The Shadow Knight Begins: Part 1 of 3

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Chapter 3: To Be a Hero, Or Not?

It happened on a usual bad day for me.

I was being chased through the halls by brawn and barker.

I knew I wouldn't make it to the front door and on to freedom; they were bigger and faster than me.

I turned the corner and headed for the door.

Right then and there I saw my salvation…. Although, now I have to wonder was I really that desperate that this time I would jump willingly into a trash can?

The answer in my mind was, "YES, YES, IT'S NECCISSARY! I WANT TO LIVE!"

I barely made it in, head first, disappearing into the shadow realm via the shadows of the garbage cans interspaces when those two meatheads emerged.

I could hear them outside the trash can, oblivious that I had hidden there…or heck, was hiding in subspace which was a place in knew they couldn't see, let alone be there!

"Dang…again! That little shrimp is getting slipperier to punish!" barker groaned.

"Especially when we want him to pay for his daddy's little crusade!" brawn added, "Can you believe that people are buying that crap. "Join together; make crime pay…get law abbiding citizens the peace they deserve. Better crime fighting, better lunar!" if he wins his crusade, we'll lose our supplies of stuff and the money that comes with it"

"Shut up about our jobs!" barker silenced his brother, "and he might hear you. He doesn't know were taking a small percentage of the purchases made here in the school"

"Do I look like I care, he's just street trash…and so is his boss. Were the deerings we have more money than the Kishi's no one can touch us" brawn snorted in retort.

"Not even HIM? I've heard what he does to people who try and scam him. It's not pretty!" barker asked his brother, "what if he finds out?"

"He won't, if he hasn't figured it out by now…" Barker added with a sinister grin, "then he has no business calling himself the brain of crime"

"THE BRAIN OF CRIME?!" I asked myself in fearful shock, "as in the monster from my nightmare?"

Then I began to realize with fear that that wasn't a nightmare I had that night, it was a vision.

I saw what that horrible man did.

I saw his demonic helpers.

And yes, I even saw the brain of crime himself!

But in the nightmare, he saw me…he could sense me.

But my vision, it was in the dark energy of the shadow realm…was I able to sense where a crime was occurring?

But I was too terrified about the fact that he, the brain of crime had sensed me, in my vision, while my mind was scanning the city in the shadow realm…in another plane of reality HE SENSED ME!

My ability could have put that hound on me and my family.

I knew he would have tried to kill me if he found out who I was then, I could see it in his eyes!

My god…with my powers I almost handed my family's safety on a silver platter…while I was sleeping!

Maybe I shouldn't explore these powers, maybe they're too dangerous.

This isn't the comics; even with super powers…the world is a dangerous place in the real world!

Life and death is real.

And so is that fact that good doesn't always win in reality!

No…I couldn't use my powers to change anything, I SHOLDNT use them to fight crime…or anything like that!

I'm just one person.

I couldn't, I refused to do it either…become a vigilante or use these powers for anything else…NO!

It was too dangerous!

Before I could dwell more on the subject a great shockwave surged through the shadow realm and washed over me.

As it did I heard a familiar scream…Mariko's scream.

With that scream I knew, she was in trouble.

I could tell with the tones of her screams, don't ask me how…just believe me!

Maybe it was a new power back then, or maybe it was just human instinct that my sister was in trouble back then I didn't care!

I knew she was in trouble!

I also knew I knew this because of the "shockwave" in the shadow realm told me.

It was like the shockwave carried a distress signal or something, like a telegram!

When it had washed over me, like a bat's screech and echolocation…the wave had told me the location, and what was going on.

She was being molested by some guy in the back of her school, way out of shouting or hearing distance behind a dumpster!

I had to save her!

I had to get to her, but I didn't know how.

I could drop out of the shadow realm and run and try to find her in normal space…but what good would that do?

I couldn't find her if I didn't know where she was, and here in the shadow realm I could see the direction the shockwave had come from.

But even if I ran in the shadow realm to the location I would be running like I would in normal space and I couldn't phase through the walls of the school in their locations in the shadow realm unless I was shadow walking and I couldn't shadow walk unless I chose a location.

Wait a minute… I COULD choose a location!

I looked at where the shockwave had started, and sure enough I saw the familiar glow of a shadow cast by something in the area Mariko was being attacked.

"There!" I yelled; as if hopping my yelling would get me shadow walking there.

Sure enough…I did.

But I hadn't quite mastered the shadow walking so just like the night in the kitchen…I went shooting towards my destination at an alarming speed…towards the great and painful crash!

Gritting my teeth and bracing myself I prepared for the inevitable pain of flying out of a shadow and crashing into something.

It must have been instinct or something…or maybe it was instinct couple with fear that made me accidentally revert to my shadow form.

Because that's when I suddenly reverted to my living shadow form and in doing so I found I could control the speed more so than in my shadow energy form whenever I entered the shadow realm. I realized that this was the key to properly controlling shadow walking!

I was Shadow walking as a shadow to control the energies of the shadow realm.

