Captain America and the American Way

The air was thick with smoke from a building burning off in the distance. Steve followed several feet behind the fleet of policeman as they marched to- well, he didn’t know what exactly. With each step he took, his feet became heavy. An itch in the back of his mind told him to turn around. He couldn’t shake that there was a missing piece of information about this mission but seeing the city in distress made him carry his heavy feet on. These people needed him and he would not turn away.

Steve hears dialogue from the police CB radios but it’s just white noise in the background to him. Suddenly, the inaudible voice speaks in a rushed, forceful tone and panic floods into Steve’s body. The fleet of officers who were moving so smoothly and in unison before begin to rush forward around the corner. Steve braces himself for the unseen threat lurking around the corner while his feet betray his ready stance, feeling like they want to melt into the ground.

As the officers disappear around the corner, he can hear increasing screams and chants in unison, though he can’t make out the exact words. The thought of staying where he is burns a hole in his mind.

A woman’s scream breaks Steve out of his stance and his protective instincts kick in. He rushes around the corner only to come to an immediate halt, shocked at the scene before him. A large man gets kicked in the gut by an officer, while another officer grabs the same man and sends him flying to the floor. Another man keeps his hands raised in surrender while an officer chokes him from behind with his baton. Another man starts screaming profanities at a group of officers. Without a hint of remorse or pleasure, the stone faced officer extends his arm to the man’s face, spraying pepper spray. The man is brought to his knees, crying out. He tries to keep his hands up, but his arms are shaking as he is weakened by the pepper spray.

The attacks seem to continue for miles as Steve watches, feeling betrayed. But nothing makes his heart drop more than seeing, out of the corner of his eye, a Captain America poster that has clearly been spray painted with huge letters “Black Lives Matter”

He knew in that moment he had been lied to and used. He was told they needed Captain America to save the Country from “terrorist action”. He knew now he was just a ploy in the media’s plan. He was the poster boy for keeping the protestors’ quiet. Steve felt guilty that his eagerness to help had lead him to agree to do something so horrible.

A woman’s scream takes him out of his trance and he watches as she gets knocked to the ground. The officer grins and raises his baton high as the woman curls up to protect herself. Steve throws his shield knocking the officer out with a quick clunk. He rushes over to the woman and extends his hand down to her. She is still shaking, big black frizzy hair mixed with blood. She looks at his hand and looks at Steve and he nods. Steve could see the fear in her eyes as if she were asking him “aren’t you with them?” As he helps the woman to her feet, she has no words but in her eyes he can see the gratitude. She begins to open her mouth to say something, but then suddenly her pupils shrink and she points over his shoulder. Steve turns.

A young boy, possibly no older than 10 stands alone as a group of policeman circle him, guns drawn. The young boys’ eyes are puffy and red from crying and he is drawing in sharp breaths in between sobs. His face is wet with tears. To Steve, the young boy looks like somebody’s son, innocent and free. But Steve can tell that the police aren’t taking into account this boys’ age. To them, all protesters here tonight are a threat. The young boy is trying so hard to stand still and keep his arms raised, but his sobs betray him and he jerks back a bit, almost like he is being punched in the stomach. That’s all it takes for the police to make that split second decision.

But before the gun can go off, Steve leaps into action, throwing his shield near the arms of the trigger happy officer forcing him to drop his firearm to the ground. Almost instantly Steve is face to face with the officer, knocking him unconscious with one fatal blow. The officers direct their attention to Steve and aim to shoot him, but it only takes a few effortless kicks and punches before the entire squad is unconscious lying in the street.

There are hundreds of people staring but there is a dead silence. Steve looks out at the crowd of people stretching out for miles. Faces that look back at him with a mixture of confusion and amazement. It’s possible they assumed Captain America was on the side of those working to silence the protesters

A blinking red light catches the corner of Steve’s eye and he notices a news camera, possibly broadcasting live. He imagines the nation, comfortable and safe on their couches, watching, mouths dropped to the floor. Steve imagined the chief of police, tearing his hair out, his plans now blown to bits. But then Steve pictured in his mind, the mother of the slain boy behind the protests, eyes glued to the screen, teary eyed, feeling relieved for the first time since her son had been murdered. Thanking him, in her mind, for making the world see that her sons’ life, and the lives of all black people, matter.

Steve smiled and with a flick of his hand sent his shield to smash the camera and interrupt the feed to all.

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