Story Parts 15 and 16

by bdhesse

“I’m never doing that again,” Sarah said as they caught their breath.
“We have to,” Shay replied. “Otherwise how are we going to learn to use our powers?”
“My power has nothing to do with running and fighting!” Sarah cried.
“I know,” Shay said. “But if you practice at home all you’ll learn is what you can do with books. You’ll be really smart, but that’s it. Out here, you can learn what else you can use your powers for.”
Sarah grimaced. “Maybe I want to be smart,” she said. “Maybe I don’t want to run around following people and breaking the law.”
“We aren’t going to break any laws,” Shay said. “We might not even do any crime fighting. Right now we’re just practicing.”
“You’re crazy,” Sarah said. “I’m going home.” She turned and began walking up the street towards their house.
Shay ran to catch up with her sister. “Don’t you want to do good?” she asked.
“There are other ways to do good,” Sarah replied. “And I don’t know if this really qualifies as good.”
Shay snorted. “Okay, fine,” she said. “We’ll practice a different way. But I don’t think we should just give up. What if we find other ways to do good too?”
Sarah thought for a moment as they continued up the hill. “Okay,” she said. “First we need to figure out exactly what we can do. Once we do that, then we can find a way to use it. In the meantime, why don’t we try volunteering somewhere?”
Shay looked at her sister skeptically. “That’s not really the same thing,” she said.
Sarah giggled. “It’s not as flashy you mean,” she replied. “That’s the point: if you want to do good, let’s make sure it’s actually good first.”
Shay nodded. They walked the rest of the way home in silence.

“When are you going to do this?” their mother asked the girls. They had asked her if they could do some volunteer work as soon as she got home from work.
Sarah thought for a moment. “On weekends?” she suggested.
Her mother nodded. “I suppose that would be alright,” she said. “But I don’t want it to take away from your school work. And you won’t be able to volunteer on the weekends when Shay has a competition or when you have recitals.”
“We know,” Shay said. “But we want to do something good.”
Her mother looked at her in shock. “That’s very admirable of you,” she said when she could finally form a reply. “What brought this on?”
Shay shrugged. “We want to know what counts as good and what’s not so good,” she said wisely.
“We want to know if what superheroes do actually counts as good,” Sarah added.
Their mother thought for a moment. “I don’t think I would have thought so deeply about good and evil when I was your age,” she said. “But you’re both going to be taking on a big burden. Don’t expect to really get anywhere with this quite yet: it’ll take you a few years.”
Shay’s face fell. “Why?” she asked.
Her mother chuckled. “Because it takes most people their entire lives to determine what is good and what isn’t,” she said.
“But how will we know if superheroes are actually good if it takes us our entire lives to decide what good actually is?” Sarah asked.
Her mother looked at her measuring. “As you grow older, your beliefs will change,” she said. “You may decide that something that you believe to be good today is actually bad. But so long as you’re thinking critically about them, you’ll always have some idea of what is right and wrong. You’ll also do your best to act morally. Even if your answers change with time, you’ll always have an answer. That’s all I’ll ever ask of either of you.”
The girls thought about that for a moment. “Can we start volunteering this weekend?” Shay asked.
Her mother nodded. “But you’ll have to find a place that will let you volunteer first,” she added.
The girls beamed at her. “Let’s go find some place,” Sarah said to Shay. They turned and ran to the computer without another word to their mother.

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