This is just a rough draft of my book. Please don’t hate on me for spelling errors.
Tanks very much!
Chapter One: Extraordinary
From the journal of Gabriel M. Hound
My name is Gabriel. I live in the year 2112.
And this is my story.
It all started about five years ago, when I was still quite young. I had just had my eighth birthday, and we celebrated by renting a ZipBoat, one of those new contraptions that is all clear and see-through. We sailed out for a few minutes, to a different part of the ocean, and me and my guardian, Finn (my dad’s younger brother) strapped on our scooba-diving equipment and got ready to swim down to a wreck we found on eSattelite.
“You ready?” Finn asked me.
“You bet I am,” I said, grinning with my ridiculous little gap-toothed grin I had at that age. “I’ve been waiting for all day!”
“Let’s go, then.” Finn boosted me up and over the edge of the boat and, with me holding my nose, dropped me down into the bright waters. He followed me, making a big splash that made me laugh.
“C’mon!” I dived down and pumped my legs like he’d shown me in our private pool in our back yard.
The day was gorgeous, with bright-colored fishes flitting among the broken ship that was about 30 feet down. The view was amazing, and I mentally snapped a picture of it to remember later.
All this beauty…was about to change.
Suddenly, I saw a dark shape out of the corner of my vision. I glanced over, expecting to see Finn, but instead saw some kind of beast. It looked like death. It had glowing red eyes…I had read about it somewhere. Was this…a shark?
Someone grabbed my arm, shocking me, but it was just Finn. He looked serious, and when he beckoned me to follow him back to the surface, I went along compliantly.
When we broke the surface he spat out his oxygen tube and said, “In the boat. Now.”
We headed toward the boat, with me looking fearfully over my shoulder all the way. It seemed the shark had called his buddies–now there were at least four sharks swimming about 25 feet out.
We were a few yards away from the boat ladder when the sharks started coming closer…and closer…until we could see the shiny, shiny red and black eyes of the sharks.
I screamed, and the noise seemed to excite the sharks. They swam faster towards us.
Finn kept muttering to me, “We’ll be ok. We’ll be ok.”
The sharks were coming closer.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I had already lost my parents. I wouldn’t lose Finn.
No matter what.
The sea roared in my ears, or maybe that was my anger. I screamed again, a long, primeval, drawn out cry that echoed around the sea. Before it died out, the world went black….
When I could see again, I didn’t see any sign of the sharks.
Which was as it should be, because sharks had gone extinct fifty years ago.
I frantically looked around for my guardian. “Finn! Finn!” I cried.
“I’m here,” he said weakly, from beside me. It seemed he had been under the water, then swam up.
I just cried. He pulled me up with him into the boat.
“What’s going to happen to me?” I asked through my tears. “Am I a freak?”
Finn grabbed my shoulders. “No,” he said. “Look at me, Gabriel. Look at me.” I complied and met his gaze. I was surprised to see that in it he wasn’t angry. No, on the contrary, he seemed…proud.
“You are not a freak.”
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Nothing is going to happen to you. Because you, Gabriel, are extraordinary.”
Extraordinary. I kept repeating that to myself as I went to sleep.
Then why were those shiny, shiny red eyes of those sharks coming back to haunt me?
Chapter Two: The Fiery Encounter
Gabriel Hound shouldered his backpack and headed out the door. He was travelling to the Nest, a base he and his friend, Casey, had set up. It was stationed in the woods behind their apartment building and consisted of three tree houses, connected by rope bridges. They had stocked up a supply of makeshift weaponry in case of emergency, or aliens landing.
Not that they actually expected this to happen, but Casey liked to cover his bases.
That day was a cool November afternoon, the crisp wind rustling Gabriel’s black hair. He shivered, pulling his coat around him tighter as he crossed the parking lot to go to the woods.
He rubbed his hands to ward off the chill, imagining warmth coming from his hands.
Then, unexpectedly, Gabriel’s hands burst into flames.
The boy gasped and stared in astonishment at the hands that seemed so alien, but yet felt like his own. Gabriel felt no pain, just a small tingling, like his hands were waking up from some deep slumber. He imagined the flames flickering, then dying out, and so it was.
The voice startled Gabriel, and he swung around, his fists clenched.
