Authors: Flint, Lucas
Tags: #Superheroes | Supervillains
First book in The Superhero's Son
By Lucas Flint
Published by Secret Identity Books. An imprint of Annulus Publishing.
Copyright © Lucas Flint 2016. All rights reserved.
Contact: [email protected]
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y mom always said that I have a strong arm, but I always thought it was just one of those things that moms say to their sons … at least before I punched the local school bully through the cafeteria wall with one blow after I lost my temper.
Maybe I should back up a bit and explain how I got to this point. Maybe something happened along the way that gave me my superpowers, that would explain how I got here. Dad always says that, whenever you find yourself in a mess of a situation, retracing your steps can help you figure out how you got into it in the first place, so I'll do that.
My name is Kevin Jake Jason and I am seventeen-years-old and an only child. Earlier today, I started my first day at my new school, John Smith High School, located in Silvers, Texas, which is a pretty small, obscure town that no one seems to know about. My parents and I moved here from New York City during the summer because it's supposed to be cheaper, but I think Dad just wanted to get as far away from my mother's parents as possible. I didn't really want to move, but I decided to roll with it because I've always liked cowboys and Westerns and thought Texas girls might be cuter than New York girls (or that's what one of my New York friends who has family in Texas told me, anyway).
Anyway, like I said, today was my first day at my new school. It was a lot smaller than my old school back in New York; just a few hundred students versus a few thousand. Even so, I still felt awkward, because I was the new kid and I literally didn't know anybody. It was pretty easy for me to figure out who the jocks were, who the popular girls were, who the nerds were, and so on, but I still found it hard to approach anyone, and I'm no introvert—Dad was, though, but that's because my Dad is a software developer.
But it wasn't all bad. I got through the first period okay without running into any real harassment or bullying. Most of the students and faculty were a lot nicer and friendlier than the students and faculty back in my old school in New York, but it just seemed like a sort of obligatory friendliness, like Texans were supposed to be polite to strangers. And that was what I was, really, because like I said, I didn't know anyone and no one knew me.
That was why I dreaded lunchtime. Back in my old school, I always sat with my friends David and James, but David and James were still in New York. I was facing the very real possibility of sitting by myself at lunch today, which was something I hadn't experienced since first grade.
So when the bell rang and the students went to lunch, I found myself briefly debating whether or not I should just skip it. But I was so hungry that I went to lunch anyway, deciding that I could suffer a little embarrassment if it meant getting something to eat.
And when I got to the cafeteria, I quickly discovered that pretty much everyone—including the nerds—had their own cliques that they ate with. With my tray in hand, I stood in the cafeteria, looking for an open table I could sit at, but it seemed like every table was full and no one looked eager to invite the new kid to sit with them. No one even seemed to notice me, although a few of the popular girls sitting at a nearby table kept glancing at me like they were afraid that a loser like me would try to sit next to them. Not that I thought I was a loser, but I knew they probably did, based on the way they looked at me.
Every table, that is, except for the one in the upper right corner of the room. A black guy sat there by himself, seemingly without any friends of his own. Of course, he might have just been waiting for his friends, but he didn't really look like he belonged to any of the other groups. He wore a long-sleeved shirt and baggy jeans, but he didn't look much like a jock or a nerd. I noticed he had some kind of necklace tucked into his shirt, which made it impossible to see what was attached.
But the guy didn't look very judgmental, so I made my way across the noisy cafeteria to him. I accidentally walked into a big guy with dark skin and blond hair, who glared at me as I walked around him apologizing for not watching where I was going. He didn't follow me, but I felt like his eyes never stopped following me as I walked over to the guy sitting by himself at that table in the corner of the cafeteria.
As I approached the table, the black guy looked up at me. He seemed surprised that someone was coming up to his table, which confirmed to me that he always sat by himself.
“Hi,” I said, stopping at the table. “Anyone sitting here?”
The guy shook his head. “No, it's open. Sit where you like.”
“Thanks,” I said. I sat down opposite him and put down my tray on the table between us. “By the way, my name is Kevin Jason. What's yours?”
“Malcolm Rayner,” said the guy. “You're the new kid, right?”
“How did you know?” I said.
“Because I've never seen you before,” said Malcolm. “I know pretty much everyone in this school, so when I saw someone I didn't know, I thought you were new.”
“You know everyone?” I said as I sipped from my water bottle. “You must be pretty popular, then.”
Malcolm chuckled. “Popular? Nah. It's just a small school, so you get to know everyone pretty quickly even if you don't have any friends.”
