My father worked for the Phanton police department and was rarely home to see my brother Derek and me, leaving my uncle Samual in charge.
Besides being a part-time caretaker, Sam was a secret government scientist. It wasn't until later that I learned the government group's malicious significance and why I gained superpowers. Sam tried to protect me from the group, though fate had other ideas.
I still remember the day I got my abilities. It seemed like just another ordinary day. My father, an officer for the Bakers police department, took Derek to his job for a father-and-son day at the station. Simultaneously, Sam fixed me to a kid's chair in his laboratory as he took copious notes for his confederacy. My mind wandered off to the many vials of neon liquids sitting in the middle of the room and back to Sam.
Sam's breath fogged the impersonal space. He hovered over his computer screen, typing away and adding to the mounds of paperwork that piled up around his desk space. Sam's dark blue irises concealed themselves under deep, tired bags, and his bangs swept into his eyes as he focused more in-depth on his data. His attention was always on his work or his laptop, and he paid little to no attention to me most of the time, which led me to cause mischief to get his attention.
My feet dragged across the slippery granite tiles as I took off, racing beyond Sam with my fists pumping in the air. Sam barely looked up from his ample notes. His tongue dragged along his bright smile line, and his eyes shot to the marble table sitting in the middle of the room.
"James Everett Knight, you better be careful," He yelled. My hips bumped the wide slab multiple times as I hopped on my toes.
"Uncle Sam, I'm a superhero," I squeaked at the top of my lungs. I had no clue what would become of my clumsy behavior, but I would soon learn. Sam chewed on his blushed pink lips, and his eyes wandered back to his computer screen.
Like any child, I continued my misconduct, feeling the air from the vent above graze my cheeks as I raced around the room furthermore. My sneakers slid against the floor. I performed loops around the experiment table. Sam still failed to focus on me, leaving me more interested than ever about the illuminating vials in front of me.
The faint pulse of my heartbeat pounded my chest as my fun-sized hands clasped one flask tight in my palm. A shadow lurked beyond the right corner of the room, hovering as its dark, icy glare filled my vision.
The young boy, my age, bounced on his toes in the corner. The boy's brunette locks covered his brown eyes, and he gestured to his mouth, urging me to drink the fluorescent fluids.
My fingers pulled to my lips. The liquids passed my tongue, and before I knew it, the bright libation trickled down my throat.
The boy disappeared, while ocean eyes faded under the bright lights above. My head hit the floor like a freight train, followed by a wave of nausea and dizziness. Within moments, Sam had me in his thin arms, holding me, and pulled me to his chest.
The ampul fell from my tiny fingers, and my blue eyes failed to focus on Sam as I fell deeper into sleep. Then, there was darkness.
Beeping monitors and loud noises reminded me we were still in a hospital. I looked below, and my stomach dropped as I tried to steady myself in the air.
"How are you doing this," were the first words that left Sam's mouth. He paced in front of me, chewing on his hangnails to avoid a panic attack.
"I-I have no idea," I stuttered. I had no clue. I was just as stunned as any hero with an origin story would have been. I giggled, dumbfounded because I defied gravity.
Sam cursed under his breath. He peered out of the doorway and shut the door.
"Can you get yourself down from there, James?"
"I can try," I replied with an exhale.
I shut my eyes, focusing on the sound of my breathing and the wind brushing my face. Without notice, I plummeted to the bed, slamming my back against the rough bed frame, listening to Sam moan as the bed gave in.
A deep divot of meshed metal poked up from the mattress as I cleared a spot for Sam. He joined me at my bedside and rubbed my back for comfort.
"You are not saying a word about this to your brother or father when we get home," he threatened, but I knew him better than that. "Your dad will kill me."
I chuckled at the idea but brushed the thought away when I realized Sam was right. I couldn't tell my father about this. However, one day I would. For the next couple of years of my life, Sam would become my mentor, quitting his job to help me with my superpowers. That is how my story began and is only the beginning.
... TEN YEARS LATER
"James," Derek whispered in my ear. His blue eyes peered into mine as his hands rocked my broad, athletic shoulders. I buried my face in my pillow and let out a massive grunt.
