to get used to talking to people who have had the same experiences as me, but why her? Eirin isn’t a bad person, at least she doesn’t seem like it, but they say she’s killed people. Eirin doesn’t look like a killing type. She doesn’t look like a monster. She doesn’t look like me.
“What do you want, James?” She asked me, one leg crossed over the other.
“Peace.” I uttered.
“That’s bullshit.” Her eyes searched mine as she kicked her foot. I sighed, waiting for her to leave me alone. She clicked her pen and began writing something down.
“Oh c’mon, I thought we were past the whole writing stuff down stage.” I hated when she wrote things down. It’s like she’s mocking me through pen and paper. Dr. Raynor lifted her head, sighing. I will never forget the words she said to me.
“You are being assigned to supervise a current patient at C.A.R.M.A. mental vault. I’m sure it won’t be an issue since the last time she spoke was 15 years ago. Eirin Mary Wessen. On record she has committed murder, arson, mass-homicide, treason, robbery, kidnapping, and my favorite, espionage. Now your job is to get her to talk and teach her common tasks. She doesn’t understand a lot of things but is a fast learner. She can’t read or write very well, I want you to try that first. Before you say anything, I want you to know that if we don’t do this, they’re going to kill her. She doesn’t want this help, but she needs it. It’s not like she can tell anyone about what she is thinking. Your job is to help that. You don’t have to do it for me. Do it for her.” Raynor actually sounded nice for once, making me pay a bit more attention. Eirin. I liked that name. The folder flipped in my hands, every single fact about this woman was right here. No one actually knows how old she is. Sure, the file says 1920, but next to it in messy handwriting it says ‘Eirin needs to confirm. Medical records don’t exist?’. Which means she never existed. Or C.A.R.M.A. deleted her medical records to keep all information confidential.
My black pickup truck is the only place I feel safe. My house is pretty boring, I’ve never enjoyed being stuck inside. Raynor told me to keep the glove on for now, just until she’s comfortable. The morning when I had to go get her, I rushed to clean out the giant closet. When I first got into the truck, I thought about what she looked like. The picture in the file was of a little girl, and I doubt that’s what she looks like now. As I pulled up to the brick building, my heart dropped. I don’t even know why. A woman with blond hair waiting to greet me. We walked inside together, and she began talking about Eirin and what had happened to her. Eirin doesn’t talk. No one knows why. I need to find out why. The only way for me to do that, is to get her to talk by feeling safe and comfortable. I’m a comforting person, right?
I instantly understood why she wouldn’t want to talk. In order to get her to go anywhere, the guards pulled her by her hair, even if she cooperated. The woman told me they treated all patients with care and respect but that didn’t seem like it. When we went shopping for clothes, I could see how scared she was of being around so many people. I just wanted to hold her hand but I knew how awkward that would be. When I gave her shoes, the look in her eyes told me she loved them. Then, when we had finally gotten back to the house, I heard her crying. She thought I didn’t but I could. I’ve cried too many times to know what it sounds like.
Maybe the stars called her out, but she sat at the end of the driveway, staring up at the stars. They never let them have windows because they would get distracted, Maybe that’s a good thing. I think the patients should get distracted from the world that it has thrown them into. Eirin deserves better, she really does. And when she spoke to me, I felt like I had flown up to the sky. Her voice is soft and slow. She looked like crying again, making me shiver.
Sam cleared his throat while standing in the doorway, making me jump. An audio recording of Eirin’s mumbles played quietly.
“Long. . .ing. Rus. . .ted. Seven. . .teen.” My head shot up, staring at Sam. He nodded. H.Y.D.R.A. flooded back me. Eirin sat up, and the two of us looked at her. Sam left and shut the door, knowing she wouldn’t talk if he was around. I made my way over to her and squatted beside the couch. Her nostrils puffed as she tried to hold back tears. My hand touched hers, gently, taking a breath.
“Those words. . .Did they use them to make you do those things?” I asked, watching her eyes fill quickly. She didn’t even have to respond, I knew the answer. Without thinking, I pulled her into my arms, hugging her tightly. She felt my metal arm, flinching. I took the glove off and held my hand out. “I won’t hurt you, ever. My job is to protect you. I’ll never lie to you. I promise you that, okay? You just need to promise me you’ll tell me what happened. I want to help you. I want to get you out of that hellhole. But I need your help in order to do that.” She sniffled, making me sigh. Then, ever so slightly, she said okay.
We returned home, Sam staying at the compound to deal with the slight issue of what caused the trauma. She changed into shorts and a sweater that went down to her knees. While I pulled a shirt on, she stood behind me, looking embarrassed. Eirin’s face looks innocent when it’s tinted pink. She held the green hairbrush in her hand with a hair tie in the other.
“Ponytail or bun? I think bun.” My voice was soft to not scare her, she nodded with excitement, spinning around. I sectioned her hair off into three parts. After brushing the thick mess, I now faced the challenge of pulling it into a bun. Eventually, I made it work. Eirin stood in the bathroom, staring at the mirror. She loved it, her eyes told me. I stretched and walked to the sink where I pulled out a new toothbrush, green, like the hair brush. She took it, unsure of what to do with it. A glob of minty toothpaste fell onto my brush. She followed.
“Okay, you start by putting it in your mouth. Then you go back and forth on your teeth. This cleans them. Got it?” I asked, hoping she understood. After a second, she brushed her teeth, the toothpaste bubbling in her mouth. Some escaped and sat in the corner of her mouth while she nodded with a smile. Good, she gets it. Then, I spit my toothpaste out, turning on the faucet to rinse it out of the sink. When she attempted to, it dripped onto her chin, making me laugh. She glared at me, wiping her face with my bath towel. Karma, I get it.
