Short Story: “Alpha”

short story

ONE

 

It all began on my birthday. I was turning twenty-one. Cool, right? Obviously I had plans to go out and get stupid hammered. So I did. It was me, my buddy Tom, and my other buddy Leo. We decided to go to a place called “Rusty Kale’s” in the neighboring town. Leo goes there often and said it would be a quiet place for us to go out, get drunk for cheap, and then possibly head to my house and hang out outside.

 

Sounded like a plan to me. Now for some reason I decided that vodka tonics would be my drink that night, and I decided to drink them all very quickly. Before I knew it, I was just what I wanted to be: stupid hammered. Unfortunately, it’s because I was in this state that I don’t remember any of what happened next.

 

Apparently, even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky that night, I was struck by lightning as the three of us were leaving the bar.

 

The next thing I know, I’m waking up in a hospital bed. It’s the middle of the night. My mother is asleep in the chair next to me. This is all insane. Before I can even process it all and freak out accordingly, this blinding pain started to sear through my chest. I tried to hold them in but it wasn’t long before I was screaming in agony, waking my mother up in the process. She reached for the button to call the nurse but nurses already started filing in.

 

They tried to hold me down, get me sedated, but they couldn’t. The more it hurt, the harder it was to get me under control. Doctors and orderlies started to file in as well, all jumping in to try and help get me under control. It was no use. There were a dozen or so men on top of me, trying to hold me down, but I was stronger than all of them. I was almost superhuman, pushing fully grown men aside with very little effort. That’s when the pain started to course through my entire body. My mother was off in the corner, crying her eyes out. It was quite the scene. Suddenly, I was starting to fade. The pain was becoming too much.

 

I couldn’t muster enough strength to even scream anymore, and that’s when it happened: I passed out. I woke up again with a start. Unable to catch my breath, I tried my best, as I looked around the room…empty. I tried to yell out but I could barely use my voice.

 

“Hello,” I tried again, but it wasn’t much more than a whisper.

 

“Anybody,” still barely audible, but I could feel my voice coming back to me.

 

I coughed a few times, trying to clear my throat so that the next time I yelled for someone, it would be heard. That’s when I saw the button to call the nurse, so I reached over and pressed it. A cute young nurse ran in suddenly and stopped short when she saw me, her mouth hanging open.

 

“You’re awake,” she asked…her mind clearly blown by the fact. I didn’t quite understand it. Why wouldn’t I be awake?

 

“Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I be,” I asked.

 

“You’ve been in a coma for two years,” she said, “You got struck by lightning. You woke up once a year ago, but fell right back under.”


TWO

 

The nurse called my mother immediately and it seemed like before she even hung up the phone, my mom was in the room. Tears of joy started to flow as soon as she saw me, and she grabbed me and hugged me. It felt like I was in that hug for another year. When she released me, she kissed me on the forehead, and then hugged me again.

 

“Okay mom. I’m fine. Come on,” I said, trying to put her at ease.

 

“YOU’RE NOT FINE,” she yelled, “You were in a coma for years, you idiot.”

 

“I know that. Just…please, you’re hugging me pretty tight here.”

 

“Deal with it.”

 

What was I going to do, tell her to get off? No. I let her hug me as long as she wanted. Plus, you know, it’s always nice to feel loved. When she finally did release me, she pulled back and her eyes lit up.

 

“I have to call everyone,” she said, and then ran out of the room.

 

As she was leaving, a doctor came in holding my chart in front of him.

 

“How are you feeling,” the doctor asked, “Cause you woke up once before, and it wasn’t pretty.”

 

“I know. I remember. Feels like it was yesterday.”

 

“If only.”

 

“If I think about it, I can feel the pain again. What was that?”

 

“We don’t know. We’ve been doing tests since it happened, trying to figure it out, but we keep coming back with nothing.”

 

So…my almost superhuman freak out defies all explanation.

 

Do I have superpowers?

 

Is it really so crazy? After all, a lightning strike is how The Flash got his power.

 

“Are you listening,” asked the doctor.

 

“I wasn’t. Sorry Doctor.”

 

“It’s fine,” replied the doctor, “I imagine this has all been very overwhelming. What I was saying is that due to being in a coma for years, you’re going to have to go through some rehab to get up and walking again. Cause, you see, when you’re in a coma, and not using your legs, they atrophy away to nothing. They always wake up out of a coma in movies, and presto, they’re just walking again. It’s bullshit.”

 

I didn’t know what to say to snap him out of his rant. So I just sat there and listened. For twenty-five of the most awkward minutes of my life.

