Okay guys you are all very lucky. You get to read some of the backup book I am writing, known by me as The Power. I first invented Beckett for this story though his name used to be Ike. You are the first people in the world who get to read it. It is not yet finished but it is a work in progress.
The Power-Chapter One
This story takes place far in the future. The world has changed so it is hardly recognizable. There are now lots of monsters in the world, vicious brutes unlike anything you could imagine. Our hero is not your typical hero. He is only fifteen years old and for those of you who are fifteen years old or was only a short time ago, you know how completely average fifteen year olds are. Now I’ll allow you to see our hero’s story for yourself and besides, things are more interesting if you take a look at it from his perspective.
My name is Beckett Ian Gavin Howell IV. Not that it matters to you. I am half Welsh from my dad, Harper and half Chinese from my mother, Anna. I am fifteen years old. I have black hair and cold blue eyes. For a while I lived with my father, as my mother died a few years ago. I should have had an older brother but he died when I was only four and I can’t remember him at all. I used to live in Arbiter City, which was kind of a small town in my opinion, but okay. My story is a complicated one but if you have the time, it’s one worth hearing. I just want you to avoid a future like mine. I’ll begin right where this adventure begun for me.
It was a regular overcast day at my high school, Arbiter High. Everything seemed normal enough. I was walking outside, by myself again. I hated it here. Here I had a school full of incompetent fools. I was the genius of the ninth grade, no probably the genius of the school. In testing the highest score attainable was a 5, I was a continually raising 6, considered impossible until I showed up. I had just been “punished” with the method known as exile. Of course, I didn’t care. I almost preferred exile. Exile is where the administrators put you in a room with no teachers, no students and no work. I didn’t care and this troubled the school. The whole time I was in exile I sat there looking at the two way mirror. Even though I couldn’t see them, I knew there were examiners hiding on the other side, watching me.
I walked to my house. Once I entered the house my father greeted me. “Hello Beckett.” he said, smiling at me. I nodded in reply. “Why aren’t you at school?” he asked. There was a tense silence then I replied. “I got exile again.” His face became a mask of concern and sorrow. “Why?” he asked in a melancholy way. “There was some ignorant fool who kept beleaguering me.” I replied sullenly. We were silent again, unable to look at each other. “You’d...you’d better go back...the testing is going to start.” he said. I nodded and walked back to school.
Once I returned to school I waited outside of our exams gym, which didn’t look like a gym it was so large. All schools had an exams gym, which had to be big enough for all of the students to fight in at once. Exams gyms have special effects examiners can select that make it more difficult to train in. And today was testing day for all of us students. The guards in front of our entrance, the Freshman gate, let us in a few at a time. It soon came time for me and nine or so others to be allowed in. It looked like a laser tag room, making it more difficult for us to find others throughout the maze. They led us into the exams gym.
As soon as I entered I flitted carefully through the maze, far away from any noise. I waited for a moment. I edged along walls, slowly easing myself from the isolated sector until I heard my target moving slowly down a passage around the corner and to the right. They were very stealthy, but my strikingly aberrant hearing allowed me to pinpoint exactly where the target was. I looked at my sensor-watch, which showed me a map of where I was. On it, now that I had recognized someone was around, it read “Now entering your area: Male Senior Derek De La Cruz” and below that it read “All students have entered the test”. I paused, cautiously aware that the target had stopped. I sensed a very quiet slap of hand on wall. It would’ve gone unheard but my precise hearing picked it up. I heard the steps coming towards me. Hiding in the shadows I saw the boy in front of me. He was tall and looked more like a man, clearly a senior. He turned his back on me to view another passage, inadequately unaware that he was in plain view of me. I ambushed him, knocking him unconscious and his own sensor watch set off a flare which could only be seen by the gatherers, who wore special goggles that allowed them to see these flares so they could collect students eliminated from the challenge. This was too easy for me.
The rest of the test went pretty much like that. Again the teachers thanked us and dismissed us right from there to lunch. I hung around on my own of course; I was feared by many students as I was the best this school had. I was too good, I knew when results came out at the next rally I would be the first name called, as I had the Placement One spot on the ranking. The teachers often debated whether I should be required to take the test, as I always came out on top. When the bell rang I went to Hunting Intuition class, which doubled as our Math class. I, of course, had the best grade on a math test we had received yesterday. I got a perfect score. After the other students did corrections on their test with Mr. Richardson, he took us outside for training. I easily met my goal and was allowed to train on whatever level I liked. I trained on Level 4 while the rest of the class took on Level 1. The levels went up to 9, but seniors only got up to 4 in the curriculum. My classmates looked on, watching admirably how I avoided the opponents and obstacles with ease. A trainer came out, making a lunge at me. I jumped and kicked my leg out to bounce off the wall, using the propulsion to get air which I used to take out multiple enemies at a time. A few of my classmates applauded; the propulsion walls were only found to be used in an advanced course for Seniors. Mr. Richardson let out a hearty “Bravo!”, despite his old age he had been in the Military and only an elite few could use the propulsion walls, even at a young age. The training was finished.
Before I could retire to watch the other students at their attempts in Level 1, an office assistant excused me from class, telling me to go to Mr. Kennedy, my Survival Aptitude teacher. I walked into his room, which had a dearth of students because it was his free period. I noticed he was standing with three older boys. I could tell by the colors were garbed in. Our school had colors assigned to each grade level. This year Black was the Freshman Color, Green was the Sophomore color, Blue was the Junior color and Red was the Senior color. When this year’s Seniors graduated, the incoming Freshmen would be given Red as their color. One was taller than me and well-built, he had golden brown hair and he was wearing Green, so he was a Sophomore. The other was slim and had dark hair underneath a baseball cap and he wore Red so he was a Senior. The third was well-built too, and he also wore a baseball cap, only his cap’s bill was backward facing and he wore the blue of the Juniors. The three of them looked friendly enough. “Beckett…I have decided to make you a part of a squad. These are your new teammates.” He said. “Top Sophomore Jett Malone,” as the boy in green raised his hand in salutation; “Top Junior Kev Corbett.” The boy in blue waved; “And Top Senior Kian Armadan.” He added, and the final boy in red nodded in acknowledgement. I shook hands with all three, I recognized their names alright. They always came after me in score only their placements often changed.