It was Jimmy Isaacs, the school bully. In making everyone at school’s life miserable, he especially seemed to hold something agains Gabriel in particular.
“Just leave me alone,” Gabriel glared at Jimmy
“What’re you gonna do about it, Gabe? Huh? Well, I saw you. You’re hands were weird. Wait until the rest of the school hears about this!” Jimmy seemed very excited about that. “Maybe the government will buy you! They’ll lock you up and experiment on you, you little freak, until you’re near dead then they’ll sell you to the circus!”
“I’m not a freak,” Gabriel said through clenched teeth.
“Yeah you are. I mean, who else has flaming hands?”
“Just stop, Jimmy, stop.”
“What are you gonna do about it?” Jimmy taunted again. “I’m bigger than you.” And it was true, Jimmy flunked both third and fifth grade and was a fifteen year old in eighth grade, and big for his age, too. He could take on anyone one to one in the entire school, and maybe even a few of the teachers.
“I’d say two against one evens the odds,” came a familiar voice from beside Gabriel. It was Casey.
“Whatever, you losers,” Jimmy sneered. “Kill you later, hothead. And your little sidekick too.” With this he turned on his heel and slicked away.
“He’s the hothead,” Casey remarked. He seemed very jovial, considering his life had just been threatened.
“Your tellin’ me,” Gabriel replied.
“What was that all about, anyway?” Casey asked, curious.
“I’ll tell you at the Nest. Race you there!”
And they took off racing down the hillside that went between the parking lot and the woods.
Chapter Three: A Little Explaining
“You told me you’d tell me what all that with Jimmy was about when we got to the Nest!” Casey protested.
Gabriel had said nothing but that he wanted it to be a private conversation, and so he went around pulling blinds down over windows and shutting trapdoors to the main treehouse.
Only once they were all alone did Gabriel breach the silence.
“I have something to admit,” he said slowly. “This can’t leave this room. I have to swear you to secrecy.”
Casey swore repeatedly to never reveal what he was about to hear, so Gabriel began his tale with the weird experience on his eighth birthday, then to some of the bizarre things he’d have happen to him over the course of his life. He didn’t have proof that they really happened because of him, but they were odd enough to include in the story; such as the finals test at the academy that he had expected to fail at.
When the teacher was walking down the rows to his desk, he felt an intense dread come over him. If he failed, he would be expelled and have almost no hope of ever being hired for anything except for the lowest of the low jobs.
But then the teacher suddenly stopped and blinked. He seemed to have forgotten to fail Gabriel.
Another time Finn was flying the SkyCar when another car cut them off and forced them to the side of the lane, closer and closer to a building and certain death. But then Gabriel closed his eyes and gripped the sides of the seat, then when the opened them they were cruising along regularly with no hint of danger.
He wrapped up his story with what had happened at the edge of the woods with Jimmy Isaacs.
“Wow,” Casey said, leaning back in his chair. “You’re certain you aren’t pulling my leg?”
“Positive,” Gabriel confirmed.
“What do you mean?” Gabriel asked.
Casey looked at him. “What will you do with your powers? Will you make the world better? Worse? Or will you just do nothing at all?”
Gabriel thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t. It would be cool to be a kind of superhero, but I think that’s illegal, and I don’t even know what I can do.”
“Yeah, I think you’re right about it being illegal…I heard a few months ago that some guy was imprisoned by the government for that sort of thing.”
“Wait–did you just say what I think you said?”
“Um, I dunno…what do you think I said?” Casey asked.
Gabriel was excited now. “You said someone got arrested for doing the same thing! That means I’m not alone! There are others out there like me.”
“You know what, I think you’re right. We should try to somehow get in to talk to that guy. By the way, while we’re on the subject, how do you think you got those powers in the first place? Maybe it’s some kind of genetic mutilation or radioactive cells or something.”
“Maybe,” said Gabriel thoughtfully. “Just maybe.”
Chapter Four: A Plan
Casey got permission from his parents via his earpiece personalized with images of his favorite band to have a sleepover at Gabriel’s apartment, so they headed back to the apartment to camp out for the night.
After Finn stopped by the door and flipped the light switch, the boys pulled out their LightFlashers and Gabriel’s old tablet.
