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Hero

Davian Aw's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Not One of Us, Diabolical Plots, Stone Telling, and Star*Line, among others. He lives with his family in Singapore, where he works as a web developer and once had a pet hamster named Hamsterix. This is his second story in DSF.
The hero was supposed to die. Louis saved him with his mind, sitting at the back of the cinema where no one might notice the concentration on his face. His hand jerked as he shoved the man safely away from his gory end in a wood chipper. The audience broke into laughter. Repeat viewers gaped in shock.
"That was so much less gross than Conor said it would be," a teenager remarked to her friend as the credits rolled.
No one paid attention to the tired boy filing out with the rest of the audience.
"Thanks," the hero whispered as Louis passed his movie poster.
Louis shrugged. One down, he thought. Half a million more to go. He slipped into another cinema hall.
News media ran hot with cries of censorship, sabotage, the ever-present confusion of how the movies were being changed: not just in the cinemas but on DVDs, downloads, and--most mysteriously--book adaptations. Unlikely rescues popped up everywhere. Promised bloodbaths came to naught, cathartic mass slaughters nimbly averted by plot tweaks.
"I mean," one reviewer said, "I guess it's very peaceful and all, but no one wants to watch two hours of Keanu Reeves playing fetch with a puppy and teaching it to sit."
Louis looked down as his feet as his friends complained about their favorite movies being ruined. He wished it didn't have to be this way. He hated destroying people's work. He wished he'd never heard the fictional voices crying out to him for help.
But the weight of all those unsaved lives hung heavy in his heart, and nobody ever said that being a hero was easy.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017


This one started with a dream in which a small kid watching Star Wars used the Force to blow up the Death Star before it blew up Alderaan. I thought about the great responsibility that might accompany such great power, and the story flowed pretty quickly from there.

- Davian Aw

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