Then Mr. Kennedy explained that the three of them were moved into my classes and that I had been removed from Technological Aptitude class because I was already too adept in the class. Instead of going to that class I would be attending an Aptitude High and Low class with them. Aptitude High and Low, also called A-H-L is a class only for those with the highest or lowest rankings in the school. I was glad to be out of Technological Aptitude class, it had grown boring because I was too technologically advanced for the class. I was to spend time with them. “Seems easy enough.” I thought.
The next day was the first I got to spend with them. In the morning I met them at school. I walked over to them. “Hey Beckett.” Kev said, adding a friendly nod. Jett and Kian added their welcomes and I responded to each greeting. We talked for a bit and I found that I liked them already. We distanced ourselves from other kids all the same. The first class of the morning was AHL. In it I got to meet the others. There was Eve Kearney, a short blonde girl who was the highest ranking girl at Placement 9 on the ranking. I shook hands with her and she seemed glad to meet me. Then I met Jade Forrest, a medium height redhead, second highest ranking girl at Placement 10, and Cindy Barrett, a brunette who was third highest ranking girl at Placement 11. I also met a tall black boy who turned out to be Sophomore Zeke Dorsey at Placement 8. The boys at Placements 5 and 6 were in another class instead of this one. Then there was the lows. Drek Uhler, a short black Freshman, was ranked at 2000, the worst score as there was 2000 kids at this school. I also met Lan Tong, an Asian boy who had a score of 1500 but was in the class because it helped his ranking. He had been allowed to enter the class so as to maintain his Placement. Everyone else in the class was so bad I didn’t bother to get to know them, aside from Tyson Shires, a brunette Senior at Placement 7.
In that class we mostly did work and then Kian, Kev and Jett followed me to my Hunting Intuition/Math class, which I…I mean we went to twice a day. My classmates gaped at the new additions; it was unusual to see the four best Placements in the same class. We all sat together. We were given a test. I felt the indifference of everyone’s eyes on me as I walked up to hand in my test first. Almost everyone that is. Jett was right behind me and Kev and Kian were too engaged in their tests to notice. Jett and I handed our tests in to Mr. Richardson and went back to our seats. Kev and Kian finally finished and a few minutes after them the other classmates started handing theirs up. After the math lesson, a very simple lecture on the Pythagorean theorem, Mr. Richardson had us prepare for training. Kev, Kian and Jett would be training with me.
We reached the training grounds. The four of us separated from the class and went to the advanced court. “Let’s try level five.” Kian suggested. I selected Level 5 training. We all walked in and the trainers lunged at us. I used the propulsion wall again, after I ricocheted off of it I kicked a trainer right in the chest. I saw Kian take down four of them using the propulsion wall’s corner, bouncing back and forth where the two walls met to kick at the trainers. Kev, who was the biggest of us, was using his size as a benefit, as was Jett. Kian and I were both small and skinny and could use the propulsion walls to our advantage but Kev and Jett were bigger and taller and used their size to hold their ground. In this manner we easily beat the challenge, my classmates watched with awe. I was content, for I had finally found my equals.
Afterwards we then had to go to Perception class. The class was small, it consisted only of three other boys except us. There was a Niko, Andrew, and Daniel. Andrew wore the black of the Freshmen like me while Daniel was in green and Niko in blue. Andrew was a small dark-haired boy with glasses. He was a weedy boy but he was very intelligent and often was up there with me in getting the best marks on the written exams. Despite his small stature Andrew was a mastermind in the Perception classroom. Daniel on the other hand was a bigger boy with dark hair with a slightly messy look to it. He was a good competitor when it came to Hunting Aptitude, he had a natural talent when it came to hunting instinct and was observant. Daniel also enjoyed playing cards in his spare classroom time, if Ms. Raja would allow of it. Niko was different from the first two. He was a bit on the weedier side but he flourished the most in Technological Aptitude class. He could often be found fiddling with the computer, something that often irked Ms. Raja when it was during a lesson. I could afford to miss lessons because I knew it all but I copied down the notes anyways and often let Andrew or Daniel borrow them for future reference. Andrew had more trouble in the actual training part because he was so weedy but I treated him in a way as though I regarded him my little buddy, which often saved him from the ridicule of other students.
After the brief lesson in Perception class we had our final morning class, Hunting Aptitude. Hunting Aptitude was the equivalent of what used to be Physical Education. Mr. Brett, our teacher, was going to teach some techniques to the class. He excused Kev, Kian, Jett and I from the lesson as we were already far more competent in the lesson than expected. After another, more rigorous training session, in which we tested level 6 and got close to our goal, we went to lunch. We left early and first grabs for lunch, which turned out to be hamburgers. Zeke joined us at the table outside of the AHL classrooms for lunch. The AHL classrooms were in portables rather than the main building like all the others. It was enjoyable, more so when Drek left for a club meeting. Drek annoyed us because he was oblivious to the fact that he was the worst. Lan idolized me but he was a cool guy. He had a short mess of black hair and wore the black of the Freshmen. Lan brought his elite handheld gaming system the I-420. He played a video game enthusiastically while Kian and Jett listened to music and Zeke and Kev and I joked around. The teachers from the AHL room came out and told us we weren’t going to our afternoon classes, but rather that we were going to be in the AHL room with them.