It must have been the reason why I could now control my shadow walking ability Because once I shot out of the exit portal, I emerged in my shadow form… soared through the air like a jet of black ink and landed like a ghost across the way on the concrete ground, I flattened out as a shadow, and then I rose up from my flat shadow form, in my normal shadow form emerging upwards head first until my feet reappeared and became normal flesh and blood.

I looked down to find myself standing on my own shadow.

That was it.

The shadow form was the key to shadow walking without coming out like a cannon ball and injuring myself…not to mention I didn't feel the choppiness of shadow walking in shadow form as I did in human form.

To me it made sense, my human forms positive energies clash with the negative energies of the shadow realm and causes friction like an internal combustion engines gears without oil. But once the gears are covered in oil (or in my cause when I transform into living shadow form), the gears (human, Superhuman) are able to glide through the shadow realm with user friendliness!

I was taken aback for a second, what was I just thinking?

I couldn't stand here and theorize about these powers, powers I may never use again…or if so, only sparingly… I had to save Mariko!

I looked around to see where I had emerged from.

I was standing in Mariko's schools parking lot, beside the drainage grate where I had emerged from.

I began running, not thinking straight really…one of my many flaws when I'm ever that scarred unfortunately, I didn't think about running and getting the school cop who was standing by the door watching the students leave for the busses to go home.

If I hadn't of screamed my sister's name… "Mariko!"…he wouldn't have seen me running, for at that moment when he heard me scream my sisters name, he turned his head to my direction, saw me running towards the back of the school, took notice of how I was running…then took off after me, all the while talking in his walkie talkie to his partner to head to the back of the school for a possible disturbance!

I had barely made it around the corner of the school when I heard Mariko's screams, coupled with insane, lustful, animal sounds made by some male.

When I turned the corner I stopped dead upon the sight I was seeing.

The was my sister, stripped half bear with only her panties showing below her waist being pinned against the wall by the weight of a deranged boy whom I knew to be the "pervert" that Mariko and Rachel had been talking about…who had a great grip on her thighs.

Then I realized, He was trying to rape her!

"KAGAE!" Mariko screamed, but then she had a hand put over her mouth by the boy known as Derek.

"Shut up b…." I heard him call my sister that name, then he turned his attention towards me, "I think you've got the wrong peep show kid, here…" he tossed twenty dollars at me, "take that to sin avenue and have as much fun as your junior high school kids desires wants"

I let the money fall.

You must understand something, I wasn't in the mindset I am today… this wasn't the event that caused me to create my alter ego…no, but this was one of the causes that lead to the dreadful night!

Derek looked at me askance as I let the money drop to the asphalt.

"Geeze, your little brother is a real dim bulb. I give him a chance to leave without me knocking him silly so he can't see me do this to you… so I have to deal with him first." he pulled out a bottle with a white handkerchief attached to it and then I realised that it was chloroform, he planned to drug my sister and then have his way with her.

But first he had to deal with me…the foolish witness I had made myself into.

"Run Kagae!" Mariko screamed.

"I said "shut up!" in that moment Derek punched Mariko square in the jaw, she dropped to the floor stunned.

At that moment time stopped.

Mariko falling to the ground stunned, blood flowing from her nose as her nose bled from falling face first onto the asphalt ground of the back of the school.

Derek coming at me with the chloroform, intending to drug me first and then deal with me later as he would first deal with Mariko.

I could read his lips as he muttered, "the brain is going to like this when I'm done with this wench and this brat…the brats father will be given the message! It serves the rich moron right!"

He was almost overshadowing me when a voice in my head screamed "WAKE UP STUPID!"

In defiance I screamed, I closed my eyes and THEN I screamed loudly "NOOOOOOOO!"

Then there was the familiar surge of energy, shadow energy…and as I closed my eyes my hands became enflamed with my dark energy and suddenly two balls of shadow energy shot out from my upraised palms and struck Derek square in the chest.

He made a full groan of pain as the struck him, knocking the wind out of him as he was sent flying of his feet backwards towards the wall.

He landed hard and fell to the ground out cold.

I suddenly felt drained, weak.

Whatever I had done…it had taken a lot out of me…but before I fell to the ground the arms of my sister Mariko caught me.

The last thing I saw before I passed out was her face, her face was filled with both wonder and concern…and it was then right there that I knew that she had seen me using my powers.

She had seen me!

When I awoke I was in the back of a parked ambulance surrounded by police cars.

I saw that I was being seen to by doctors and was surrounded by reporters, cops…and Jeremy, my then sergeant of the lunar city police department cousin.

The doctor beside me spoke first "I don't find anything wrong with him…according to these tests he's fit as a fiddle"

Jeremy spoke next, his face was of relief…but his tone was with harshness that resembled my father when he was angry with me about something.

"That was both a reckless and brave thing you did Kagae" said Jeremy, "but…I'm glad you did it. If you hadn't of ran to where dear Mariko was being assaulted over there screaming her name, the patrol cop over there wouldn't of seen you and you'd both have been in trouble… or maybe not…" Jeremy said looking over his shoulder at Derek…who of which Mariko and I could be seen getting into the back of a LCPD car, but as he did…he looked at me and Markio with hate.


