PEOPLE GET READY
By Matt Taylor
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of DC Comics. I receive no money from this and am doing it for my own amusement. "People get Ready." Performed by Curtis Mayfield, Rod Stewart, and Jeff Beck. I receive no money from its use either.
This is Donna Troy, Troia, a superhero and a member of the super-team called the Titans. Today she walks through Titans tower, their headquarters, wondering about herself. It was just recently that she died, and was brought back to life by her mentor Diana, and her friend Wally West. Her memories coming from Wally's memories of her. She is grateful, but angry at the same time. All of her memories now come from Wally, but what of the private thoughts? The special moments between her and her loved ones? The things Wally West wouldn't know about?
This has been Donna's problem for the last several months. It is frustrating to say the least. She feels unfulfilled, empty, for part of her is not here. She is not complete, she is just what other people saw her to be. As she thinks these things, tears come from her eyes. She had promised herself she wouldn't do this again- start to think about it all, and let it get to her. But here she is, leaning against the wall, crying. What would her teammates think if they saw her like this? Probably would want to help. But she wants to be alone right now.
She runs off to her room then, and falls into her bed. She places her head against the pillow, and cries once again. After several minutes, she gets up and turns her stereo on. Perhaps some music would make her feel better. She turns to a station, and the gravely voice of Rod Stewart comes on.
People get ready for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers from coast to coast
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels calling
There's room for all, but the loving most .
Faith. There's something. She has long worshipped the gods of Olympus, but it seems like they are no help. They have supposedly forsaken her in the past, it would be no surprise if it happened again. She has long stopped trying to count on them, they seem wrapped up in their own problems lately. She lies down on her bed again, and closes her eyes, the song still playing. She hears the voice of Rod Stewart as she drifts away into sleep.
"Huh .what .?"
Donna stirred then, as she left the relative peace of sleep behind. She woke up to find herself sitting up, in a seat. She was in what looked like a train car of all things, outside the window she saw what was apparently beautiful mountains and trees passing by. She looked around the car and saw she was alone. She looked down and was in her Troia uniform.
"Where am I?" she asked no one in particular. Surprisingly it was answered. At the far end of the car a man entered the room. He was dressed in a white shirt, a blue vest, and jeans. He walked up to her and sat down across from her.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"Me? You can call me Frank." He said, with a friendly tone. "You're Donna Troy, right?"
"Yeah. Where are we?"
"Yeah, I know, but how did I get here?"
"That's not important, Donna."
"I figured this sort of thing happens a lot to people in your business." he said, with a friendly smile. "Would you like to talk?"
"About what?" She asked, wondering why this man was suddenly talking like an old friend.
"About your life. I hear some things have been very hectic for you lately."
"Humph." That was the understatement of the year. "You better believe that."
"It's obvious that you have some things you'd like to say. Some weights to get off your back." He said, again in a calm, understanding manner.
"Well ..there are a few things." she said cautiously.
Donna swallowed then. He was smiling, but it was such a warm smile, beaming with understanding, and an unusual type of love. "It .it's been a very tough for me the last few years. My powers constantly changing, breaking up with Terry, then Kyle, leaving him ." Donna felt a good amount of her strength sap as she went over those words. Frank reached across and put a supportive hand on her shoulder.
"When I left Terry, I just felt I had to. It wasn't working anymore." she went on. Frank continued to listen quietly. "I just don't understand why they let this happen? I've always supported and worshipped them."
"You mean the Olympians?"
"Yes. It seems like all the things I did for them, all the sacrifices and injuries, don't mean anything to them where I'm concerned."
"They do love you Donna. Perhaps your raising by the Titans of Myth made them a little unsure."
"Maybe they do. But it seems so hard lately." she said, her voice quivering slightly. "When I gave up my original Troia powers, I felt lost, so I joined the Darkstars, and got involved with Kyle, but it seemed like that relationship was doomed from the start."
"In all honesty, we didn't think it would last either. But Kyle is still your friend. You don't realize this Donna, but you have a lot of friends in this business."
"Yeah, I guess I do. But I can't go to them, it seems so personal." she said. Frank just smiled calmly at her.
"When Robert and Terry and Jenny died, I felt like my heart was ripped out and stomped on. I felt sad, I felt angry, I felt ."
He just smiled and said. "Go on."
"I felt dead inside. I still do to some extent."
"But it has gotten better?"
"A little, getting my powers back, along with this new one. It seems like my very touch destroys evil."
"It does. We know. It will only grow stronger over time."
"We." was all Frank said. Donna decided to put the question away and continue. There was something about this man. Something that seethed understanding and trust, just looking at him, she felt she could tell him anything. Like he would understand it perfectly.