After the government reform in 2030, most government documents were available for public viewing, minus some of the more sensitive documents that could be damaging in the wrong hands. So, after finding what the offense was called (it was under “unofficial vigilante”) they searched for arrest records of that offense over the last 2 years. There were two such entries, the first of which had been “released after a misunderstanding” and the second had been all but erased from the system. There wasn’t any information for it, but the name and offense of the perpetrator were still there, so Gabriel felt like he had discovered all he needed to know.
There was only one thing: where was he being held? It would be around their state, which was Tryork, formerly known as New York.
They cross referenced his name with several of the major prisons around the area and came up with nothing. Then they expanded their search farther, towards the edge of the state and into the territory known as the Great Wild.
The boys found a small, heavily guarded prison called Stonewell Prison. From their apartment it would take around a half an hour to get there via SkyCar.
Then, feeling exhilarated from the information, they tried to get some sleep.
Chapter Five: Jailbreak
The next day at school Gabriel noticed that Jimmy seemed to be avoiding him. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad one. Nobody gave him a second look, so he guessed it was a good one.
Afterwards he and Casey had decided to “case the joint,” or to check out the prison under the pretense of a school assignment. He’d convinced Mr. Smith to give them homework on high security prisons around the area with some well placed questions.
Gabriel went home to check with Finn whether or not he could go, and got the ok, as long as he went straight there and straight back.
Gabriel had passed the test to receive a SkyCar “young permit” so he took the wheel while Casey claimed shotgun.
It was still late spring early summer time, so the evening was bright, with the sun high in the sky when they set off. The way was not very congested, as the prison was pretty far out of the way for most people.
They were about two minutes away from the prison when the sky lit up orange, then just clouds of white…it almost looked like smoke.
“What’s that?” wondered Casey aloud.
“I don’t know. I’m gonna get a little closer. Hold on!”
Gabriel sped up and dived down close to the ground, wind whipping through his hair. He could already smell the smoke, and see faint wisps of it across the dirt.
As they approached they could hear yelling, mass confusion, and even a few gunshots.
Gabriel pulled over to a stop around 50 yards away from the prison and watched.
An explosion rocked the vehicle as the wall near them buckled, then crumbled. A figure swooped out of the dark and literally flew towards them. Casey screamed.
The flying person seemed to be headed for the car. Gabriel reached back and opened the door to the backseat as the supposed convict landed next to the car.
”Get in,” he said shortly. The person complied, then slammed the door, and they were off.
“Who are you?” asked the man in a hoarse voice.
“I’m someone like you. I saw that flying trick you did…I wonder if I could pull that off?”
“It took me years of practice to get a few inches of the ground, kid. Don’t expect too much front this…this curse. It got me arrested for stopping a criminal from killing someone. I heard from a fellow convict that he got scot free for ratting me out and confirming the governments worst fears.”
“And what fears might those be?” Casey asked.
“That there are some beings on this earth more powerful then they.” The man paused. “By the way, thanks for saving me. But do you realize how dangerous it is to invite criminals into your SkyCar for a little trip?”
“Next time, just leave the criminal in the dust,” he advised. “Anyway. My name is Jonathan Morgan. You can call me Jon.”
“I’m Gabriel, and this is Casey. Where do you want to go?”
“I’ll need somewhere quiet, out of the way, to lie low for a while. Those guards were shooting to kill.” He thought for a moment.
“How about the Nest?” Casey suggested.
“Yeah! Perfect. I’ll stop by there, then we’ll head home.”
“I can’t thank you enough,” Jon said. “You saved my life. How can I repay you?”
“I’ve got a few ideas,” Gabriel said.
Chapter Six: Training
“You sure about this?” Jon yelled. He was standing next to the open door in the side of the helicopter.
Gabriel nodded. “Pretty sure,” he said.
“If you say so…” Jon shoved Gabriel out of the side of the helicopter. “Fly, boy, fly!” He jumped out after Gabriel.
The wind on his face was exhilarating. He whooped in delight, then spread his arms and slowed his descent. He willed himself to grow lighter, to be able to control his fall, and it happened.
He could fly as well, it seemed.
They landed at the Nest, then engaged in the second form of training, which was telekinesis.