Jeremy continued, "As I was saying…you may not have been in trouble with that crime in action you got yourself into at all. You lucked out on it Kagae. That guy was high on ecstasy and obviously drunk out his mind that he was hallucinating and then passed out!" then he started laughing "he said you shot him with some kind of glowing blasts coming out of your hands! HA HA HA"

"I'll get you witch, I'll get you and your freak brother… your whole family will pay for what you did to me!" we all could hear Derek's threats as the door of the paddy wagon slammed on him.

"and on top of things he's been expelled from school and is set to be put under the 30 yard restraining order injection…so he won't be trying to hurt anyone of you" Jeremy assured.

Restraining order…now that's something that has changed since 9/11 and the race for technological defenses occurred.

Now it was done with an injection!

The restraining order injection was a legal procedure done to repeat or one time offenders only. It had recently been created and approved by the supreme courts.

How it worked was the offender was injected with nanites into his/her bloodstream that deliver a painful electric shock when the offender is within 30 yards of the offense victim.

In this case, Mariko and I

Jeremy thought the danger was over that's why he was laughing.

I wasn't laughing.

Because now probably… a real criminal knew I had powers, and wanted revenge.

And to boot, I heard from his muttering he was operating on the brain of crimes orders.

I had probably painted a target on my family's head for using my powers, and letting them know it was me.

Yes I believed in making changes, but not like this…not with supernatural powers that would make me the most wanted man in Lunar by both sides of the chessboard of good and evil.

No…this wasn't my destiny, I was never meant to make change, be a hero!

That's up to the cops, the lawyers, the firemen and the soldiers.

I'm no hero…I turn chicken at the sight of danger!

And now I'm terrified of what the brain will do if he ever finds out about this…I don't know how he would…but he might.

No…this was too much; I'm nobody…just meak Kagae Kishi…high school nerd who gets chased by banana headed bullies.

I'm no hero, or superhero and I didn't want to be.

These powers, this responsibility was too great…no…I should never use my powers again they draw too much trouble and attention.

I couldn't risk my family's safety by using my powers in public…I dared not even to do it with my identity concealed.

This was the real world… heroes rarely win, and sometimes they don't accomplish anything but pain…and suffering when they have families of their own who are caught in the crossfire.

That's how the world worked, and power or no power…I refused to become a part of that by selfishly using my powers to become a "superhero" just because I could.

No…better to not use these powers, than use them and lose everything!

I should have listened to that voice in my mind that was saying "that isn't a smart idea stupid idea!"

I was given these powers for a reason…I know that now…but I wish I did back then.

I was going to learn that the only way for evil men to get away in the world…is for the people who can do something about it to do nothing!

And my mistake… my hypocritical fear was going to cost me dearly!

I looked at Mariko…she wasn't laughing either.

But I also knew WHY Mariko wasn't laughing either, the whole time she was looking at me concerned, curious and confused.

Obviously she still couldn't believe what she saw, but at the same time knew it had to of been real.

And she wasn't sure what to say about it.

It was two hours later that we both had returned home.

The details are a little sketchy but I do remember my mother was glad that Mariko and I were alright.

Father was more than adamant now to win his campaign against the city council to improve things in the city after Mariko's attempted rape that had occurred behind the school.

Apparently Mariko was leaving out the door to come and pick me up from school when she was jumped from behind.

Jeremy wasn't sure how the south side patrolman wasn't there…but my guess was the same as him.

He was paid off.

And I knew why.

I also knew this wasn't a random act of violence, Derek had been paid by the brain of crime to hurt Mariko to send a "message" to my father…obviously he didn't like that my father's campaign was winning and getting so many followers.

If my powers didn't get my family killed, my father's crusade would instead!

I had thought on those thoughts for two days until the day Mariko decided to talk to me about what had happened in that trash lot behind her school.

I was walking down the upper hallways of Kishi mansion, thinking about all the above.

While I drew myself on that problem, Mariko suddenly grabbed me by the arm and dragged me up to her secret spot in the attic in the tower of the mansion.

I had never been up here before; Mariko's secret spot was off limits to everyone…she would come up here to work on her play…or to be alone with her thoughts.

It was certainly more spacious than I expected….and less dusty, probably that was due to Mariko's improvements to this attic turned writing studio.

I watched as Mariko locked the latch to the trapdoor on the floor which was the entranceway into the secret spot.

She then turned around and folded her arms and gave me the "look"… scary….very scary, her "look" could petrify even the infamous medusa from Greek myth!

"Kagae what aren't you telling me?" she asked sternly.

I was afraid to answer.

"Kagae I'm not mad at you…I'm just concerned" she said assuring.

"You wouldn't believe me" I said defectively.

"Try me"

"Alright…" I sighed, "Straight and simple. I have shadow based super powers…and I'm guessing the reason why was because of my accident"

"Continue…" she pressed.

