Chapter 8: The story of a Villain
“If those superheroes could do more to save a city than any politician ever did, then I’d put my faith behind them, and not a money driven, power hungry old white guy who wants to do the same exact things the guy before him did.”
~ Elise Howerton (Delinquent)
Only the strong prevailed in this world, and it was time to let Aden Dashner know that.
I was about to tell him, in fact, when I saw him walk up to Oliver Storm.
Oliver was a junior with a white knight complex. He thought he was so cool with his movie-star looks and Mr. Save-the-world-attitude. Everyone fell at his feet, but not me. I knew the truth about this world. Nice guys wouldn’t last forever. Some people couldn’t be saved, only taught a lesson.
Aden was always weak, ever since we were little. Our fathers were best friends, and his own father liked me better than him, like he should. Aden was a geek who read up on supers as a past time. I mean – unless you were planning on jumping in a vat of toxic waste to try and get powers, what was the point of researching the supers?
(Maybe he should actually try jumping in a vat of toxic waste. I mean, he would have a better chance of dying than actually becoming a super.)
I ducked behind the freshman tree when Aden walked over to Oliver Storm. I would just have to wait until Oliver was gone. He might’ve been a self-righteous know-it-all, but Oliver Storm was still a junior with very much influence on the student body.
“Look,” Oliver voiced. “Aden, when I told you that you could come to me if something strange happened after your accident, I didn’t mean if you got angry and smashed a sink with something heavy-“
“That’s the thing.” Aden cut him off. “I did it with my bare hands. Do I look like the kind of kid who can break a sink in two with his bare hands?”
I sucked in my breath. Mrs. Solace was looking everywhere for the bandit who broke the bathroom sink. And now to find out that it was Aden who did it? I could get him in so much trouble he’d be grounded until his grandkids had grandkids.
But break it with his bare hands?
“Has anything else like this happened since the accident?”
“Well, I carried a forty pound box like it weighed nothing. I also accidently broke my mother’s favorite statue on the front lawn. I kind of was testing my own strength and punched it in two. She thinks some burglar broke it for fun.”
What? Aden was as thin as a piece of paper. He shouldn’t be able to lift anything. His own backpack was so heavy to him that he slouched. And now he was claiming superhuman strength? Something was definitely fishy.
“I think I have something to show you. Would you mind coming back to my work with me? There’s something I have that I think might help you out.” Oliver offered.
Oliver wanted Aden to come to him if anything strange happened to him after his accident. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which accident he was talking about.
At our families’ weekly night out, he yelled at his father. Aden stormed out and left his book behind. I, finding a prime opportunity to mess with Aden, took the book and followed him outside. I ran out into the street with it after taunting Aden. Then, all of a sudden, he’s pushing me and the world goes dark for a moment.
When I opened my eyes, I was pinned under a slab of sheet metal. A truck had crashed it seemed, and right into Aden.
The green substance it had been carrying in barrels had leaked, covering Aden, who was pinned underneath the bulk of the truck. Some of it had gotten on me as well, but not as much. It mixed with the blood on me from various small cuts, ruining my nice shirt for good. Not to mention that it smelled like rotten eggs.
Next thing I knew, Delinquent pops up in front of me, helping me up from the ground and to the sidewalk.
It looked like this villain had a good heart.
I had watched on as White Lightning appeared, helping Delinquent remove the wreckage away from Aden. Then the paramedics showed, loading Aden onto a stretcher and away in an ambulance.
But one question remained form the incident.
Had Aden been pushing me away from the truck, or to it?
I wouldn’t put it below the kid to try and push me into an accident. But, if he was trying to, then he failed miserably. He got the blunt force of the truck’s bulk, not me.
The truck had been from that medicine company in the news the last couple months for turning some teenagers into supers. Apparently an unknown agent had been added to their medications, supposedly to help suppress the effects of ADD and ADHD, but it only gave about 5% of its takers superpowers.
They were ordered by the court to move the mystery substance to a treatment plant. I remembered because my mother was the lawyer fighting for the company. She was very powerful, and very expensive. I remembered her bitching about the court order to move the stuff.
And now I was starting to wonder if those barrels were the stuff they were transporting.
Their medications gave kids powers because of a mystery substance. And after being covered in another mystery substance only a week and a half ago, Aden was claiming to have powers.
I could only conclude that they were the same substance.
And if it somehow gave nerdy little Aden Dashner super strength, as unlikely as that seemed, maybe the little I got on myself gave me powers.
And the fact that he went to Oliver eluded me. Why go to a junior you’ve only met a couple of times, not to mention the most popular one, to talk about powers you may or may not have?
Oliver Storm must’ve known something.
