This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
I jolted awake with echoes of screams in my ears and pain radiating from my muscles. I wiped the sweat from my forehead, calming myself down and trying to force the adrenaline to stop pumping through my veins. I was out of the nightmare world and back into my room, the messy clothes and comfortable bed contrasting from the imagined sterility of the laboratory and the solid feeling of the operating table.
I sat up slowly, attempting to focus on my surroundings but it was no use. I instinctively reached for my bedside table and felt for the shape of my glasses, clasping my hand over them and bringing the seeing aid to my face. I blinked a few times as my eyes adjusted, and soon I could see the clear lines of my desk and the white door.
Sure that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep again tonight, I decided to go to the lounge room, grabbing a mug and making a hot chocolate on the way, before turning the TV on. I sipped the hot liquid and waited for the television to set itself up. When the screen finally flickered to life, I was given vision of one of the resident superheroes fighting against a newbie villain.
“As we can see here: the Ghost is in a tight battle with a Villain we’ve never seen before, who seems to go by the name ‘Trickster’. She’s displayed powers such as telekinesis and this could very well mean that telepathy is hidden in her book of tricks. But only time will tell.” Karen, the reporter, stated, she was an avid Hero fan and a brilliant journalist, always on the hunt for a good Hero battle.
She had the right idea about this ‘Trickster’ chick, she had telekinesis and that generally means that they can read people’s minds as well. She was also very new. Her uniform was coloured pink and dark grey, loose fitting shorts with a loose cropped top. Her age probably in the late teens as she took on a guy about the same age who has (surprisingly) a fair bit of experience. He’s been a Hero for maybe... seven years. That sounds about right really.
His attire was black which faded to dark grey spandex, it was easier to not be seen when the colours of Hero uniforms were mainly black, not that the Ghost had to worry about that. His powers consisted of teleportation and invisibility, which means he wouldn’t be seen no matter what he was wearing and if he was spotted he always had a quick escape route.
The battle ended with Trickster running away from the fight, the Ghost giving a rundown of what he thought of Trickster to Karen afterwards. He described how she haf similar powers to Mindbender (one of the greatest heroes of all time) and a skillset that almost bested that of the great hero. But Mindbender had since disappeared and this new ‘Trickster’ could be a force to reckon with.
Ghost cut his rundown short, ignoring Karen’s displeasure, as he pulled on his teleportation power and he shimmered away from view. Only to have him shimmer back into view in front of me, jumping as he saw me on the couch.
“What the hell are you doing up this hour?” he asked me, and I sipped on some more of my hot chocolate before I answered.
“Could ask you the same thing.” I replied, and he laughed as he took off his cowl.
“Yeah well, I was saving lives... you’re drinking hot chocolate.” He responded, throwing away the now unneeded parts of the uniform into a pile in the corner of the lounge room.
“Isn’t that the usual?” I questioned rhetorically.
“Basically.” He answered before dropping next to me on the couch.
“That one took a while, what kind of training do you think she’s got?” I queried, trying to get some information on this ‘Trickster’ chick.
“Judo... maybe a bit of karate. I don’t know, but she really packed a punch.” He answered, rubbing his shoulder. I looked back to the TV to see the aftermath of Trickster’s work, a building shattered probably from the use of her mind. I wish I could have done something to help. “Do you miss it?” he asked me, and my eyes tore away from the screen to look at him.
“Grant, how could I miss getting beat up all the time? My life has been a lot calmer without having to bother about Superhero bullshit.” I responded, taking a deep breath.
“You miss it.” He stated quickly.
“No I don’t. You just got your ass handed to you by a chick, I don’t miss that.” I laughed.
“Jett, you miss it so quit lying.” He smiled at me, but suddenly I had lost the humour in this conversation.
“Yeah well, I couldn’t get back into it if I tried so...” I trailed off, staring into the bottom of my now empty mug.
“Jett...” he tried to get my attention as I walked to the kitchen and rinsed out my mug. “Jethro, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know.” I replied quietly, sighing as I ran a hand through my hair.
“Okay, I think it’s time we go to bed, yeah? I mean college tomorrow... or today... or whatever.” Grant stated awkwardly, still in his spandex uniform.
“Technically today, but we’ll say tomorrow.” I responded.
