by U.B. Schultz
This is where you can find my works in progress and advice that I have for other writers.
Welcome to my first post! It's chapter one of Trial by Fire from the first superhero trilogy I'm writing! Enjoy!|
The crunching of leaves pierces the crisp autumn air like a needle. I bolt out of sight. Man, these guys are like hounds! I don’t understand why they’re chasing me. It might be because I’m the son of the cruelest man in town and I didn’t turn out like him or that I declined their invitation to join their gang.
My mom left my dad ten years ago when I was five. I don’t know why she left, but my dad blames me for it. He was a different man before she left, but now he’s always angry and drunk, and he beats me. I’m done putting up with him. I’m running away.
“You can run but you can’t hide Tarquin!” Snarls the portly gang leader. I think his name is Antonio. “Oh yeah?” I taunt from my hiding space in the bushes, “Then how come you haven’t found me?” “We’ll find you soon enough!” Bellows Antonio’s weasel-faced cronie. They’re going to find me soon. There aren’t many places to hide, and in a minute, they’ll have searched the whole area so I dart over to a tree and begin climbing, the rough bark scraping my shins. When I’m about fifteen feet up, the smallest of them, Tank, notices me and squeaks, “There he is!” Dang, it.
For a moment, I freeze. Then, I scramble down the tree, knowing it would be no good to keep climbing. They’d make sure that I’d fall and break my neck, rendering me defenseless or dead. I’ve seen it happen before when they wanted Bertram, a quiet young man known for his strength, to join them. He hasn’t been the same since. I land on my feet and try to get at least a small foothold in the situation. “Haha, you found me. I gave you a good bit of sport though didn’t I?” I fake a laugh, trying to hide how scared I am. Antonio and the rest of the boys look at me as if I lost my head. For a split second, I think I have some sort of foothold, but their shock only lasts momentarily as they close the circle around me, cutting off all forms of escape. “No one says no to the Pyrokinetics. I like you, Tarquin, so I’m giving you one last chance. Will you join us?” I look from face to leering face and make my probably last decision. “No.” “I thought that might be the answer. Boys, take him to the hideout and teach him what fire really is.”
I dodge as one of the ‘boys’ tries to pull a sack over my head, but two others are a step ahead, grabbing my arms and tying them behind my back. I struggle uselessly against my captors as the burlap sack goes on. The next five minutes are silent as they march me to where ever their hideout is.
When we reach their hideout, the sack comes off, and I am tied to a metal pole. The men take turns ‘roughing me up’ which basically means each of them brutally punch me so hard that it’s going to bruise for weeks if I even live that long.
Once I’m beaten senseless, they decide that they’re done for now. I heave a sigh of relief although it sounds more like a wheeze because my face is so swollen. The Pyrokinetics laugh cruelly. This is worse than any flogging my father could have given me.
I was used to pain sure. I practically lived with it, but it only ever had to live up to one man’s satisfaction, my father’s. When he was done, he let me go, but these men, they would never be done.
They’re sitting at a table playing cards. Their murmurs float through the stale air of what I can only assume is an abandoned ware house. Not so abandoned now. “We’re going to have to do it.” “We’ve already put it off too long.” My head is spinning, not only from pain
but with questions. Do what? My lesson with fire? Putting it off? “Someone’s going to have to do it.” This voice is gentle, deep, and whispery. It barely carries even though the air is still and quiet. “You mean you’re going to have to do it Phobe’.” “But I-” “Or we can have Shred do it. He’ll be a lot less gentle about it.” A beat. “Fine.”
One of the men break off from the group and stalks toward me. His face is pale. So pale that it almost looks grey. He’s scared. Nearly as scared as I am. He pauses and examines my face for a moment then draws back his hand as if to slap me. I flinch and he gently presses the palm of his hand to my face. “I’m sorry.” He whispers and everything crumbles to black.
It stays dark for a few moments and then there’s a tickling warmth at the back of my mind. I smell smoke, and feel sunlight, but I can’t see anything. A bitter, acrid taste fills my mouth, blood. Heat crawls up my legs and then everything explodes in a whirlwind of fire. My right arm feels as though it was being poked by a million white hot needles. Everything smells of pain, blood, and smoke. I hear a gunshot, the splat of blood on the floor and then, nothing.
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