That night, she slept with me. The small blanket wrapped around her shoulder, but I knew she wasn’t comfortable. I stood and pulled all the blankets to the floor. Eirin sat up, confused. After getting one of the softened blankets I had, I threw it on top of her. I layered four fresh blankets on top of her. She seemed so small under all the blankets. Eirin pulled the dark blue hoodie off, exposing the black t-shirt I had been looking for all morning. I lifted my eyebrow, motioning to the shirt. I waited.
“Your. . .smell. I like it.” Her face tinted again, making a shiver go up my spine. Maybe this isn’t so bad. Having her here, I mean. She’s learned more here than what that damn place has ever taught her. I scooted her over to the side of the bed farthest away from the door and flopped down. She passed some of the blanket over to me, avoiding eye contact. Normally, I’d sleep in my boxers but tonight just sweatpants and a shirt. My right hand messed up her hair as I attempted to smile.
“Keep it, I don’t like it all that much, anyway.” I sounded nice for once. Scary. I caught her staring at my metal arm. Eirin sat up quickly and looked away. I held my arm out to her.
“It’s not really that cool of a story but it’s nice to have a metal arm, I guess. This raccoon from space keeps trying to buy it off of me, if that makes any sense to you.” I crossed my arms when she pointed to the picture on the nightstand. Damn, I hoped that wouldn’t come up. A picture of Steve and I when we were normal sat there, watching us. Before all the blood, change, and tears, we were once normal. She waited for me to snap out of it.
“Steve was my best friend. When we were kids, we both said we’d fight in wars together. Of course, we did but different ones. Steve became this giant hero while I, um.” the silver fingers stood out to me, making me want to scream. “I became this. . .monster.” Shit. I said it. She knows. I’m not as strong as I look. I’m not as scary as I seem. I'm a soft guy with a touch shell. Eirin’s hand gently touched it, tilting her head while her eyes scanned the lines. Then she shook her head.
“Maybe a little. . .different. But no monster.” Her voice was sweet. Like a song that puts a baby to sleep. A scar on her neck actually stood out. It wasn’t there before, right? I must have been staring for too long because she covered it with her hand. She yawned and snuggled back into the blankets, closing her eyes. Her hand was still holding onto my arm, making me smile. I stayed up that night, watching her sleep peacefully. She felt safe enough to fall asleep around me. Like on the couch the other night, I felt safe no matter what those damn files said about her. She isn’t a killer, she’s just scared. She doesn’t even know what the hell she did. My eyes closed, opening the door to a place called sleep.
My body stretched, and she was gone. The vacuum made sounds in the other room through my door. I dressed in black jeans, a dark red shirt, leather jacket, and the boots I wouldn’t be complete without. She sat on the floor, turning the vacuum on and off, watching the red button flash. The laptop sat beside her, open to a GOOGLE page answering a question. How to make someone that is housing you feel happy. I shut the screen of the laptop and pulled the vacuum away from her. She looked up at me, her hair in a bun.
“You don’t need to make me happy. And you don’t have to clean. I do little so the house doesn’t need to be cleaned.” A complete lie. This place is dirtier than the lawn outside. She stood and took the handle of the vacuum.
“I have to learn.” Her voice was something I still have to get used to. I nodded and walked to the fridge. Out of food, great. She doesn’t do well with an enormous crowd of people, but I can’t just leave her here. . . I walked over to her and held her shoulders.
“Do you think you’d be okay here alone for a little while? I won’t be long, I just have to run to the grocery store. You won’t like it there, it's a bunch of idiots that run that shit show. You stay here okay? Clean if you want to. I don't care, just don’t burn the house down or break anything.” She nodded and held a fist up to me. Blushing, she fixed it to be a thumbs up. I sighed and messed up her hair, grabbed my keys, and walked out. She gave me this feeling. I don’t know what though. She’s like a kid, she knows nothing. For anything, she’s been through more or at least the same things as I have. Eirin looks like a chocolate bar type of person, I’ll get her one.
I saw a couple walk by me, the woman pregnant. She held her stomach while he held her hand. They weren’t the type of love that made you sick, but the kind that was what everyone wanted to be. He would kiss her head whenever she smiled and she would try to make jokes. Even when she said it wrong, he laughed. I don’t know why this was so interesting to me. I’ve never been able to have that. I’ve never thought about it either. They continued walking; I followed behind with my head full of questions. The woman walked into the bathroom, leaving her partner behind. He turned and looked at me.
“Is there a reason you’re following us?” He glared at me. I backed up.
“No, I just! I saw, um. I was just curious about something. I don’t want to have any issues, I just really had a few questions. Now that I think about it, they’re not important.” I have never sounded so stupid in my entire life. I have also never been this weird to someone. He laughed and held his hand out. When we shook hands, he asked me what her name was.
“What do you mean?”
“Her name. The girl you are thinking about.” His eyes looked into mine, making me straighten.
“She’s, just, um a friend. I think. We've only known each other for a few days.” Eirin is this girl that I just met. I don’t know who this guy thinks he is, reading my thoughts. He laughed again.
“Okay. Well, you tell her how you feel, okay? She should know. I mean, if I didn’t tell my girlfriend how I felt then I wouldn’t be here right now. It’s better to tell them now than when they’re getting on a bus to Canada. Angela jumped right off the train when I told her how I felt. That;s the thing though, man, you got to let her know how you feel sooner. If I didn’t stop her or stop being such a wuss, she would’ve left and I wouldn’t have a little girl on the way.” His smile grew when his girlfriend, Angela I’m guessing, walked back out. She kissed his cheek, making him grin even more. “Just let it happen, it’ll make things better.” They left me there, standing by the bathrooms with a basket full of groceries.
