Where Do Alt's Go

A man dreams of taking to the skies once more, to return to his crime fighting hero days, but his motivation has left him. (Note: The word ‘alt’ refers to the alternate characters that game players create when they get bored of the character they are currently playing.)

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Background and Author Notes


The kettle boils and clicks off. I walk into the kitchen to make the coffee. In the living room I can hear the commercials start up as the chat show finishes. They are advertising more things I’m never going to buy or barely have any interest in. I finish making the drink and glance out at the sky. It’s a cloudy day. Autumn is settling in. Not that I go out these days. I have little reason to; I stay in and watch daytime TV. People say there’s nothing on and they’re more or less correct, but it works for me, helping the time pass; holding off the boredom.

I woke up last night from a dream. It’s the same dream I always have. Me flying out over the city watching the people pass below. It’s such a wonderful thing to remember the feeling of flying. The ability to soar with the birds and get close to the clouds. Few other things come close.

I think I was flying with others in the dream last night. The memory has seeped away as the day has crept into my mind. But then I understand so little of what I dream about it hardly matters whether I remember. It’s probably all escapism mixed in with old memories. I shouldn’t worry, it’s not meant to make sense. All I am left with is the feeling of how great it was to be out there again.

I find myself living for my dreams. I often wish they were the reality. That they were the life I now lead. I’ve thought about sleeping pills so I can stop the dreams: I’ve heard that’s what pills do, help you sleep like the dead. It would block the longing, but what would it leave me with?

There is both monotony and a simple rhythm to each day in the apartment. No matter my complaints I enjoy watching the cable, and I have books to read.

As I glance out the kitchen window I can see people down on the street. It’s something else I do as a pastime: watch the people passing by. Occasionally I see an old lady who lives in the next apartment block as she goes out. I think she found a stray cat the other day. I saw her cradling something in her arms. It’s nice to know there are good people out there looking after the world.

Last week there was a robbery. Two men came running out of a store opposite. The police were too late to do anything. It made my hands itch to watch. I wanted to be out there stopping the robbers. I wanted to be the one who prevented them from getting away. I even thought about leaping out of the window and flying after them like I do in the dreams.

I used to be a hero when I was younger. I used to go out there in the old days and stop the bad guys. That’s where the dreams of flying come from. I wonder sometimes why I stopped. I can never remember a reason.

There was something that made me want to get out there at night and fight crime. Now I’ve lost that urge, that drive. It’s as if the thing that was pushing me before has gone. I dearly wish I knew the reason why I stopped being motivated. I don’t remember when it happened, it just did.

Maybe I had just seen too much bad stuff happening. This place is crowded with it. It reminds of the talk about cars and roads: the more cars you have in a city the more roads you build and the more roads you build the more cars you have. One leads to the other. I wonder if this is the same with villains. When there weren’t that many heroes there weren’t that many villains. Now there are heroes everywhere and maybe that’s what draws in the villains.

I can hear the commercials coming to an end and another chat show starting on the TV. I think I’ll go back to the living room to watch it. Nothing out there needs me today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put on my cape and fight some crime. Maybe tomorrow.