This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Pain radiated from my muscles as I jolted awake, the fading echoes of my own screams desecrating my ears. I could feel the sweat running down my forehead, my hand subconsciously moving to wipe it away before it could mutilate my eyes. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins, making me shake involuntarily as my eyes flicked around the room for any signs of movement. As I began to calm down I realised I was back in my bedroom and away from the laboratory which presented the landscape of my nightmares. The messy clothes hanging over every surface and the comfortable bed contrasted heavily to the sterility and cleanliness of the laboratory along with the cool solidity of the metal operating table I had been lying on in my nightmare.
I focused on calming my body before I sat up, trying to make out any detail possible, but alas, it was to no avail. Instinctively, I reached for the bedside table to feel for the familiar shape of my glasses, my fingertips found the aid quickly and I placed it on my face. I blinked a few times to help my eyes adjust, and soon enough I was able to see the clean-cut lines of my desk and the door. It was clear to me that Sleep would not take me by it’s strong grip again tonight.
A hot chocolate, that would surely help me calm down enough to sleep again. It always does. I got out of bed, finding a pair of track pants before walking on the cool floorboards and into the kitchen. Methodically, I got out a mug, hot chocolate mix and milk from the fridge, calmly making a hot chocolate before migrating to the lounge room for some late night television. The screen took it’s sweet time to wake up, flickering to life and showing immediate vision of a late night battle between a superhero and a supervillain. It would be too simple to say that it was a television show, but this was real life. A live broadcast if you will.
“As we can see here, Ghost is locked in a tight battle with a new villain calling herself ‘Trickster’. From what I have seen so far, she seems to be displaying powers of telekinesis, which could very well mean that telepathy is on her side.” Karen, the brilliant journalist who focuses her entire life on heroes, stated. She got about as much sleep as the Supers, maybe even less, due to her commentary on every battle she can get herself to, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You can’t deny her passion.
You also can’t deny her assumption of Trickster’s powers, telekinesis and telepathy are usually a combined package, even though there are only an extreme few that have those abilities. In this city of Dimeran there are only two I am aware of, Mindbender, who is a retired hero, and now this Trickster girl. She seemed young, in her teens, with her skin tight cropped top and leggings displaying grey and pink colouration as a grey mask hid her identity from the world.
Ghost had a different description altogether, he was aged at nineteen, a strong built body behind a dark grey, almost black, spandex costume. Most hero costumes consisted of dark colours, due to the colours being harder to see during a night raid. Ghost didn’t really need to worry about that though, his own powers consisting of teleportation and invisibility, providing constant stealth when wanted and a quick getaway no matter the situation.
The battle soon ended, Trickster running away from the fight, before Ghost gave a quick speech to Karen, summarising her powers and fighting capabilities leading up to his quick disappearance from the scene. He flickered back into view directly in front of me, jumping as he saw me sitting on the couch with the same expression as a zombie.
“What the hell are you doing up at this house?” he asked me, I sipped some more of my hot chocolate before I took the liberty of answering.
“Could ask you the same question, Ghost.” I mocked his alias, he laughed as he took his cowl off. Everyone in this city knows him only by that title, whereas I know him as Grant Gold. Best friend since high school, and partner is justice fighting since the before that.
“Well, I was saving lives… and you’re drinking hot chocolate.” He responded, teleporting out of vision again before coming back a few seconds later in track pants and a shirt.
“Isn’t that the usual?” I questioned rhetorically, simply continuing on the conversation from before. This had become the norm for us since moving in together three months ago.
“I suppose so.” He answered, dropping next to me on the couch, I looked at his face and spotted a bruise forming on his cheek. I decided on bringing it up without actually bringing it up.
“So… that one took a while. What kind of training do you think she’s got?” I queried.
“Definitely Judo, possibly karate. I don’t know actually, but she really packed a punch.” He answered, rubbing his shoulder before gingerly touching his cheek. I looked back to the television to see the aftermath of Trickster’s work, there was rubble everywhere from the shattered side of a building, probably from the use of her mind. I wish I could have helped, I would do anything to get back in the game. “Do you miss it?” Grant asked just as I thought of it. I swear that he has telepathy sometimes.
“How could I miss getting beat up all the time? My life has been a lot calmer without having to deal with all of that hero bullsh-”
“Don’t swear!” Grant cut me off. I suppose I still hadn’t gotten used to that yet. “And your life isn’t calmer, it’s boring. You miss it.”