It was a good lecture followed by a silent work time. Drek had a large pile of work to do and would be working long through the afternoon because of his abysmal grades while Zeke and I, the first ones done, got to play around. Lan finished next and we were moved into the next room. They put on an “educational film” and left us in there but we ended up wadding paper balls and having a war with them. The senior named Tyson joined us once he was done. “I call dibs on Zeke!” I cried, so he was on my team and Tyson and Lan were on a team together. We threw the wadded up paper at each other and Zeke acted out a very dramatic death scene each time he was hit. The tall thin boy was an asset to my team though and he made me laugh a lot, something someone had never been able to do. “No fair.” Lan cried as again his round glasses were knocked off of his face. When we heard the teachers we made a mad scramble into the nearest seat and acted as though we were enjoying the film, oblivious to all of the wadded up paper on the ground. A blonde teacher gave us this look but left back to the other room. As soon as they left we continued the paper war and when Kev entered, finished with his work I claimed him on my team. “Fine but I call dibs on the next person in the room.” Lan added. The next person happened to be Eve Kearney. “I call next.” I called out, deftly throwing a paper which nearly hit Tyson. Kev, Zeke and I cheered and whooped when that person turned out to be Kian, though we had to get back in our seats and fake an interest in the film again. We kept calling people in that order and I ended up getting Jett on my team too. After school had ended I realized that for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed it. Sure my class wasn’t perfect but well, it’s a start.
The next day when I got to school I rejoined the guys and we picked up some breakfast. I had selected the pancake and bacon. The pancake was so burnt it looked barely edible and was dry even with syrup on it. With disdain I shoved my pancake over to Drek, who started eating it. I nibbled on my bacon and listened to a punch line Zeke was recalling brilliantly. Lan was smart, he had picked the breakfast sandwich which had egg and sausage in it. I looked regretfully at him enjoying the meal, wishing I didn’t like bacon so much so I would have chosen the sandwich instead. Tyson then saw my glance and said “Don’t worry I picked the muffin in my first year…big mistake.” I looked up, surprised. “What’s wrong with the muffin?” I asked. He chuckled. “It’s as hard as a brick and tastes like cardboard.” He replied. “Oh.” I said, glad I had not picked the muffin.
* * * * * * *
Harper Howell tore down the street in the business district of town. All he needed was to get that precious book. The one that would piece together the whole mystery. It was by far the oldest book in town, it had all the legends, all the facts that attributed towards the death of his wife and eldest son many years ago, when his second son Beckett had only been a toddler and could not remember. Harper needed this book desperately. After many years’ arduous research he had discovered that his wife and son had not been killed in a mysterious but tragic accident as it had seemed. They had been murdered. Harper had been grieved to find this out and he partly blamed himself. His good friend back then had been trying to tell him something about the man who ran the corporate he had once worked in, Garrett Truman. He had not had time or the appropriate setting to discuss this so his friend had desperately found Harper’s wife Anna (taking their young son Alekzander home from the visit made to Harper at the office) and told her his findings. Harper never got to hear the message from his friend or his wife. The streets had oddly been abandoned at that time of day. All he could remember of the incident itself was that Mr. Truman had called an ambulance and then ran inside, frantically claiming that the three of them had been mowed down by a reckless driver, possibly drunk, who escaped. His friend, eldest son and wife were all dead. Harper felt grateful that Anna had been very overly protective of their youngest son Beckett. She would not allow her small son to roam anywhere around streets yet as Alekzander had nearly run into traffic at that age. So she had called Roy, her husband’s brother, to go and watch the toddler for her at her house. When he arrived home that horrible evening, Harper explained to Roy what had happened. All at once Roy seemed worried about something. He shouted a few things and finally told Harper he was sorry and to leave town forever and he just left. Ever since then his brother has been estranged.
He soon uncovered the big why. He had discovered something terrible about Garrett Truman. Something that made his skin crawl. All the evidence he needed was in his secret workshop, the door to which was hidden behind a bookshelf. He needed to know something in that book, something that would tell him how to protect his son from this man, if he could be called that. But as Harper dashed down the deserted side street he gasped. There in the middle of the street was Garrett Truman. “Harper Howell…just the person I hoped to run into.” Garrett said in a voice that made the hair on the back of Harper’s neck stand up. “You…” Harper growled. “You’ve figured out my secret have you Harper?” he sneered. “Too bad you had to play detective just like your little friend. You’ll meet the same messy end.” Garrett said. Harper became aware of a sharp pain. He fell over, clutching his chest. “Beckett…please let him be alright.” Harper thought desperately. Garrett smiled in a cruel way and Harper felt an explosion of pain and knew nothing more.
* * * * * *
That night Dad wasn’t at home. This wasn’t too odd, Dad often stayed very late at the library. Doing what, I had not a clue. But when I rolled out of bed the next morning he wasn’t yet home. I noted this in my mind, I would have to ask him after school what it was that was so important, if he was here by then. I left for school. My schedule had been slightly changed. During 4th Period I was to go to Survival Aptitude instead of during 6th and I would no longer take Hunting Aptitude. Then for 6th I would go back to AHL. I went to Survival Aptitude. Class was fine until the Principal entered the room, accompanied by two men in suits. “What are Men in Black doing here?” Jett whispered. I shrugged. But then the principal asked for me. I obliged, going outside the room.