“Alright, well goodnight man.” He bid before leaving the room.
“Night.” I replied while following his footsteps until I broke away to my room, closing the door behind me and falling onto my bed. I took my glasses off before crawling under the covers. Bringing up the topic of me and being a hero really bummed me out, memories good and bad had flooded through my mind.
I hadn’t been in need of glasses then, it was a side effect with the powers. Enhanced senses, meaning that the fact I had needed to use glasses became null-en-void when I gained my abilities. I loved what I could do, flight and laser vision were the supernatural gifts I was given to use, and I had used them for good.
‘Laser Eagle’ had been my title for everyone to call me by. I kind of hated the name, however, it wasn’t my choice. It’s what the public called me, but I didn’t complain. I loved how I helped people and I loved how it felt, the rush of adrenaline, the tightness of my stomach, the nerves and the smiles on people’s faces.
God I wished I could fly again, wished I could feel the gut feeling from the speed I could muster. No one else had to lose that, sure Heroes would lose their lives but no Hero ever lost their powers. That doesn’t even happen to bad guys, and they deserve it.
For the past two months I’ve had the same recurring nightmare, or memory, the one I had tonight. I was stuck in a laboratory, the scent of antibacterial agents had been overpowering, but I hadn’t been able to see. The scientist, who liked to call himself ‘Doctor Dread’, had a personal hatred against heroes and villains alike, Evos in general. He must have been prepared to catch me, or someone with laser vision, since he had a special set of goggles made of obsidian. I couldn’t see through them, but when I went to blast them off the bright blue lasers had reflected right back into my eyes, it was the first and last time I would experience a blast from my own powers.
It was after I had been mutilated by something inside a cold needle that the girl I was trapped with and myself were saved. Doctor Dread was caught and as he was taken to the Special Forces van he screamed that he would ‘end this Evolutionary disaster’ even if it was the last thing he would do. You could safely say that night was when Laser Eagle had died after I realised I had lost my powers, my identity was only kept secret due to protection of minors.
The blue and black, spandex uniform was still in my room, sitting in a box in my walk-in-robe, untouched for the time I had been without powers. I wanted to see the electric blue outline of the eagle that was placed on the chest of the spandex outfit, but at the same time I never wanted to see it again. I almost stood up to find the cardboard box marked with ‘books’ (in case anyone ever went through my stuff) to hold the costume in my hands, but I didn’t.
Grant, or the Ghost, was an Evo I worked closely with for a while. After getting drunk two years back we accidentally revealed our identities to each other. I suppose it wasn’t like we were going to tell anyone, it meant that we had a newfound trust, one that couldn’t be broken. We then became close at school, best friends really, and then as soon as school was finished we decided to rent out an apartment in the middle of Dimeran. That way we were close to the action no matter where it would be. But now it didn’t matter where the trouble was, I couldn’t help.
I was now a normal teenager who was starting college later that very morning, but I hated how I was coming to accept that. I hated how I was taking it so easily. I curled up on my side as my mind ridded itself of the thoughts of grief and instead focused on college, a groan echoing off the walls as I realised modern history would be full of information I had already heard about Evos and how they changed the world. They just didn’t know I had been a part of that change.
I found a seat in the back of the classroom, on time for the first time in my life. My eyes were constantly shifting as more and more people filled the lecture theatre, trying to find a familiar face and finding only three that I knew. One new girl caught my attention immediately, mainly because she was beautiful. Her bright eyes looked around the room for a spare seat, pushing a section of her straight, brown hair behind her right ear. She took a seat in the middle of the theatre, and she seemed to be one of the last to sit down as the professor started speaking as soon as she did so.
“Class, we will be starting this year off on the topic ‘the Evolution of Evolutionary Humans’, in other words we will be looking at the birth and development of Evos, the heroes and villains of our world. Anyone know how Evolutionary Humans came about?” Dr Patternson asked, and the girl who had caught my attention before spoke.
“Biological testing about sixty years ago.” She stated simply.
“Can you elaborate for me?” Patternson asked, New Girl gladly did so.
