|Thunderstorm: A Hero's Beginning (one shot)
Author: Kyzer Sytin - S.J.R PM
The origin story of the self-created super hero Thunderstorm.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Sci-Fi - Words: 3,443 - Published: 12-29-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3087021
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Growing up I never really understood why it was that people would always say do the right thing; I mean duh, obviously. They would repeat it over and over like it was the hardest thing in the world to understand. It wasn't until that moment, standing in front of the First National Bank with my new-found powers pulsing through my veins, that it really sunk in. It wasn't that it was a hard concept to grasp, it was just a reminder. Doing what was right was almost infinitely more difficult than taking the other route. I just stood there for what seemed like an eternity mulling over the pros and cons of robbing the bank dry. There was already a robbery in progress so I could just walk in, take the money and leave all the blame on the robbers. On the other hand, I knew that I should stop the robbers.
I played with a crackling bolt of electricity, making it dance and swirl between my fingertips while I tried to solve my ethical dilemma. Could I live with myself knowing I'd committed a crime? Could I live with knowing I'd passed up the opportunity to become a millionaire over night? Should I just leave and do nothing? Suddenly the sound of police sirens in the distance made up my mind for me. Without a second thought I sprung into the air and flew off into the distance. I didn't feel like messing with the police, even though I was sure I could take them easily in a fight.
Instead I decided to have some fun manipulating the weather. Clouds built up all around me as I soared through the air and before long it was raining. I chuckled to myself satisfied that I'd finally gotten a decent grasp on how to use my superpowers. Now all I had to do was figure out just exactly what to do with them. As far as I knew I was one of only a handful of people like me on the planet and they had all kept themselves hidden, afraid of what would happen to them if anyone ever discovered they were more than ordinary. I on the other hand needed excitement, and adventure. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to be a hero or a villain. "Maybe a little of both," I mused to a passing bird who seemed more startled than interested in what I had to say. "Oh well, back to school I guess."
A few minutes later I landed behind my dorm where there was no one around to see me flying. I made my way around the building and fumbled with my keys until I found the one to the door. It took me a minute to get the key just right in the keyhole so that it would actually turn properly. The maintenance department had promised to fix the lock months ago but naturally no one had ever showed up to do so.
My roommate Ben was sitting on the couch watching something on tv when I walked in. "Hey Jack," he said without taking his eyes off the screen. "Have a good flight?"
Ben was the only person I'd ever told about my powers except for my sister, and only because he'd discovered by accident. As it turned out he just happened to have his own secret superpower, and we had instantly become best friends because of it. "Yeah, ran into a little rain though." That made him laugh.
"Which reminds me," Ben started. "I came up with some suitable super hero names for us when we decide to go pro."
"Oh really?" I replied sarcastically, wandering into the kitchen.
"I was thinking Thunderstorm and Dendrite. What do you think?"
"In case you haven't noticed we aren't super heros so there's no need for nicknames, and what's a Dendrite?"
Ben rolled his eyes. "Weren't you paying any attention in psych 101 last semester?"
I shrugged. "Nah not really. The blonde a row down from us was a lot more interesting than what the teacher had to say."
He cracked a smile. "The one that totally rejected you?"
It was my turn for an eye roll. "Yeah, that one."
"Well it's too bad you aren't a super hero or she totally woulda been all over you. He gave me a mock serious look and put a finger to his head. "Trust me bro, I know these things."
"So telekinesis wasn't good enough for you, had go and get clairvoyance too?" I joked.
He chuckled without a comeback. "Anyway a Dendrite is a part of the brain that has to do with thoughts and such. It goes with the whole mind thing."
"Amusing," I said, heading for the bedroom. "Best of luck designing the costumes." I couldn't help an extra bit of sarcasm, mostly because he never seemed to get it. For being as intelligent as he was it was comical how something as simple as sarcasm could be lost on him altogether.
"Oh that's already taken care of. I finished the designs last week and they're being custom made as we speak."
I poked my head back around the doorway. "Tell me that was a joke," I pleaded.
"No joke, they should be ready by the end of the week."
Leave it to Ben I thought. Oh well, at the very least they would make fun Halloween costumes I decided. I then turned my attention to a more important matter, my girlfriend. We hadn't hardly spoken to each other in almost a week. She'd been busy with a ton of midterms being that it was nearly spring break.
I checked my phone, but as expected there were no messages or missed calls. I tried dialing Haley's number but it went straight to voice-mail which meant her phone was off. I decided to just leave a voice mail telling her to call me back. After that I set to studying for my last midterm. It was of course calculous two, the bane of my existence thus far in college. I had no idea what was doing ninety percent of the time yet somehow I had a B in the class.
After about an hour and a half I couldn't take anymore so I decided it was time for a break. As if he'd read my mind, Ben walked into the room with a suggestion of going downtown for a drink. I agreed, and before long we were sitting at the bar in the Redrock Lounge downtown.