“Beckett, yesterday..” The Principal, Mr. Gordon paused. “Your father’s body was found in the business district. We believe he was hit by a car.” My face fell. “I’m sorry for your loss.” He said. “No…no…this has to be some mistake.” I said, shaking my head. I backed up. “You must have the wrong man.” I said. “I’m afraid not Beckett.” Mr. Gordon said. I was filled with dismay again. Now I had no family. “I don’t believe you!” I shouted. I punched a locker. The two men in the black suits grabbed me. “Let go of me!” I yelled. The students peered out of the doors to watch. Jett and Kev looked on, keeping a struggling Kian restrained. “STOP!” I yelled. As I did I felt something strange run through me. It was like I was a live wire with electricity coursing through me. And what happened next shocked me.
As I yelled the men who had been holding me down suddenly flew off me as though some powerful force had come from me. Come to think of it everything around me flew away with such force. Even a loose door slammed shut on the students watching from beyond. I was shocked. I stood there, looking at my hand. Still looked pretty normal. The men got up and began to pursue me. I noticed the locker behind me was dented horribly as though something had slammed into it with such force. In my shock I didn’t notice the men in black suits had got me again. Then one of them pulled out a walkie-talkie. “Bring in the controllers, this school needs to be in lockdown now.” The man commanded. They kept me restrained and I wondered what was going to happen to me next.
They took me into a room. I noticed all the doors leading outside had been locked on the way in there. In the room there was only two boys but I recognized both. One was Asian, a Junior in Placement 5 named Ryker Lee. The other was the Freshman in Placement 6, Alec Grant. They chained me to a desk, like they did the other two and left. I heard footsteps running through the hallways. “It’s more of those men.” Ryker said. Alec groaned. He was the football star of us Freshman, he was the only Freshman on the Varsity team, though he didn’t look very big compared to the rest of the team I knew he had to be fast at any rate. “How long are they going to keep us here?” I asked. Ryker shrugged. “However long it takes for them to figure things out. I think we’re not going home tonight.” Ryker replied. I stared at him.
Okay I had to get out of here. I had to escape. I accepted that whatever it was that knocked those men over and destroyed a good few lockers had to be me. I had some sort of power. I reached inside my mind and I felt something odd, something I never felt before. I prodded at it, and found I could bend this to my will. I stared intently at the chain that bound me to the desk. I outstretched my arm with my palm facing the lock. I focused intently and I willed the lock to open. Much to my surprise the lock clicked open and I was free. Ryker stared, gaping at me. Alec was unconscious. I faced my palm towards Ryker’s lock. It clicked open. I did the same to Alec’s lock. “Carry him.” I said to Ryker. “We’re getting out of here.”
Ryker lifted Alec onto his back and we both hurried over to the door. I only had to stare intently at it for it to unlock and swing open. I shut it carefully behind me. I knew there was door with glass panes in it big enough to climb through if the glass were somehow broken. But Kian and the others needed me. I would have to go the opposite direction of our possible exit point. I decided to do so anyways. I dashed back down to Mr. Kennedy’s room, Ryker right behind me. I unlocked the door. One of the black suited men was in there. He stared up at me shocked. He reached for his walkie-talkie and I outstretched my arm, opening my hand. The walkie-talkie flew right across the room and into my hand. I crushed it into pieces. I brought my other arm out, reaching towards a table and balling my hand into a fist as though I wanted to grab it. The table floated in the air. I brought my fist back and let it loose as though I were punching someone. The table swung forward and hit the black suit man, knocking him out cold. I gently lowered my hand until the table was on the ground before releasing my grip. I thought very hard for a moment, closing my eyes for absolute focus. All the locks on every chain in the room snapped open. Kian, Jett and Kev followed me without hesitation.
We all ran down the hall back towards the door with glass in it. “Stand back.” I said to them. They obeyed. “Haaa!” I yelled and the glass shattered out of both of the bottom panels in each of the doors shattered open perfectly. We all climbed out and kept running, avoiding streets. We ended up in the center of an apartment complex. An old man stared at us for a moment. Then he waved for us to come over. I prepared myself to make a getaway if needed, telling the others to follow me slowly to him. “Did you just escape that school over there?” he asked, pointing in the direction we came from. I nodded slowly. “Follow me, quick before any one sees.” The old man said, rushing into a nearby apartment. We followed. I had a feeling he could be trusted.
“How did you get out of there?” The old man asked once we were all inside and the doors and windows were shut. Before I could answer Ryker pointed at me. “He made the lock come off…with his mind.” I stared, at a loss for words. The old man’s eyes brightened and he looked honored. “I knew this day would come.” He said. “Marcus come here!” He called. A clean shaven black-haired man in about his early thirties entered the room. “This boy is the One!” The old man said joyously. “What one father?” Marcus asked. “The One from the legend I’ve told you ever since you were young.” He said, still joyous. The young man’s eyes widened. “Wow it’s really an honor.” He said, shaking my hand. I was really at a loss for words now. “Marcus we must tell young Master Licht. He needs to know.” The old man said, shooting Marcus a significant look. “Oh right?!” Marcus said. “Lemme go get a contact.” He said, humbly hurrying out of the room. “Tell Philip while you’re at it.” The old man quickly added. “Please sir. The men in the black suits that locked our school down are pursuing us.” Jett said in his most polite voice. “I know they are those…those fiends. They’re as much monsters as those brutes in the Wasteland.” The old man said in an ardently affronted way. Then the old man turned to me. “Beckett…stay away from those men. And keep clear of Garrett Truman. He spells nothing but trouble for you.” The old man said in an urgent voice. I thought nothing of it until Kev spoke up. “How did you know his name? He never told you.” Kev pointed out and my jaw dropped. “I have my ways.” The old man said, undaunted.