"And for that past couple of days…I've been experimenting. But I've never used them to fight crime or anything like that sis!" I said in my defense.

"And why wouldn't you want to?" she asked confused.

"What?" I asked in shock.

"You have something no one else has Kagae. A Power to make changes for the better…why wouldn't you want to use them for anything?" Mariko explained her position.

"Because it's too dangerous…today was a good example!" I said, looking defectively at my hands which two hours ago had shot blasts of shadow energy at that goon Derek.

"You saved me, how is that too dangerous?" asked Mariko.

"That Guy who tried to kidnap and rape you, Derek Stevenson? I heard him say, "The brain is going to like this when I'm done with this wench and this brat…the brats father will be given the message! It serves the rich moron right!" he saw me, he was obviously hired by the brain to do something to you to send a message to father… probably due to fathers campaign starting to gain solid ground. And now this happened…he'll tell the brain…and he also said he'd get even with the both of us remember?" I asked.

"So…no one will believe him Kagae, who would? I mean come on, super powered 14 year olds? Are you serious?" Mariko assured, "and besides… once the restraining injection is done he won't be able to be in the same area as the two of us."

"His boss could believe him…because he's seen me too!" I said in fear.

"What!?" Mariko asked in shock.

I then explained to Mariko my strange "crime Vision/Radar" and the circumstances I had seen in my nightmare vision.

I told her how I had seen the brain of crime murder the leader of the night skulls gang, and seen his two other associates, and how he, the brain of crime had turned around in my direction and seemed to see me when I was looking through the shadow realm at the appalling scene.

He had seen me, while I was in another plane of reality!

Mariko nodded in understanding, but she shook her head "you know Kagae…it sounds to me that your powers are meant to fight crime not be shelved"

"No…I won't, I can't… don't ask me to do that. Do you have any idea what could happen if anyone else found out about this or if I did try and do something with my powers and someone found out about it too? EVERYONE WOULD BE AFTER ME!"

Mariko sighed, obviously she wasn't going to convince me otherwise, and "what about if you're older?" she asked.

"I SAID NO!" I screamed.

Mariko held up her hands in surprise, "whoa Kagae… easy, I was just kidding. Alright…but we must tell dad about all of this alright?"

"What!" I asked in shock, "NO!"

"Trust me Kagae…we have to tell dad. Not about your powers…although we should tell him about that later…no I mean we should tell him about this … brain of crime" Mariko said.

"But he'll ask where I got this information, why I didn't tell Jeremy this information" I protested.

"No he won't" Mariko assured, "he knows how bad things are in the city and its legal system. But we have to tell him Kagae…we tell him, he'll have no choice but to take a step down until he's able to secure the votes and put Salvador Hardy as District attorney and Alice cooper as High Judge of lunar…and then he can do something about the brain because he'll have the city to back him up…see simple"

"I'm still not so sure about this" I stammered as Mariko literally pushed me towards the door to my father's study.

I really didn't want to do this, what if father refused to listen… and what would I do if he did listen?

"Trust me Kagae…have I ever let you down before?" Mariko smiled before she shoved me completely past the door of my father's study and into the room.

Rachel, who had been walking up the stairs to where Mariko and I were walking, had seen Mariko shove their little brother through the door to our fathers study.

"What was that about?" she asked Mariko.

Mariko shrugged.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Rachel asked her sister regarding the event that had happened 44 hours ago at her school.

"Yeah I'm fine…I just…" she looked back behind her shoulder to where I had vanished into my father's study, smiling slyly "I just figured out what to name my character in my play"

"Hi dad…" I smiled nervously.

"Kagae… well, well…what brings you here to my stuffy study? The library downstairs is usually the place you visit the most…only stuffy old men read up here now don't they?" my dad spoke, with the humor that everyone who worked for him recognized as corny…but effective.

I didn't laugh, was that troubled.

He noticed, "Something wrong Kagae?"

"A few things" I said simply.

"are those Deerings boys troubling you again son?" my father asked me concerned, sighing in disgust "I swear that Man Deerings won't let up until were all run out of town on a rail or something like that…and all because I refuse to discriminate against the poor and destitute of this city"

"no its not them… it has to do with what happened in that garbage bin loading area of Mariko's school" I said, "there are some things I didn't tell Jeremy because I was afraid it would slip through the cracks…but I also thought I should tell you because it revolves around you "anti-crime" campaign"

My father stepped behind his desk, sat down in his chair looking at me concerned, "tell me Kagae"

So I told him, whom ever may read this entry…I told him about what I heard from Derek Stevenson, how he said he was working for the brain of crime, and how he had been hired to kidnap Mariko to send a message to father…probably extortion to stop his winning crusade against crime... and I'm afraid he might have been the first."

My father listened, and nodded as he understood why I was telling him this.

"Don't worry Kagae… I'll handle it" my father assured me, "I'm glad you told me son."

"I just hope I don't end up regretting telling you this dad…" I said worriedly.