 

Thank God my mother finally came back. Following her closely was my brother Jack, Tom, and Leo.

 

“You’re finally up, you lazy bastard,” said Jack.

 

Leo chimed right in and said, “Don’t listen to him.”

 

“Yeah. He cried when we found out you were awake,” said Tom.

 

“Jack’s been in to visit you at least three times a week,” my mother said,

 

“Sometimes more.”

 

“I appreciate it, Jack,” I said genuinely, “What about you two? Have you two been in to visit me?”

 

“Who do you think drove your brother here,” replied Leo.

 

“So how are you feeling,” asked Tom.

 

“Actually,” I replied, “Great.”


THREE

 

My eyes were closed, but I could feel this cool wind whipping me in the face. Someone must’ve left the window open. So I opened my eyes to find out and saw…

 

“HOLY SHIT,” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I was flying. I had no idea how I got there, but I was high above New York City at night, flying in my hospital gown. Which meant if anyone looked up, they could most likely see my junk hanging out of my gown.

 

Also, this meant that I did, in fact, have superpowers…

 

“FUCK YEAH,” I screamed, excited as I’ve ever been at this new development.

 

I started to embrace it, steering from left to right. I flew close to the buildings and then swooped down towards the street, soaring past a speeding taxi. As I flew past the cab I caught a quick glimpse of the driver. How could I describe the look on his face? Let me think…,

 

Got it…

 

KFHADKSfshfiuhihdfnoifherfERFERKFNKENdufhisduhfsiudfUIUH

 

I blew that poor cabbie’s mind and then just kept flying. It was amazing. It was truly a dream come true to be flying through New York City.

 

Then I realized, “If I’m out here, has anyone noticed I’m not in my bed at the hospital?”

 

“Shit. I should go back.”

 

So I turned around to fly back and suddenly picked up an incredible amount of speed. I had no idea how I was doing this, but I didn’t care. This was fun.

 

“Wait…which hospital was I in?”

 

Suddenly I stopped short and started to fall. I tried to start flying again but it was no use. Like Wile e. Coyote, I was plummeting towards the ground at an alarming rate. The wind from the fall took my hospital gown clean off.

 

Before I could have another thought, I hit the ground in the middle of a New York street, creating a crater.

 

“Ouch…”

 

I stood up slowly and realized that I didn’t have a scratch on me. My hospital gown was long gone and I was naked in the middle of New York. I looked around and didn’t see anybody, but the lights were turning on in the various apartment buildings located on the street that I was currently standing naked in the middle of.

 

“Shit.”

 

I didn’t know how to control my power, but I had an idea. When I was in a hurry, I started flying considerably faster. I figured I controlled my ability with my mind, so I closed my eyes quick and tried my best to clear my mind…

 

“FLY,” echoed throughout my mind and next thing I knew, I could feel that familiar cold wind whipping against my face.


FOUR

 

As I flew through the air, buck naked, I realized I was really fucking cold. With no idea what hospital I was checked into, I just decided to fly home. I arrived back at my house, which I guess I hadn’t seen in years, but to me it only felt like days. I floated around to the window in my room on the second floor, quietly slid it open, and flew inside.

 

My room was exactly the same. Filled with posters displaying numerous comic book characters and one framed picture signed by The Great One (Wayne Gretzky). I was home. I threw on some underwear, a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, and some socks and shoes. I wasn’t dressed more than a minute when I heard my brother….

 

“Who’s there,” he asked, as he entered my room.

 

He stopped short when he saw me standing there, looking as fine and healthy as ever.

 

“Hey Jack,” I said.

 

“What are you doing here,” he asked, “I thought you weren’t even supposed to be able to walk!”

 

“I can do a bit more than that, man.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“Come here. I’ll show you.”

 

I walked over towards the open window I came in through and my brother followed. Well, he hesitated for a second, but he didn’t question anything. He followed. I think he was mostly happy to have me back home.

 

“Okay,” he said as he looked out the window, “What are you showing me? The view?”

 

“No, you jerk,” I replied, “This is what I’m showing you.”

 

Without warning, I closed my eyes and hopped out the window, letting myself fall.

 

“JESUS,” my brother yelled, but he didn’t stick his head out the window. If he did, he would’ve seen me floating face down, a mere foot above the ground: fine and dandy.

 

“Holy shit,” I heard my brother say.

 

I looked up and saw that Jack ran outside to check on me. He was standing about ten feet in front of me, his heart beating heavy, and his jaw scraping the ground.