“I do not miss it. You just got your ass handed to you by a chick who was maybe fifteen, I definitely don’t miss that.” I laughed, thinking he would leave the subject alone.
“Nick, you miss it, quit lying.” He smiled at me, but I had suddenly lost the humour in the conversation. The reality of my situation was hitting me like a nuclear bomb… and I thought I was finally possibly over it.
“Well, I couldn’t get back into it if I tried, so…” I trailed off, staring into my half-empty mug.
“Nick…” he tried to get my attention as I drank the rest of the hot chocolate in one go. “Nikias, you know I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know.” I replied quietly, then leaving us sitting in an awkward silence.
“Alright, well, I think I’m gonna go to bed. I mean, college tomorrow… or today… or whatever.” Grant stated awkwardly, standing up from the couch.
“Technically today, but we’ll say tomorrow to make ourselves feel better.” I responded, standing up also and starting the trek to the kitchen.
“Okay, well goodnight then.” He said quickly before he started walking to his bedroom.
“Night.” I replied, rinsing out my cup before shoving it in the dishwasher. I then went back to my bedroom, closing the door behind me and crawling onto my bed. I took my glasses off and got underneath the covers, trying not to think of the nightmares that would be awaiting me when I fall asleep. Bringing up the topic of me previously being a hero had temporarily sucked all positivity out of my system, memories of both good and bad qualities had decided to flood my mind.
I hadn’t needed glasses when I had powers, it was an added side-effect of enhanced senses. This meant that my vision was enhanced, and the use for glasses became null-en-void when I had gained my abilities. I loved what I could do, the powers at my disposal being flight and laser vision, and I had harnessed them for good.
The alias that the city had given me was ‘Laser Eagle’, I kind of hated the name but I didn’t have a choice, and I never complained. I loved how I helped people and I loved how it felt, the rush of adrenaline, the tightness of my stomach, the nerves and knowing I had saved someone’s life.
The strongest memory that hits me was the feeling of flight. The gut feeling from the sound barrier breaking speed couldn’t be matched by anything, not even taking off in a plane. No one else would have to lose that, lose their powers. I know heroes have lost their lives to the cause, Lord almighty am I aware of that, but no other hero (or villain) has lost their powers. And definitely not the way I had.
It was my own slip up that lead to me being caught by ‘Doctor Dread’, a scientist who had a personal hatred against Evolutionaries, both good and bad. He was prepared for anything, I’ll give him that. Utensils, operating tables, entrapment devices, as well as goggles for me, all made of obsidian. The singular object of which cannot be affected by powers, and has a tendency to slowly drain our powers away. It wouldn’t have been easy, or cheap, to get everything he had in the stone, and that added to his passion of trying to dissolve the world of Evos.
He mutilated me with nanotechnology, of which was inoculated into my body through the use of a needle into my left jugular vein. The girl I had incarcerated with me due to my stupid actions underwent the same pain, the technology feeling like burning like fire inside of my veins.
That was the substance of my nightmares for the past two months since it happened. But the echoes of him screaming that he would ‘end this Evolutionary disaster even if it was the last thing he would do’ haunted me every day. The fact I had barely been able to keep my identity secret also haunted me, if Night Archer hadn’t of found us before the police I could be in a much worse position. A position like Melanie’s…
I suddenly felt the urge to get out of bed and get my old costume, the black spandex was sitting in a box at the back of my wardrobe, taunting me. The electric blue outline of an eagle on the chest of the costume let everyone know who I was suddenly flashed through my mind. I wanted to see it, but at the same time I wanted to burn it so I never had to see it again. And again I was reminded of my inability to help.
Grant, or Ghost, was an Evo I worked with closely since we both started. Eventually we trusted each other enough to tell each other our identities, we became friends and school and have basically been inseparable since. We had a trust that couldn’t be broken, one that we hope never breaks, and when school finished we decided on renting an apartment together in the centre of Dimeran so we could be closer to helping people. Not that it matters anymore. Grant can teleport and I’m out of action.