“Oh,” I said. My earlier suspicion was correct, but I decided to change the subject because Malcolm didn't sound like he really liked talking about his popularity—or lack thereof—in the school. “So, uh, do you usually sit by yourself?”
Malcolm shrugged. “Eh, sometimes. But it's not a big deal to me. I'm used to it. Anyway, where are you from?”
“New York,” I said. “New York City, that is.”
“Really?” said Malcolm in surprise. “What are you doing all the way out here?”
I shrugged as I took a bite out of my tuna sandwich. “My parents decided to move down here because it's cheaper than living back there.”
“Cool,” said Malcolm. “I've never been to New York City before.” He leaned forward, an interested look on his face. “Have you been to Hero Island? I heard the Neohero Alliance let's normal people go on tours around the place for a fee.”
I figured he was going to ask me about that place once I told him I was from NYC, mostly because it seemed like everyone who didn't live in NYC wanted to know all about the main base and headquarters of the largest superhero organization in the world. It was located on Hero Island, an artificial island created by the neohero Mr. Miner twenty-five years ago to give the Neohero Alliance a base of operations. I didn't mind talking about it, but it got kind of annoying to be asked about it every time I told someone I was from NYC.
So I said, “No, but I've seen it. My parents never let me visit it. They thought it wasn't safe.”
“Not safe?” said Malcolm in disbelief. “But Hero Island has a bunch of powerful neoheroes on it, right? I mean, Omega Man himself lives there and he's the most powerful neohero on the planet. It seems to me like the safest place in the world, if you ask me. I wish I could go there myself some day. It would be awesome.”
“Some of my friends back home visited it,” I said. “But they said it was kind of boring because they just got to see the Neohero Alliance Museum and a few places deemed safe for tourists. They didn't get to see the training facilities or the places where they store the weapons they take from defeated supervillains or anything like that.”
“They probably only let real members of the NHA explore the rest of the base,” said Malcolm. He sighed. “It would be awesome to get to meet Omega Man himself.”
I nodded. Omega Man was one of the first neoheroes and the most well-known and beloved. I had only ever seen him on Internet videos and pictures, but I knew he lived in NYC and was from the city. I had never actually met him, but Dad said he met Omega Man once, a long time ago. Dad never told me much about that meeting, though, except that it was brief.
“So what's this school like?” I said as I took another bite of my sandwich. “Anything crazy ever happen here?”
Malcolm shook his head. “Nah. It's pretty quiet most of the time. Even the pranksters don't usually do anything
crazy. Not that I'm complaining, though.”
That was disappointing to hear. Back in my school in New York, there was an entire subculture of kids who pranked students and school faculty alike. Every year, these kids would get together to make the biggest and wildest prank of the year, known as the Big One, which was always supposed to top last year's Big One. Granted, sometimes they got out of control—the last Big One resulted in the entire school evacuating and several members of the NHA arriving under the belief that the supervillain Judgment had taken over the school—but I always looked forward to them and even helped organize a few, but always on the periphery, because I wasn't considered one of the pranksters even though I always enjoyed a good prank myself.
Then I noticed Malcolm's necklace again and said, “What's that on your neck?”
Malcolm looked down at his necklace tucked into his shirt. “Oh, this? Er, it's nothing. Just something my grandma gave me.”
“Can I see it?” I said.
Malcolm hesitated, like he wasn't sure whether to say yes or no, but before he could answer, a tray slammed down on the table next to me and a second later a girl of about my age sat down next to me. Her sudden appearance next to me made me scoot to the side involuntarily, but the girl didn't even seem to notice me because she was looking at something on her smartphone.
The girl was kind of cute. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, though her yellow shirt was rather plain. She wore jeans and had a belt with rhinestones on it, which were hard to look at directly because they reflected the light from the ceiling so much. Her smartphone had a rhinestone case, though it looked a little beat up like she didn't take very good care of it.
“Hey, Tara,” said Malcolm, though he didn't sound very excited to see her. “What's up?”
“Hey, Malcolm,” said Tara, still without looking at Malcolm or me, her focus on her smartphone.
That was all Tara said. She still didn't look at me, which made me think that she either didn't think I was worth her notice or she was just too absorbed by her smartphone to pay attention to me. Regardless, I felt too nervous to say anything, and it wasn't just because I was the new kid in school, either.
“Oh, uh, Kevin, this is Tara Reynolds,” said Malcolm, gesturing at her. “Tara, this is the new kid, Kevin Jason.”
Tara looked up at her phone just long enough to look at me through her glasses before returning her attention to the device in her hand. “Nice meeting you, Kevin.”
“Uh, nice meeting you, too,” I said. I looked at Malcolm. “Is she your friend?”