"Don't you have work to do," I asked, pivoting to face him? My eyes wandered to Derek in his head to the toe police uniform, and I grinned wide-eyed.
"Just get ready, James," Derek demanded, his grin weakening. I jumped from under the covers, shoving him on my bedsheets, and the world around me froze in place.
My hands gripped the knob of my dresser in record timing as I threw on a fresh pair of pants, replacing my plaid pajamas, a white t-shirt, and a dark hoodie. I glanced at Derek, lying frozen in place, still on my mattress, as I raced off to the bathroom.
I glimpsed up at the mirror at my reflection. Sure, I had a muscular complexion like any boy's dream, but that prevailed because I possessed the strength of a god. It was one of my well-known powers to the public, but it made me insecure about myself because I wasn't much of a fan of my superior strength. I had always wished to be a normal boy, and as much as Sam tried to create a cure after cure, my powers improved by the minute, making it a more laborious task to fit in each day.
"James, are you almost ready to go," my father called from the living room below. Mathew, my father, was second in command at the Phanton Arizona police department, and Derek wasn't too far behind in status.
My father and brother took their jobs very seriously, but occasionally Derek allowed me to join in on the fun, taking me on his police adventures so that I could scare bad guys who dare mess with the people of Phanton. It became a regular morning routine for my brother and me. I knew there was a lot of chaos that arose during the early morning, but it mostly got me out-of-school assemblies.
Unlike most people, I completed my morning routine within seconds, but my shirt and hoodie slipped on one arm at a time, and my pants pulled up above my waist and never placed on backward. My shoes moved on my feet with grace. I stroked my dark blonde hair into a wave and brushed my teeth just like anyone else. As my toothbrush slid across my teeth, the door crept open, and Derek appeared from behind the bathroom entrance, looking in.
"James, my shift started half an hour ago. I'm sure you can put your powers to fair use. Hurry."
I smiled, pulling myself away from the mirror, and rushed to the staircase, sliding down the banister and landing at the bottom steps.
"I'm finished," I mused, staring up at my wide-eyed brother. Derek followed behind as my father entered the room.
"You're taking James to school?" My dad asked. His hands traced the edges of his collar, straightening the lines. Derek pulled his keys from his pocket and waved them at our father.
"Just to school."
My father knew Derek and me too well, and I, unfortunately, knew my brother better. The second we got in his cruiser, I became his superpowered sidekick fighting morning crime. I was no longer James Everett Knight but Phantons' most prominent and only superhero.
Derek's police scanner rumbled my eardrums as he drove, but he turned it down so the noise and chaos didn't bombard my mind. An instinct in me kept me from turning it out.
"Don't give in to Mark Reignson's bullshit today. I know he's a bully and a total asshole, but—"
"Derek," I scolded, watching his glare from the mirror. "I know. You don't have to bring it up every time. I'm not going to do anything stupid."
Mark Reignson was Phanton high school's most prominent provocateur and my greatest enemy. Ever since the sixth grade, Mark has targeted me with his dirty jokes and demeanors.
He tried to be Phanton's most loyal citizen because he was the son of the Phanton police chief, Michael Reignson. Mark dealt with the teachers kissing his ass for their job security, but I knew him better. He wasn't as scary as people viewed him. As much as I wanted to be the good guy at school, I was no hero, and my family was well aware of it.
My brother, Derek, was like a third father, and ever since he found out about my abilities, Derek was always there to save me from complete disaster, but he also knew it annoyed me every time he did it.
Derek moaned in annoyance, shifting weight on the gas pedal. His eyebrows rose as if to protest, but a voice broke through the speakers and caught both of us off guard.
Derek turned up the radio and gripped an intercom tightly in his palm. His gravelly voice cracked, and he cleared his throat, pushing harder against the gas pedal.
Officer Reignson was the police chief's brother-in-law and took care of most of the calls that came through the station.
