Authors: Kevin Hardman
I shot an angry look at Paramount as I braced myself and started to rise from the floor. He put a hand up to his mouth, as if to hide his snickering after having knocked me down. I can’t explain what happened next, but fury such as I had never felt - all-encompassing and all-controlling - exploded inside me.
I switched into super speed, moving so fast that later, even on film slowed down as much as possible, my movements were a blur. I grabbed the chair I had been sitting in, and in one smooth motion folded it up, spun around, and hit Paramount with it squarely on the chin in uppercut fashion.
I mentioned before that I don’t actually have super strength, but when moving at top speed I can mimic it pretty well. Paramount’s head snapped back and he went sailing bodily up into the air. He hit the back wall with an audible smack that shattered plaster, then slid down to the floor.
I stood frozen, still gripping the chair. I seriously doubted that I had hurt him; at only sixteen, Paramount was already practically invulnerable, like his father. The lick I’d just laid on him was probably akin to an adult getting poked in the eye by a baby. It catches you a little off-guard, but it’s more irritating than painful, with no lasting effect.
Sadly, I was right. Paramount started to get up…
A Superhero Novel
This book is a work of fiction contrived by the author, and is not meant to reflect any actual or specific person, place, action, incident or event. Any resemblance to incidents, events, actions, locales or persons, living or dead, factual or fictional, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Hardman.
Cover Design by Isikol
This book is published by I&H Recherche Publishing.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Table of Contents
I would like to thank the following for their help with this book: First and foremost, the good LORD, who has been generous in bestowing many blessings in my life; my brother Darrell, who made a career out of sharing his comic books with me; my children, who served as my inspiration; and my wife, who has always encouraged my writing, even when I myself thought I was better-suited for other things.
In a remote corner of a major metropolitan city, in a deserted industrial wasteland of gutted factories and boarded warehouses, deep underground and far from prying eyes, menacing figures gather to plot the fate of the world.
There are six of them, but not all have appeared in person. In fact, only one may be said to be physically present in the room. Three others appear by hologram, ghostly blue projections emanating from unknown origins. Another speaks through a robotic representative, its weaponry and offensive capabilities plainly evident. The last speaks through a golem - a human body without a mind of its own.
“Omen, why have you called this meeting?” The speaker is the golem, a female this time, its high voice oddly hollow but eerily suited to the empty look in its eyes. It sits at a marble top table next to the robot. “I thought we agreed there would be limited communication until all was in readiness.”
“Yes, that was indeed the plan, Slate,” Omen responds. He is a robed and hooded figure. He sports a neatly trimmed black beard, and might under ordinary circumstances be considered quite handsome but for one disturbing feature: his eyes – dark and brooding at even the best of times – are completely black, evidence that at the moment he is entertaining some vision of the future. “Unless there was an emergency.”
“What manner of emergency?” asks one of the holograms, a swirling mass of disjointed shapes and obscure images – the projection of the extra-dimensional alien known as Summit.
“A new variable has arisen, a deviation that cannot be accounted for and which might actually interfere with our plans.”
“How is that possible?” asks Versus, another hologram. “You claim to be the most powerful precognitive on the planet, able to see the future in clear and unerring detail. We’ve staked everything on your purportedly infallible ability – and arrogant claims – that success was assured.”
“Precognitive does not mean omniscient. There are always variables in play, other possibilities and probabilities that could take on the shape of reality.”
“Now he tells us!”
“Calm yourself, Versus,” says the golem. “Tell us, Omen, what is this variable? Whatever its nature, we will find a resolution. We’ve come too far to be denied now.”
“It’s not a what; it’s a who.”
“Then the solution is obvious.” The robot’s claws extend and etch deep grooves into the marble table as they retract. “We merely need a name.”
“The one they call Kid Sensation.”
