Power & Duty

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Four: Marcus

Marcus studied the large field with all of his senses. He saw the massive car graveyard laid before him. Old broken-down cars scattered around like headstones. The stink of rusted metal and motor oil ravaged his nose with each breath he took. The taste of morning dew was in the air as the morning sun slowly crept up in the sky. Everything was quiet. There wasn’t anyone around for miles as the closest people were still asleep in their beds. Well, not everyone.

“Marcus!” A familiar deep voice called cutting through the silence.

Marcus turned toward it. He found Sheriff Bishop standing by a car ushering him over. Unlike before, the sheriff wasn’t wearing his police uniform, but normal civilian clothing. Marcus nodded and followed him around the car. He moved slowly and carefully. He was afraid of activating his powers.

Marcus had just learned to walk again without breaking anything. Rumors were quickly spreading about his accidents. How he had accidentally run through walls, doors, and almost a window. All these were true, but he had gotten better. He walked through the field of dead cars, following the sheriff until they arrived at a large clear patch of grass. In the middle of the path was a large black tire that was at least twice his size. He estimated the tire weight at last three hundred pounds.

Sheriff Bishop asked. “Do you know why I asked you to come out here?”

“You want to see my powers in a safe location.” Marcus replied looking around, “Perfect spot. On the outskirts of town where no one can hurt.”

Marcus figured the sheriff wanted to test his abilities. Everyone did. Every doctor and nurse watched him as he exercised. He would run on the treadmill and lift some heavy weights. Everyone would watch quietly but their faces said it all. Some were amazed. Some were envious while others were downright afraid. It didn’t really matter to Marcus, but it felt familiar. Almost like he had done this before. Marcus tried to remember, but his head felt fuzzy. Then it started to hurt.

This damn headache, Marcus winced.

Sheriff Bishop asked. “Are you alright?”

“Fine,” he replied, shaking it off. “This is unnecessary. As you can tell, I can control my abilities.”

Sheriff Bishop nodded, walking toward a brown sack. He opened and reached inside of it. Marcus narrowed his eyes, trying to figure out what the sheriff was doing. Suddenly Sheriff Bishop turned around and launched an object at him. Time slowed. Marcus studied the object, realizing it was a baseball. The sheriff had thrown a baseball at him with his cybernetic arm. It was moving faster than any pro baseball player could throw.

Marcus wasn’t afraid. He held out his hand in front of his face, catching the ball before it hit him. POP! He looked at his hand. The ball was gone. It turned into a pile of white powdery dust. He spilled it onto the ground and sighed.

“That could have been someone’s hand or baby’s head,” the sheriff explained, holding up his cybernetic arm, “People like us—enhanced—-have to be careful around normal people all the time.” He sighed. “When I got my arm, I had to relearn everything just like you. How to hold a glass of water, shake a hand, throw a ball. Because if I didn’t.” He walked over a car and punched it with his cybernetic arm. The sleek metal cut through the rusted one like butter.

I know that, Marcus declared to himself. But looking down at the powder, he understood what the sheriff was trying to do. It wasn’t good enough to not use his abilities. He had to learn to control. And there was no one better to teach him control than Sheriff Bishop. With newfound determination, Marcus looked up at the sheriff. “Already teach me, I’m ready to learn.”

“Alright then,” Sheriff Bishop nodded. “Now lift up the tire, but be careful.”

Marcus approached the tire. He wrapped his arms around the black treads as if giving a bear a hug.

“Lift with your knees, not with your back, and don’t forget to breathe.”

Marcus nodded. He lifted with knees, trying to lift. At first, the tire was too heavy. He couldn’t move without tapping into it. He took a deep breath and summoned it. A burst of energy flowed through his body. He felt his muscles tighten, becoming stronger. He tried to lift the tire again. This time, it was easy. He lifted the tire up, trying to get it over his head. When the tire suddenly slipped from his grip, it flew over his head and into the morning sky.

“Uh-oh!” He mumbled.

The sheriff retorted. “Uh-oh indeed! Go catch it before it hits something or someone.”

Marcus nodded and took off like a bullet. Energy pumped through his legs as he raced across the field. He zigzagged around the old cars. Marcus smiled as he pushed off against the dirt ground and launched himself in the air. The warm wind whipped against his skin as he flew through the air. He leaped over the cars and the junkyard’s main entrance. Falling down, Marcus landed in the large grassy meadow. He kept running, feeling the blades of grass tickling his legs and shorts.

He glanced up into the sky, spotting the large flying tire. It was starting to descend. He moved his gaze downward, trying to estimate where exactly the tire might be landed. He saw a large brown painted barn in the distance. The tire was heading in its direction. There was a high chance that the tire was going to hit. At least, the tire was going to hit anyone.

Uh-oh, spoke too soon. Marcus enhanced his vision, spotting a brown-haired boy walking alongside the barn completely unaware. Marcus thought about shouting at the boy. That wouldn’t work. He was too far away. The boy wouldn’t hear him. No, the only chance he had was to catch the tire before it hit the boy. And time was not on his side. Here we go!

Marcus pushed his legs harder, running faster. Once he was ahead of the tire’s path, he hit the brakes. His feet dragged across the grassy field until he came to a complete stop. Then he leaped at least eight feet into the air. The tire collided into his chest. Marcus hugged it tightly as he fell back onto the earth. He landed with a small thump.

