The Red-line rumbled along its route, those passengers not seated, swaying by the gentle rocking motion of the train. One such passenger, a tall, blonde teenager, stood in the center of the car. She had a backpack slung over one shoulder and she was clutching a hand-rail as her head bobbed to the music pouring out of her headphones.
“I am not / a pattern to be followed, the pill that I’m on is a tough one to swallow,” she sang to herself, oblivious to the looks she was receiving from those around her. “I’m not a criminal / not a role model, not a born leader I’m a tough act to swallow…”
“Casey.” A voice buzzed in her ear.
The blonde ignored the voice and kept singing. “I am not / the fortune and the fame, nor the same person telling you to forfeit the game, I came in the ring like a dog on a chain…”
“Casey.” The voice said again, more insistent this time.
Once again, the voice was ignored, “And I found out the underbelly’s sicker than it seems, and it seems ugly / but it can get worse, ’cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse, ’cause once you got a theory of how the thing works, everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first…”
“I know you can hear me, young lady.”
If anything, this caused the teen to sing louder, “And I’m not a robot, I’m not a monkey, I will not dance even if the beat’s funky, opposite of lazy / far from a punk, ya’ll ought to stop talking start trying to catch up mother-“
“Casey Helena Starr!”
Rolling her eyes, Casey reached into her pocket and paused her iPlayer. “Yes mother,” she replied with less volume.
“Finally,” Karen Starr replied. “Where are you?”
“On the subway, headed your direction,” answered Casey, biting back the addition of, As if you didn’t know.
Casey’s mother sighed, “I was afraid of that. Listen, kiddo, I’m afraid I’m going to have to cancel our movie night. The League needs my assistance on-“
“Oh, fer-” Casey cut in. “Mom, this is like the fifth time you’ve had to cancel on me.”
“I know, Case, and I’m sorry.” The sincerity was clear in Karen’s voice, which made it all the more difficult for Casey to be mad. She should be used to the sudden cancellation of plans, it wasn’t everyone’s mother who could lay claim to membership in the Justice Society as well as the Justice League. With the exception of most of her friends, that is…
It still didn’t make it any better. “Yeah, whatever. Go save the world, Mom. I’ll just hop off at the brownstone. I- I’ve got a term paper to work on anyway.”
“Casey, I’ll make it up to you. I prom-“
Casey frowned as her mother’s voice cut off abruptly. It wasn’t like her to ‘hang up,’ especially in the middle of an apology. “Mom?” Casey cast out.
She reached up and flicked the com-link earring off and on again. “Mom?” There was no reply, not even the hiss of static. It was like her mother’s signal was just gone.
“Next stop, Rector Street Station,” the automated MTA conductor announced.
Good. Casey thought as the train squealed to a stop. She could at least use the computer in the brownstone to find out what was going on.