I was taken aback when I saw it. At the time, I was in my Mohawk persona: six feet six inches of impressive mocha-colored muscle and incomparable physique. (Not to mention the intimidating haircut, the source of my pseudonym.) I had just turned in another super criminal, Drillbit, and was waiting at the police station for confirmation that the reward on him had been transferred to my account. I just happened to glance at the wanted posters on the wall next to the on-duty desk, and that’s when I saw it.
|INFORMATION LEADING TO THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE SUPER KNOWN AS KID SENSATION.|
|ALIASES:||KID; THE KID; KID SENSATION|
|POWERS:||FLIGHT; SHAPESHIFTING; SUPER SPEED; TELEPATHY; TELEKINESIS; TELEPORTATION; PHASING; BELIEVED TO HAVE OTHER POWERS BUT NATURE UNKNOWN.|
|LAST KNOWN WHEREABOUTS:||UNKNOWN|
Underneath the word “WANTED” was a grainy photo, a frame frozen from the interview Kid Sensation had given to that reporter, Sylvia Gossett, two years earlier. It showed a young, dark-skinned teen from the neck up.
I tapped the poster and turned to the officer on duty. “Why is this here?”
The officer glanced at where I was pointing. “Ah…thinking about going after the Kid, huh? That would be a sweet payday.”
“Except he’s not a criminal.”
“Are you kidding?” The officer was incredulous. “After what he did?”
I fumed silently, trying to keep the emotion out of my voice and face.
“This poster doesn’t list a crime,” I said flatly. “It doesn’t even say that he’s wanted for anything. It just says that they want info leading to his whereabouts.”
The officer shrugged. “So?”
“So, his picture shouldn’t be hanging up here with the scum of the universe - these freaks, fugitives, and felons who committed real crimes.”
“Hey man,” the officer held his hands up defensively, “we just post what the Watch Commander tells us.”
I grunted my disapproval. A few more minutes passed by in uncomfortable silence. Then a computer in front of the officer beeped.
“Alright,” the officer said, “the reward should be in your account.”
I turned to leave, still upset about the wanted poster.
“You really should think about going after Kid Sensation, though,” the officer said to my back. “Even without the reward, catching him would make you so famous you could write your own ticket.”
I left the police station in a huff. Why would I want to capture Kid Sensation? I
I stepped out of the police station into the sunny warmth of a beautiful summer day. I had a little time to kill, so I decided to take a nice leisurely walk, which is not something I do very often. On this particular occasion, though, it gave me a chance to be alone with my thoughts. Thus, it wasn’t until after about fifteen minutes of random strolling that I realized, with a bit of a start, that I was being followed. Not a problem in and of itself (because I knew I could shake practically any pursuer without a lot of effort), but still somewhat annoying.
I was walking down a busy street in the shopping district at the time. Although my height as Mohawk made me stand out, the crowd was just dense enough that any tail I’d picked up could lose track of me for a second.
I hadn’t really seen the person following me, just felt their heightened anxiety when I passed out of their line of sight for a moment. As an empath, I typically tune out the emotions of people in close proximity to me, much like the average person will disregard conversations going on around them. However, my follower’s initial panic at momentarily losing track of me was the equivalent of having someone shout my name from across the street. In fact, I normally would have detected this level of distress from someone a lot sooner. Unfortunately, I was distracted by two things: the wanted poster I’d seen in the police station, and - more importantly - an odd buzzing sensation in my head, which usually indicated the manifestation of another power.
For a second, I wondered what power it was. It wasn’t super strength; when I’d awakened with my head buzzing that had been the first thing I’d tested by trying to lift the sofa with one hand. No luck. Despite all my abilities (and hopeful prayers), that was one of the few super powers I didn’t have. Or didn’t have
, since it appeared that - from the perspective of developing super powers – I was still in puberty to a certain extent.
Turning my thoughts back to my stalker, I stopped for a minute to look in the show window of a jewelry store. While pretending to admire a tennis bracelet, I reached out empathically and felt for him…there, behind me and to the left – nervousness, dread, and a number of other bundled-up emotions directed at me. I glanced casually in that direction, pinpointing the source of the feelings I was picking up. A small, pinched-faced man with a scraggly beard and sunglasses was looking in my direction. He was no one I knew.
For a brief moment, I considered confronting him. As Mohawk, I enjoyed a reputation as a fearsome bounty hunter. I had captured several notorious criminals – super criminals, to be precise – and was starting to garner particular attention in certain circles. Could this guy be the friend of someone I’d brought in? Was he looking for payback? Was he some kind of fan?
I looked at my watch. I was supposed to meet Braintrust shortly for the debrief; I didn’t have a lot of time to mess around. Bearing that in mind, I could just disappear or zip away, but I decided to have a little fun. (Plus I was a little bit curious.)