I stood in the doorway, watching as Eirin threw away a Clorox wipe. The floors shined, and the air smelled like flowers. She’s damn good at cleaning. The couch was now between two windows, the lights all replaced, and the books from my room sat on a shelf that looked brand new. Her feet pattered against the floor as she took the bags from me, putting the food away. Only now did I realize the bandages on her fingers. When I went to ask about it, she waved me over to the bedroom. Not only was the bed made, but my shoes and clothes were all organized by color. Eirin seemed so proud of herself. I told her she had done a good job, and with that, she curled up on the couch and played with a small necklace.
The jingles when the two dog tags hit each other reminded me of everything. The pain, the firing, the loud sounds. Everything. My boots thumped against the floor and I ripped it out of her hands, tossing it somewhere. She looked terrified. I sighed while sitting on the couch. I began telling her the story. The story of how I got here, how I met Steve, and how often I would have to stop guys from picking on Steve. I left out H.Y.D.R.A.
This was before they thought about giving us normal clothes, so I was wearing a hospital gown that went down to my knees. The man I feared most, Golfo, walked in with the book, making me lose all color and curl up into the corner that I made my safe space. He stood with a man beside him who held a gun. Golfo dismissed him and sat at the table, waiting for me. He put the book on the floor and looked at me. Rising to my feet and sitting at the table, my breath quickened. He said he would never hurt me. But whenever he said those hurtful words, the ones that turned me into a monster, made me hurt others. His hand rested the book on the table and he mumbled each word, my head feeling like an ax sat between my eyes.
The knife I used to stab her twisted in my hands, a scream leaving her mouth. Blood ran down her head and onto her neck. Her small hands wrapped around my wrist, the tears yelled at me. Within seconds, I screamed and backed away from her. My hands over my mouth. Panicking, my hands put pressure on the wound. My mouth wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to say ‘I’m sorry.’ She continued to cry out as I took my gloves off, holding them over the deep cut. The blood left stains on my pale skin for weeks. This little girl, about 3 years old, shouldn’t have been the one to get hurt. Her eyes closed slowly and all I could do was watch as tears burned my skin. A police siren made me jump back and run into the shadows. A woman knelt down beside her and screamed. Two other officers ran over and took her away, yelling that she still had a pulse.
The shock collar on my neck sent another 100 volts to my body. Golfo held his hand up, signaling them to stop. His hand touched the collar and tightened it.
“This happens when you fail, got that?” His dark eyes held nothing but hate. I didn’t even nod, and they shocked me one last time, my eyes going black. When I woke up, the cold cement floor comforted me. Blood from my lips dripped into my mouth. I bite the inside of my mouth and my lips when I’m anxious and sometimes in my sleep. Tonight is just one of those nights. The door opened, Golfo walked in with a grin on his face. This evil grin always scared me. He walked over to the side and there stood a tall, scary man with dark circles around his eyes. A mask covered his mouth, his eyes stinging me. Golfo said something to him I couldn't understand and just like that, the man stomped towards me, pulling my hair. He pulled a gun out of his belt and shot my leg. I knew what Golfo wanted. He wanted to hear me scream. This is what he did. Hurt me beyond compare, just to hear me scream. When I didn’t, another bullet, right through my head. Lights, blurry, sounds, ringing. Nothing. Things just went on. The only thing I remembered about that man. . .is his metal arm.
I sat up, gasping for air. James stared at me, confused. My body trembled, rolling off the side of the bed and backing up towards the door. He stood, holding his hand out.
“Eirin? What’s wrong?” He sounded scared, worried. I pushed him away and ran to my room, locking the door behind me. James pounded on the door, calling for me. My hands pressed onto my ears, trying not to hear him. I could hear him, begging please.
“You hurt me, James. You were that man. The Winter Soldier, right?” He stayed silent, his shadow staying still.
“Let me explain, please.” His voice stayed soft, making me shake. I opened the door, he quickly wrapped his arms around me, sobbing. We sat on the floor, our backs on the wall while he told me the long story of H.Y.D.R.A. When he finished, his eyes were bloodshot. My hand touched his cheek, forcing him to look at me.
“I’m not scared of you.” I mumbled, holding out his dog tags to him. They jingled in his hands while he stared at them. My heart dropped when he uttered ‘thank you’. All my life, I have never once thought that I could trust a single person. And yet here I am, curled up against a wall with a man who knows what I’m going through and has experienced the same amount of pain that I have felt. The only reason I actually stopped talking is because my favorite therapist passed away. That’s when I knew that life had no meaning. It came without warning and no one even cared. He was truly the only person who cared about my feelings. That was the period when I felt okay mostly, able to smile. When he died, they took me away and threw me into a room where I sat alone. Because I wouldn’t respond to them, they left me alone with my thoughts. At first, the self harm was clear, and they stopped it by putting bandages over the spots where I would dig my nails into my skin.
That’s when I began biting my nails and the inside of my mouth. I would itch my hands and legs, leaving bleeding skin all over my body. Golfo would look at me, disappointed. Then he would brainwash me, forcing me to kill thousands. On a windy Monday morning, I had a mission to disguise myself as a high school student and kill three specific students. Only I could fill this role, being as small as I am. The day I arrived, one of the targeted students committed suicide, giving me less of a job to get done. It didn’t bother Golfo, so it didn’t bother me either. I killed the other two students leaving not a single drop of blood. The only blood that anyone could see was my own, draining from my nose. People bullied me, not that it bothered me. The words they said and the actions they made caused all the thoughts in my head to skyrocket. C.A.R.M.A. brought me back to reality and told Golfo that I wasn’t allowed on any more missions unless I had a partner. I didn’t work with people well.
The first time that they had attempted to partner me up with someone, I watched them die with a smile on my face. Of course, C.A.R.M.A. didn’t care about the ability to read and write well, so I didn’t do so hot when sometimes I had to write a letter to a certain person. The first time I met The Winter Soldier, he had hurt me drastically. C.A.R.M.A. didn’t let me die. How could they when I was the only creation of my kind that came out successfully? I could alter a person's memories, paralyze them, force them to fall asleep, and I could even make someone’s appearance change for 24 hours. They tried to duplicate me but failed each time. I am the only breed that made it out alive.