"Well, After I left Terry I joined the Darkstars. I had been a superhero almost all my life, I just couldn't see myself leaving it. With my powers gone, I received a Darkstar uniform, and went to work, as one of them. I felt better. I was saving lives, which was always what I felt I was meant for. I
was with Kyle, everything was perfect."
"Was it really?"
She wasn't sure about that question. "I I don't really know about that. I was happy, I felt content."
"Yes, you were. We were happy that you were happy." Once again, the mysterious "we."
"But then there was a car accident, and everything fell apart. Terry was dead. And Jenny, my stepdaughter, too. And Robert my poor son, was he was " Donna felt herself start to cry again. Frank got up from his seat, and sat down next to her, putting his arm around her. She continued to cry, as images of her son entered his mind. She saw him playing on a swing, running around, chasing after his friends. Splashing in the pool while his mother watched him from the side, a beaming smile on her face. She remembered all the good times, holding him in her arms, looking down at his sleeping form. Her tears continued for several minutes, until finally clearing up.
Donna nodded, unsure of whether or not she could speak again. She breathed several times, before regaining her strength.
"It's about time for dinner. We can continue our talk then." Frank said. Gently helping her up, they walked down the car, into another one.
The dining car was beautiful. There was red velvet over the walls, and the seats were incredibly comfortable. But at the same time, there was an unusual presence to the place.
"Where were we?" Frank suddenly asked, from the seat across from her. Donna
looked down at her food, some type of fish. She looked over and saw that Frank wasn't eating anything.
"Who are you?" she asked again.
"I'll tell you later, don't worry. Today we're talking about you."
"Why do you want to know all this?"
He smiled lovingly at her again. "I'm your friend, Donna. I want to see you happy. You need to get this off your chest."
Donna took another bite, and wondered how he was her friend. She had never seen him before.
"After that accident, I felt like I should just die. I didn't want to live anymore. But for some reason I didn't end it all. I left Kyle, and moved to Gateway City. When Diana "died" I felt it again. It was horrible. But I persevered." He nodded approvingly, as she spoke.
"When Diana came back, I felt relieved, I felt a small part of me come alive again. Then, there was Dark Angel."
"We don't have to talk about this if you don't want."
"No I think you're right. There are some things I need to talk about. This is one of them." She straightened her back, and continued on.
"I found I had lived virtually hundreds of lives before. In each one I died in some gruesome way, only to be brought back in another life. All for Dark Angel's whim." She said with a disgusted air.
"It was horrible, we know." Frank said. How did he know all this? And if he did know, why was he asking her about her life? She looked questioningly at him, he simply smiled again.
"When I died this last time that's when it all fell apart. I was brought back, from the memories of my friend the Flash, Wally West. It was his memories of me that where used. It was used as a sort of blueprint for my new self. But those memories are now the only things that make up my self. I feel unsure, like I'm empty."
Frank looked at her with a sympathetic look. She looked down and saw her now empty dish was gone.
"Where did the dish go?"
"The waiter took it. Come on, we better get back to our seats." She got up from her chair, and took a look around the empty dining car. She had not seen any waiter come to take her plate, nor had she seen anyone deliver it either. They both exited the car, and walked back to their seats.
"Why is the train empty?" She asked. She looked through the windows again, and saw the same beautiful countryside pass by.
"This? Actually it's full, I'm surprised I got you a reservation. But that's not important. You still have some things to say?"
"Yes Yes, I do." Donna was very confused over that last bit, but opted to put it aside. "I was talking about my death. I was happy to be alive, anyone is this business would be. But when I found out how I was brought back. That's when things changed. Wally only knew the public version of me. Now I am that person, what the public thinks I am. Wally knew some private things, but hardly all of them. Is this really me? That's the question. I don't know. I feel lost whenever I try to remember something that Wally might not have known. My wedding night, when Robert was born, It's horrible. I should know these things. I should! But I don't .I don't." Frank was sitting next to her again, as he was right before they left for dinner. Once again he put his arm around her, as she wept. It was much shorted this time.
"Sorry." she said.
He just smiled again. "You do whatever you feel you have to do."
"Thank you. Of course, when I was brought back, my original powers started returning. I had asked for them to be removed before, but I didn't know how much I would miss them. But I felt my life as Troia would be a danger to Robert and all " Frank chuckled slightly.
"I know. You needn't worry. Robert and Terry are very proud of you." She literally jerked up at that.
"What?" She whispered. He smiled at her again, and she stared at him for a minute. She knew he would tell her in his own good time, so she continued.
"Now, I'm Troia again. The circle starts again.' She laughed slightly at that.
"Once again Donna. I don't mean to bring up bad memories, but how did you feel when Robert died?" She looked at him a moment, then looked down and continued.