A few drinks later, Ben and I were laughing and singing along to the music much to everyone's enjoyment. It was a typical guy's night at the bar but it had been the first time I'd gone out for a drink since my powers had fully developed, and the alcohol was messing with my head in a way it never had before. I suddenly found myself with an over whelming sense of my surroundings. I was now aware of everything all at once. There was a cute girl in the corner of the room, who appeared to be watching me, a group of men were sitting down the bar from Ben and I and getting even rowdier than us, but what really drew my attention was the news flash on tv. I studied it carefully not quite sure what to make of it. "Another robbery took place just a few hours ago here at the First National Bank, again following the pattern of all the others. The building was torn apart as if by a bulldozer and the victims inside all appeared to have been burnt alive. Police are now telling us that there was a single survivor - Haley Lenar, a local student at the university. She has been hospitalized for second and third degree burns and has yet to make a public statement. She is expected to make a full recovery..."
I didn't quite have time to absorb what I'd just taken in, because one of the 'gentlemen' sitting down the bar from us decided he wanted to pick a fight. " 'Ey you, I don't like you ya know that? You're sittin' in my seat." He proceeded to hiccup and cluch his stomach as if he were about to adorn the floor with the contents of his stomach. "I think you better leave before I get angry."
A small spark or electricity danced across my knuckles as I stood up to face him. "You really picked the wrong time pal," I warned. "Back off."
"Well wadda ya know. He's got an attitude." His group of friends slowly converged around Ben and I.
Ben glanced at me and nodded inquisitively. "I go right you go left?"
I responded with an electrically charged haymaker to the moron's face. His buddies were on top of me in a second, throwing a few good punches to the gut, and one catching me in the breadbasket. I gasped for air as I hit the ground, electrostatic building up all over my body. Ben grabbed one of the guys and threw him over the bar before they were on him.
The room suddenly went quiet as I climbed to my feet, body pulsing with an electric glow. There were only three left on their feet at this point but they had Ben pinned, at least for the moment. They turned, wide-eyed to me. At this point electricity was dancing over my whole body, sizzling and jumping around trying to find somewhere to escape to. "Big mistake," I said channeling a bolt of lightning through my arm toward the nearest victim. Ben managed to jump clear as the electricity hit one of them square in the chest. He fell to the ground, convulsing from the sheer strength of the lightning. The last two men rapidly abandoned their fallen comrades and made for the door.
"Good idea gentlemen," I shouted after them. "Why don't we take this outside?"
I sprung into the air and flew out after them. They certainly weren't going to get very far. I hovered in the air for a moment, building up for another discharge, but as I prepared to loose it, I was thrown down to the ground. "That's enough Jack," Ben said pinning me to the ground with his mind. "You're out of control. We're the good guys remember?"
"Good guys?" I practically shrieked. All sense of control was lost on me, still groggy under the influence of the alcohol. "We aren't super heros Ben! We're just two college guys with some mutant freak powers."
"No Jack, but you're right. Having super powers doesn't make us heros, but it doesn't make us villains either and what you did in there was stupid. I agree that those guys had it coming but a fist fight, not electrocution. You nearly killed that guy. Is that what you want to become, a killer? Having powers doesn't make either of us anything. What we choose to do with those powers is what is going to define us. Do you want to hurt people Jack?"
I didn't know what to say. He was right and I knew it. "No," I managed at last. "You're right Ben. I was stupid."
"Damn right you were. Now lets get the hell outta here before the cops show up."
That was the first time I'd ever really used my powers for much of anything but flying around and turning lights on without a switch. It got me thinking then that perhaps I could have done something that day at the bank. I could have stopped whoever killed all those people and put my girlfriend in the hospital.
I went to see her the next day but the doctors wouldn't allow anyone to visit, and she was under armed police guard. I didn't want to press my luck with the cops after what had happened at the bar last night so I went back to school. I left Haley a few more messages on her cell phone in case she was allowed that at least. The days dragged by painfully and I kept going back to the hospital until they finally let me in to see her.
"Jack!" she cried when I walked in.
"Hey baby," I said, pulling a bouquet of roses from behind my back. "How are you feeling?" I sat down beside her and took hold of her bandaged hand.
"The doctors said it was a miracle I wasn't killed, that I escaped with only a few bad burns. It was so terrifying Jack. That...thing that robbed the bank."
"Whatever it was it wasn't human," she said. "I'm scared he's going to come after me."
"Slow down," I said. "Everything's going to be fine, I won't let him hurt you again. But what do you mean he wasn't human?"
"The police were wrong Jack," she cried, her voice dropping to a whisper. "It's not some serial killer with a flamethrower or anything like that. He isn't human. He was this large...flaming ...I don't even know how to describe it. He looked human but his body was made of stone and he was covered with fire. I told the police but they just said I must have been confused. They didn't believe me Jack."
A year ago I never would have believed it either, but now I couldn't pass it off as post-traumatic stress. "I believe you Haley, but don't worry. Everything is going to be alright. I'll protect you."