"Two-Eleven, about ten minutes ago. A robbery with possession of a firearm. Plate numbers: YDS-1134, black Bentley, tinted windows. Suspects are wearing black masks covering their faces. The boys are reported as inexperienced delinquents and last seen driving down Torto Avenue.
"Ten-four, copy," Derek replied.
This time, his foot dug harder into the accelerator as he pulled into the line of automobiles and took off, flipping on the lights and sirens. A row of cop cars flew by, following the black Bentley. Derek caught up, leading the chase, dodging ongoing traffic. Cars pulled over to the left and right of us. The two young men tossed trash from the vehicle, and one bullet bounced off Derek's side reflector, cracking the glass. Derek sped up.
We lagged close. Derek pushed against the back left side of their car, spinning them off the road and into a nearby brick wall.
"James, stay in the car and don't do your thing. I mean it." Derek watched me before drawing his gun. I didn't see our father in the sea of cops. I turned back around to watch a scene unfold.
"Come out of the vehicle and put your hands up," my brother demanded.
One boy stuck his hands out of the passenger window. A row of six cop cars lined the pathway. About a dozen officers drew their guns, pointed at the young men. The two boys exited the vehicle. One boy dropped his gun from his waist. The two robbers glanced at each other before taking off, separate ways. Derek cursed under his breath, taking off after one of them.
I didn't have to think much about it. I tucked my hoodie far above my head, going against Derek's orders, as I took off running, feeling as if I was walking on air. I halted in an open alley, meeting the other guy in a standoff.
"You were in the cop car," the inexperienced robber let out. His voice sounded youthful and Australian, although he spoke like an American, disguising his representative with a deep growl. His honey-brown eyes squinted as if he was trying to remain attentive.
He seemed to be around my age, maybe a few years older, and he dug his palm deep into his waist, showing off his teeth from under his mask. The young man was taller than me by only a few inches, standing roughly six-foot-three, but I could've quickly taken him. One man was no problem for my superior abilities. That's at least what I assumed.
My hoodie brushed my ears as I pulled it above my head and concealed half my face while sheltering me with warmth. Naturally, I was a warm and cozy person, but I always invited extra warmth to my skin, especially during the cold Arizona mornings. However, the frigid sunrises never stopped me from accomplishing my morning commitments.
"So what," I smiled with my lips.
The robber took one step forward, puffing out his chest as his hands twitched by his sides. The young man had a big ego if he thought he could challenge me.
The Australian boy chuckled, subsiding with a smile, licking his straight rows of teeth. The boy's eyes widened under his mask, and he dubbed a plan in his mind. But before I could make my move, the teen was beside me, slamming my back onto the concrete floor. I gasped, catching my breath.
"That hurt," I mumbled, peeling myself from the ground, dazed in confusion.
Don't get this wrong. I was usually good at taking down bad guys, super or not, but I also had to praise this guy. He was a suitable match.
The boy chuckled. His hand gripped the front of my hoodie, suspending me above the ground.
"Where is Samual Jonathan Knight?" the boy growled. What was unclear to me at that moment was how he connected with my uncle?
"I-I don't know," I answered back as calmly as I could. What worried me was this guy's knowledge of my family and the dangers Sam and I somehow put them in.
One hand yanked at his firm grip on my shirt, while the other reached for his mask. The boy pulled back before I could grab at his disguise, and before my eyes, another boy appeared.
"Leave him." The boy disguised his voice; however, he was also Australian with a slight American accent. "Let's go."
With a blink of an eye, the two boys vanished, and I collapsed to the ground. Speechless and unsuccessful, I raced out of the alley. My hoodie still enclosed my face as a fraction of officers looked my way. Luckily, my hoodie concealed my features. Derek leaned against his cruiser, bowing his head, and swung his keys in a circle as we locked eyes.
"Are you OK?" Derek asked. I looked at the other officers and cleared my throat, disguising my voice.
"Yeah," I relieved him.
Derek and I gazed at one another, and I took a glance at the heavy police presence and crowd of civilians that formed with flashing camera lights. I instinctively covered my face with my arm, my head slightly tilted to the ground; I nodded before taking off into the sky.
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