Writing prompt: “white has always been difficult”

”White has always been a difficult person but I never thought he would stoop THIS low.” The Bear growled after he finished reading my transcription of the letter.

“Who?” I asked, taking my eyes away from Ukko. The Bear had taped his mouth shut the moment he stepped in the door and I was following Ukko’s eyebrows to know when to change the page.

“Alastair White. Thief, fence, scumbag extraordinaire.” His voice dripped with disgust.

“Ummm.. Mr. Bear? I know next to nothing about this double life Gammie led. Who is he exactly? Why would Gammie go to his aid?”

“Please, call me Vladimir. Bear is a stupid nickname that White came up with.”

“Okay, Vladimir. Who is Alastair White?”

Vladimir huffed contemptuously. “Who knows? I am almost certain that his real name is not Alastair White and much if not all of his personality, character and history is a figment of his imagination. He is – how you say – a ghost?”

“So what exactly is his connection with my Gammie?”

He sighed heavily. “You say you know very little. I know little more of their relationship. We – your grandmother and I – are both part of an international organization.” He suddenly mussed his hair in frustration. “You know, I should NOT have to be the one to explain this to you.” He growled.

“Somebody must, and he’s of no use.” I said, nodding toward Ukko and suddenly realizing I hadn’t turned the page for him in a while.

Vladimir looked at me with something resembling pity in his eyes. “Yes. Yes. You are right.” He took a deep breath and continued. “As I said, we are – were – both a part of an international organization. Our aim is to shield humanity from so-called superheroes.”

“Wait, what? Superheroes?”

Vladimir blinked. “Well yeah. I hate to disappoint you though; there’s nothing heroic about them.”

“But they’re superheroes! It’s in the name.”

“Yes, yes.” He said, waving my words away. “And you know what a human being does when suddenly encountered with so much power?”

“With great power comes great responsibility.” I quoted, realizing how lame it sounded.

He snorted. “If only. I for one would be out of a job if that happened and I cannot tell you how much I would prefer that.”

I had wondered about Gammie’s long absences for so long, about the toll they exacted on her family. None of her kids had any sort of warm relationship with her by the end and even most of her grandkids were distant to her to the very end. Even with Vladimir – though he was far younger than Gammie had been – the bitterness could be read in every line on his face.

“In any case, we work to keep Them at bay so that they never get enough of a foothold to take over any actual countries. And now they have taken over White’s island and there is nothing for it but rescue the bastard. I must thank you for bringing this to my attention.”

“I want to help.” I blurted out before even I knew what I was doing.

The hulking bear of a man raised a praising eyebrow. “Well come then, little one. We have much work to do.”