 

Wait…

 

His heart beating heavy?

 

Is that just a lucky guess?

 

No, I could hear his heart. As clear as day, I could hear his heart beating heavy and fast in his chest.

 

“You have superpowers,” my brother asked, “That’s awesome.”


FIVE

 

Leo and Tom practically kicked my front door down and ran into the house. I was in the living room with my brother when they got there. They found us and immediately started in.

 

“What are you doing out of the hospital, you fucking idiot?”

 

“How are you even out of the hospital? That doctor wouldn’t shut up about how you’re not supposed to be able to walk for a long time.”

 

Jack and I talked it over when they were on their way. We knew exactly how we were going to play this. So I closed my eyes and set about executing the plan.

 

“What the fu-“

 

Before Leo could finish, I was floating a few feet above the couch Jack and I were sitting on. To complete the image, I brought my legs up and crossed them Indian style.

 

Leo and Tom’s eyes both went wide, bugging out of their heads.

 

“FUCK,” Leo yelled. “Another foot to the left and I would’ve gotten struck and not you!”

 

“How’d you know it was the lightning strike,” I asked, while still floating above the couch.

 

“What the fuck else could it have been,” responded Leo, “The hospital food?”

 

“True,” I said and then suddenly dropped, sitting back in my spot next to Jack.

 

“This is why you broke out of the hospital,” asked Tom, “Does your mother know you’re here?”

 

“Actually I have no memory of breaking out of the hospital. I went to sleep after you guys left and when I woke up, I was flying above New York City. It was insane. Also, no, my mother doesn’t know I’m here. Jack, let me use your phone.”

 

Jack took out his phone and handed it to me. I opened it and dialed my mom’s number. It went right to voicemail. I imagine because she was asleep in my hospital room with no idea that I was even gone. Once her message ended and I heard the beep, I started in…

 

“Hey mom, it’s Chris. Funny story. I’m home. Now I imagine by the time you get this, you’ve already woken up, saw that I was gone and freaked out. I apologize for that. But once you do get this, if you could just quietly slip out of the hospital and come home, I’ll explain when you get here. Thanks.”

 

Satisfied with that, I hung up Jack’s phone and handed it back to him. I looked over towards Leo and Tom.

 

“You’re an asshole,” is all Leo said.


SIX

 

Thinking back to my display of power with the orderlies and doctors in the hospital, I decided to see if super strength was really one of the abilities I’ve been blessed with.

 

“You come here in your jeep, Tom,” was all I had to ask.

 

Minutes later we were all outside in my driveway. Leo, Tom, and Jack were standing ten feet away from Tom’s Jeep Wrangler as I crawled underneath it.

 

Once fully underneath, I spread my legs shoulder width apart and pressed my hands against the undercarriage. Then I started to lift.

 

Nothing…

 

I tried again.

 

Nothing…

 

This time I put everything I had into the attempt and I actually started to lift the Jeep. As I lifted, I swear I felt…something…some sort of energy start to course through my body.

 

The Jeep began to feel like a box of pillows in my hand and before I knew it, I was able to maneuver myself into a standing position…holding the Jeep above my head. Jack, Tom, and Leo were standing there, looking on with their jaws wide open in disbelief.

 

“Christopher,” I heard someone say softly.

 

I looked over and saw my mother standing on the sidewalk in front of our house, staring at me in awe. Seriously, I will never get sick of that look.

 

It was in that moment, while I basked in the looks of awe being thrown my way, that I lost my grip on the Jeep, causing it to fall straight down and bury me underneath it.

 

“CHRISTOPHER,” I heard my mother yell in concern.

 

I crawled out from underneath the Jeep and stood up, dusting myself off and looking over the Jeep as I did.

 

“Both of us are good as new,” I said, staring ahead at my mom, brother, and two friends.

 

“So what’s your superhero name gonna be,” asked Leo.

 

“To hell with secret identities,” I responded, “I want everyone to know I have superpowers.”

 

“No sir,’ my mom almost yelled at me, “You’re not the only one who reads comics. I’m not getting murdered by some scumbag who wants to send you a message.”

 

“Tell him Big M,” yelled Leo.

 

“We’ll have to get to work on making you a costume,” said my mother, decisively.

 

“Mom, you rule right now,” Jack said, genuinely proud of our mother at this moment.


SEVEN

 

ALPHA: CHAMPION OF JUSTICE.

 

You know, because I’m the first superhero.

