Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fight Song Chapter 22

Guys, it's over. Last week, Callie finally faced down Welsh once and for all. And this week? This is the very last chapter of Fight Song. And I'd just like to say thank you all for reading my novella, for commenting, and for generally being awesome. Also, thanks for the girls over at the Teenage Superhero Society for letting me borrow their characters throughout the novella. I really enjoyed getting back into the world of Foundry City for a bit. 

Anyway. Enjoy the last chapter. As always, if you have any comments, questions, critiques, or suggestions on the chapter or the whole story, I'd love to hear them. Thanks again for sticking with Callie and me all this time!

Chapter 22: Four Weeks Later

I met Jonathan at the Starbucks down the street from the courthouse an hour before I needed to be inside. I’d become increasingly familiar with this area over the last week since Welsh’s trial began. Usually, of course, I came here as Songbird, talking about my investigation or my confrontation with Welsh. But today I was just Callie, one of my own star witnesses, one of only three people to see Welsh’s murders in person and live to tell the tale.

Starbucks was crammed full, but Jonathan sat at a table by the door, easy to spot. He stood and held out a tall green cup as I approached. “Don’t sit down.”

“Hello to you too, Jonathan.” I took the cup and sipped the rich, dark liquid. Jonathan had gotten me his fancy Kenyan coffee again, this time with caramel and cinnamon and no cream. I think I might be addicted. “Why am I not sitting?”

“Because you’re going to be sitting for at least four hours after this, and this place is crowded.” Jonathan dodged around me and headed for the door. “There’s a park down the street; we’ll go there.”
He had two very valid points, so I followed him out and down the busy street. All the same, his being right didn’t stop me from giving him a teasing grin. “You’ve gotten bossy since you became a big-shot reporter, you know that?”

Jonathan rolled his eyes. “I’m not that big-shot. Not like Mr. Keller.”

“Uh-huh. And whose name is under half the headlines on the Herald’s front page for the last several weeks?” I nudged him with my elbow. “Mr. Big-Shot Reporter Jonathan Davis, covering the arrival of a new superhero in town and, what did you call it? ‘The biggest crime and trial that Foundry City’s seen in decades,’ wasn’t it?”

“Well, it helps that the new superhero in question gives me precedence every time she talks to reporters. Almost like she’s trying to use her time in the spotlight to give my career a boost too.” Jonathan grinned back. “And being an eyewitness to most of the investigation and the final battle doesn’t hurt either.”

“I bet.” We reached the park, a small area of grass and trees with a playground off to one side. I lowered my voice slightly, though the heat meant most people were avoiding the outdoors.

“Starlight’s still annoyed that I involved you, by the way. The other night, when I went out— I don’t know if she actually came looking for me or if she just ran into me, but she definitely told me off.” I paused, recalling her exact words. “She said that if I wanted to ‘collaborate with the press,’ that was my business and my risk to take, but endangering civilians was the last thing any good super should be doing. Not exactly in those words, but you get the idea.”

Jonathan raised an eyebrow and took a sip of his own coffee. “And you told her?”

“That you figured out who I was on your own, had helped me through the entire investigation, and would keep the secrets I asked you to keep. Also, that you knew the risks and wouldn’t have stayed away from the confrontation even if I tried to make you.” I sighed. “She let it go after that, thank goodness.”

“She’s probably glad to have another person on patrol, whatever she thinks of the company you keep.” Jonathan adjusted the strap of his satchel. “By the way, do your parents know about . . . all this?”

“They know what I told them, so basically what’s in the papers. They don’t know about Songbird. And they aren’t going to. They worry enough as it is.” A pair of teens on bikes passed us, and we stepped aside to let them by. “And if they found out . . . they’d try to make me stop. And I don’t want to deal with that. Not now that I’ve finally found the courage to do what I was meant to do.”

“Ah. Probably safer for them that way too.” Jonathan fell silent, and we walked and sipped our drinks until we reached the edge of the park. There we stopped, shaded by trees on either side of the path.
“So.” I finally broke the silence. “How are you doing? Personally, I mean, not with the papers?”
“I’m fine.” Jonathan shrugged. “Keeping busy. Trying to figure out what I’ll do after I no longer have all this to consume my life. What about you? Are you feeling ok still?”

“Yeah. I’m fine. Not dead yet.” The first couple days, I’d felt so exhausted that I struggled to summon even a zombie-like amount of energy, and I’d been seriously terrified that Welsh had killed me after all. But a third day had passed, and a fourth, and my energy returned, so I figured I’d probably escaped. “I still have nightmares sometimes. Not as bad as the first week, but occasionally. I came so close to just giving up . . . it scared me.”

“But you didn’t give up,” Jonathan says. “You kept fighting. That’s the important part.”

“Right. Thank God for that.” I mean it. The more I think about it, the more sure I am that the fact that I could sing amidst the Death Song was an outright miracle.

We started walking again, headed towards the courthouse. I took another drink of coffee before asking, “What do you think will happen to Welsh?”

“My guess would be the death penalty. With our evidence; your, Ana, and Uhjin’s testimonies; and what the court’s telepath found . . . there’s no denying that he’s guilty.” Jonathan shook his head. “At the very least, he’ll face life with no bail. All Welsh’s money and power can’t erase how many lives he’s taken.”

“No.” I expected to feel glad to Jonathan’s prediction that Welsh will die for his crimes, but instead, it’s just . . . satisfaction. I can’t be glad that the Death Song will play again, even for one who wielded it so cruelly. But I’m satisfied that I’ve done what I’ve set out to do and that he won’t be able to kill another man.

Jonathan nudged me, and I realized I’d zoned out. “Hey, Callie?”

I looked over at him. “Yeah?”

“Now that this is over . . .” Jonathan made a vague gesture in the general direction of the courthouse. “Will Songbird stick around?”

“Yes.” I smiled, glancing not towards the courthouse but towards my apartment and the streets I’ve taken to patrolling between here and there. “This is who she is. I know that now. Her songs were always meant to be fight songs— and I wouldn’t change that. Not for anything."


  1. I'm going to miss seeing new chapters of Fight Song.
    Thanks for sharing this story!

    1. I'm going to miss posting them. But such is life. I'm glad you enjoyed the story!


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