Marcus reentered the room, followed by a slightly older man, probably in his mid-thirties. The man had a connected beard and mustache. He too had black hair. “Young Master Licht is on his way back to the city.” Marcus said. “Ah, good.” The old man replied. He made us all take a seat and introduced us to his older son Philip who was the man with the beard and mustache. I was a bit nervous. Who was this Master Licht? I pictured a big strong man. “Sir I need to go to my house.” I said. “You must stay.” He insisted. “I’m sorry sir.” I said, grabbing both Kev and Kian’s arms and pulling them out the door. Jett followed. And then we ran.
As soon as we got to the house I fell over on the front steps. It felt as though something was yanking me back and suddenly I was seeing the inside of the house. I felt there was this bookshelf in Dad’s room that I wanted to open. I saw the front door again. “You okay Beckett?” Kian asked. I jumped up, using my key to unlock the door. I dashed inside, the others following me. I ran to my dad’s room. “This bookshelf.” I said, pointing. “I need to move it.” Kev and Jett began moving it carefully. Jett gasped. “There’s a door behind this.” He said. I scrutinized it. Just as he said, there was a door. I put my hand on the knob and I could feel that something important lay beyond the door.
I opened the door and was surprised. It was a small room with no window. It was like a study. There was paper everywhere. But one odd looking journal caught my eye. I picked it up and opened it. There was a picture of Garrett Truman. I knew what he looked like, who didn’t. He was practically a town celebrity because he owned a big corporation. I flipped to the next page. And the next. It said something about some sort of monster called a Detan. I handed it to Jett. “A Detan is a type of monster. It has the appearance of a human. Detans are malicious creatures that like to kill…” Jett trailed off, reading the rest of it quietly. “That’s it.” He said, slamming the book down on the work table. “That’s why the old man told you not to go near him. Garrett Truman isn’t a human, he’s a Detan.” Jett said. “Huh?” Kev, Kian and I all said in unison. “Your dad found all this out. He’s a Detan. And he killed your mom and your little brother, they weren’t hit by a car.” Jett said. I looked at Dad’s journal. It was true. All the evidence was there.
“Then it’s obvious what we have to do.” I said. “What?” Jett asked quietly. “We’ve got to kill him…before he kills someone else.” I said. “Are you kidding?! This thing possesses great power. There’s no way..” Jett replied. “We can do it.” I said.
We left a few minutes after, taking whatever helpful things Dad had left behind. I packed my clothes and the few personal belongings I had in a backpack, including my baby blanket and my teddy bear that used to be my security item when I was little. I also took a picture of Mom, Dad and Alekzander from before I was born. Kian waited outside, holding a Molotov. When we were done taking everything useful he threw the Molotov. We watched as my house went up in flames. Dad’s discovery was something we were determined to keep a secret and the only successful way to do that was to burn my house down to get rid of all the evidence. I didn’t have a family or a home now. Finally when my house was burnt beyond recognition we walked away.
We managed to find a place to sleep. Don’t ask me how but we did. The next morning…we were ready to prepare. We had decided to kill him. Garrett Truman would never kill another person so long as we were around.
* * * * * * * * * *
The old man, Abraham, watched the youngster Alec as he slept on the couch. The other older boy named Ryker was asleep too. Abraham knew these boys needed to be out of this horrible city until it was. Until Beckett lived his destiny. The old man quietly prayed that the boy would not go to challenge that horrible brute Garrett Truman. He heard a yell as his son fell down the stairs. “Are you okay Marcus?” Abraham called out to his youngest son. “I’m alright.” Marcus said, a sheepish look on his face and Philip snickered. Abraham sighed. His son Marcus had always been that much of a blunderer, even as a boy. Perhaps it was because of how he acted. Even as a man he had the same hyper energy and behavior equivalent to that of a puppy dog. His older son, Philip, was more like a hyena. Always laughing at his younger brother’s slight eccentricity. But Philip was strong and an asset in battle. Marcus made quite the fine soldier himself. “Boys hurry up and pack.” Abraham said. “Dad are we really leaving?” Philip asked, carrying several boxes easily. “Yes Philip. This city is too dangerous.” Abraham replied. “But what are Beckett and his friends going to do? Who’s going to protect them?” Marcus asked. “Didn’t we discuss this Marcus? Young Master Licht is coming.” Abraham replied. “Yes but is he strong enough?” Marcus asked. “Is he strong enough?” Abraham asked in a very sarcastic voice. “Walsh Harken Licht isn’t called the Shadow of the Wasteland for no reason.” Abraham said.
* * * * * * * * * *
Here it was, Garrett Truman’s company. “Okay guys. Let’s end this.” I said. We entered the company, darting around in stealth mode. Jett and I were in the elevator when a hand clamped down on our shoulders. It was a man who worked in the company. I glared at him and then he released me, jumping back as though an electric current had gone through me. Jett and I prepared to jump out of the elevator but we were surrounded by men. We were half dragged into a room where a familiar face was wearing…the face I saw in my dad’s journal.
“Well, well, well.” He said. “Beckett Howell. I’ve never gotten to meet you yet.” I scowled at him. There was another boy in the room, a smaller brown haired boy. He seemed to be a prisoner like we were. Just then the guy restraining Jett was taken down by Kian, the same happened to the one restraining me as Kev arrived. More men swarmed in the room and the others began fighting behind me. You killed my family and now I’m going to kill you.” I growled at Garrett. "You are a hapless child, powerless to stop me.” Garrett said. “You’re wrong.” I said. I jumped and not to my surprise I went about 5 feet higher than I was supposed to when I did. I struck him hard in the shoulder as I passed. “I am The Power.” I said.
The small brunette boy (named Joshua I noticed as I read his thoughts) stood up. He obviously had some grudge against Garrett also. “Garrett you’re going down.” The small boy snarled. Then we attacked.