 

I could see people stopping on the street and pointing up at me as I flew by on patrol. Patrol wasn’t quite what I expected at first. There were no bank robberies or super villains. My first heroic act was busting in and stopping domestic abuse. That was awkward. There were a couple convenience store robberies. Those sucked though. Both robbers called my suit, “gay.” I know I’m wearing a spandex suit, but I don’t need other people reminding me.

 

Things took a change, however, in December. I flew home one day to shower and change, maybe hang out with Jack. I wanted to relax and warm up. It’s fucking cold flying around in December. So that’s what I did. I got in and took a hot shower immediately.

 

I got dressed into some street clothes and went and hung out with Jack, who was watching television in the living room. I sat down next to him on the couch, and I wasn’t seated more than ten seconds when Jack’s show got interrupted by…

 

A SPECIAL NEWS ALERT.

 

Suddenly, news reporter Jack Tremain was on our television, and I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty, every word he said in that news report. That news report was the moment my life changed forever….again.

 

“A super powered man is rampaging through Manhattan, leaving all those in his wake, massacred. It doesn’t appear to be Alpha, the superhuman vigilante who’s been patrolling New York in a costume. This man is flying around in street clothes, picking people up, and dropping them from very tall heights. He is also shooting balls of fire from his hands, setting cars, buildings, and worst of all people on fire. If you are anywhere in Manhattan, we here at News Channel Seven, are praying for you.”

 

“Jesus Christ,” Jack said, “You’re literally about to be the answer to someone’s prayers.”

 

I didn’t say a word. I just ran upstairs, changed into my suit as quickly as possible, and then took off out my window, soaring as high into the air as I could, reveling in that now familiar feeling of the cold wind whipping against my face.

 

Once I felt I was high enough in the air, I took off towards Manhattan. I was there in a minute. Once I arrived, I took a bird’s eye view of the place. From there, I spotted him flying above, holding someone high up in the air. I watched as he dropped the man and then…

 

WOOOOSH! I took off. I was there in what felt like a split second and I caught the falling man. He didn’t even seem to notice. He kept screaming really loud. I brought him down and dropped him on the street. Once I was on the street, it was like someone hit the mute button again. Then from nothing came everything. I could hear everyone in the city.

 

I could hear all the suffering this man had caused and more. Any ideas I had of using my powers for something other than good were squashed right then. I knew I only wanted to help people. That’s right about the time he threw a car at me. Which…was awesome. This guy was a psychopath, but he was also a real deal super villain. My first real deal super villain.

 

At that time, I counted that crazy fire shit, flight, and super strength among his abilities. So I decided to test and see if he was invulnerable. How was I going to do that, you ask?

 

By flying right at him and punching him as hard as I could in the face. It wasn’t an eloquent plan, but it was a plan…

 

So I pushed the car off of me and dug myself out of the crater the impact of his car throw created. People were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I closed my eyes, concentrated, and then took off, flying at him as fast as I could possibly go. Mid-flight I opened my eyes, right in time to see him and aim my punch, hitting him square in the jaw.

 

Causing his face and head to EXPLODE out into a bloody mess, which I then flew directly through. I tried to stop myself but it happened so fast. I took off way too fast and couldn’t stop on a dime. There was too much momentum. So much in fact, that I then I rode that momentum, directed it down, and landed on the street…covered in blood and skull matter. The killer’s dead, headless body smacked down on the sidewalk behind me.

 

A terrified New Yorker stopped dead in front of me. She looked me up and down and was about to scream out in terror, when I said…

 

“It’s okay. I’m the good guy.”

 

So she screamed right in my face, and due to my slightly out of control super hearing, I almost popped an eardrum.


EIGHT

 

I was feeling good after that. I mean, why not? I took down my first super villain. I was officially a superhero. Then that sheen wore off and I started to have questions, and then I started to hate myself for not having questions earlier.

 

How could I not think about where this super villain came from? Was there another lightning strike? And if there were two strikes, could there have been a third? And if there was a third, could there have been a fourth? Are there more of us out there?

 

I got my answer after another few, fairly routine weeks on patrol. It was the beginning of January and it was snowing in the city. I was flying around when, out of nowhere, someone flew up with incredible speed and snatched me right out of the air, sending us both flying into the side of a building, through the wall and actually into an office. We destroyed all sorts of cubicles and computers on our way in.

 

I stood up and looked around.

 

Nothing.

 

Nobody.

 

BAM!! A fist connected with my chin, sending me flying up, through three floors of office buildings. I landed HARD on the ground. That’s when I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time: pain.