Training was almost as hard as just trying to live each day. They would attach weights to me while I sat underwater. My hands would be cuffed and inside metal boxes so that I couldn’t use my abilities. They would throw electric eels and jellyfish into the water and I would have to get out without touching a single one or getting stung or electrocuted. I failed each time. They coated the boxes in the blood of crabs, attracting the eels and jellyfish. I earned scars like trophies each day because of that exercise.
The scars on my neck are from the shock collar that they tightened more and more each day. I would go weeks without eating and drinking just because I wanted to be left alone. When the doors opened and someone walked through, I would hide. They filled my life with reflective glass where scientists, doctors, and the government watched me. I remember little from my childhood. Maybe I didn’t have one. Sometimes I’m sitting in the dark and I can hear someone calling my name. The small spotted blanket is all I have left from my family. They left me in the streets when they saw my eyes were black. Within months of torture from C.A.R.M.A., my eyes became a dark brown. The doctors wouldn’t ever tell me about my family because they knew nothing about them. As far as the world is concerned, I didn’t exist before the crimes I committed.
James left me alone at home for hours again. Normally, I would be fine with this, but after the fight we had, I stayed anxious. When he returned, Sam stood beside him. Both of them looked tired. I ran into the kitchen to grab snacks for them. Placing a tray on the coffee table and a jug of water, the two of them looked at me. The black jean shorts just barely fit me with the belt pulled tight. James’ black t-shirt hung just above my knees. Sam cleared his throat, taking a cracker. James handed a small gray box to me, my name written on the side. Inside sat a small ring made of a chain. My eyes bounced to James.
“It’s from the tags. Melted 'em down and got them made into that ring.” He closed his eyes, sighing. His tags made me smile whenever I looked at them. I got none because I wasn’t really in the military. The ones that James had felt different when they sat in my hands; Cold and full of emotion. It slid onto my thumb, snugly resting. I smiled at him and nodded my head as a thank you. That’s when he broke my heart. The three of us would go to Russia to meet someone. The only reason I’m going is because James is stuck with protecting me. That night, we climbed onto a plane, fast and quiet. He held a pencil in his hand, scribbling down some words and saying them in small syllables. After I repeated them perfectly, he had me write them down. His handwriting doesn’t look much different from mine. Mine is messy, big, and hard to read while his is small, perfect, and poetic-looking. When I spelt something wrong or he couldn't understand what I was writing, his eyebrows would narrow and his forehead would crease.
His expressions make me think that no one really understands him for who is. Sam took the notebook from him and turned to me, giving him a break.
“I think the issue with your writing is that you are trying to make it look like Bucky’s too much. Here, write this word: Cat.”
Cat. It looks different. Better, like I wrote it. Sam smiled, seeing my excitement. We went on with this until the plane landed. After that, I continued writing small words that looked beautiful to me. I walked into a man with a furry coat, making me drop the notebook. When he looked at me, I froze, struggling to breathe. Golfo. How is he still alive?
“So she’s really here.” He smirked, looking at James. Sam crossed his arms, not knowing what to say. James grabbed the notebook and stood in front of me.
“Leave her alone.” He said, his voice stabbing Golfo in the heart.
“Oh really, soldier? How would you like it if you hurt her? . .Again. Longing, rusted, seventeen.-”
“That doesn’t work anymore.” James interrupted, my hand reaching for his arm.
“But what about little Phoenix here?” His grin made me panic, and Sam pulled me back, holding my arm. Golfo laughed, turning around.
“Are we really trusting him?” James growled, looking at me.
“Yes, he has the answers we need to end this clan.” Sam barked back, following Golfo. My heart quickened, my feet wouldn’t move. James walked closer to me, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“It’s okay. I won’t let him do that to you. And when we’re done with this, I’m gonna get that shit out of your head, okay?” I nodded, tugging on the end of my shirt. He gave me the sweater in my bag that sat on the ground. Zipping it up, I felt safer, just knowing that he would help me get over all of this. We walked inside, finding the two staring at each other. Golfo poured whisky for himself, asking if we wanted any. James pulled a beer out of Golfo’s fridge, lifting it up into the air. Helmut Zemo. That is his actual name. When he first met me, he called himself Golfo because he was trying to keep secrets between me and C.A.R.M.A. which is fine with me. A file sat on the counter, making me curious. Peeking at it, it said my name on the tab. He pulled it into his hands, clicking his tongue.
I snatched the file from Zemo’s hands, looking inside at the pages. ‘Date of execution: May 15th’. I shot him and looked and threw the file into the fire. Sam yelled at me, making me roll my eyes. I won’t let her die. I doubt she’s even done anything these files say. He knows how these rumors are affecting her, and he’s fine with it. There’s so much wrong with him.
The three of us sat in chairs while Eirin played with the paper on the floor, writing the words she loved so much. I’m glad Sam helped her write better. Maybe if we get her talking more, we can help prove that all the accusations are incorrect. I watched her while Same and Zemo talked about the clan. All of this scared Eirin, I could tell. Yori. He’s an old guy, but nice. When he first saw me with Eirin, she didn't tense up in front of him at all like she did with everyone else we met. He took her by the hands and gave her tea while telling me how beautiful she is. I wanted to tell him I knew that already. For someone who people tortured on end, she’s nice and gorgeous. Eirin touched my temple that night, telling me I needed to tell Yori about his son. That was the first time she used her telepathy on me. It was terrifying but; I was glad I didn’t have to tell her. The next day, we arrived at Yori’s home, Eirin holding onto my hand. We sat down, the air thicker than the lump in my throat. Eirin cleared her throat and smiled at Yori.