"Don't worry Kagae…you won't" my dad assured, "I promise"

It was two days later when I found out that I WAS going to regret it.

I was walking down the hallways of my school to where my locker was to pick up my things to leave for home when suddenly someone's hand slammed me in the back of the head and pressed me hard against my locker.

I couldn't really see them, but I recognized the voices…it was brawn and barker.

"Today is going to become the worst day of your life Kagae!" barker sneered.

From the smell of his breath, I could detect somehow…alcohol and Mariana…not the cigarette version, no…the "grass" version.

Possession of either substance was illegal and punishable by expulsion among other things.

"You're going to wish your father never decided to meddle in the affairs of the city! I in our affairs!" brawn pressed me again into the door of my locker herder than before.

"What are you talking about?!" I asked, even though that might mean more pain.

"This genius boy!" Brawn answered shoving his cell phone in my face and began playing back a sound bite.

The sound bite was on my fathers "change the crime fighting system" campaign, he was delivering a speech "it's a dark time our city is finding itself in now. The poorer are getting poorer, and the richer are getting richer and apathetic, and in the middle is the gangs, the terrorists and criminal masterminds who hold the city in their iron grip by a system of corruption, fear, and greed. It's this system of iniquity that runs our city, and the city council is stubborn and arrogant to see the problem as it is…serious! People are afraid to make change than they are of it, because they believe they have no power. Well…hundreds of years ago when the British owned this country, there was a similar tyranny to the one were facing. But ordinary citizens decided they had had enough and they started the revolution…and guess what, they won! We can win too; we can if we all unite for a new and better lunar city. Technogopolis is the master mold; we can create the next model city. Vote for district attorney Salvador hardy, and for county judge Alice cooper as high judge of lunar city. Together we will show the big brain scumbags of the city that this is not their city, and we are not their shooting galleries!"

I listened to my father's sound bite not with pride, but with fear and anger.

The "big brain scumbags"? Did I just hear him say that?!

He had just shaken his fist in the face of possible a real criminal mastermind sociopathic lunatic!

He had just painted a target on our family's heads, which was exactly what I was afraid would happen if I had told him what I knew about the brain that two days ago in his study.

I was angry, so filled with the sense of betrayal, furious at my father's stupidity…I… I felt betrayed that my father would put the welfare of others before his own family!

Did he REALLY understand my fears when I had told him about them?

How could he…how dare he do this, use a promise as a sound bite!

"Your fathers little speech just confirmed his movements winning the debate and elections for those two bleeding hearts next week! Which means were going to get either end up with a pay cut on the stuff sales we make to the losers of this school or we lose or "school jobs", and since that seems to be the case… were going to take it out of your hide!" Barker growled.

Suddenly among their vicious voices came the voice of an angel delivering grace.

"Get your hands off of him right now before I place the both of you in detention until your twenty two!" came the voice of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Darby.

I must apologize to you the reader on not remembering to mention Mrs. Darby, it's just…she kind of brings both the emotions of happiness and sadness when I remember her.

But I must tell you about her, as she must be remembered because just like Mariko and Rachel…she played a part as well in my origin.

Mr.'s Camille Darby, she was a rare woman, one of a kind.

Blonde hair, kind face, she was a kind soul.

I remember first meeting her in English class.

She had once had Mariko in her class when she had gone through high school; she was Mrs. Darby's prized student.

She was very proud of her, and her accomplishments in college.

She enjoyed when Mariko would come in and visit her.

Mariko was like the daughter she never had because, as of late…she hadn't been able to find Mr. right if you get what I mean.

My seeing her as a good mentor and a friend began in my early high school years.

I had started with impressing her with my love of books like I had with Mr. Maypole, as well as with my want for a bright future.

She had been one of the few people I knew in my life who had lost someone in the trade towers falling, she had one time been crying in her class over those she had lost.

I hadn't expected to find her in her class that day so many days ago… crying, I had just returned to the class after dismissal because I had forgotten one of my books, "the count of Monte Cristo", good read…though it has some biter sweetness to it some aspects, because even the innocent got the brunt of his revenge on those who ruined his life… I had forgotten it on my desk in the front of the classroom.

When I came back to find it, I found that the classroom was dark…the lights had been turned out, but there was still a light…one light being cast by the monitor of Mrs. Darby's computer.

She was in there, sitting at her computer in the dark class…looking at something on the computers screen, with tears flowing down her cheeks.

See noticed me, but she didn't shoo me out, she simply said "oh…hi Kagae"

Any normal person might have just said, "Sorry for interrupting, forgot my book" and left it like that.

Not me…never with me, I'm the kind of person who cares about the ones I care about.

Mrs. Darby, I liked her a lot, she was like a second mother to me… so it hurt me to see her like she was.

So I asked her "Mrs. Darby…is…you alright?"

She didn't move, nor did she give me any indication that she didn't want me here, so I continued forward, until I could get a good look at what she was looking at, I was surprised to see that what she was crying about was only a picture of herself and an old woman hugging, smiling to the camera…with the trade towers easily noticeable behind the small apartment building.