 

“What the,” was all I had time to say before whoever was attacking me flew up from underneath and hit me with a huge punch, sending me flying me up through the rest of the building and high into the sky.

 

I caught myself just in time to see a red and blue blur flying directly at me. I had enough time to reach my hand out and catch the blur’s incoming fist, stopping him dead. Now eye to eye with my attacker, I saw a young man not much older than myself.

 

He was just some blond haired kid like me, dressed in blue jeans and a red button down shirt. Turn that shirt black and that’s all I was going to wear while fighting crime.

 

“Nice suit,” he said, “Fag.”

 

I didn’t respond. I hit him with an uppercut of my own, sending him flying up into the air. Before he had any time to catch himself, I flew up, grabbed him tight in a bear hug, and then flew away from the city. He tried to break free but I held tight and picked up my speed, flying away from the city as fast as I could. I needed somewhere deserted to take the fight so that no one got hurt in the process.

 

At the speed I was traveling, I was at the Pine Barrens in New Jersey in less than a minute. I directed us deep in the Pine Barrens and we landed hard, smashing through tree after tree until we finally hit ground, sliding along it and then coming to a harsh stop.

 

I was on top of him, still holding him tight in a bear hug at this point. So I started laying into him with headbutt after headbutt.

 

“WHO ARE YOU,” I yelled, using a headbutt to punctuate each word I said.

 

“I’m your worst nightmare,” he said, before he spit blood out at me, “I’m a killer with all the same powers as you…and more.”

 

Suddenly he hit me with a blast of heat vision and sent me flying. I was so disoriented that I wasn’t able to catch myself. I fell right back to the ground and hit it hard. Only to have my worst nightmare stomp a boot down on the back of my head.

 

I woke up however long later, still laid out in the middle of the snowy crater created by our fight. I shot right up and looked around for him…he was nowhere to be seen. The last time that happened, he- suddenly, I stepped aside and swung out my arm, clotheslining my worst nightmare hard into the ground. I reached down and grabbed him by the throat, gripping it tightly and picking him up off the ground.

 

“WHO ARE YOU,” I yelled again, this time with a vicious bite.

 

“My name is Alex,” he replied, before leveling me with a headbutt of his own.

 

When the fog finally cleared from my brain, he was gone. This time I suspected he wasn’t coming back.


NINE

 

Alex, huh? I’ve got to hand it to him; he had style. He came out of nowhere in the middle of the night and beat me down. He didn’t seem too interested in hurting innocent people, luckily. Only me. He kept our fight to empty office buildings and the sky. He did beat the hell out of me though. I didn’t even know I could feel pain anymore, but if that fight was any indication, I was going to have to be careful around Alex.

 

I arrived home after our fight and flew right into my room. I changed out of my suit and ran right into the shower. I put the water as hot as it could go and just let it wash over me. Before I knew it, the water was turning cold. I didn’t know if I just fell asleep in the shower and used all the hot water, or if it was already all used up.

 

Either way, I got out, dried myself off with a towel, wrapped it around me, and then walked into my room. Nice and relaxed after my shower, I changed and went downstairs for a snack.

 

I made it to the kitchen and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table in her bathrobe and pajamas, drinking a cup of tea.

 

“What are doing up, mom,” I asked, “It’s a quarter past four.”

 

“I don’t sleep much since you started this superhero thing, Chris.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“I had this nightmare a while back, a few days after that psycho in Manhattan, and I’ve had it night after night since. I wake up in the morning and you’re not here. At first, I assume you just left early. So I make breakfast. I read the paper. I enjoy my morning, and then I turn on the television for the morning news…”

 

“And I’m on it.”

 

“You’re not just on it. It’s a special report about how you were killed in action. Each time I have this nightmare, it’s like I can actually feel my heart breaking when I see your body on the news. I feel so helpless. I know it’s a dream, but that pain stays with me…”

 

“I’m sorry you go through that, mom, but you know full well that I can’t get hurt,” I said, clearly lying. But after what she just told me, I couldn’t possibly tell her about Alex, could I? She’d never sleep again.

 

“We don’t know that you’re fully invulnerable,” she said, “What if someone else with super powers comes along, and he can hurt you? We already know you’re not the only one to ever have super powers. How do you know there aren’t others?”

 

“I don’t mom, but even if I did, that wouldn’t change anything. You talked about that psycho in Manhattan. Well, it’s because of that psycho that I’m out there. If someone else comes along with powers like that, and wants to use them to hurt people, I have to be there to help those people. You understand, don’t you?”