“Excuse me, Mr. Yori. Hello. I’m Eirin. I believe James has something he’d like you to know. Please, take this information with a kind heart. Also know that he cannot tell you any more than what he is about to say. Thank you.” She smiled again, Yori’s eyes grew wide. He looked at me, waiting. I had to tell him. I killed him. He’s dead. It’s my fault. I’m sorry. Yori stayed silent, staring at Eirin. Without warning, she stood and took me by my hand, leading me out of the home. She stayed in my room that night, helping me sleep. Just hearing her breath helped me sleep in so many ways. The first night that she slept with me, I felt her small, warm, body curled up gently, touching my chest. I slept so much better when she was with me. I think it’s knowing that someone is here and will be there when I wake up.
Zemo is nice enough to give us a place to sleep at least. Eirin made a small bed with blankets and pillows on the floor and pulled her hair up into a bun. Sam turned the lamp off and quickly fell asleep on the bed. Eirin would huff and puff whenever we tried to argue about who was sleeping where, so we did what she was most comfortable with. After hours, she still sat still, hugging her knees while watching the door. Zemo terrifies her. I hate seeing this. I sat up and crossed my arms, looking at her. She avoided all kinds of eye contact. With a sigh, I stood and walked over to the door, locking the handle. I sat back down beside her, glancing at her beautiful brown eyes. With a nod, she grabbed the notebook Sam had given her out from under her pillow. I quickly snatched it from her hands. Eirin looked confused as she reached out for it.
“You need to get some sleep, Eirin. We’re going to be busy and doing a lot of shit while we’re here. You need to sleep.” The notebook plopped onto the floor, making her jump. She huffed and looked away from me. Attitude, we’re getting somewhere. She’s not the same emotionless girl who sat in the corner when I first met her. I pulled the red blanket over her head and stretched out, laying down. I could feel her gently giggling as she rested her head on my chest. The blanket slowly fell off her face, her eyes staring at me. My finger gently touched her forehead, her eyes closing softly. Within seconds, her breathing slowed, and I heard her gentle snoring. I don’t think it even counts as snoring. There’s no sound, just. . . hard, shaky stops I guess. Her warmth felt good. It felt right. She feels right. Maybe this is okay. If I get her to talk and she gets let out of that hellhole, she can stay with me.
In the morning, Eirin and I were the last to wake up. Sam told us not to lock the door as he pulled his shirt on. The door gently shut as she walked through, her hair falling onto her shoulders.
“James did it to help me sleep. It’s my fault.” When Eirin spoke, I saw Sam’s eyes grow wide. Right, he’s never heard her talk yet. He looks the same way I felt when I first heard it. Relaxed, and full of energy. Her voice is something powerful. Sam nodded, walking past her and leaving. She twirled around to me, fear filling her eyes. I laughed and waved my hand, telling her he just wasn’t ready for that. She calmed down and searched through the bag she brought with her. This is what I hate. She can’t be herself while we’re on this mission. Zemo walked through the door, setting a box on the bedside table. Eirin froze, trying to stay as still as possible. He left after I gave him a look. I left the room so she could change. We all stood in the kitchen, waiting for her. When she walked out in a black crop top that hugged her chest while a fishnet like material ran from underneath, disappearing under the black ripped jeans she wore so well. Her hair, pulled up into a high ponytail, was now a dirty blond. The only thing the same about her was the ring on her thumb. Even her shoes scared me. This isn’t Eirin Wessen.
Zemo grinned, leading us out of the house. Eirin walked in front of me. She knew how to act entirely different from who she is. It’s weird, but they trained her to be like that. We walked into a club, blasting music and flashing lights made us squint. Zemo explained we needed to split up and not look suspicious. I made a snarky remark and we all split. I sat at the bar, watching guys trying to touch up on Eirin’s body. Whenever one got too close, she’d whip around and step on their foot. Soon enough, a group of girls began dancing with her, laughing and pulling each other around. All the guys digested me. I bet half of them are married. I saw Sam taking a sip of beer and nodding at me with a smirk. My eyes rolled, turning back to see Eirin gone. Trying not to panic, I stood, looking around. Of course since she looks different, it’s harder to pick her out of the crowd. I watched as Zemo zoomed over to a hallway with an annoyed expression. I followed him.
A man held Eirin against the wall with her hands, pulling at her shirt. Zemo must have seen me prepare to walk over because he threw his hand in front of my chest. I glared at him, returning my glance to Eirin. He was drunk and towering over her with height. He placed kisses on her neck. This is when she snapped. Her knee shot up, hitting him in the crotch. He fell to the floor, whimpering like a child. She kicked him one last time, tightened her pigtails and turned to us. Eirin pushed past us, leaving both me and Zemo, speechless.
“Maybe she should go back into the field.” He smirked, my hand met his throat. Another grin grew on his face.
“You leave her the fuck alone. You know that they’re going to kill her if she doesn’t pass that stupid exam. What the hell is wrong with you? Can’t you see that she’s scared?” I let go, walking away. Sam’s voice rang in my ears.
“That was cute. Badass Eirin. Anyway, got Sharon. We need to go to the office. Of course, we need to go at separate times. Sharon and I'll go first.” His voice cut out. I sighed, knowing I would have to walk through the popping pot of dancing drunks. Eirin did it without a struggle. Once we all were inside the office, Wilfred Nagel sitting in a chair behind a large desk. Eirin stood against the wall, arms crossed as her cold eyes stared at him. He began telling us about the information we needed for the serum's Karli, the leader of the Flag Smashers. Zemo killed him and we all walked out while everyone on the dance floor continued doing their thing. When Zemo, Sam and I sat in the car, we looked at each other. Eirin was gone. Sam wouldn’t let me go out and look for her. Instead he did, leaving me alone with Zemo. Ever since we got here, I’ve wanted to rip each of his ribs out his body and shove them down his throat. The way he looks at Eirin makes me annoyed.
