"They're coming to get you." Dwight Haymaker jumped awake when he heard that. Or did he really hear it? It sounded like it came from inside his head not outside. He looked around and saw nobody in his room. He figured he was just hearing things and tried to go back to sleep.
"They're coming to get you." Now he knew that the voice was in his head. Under normal circumstances he would have thought he was crazy, but life hasn't been normal for him and millions of others all over the world. See, about ten years ago there was this brilliant flash of light that appeared in the sky all over the world at the same time. At first, everybody thought that they were under attack and it took a few very tense weeks to determine that nobody was nuking anybody.
That light had done something, though. It gave millions of people all over the world special powers. Scientists couldn't explain how or why these people got their powers. The powers these people got could be almost anything you could imagine. From super-strength to fire powers to psychics. He suspected that it was a psychic that was messing with him now.
Dwight had powers of his own. He could take any inorganic object and merge with it. If the object is small (like under 75lbs.) he can absorb it into his skin and "hide" the object inside his own body. An example would be like he would put a spoon in the palm of his hand, he would kick in his powers and the spoon would look like it would melt into his skin then it would disappear into his body. All he would have to do to get the spoon back would be just to concentrate on the spoon coming out again and it would. If he thought about it hard enough he could expel the small object at extremely high speeds and use it like a projectile weapon. He can also make just a part of it surface so half would be in half out. Now he can merge with larger objects too. If the object is bigger than him he can "hide" in it, and if the object is mobile, like a car, he can take control of it and maneuver around.
He never liked psychics. Since you couldn't tell who they were they had to close a lot of casinos and suspend the lottery. And of course they woke him up at the crack of noon with creepy messages about how people are coming for him. He vastly ignored the message and decided to get up and get around. It was about time for him to go to work.
He didn't have an actual job per se, he was a street performer. He would use his powers to give the "illusion" that he could pass a solid metal rod through his hand or pull a large bouquet of plastic flowers out from behind some girl's ear. It was an ok gig, he liked making people laugh and be amazed, but he had to work for tips, and sometimes people got cheap. That's when he turned to his backup job. He would steal things from people. Watches, necklaces, rings, anything he could get his hands on really. He was really good at getting away with it by using his powers. He would just sell the items later at his favorite pawnbroker and that's how he made his living. Life was going smoothly for Dwight, and with the exception of that creepy message, things weren't really out of the ordinary.
Then he found out what the message meant and it wasn't good…
Dwight had been noticing that there was a group of three or four people that would come and see his show every day. He never minded return visitors, but these people creeped him out. It never seemed like they were watching the show. It was more like they were watching him. After about a week they were just gone. Then another group of about three or four people started doing the same thing. He remembered that voice in his head and started to think that maybe it wasn't just some practical joke.
After another couple of days, they too were gone. He put it out of his head and went on with his life. He was on his way home he got the funny feeling that he was being followed. He looked behind him quickly but nobody was there. He started walking again and got the same funny feeling. This time he didn't look behind him, he just took off running. He heard pounding footsteps behind him as his unknown pursuers perused him. He was just thinking that he was getting away when a dart hit him in the back. The effects took effect instantly and he was down for the count.
He awoke an unknown amount of time later in a dark room. He had dry mouth and his head hurt. When he tried to reach up and rub his temples he noticed he couldn't. It took him a moment to realize that his arms were both chained to a chair. He was going to panic then he remembered he could easily get out of that. He merged with the parts of the chain that was touching the tops of his arms, and then de-merged with them out the bottoms and he was out.
He tried to stand but his legs didn't want to work and he fell flat on his face. He rolled back over on his back and sat up. He sat there for a little bit until he regained the feeling in his legs then he attempted to stand up again. It worked this time, but barely. He really hoped he wouldn't have to be running again anytime soon.
A door behind him opened and three people, a really big man, an average sized man, and a young woman, walked in. He recognized them as the ones from the first group that had been creeping him out.
The average sized man came forward a few steps and stood face to face with Dwight. "Is this the guy?' He asked, "He don't look like much."
Never being one to take insults, Dwight quickly said, "That not what your mother said."
"Oh you're dead!" The man yelled and took a swing at Dwight's face.
Dwight blocked the punch with his left arm. He brought the sharp end of a knife up to halfway out of his right thumb, shot out his hand and put it next to the man's throat. With nothing more than a thought he could have slit his jugular. "I don't think so, scooter," is all he said.
The young woman stepped forward and put her hand on Dwight's. Suddenly he felt tingly all over and his knees buckled and he felt paralyzed. Of its own the knife in his thumb de-merged and fell to the ground. Everything else that he had merged with also fell out. There were chains, watches, rings, another knife, lots of coins, nails, and a television remote.
Dwight still couldn't move, but he could talk, he said, "I've been wondering where that remote was. What the Hell did you do to me lady?"
"I psychically paralyzed you. You'll be fine in a few minuets."
Psychically? He thought. "Yes, psychically," he heard in his head, "I'm going to help you, play along."
He had no reason to trust the girl and a multitude of reasons not to trust her, but he decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. "That's pretty weak lady. So what do you, your large friend, and Captain Douche Bag here want with me?"
Dwight's new nemesis didn't say anything. But he did kick him hard in the ribs. Dwight groaned in pain then said, "If I wanted a kiss, I'd a asked your mother."
The guy was about to kick him again when the lady said, "Paul, that's enough! You and Mike, put him in the chair." They did. Dwight still couldn't move and was having trouble supporting the weight of his head and it kept falling forward. Finally the big guy, Mike he guessed, just held his head in place while the girl spoke to him.
"My name is Martha Hemingway, this is Paul Orndorff and Mike Thomas. We, like you, are super-powered individuals. I have psychic abilities, Mike possesses super-human strength, and Paul can control plants. We would like you to join our superhero group, The Association of Virtuous Persons." After she stopped talking he heard in his head, "Say no."
"Oh, I heard of you guys. You got that school on the north side of town that teaches kids with powers how to use them and use them for the good of humanity, right? Yeah well thanks, but no thanks. I already know how to use my powers and as you can probably tell by that pile of jewelry over there, I ain't the goodest of people."
"I'm sorry to hear that," she said, "Well we can't force you to join. I apologize for any inconveniences we have caused you. I guess you're free to go. Come, Paul, Mike, let's show him to the door."
"I'm afraid we can't do that." Said Paul.
"Why not? He said he didn't want to join us and the Admiral said if he didn't want to we couldn't force him to."
"Well what the Admiral didn't tell you was that if he doesn't want to join us, we can't have him defecting over to the other side."
"What do you mean? What are you going to do?"
"I mean, since he isn't with us, he if officially against us. And that means that we have to eliminate him as a threat."
"Eliminate him?! But we're supposed to be the good guys. We don't just go around eliminating people we perceive as threats."
"Sometimes you got to do something bad to make sure that good survives. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some work to do." With that, Paul and Mike push her back out the door and closed and locked it behind her.
The two men then proceeded to beat on the defenseless Dwight. They punched and they kicked and they hurt. The last thing he heard before he blacked out was a voice in his head that said, "I'm so sorry. I didn't know."
When they were done, the two took his limp body to the local dump and left him for dead…