Jon tossed a rock to Gabriel for him to examine.
“So large?” Gabriel asked. “I don’t know if I can do it.”
“I believe you can,” Jon said firmly. “You can do almost anything you want. Now give me the rock.”
Gabriel tossed it back to him.
“Ready…set…go!” He dropped the rock.
Gabriel felt as if he could reach the rock from where he was sitting. He felt as if he was the rock. He concentrated and saw the chunk of earth floating about a foot above the ground. He willed it to rise and it shot up, sticking into the roof.
“Wow,” he said.
Jon nodded approvingly. “I knew it,” he said.
Then was the third section of training: using his powers to give him a temporary physical boost. Gabriel had discovered this entirely by accident while playing a one on one match of thousandsticks with Casey in his backyard thousandsticks court.
Thousandsticks is a game usually played with several large teams on a massive court consisting of: a ladder leading up to a platform in the middle, many beds of gravel around the court, and a couple small hills and pathways leading to the middle.
The point of the game was to get one of your players to the top of the platform in the middle while stopping the other team from doing so. You had various pieces of equipment for shoving and tripping the other players, making them fall into the pits of gravel. If they did, they were “out” for the game.
Gabriel had nearly been shoved out by Casey, who was sprinting to the ladder, when he willed himself to get faster, sprinting up to about 60 miles per hour and shooting up the ladder like a bolt of lightning to win the game. Casey nearly fainted.
So he had been honing his skills for a few weeks now, and he felt better than ever. The more he used his powers, the more powerful he felt.
As he “boosted” today, his bones vibrated as he sped up to about 100 miles per hour. He used himself farther, reaching up to 200 miles per hour.
Gabriel raced around the city at rates almost faster than the human eye could see.
He came back to the Nest and promptly threw up as soon as he stopped, but he still couldn’t shake that feeling of freedom, of exhilaration.
Chapter Seven: Sense Boost
Gabriel was sitting in Casey’s kitchen drinking a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Casey was sitting across from him with his own mug.
“You know,” Casey said, “if you can boost your physical limits, I bet you could boost your senses too…you know, like, seeing really far, hearing really clearly…that sort of thing.”
“You might be right,” Gabriel mused. “I’ll see if I can.”
He concentrated, feeling his fingertips start to tingle like they were waking up, then, all of a sudden, his vision snapped clear. It was like he had been looking through a distorted glass all his life, only to suddenly have that taken away. He blinked and saw a fly on the wall, and all the sections of his eye.
Gabriel gasped, and the air tasted of many things. He could distinctly taste some of the chocolate from the mugs, and some cheese and several other odors he couldn’t name. It was incredible, to have all these foreign tastes in his mouth.
Then his sense of smell followed. As the wave of scents hit him, he collapsed to the floor and started twitching.
The worst was the sounds. Every little scuff on the ground, every breath, was like a cannon firing in his ears. He whimpered and tried to block out the sounds with he hands, but nothing worked. Then, all of a sudden, a screaming, echoing whine filled his head. Gabriel fainted.
When he came to, Casey’s concerned face was hovering over him.
“You’ve been out for about a minute,” he said. “What happened?”
Gabriel noticed that his boosted senses were now back to normal, a fact which he was most grateful for.
“It was so overwhelming,” he said. “I couldn’t handle it.”
Casey frowned. “Well,” he said,”that’s a little disappointing.”
“I know,” Gabriel said. “But at least it can be turned off. It was horrible, I couldn’t stand it…”
“Well,” he said, “it’s good you’re ok.”
Chapter Eight: Government Agent
Gabriel was walking home from school.
He had no idea how he knew it, but he was being watched.
Discretely Gabriel scanned the surrounding area for any sign of a hostile someone. He didn’t see anyone, but the feeling of being watched never left him. Suddenly, sensing something behind him, he spun around–and bumped right into the chest of a tall man in a coal black suit.
“Hello,” the man said. “My name is James Galner. We are very interested in you.”
“You are to come with me.”
“Sorry, but I can’t.” He bolted away from this mysterious stranger.
All of a sudden he bumped right into him again.
“Stop,” this man, James Galner, said.
Gabriel bolted again, this time using his powers to boost himself.