But, in the meantime, I had some mystery powers to investigate.
I had spent about an hour in Glover Archbold Park trying to do anything that would awaken any hidden powers inside of me.
I mean – isn’t it kind of unfair that nerdy little Aden Dashner gets powers from that accident and not me?
I deserved to be all powerful, not him.
“Abracadabra!” I yelled, thrusting my hands forward.
I would be totally upset if it turned out I actually didn’t get powers from that accident. Like, what have I ever done to deserve being normal? I’m the strong one, not Aden. He shouldn’t get the superhuman powers, I should.
Maybe he didn’t even have powers. Maybe I just listened in on the wrong part of the conversation. Maybe Aden was lying.
Yeah, that had to be it.
I sighed, defeated.
“You might want to try channeling your anger.”
I turned at the sound of that voice. It was a girl.
Great, leave it to me to be attempting to ignite powers I may or may not have while a girl is around to see my foolishness.
A girl stepped out of the shadows. She wore a black spandex outfit with purple boots, belt, gloves, and, surprisingly, hair. And, in this light, I could’ve sworn her eyes had a purple tint to them as well.
“You’re Andromeda.” I stated, dumbfounded.
“Yes, I’m glad to see that your eyes work.” She deadpanned.
“What do you want with me?”
She shrugged. “To help you.”
“Help me with what?”
This time she smirked. “Thrusting your hands and yelling abracadabra isn’t going to get you anywhere. I suggest channeling your anger. Emotions trigger your powers much more effectively than yelling out nonsense.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “And why should I trust you? You’re a villain.”
“So? Villains are just misunderstood heroes of their own stories. Just because society thinks what you’re doing is wrong, doesn’t mean it can’t feel right. Besides, it’s so much more fun to be bad.”
I grinned. “So, your saying you want to help me become a super?”
“What I’m saying is that you’re already a super. You just need to recognize that potential.”
“So, what do I have to do?”
She chuckled. “Oh, you probably wouldn’t understand. I mean – you’re not very bright, are you? Remind me again what your grades are in school? Not too good, are they? Maybe that’s why you hate Aden Dashner so much. He’s smarter than you, and somehow friends with the most popular kid in school. All you are is a pack mule.”
“I can understand your position here, Dylan. You make up for what you lack in brains with brute strength and brutality. But, now your mortal enemy has much more strength than you’ll ever be able to manage. How does that make you feel, huh? How does it make you feel to know that all you are, and all you’ll ever be, is a bully who can’t even beat up a nerd? A nerd who is now more powerful than you’ll ever be?”
“I said stop it!” I yelled again.
Red blinded my vision as I saw red. I charged at Andromeda, but she only flew into the sky to get away from me.
I screamed out in frustration and punched the nearest tree, which went up in flames as soon as I hit it. I backed away, clearly not wanting to get burned, but that was when I noticed the fire had surrounded me already.
I freaked out, until I realized that the fire wasn’t hurting me. In fact, all I felt was a little tickle on my skin where the fire touched me. I looked at both my arm, which were covered in the fiery red flames that weren’t hurting me. I noticed that not only were my arms covered, but my entire body.
“Woah.” I breathed.
Andromeda floated back to the ground with a satisfied smirk, “I told you all you needed to do was use your anger.”
I would’ve throttled her if I hadn’t realized what she’d done. She had baited me, using my fears as a way to anger me into releasing my powers.
(Plus, if I charged again, she would either fly away or hit me with a tree or something with her telekinetic powers.)
“You tricked me.” I accused.
“So, what? It worked, didn’t it? You should be thanking me, Dylan.”
I stared at her with suspicion in my gaze. “But what are you getting out of this. Why would you help me unless you had your own agenda here?”
“Oh, you caught me. I do have my own agenda, but you’re going to love it.” She paused for a smile. “I want you to get rid of White Lightning and his new sidekick, Aden Dashner. My boss seems to think you’ll be more motivated than I to take them out, being a new and impressionable super and all.”
I grinned. Getting rid of Aden Dashner was something I had been trying to do for most of my life.
“But, why? And who is your boss?”
“Let’s just say my boss isn’t too fond of the supers, especially the ones who claim to be heroes. You could say they’re in league with the Remedist Party, maybe you’ve heard of them? The Obstructer wants White Lightning out of their hair, something they want you to do.”
That was not a name I heard before, but if they were in league with the new political party that my parents supported, then The Obstructer was on the same side as me.
“What do I get out of this deal?”
She smiled. “With any crime you commit, you can keep the profits. Plus, you get the satisfaction of one upping Aden Dashner once and for all.”
“Then, yes. I’ll do it.”