Chapter 3:

Nobody Cares About Background Characters

The Grim Reaper of Chaos and Destruction is Real and Can Hurt Me!

Out of guilt and out of curiosity, I rode the ambulance to the hospital by his side.

I had to convince them that Soul Killer was just a theater prop so they’d let me bring it along, but I had half a mind to leave it behind.

I confirmed the blade was sharp and real and not a figment of my imagination. I think that was the scariest part.

I also had to convince them that Sinful Shadow was my little brother.

I’m sure he has a family that’s worried sick somewhere, but in the meantime, I couldn’t just abandon him.

He had no phone and no ID on him, so when they asked me his name, I said it was Shin.

It had been such a rollercoaster of a day, topped off with a fast-paced bizarre night, that I barely had any time to sit down and take a breather.

They told me his wound was miraculously nothing serious, but that he should stay overnight just in case.

I decided to stay with him in the dark hospital room, while the lulling beeps on the machine hooked up to monitor his vitals kept a steady rhythm.

He seemed to be sleeping soundly.

He looked like an ordinary boy.

What am I saying, of course he’s an ordinary boy.

There’s no way this kid jumped out of an old comic of mine. But until he wakes up, I have no way to confirm what exactly his deal is.

At times, I thought to myself I shouldn’t be wasting time here. I have an early day tomorrow— and then I remembered I was fired.

Then I thought I should call someone and tell them about this inexplicable situation I’m in right now, someone that’s always there for me and listens to me, like Mary— but she broke up with me.

I sighed, planting my face on my palm.

I had no one to turn to, and nothing to keep me away from this mess, either.

I had no excuses and no help.

But maybe that was a good thing. Maybe telling someone that I encountered my OC from middle school might get me committed somewhere.

As if I’d let that happen.

No. As soon as morning comes, I’m taking this kid back to his family and I’ll forget all about this whole thing.

My main concern right now is that one of the drivers heard me tell the ambulance people that this kid is my brother, so they might want me to pay for damages.

Then again, how do they plan to explain that a giant scythe wielded by a child tore their car in half?

I guess they never touch on this in action movies when the superheroes throw cars and bicycles at their enemies.

Who pays their insurance? It’s all bullshit. That’s how you know it’s meant for kids, because kids don’t have to worry about real things like that.

In Sinful Shadow’s world, destroying property was just part of his daily life, and ultimately a small price to pay to keep evil at bay.

My friends who read it really liked how violent it was and never questioned Sinful’s actions. They just thought he was really cool.


Now that I think of it, there was someone who questioned him, once.

I remember I once lent a guy from class a copy of my comic, but the person who returned it to me was not him.

It was his sister, Claire.

Claire was a year younger than us and a total nerd, always reading and drawing her own comics, too.

When she brought the comic back to me, she couldn’t look me in the eyes.

Granted, I only had one eye showing on account of my cringy emo bangs, but still. She seemed upset.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “...Was it that bad?”

She shook her head.

“It wasn’t bad at all. I really liked it,” she said, in a very sad tone.

“...? Then what’s the problem?”

“...Well…” she hesitated, playing with her fingernails. “There’s a scene where Sinful Shadow cuts in half the fruit stand of a street vendor…”


“And… I noticed he never apologized for it. He didn’t even go back and help him put it back together.”

Her eyes started welling with tears as she spoke.

“Is he going to go back? Is it going to stay destroyed forever?”

“Uh, I, I hadn’t thought about it…”

“What’ll happen to the vendor? Isn’t that how he makes a living? How is he supposed to provide for his family now? It’ll take a really long time to remake his entire stall from scratch!”

She bombarded me with what I thought at the time were the most ridiculous, insane questions.

“Who cares? He’s just a background character…”

“Background characters have lives too!”

I groaned.

It made me uncomfortable to talk to girls in the first place, and one as intense as this one was ten times worse. I felt like a cornered cat, so I did what a cornered cat does: I hissed at her.

Not literally, I just snapped for no reason, ripping my comic away from her hands.

“I said it doesn’t matter! It was a necessary sacrifice to save the town from NEMESIS!”

In retrospect, her concern was actually very pure and endearing, but at the time, having my writing abilities questioned like that was the most annoying thing in the world.

I huffed a laugh.

Claire was right, huh.

If I had paid a little more attention to what happens to the unassuming victims of the epic battles of the Grim Reaper of Chaos and Destruction, perhaps I would be more prepared to handle what just had happened to me.

I looked at my watch.

3:14 am. No wonder my eyelids felt heavy.

I had the worst day and no rest, but it felt like finally, the world was slowing down.

The beeps of the machine confirmed the kid was going to be fine, so I let myself close my eyes at last.

I drifted off before I knew it.

I was woken up in the morning by a loud scream.

Nika Zimt
Steward McOy