I could feel his gaze through the mirror but I would not give into him. After about fifteen minutes, Eirin returned, her face pale as she sat in the back seat. Sam slammed his door, telling Zemo to drive. The entire way back, Eirin and Sam didn’t speak once. When we returned to Zemo’s penthouse, Eirin walked into our room and locked the door behind her. I knocked on the door, waiting for her. I saw her shadow move around and when she finally opened the door; she pulled me inside, slamming the door behind me. Before I could say anything, she buried her face into my chest while she sobbed. Only now did I notice the long black shirt she stole from me. We moved to the floor, onto our make-shift bed. She stopped crying, her breathing now slower. I watched as her hair faded back into its normal brown. My finger brushed through a small lock of her hair, making me slightly smile.
Sam made his way into the room at some point and fell asleep in his bed. Eirin was facing away from me when I woke up. I searched through my bag, pulling out the small gray box I had given to Eirin. I pulled out the ring she didn't see, sliding it into my jacked pocket before throwing it onto the floor in the corner. I stood and walked out, standing in the kitchen, staring out the window. Cars passed and stars burned high in the sky. I never thought I would smile while looking at the sky. Sam walked over to me, handing the notebook that Eirin had become so engrossed in. He told me to look at the last few pages, then walked away. Sitting down on the floor and flipping through the pages, I glanced at my metal arm, then quickly looked back at the pages. Dark writing filled the page, making my skin crawl.
Journaling. I heard from my therapist that it should help with what I think about. To be honest, I do not know what to think about. It makes me sick sometimes. When I look at James, sometimes I want to just cry and hug him. Did you know that when someone has potent feelings for someone else, they press their lips against theirs as acknowledgement of their feelings? It’s called a kiss. To be honest, I bet I sound like a kid when I say this but; I want to try it. Maybe it’d be weird to do it with someone that only is with me to get his therapist off of his ass, but maybe he’d also understand why. I have to go, James is knocking on the door. I’ll try to write again.
I sighed, while Looking to the next paragraph she had written.
A man touched me. I’m scared. Why did he touch me? Why couldn’t he just leave me alone? Except for panic, I did nothing. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t talk. Eventually, he kissed my neck. I don’t know why it hurt me so bad. I hurt him back. I felt ‘badass’. I hope I’m using that right. Sam and James say it a lot. Speaking of James and Sam, they have such problems with each other. I want them to get along but I doubt that’s going to happen. I trust Sam more than I trust James, and that’s bad. Can I be normal?
James is sleeping. He grabbed my throat in his sleep with his metal arm. I felt it tighten. It hurt. When he stopped, I turned away from him, trying to stop myself from crying. I swear I could see him crying. He scares me. He really does. I thought I could trust him but he’s terrifying. Sam has this smile that makes me feel okay. I had a dream. In this dream, a man was talking to me and was telling me it’s okay to want to die. I didn’t speak. Why didn’t I speak? Why don’t I speak now? I think James wants to kill him. Sometimes he just stares at me and doesn’t talk. Maybe we’re more alike than I thought.
I cut myself. Is that okay? I don’t really think it is but I read something that said it’s okay but I shouldn’t do it often and clean everything up when I’m done. I did it when James went to the store. It’s the reason I cleaned up everything. Maybe James would like it if I were dead. I mean, he wouldn’t have to take care of me all the time. I’m just a drag. Just a waste of space. Just an oblivion.
I’m bleeding. When everyone else got into the car, I ran out of the back door. I sat in an alleyway and cried. The outfit I wore was torn into shreds, my blood dripping out of my mouth and my knees. When Sam found me, he looked angry. He reminded me of Golfo Zemo. When we got back into the car, I didn’t look at anyone. I was scared they’d all yell at me. The second we got back to the Penthouse, I locked myself in the room and cried, making my eyes hurt. I’m scared. Why am I like this?
I stood, closing the notebook. She does what I feared the most. Self-harm. Shit. I made my way into the room and sat beside Eirin, watching her body rising and falling slowly. Sam, of course, is already asleep and snoring like a pig. I turned onto my side and held her close to me, smelling her hair. She turned her head to look at me but then turned back forward, nuzzling the small blanket by her face. My arms are the only thing keeping her safe and I hate it. I hope she doesn’t hate me because I lo. . .Care about her a lot. A lot. Every time she isn’t looking at me and I glimpse a tear, I feel like I’m going to explode. My breathing paused, listening for hers. When I finally heard her breath, I closed my eyes. I want to hold her hands and pull her even closer to me. I should stop. I need to stop thinking like this. She’s just a girl. I barely know her. What’s wrong with me?
She stood behind him, terrified. I tried my best not to smile while Bucky flipped me off. When Wanda called her weak, I could sense the pain in her eyes. I’ve thought about what her voice sounds like. Maybe it’s soft and kind like her looks. Bucky never left her alone with me, like he didn’t trust me with her. He should know I wouldn’t try anything with her. I can tell by the way he looks at her, it’s obvious he really cares about her. He gave her a ring made of his dog tags. You could see how happy it made her when she slipped it onto her finger. When he told her we were leaving for Russia, I saw the light dimming from her eyes. I think Steve would have gotten her to open up more.
Steve died a cheerful man. He gave me his shield and everyone asked if I was going to be the new Captain America. Many people were racist about it saying that Captain America can’t be black. I wanted to flip off whoever said this. I’m too nice, right? The way I am, I'm pretty damn outstanding. I don’t think it’s that bad to be me. We made a museum about him. Bucky first told me about Eirin when we went to a super soldier's house. Isaiah. He’s a great guy and I think that it’s nice that he cares so much about his history. Eli asked why people would want a black Captain America. I sighed and told him I’m not. Taking his shield is something I shouldn’t do. It’s not mine. It’s not right. Instead of me getting the shield, a guy named John Walker did, and we have named him the new Captain America.