Then, for the third time, he rammed straight into James Galner.
“We will use force if nec–”
Gabriel ran. He boosted with everything he had, pushing himself to the very limits of his endurance. Finally, he seemed to be escaping the man.
But again, he was stopped by the mysterious man.
“You will come with–” This time the man’s words were cut off by a blast of concentrated light to his head. He was knocked to the ground
“We shall finish this later, boy,” he said, with a glare full of hatred. Then it was as if the air around him bent and folded around his body, and he vanished.
Gabriel swiveled his gaze to the person who shot James Galner.
He was standing about fifteen feet away, his hands in his pockets.
“Yo,” the stranger said. He looked to be around twenty years old.
“Um, hello,” Gabriel replied. “And thanks. That guy was creeping me out.”
“Don’t mention it.” He pulled a toothpick from his pocket of his black trench coat and stuck it in his mouth. “The name’s Jacob. Jacob Granger. But you can call me Jake. I already know your name–I was sent to protect you.”
“Why?” Gabriel asked, confused. “Who sent you?”
“The government,” Jake responded.
“But…they imprisoned someone like me. I thought they wanted to experiment on me, not protect me.”
Jake removed his black fedora. “Not everyone is bad in this ti–I mean, world.” Gabriel got the feeling that word was time. “Just look at the guy who took me in.”
“Took you in?”
“Yeah. See, I was like you, only I’m really from the year 2006. I accidentally activated my powers and was sent forward a hundred years, to here. I did a few jobs for some high placed people and so I became their default dude for the most high-security missions.”
“‘Like me’? What am I?”
“As far as I can tell, you’re an anomaly. I am, too. There are some in this world more powerful than even me and you. They have something to do with us and our powers, but I’m not sure what.” He put his hat back on. “Well, I’ll be around. If you need me, say ‘Chuck Norris.'”
“It’s a time traveler’s joke. Plus, you need to get control of your powers. Keep training with that old dude.”
“Ok, I will–” but Jake was gone.
Chapter Nine: Galner’s Reckoning
Elsewhere, in the U.S.
A man stood watching on a screen the size of a small house the events of the previous day.
“I–I’m sorry, master.”
“Sorry…what an interesting concept. You have failed.”
The words cut like a whip. James Galner winced at every syllable.
“You are of no use to me, except for one thing.”
“What is it? I live to serve.”
“You will blow this facility up. The button is over there.” The man pointed.
“Is it on a timer?” Galner asked hesitantly.
The man smiled. “No,” he said. “You live to serve, and you shall serve to die.”
James Galner tried to teleport away, only to feel immense pain. His vision faded into black, and he never woke back up again.
The man turned around. He pointed at a guard. “You,” he said. “Press that button in five minutes.”
The guard said nothing. He walked over and stood next to the detonator, ready to press.
The mysterious man smiled again, then he vanished, the facility exploding behind him.
Chapter Ten: Rail Catastrophe
Gabriel had a second encounter with an agent of the mysterious group that James Galner was a part of about a week later.
He was coming back from a school field trip with his class on the MagTrail when suddenly an elderly homeless man walked up to him.
“Howdy,” he said.
“Hello,” Gabriel responded cautiously.
The man suddenly gripped Gabriel’s arm.
“I can tell you,” he said. “I can tell you the truth about your parents.”
Gabriel gasped. Those words hit him like a sledgehammer. The truth about your parents.
“What?” He fired back urgently. “What is it?”
“Listen closely,” the homeless man said. “We must hurry. I don’t know how far away i managed to get away–” Something cut his words short.
He coughed and choked. “Here,” he gasped out, pressing a piece of paper into Gabriel’s hands.
He slumped to the ground, not breathing. Gabriel saw a flash of something on the back of his neck…it was a poisoned dart.
The homeless man had been murdered.
“Hey! Anyone! HELP!” The boy yelled. “This guy needs an ambulance! HELP!”
A woman in a business suit came up to him. “Gabriel,” she said. “You are valuable to some people. I would hate to see you get…hurt.” He heard the underlying threat in her tone.
“Get away from me!” He shouted.
“Come quietly or I will hurt you.” The woman drew a wicked-looking knife from her sleeve.