It was unlike any other fight I had been in before. Joshua and I worked together but we didn’t seem to be doing much. It was only when I heard a cry of alarm did things get ugly. It was Kian, and I saw him fall to the ground unconscious. I shouted and Garrett smiled cruelly. I saw Garrett’s underlings grab my friends. “Stupid boy.” Garrett said with a sneer. I felt wind rush past me and I fell over. “At least you’re putting up more of an effort than your foolish father did when I killed him.” He sneered. I felt rage fill every corner of my consciousness. My mind went blood-red. “Now that your father is dead I can take over this place and kill all the humans I want. But for now I’ll have to settle on killing your foolish friends first.” He sneered. I got up, ran at him but I was so angry I didn’t notice he struck me. I flew backwards. I kept getting up but I got knocked back each time. It got so hard. I was knocked back again. I didn’t even think I could get back up this time. I tried vainly to get back up, to no avail. My strength is leaving me. Maybe I was going to die like this. I saw one of Garrett’s underlings pull out a knife and bring it close to Jett’s throat. I felt a surge of energy, a new terrible kind of power rush through me. I staggered to my feet and yelled and then my mind went blank.
* * * * * * * * * *
The guy had his knife to Jett’s neck when it all went down. Beckett managed to stumble to his feet, insurmountable rage in his eyes and he yelled. That yell wasn’t an ordinary yell, it had an odd echoing quality to it, a power in it. Then his eyes went blank, a blue aura surrounding him. “It can’t be!” Garrett yelled, horrified. Joshua, laying weakly on the ground near Jett thought “He is the Power…” and suddenly the window smashed; in came a small boy with blood-red hair and a colossal broadsword. Hoping he wasn’t too late the boy leaped over, freeing Jett from his captor and putting a forcefield around the four boys near him only. This boy was the thirteen year old Walsh Harken Licht, Shadow of the Wasteland. Then he couldn’t see anything else because from Beckett a great power was unleashed all around them, destroying everything not under the forcefield and Garrett yelled and Walsh felt Garrett’s life fade away forever. When the light from the Power cleared the whole room around them was nearly destroyed. Walsh ran over to the boy, Beckett. He could die what with going into Kai’ai form like that. And then Walsh knew. “That boy is the Power.” He thought. Then he started healing Beckett. There was a lot of work to do.
I groaned. As soon as I woke up the full pain hit me. It felt as if I had just been smashed into by a train and survived. “He’s awake!” A voice yelled. I recognized it at once. It was Marcus and it was at the old man’s apartment, which had lost furniture, yet the number of people in it had grown. I got a brief moment to meet Walsh Licht, a thirteen year old kid wielding a massive sword. His hair was blood red and his eyes had a cold look to them, far different than the eyes of any thirteen year old I’d ever met. I also got to really meet the boy who helped me fight Garrett, a small brown haired twelve year old named Joshua Stormbolt. There was also a small Asian boy I got to meet. His name was Hilbert and his parents had sent him to Walsh and us for protection. He was a timid and shy boy but he naturally took a liking to me. Hilbert would be coming with us and so would Joshua. I found out why Hilbert was to go with us. The small boy could manipulate water, from what Marcus later told me, the boy had accidentally flooded his school in a fit of rage.
In about a week my faction was leaving. So it would be Kian, Kev, Jett, Walsh, Joshua, Hilbert and I altogether. Walsh led us, he was so powerful and yet he had the mind of a shell-shocked adult. Walsh told us we had to leave the city. The fact that I had destroyed one of the city’s most beloved businessmen, despite the fact he was a monster, had already outraged many people. As a matter of fact, the town was ordering the people to turn us in for execution. They could have never guessed we were in the old man’s apartment in the outskirts of town. The old man and his sons were leaving too, they were taking Ryker and Alec with them. The old man and his sons were moving my hover-van to a village that lay sprawled near a beach. The people there were old-fashioned and didn’t like how the cities worked either. Alec and Ryker would be safe there.
Walsh returned just an hour from nightfall and our departure with provisions. He gave me a long wrapped thing. I opened it. It was the most amazing sword I ever saw. Its blade gleamed brilliantly. The hilt was mostly silver with a sapphire embedded in it. “Name it.” He said in his oddly serious but childlike voice. “Reiter.” I said. “Rider huh?” Marcus asked. I nodded. “Good luck out there buddy.” Marcus said. Then we left. Walsh led us through alleys and the like until we were at the gates. “How are we getting out of here?” Hilbert asked, eyeing the big gate with concern; it looked too big to scale. Walsh pointed to the top of the gate, ten feet above us. “I get it.” I said. I lifted Kev, Kian and Jett with my mind to the top of the gate. I then lifted Hilbert on my back and I jumped, landing perfectly at the top. Joshua looked up at the gate then he climbed it with relative ease though I was sure there was no handholds. Walsh gave a final glance before jumping to the top as well. A soldier at the top yelled. Hilbert turned, shooting a jet of water at him which knocked him over as I lowered Kian, Kev and Jett to the ground. Joshua edged himself down again without handholds, jumping the last stretch of the wall. I leaped off with Hilbert next, landing softly for a fall that big. Walsh leaped down too. But we found a group of beasts waiting for us. Kian and Kev both swore under their breaths. We were now surrounded by beasts. “No way to escape. We must fight.” Walsh said in a low voice. Night had now fallen, making this more perilous than it would have been in daylight. Walsh was now holding his massive sword Kelser. Kian, Kev and Jett pulled out their own swords; Nyshin, Elder and Law respectively. They begin to fight immediately, I used my power to protect the small boy on my back who shot powerful jets of water at the fiends. There was something odd about Joshua though. He was staring at the full moon with such intensity and awe that I had to stand beside him to defend him as well. A beast knocked Joshua over. Joshua growled in an inhuman way, sounding very much like a wolf. The monster blocked my view but when I knocked the fiend off of Joshua he was not there. In his place was a big black wolf. And I knew Joshua had a power too. He could turn into a beast himself. He was not a werewolf but he could change shape at will. The full moon had just helped him to trigger this.More kept coming but something happened. A tall youth, about 17 years old came running over. As soon as he came flames erupted and the monsters fled the area. “Thank you.” Walsh said. I just stared, stunned. I heard a howl and a moment later Joshua was a boy again; beside me on his knees, his hair very tousled. “I had hoped to catch you before you went west.” The mysterious youth said. I gasped. “How did you know?” I asked. He smiled at me. “I’m a clairvoyant. And by the way my name is Skye. Skye Albreich.” He said.