Eirin doesn’t know how to speak, read, or write very well. That’s Bucky’s other job. Not only does he have to protect her and learn more about her, but he has to teach her to do these simple tasks. When we were on the plane, Bucky attempted to get her to say a few words. I couldn’t hear her, but he could. Eventually, he began writing. She would carve her writing to make it look like his. He got frustrated, making me take the notebook and pencil from him. Instead of showing her what words to write, I would say them out loud so that she would instead think of her own way to write it. Her writing became special and curved in a very, well, Eirin way.
Somehow, she knew Zemo. Bucky protected her from him, standing in her way and making sure that he couldn’t even look at her. Eirin tenses up whenever she hears him, let alone being in the same room as him. The first night we spent there, she tossed and turned all night. I heard she had a nightmare. I did nothing, scared that Bucky would kill me if I touched her. I could hear the two of them talk for a while, too. Maybe they need each other. For anything, they’re pretty damn strong by themselves but together, they’re unstoppable. Bucky told me very little about her, mainly because he knows nothing about her, but he tried his hardest to let me know about things.
The place that they kept her is called C.A.R.M.A. I’ve heard of it. They take people that have experienced traumatic events and help them with the rehabilitation process. Obviously, this isn’t true. However, no one has enough evidence to shut them down. If Bucky were to get Eirin to talk, this would be cold hard proof. She wants them to stop hurting people but is scared that she’ll get hurt even more if she tries to help. Bucky told me they don’t know how old she is. She looks good. Anyway, they brought her to a therapist to see if they could get her to talk. At first, she began talking with this old guy, but when he passed away, everything changed. That’s when she stopped speaking. This has annoyed Bucky because he’s not the best at leaving things alone when he’s curious. He tried arguing with me he could get things done if he had to. What a load of bullshit. I think he’s been proud of me ever since I declined the Captain America role, but we both hate John Walker.
I get out of the bed and put on my shirt and jacket. Eirin and Bucky are still asleep, facing each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if she stayed with him after she took the big exam. I remember something Sarah said to me before I left. “Just come back okay.” I can see her face full of concern. The giant bags swung over my shoulder, the door opened, Zemo already standing out there, pouring himself whiskey. After placing the bags on to the floor, Bucky walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. He’s already dressed too. We made eye contact, a long, strange, eye conversation. Bucky threw his bag beside mine, stretching. Zemo watched him, an eyebrow raised. The second Zemo took a step towards the room, Bucky stopped him.
“Don’t even go in there.” He stared at him with a burning glare. My hand touched his shoulder, but he gave me the glare too. Rolling my eyes, I pulled Zemo away, sighing. Eirin walked out of the room, quickly placing her things beside ours. Without even making eye contact, she told Bucky somehow that she needed help. Before they left, he mumbled something and followed her into the room. When they came back, her hair sat high on her head in a bun. A slight smile lingered on her face. We all piled into the plane that arrived, Zemo still wearing a giant furry coat. Bucky sat by himself, leaving Eirin in the seat beside Zemo. Now and then I would glance over and see Bucky stare at Eirin as she looked out the window. Maybe she wanted this. Maybe she wanted to feel bigger than Zemo to get over her fear of him. She’s stronger than she looks. Eirin pulled out the red notebook, forcing me to whip my head over to Bucky. He nodded slowly and watched her. She flipped to an empty page and scribbled in big letters: You guys look tired. Get some sleep or something!
I smiled, looking at her. So she can talk to us like that. It’s a smart idea. Bucky fell asleep almost instantly after she presented the notebook to us. I closed my eyes, but I never fell asleep.
Zemo began speaking, something I couldn’t hear. Eirin didn’t respond. She never does. It had been a long time since we finally landed. Eirin grabbed the bags and brought them to the car waiting for us to hop into. I woke up Bucky, and we grabbed Zemo and headed into the car. Bucky drove, letting me get some sleep in the back seat with Zemo staring out the window. I truly hate when he’s interested in the world around him. You never know what’s going on inside his head. Eirin played with the radio stations, trying to find something to break the silence. When she couldn’t find anything that changed her mood, she turned it off, and looked at Bucky. I heard them say something to each other, but I couldn’t hear Eirin at all, just Bucky. Zemo stayed silent, ruining my sleep. I sat up, looking around.
“We’ll be there in about ten minutes, so get your shit together.” Bucky’s voice rang throughout the car, making me groan. Zemo made a sound, making Eirin turn around to smack him. Damn good hit. I didn’t hear what he said 100% but he muttered something. Of course probably an insult of some sort. Eirin looked at me, gently smiling. It looked fake, but I let it happen. The rest of the day was a blur. I just remember falling asleep in the oh-so-comfortable hotel bed.
See y'all in the next one <3
Thank you for all of the likes, followers, and support! You are making a shitty part of my life get better. Thank you so much!
I know very little about Sam. Is he a good guy? We all know Zemo isn’t, but is Sam? He looks like the type of guy that’s a hero but he gives off pissed off villain energy, too. Bucky stood with a woman and they began talking about Zemo. The two then argued, making me flinch. I walked over, grabbing onto Bucky’s arm. She glared at me, scaring me. Bucky touched my hand gently and sighed.
“Please, we just need a little more time with him. We need to figure something out before you take him. You can-.” The woman grabbed his metal arm and fiddled with it. Then it fell to the floor making a loud clump. I jumped back, watching as Bukcy’s chest rose and fell fastly. My ears rang as she walked away. He grabbed the arm and stuck it back into place. Sam ran over to us, yelling. My hand touched Bukcy’s shoulder, looking at him with a concerned look. After an hour, we began walking around town with Zemo to see if we could get any information from the people we saw about what was going on around here.