Almost instantly a dark form dropped from the sky and hit the ceiling window on the MagTrail. The window swung inward and the form dropped onto the woman, a hand shooting out and grabbing the knife. The knife melted like putty and dropped to the ground.
Jake grabbed a bar hanging from the ceiling and twisted the woman with his legs, slamming her against the wall, rendering her unconscious.
“Well, that’s finished,” he said.
Gabriel nodded. “Thanks for coming,” he said.
“I’m gonna go call some guys to put her under arrest,” Jake commented. “You’d better be heading back home.”
Chapter Eleven: Some Detective Work
Gabriel pulled the piece of paper from his pocket and brought it up to the light in his room. It was an old-fashioned photograph, the kind they used to use in newspapers.
It showed two scientists standing together, smiling widely. One of them, Casper Hound, was no doubt his father. The other, he didn’t recognize.
The caption underneath the photo read, “Drs. Caspar Hound and Jørgen Knelward make groundbreaking discovery about cell genetics”.
On the back of the photograph were the words “beware the SBH.”
Gabriel swallowed hard. Are my powers a result of my fathers work? He wondered.
He took out his tablet and searched for the keywords “Casper Hound cell genetics.” Up came a few news websites.
The first of which was the Scientific Research Weekly. There was an article on Casper Hound’s revolutionary research into the human cell. More importantly, however, was the words “‘There aren’t very many test subjects available,’ Hound says. ‘This kind of genetics, we can’t test on nonhumans.’ The doctor has deemed it necessary to begin human trials on himself.”
He searched again with the words “Casper Hound, Jørgen Knelward”.
The search engine revealed an article from the New York Times newspaper entitled “Legendary Rivalry Fuels a Mad Race for the ‘Master Serum'”.
Opening the link, he scrolled down, reading it as quickly as possible.
Drs. Casper Hound and Jørgen Knelward’s legendary rivalry heated up last month as they are both ‘unbelievably close’ to the master serum they need to finish their quest for the perfection of the human body.
According to Dr. Casper Hound,”If we succeed in this venture, humanity will be closer to perfection. We will never achieve it, but we must try. This serum will make sure our great-times-a hundred grandchildren are still here. Without some kind of external support, humanity will collapse.”
Currently, Dr. Hound suffers from Asklenouteretic, a disease that causes the subject to lose their vision and control of basic motor facilities within 4-6 years of a diagnosis. Some say this is what drives him so urgently, as there is no known cure as of now.
Dr. Jørgen Knelward of Oxford Research centers, says, “Casper is the most driven man I know. If he says he will discover a cure for cancer in one year, he will push himself to find it in six months. If he says the serum is close, he will perfect it faster than anyone will have thought.”
When asked about what separated them, he responded, “The doctor wanted to start human trials. I did not and still don’t think that is wise. We don’t know enough yet about something like this.”
Dr. Knelward believes he can find the serum in about a year. Dr. Hound is pushing for under six months.
The world waits with bated breath for the outcome of this desperate race.
Gabriel sat back in his chair, letting his breath out slowly.
What had happened? Was this the way his father died? Gabriel realized Finn always avoided that subject, and whenever it came up, he would always say, “It was a terrible accident.”
What if it was no accident? He he succeeded in the serum?
“Time for bed,” called Finn from downstairs.
Gabriel forced himself to rest despite the swirling questions in his mind.
Chapter Twelve: The Event
Elsewhere in Russia
Ortho Thire smiled to himself. When he heard about the explosion of the California base, he was initially alarmed, but as the full story got to him, he found it quite funny.
What a test of loyalty, he thought. Put a man in a building and make him blow it up.
Although, he liked California, so he had the man who was in charge of that sector eliminated.
Ortho powered up his earpiece and called a very long and complicated number, about 100 different digits.
“Shall I initiate the Event?” He asked.
“Yes. Do so immediately.” The voice on the other side said. It was a voice made of silk. Ortho shuddered. He had heard that voice say horrible things before, instructing people to cause horrendous tragedies. “Let us hope they take the bait.”
“Yes, si–” The phone hung up.
Sighing, Ortho started organizing the Event that would change the world.
Chapter Thirteen: The Catastrophe
Gabriel first felt it like a buzzing on the back of his neck. His hair stood on end, and he shivered.
