Heroes and Saints

Kendra Reger

He looked so average, normal. If I'd seen him on the street I never would have looked twice. There was a scar on his face but his eyes were a warm brown. It clashed horribly with the image of his cold hand on the ice cold gun. Just what did he think he was going to do with it?

Sebastian Issey walked quickly down the street. He did not walk quickly because he was late, but because he didn't approve of wasting time. There were many other things he liked to waste; money, friends, food, hair gel (he used at least half a bottle every morning getting his unruly brown hair into it's regular gravity defying spikes), but time he held precious. It was the one thing in his life that could never be regained.

Another detail about Seb was that he was an avid j-walker. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as there's nothing more time consuming then walking all the way to the corner just to cross a street. His habit was indirectly the cause of the fact that he hated this corner, and avoided it whatever possible, though as it was the only route to his favorite restaurant he took it far to often.

Several meters away from the crosswalk Seb was aiming toward was the cause of his discomfort. A sharp turn with large trees surrounding it made seeing incoming traffic less than improbable, especially if they were going fast. The only way to really stay alive on this road was to use the brightly flashing crosswalk. So Sebastian persevered.

Behind Sebastian was another boy. He was Asian, and poor by the looks of it. His slacks were worn and had a hole in the left knee, and his black hair hung limp. He looked underfed, and seemed far taller than he actually was because of his skeletal frame. He also seemed to be late for something, as he was running to the same corner Seb was headed to, rather than simply walking briskly, as Seb was.

Finally Seb got to the corner and pressed the crosswalk button. He took a step forward just as the Asian boy reached the edge, panting. Then a strange thing happened. Just as Seb reached to take another step. the other boy grabbed his shoulder and pulled forcefully, sending them both to the sidewalk ground.

"What the hell was that for! God!" Annoyed, Seb got to his feet and brushed off his jeans, then he turned to glare at the object of his anger, who was still on the ground. "Well? Tell me why you did that, dammit!" The boy didn't answer, except to (unconsciously, it seemed) adopt a kicked puppy expression that had no effect on Sebastian except to annoy him more.

Just then a rusty red pickup truck rushed around the corner, past the flashing crosswalk sign, with no regard for pedestrians. Sebastian watched it go, then turned to stare at the spot his corpse would have been, had he tried to cross the road.

The boy coughed, then spoke. "Sorry, but you would have been hit and I... Well, anyway, you didn't get hit, I'll go now." Swaying slightly, he got to his feet and started to walk back the way he had came.

Quickly Sebastian turned back to face him. "Wait a minute."

The gun was pointed at a brunette woman huddled under her table, clutching a sobbing toddler. No, that wasn't right, the gun wasn't pointed at the mother, it was pointed at her child. What kind of monster was this guy?My knuckles were white as I clutched my empty plate, wondering what was going to happen.

Hesitantly, the boy turned around again, but avoided Seb's eyes. He probably thought Sebastian was going to yell at him again.

Sebastian might not have been the guy voted most likely to help people at his high school graduation, but he knew when to thank people. In this instance, he even knew how. It was obvious even to him that this kid (who didn't even look 15) hadn't eaten in far too long.

"Sorry for yelling at you, and err, thanks for saving my life and all," Sebastian didn't thank people easily, and was even worse at apologies. "By the way, how'd you know the truck was coming? I couldn't see it at all, and I was closer to the corner that you!" The boy looked uncomfortable, and Sebastian carried on. "Anyway, you look hungry, and I'm going to lunch anyway, so why don't you come?" The boy looked hesitant, and Sebastian guessed at a possible reason. "I'll pay of course."

I glanced through the window of the cafe and didn't see a police car. I'd have to act, there was no one else, as egotistical as that sounded.

The boy looked troubled, but finally nodded decisively in a way Sebastian thought much to serious for food. Then again, Sebastian had never gone without food for very long.

Sebastian grinned amiably. "Cool. It's this way. Oh, I'm Sebastian by the way, but call me Seb."

The boy nodded and muttered softly, "Hiro."

They headed to the cafe in a sort of awkward silence, with Seb interrupting it every once in a while trying to make conversation, and Hiro answering in either one word sentences or non-answers. Seb was very relieved when they finally arrived.

They walked to a table in the back corner, just behind a mother and her young child, and after a few seconds a waitress came with a menu. Hiro's eyes lighted up like it was Christmas morning, and Sebastian had to grin.

He ordered a large decaf and a steak sandwich. After a hesitant look at Seb, Hiro ordered orange juice, a ham and cheese sandwich, seafood linguine, a scone and cheese cake. Apparently Seb was right in his assumption that the kid hadn't eaten in a while, though he didn't think Hiro actually had the stomach to finish what he ordered.

After three helpings just as big as his first, Hiro finally decided he was full, and Sebastian vowed never to underestimate a small person's stomach ever again.

Seb called the waitress over, already dreading the humongous bill. As the waitress stepped closer to their table Hiro suddenly started. "Wait, go around that table!" Then, half muttered as Hiro looked down at his plate, embarrassed, "I mean, umm, it might be a good idea, the toddler looks like he's going to spill his drink."

The waitress hesitated, and Sebastian glanced at the table where the toddler was, and it looked like he was busy playing with a red toy firetruck, no where near his juice. Seb frowned, but then figured that he must have been drinking hazardously when Hiro saw him. He beckoned the waitress again, and she continued past.

The waitress with the juice stain on her shirt was huddled at the front counter, hurriedly calling 911, but I knew from experience that they wouldn't be here fast enough. I jumped in front of him-

As the waitress walked past the mother and the toddler, the door opened, revealing a tall man with brown eyes and a scar on his chin. He closed the door behind him and then pulled out a gun from his hoody pocket. Chaos broke out. As the mother grabbed her baby she accidentally knocked his juice on the waitresses shirt, though nobody noticed, since they were all facing the man.

The waitress ran behind the counter and most of the patrons did the same, hiding under their tables. Sebastian did as well, though Hiro just sat there, as if in shock, clutching his plate with white knuckles.

He shot at me. Right at my heart. I'd seen enough violence to know I wasn't getting out of this alive, not now. But I'd shocked the madman. The police would get here before anyone else was hurt, the toddler would be okay. At least everyone that mattered made it out alive.

The madman didn't say a word, just waved his gun around. Sebastian had two thoughts running through his head: why here, and why now. This was the scariest thing that had ever happened to him.

Then the madman focused his gun on the mother. No, he was focusing it on the toddler in her arms!

After all, I'd known I was going to die here before I accepted that man's invitation to eat. I ate all my favorite foods to celebrate my last meal and everything.

And Hiro ran out.

And the man pulled the trigger.

And Hiro collapsed.

"The police apprehended the suspect, an escapee from a local asylum, mere moments after he shot a teenage boy, whose friend knew him only as Hiro. More digging revealed that he had run away from his parents in September, after they attempted to put him in an asylum, allegedly for having 'visions of the future' as he called them. His parents were not available for interview, but-"

Sebastian turned off his television in disgust.

The kid must have known he was going to die. After all, he knew about the stain and about the truck. Hiro was the real deal, not some insane kid. So why? Why had he done it?

The day Sebastian Issey figured that out was the day he signed up for the police academy.