"I felt part of me die. It's still dead today. But the worst thing of it all, worse than seeing that crash site, worse than knowing that's where they had died, knowing they would never be coming back I had lived my life saving lives, now to see these two particular lives gone " She started to cry again, as the words struggled past her lips. "The worst of it, is that I never got to say goodbye." Donna held her tears under control, as her friend calmly looked down at her, an expression of pain and sorrow on his face.
"It hurts me to see you like this. It has hurt me to see you in pain over the years. I can only hope the future will cause you nothing but joy."
"But you can't confirm that?" she asked, with a slight sarcastic tone.
"No, I cannot."
"Surprising, considering everything else you've done."
"Well, you teleport me in my sleep to this train, that appears to be going nowhere." she said, but was interrupted by Frank, laughing softly.
"I didn't do this." he said.
"Then who did?"
"I wonder why I even bother falling in love at all. I don't think I should anymore. Everyone I get feelings for either dies, or doesn't work out. Terry died, me and Kyle broke up, it's just too much." Frank pulls her up gently, and looks her in the eyes.
"Never say that. Love is one of the most important gifts we have ever been given. Do you really believe that you can never love again?" he said, with an almost shocked tone to his voice.
"It seems like loving me is a curse." she said.
"No, loving you is a gift, one which few can gain. Even if you believe this Donna, there will always be people who love you. All your teammates, all your friends, Wonder Woman. Everyone you know has learned to love you in some ways. That in itself is a rare gift, one that he has not given lightly."
"He." Donna still didn't know who he was talking about.
"Most of all Donna. I love you, and he loves you. He always has, no matter who you worship, or pray to, he has always watched you, with the same love he gives to all. You and I are both his children, as are all people everywhere, everywhen."
"Huh?" He smiles again, and she can't help but marvel at it. It is smile devoid of any mocking, or hurt. It is filled with love, joy, and happiness. She feels good in his presence.
"I have been with you all your life Donna, I was there for your first birth, all the way to your latest. You truly think there is no one who can solve your pain?"
"Well, I didn't exactly say that." But in a way it was true. As of late she had started to feel like she was the only one who would understand the problems she had faced, that she was the only one who could deal with them, she had even shut herself out to a few people. "Maybe I did."
"You will always have people who understand you Donna. I understand you better than most. I have seen every life you have ever lived, and grown to love you as all others who meet you. I know you to be a caring, sensitive woman, who thinks only of others, and cares not for what damages may come to her body. If he had created more like you, the world would be a truly wonderful place."
"Once again you say 'he'. Who is 'he'?" Donna said again.
"Donna, if you ever need to speak to me again, jut speak, and I will hear you. If it I something you actually can't trust me with, then he will hear you. He loves you, and always has, just as he loves even Wonder Woman and her Olympian friends, despite who they choose to worship." With that Frank took her and hugged her, tightly. Surprised slightly, she then returned it, finding a small tear come to her eyes.
"How do you feel?" he said. Donna looked up, and felt a huge weight lift from her shoulders. She had told everything that needed to be told. Spoke of how helpless she felt sometimes, with all this gone, she felt a wonderful joy go through her. As if the helplessness and anger had left her.
"How how did " He puts a finger to her lips, silencing her.
"I have been with you since the beginning Donna. Though you may not know it, I have always been there for you, even when your religion forbid it, I am no more, and no less than your guardian." Before she could respond, he lightly kissed her on the forehead, and everything went white.
Donna jerked awake, she looked around and was still in her bedroom. She looked over and saw the stereo was still on.
Don't need no baggage, you just thank the lord.
The same song was still playing? Was it all a dream? She got up from her bed, and decided to put the dream to good use. She needed to talk with Wally, tell him about how she felt bout the entire incident Clear the air, so to speak. Was it a dream? It felt so real. She got up from her bed, and found she was back in the clothes she went to sleep in. She went to the closet and found her Troia uniform, completely untouched. She remembered every aspect of the dream completely. She turned to walk from the room and find Wally. She turned back suddenly, and saw something on her dresser. Something that definitely was not there before.
"What ?" She picked up a small gold chain. At the end of the chain was a small golden cross. She looked at it, as if in a trance for several minutes. Frank's words going through her mind.
"He loves you. He always has, no matter who you worship."
Donna continued to stare in shock, as the words fell into place. All in all, she must have stared at the cross for half an hour. Finally a smile rose to her cheeks, and she unlocked the chain, placing it gently around her neck, removing the amulet that once hung there. She looked over the small cross necklace in the mirror, before smiling and leaving the room. As she left she turned and spoke.
"Thank you." She finally left her room to go find Wally, as she did so, she swore she could her the sound of flapping wings.
All characters are DC Comics
This story is © 1999 by Matt Taylor.