 

“Of course I do, and I may not have ever told you this, but I am incredibly proud that you’re out there night after night, helping people. I’ll just have to be content living with the fear that you might not come home one night.”

 

“I’ll do my best to make sure you never have to experience that fear firsthand.”


TEN

 

I spent every night after that, patrolling the city for Alex, stopping whatever crime I came across in the process. Alex was nowhere to be found. Night after night, he wouldn’t show his face. I had no idea how to find him or if he’d even come back.

 

I didn’t know if I should be relieved or worried. I wanted to be relieved, but I couldn’t help but wonder where he was or what he was doing if he wasn’t coming after me. Was he planning something? I had no idea.

 

I became obsessed. If I wasn’t asleep, I was high above the city on patrol. Every waking minute was spent looking for Alex. I flew home one night after being on the job for three days straight, getting absolutely no sleep in the process, and I crashed in my bed immediately…falling asleep while still wearing my suit.

 

My sleep was not a restful one. I had a dream so vivid it stayed with me long after I awoke, over two days later. In it, Alex finally came back and began rampaging through the city. He was on such a tear, creating millions of dollars in damage and killing countless innocent civilians; that every television station with a news team cut to AN URGENT NEWS ALERT!

 

As soon as I saw it, I changed and flew to the city to stop him from hurting anyone else. I was in the city minutes later and we immediately went at it. We were throwing haymakers left and right, destroying everything in our path. Then suddenly Alex got the upper hand and started to beat me down.

 

At first I could take it. I didn’t feel a thing. That didn’t last long, however. He started to break through, pummeling me into a bloody mess. Dazed and in a tremendous amount of pain, I watched in slow motion as Alex picked me up by the throat, held me in place, and delivered the killing blow: a massive punch to the face, which hit me with such power that my face collapsed into itself, leaving me a bloody, destroyed mess.

 

My dream continued after that and I watched all those who love me react to the news that I had been murdered. My face was so badly destroyed during the fight, there was never an official identification on my body. My mother had to bury an empty casket.

 

My loved ones had to say goodbye to a box. I think I felt that pain my mother told me about. When I finally did wake up from this nightmare, I was covered in a cold sweat. It was dark out and I’ll be honest, I was scared.

 

I got up out of bed and saw that I was still wearing my suit. I immediately changed out of it and decided to go to the living room and see if someone was up watching television.

 

Luckily for me, Jack was in fact awake, watching television.

 

“You’re awake,” he said, “Finally.”

 

“How long was I out,” I asked as I took a seat next to him on the couch.

 

“Days. It’s Thursday night. You came home at night on Monday and slept until now. You were having some nightmare. I would pass by your room at different times and hear you talking in your sleep.”

 

“It was a bad one.”

 

“What was it about?”

 

“I got killed in action.”

 

“By who?”

 

“A new guy. Someone I haven’t told anyone about.”

 

“Is he dangerous?”

 

“Very. He attacked me from out of nowhere a while back. We went at each other like crazy. I hit him as hard as he could and he hit me as hard as he could, and we actually hurt each other. I felt pain for the first time in a while, and I know he did too. He spit up blood at one point.”

 

“You afraid he’s gonna kill you?”

 

“Terrified.”

 

“What do you want to do about it? Quit?”

 

“I can’t. If I quit, there’s no one out there to stop him.”

 

“Then there’s only one thing you can do.”

 

“What?”

 

“Kill him before he kills you.”


ELEVEN

 

Kill him before he kills you.

 

Those words echoed throughout my mind for weeks while I stayed vigilant on patrol, making sure to keep an eye out of Alex. Imagine my surprise when I had a sudden intense flare up of super hearing. It took everything I had to make sure I didn’t crash land on the street because of it.

 

Instead I landed on a nearby roof, and let my ability consume me. Now at this point, I had said ability mostly under control. I knew how to fine-tune it and use it to my advantage, but I still went through these flare ups where I could hear everything around me for miles and miles at once.

 

Amongst all of it, suddenly I heard him…Alex. I tried to focus in on it when suddenly his voice started to become louder than everything else. So much so that his voice became the focus in the foreground and the rest became background noise.

 

“Alpha. Can you hear me out there, Alpha? It’s me, Alex. If I did my job right, my device should have activated your super hearing and cranked it up to eleven, so to speak. I’m sure you’re wondering right now, how I’ve done this. It’s simple, really. I’ve been studying you, Alpha. I’ve been watching and running my tests. These fits of unbelievable super hearing you’ve been having are all due to me. I was trying to find a way to create a direct line to you, and hopefully I’ve done it. If I have, meet me in The Grand Canyon tomorrow at noon, Eastern Standard Time. Goodbye.”

