By The Steel Angel

Throughout the ages of man, the definition of fear has changed. What was frightening twenty years ago could be commonplace today. Movies, songs, pop culture has changed. Has it changed for the better? I don't know. I know that sometimes, external forces frighten people. They're even meant to frighten people, as odd as that sounds to me. Some people love the thrill that comes along with being afraid.

What is fear? Is it the object that you see in your nightmares? The thing that you see lurking in the shadows at night? The things that your parents tell you to be afraid of as they tuck you into bed as a child? Or is fear more subjective? What scares you might not scare me. In fact, I already know that what scares you doesn't scare me. I've said it before... I don't do fear.

As I make my way through this tower that I call my home, the thoughts of fear begin to cloud my mind. No one else is awake. Why would they be? It's three oclock in the morning... I'm always awake this late. My friends... what scares them? We have every kind of character in this tower. It's like something out of a fantasy novel.

We have a leader. Strong, determined, and at times, compulsive and obsessive. What scares him? Does the thought of one of his teammates getting killed in the line of action make him afraid? Does the voice of an arch enemy send a chill up his spine? I know that there are things that make him afraid. Things that he thinks that no one else knows. But I know. I know that deep down, he's afraid of failure. Afraid that even his best may not be good enough.

I don't make any sound as a glide down the hallway, suspended a few inches above the ground by my own levitation. I pass by the various doors that lead to my friend's rooms. We have another girl on the team. An alien, matter of fact. Eternally happy, cheerful, and boisterous. Everything that I'm not. What scares her? Is it the feeling of being on a strange, alien world with no one of her own species around? Or is it the fear of being rejected by humans, her new adoptive people?

Ah, the Joker's room. The comedian. The comic relief. The one who tries to make sure that the rest of us don't take everything too seriously. Perhaps he's the hardest one to figure out. He's the youngest member of the group. Perhaps he's afraid of losing someone. Or of being rejected by the rest of us, his teammates. That would be enough to make anyone a little fearful, wouldn't it? Everyone except me, that is. I don't do fear.

I look sharply across the hall. The last member of the group. The oldest member. The one who's intelligence trumps everyone elses, but still remains... incomplete. Not fully human anymore. Not since the accident that claimed ninety percent of his human body. He's an android now, mostly. A cyborg with a human mind. He tries to be lighthearted, but it's an easily transparent facade. He's afraid of his own limitations. Of not being able to do the things that he once was able to do.

All of those fears are human fears. It's human nature to be afraid. I stop in front of the last room in the hallway. My room. The door is halfway open, much as I'd left it nearly a half-hour ago when I'd come out. I'd move closer, peering inside. The room was black. Dark books lined dark shelves, and eerily gothic candles decorated the floor, and every other shelf. Statues of gargoyles accented my black painted bed. Twisted scowls lined their faces.

I turned, and made my way to the bathroom. The turned the faucet, and splashed some cold water on my face, looking up in the mirror. It finally became clear, what I was really afraid of. As I looked at the water running down my pale skin. My deep blue eyes stared back at me from the reflection. My lavender hair ruffled gently in the non-breeze inside the tower. The object of my fears was realized. The one, and only, thing that I was afraid of... was myself.