“Scientists have always been fascinated by the idea of supernatural abilities, underground testing began about eighty years ago to find a DNA strand or even a part of the brain that could be manipulated to allow superhuman traits to be possible. After it was proved possible volunteers came, flooding in, wanting power. Very few got what they were looking for, and if they did it was temporary. The younger the volunteer, the longer the powers lasted.” New Girl said.
“Very good, all true. That was when children were kidnapped, more illegal testing went ahead and it was still holding the same pattern. The younger the volunteer the longer the power. However, since the testing was illegal, when someone snuck in and stole everything, blowing up the laboratory in the process, there was nothing the scientists could do. Any work on the developmental drug went dark for a year, no word on if it even still existed. But it did, and the thieves had evolved the drug, allowing it to take on gaseous formation that polluted the air, spilling into major cities. And with people constantly breathing it in, humans started getting abilities.
“These people were few and far between, and those who did get powers were aged anywhere from between eleven to seventeen. These people never lost their abilities, and were sort after, hideous tests being conducted upon those who couldn’t get away. Back then there was too much faith in humanity, too much trust and no need for secret identities. If people had superhuman abilities they would use them in public without a mask, worrying only about the wellbeing of others-”
“And now they’re running around without restraint, we’re leaving the ‘heroes’ to take care of the ‘villains’ and the only reason we do so is because we can’t stop them. The rate of employment in the police force has gone down sixty-per-cent since the birth of heroes and we now have a higher crime rate than ever.” New Girl cut in, stopping Patternson short.
“True facts, thank you for adding them in there.” The professor stated, but I couldn’t tell if it was sarcastic or genuine.
“You’re welcome.” New Girl stated sweetly, before I felt a sudden sharp pain in my mind. It was short and sharp, but lasted like a swelling bruise. The rest of the lesson passed by, the pain not ceasing even as Patternson began to finish up. Memories of my time as Laser Eagle flashed before my eyes, without my intention and I let out a groan of pain, my hands reaching up to grab onto my head, in a futile attempt to stop the hurt.
“Are you alright Mr Valence?” the professor asked.
“Yes sir, I just have a headache.” I responded quickly, the boy sitting next to me on the right was obviously upset by my interruption, his face set in a glare. While the girl on the other side, didn’t seem to notice as she had her earphones in and a smirk on her face. It was almost like she had found out a major piece of gossip, but as I looked to her computer screen I saw she was watching a TV show.
“Okay. Well finishing on the point from before...” I stopped listening as the stabbing pain continued and more memories flashed before my eyes. Suddenly it was over, as if nothing had ever happened and I was left at a loss. The memories stopped and the pain ebbed away, I sat still for five seconds with my eyes closed to make sure I wouldn’t fall after standing. But when I opened my eyes a piece of scrap paper was on my desk, and as I picked it up I read the scribbled note.
I know who you are.
My eyes immediately flicked around the room, trying to find out who put the note on my desk but found no one else in the room except for New Girl and Patternson. They couldn’t have done it, they were down the front, it had to be someone up the back.
I walked straight out of the class after the incident, packing up my stuff, and stepping out into the hall as it filled with students and I pushed to my next class.
I walked into the apartment, my eyes flicking over to the couch before going back to the door as I closed it behind me. My mind then registered that there was something different about the couch, and I looked back to see a tiny, white cushion. We don’t have a cushion like that.
Hell, we don’t even have cushions.
I was fine with Grant buying a cushion, I mean, sure, if you want to go buy a cushion go ahead and get one but why did he get this one? It was the size of my fist, was made of the fluffiest material I had ever seen and was a pale white. Just as I got over the cushion being there I realised it wasn’t a cushion, because cushions don’t move.
Especially like this.
It started unfurling itself and was unravelling into a shape I didn’t like the look of. Instead of watching the horror of the unfurling cushion I ran to hide behind the island bench in the kitchen, hoping it would give me some kind of safe haven, however, as I reached the kitchen I found a kitty-litter tray and a bowl with water sitting on the ground.
“No, no, no, no.” I whispered to myself as I looked around the bench to check the position of the cushion-that-was-no-longer-a-cushion. Right now I’m pretty damn sure that there’s a bloody cat in my household. As I moved back behind the bench I heard a ‘meow’ and I jumped as the cat was sitting right next to me. It was acting like it owned the place, and because of that I stood up and ran away from it like I didn’t live here.
