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Paragon

By Benjamin Peck All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Scifi

Blurb

The Golden Age of super heroes is over, and long gone are the days of capes and cowls. Those with abilities live underground, hiding, until one discovers a horrible plot involving torture, and cruelty.

Prologue

“A skin disease?” Martin repeated in bewildered disbelief at the doctor’s words. Doctor Stern was one of Glacier City’s best doctor’s when it came to genetics, DNA and the study of Supers: people with abilities. Martin had been called earlier that day to be notified that his son’s results were in and that the doctor wanted to see them. Martin had rushed his son to the doctor’s office and patiently waited for their turn only to hear those three words and be incredibly dissatisfied. The doctor nodded his head quickly, small beads of sweat dripped from his forehead. He seemed nervous, though Martin couldn’t fathom why. It was HIS son who was developing cold-blue skin in random splotches around his body.

“Yes, Mr. Blackwell. We’ve run all the tests and your son shows absolutely no sign of the gene that would indicate whether he may or may not develop abilities.” Dr. Stern wiped the sweat from his forehead and crossed his arms, his eyes darting this way and that.

“My son, my turning-blue son, is not a Super?” Martin asked; the doctor nodded again. “You’re shitting me.”

“Dad!” Zeke said, startled, “you know mom doesn’t like that kinda language...”

“You’re right, Zeke, I’m sorry.” Martin grabbed the doctor and pulled him close and started to whisper. “Last week his eyes were blue. Now they’re pale yellow! Yesterday I walked into his room and his floor was covered in snow! His skin has been turning blue for a month now in spots and you tell me it’s a skin disease!?” Stern’s eyes were filled with startle and surprise as he tried to bat Martin away with his left hand.

“I don’t know what you want from me Mr. Blackwell! We ran everything that would tell us if he was a Super and nothing came up! As far as I can tell he’s as normal as you and me!” Martin released him and scoffed, then motioned for his son to leave the room and he followed behind the seven year old boy with a hand on his shoulder to guide him. As they left they noticed the building was populated by nurses and other doctors who looked stressed, overworked and likely underpaid. Except for one pair of doctors: an early thirties white man with moussed up hair and a like-wise aged black man who were giving each other piggy back rides. They seemed to be doing just fine.

Several years later Zeke was thirteen and regularly attending school. The year was 2004, Zeke’s mother Tabitha had died giving birth to Mary, their second child and now Martin was a single father of two.

Tensions were rising in the media. Officials were talking about something called Super Registration; and act that would require anyone with supernatural abilities or strengths to be registered with the federal government so they could be tracked and kept an eye on. Martin was not in favor of this; it sounded like more gun control nonsense only now aimed at Supers, just because they could do things. Granted those things tended to be flinging fire from their fingertips, lifting cars, or invading peoples’ minds, but that didn’t mean they were to be tracked like cattle. The fact that terrorists had used a telepath and a pyro-kinetic to fly two planes into the world trade center and cause massive explosions that took the twin towers down to rubble, only made things worse. It gave those in favor of registration ammunition for their cause.

In February of 2004 a weapons manufacturer named Draco Industries came out with a new weapon to arm police forces around the United States and to the military to help combat unfriendly Supers. The weapon was called “the nullifier” and supposedly worked by blasting sonic energy at the target and scrambled their brainwaves. It took away their ability to use or control their powers. It made Supers ripe for arresting and placing into captivity. All of it stunk to Martin and he knew that everything going on was building up for an eruption of hatred and discrimination.

Then everything went to hell in a hand basket the day Martin heard his son screaming outside their house. Martin ran outside just in time to see a boy, twice Zeke’s size, standing over his son raising his fist to strike Zeke. The boy rained blows on his son and laughed as he did so and Martin shouted and ran to his son’s rescue, but he was not fast enough. Another blow came down and Zeke raised his hand and caught the fist of his assailant, who suddenly let out a blood curdling cry of pain. The bully stepped back and gripped the hand Zeke had caught and fell to his knees as his entire arm turned black and started to hiss and crack open. Red lines ripped through the now black arm from the intensity of the skin cracks. Cold steam rose up from the cracks in his arm and Martin’s eyes widened in horror. He had lived in Alaska his whole life; frostbite was a relatively common thing. No not common cold common, but it occurred often enough that he knew frostbite when he saw it. This boy’s entire left arm was frostbitten so badly his skin was already splitting and bleeding.

Martin looked down at his son and almost cried when he saw that his son’s pale yellow eyes had become one solid color and were radiating a soft yellow glow. The strange yellow light emanated from Zeke’s eye sockets and then died down as his eyes returned to their original state. He had whites, irises, and pupils again but the irises were still that strange golden hue that sent chills through Martin’s body. He didn’t need to think, he needed to act, so Martin grabbed his son and rushed him into the car. A soft jingling sound rattled through the car while Martin fumbled for the right key.

He felt horrible for leaving the maimed child behind and not trying to help him, but at the same time he had far more pressing concerns racing through his head. The whole neighborhood would have heard the child screaming and left their houses to investigate. He was actually surprised no one had poked their heads out just yet as he sped away. Police and ambulances, and likely Nullifiers, would soon be on their way. On top of that, the kid tried to beat up his son so he had less remorse for him due to that fact.

All the horrible things that might happen zipped through Martin’s mind as he drove through the city. He made every attempt to maintain the speed limit, flow with traffic, and call absolutely no attention to himself. The law was starting to get significantly more iron-fisted when it came to dealing with Supers. Martin was scared for his family, but more specifically for his son. He decided to take Zeke to his sister’s house. Brida was a Super and she had given birth to two Supers; she even managed to get them through elementary school without anyone knowing they had abilities. As far as anyone knew they were Enns just like Martin.