I suddenly remembered when earlier that day, barker…he had been chastising the fact we were remembering 9/11 when the war had been won twelve years ago.

I was angry at that outburst, Jeremy, my cop cousin had been drafted into that war before he became a cop…I thank god he made it through the war.

But it was Mrs. Darby who told barker to literally, "hold his tongue!"

Now…after seeing this picture, knowing what day it was that this event I write about occurred on, and Mrs. Darby's sad state…I put two and two together…and then I was sad too.

Instinctively I wrapped my arms around Mrs. Darby and gave a comforting hug; she reached behind with her arm and tapped my shoulder in acknowledgement and thanks for the concern.

She said I had a good heart.

Maybe I do…but I didn't have a good sense of bravery back then.

She explained that the woman in the picture was her mother. Her father had died of leukemia, and her mother was alone, until Mrs. Darby took her in.

She lived with Mrs. Darby until Mrs. Darby earned enough to apply for a teaching job in lunar city which was harder than getting one in New York at the time before the war.

She decided to leave her mother her old apartment house for her to live in and would send her money and a neighbor and good friend who would help her when she needed it.

She had been in lunar when 9/11 happened.

She had been devastated when she found out that her mother and her friend were among the dead when the towers collapsed.

She and her friend were enjoying breakfast in the world restaurant when the plane crashed.

She had blamed herself for what had happened, but she revealed to me that through the rest of her family and her husband…she soon realized what happened wasn't her fault.

How anyone could have known what was going to happen then?

She explained that even though she knew it wasn't her fault, she still hurt whenever this day came up.

I asked her if my being there with her helped.

She nodded and smiled.

She walked me home from school to explain to my mother why I was late, said I was "helping with some trials in the classroom", and then she winked at me.

And ever since that day…my friendship with my teacher has been as strong as my friendship with Marty Osmond and Darcy Williams.

So it was no surprise that it was Miss Darby was the one who broke up the fight.

"You lay another hand on him I will personal file for your expulsion papers and I don't care who your father is, do you understand!" Mrs. Darby asked brawn and barker with her stern tone.

Brawn and barker immediately let go of me, and with sneers on their faces they walked away.

Mrs. Darby watched as those two bullies walked away then turned to me, "Kagae…what was that all about?"

I didn't look at her, but looked in the direction brawn and barker had departed, scowling, angry "what is it about every time they do this to me? my father!"

"Why? Is it Because of his landslide chance of winning the court hearings issuing new crime fighting, improvements to the city and how it works? I heard his sound bite; I think he's doing what's necessary to fix things in this city." Mrs. Darby asked confused, "I thought you were in support of that"

"That was before I opened my eyes, to the truth of the matter!" I snapped…I shouldn't have snapped, but I was so angry I didn't care.

"What truth? What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Darby concerned.

"if these bullies are on my back because their father hates his humanitarian views, then how are things going to be when he tries to change a crime infected city when the bullies behind criminal activity have guns!" I then stormed off, leaving Mrs. Darby behind…looking at me concerned.

I was hardly outside the school when I bumped into Mariko, Rachel and Darcy Williams.

They were obviously talking, but I knew what it was about.

It was about dad's sound bite and all the miraculous extra votes it caused.

Darcy was ecstatic about it because it would mean she wouldn't have to be afraid to walk to school from her home and back anymore.

Marty was busy getting a Gatorade from the dispenser machine.

Rachel was sharing the conversation with Mariko, and she was proud of dad.

I wondered how proud she would be when the first brick or bullet sent through our mansions windows or the next hired lunatic tries to attack her, or mom…or me!

I continued walking, as I did I caught Mariko asking Rachel "so…you and Kagae are going to keep your words right. It's finally happening!" she was smiling, obviously proud about something.

Rachel was oblivious for a second, and the she nodded "of course, Kishi's keep their promises don't they? We'll be there for moral support when they look at your play, Kagae…"

Rachel stopped and looked at me, Mariko followed, and so did Darcy Williams.

I starred at Mariko, and then kept on walking heading out the door.

"Oh no…" Mariko sighed in realization.

"What?" asked Rachel?

"No Rachel… I was wrong... Kishi's keep their promises, but not this time one of us didn't. A promise was broken, a promise that was shared by me, Kagae, and dad!" Mariko realising why I was so angry ran after me, so did Darcy.

Marty showed up with his Gatorade soon enough to notice the two of them, my sister Mariko and his girlfriend Darcy rush out the door.

"What's going on?' he asked Rachel.

"Kagae throwing a fit" Rachel said simply.

"Kagae?" Marty asked in shock.

Outside, Darcy was the first to catch up with me.

"Kagae…wait, what's wrong?" she asked me.

"You don't know? Well I'll tell you. I just got beaten up again by brawn and barker deerings! They wanted compensation for dad interfering with their business, and then they showed me the sound bite!" I explained.