 

And like that, he was gone. My hearing returned to normal and I snapped out of my reverie, realizing I should head home. If this was going to happen, I wanted to spend every moment I had with the people I loved.

 

I got home and both my mother and brother were fast asleep. Rather than wake them, I just got changed and laid in bed, staring at the ceiling. I laid there for hours, counting the cracks on the ceiling, reflecting. At this point, it was almost a year since I got my abilities.

 

I never would’ve thought that planning a night of heavy drinking could lead to this. To be fair though, I never would’ve thought that anything could lead to this. But here I was: hours away from a showdown with my very own Lex Luthor. Hell, he even summoned me like Lex summoned Superman in the first movie.

 

The only difference being that Alex could more than fight back. He could maybe even kill me. Knowing all this, my plan for tomorrow was simple…

 

Kill him before he kills me.

 

After hours of lying there, thinking, I finally decided to do something. I wrote a letter for Jack and my mother and laid it out on my bed for them to find…

 

The letter read as such:

 

Dear Mom and Jack,

 

I’m leaving now for a fight, and the God’s honest truth is, I don’t know if I’ll return. I laid in bed all night trying to think of reasons not to go, but none of them trumped the fact that I’m the only one who can stop Alex (Mom, Jack will fill you in about Alex. I told him all about the guy).

 

I love you both and hope to see you again.

 

Your son and brother


TWELVE

 

I arrived at the Grand Canyon an hour early. I took a bird’s eye view, high above the canyon. I could see every crack of it from where I was. From there, I waited.

 

And waited…

 

And waited…

 

As I was floating there, I started to wonder where the fuck he was. Late to his own party. I knew this guy was bad news. That’s when I was heard his voice echo through my head again.

 

“Alpha, hey Alpha, you there,” he asked with a snarky tone that irritated the shit out of me, “You should listen to this.”

 

Suddenly, all I could hear was screaming. It was a fucking trap. He lured me to the fucking Grand Canyon of all places so he would be free to attack the city. How fucking stupid can you be, Chris?

 

I immediately took off, flying back to the city as fast as I could. I flew so fast I heard a boom, followed very quickly by nothing but silence…

 

Then before I knew it, I was in the city again, and as far as the eye could see, all there was, was destruction. Alex had single handedly brought this city to its knees in the mere hours I was gone. Never again.

 

I looked around for him, trying to find him and stop this madness, when suddenly a fist came down from nowhere and connected with the top of my head. The force from the blow hammered me down, and into an already destroyed building, tearing apart what was left of it.

 

I laid there for a second, buried in debris, and I heard Jack’s words again in my head…

 

“Kill him before he kills you.”

 

I closed my eyes and cleared my mind…

 

“FLY“

 

I took off, sending the debris I was buried under flying all over. I went right after Alex. That sick son of a bitch. Who knows how many people he killed in his attack.

 

Never again. I flew at him so fast, I don’t think he had the time to react and stop me. I grabbed him and flew down towards the street. We crashed trough the ground and deep into an abandoned subway system. I got up first and made sure he was down. Then I stood over him and started to nail him repeatedly with punch after punch to the face.

 

In the middle of my melee, I stopped to wind up one of my punches, giving Alex the small window he needed to deliver a punch of his own. He connected with my jaw, sending me flying upwards back through the hole we initially created. I used that momentum to fly higher in the air, picking up speed as I did, and then turn around and direct every bit of that speed and momentum right at Alex.

 

He was flying out of the hole when I flew right at him with everything I had, taking us both right back through the massive hole in the ground we created.

 

We hit the ground hard in the abandoned subway system, creating a shockwave that ripped through the city, causing nearby buildings to fall apart at the beams. When the dust cleared, we were laid out next to each other in the biggest crater I’ve caused to this day.

 

Alex started laughing.

 

The son of a bitch was laughing.

 

With the little bit of energy I had left, I got to my feet and stood over him. His face was a beaten, bloody mess, but he was smiling. I could tell that.

 

“Can I even kill you?”

 

“As far as I know,” said Alex, “Neither of us can die. We’re going to be doing this for a long, long time.”

 

“Why did you do this? You killed so many people. WHY?”

 

“You didn’t do half bad yourself.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“You think we were the only ones who felt the earth shake a minute ago? No sir, the effect of your efforts to stop me were felt the city over. Maybe even the world over.”