“Yeah!” He shouted lifting the tire over his head.

Ahem! Ahem! Ahem! Marcus turned around to find the dark figure on the ground. A thick cloud covered them both. Marcus waved the cloud away and glanced at the figure. It was the brown-haired boy from before. The boy stopped coughing and looked up at him with a confused stare. Marcus immediately recognized him. He wanted to help the boy up but remembered that he still couldn’t control his strength.

Marcus frowned. “I’m sorry about this.” He looked around, realizing they were inches away from the barn. “Well, at least I didn’t hurt your barn. Sorry again, bye.”

Marcus sped off as fast as he came. He raced across the field and returned to the car graveyard. As Marcus approached the area where the sheriff was, he hit the brakes. He slid across the dirt ground and collided into a wrecked truck. The truck rocked, nearly toppling over. Marcus fell onto the ground, wincing pain. The tire fell over his head. He glanced up at the morning sky when the sheriff appeared.

“How did it go?” Sheriff Bishop asked looking concerned

Marcus mumbled. “I caught the tire. It almost hit someone and a barn.”

“What?” He asked Marcus to hold out his artificial hand.

Marcus took the hand carefully. Then he got up. “Yeah, Kyle Martin. I was able to catch the tire before it hit him and his barn.”

“Did he see you use your abilities?”

Marcus nodded. “Yeah, this is going to be a problem.”

“Maybe, this town doesn’t really like secrets,” Bishop explained with a sigh. “I bet by the end of the day everyone in town knows about you.” He nodded. “Anyway, back to training. I guess we should try something a little heavier for you.”

Oh boy, Marcus thought about grabbing the tire. Then he followed the sheriff back into the field.

Time ticked away as the sheriff and Marcus continued with his training. It was like nothing Marcus expected. The sheriff was more like his coach. He ordered Marcus to do some Marcus stretches. Then he had Marcus do some lifting reps with cars. They both wanted to see how much he can lift. Marcus can lift about seven hundred kilograms. Afterward, the sheriff had him doing running lines through the yard while he timed him. Marcus’s top speed was sixty mph. Lastly, the sheriff had performed various leaps over cars and through the field.

With each conquered challenge, Marcus felt his control over his powers grow. He was becoming sharper and bolder. It was actually working. In the end, he lay on top of a car, looking up at the clear sky. The morning had gone. It was now midday. He was exhausted. He took a deep breath and watched a sentry drone flying by. It looked like a glider with a big black eyeball attached. Marcus figured it was watching him, probably to make sure he didn’t kill the sheriff by accident. Marcus snorted.

“Head up!”

Marcus rose up when an object flew toward him. He easily caught it with both hands. It was a wrapped sandwich. No, he sniffed it and caught the scent of cooked beef, cheese, and bread with ketchup. It’s a burger! Then he felt a change in the air. An object was coming toward him. He looked around the wrapped burger and saw a baseball heading toward at high speed. Reacting quickly, Marcus lowered the burger and caught the ball with his other hand. This time without crushing it.

“Perfect,” Bishop said, clapping his hands.

Marcus placed the ball down beside him.

“I have to admit. I’m very impressed. It took you only a few hours, which took me and my team a good month to learn.”

He nodded. “Thanks and thanks for the sandwich too.”

Bishop picked up the bags and approached him. “Didn’t know what you want on it so I figured I’ll go with the classic.” Then he leaped onto the car, sitting beside Marcus. “It’s a beautiful sight, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” Marcus said, unwrapping the burger. He took a bit out of it. A burst of flavor exploded into his mouth. Marcus had no idea how long it had been since he had a burger. He had a feeling it had been a while. Suddenly his mind flashed. An image of a white shiny cafeteria appeared before his eyes. The sounds of laughter and random chatter filled the air. The scent of various foods filled his nose.

“Marcus!”

He snapped out of it. He looked over at the sheriff who once again looked very concerned. I really should stop doing that to him, Marcus thought meeting his gaze.

Sheriff Bishop continued. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I just…I remember eating in a cafeteria with others but the voices were chaotic. And I think I heard Peyton and Ashley talking. That’s impossible.” He winced in pain as his head started hurting again. “My head is still messed up.”

Sheriff Bishop placed his hand on Marcus’s shoulder, giving it a confident squeeze. “At least, you recovered a memory. Others will come with time. Just give it time.”

Marcus nodded.

“By the way since we’re talking about memories. I heard you had information on people. I am wondering if you know about my history.”

Marcus took another bite of the burger. He knew where this was going and nodded.

“You know about my military history.”

He swallowed. “Yes, I know everything. I know all your operations, everyone you worked with and for, and I know everyone you killed.”

“I guess you know a lot more. That’s dangerous knowledge. Many people would love to get their hands on that. Many more would love to make sure it remains hidden. You need to watch your back.”

Marcus nodded looking out into Lake Hill’s cityscape. That’s what it looks like. Although Lake Hill was categorized as a town, it was more like a small city with sleek city towers sticking up from the ground. However, mixed on the ground were old-fashioned bricked buildings. Even from a distance, Marcus could see drones flying around the buildings like gnats around a garage can. “It is a beautiful sight.”

Sheriff Bishop grunted. “Wait a minute, how do you know what Peyton and Ashley are?”

“Oh I met them a couple of days ago,” Marcus replied, reaching into the bag, “When they sneak into my room.”

“Oh, wait what?”

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