Darcy was confused, "I thought you wanted a safe, crime free city for people Kagae. I thought you would be proud of your dad for this. This is the biggest move for change in lunar in the longest time. The out datedness and the callousness has to stop, people are being hurt by it and the city's corruption. I thought you understood that"

"Yeah well…" I barked, "You're wrong. My dad's being foolish, he shouldn't be doing this! Yeah there was a time when I wanted that, but a safe lunar is not something risking my family over…and he knows that!"

"How can you be so negative?" Darcy asked appalled, "how can you want things to be this way forever no matter what your reasons are?!"

"Darcy please…" Mariko tried to explain, but Darcy and I were deaf to my sister's pleas.

"My father was an honest cop who was murdered. The murderer was let out on a technicality. The judge knew he was the murderer, the jury knew he was the murderer…and he was never brought to justice. I want a city where we don't have to live in fear of the criminal slime that always thinks that they can run these streets with drugs, money and lethal force. Your father is making it so that will never happen again; it's something I've wanted ever since I lost my father! How can you be so selfish Kagae?" Darcy demanded.

"I'm not selfish don't you get it, I'm concerned about my family's safety and my friends safety…yours included, if you can't understand the backlash that could happen when dad wins, all the criminals of this city and their leader will come pounding at our door, then your biased. Why should I care about anyone else in this city but the ones I care about? Why should I have compassion for them when they aren't they ones I have attachment to, when they have done nothing but scorn me and my family because we tried to help their pathetic hides and they still return to the drugs and slums and refuse to go to the supreme court on the councils prejudice on the destitute instead of grinning and bearing it like they're doing now in the far side and the alleys of the city. If this city wanted change it would have done so already, but it hasn't because the people of the city are sheep! And you know that. Tell me why should I care about them over my family!?" I yelled.

"You know what Kagae…" Darcy said eyes full of tears, angry at me for being such an ass… "You sound just like one of those criminals you fear so much…why should I care? well that's their philosophy, that's why they do the things they do!"

I was taken aback by her statement, and a part of my heart agreed with what she had just said…but I was so mad that I shrugged of the truth of her words and ran with all my strength to the alleyways behind my school.

"KAGAE!" Mariko screamed as she ran after me.

"Kagae!" followed Darcy; apparently after all I just did…she still cared for me as a friend.

I didn't look back; I skidded around the corner, entered the alleyway, morphed into shadow form and jumped into the shadows of the overhanging fire escape of one of the buildings in the alleyway.

I shadow walked away to escape from the fact that I refused to acknowledge… Darcy was right.

Mariko and Rachel came barreling into the deserted alley to find that I had vanished.

"Great…" Darcy said exasperated, "he ran off. What do we do?"

"Don't worry…he'll show up at the mansion. He's just going to blow of some steam…I hope." Mariko assured, although she had already figured out where I was heading.

"I shouldn't have gotten so passionate with him…calling him no better than the criminals of the city" Darcy chastised herself.

"Don't!" Mariko stopped Darcy from blaming herself, "your right…and in time, he'll see you were right and he'll apologize to you about it"

"You sure he hasnt run away?" asked a worried Darcy.

"He promised to be there for when I turn my play into the playwright's academy tonight" Mariko assured, and turned to look at Darcy, "and trust me. If there's one thing I know about my little brother…he keeps his word."


I was so angry I didn't care that I had exploded out of the shadow realm through a broom closet.

I quickly dove out and stormed down the halls of my father's company tower's 4th floor, entered the nearest elevator, rode it up to the top floor and stormed down towards his office.

I practically almost tore the doors off their handles opening the doors to my father's office.

There was my father, brimming with pride, filling a glass of wine for Salvador hardy and Alice cooper while filling up a champagne bottle full of ginger ale for himself.

My father abhorred alcohol, didn't agree with him.

"To your elections as judge and district attorney…" My father bellowed in celebration, "and to the "make lunar safer" movement…may it lead to better times for us and our children"

Future district attorney Salvador hardy was celebrating with his daughter in tow, she was around my age, but again, she was just a friend.

Her name was Clarice Hardy, black hair, and future law school attendee.

She was the first to notice me.

"Oh hi Kagae!" she greeted me.

"Ah, the young Kishi boy!" Salvador hardy greeted as well, "come to congratulate your father on making the biggest blow to this city's crime problem this old burg has ever seen in years?"

Before I could answer, the doors behind me opened and in strolled to my surprise my dad's rival Dorian finch of Finch weapons manufacturing.

If you the reader remember, he's at odds with my father along with lunar's city council on the whole change vs. traditionalism debate that now my father is winning.

"Ah Dorian" Alice cooper chuckled, "come to join us?"

"No Mrs. cooper I came here to deliver a warning but I will admit it was against my will" Dorian answered shrewdly, also snidely while starring at my father with narrowed eyes, then at me, "the message is for you Martin…you only, if you don't mind"

My father getting what Dorian was asking nodded in acknowledgment and asked everyone to leave the room for a second.