Enn was slang for someone who lacked abilities or mutations; they were normal, which is originally what the Super community had referred to them as: “Normals.” Soon that nickname had been replaced by simply saying “the Ns.” Somehow, through trends and fads, the phonic pronunciation had turned into the label itself and normal people were called “Enns.” His hopes were that she would be willing to hide his son among her seemingly “Enn” family until things quieted down; if they quieted down. When he reached her home, placed in an oddly quiet cul-de-sac, he rushed Zeke inside and explained what he had seen to Brida.

Brida was the odd sheep of their family. She was married at 19 and always died her hair pink and white. Despite the wishes of their parents she’d also picked up smoking, but always did it outside in order to prevent her children from getting second-hand smoke. As he told her the events that brought him over, he felt her prodding his mind and knew that she was seeing his memories.

“Shit.” She swore and crossed her arms, looking away from her brother now and down to Zeke, who had been disturbingly quiet the entire ride. “It’s a good thing you already had me babysitting Mary.” Martin’s eyes widened and for a moment he was ashamed. He had completely forgotten that Mary had been at Brida’s and realized that if she hadn’t been at her aunt’s house he likely would have forgotten about her and left her at home. After his brief moment of panic he thanked the heavens that Brida had, in fact, been babysitting Mary that day and was already here with his sister.

“Yeah, no shit. Zeke, go make sure your sister is alright okay?” Martin said, kneeling down next to his son and cupping his face. Zeke nodded and then ran off to go check on his sister, still silent as the grave. “They’ll be coming here you know...” He said, not wanting to look his sister in the eye at the moment. His words and tone were filled with the fear of a parent.

“Yep. Don’t worry; I’ll make sure they don’t find him. But you probably shouldn’t be here when they come, y’know.” Her tone was cold, but she’d always been like that. Martin knew she spoke out of love and was not trying to be harsh. He also knew that she was entirely accurate in her assessment and that he needed to leave before officials showed up at his only living relative’s place trying to find out if he had fled here.

“I’ll be fine; I have some places I can go lie low for a bit.” Martin said and then embraced his sister. They stood there a moment, hugging one another and praying that everything would be alright. “Where’s Daniel?” Martin asked.

“I kicked him out last week, I thought I told you?” Brida tilted her head to the left and stared at her brother in bewilderment.

“You said he went on a business trip!” Martin exclaimed.

“Oh yeah, heh. No I kicked him out,” she corrected with a vigorous nod and smile.

“Do I want to know?” Martin inquired and Brida simply shook her head, he decided not to press. “Anyways, tell Zeke I’ll be back soon. Maybe a day or two, I need to pick up some things if we’re going to fall off the grid a while.” Martin wrapped his arms around his sister and squeezed her tight and then jumped back into his vehicle.

Martin started his car and left the neighborhood as quickly as he could and then slowed his pace once he was far enough away. It was then he noticed that he was being tailed, rather expertly at that. Three squad cars were now following him from a relatively safe distance. He swore and spat when he saw a chopper circling over him and the lights of the squad cars flash in his rear view mirror. His foot pressed down onto the accelerator and Martin sped through traffic like a maniac. He took every exit that would lead him out and away from the city and hoped he might lose them on the cliffs of Glacier Pass. Two more vehicles joined in the chase and Martin had to maneuver quickly several times to avoid being cut off.

Once they were out of the city, Martin sped up even more, adamant on getting away from his pursuers. He prayed they couldn’t see inside his vehicle and would think Zeke was with him for as long as they were chasing him. He didn’t know how long he could keep them on his tail or for how long he’d be able to stay out of their clutches. What he knew was that the world he lived in was very unkind to Supers and that things were currently in motion to make life very difficult for Supers. He envisioned Nazi Germany type internment camps, special cells designed to keep Zeke behind bars so he couldn’t see Mary grow up.

At the worst possible moment, Martin decided to attempt to look back at his pursuers. They were gaining on him but luckily the road he was on had only two lanes, going up the side of the cliff. On the left side of the road, there was a rail protect drivers from taking a 200 foot plunge down into the rocky ocean shore below them. Martin turned his attention back to the road and shouted when his Sudan burst through the rail and started tumbling down the rocky cliff-side. Martin’s last thoughts were of his son, Zeke, and prayer that his family would be safe.


Intermission

“Yet another vicious and unprovoked attack by a member of the Super community, we go now to John Hamden on the scene.” The blonde News Anchor says just before the screen cuts to a middle aged man with a crow’s peak on his forehead holding a microphone and standing next to an ambulance.

“Diane, I’m standing here in the suburbs of Glacier City at the scene where a young boy’s arm is covered in frostbite. The child said that he was walking home when a teenager with blue skin ran after him and chased him down the block. When the blue-skinned teenager got a hold of him he said his arm was filled with pain and he fell over crying. He then noticed his skin was turning black and cracking and it was agonizing. We were able to get confirmation from the school that the blue skinned culprit’s name is Ezekiel Blackwell, son of Martin Blackwell who drove off a cliff earlier today in order to escape pursuit.” John says as he brushes his hair back.

Behind him EMTs are scurrying about getting the child into the ambulance. John sees his chance and goes for it. He shoves the microphone in the boy’s face, “son, do you have any idea what could’ve provoked this attack?”

“No,” the boy whines through tears, “I never did nothin’ to him.” The boy is then lifted into the ambulance which takes off immediately with sirens blaring.

“I tell you Diane, I’m shocked more and more at the audacity of these people. Back to you.”

The video cuts back to Diane who shakes her head in dismay and then leads the captivated audience into the next story about sports.

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