Something was happening. Something big.
He hurried along the hallway to 4th period, then the world around him exploded.
The school was crashing down around him, which meant it was crashing down around all the other students as well–Casey might be in danger.
So Gabriel sprinted down the hallway, imagining water gushing from his hands. He sprayed the rubble that had once been a place of learning.
Casey had history then, so he would be on the entire other side of the facility.
Gabriel boosted and would be there in no time at all when he saw a hand sticking out of the collapsed science room, and heard a voice crying out for help.
“Hang on,” Gabriel said, and pushed the chunks of brick and drywall off of him.
It was Jimmy Isaacs.
“You!” Jimmy exclaimed. Then his eyes narrowed. “Did you cause this?”
“What? No!” Gabriel said.
“I’ve got my eye on you, Gabriel Hound.” Jimmy took off down the hallway.
Sighing, Gabriel boosted the opposite way, towards Casey.
Rounding a corner, he skidded to a stop. This part of the school seemed to have been hit the worst. The entire wing was a blackened hole in the ground.
Gabriel sank to his knees. By the look of things, nobody could have gotten out of that mess.
“Looks like we were too late,” a gruff voice said from behind him.
Gabriel slowly got to his feet and turned around. Standing before him was a tall, athletic-looking African-American boy of about 15 years of age.
“Who are you?” He said, ashen-faced.
“I am Sander Coleman.”
“Why are you here?”
“I am here to help. It looks like I am too late, though,” Sander said.
“I could have saved them,” Gabriel said.
Sander glanced around him. “Nothing would have gotten out of there alive…you would be ashes.”
“You don’t understand. I could have.”
“I think I do,” Sander said. He raised his hand up, and, as he did, electricity sparked between his fingers.
Gabriel was instantly on guard, but he decided to give the guy a chance. He hadn’t attacked Gabriel as soon as he saw him, after all.
“Was this what you were talking about?” Sander asked.
“Maybe,” Gabriel said cautiously. “Who do you work for?”
“Nobody,” Sander said. “I am part of a team that is combating the people who do this sort of…thing. Right now we are at three other schools…” Sander glanced at his watch. “Whoa! I’ve got to go. We were supposed to meet ten minutes ago.”
Gabriel look with despair at the blackened pit that was his classmates. He had to stop this.
“Can I come along?” He asked.
Chapter Fourteen: The Meeting
Sander and Gabriel stepped off a rickety table with a big red “X” painted on it. They were greeted by a strange group of kids.
One was shorter than Gabriel, but looked older, with olive skin and black hair.
Another was a girl, with short cropped brown hair. She looked a little older than as well.
The other two were alike enough to be twins. They had blond hair and were the smallest, youngest looking kids.
“This is Trevor, Madeline, and Lewis and Leona. Guys, this is…what’s your name again?” Sander asked.
“Gabriel,” he answered. “Gabriel Hound.”
“Welcome, Gabriel, to the secret hideout of the Guardians,” Sander said, almost formally.
“Hey,” Trevor said.
Madeline looked at him cautiously but said nothing.
Leona and Lewis said, “Hi!” At the same time, then looked at each other and giggled.
“Um…yeah,” Sander said. “I found Gabriel at school number seven. He says he can do what we can.”
“That’s right,” Gabriel said, and he levitated a few feet above the ground.
“Sweet,” Trevor said. “None of us can fly. I can do water, Sander can do electricity, Maddy can–” Madeline kicked him in the shin and whispered something in his ear. “Oh. I’ll let you ask her about that…the twins can teleport.”
Gabriel didn’t know why he was the only one who wasn’t confined to one power, but he decided to keep that to himself for the time being.
Someone cleared their throat from behind them.
“Excuse me,” a boy said.
“Ah, yes, there you are. This is Omar. He’s really smart.”
Omar pushed his thick glasses up. “There’s another one…school number twenty-one.”
“Another?” Everyone groaned.
“Wait…you mean to say that this has happened in other schools too?” Gabriel asked.
“Yeah. It’s weird. Every once in a while we get another call.”
Then Omar spoke up. “They appear to be happening in a spiral pattern. At the center is a town in Kansas called Paradise. Also, all the names of the towns that have been hit spell out ‘PARADISECITYKANSASUSA’.”