Skye explained his vision to us, all the while he led us deep into a forest. He had conjured up a barrier around us so we appeared invisible to beasts. He led us into a clearing, where we set up camp. The tents we had were big and could fit about four people in them each but they also had a zipper so they could be closed. "No need though." Skye said, he could maintain the invisible, impervious barrier in his sleep. Skye smiled at us hopefully. I would be bunking with Walsh, Hilbert, and Joshua while the powerful Skye would be with Kev, Kian and Jett. Skye told us around the fire that we should head north, towards the mountains. I peered through the darkness of the forest of the mountains. The mountains seemed pretty darn far to me. But I trusted Skye. He was one of us almost immediately. After dinner we went into our tents. Everyone else fell asleep except me; I thought I had seen lights in the mountains earlier and I was thinking about them. Almost as if by cue, lights appeared through the tent in the sky above. I unzipped the tent enough to stick my head outside and I saw it, bright colorful lights hovering around in the sky. They eventually streaked across the sky above and vanished. I fell soundly asleep afterwards, as if the lights in the sky had comforted me.
The next morning I woke up the earliest. After packing everything up we started walking. As there were eight of us we walked in pairs. Skye and Kian took up the lead, followed by Hilbert and Jett. Then came Joshua and I, and Kev and Walsh took up the rear behind us. Of course on our continuous trip north we did have some complications. When we were heading through the forest I noticed Hilbert wasn’t looking too good. My instinct proved to be correct. Not even ten minutes after I had noticed, Hilbert threw up and he collapsed. Jett rushed to his aid at once and Skye used his powers to heal him somewhat. The small boy was too weak to walk and Skye believed this was because the lack of water in the area had weakened him. I started carrying him and Skye carried my pack as well as his; he seemed to be too strong to really notice. Skye had us shifted accordingly. He took up the lead alone, followed by Jett and I, then came Kian and Joshua and Kev and Walsh remained in the rear. We stopped to rest when the sun was directly over us. Skye revealed something to us. “You know Kian, Jett, Kev…you guys have powers of your own.” He said. My jaw dropped open. “No way.” Kev said, in disbelief. “Reach for it.” Skye said. He did actually show them how to use their powers. They weren’t as wide reaching as the powers that Walsh, Joshua and I but they were more like Hilbert’s. Kian controlled fire, Jett did the same with earth and Kev did wind.
Hilbert was really sick now. Most of the time he was unconscious. Skye said we might be at the place he saw in his vision soon. I hoped so. Hilbert couldn’t live like this much longer. Seven days later we had to go through a small desert. “ God damnit.” Kian cursed as we reached the desert. “You got to be kidding me.” Jett muttered. The desert was the worst. We had to give Hilbert the bulk of our water to keep him alive and it was that much harder to trudge through sand. After another four days or so we were in a forest again and the mountains were closer. By the time night had fallen we were exhausted. Joshua howled up ahead and we ran to where he was. Skye screeched to a halt and everyone ran into each other because they couldn’t brake fast enough. “What now?” I asked. Skye pointed. Not even a mile away was a big building. “We’re here.” He said. We camped right there.
I sprung up from laying down in my tent. I saw the lights again. I leaped outside. The lights flashed and then I saw three figures fall from where the lights were. They were maybe a mile away. I heard a whine beside me. There was a big black wolf beside me. “C’mon Josh, let’s go check it out.” I said, and we ran to take a look. As we entered the clearing I found out what it was.
Standing there in the clearing were three people. One was tall, with very messy black hair. The other was shorter with unruly brown hair. The third was a little boy with messy black hair as well. “What in the name of an aeroshark has happened to Earth? 200 years later and everything is different already.” the tall one said. “Well jeez this place has changed, huh Ryder?” the brunette said, addressing the tall one. “Look daddy there’s a wolf and a boy over there!” The little boy cried. The brunette turned to face Joshua and I. “So this is Beckett huh? Gideon must’ve been right about finding them here. No thanks to your bad piloting.” The brunette said. “Right.” Ryder said humbly. He walked over to me. “I’m Ryder Kaziharu and this is my friend Teddy Darkstar and his son Zackary.” Ryder said, walking over. “We were supposed to give you this.” The little boy said, walking over. He handed me a Rubik’s cube. “What..?” I asked, but Teddy cut me off. “You’ll see. Come on now guys.” He said, pulling Ryder and Zackary with him. “But dad..” Zack said but Teddy quickly replied, saying “We have to get to Valerion on time or Kaylie’s gonna kill us all.” He said. They turned to face me. “See you next time Beckett.” The little boy said, smiling and waving. Then the three of them vanished.
