To Save a Stranger
She was lovely.
Every so often, Mindracer could see the way she imagined Tempo could see when he slipped into a faster timestream - with the world moving in slow motion around her as she pushed the limits of her super-fast body. She was grateful for those moments, and more than a little jealous of him - and of White Blur, whose mind apparently sped up to match the speed he was at.
Mindracer's power was different. Her body and mind had been basically overclocked by alien experiments. As such, it was less predictable. She often had to plan her super-fast movements before executing them, as she would usually only see a blur while she did them, and wouldn't have much chance to change course if she had to. Needless to say, she spent less time at the high-end speeds than either Blur or Tempo.
But it also had its perks ... her high-powered mind might not always keep up with her body, but it could hear thoughts. It was always a nice trick to disarm a gunman before he even reached for his gun, because she could hear him think about reaching for it.
And in moments like this, the sensation was nothing less than glorious.
She was just another woman waiting for the bus. The purse snatcher grabbed her purse while she was on the phone and shoved her out into the oncoming and unforgiving Los Angeles traffic. Mindracer hadn't been in costume - had been standing across the street, waiting for her favorite breakfast place to open. If she'd been closer, the off-duty heroine might have heard the purse snatcher's intent and stopped him before he could get started. It was nothing to zip across the street and pull the woman to safety, but before she'd been pushed, Mindracer hadn't given her a second look.
Now, however, moving in this frozen world, Minrdracer saw her oh-so clearly ...
Her black hair was falling ... slowly. Shock had widened dark, hazel eyes that stared up at unknown doom. Red, full lips in olive skin stretched by years of laughing and crying - of feeling. Mindracer saw the marks left by adolescent acne just under the modest makeup, could detect the faint smell of mascara under the elegant perfume.
As Mindracer's arms went around her waist, she started to hear the woman's mind. Normally, it was just surface-thoughts - the brain's immediate decisions and internal debates - but in moments like this, her mind had time to hear the deeper things. The woman's fear and dismay lay over everything, but fainter sounds came through: What will my mother do? Will the driver stop? Will I survive? Will my friends at work be worried? Memories of the phone conversation: discussing a movie and what to do tonight.
It all made her so ... real. The look on her face, every line on her skin, everything she was wearing or holding standing as a visual testament to the impressions washing through Mindracer's head. Even the woman's name: Maria. She was named after her mother.
To see, feel, hear ... to fully experience this other human being in such fullness ...
... it made it so easy to save her.
"Are you alright?" asked Mindracer as the moment ended. She absently listened to the thoughts of the bystanders - no one had noticed her move at superspeed. Astounding what people can fail to see.
"I ... oh my God, thank you! That man, he ..."
"I know," said the speedster. She couldn't help but smile. This woman would forever believe that she had been saved by a complete stranger - by someone who knew nothing about her.
Mindracer knew different.
"I'll stop him."