I was now just a normal young adult who was starting college in a few hours, and I hated how I was coming to accept it. I hated how I was taking this so easily. I curled up on my side and let my mind rid itself of those thoughts of grief and regret, instead turning my attention to college tomorrow. A groan echoed off of the walls as I realised that two of my lessons would be filled with Evos. Modern/Evolutionary History and public speaking. They would be fuelled with information on Evos and how they changed the world, but no one would know that I had been a part of that change.
For the first time in my life I was on schedule, making it to class before the lecture began, and found a seat near the back of the theatre. My eyes were constantly shifting as more and more people filled the room, the seats filing up quickly. I tried finding any faces that I might know, finding only three that I recognised. I hadn’t realised so many people would be going for modern history… damn. One last person walked into the theatre, and she grabbed my attention immediately, probably because she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen in all of my nineteen years.
Her bright eyes flickered around the room as she tried to find a seat, pushing a section of her straight, mahogany brown hair behind her left ear. As soon as she took a seat in the middle of the theatre the professor started speaking.
“Hello everyone, my name is Dr Patternson and I’m here to help you delve into the history of our modern world. The events that lead to our world being what it is today. Our first component this year is aptly named ‘the Evolution of Evolutionary Humans’, our focus will be on the creation and development of Evos, both the heroes and villains of our world. Let’s start from the beginning, who knows the origin of Evolutionary Humans?” Dr Patternson asked, the girl who had caught my attention before spoke up.
“Biological testing, beginning about sixty years ago.” She stated simply.
“Would you care to elaborate for me?” Patternson asked, and New Girl gladly did so.
“Scientists have always been captivated by the idea of supernatural abilities, and about eighty years ago underground testing had begun to find a DNA strand or a section of the brain which could be manipulated to allow for superhuman traits. It was soon discovered that it was possible to do so, that was when real experimentation began…” she trailed off, Dr Patternson took over from there.
“They put human bodies under extreme stress, forms of torture of which volunteers signed themselves to in a contract that didn’t matter. Many didn’t make it out alive, and many ended up mutilated. Very few gained powers, but there were enough successes to find a trait, can anyone tell me what that was?” He asked. The girl sitting next two empty seats away from me spoke up after a silence lasting about five seconds.
“Youth.” She answered. Heck, do I know her? I feel like I went to school with her. She must have realised I was staring because her brown eyes flickered towards me, a small smile on her face.
“Correct. Youth. The younger the successful subject, the longer the powers lasted. Of course, this was for people between twenty and forty who volunteered for this experiment. After this fact was discovered children began to go missing, mainly from orphanages. The powers again lasted longer the younger the subject, but this was short-lived. The scientists work was stolen, the laboratory blown up to erase all evidence of the experiment. Due to the illegal nature of the experiment they could not call it in for investigation, and the research went dark for two years.
“The only information found on the research was when teenagers began to gain powers. It was a literal one in a million chance of gaining these powers, this means that only seven-hundred people in the world had gained these powers. That number has now increased to seven million out of seven billion people on our planet. That is still less than one per cent of the world’s population, and this is just an estimation. Your first assignment will be a five thousand word essay on the research made and it’s development into an airborne chemical. Any information on the first generation of Evos will gain extra points in grading. Now, while that is on your mind, you may want to begin taking notes as I will be going into the research of supernatural abilities. To begin with…”
I felt a sharp pain in my head, immediately taking my attention away from crucial information as flashes of memories came through my mind, specifically from my time as Laser Eagle. This wasn’t my doing, this wasn’t what I wanted happening. Holy hell, please tell me there isn’t a telepath in this class. The memories slowly faded, and as they did chocolate brown eyes were focused solely on me.
“Are you okay?” The girl-I-think-I-know asked quietly, seeming only half-concerned.
“Yeah, I just have a headache.” I responded slowly, waiting for the pain to pass. If that was an experience with a telepath, I don’t want to feel it again. Oh, but I did. The pain came yet again, a little less this time but torturous all the same as more memories flashed through my mind.
“I have painkillers if you want some…” she trailed off. I shook my head.
“I think it’s passing.” I replied, she nodded in response before facing the front again. The rest of the lecture passed by quickly as I copied down as many notes as I could, and just as I was packing up to leave I found a piece of paper folded on the corner of my table. I unfolded it, staring at the perfect handwriting on it before registering the words it stated. My eyes flickered around the room to see who the hell could have put it there but everyone was filing out and every possible suspect was leaving the room quickly.
I know who you are.
Well… I’m screwed.
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