 

He was right. I was careless. In my rush to stop him, I didn’t take into account just how powerful I am.

 

“Didn’t think about that, did you? You just rushed in, trying to be the hero. Well guess what, your heroics most likely got some people killed. Can you live with that?”

 

Alex had a sick smile on his face, and I knew exactly why it was there. He was proud he got me to take lives. At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to kill him, but since I didn’t know if I even could, I settled on something else: I decided to punch him in the face as hard as I could. For me. I just really wanted to hit him.

 

POP

 

POP

 

POP

 

POP

 

I had no idea where that noise was coming from, until I looked up out the hole in the street, and saw men in all black kevlar vests and ski masks, aiming automatic rifles down at me.

 

Right after that, things started to get hazy. I put my hand up to my neck, only to find two tranquilizer darts deep in my neck. I didn’t think anything could pierce my skin. I looked down and saw two darts in Alex’s neck as well.

 

Then I passed out.


THIRTEEN

 

I awoke in a small white room, sitting at a table, my feet and hands shackled together. All there was in this room was a mirror, the table that I was sitting at, and the endless white of the walls around me.

 

“HELLO,” I yelled, “WHERE THE FUCK AM I?”

 

The door to the room opened and in walked a government tool in a three-piece suit. He sat down across from me at the table, opened up a file in front of him, and introduced himself as Agent Jordan.

 

“That was you, and a couple questions later, here we are. Did I cover everything?”

 

“Yes. You covered everything I wanted to know and more.”

 

“I’m glad I could help.”

 

“Now just a few more questions, if you don’t mind.”

 

“I guess not.”

 

“Thank you. This will all be over before you know it.”

 

“Just get on with the questions.”

 

“Ok. So you call yourself Alpha, and you say all you want to do is help people, but yesterday alone, hundreds were killed in the carnage created by your battle. What do you have to say for yourself?”

 

“I was careless. I got so wrapped up in stopping Alex that I didn’t take into account all the dangers that come with my powers.”

 

“Alex was slaughtering people all throughout the city for hours. The death toll would’ve reached catastrophic numbers if you didn’t stop him.”

 

“There wouldn’t have been a death toll if I didn’t fall for his fucking trick.”

 

“There’s no point in living in the past, son. It happened how it happened and now we move on. Alex is contained.”

 

“How?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“How is he contained?”

 

“While he was still weakened from his battle with you, we placed a tube through his ear and into his brain. It latched onto his brain stem, focusing on the part that controls motor functions, and immobilized him.”

 

“Who’s we? Where am I?”

 

“The we I spoke of refers to the organization I work for: The Bureau of Superhuman Research and Defense.”

 

“How long has this organization been around?”

 

“Long before you, kid. We’ve been out there. Researching. Monitoring. When the lightning storm happened, we estimate as many as over two hundred people were struck along with you and Alex.”

 

“You’re telling me there are more than two hundred people out there with super powers?”

 

“That’s exactly what I’m telling you. Anyone of them could be out there right now, inspired by your fight with Alex to take their powers public. Some might want to take your path; some might want to take his. We have to find the ones them all and make sure not a single one takes Alex’s path, and if they do, we have to put them down.”

 

“What does that have to do with me?”

 

“Son, you’re in the Bureau Of Superhuman Research And Defense. Right now, you’re our first line. You’re our best weapon.”

 

“No sir. I’m nobody’s weapon.”

 

“If you want your mother Martha to remain safe, and your brother Jack to keep on ticking, you’ll change your attitude real quick.”

 

“Is that a threat?”

 

“Not at all. I’m simply pointing out the fact that like you, Alex got his powers from the lightning strike, and look how powerful he was. If even ten of the other two hundred are out there with similar abilities, and a similarly malicious temperament, they could bring the free world to its knees. You want to help people, right? Here’s your chance to save the world.”

 

“On one condition.”

 

“Name it.”

 

“I make the call. If I decide the-”

 

“We call you guys specials.”

 

“I like that. If I decide the special we’re after isn’t a risk, then that person goes free. We don’t bring them in to get lobotomized like Alex. We let them go, and then maybe they can join me and start to use their powers for good.”

 

“You don’t have to sell me. We want as many superheroes on the loose as possible. It’s the super villains we want you to help round up. The ones who aim to hurt people with the gifts they’ve been given.”

 

“Then I’m in. I’ll be your weapon.”

 

THE END

Barry Ford
Drunkensailor1243@gmail.com