When I left with Salvador and Alice, I pressed my ear to my father's office door, and unknown to me, Alice and Salvador were doing the same thing in the wall in the adjacent office.

All right, call us snoops!

It doesn't change the fact that I heard what I heard in the room, and how it was about how Dorian supposedly came under threats by the brain of crime himself to tell my father to stop his crusade while he still could and no one would get hurt, he was given this one chance.

My father asked if Dorian knew who the brain of crime was.

Dorian assured if he did he'd throw the slime into jail himself, his money would assure the riffraff would stay there until he was 77…he then went on to tell that he could tell the brain of crime was serious news and that my father should take it seriously and stop what he was doing.

My father asked why Dorian would warn his biggest rival of his company want to warn him unless he wasn't telling him something.

Dorian frustrated pressed again and told my father to stop; the council agrees that my father's crusade will just cause more trouble.

My father replied, "so you want me to stop the one time in 70 years that lunar's even gotten a glimmer of hope to be the next city of tomorrow, and to be crime free and a place where futures will come out of it instead of vice and death all because of some punk with a superiority complex. No Dorian, it's that kind of thinking that allows trucks with dangerous chemicals to be stolen and daughters to be almost raped behind their schools where their only help was a security squad that was half bought off by a thug. No, my "crusade" as everyone calls it stands, once Salvador and Alice are judge and D.A I will put half of my company's money into the law enforcement in conjunction with F-tech industries and produce new crime fighting for the new century, crime waves and criminal kingpins will be the ones who will be afraid then…because decent people and their children have suffered enough from their hands. Now you've given me the warning and I appreciate it but when this goes through you will never be threatened again by anyone again…except for maybe the IRS on taxes like the rest of us…I thank you for the concern now please…" he motioned for Dorian to leave.

Dorian left, with a huff "old fool will regret it, there are no heroes in lunar city"

"Guy always was right winged" Salvador muttered about Dorian, "guy would sell his own mother for a good buck, and that's just the nice part about him!"

Alice and Sal were about to rejoin my father when I said, "you guys may want to stay out here till I leave…it's about to get ugly!"

I left those three and entered my father office angry.

"Kagae…" my father began after he took notice of my face.

"You liar!" I accused.

"What?" he asked me in disbelief.

"The sound bite, you used what I told you as a sound bite! You promised you wouldn't tell anyone unless you could guarantee the family's safety. You know the brain will take notice!" I explained, although I was furious I had to explain something so obvious.

"I used words, I didn't use names. You know I wouldn't do that unless…" my father began.

"Unless it didn't guarantee your campaigns landslide winning?" I accused.

My father was visibly hurt by what I said, then composed himself "no…unless I could guarantee our family's safety, you know I care for my family as much as I care for other people"

"Do you?!" I asked, "You just made it so every criminal in the city will threaten the family to stop you!"

"The family's already been threatened by these crooks Kagae. Your accident, Mariko's attempted rape and abduction, all crime related incidents that could have been stopped earlier if things weren't the way they are now. I'm doing this for my family, and family's like mine who love their children so much they are afraid to let them out on the city's streets. Not anymore, not when I can do something about it" my father defended himself again.

"Don't you get it dad… you do this and the whole family will pay for it. It's no different than the bullying I go through at school…you fight back and you get in trouble or pummelled… it's the same…The brain of crime will try and shut you up by killing you or going through us if to get to you if you keep on going through with this. Is that what you want!" I screamed, "martyrdom? Extortion? Is that what you want?"

"Kagae…I understand your feelings. But I'm sorry, the only way for evil men to win in this world…is for those who can do something about it to sit back and do nothing. I'm sorry, the city's people have suffered enough, and I won't be known as the man who started the movement for change and backed out because of fear…not when I can combat fear….I've arranged for your mother, sisters and you to be flown out of here tonight to Technogopolis. There's no corrupt cops there, or lunar crime organizations there either…you'll be safe there until Sal, Alice or I seal the deal here in lunar. I don't expect you to understand son…but I'm doing what I believe is right" my father remained adamant.

I stared at him coolly, and said words that were forgiven later, but still cause me anger at having said them to my father who was only doing what he believed in…trying to make a difference, and looking out for his family.

I turned away walking for the door to his office.

"You foolish old man. If this city wanted change it would have done it years ago, all you're going to do is cause this family pain…you foolish, selfish…" I stopped when I realized what I was saying.

I was so ashamed at what I said I didn't want to look behind me as the door closed to see my father hurt expression.

When I returned home, dad and I didn't talk to each other…didn't even look at each other…not even at dinner.

I was angry but deep inside, I was more angry at myself for how I was acting.

Childish and selfish, and afraid…afraid of the brain, and afraid of my powers that I foolishly dared not use or else become the freak of the week or worse.

When supper was over, dad left the mansion for a "late" meeting with a friend of his who does charter planes who would take us secretly out of lunar until this all blew over.

Mariko, mom and Rachel had already been informed of dad's plan to ship us out to the safety of Technogopolis.

But that still didn't make me feel any better.

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