I sprinted to my bedroom and jumped into my bed, attempting to hide from the white cat under the covers. My throat had constricted, which made it difficult to slow my breathing and my overly fast heart rate. Just as I calmed down enough to breathe without pain I felt the bed move, and I realised I hadn’t closed the door behind me.
I held my breath as it stepped on my leg, and as it took another I screamed like no tomorrow.
“Oh my god!” I heard Grant shout, and I no longer cared about where the cat was as I threw the covers off of me. “You scared it!” he added, holding the cat in his hands.
“I scared it? I scared it?! Are you kidding me?! It’s been chasing me around the place! I just walked into this damn apartment like I normally do since I damn well live here and that bloody thing was sitting there mocking me!” I over-exaggerated, pointing an exceptionally threatening finger towards the kitten which was barely the size of Grant’s hand.
“Dude, calm down. It’s a kitten.” He told me bluntly, forgetting a major point about me.
“It’s an agent of Satan.” I replied, no hint of sarcasm to my words.
“Oh shit, I forgot you’re afraid of cats...” he trailed off. I’ve had an irrational fear of cats since one decided to claw my face in primary school in front of everyone. Well, my class anyway. Some kid called Janet brought in her cat for show and tell, of course it showed me its claws and everyone was telling other people about it for weeks. That’s when I decided that all cats are evil, and it’s how I knew this fluffy bastard was no exception.
“You’ll get over it, it’s only a couple of weeks old anyway. I saved him from that really tall tree at the park and he doesn’t have a home and I didn’t want him to go to a shelter and end up in a bad home where they would abuse him and underfeed him and-” God damn it Grant was whipped over a cat.
“Oh my god! Shut up and get rid of the damn cat!” I shouted, my arms doing strange gestures that I couldn’t control.
“No!” he shouted back, holding the spawn of Satan closer to his chest.
“Get rid of the cat or I will be the one abusing it!” I continued shouting, I think it helped to get my point across.
“No! It’s not going anywhere! I’ve already filled in adoption papers, checked with the landlord and I’ve named it.” He told me, my heavy breathing was the only thing that could be heard besides the insufferable and obnoxious sound of purring from the bloody cat.
“You named it? What did you name it? Satan? Did you name it ‘Satan’?” I asked him with an overly high-pitched voice.
“I named it ‘Stan’ actually.” He informed me. ‘Stan’ is just one ‘a’ away from being ‘Satan’, and it would be close enough for me.
“Satan. You brought Satan himself into our household. Just opened the door with your arms open, going ‘we’ll take care of you’ and gave him the keys to our home like he was all but a friendly neighbour.” I explained how I saw the situation.
“I think you’re over-exaggerating there. He can’t hurt you man, I mean look at him. He’s more fluff than anything else, aren’t you Stan? Aren’t you?” his voice changed into the tone you use specifically for animals and infants, while he scratched the top of Satan’s head... at least I think that’s it’s head.
“Fine, keep the spawn of Satan, but if it comes into my room again I won’t hesitate to pick the bloody thing up and throw it out the damned window.”
Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!
tyleroakleyfan: thank you for writing this story I loved it. it was great I enjoyed every minute of it I couldn't stop reading you did a fantastic job. Thanks for killing ron he was starting to piss me off. he was being a dick. I love that you made it a gay love story its about time someone did. love it great job.
Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...
Roger A. Fauble: Excellent read, the only thing not to like is that I could only read it at home on my computer. I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this story characters are introduced and developed allowing you to really get into them. Next the story is develop...
Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
mrh: This interesting take on the Harry Potter series fascinated me from line one on. I am in love with this tale and its characters and cannot wait to read the next chapter. I look forward to more soon.When can I expect the next chapter? I am so excited to read it!
Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...
Ravenhawk: Kim I was sure I wrote this before. But since both my computer and my internet connection has been futzing around so much, I'm surprised that I'm able to write this even now. basically you know I adore this story, I've told you as much before. I cannot fault it in any way at all, except that I wa...
John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...
gunter1987: I just want to say here that this is my first review, but I really wanted to review this story. I apologize if I don't write English to well, I am French.Reading through the many science fiction stories posted here and other places in the world, I started to see a few linking themes: heavy-hande...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."