Mostly, people would look at us disgusted. We found a group of children playing a game.Zemo walked over and began talking to them in Russian. Remember. Think. What is he saying? My memory sucks. It’s terrible. Worse than my ability to speak, okay? Think. Just think. What is he saying?
“Privet. Izvinite, chto preryvayu vashu igru, no u menya yest' vopros.” Zemo spoke slowly. C’mon you Russian piece of shit! Help me out here! I breathed out, Bucky touched my shoulder, making me flinch. I looked at him and closed my eyes, breathing out.
They strapped me to a chair and told me to stay calm. When the needle poked through my skin, I could feel everything getting colder and the muscles in my body tightening. It hurt. I couldn’t feel if I was dead or alive but it hurt. More than anything, I wanted to cry. A scream left me, but I saw the smile grow onto Zemo’s face. He began saying the words that triggered me. And just like that. . .I’m Phoenix. The killing machine everyone knows me as.
A woman tried to tell me she wanted me to help her, but my head was too high in the clouds to realize that she was actually talking to me. I spun around to her and then smiled, faking that I was nice and not going to kill her. The two of us walked into a store and watched as people bought things and left. She smiled, taking me to the back. When we both sat down, I waited for her to speak. The second she opened her mouth, I stabbed her in the throat and covered her mouth. Tears filled her eyes while her weak hands grabbed onto my wrist. I pulled the knife out and stabbed her again repeatedly.
She held onto my wrist, her body slowly losing all heat in my arms. When she finally finished struggling, and that’s when I knew. . .she’s gone. After this, I sat there on the floor, watching my blood drip from my thigh. I cut myself. Why do I need to do this? I don’t get it. I want to die. Maybe others will live better without me. When Zemo found me, he yelled at me in Russian. I would answer back with a snarky comment. He would smack me and then we’d be back in the facility, treating my wounds and giving me more serum.
One day, he didn’t show up. That was the only day that I talked to myself. I taught myself some Russian phrases that I had picked up from the various missions I have been on. I coughed, my throat dry from practicing so much. This is okay. To be normal like a student attempting to read for the first time, or ever carving their name onto a piece of lined notebook paper. After Zemo found out that I was trying to teach myself something, He left me with the shock color on and threw me underwater so it would hurt even more.
The children ran away, giggling at the small candies that Zemo had given them. I waited until Zemo was ahead of us to tell Sam and Bucky about what he said.
“Eti lyudi pozadi menya plokhiye. Begi, poka oni ne prichinili tebe bol'. Or, in English, ’These people behind me are bad. Run along before they hurt you. He’s making them think we’re the bad people.” I mumbled, but they heard me, clear enough to look at each other and roll their eyes. Zemo, of course, isn’t working with us. He hates us and just wants to run free. The two then looked at me, trying to figure out how to tell me something without hurting my feelings. Zemo walked over to us, then yelled, pulling a mask over his face.
The Flag Smashers are of course here. Bucky pulled me behind a wall and sighed, pulling a pistol out of his jacket. When he handed it to me, he was hesitant. I could see the fear in his eyes and the confusion. I took the gun from him and sighed, crouching down. Seeing three of the members, I put my back against the wall, standing up. Bucky touched my arm, reaching for the pistol. I pulled away, looking at him.
“I can do this, I’m not weak.” My voice echoes when I turn to walk, he clears his throat and nods, beginning to walk with me. When we come into contact with a few members, I throw the pistol down and use my fists. If we kill any of them, they will put us into jail. No one wants that. I don't want to go back to that hell. Within minutes, the fighting is over and Sam, Bucky and I, are walking down a road. Bucky yells at Sam, telling him we should have just beat their asses. While listening to them, I hear a vehicle grow close to us.
A weird-looking golf-cart stops beside us. I glare at the man wearing the Captain America suit. John Walker and his friend Agent Hoskins sit inside, both looking at us. They offer us a ride and we accept, tired of walking. When we hop in, Walker won’t stop staring at me. When I finally look at him, he grins, raising a finger.
“Well shit, I know how I remember you! You’re the chick that was put into that rehab facility to fix the crap in your head. How’s that going? I heard you have to take this big exam to see if you changed.” He chuckled, making me shiver. Chick. Bucky’s eyes grew narrow, my hand touched his leg slightly. He relaxed. Hoskins chuckled.
“Sorry, he’s excited to meet you three. He’s a giant fan, I mean, he’s Captain America now!” Hoskins and Walker bumped their fists together, laughing. Sam’s face turned away from them. Hoskins and Walker then had a side conversation, whispering about something. I sighed, playing with the ring on my thumb. The vehicle came to a stop when Bucky yelled something. I looked up to see Bucky climbing out, Sam following him. I sat there, confused. Bucky called out to me, making me jump. I sped over to them and waited.
After thorough convincing, Walker made us bring him and Hoskins to Zemo’s hideout. We walked around, looking at each room. Zemo is gone. Walker would keep giving me these looks each time he came out of a room. I tried my best to avoid all kinds of eye contact with him, but it was difficult. We finally exited the penthouse just to be blasted off of our feet. Karli ran up a flight of stairs with Sam chasing behind her. Bucky helped me to my feet. Sam’s voice whispered in our ears ‘Don’t hurt her, just try to get her to talk. She’s just a kid.’ Even though I wanted to at least hit someone, Sam’s right. She’s just a kid. Bucky walked away, leaving me alone. I watched as Walker fought a man in a mask. I panicked, hiding in a dark corner. He saw me. I don’t know him but he’s terrifying. He grabbed my ankles and punched me. He then threw me to the ground. The world spun. All I remember last was Bucky’s eyes.