“Let’s get going,” Sander said. He seemed to be the leader. “I want Lewis and Leona here. Trevor, Madeline and I will take this one.”
“What about me?” Gabriel asked.
“Ah, yes. You are coming with us. Lets see what you can do.”
Chapter Fifteen: School Twenty-One
As it turned out, school number twenty-One was in the country of Texas. Years ago, Texas had separated from the United States and formed their own government.
Half the school was on fire, and it was quickly spreading.
“Gabriel, see if you can get some people out. You take the south side, I’ll take North. Trevor, try and stop that fire. Maddy, help Trevor! We’re going in!” Sander tossed them all oxygen masks.
Gabriel sprinted for the south side of the building and kicked the door down. He heard someone calling for help–it was a ten year old under some rubble. Gabriel pushed it off and ran the kid back outside.
“Stay here, OK?” He said. The kid nodded.
Already Trevor had helped tone down the intensity of the flames, but the heat still scorched Gabriel’s skin as he brought more people outside.
At one point he saw Sander through the smoke and flames, and they worked together on moving a large metal support off of a door.
Whenever he had time, he blasted water at the flames.
Finally, the flames were gone and we had gotten everyone out. Amazingly, there were no deaths, just some burns.
The Guardians met behind the ruined building, their faces blackened with soot.
“We need to get back to base,” Sander said. “There’s no telling where the next strike might be.” He took out an earbud and called the twins, Lewis and Leona.
He listened for a moment, then turned to the group and said, “There’s been an incident. We are being teleported directly to Paradise, Kansas.”
“What? What happened?” Trevor asked.
“The circuit has finished,” Sander replied. “At the center of the circle is Paradise. The entire town caught fire.”
Gabriel felt fear at the pit of his stomach. At the center, something either started or was finishing.
Chapter Sixteen: Paradise on Fire
The entire city of Paradise was sending up smoke, casting the area into darkness as the flames made the city feel like it was on the surface of the sun.
Gabriel decided to admit his power.
“I don’t just fly,” he said. “I can do lots of things. I wasn’t sure if you guys were trustable yet, so I kept it to myself.”
Madeline glanced around, then replied with, “That is my power as well. My power is power. I can do whatever my imagination can dream up.”
Sander clapped his hands together. “We can chat later,” he said. “Same jobs as before, only Gabriel can help extinguish the fires as well. Lets go. Use the oxygen masks, not only for smoke, but also because we don’t know what chemicals were in these buildings.”
So they headed off, with Sander in the lead. Over the next hour, Gabriel saved hundreds of people. He boosted around the city, blasting water everywhere.
Occasionally they would pass firemen trying–almost in vain–to put out the raging fires that were ravaging the town.
All of this gave him a lot of time to think about his own school. Did they find survivors? He swallowed hard; losing Casey was hard. It hadn’t quite hit him before then, the seriousness of it.
Now, though, the grief brought physical pain to him. Even as he was saving an entire city of people, his eyes were wet with tears.
After this exhausting mission, they met up again just outside the city limits.
“Time to go home,” Sander said in a tired voice.
Just then, ten black SkyCars blinked into view surrounding the kids.
Dozens more people grappled down from more transports that were apparently cloaking. One of the car doors opened and a man in a black, fancy suit stepped out.
“Hello,” he greeted the children.
A small, barely audible pop sounded, then Trevor screamed.
Looking over, Gabriel gasped. Trevor had a metal dart sticking out of his arm. He pulled it out, wincing as he did so.
Then, he collapsed in the dirt.
“What did you do to him?” Sander screamed.
“Just a little experimental poison,” the man said. “He should feel extreme pain for about a week before dying. But who knows? This particular poison is unstable. He could be kept alive for months in pain before dying.”
“Why?” Gabriel asked.
“Because we are the only ones with the antidote. You will join us if you know what’s good for your friend. Run away, he dies.”
Trevor, groaning, reached up and grabbed Sander’s earpiece. Turning it on, he croaked out the words “Now.
“Take us away now!”
They winked out of existence right before the eyes of the man in the suit.
He pressed a button on his earpiece.
“They took the bait,” he said. “They’ll be back soon.”
End of Part One