"I wouldn't be too sure of that," came a gravelly voice from behind me.
I turned around to see the stone man in question standing in the doorway. Haley let out a terrified shriek and squeezed my had tighter. Right then I saw that she was right. This thing in front of me was another super, but he'd chosen a path of villainy; a path I'd very nearly taken only days before.
"Who else have you told?" he rumbled.
"No one..." Haley lied. "Please. Please don't hurt us."
"Good," he said. "Less of a mess for me to clean up. Unfortunately you know the truth though and I can't have anyone spoiling my secret." I could see lines along his arms and face begin to glow red, which I could only assume was the source of the fire Haley had described.
I could already feel the charge building up inside of me. "Back off rocky or I'm gonna have to kick your ass."
He laughed a strange laugh that sounded more like two stones being ground together. "Fool. Didn't your mother ever teach you not to play with fire?" His body became engulfed in flame as he said this. Clever I thought to myself.
"Nope. Too bad for you," I said as I levitated off the ground. "Don't look too surprised. You didn't think you were the only person on the planet with super powers did you?" I hurled a bolt of lightning at him, which exploded and threw him back through the door. A moment passed and then he was back, flying through the air on his own. He hit me like a truck and we smashed through the window of the hospital, flying out into the mid afternoon sky five floors above the ground.
It was hard to concentrate with the burning sensation of his flame covered hands on my arms but I managed to call together a few clouds. It started to rain as we flew over the local football field. We spiraled to the ground and nearly collided with a number of the players mid-game. The crowd suddenly gasped in horror at the flaming monstrosity beside me. I knew it was a bad idea to fight him in the middle of a public place like this when I had no disguise, but I didn't have much choice. The good news was that everyone here was going to see him and thus when it got back to the police they'd believe Haley's story.
"Sorry," I mocked, willing the storm to grow stronger. The rain transformed from a drizzle into torrent in a matter of seconds. "I don't mean to rain on your parade but you need to cool off."
"If that's the best pun you can come up with then killing you will be a justice done to society." He let out a grunt and jumped back to his feet. His flame had gone out but he was still going strong. He caught me off guard with a quick left jab. He moved fast for a rock, but he was still slower than me.
I picked my self up off the ground and jumped into the air. I hurled a few lighting bolts at him but they seemed to just bounce off his rock-like skin. The crowd around us was frozen in shock and the football players had regrouped that the end zones to watch the unfolding battle.
The building's roof had started to close to keep out the rain, and rocky was already drying off. I could see the lines on his body beginning to heat up again. I knew I had to stop him soon. I shot another lightning bolt across his face, temporarily blinding him, while I flew up into the air again. Once I was hovering above him I shot straight down, fist extended. I flew into him with all the speed I could gather and hit him square in the forehead. The force of the impact knocked him out cold and he slumped, senselessly, to the ground. At that moment, almost on cue, the police came storming out onto the field in droves.
I leaped back into the air and flew out one of the upper levels where I couldn't be followed. My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt like I needed to collapse and sleep for a week, but I had to check on Haley and make sure she was alright. She jumped out of the hospital bed and threw her arms around me the moment I landed, and she tenderly pressed her lips against mine. "Jack are you alright?" she asked.
"Are you kidding? I just whooped his ass. The cops are taking him into custody right now," I laughed kissing her back. "What about you?"
"I'll be okay as long as you're here."
"Sorry baby I can't stay. There are a lot of people who may have gotten a good look at me. I gotta stay out of sight for a while."
"But you didn't do anything wrong, you saved my life and probably a lot of other people's lives," she pleaded.
"It doesn't matter. I have super powers, they'd lock me up and experiment on me just because I'm different. And even they didn't, law enforcement doesn't take kindly to vigilantes. You have to talk to the police and testify that thing is what robbed the bank. If they ask you anything about me you tell them you don't know who I am or anything about me ok?"
"Alright," she conceded at last.
"I'll see you in a few days when they let you out of here."
I flew straight back to my dorm without sparing even a moment to enjoy the view. I was thankful to be alone with my thoughts for a few minutes, trying to make sense of what had just happened to me. I'd just been in an intense super powered battle and yet I wasn't even phased by it. I felt almost peaceful, like it was something I did every day. I had passed the point of no return; there was no going back to an ordinary life now.
Ben was waiting inside when I got there dressed in a ridiculous looking costume. "There's no need to fear!" he shouted at the top of his lungs. "Dendrite and Thunderstorm are here!"
I laughed at him when he handed my costume to me. It was blue and gold with a big lightning bolt on the chest. "Thunderstorm huh?" I mused. "I like it."
And thus began our days of fighting crime. It wasn't long before we had our hands full fighting off super villains left and right, because 'Magma', as he later came to be known as, was only the first super villain to make his appearance in society. As I think back on it now, that one day that started out so simple started a chain reaction that changed the entire world as people knew it. And it definitely turned out better in the end, simply because I had the courage to do the right thing.