Joshua and I managed to sneak back. How we fell asleep, I didn’t know. The next morning though we finally reached the buildings. We were so happy to be done with this trip that we were cheering. The sign told us this was a school. Arkenwing, it said. “Take Hilbert to the pool.” Skye told me. I scaled the fence until I found the pool…the only problem was that there was a gym class in between me and it. “Ah well.” I said, jumping over the fence and landing very near them. The gym teacher, a dark-haired man with blue eyes like mine, gave me a suspicious look and then he yelled at me when I ran past them. I jumped the fence to the pool, threw Hilbert in and leaped back over the fence to see what this guy wanted. He shot what appeared to be a fireball at me. I jumped, dodging it. “You’re one of those Wastelanders huh?” he challenged me. “Uh…not exac-“ I didn’t finish because I had to jump to avoid another fireball he threw at me. I kept dodging these until he gave me this odd look. “Tell you what.” He said. “Beat my kids at a game of dodgeball and we’ll talk.” Eager to not get burnt to a crisp, I nodded my head. “Easy.” I said. All forty of them against me. This was gonna be fun.
They all started throwing. I caught one of them, jumped about ten feet to miss a few of em and I just threw the balls back at em. I even didn’t jump at one point. I leaped high in the air before throwing the ball down with such force the last time, just to look cool. The man contemplated me. “Okay you got talent kid.” He said. “What’s your name?” he asked. I hesitated for a moment, before finally saying “Beckett Howell.” He stiffened and looked at me surprised. “Beckett?” he asked. “Uh…what?” I replied nervously. “I’m Roy Howell…your uncle.” He said. I was stunned. Then I could remember him, just barely though I must have been really young. “Thank the stars you survived.” He said, walking over and hugging me. And I was happy because I still had a family.
The Power-Chapter Two: The Rebellion
We all got acquainted right then and there. Uncle Roy had heard of Walsh before, to no one’s surprise. The more surprising part was that as soon as I recalled my whole story to Uncle Roy he slammed his fist down on the desk. We were in his office. It was just me, him, Walsh, and my twelve year old cousin Colin. “I won’t have it.” He said, fervently. “Your dad’s old friend may have been right…the time for the Rebellion is now.” He said. I immediately became interested. “Rebellion?” I asked. He looked at me. “Of course. We have to go against the town. My kids are talented enough but we need more manpower.” He said, grabbing some weird little thing about the size of a half-dollar. It had odd writing on it, in some other language maybe. “Well I’ve got no choice but to call the Rebellion.” He said. He picked up the coin and spun it on its edge and it spun faster and faster, never falling but it started glowing. “Here Colin go use the bull-roarer outside.” Uncle Roy said. Colin nodded. He was small for twelve, with white-blond hair and blue eyes. Colin took the bull-roarer outside and a few minutes later I heard the bull-roarer.
As I went to tell the others about the Rebellion that night I heard Joshua. He sounded distressed. “Please…I really like you.” He said. I peered around a corner. He was standing with some girl. “You leave me alone Joshua Stormbolt!” she cried, frustrated. He tried to say something else but she pushed him away. Joshua went running in the other direction, right past me, as he was running I saw a very quick transition and then he was a wolf. He paused to howl sorrowfully at the moon before scampering off into the forest. I did notice Joshua, ever since he discovered his power, had become more and more wolfish. His blue eyes had a wolfy look to them, his nails had become exceptionally strong and sharp, his teeth were abnormally sharp. His hair often looked more and more tousled than it used to. He ate a lot of meat and he sometimes panted with his tongue hanging out like a dog’s…by habit of course. He also tended to howl for no reason or make yipping noises. And when he got wet he always shook off like a dog, even when he wasn’t in his wolf form. One thing I almost didn’t notice was these two scars on the low part of the right side of his face, like something had tried to scratch him. I never asked about it. As a human Joshua even had an odd fascination with wolves; whenever he got a piece of paper it would slowly accumulate drawings of running wolves, howling wolves, snarling wolves and whole packs on the move on it.
“Josh!” I yelled, following him. I suddenly realized Skye was right behind me. After quite a bit of running we finally found him in wolf form among a lot of other wolves. I approached him but the wolves didn’t attack neither me or Skye. As a matter of fact a few wolves approached us, wagging their tails very friendly like a bunch of dogs. “They know we’re Kaliphs.” Skye said mysteriously. “What’s a Kaliph?” asked Joshua, who was now in human form again but still surrounded by the pack. “I think it’s time to tell you what my dad told me as a small boy.” Skye said, smiling.“A long, long time ago, when our cities weren’t so advanced and your great great, great, grandfather wasn’t even born yet, there was a hero. He was only a boy and his name was Samuel. Samuel was looked up to by so many people because he used his powers for good. Samuel became a great hero, known by all for his goodness. Samuel met a beautiful queen named Daphne who became his wife and they had many children. He had ten children to be exact, six boys and four girls and their names were Jeremiah, Dorothy, Josephine, Robert, Ethel, Matthew, Matilda, Isaac, Luna and Rudolph; they were born in that order exactly. The queen fell ill and Samuel rushed to his side. At this time an unknown evil tried to harm Samuel. His children protected him with their combined powers. His children had children and the line of power went on. “ Skye said. We were entranced by it. “This is how we got our powers. Samuel the Great is our ancestor. His children are our ancestors. Beckett, you and your uncle and cousins are descended from the oldest son, a telekinetic named Jeremiah. I am descended from the clairvoyant and mnemokinetic Dorothy; Old man Abraham and his sons are descended from the time manipulator and alchemist Joseph; Kian is descended from the pyrokinetic Robert; Jett is descended from the earth and plant manipulator and Nature-speaker Ethel; Hilbert is descended from hydrokinetic and Waterbreather Matthew; Kev is descended from air and wind manipulator Matilda; Walsh is descended from hypnotist and telepathic Isaac; and Joshua is descended from beast-boy Rudolph, who could also speak to animals. We have yet to find the descendants of Luna, the youngest daughter, but we believe that her descendants should be able to make themselves invisible and control shadows as she did.” Skye concluded.