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Friday, August 4, 2017

Lawbreaker - Chapter 3 by Azriel Johnson

    Thirteen-year-old Sam did NOT run into her uncle Peter’s arms like 10, 11, even 12 year old Sam did.  This was teenage Sam now, someone no longer interested in people pleasing or uncle smiling.  Even though Peter was still Sam’s favorite uncle… she figured it would be a good five or so years until she would be outwardly grateful again.  He knew she loved him.  If it wasn’t for Peter, Sam wouldn’t be alive.  She put on airs that she didn’t want to be alive sometimes, but that was the teenager talking again, the depression, the hormones, the everything.
    She also had yet to develop her powers.  This was problematic.
    Most people developed their powers right away, within weeks, days or even hours of their Curasol injection, but Sam still waited.  It had been five and there were some dangerous complications associated with that.
    One percent of people injected with Curasol developed the ability to block other powered person’s abilities.  So in theory, a 1%er could walk by a flyer and without even trying, make them crash, almost instantly, unless the flyer had enough momentum to move past the 1%er’s sphere of influence.
    One percenters also developed a raging psychosis which turned almost all of them into maniacs, murderers, generally menaces to society.  Sam was especially worried about this development.  She knew she had dark thoughts, but she didn’t want to hurt anyone, at least not yet.  Not ever!  But if she were a 1%er she might start wanting that and she didn’t want that!
    She was content with just being a teenager and getting a power she could use for good, like her uncle, even though she never smiled at him when he told her of his adventures.
    He stopped a five-year-old with shockwave powers.  Admittedly, cool.  Sam shrugged it off with a scoff.  “Pfft, a five-year-old.  What a big man.”
    Peter smiled.  He knew what was happening.  He didn’t mind the snark.  He’d had it too at her age.
    “Hey,” Peter said.  “I got you a present.”
    “What is it?”
    “Close your eyes.”
    Sam rolled her eyes, then closed them.
    Peter ducked out of the room and returned with a life sized cut out of Torsion, another level 1 powered individual, often called a hero by the rest of the world.  Torsion had super strength.  From the inhalation Repeat had taken during one particularly harrowing battle, Torsion was the physically strongest powered person in existence.  Torsion allowed Repeat to take the picture after the battle.  Repeat took the picture to the local print shop and had it pasted on a cardboard stand and some careful cutting later, voila!
    Last Peter knew, Sam was still head over heels for Torsion.  She even got to meet him once in plain clothes (Torsion wore a hero costume when he was ‘on duty’).  Torsion was cordial to his young fan and Sam accidentally drooled on Torsion’s hand when they shook.
    “Ready?” Peter said.  “Open your eyes.”
    Sam opened her eyes.  She looked the Torsion cut out up and down and sniffed.  “You’re a failure as an uncle.”  She grabbed the cardboard cut out and carried it to her set aside room in Peter’s apartment.  She carefully set up the cardboard cut out to stand next to the bed opposite the door and laid down staring at the figure.  She smiled the biggest smile she had in months.

~ * ~

    Justin saw the job line at City Hall and scoffed.  Without a word, he walked to the front of it.  This, of course, angered the person at the head of the line, who had no doubt stood in that line for an hour.
    “Hey, pal,” the person, now behind Justin said.  “There’s a line.  Get to the back of it.”
    “I don’t have time,” Justin said.  “I have to get a job.”
    “We all have to get a job.  You gotta wait your turn.”
    Justin didn’t turn back to face the angry line mob.  The angry mob became angrier when the clerk yelled, “Next!” and Justin walked forward.
    “You won’t like me when I get pissed, pal,” the head of the line said.
    “What are you going to do?” Justin asked, challenging, but still not turning around.
    The head of the line growled and conjured a ball of fire in his hands.  The fire in his hands matched the shock of red hair on his head.  “They call me Fireball.  If you don’t get to the back of the line, you’re going to see why.”
    Justin pointed at the clerk, “One sec.”  He turned and watched as Fireball’s hands moved around the ball of fire.
    “Where do you get the fire from?” Justin asked.
    “I heat up the air to the point the molecules separate, hydrogen from oxygen, then I heat up the hydrogen to make a perpetual fire.”
    Justin took a few steps forward.  “So, you make a tiny sun.  That’s not safe.”
    Fireball smirked.  “You gonna head to the back of the line?”
    “No,” Justin said.  He held his thin right pointer finger out and poked the tiny sun.
    As if someone snuffed the ball like a match, it disappeared.  It wasn’t put out.  It wasn’t sucked up into anything.  It just vanished.  There was no last hurrah of vaporization.  Just… gone.
    Fireball stepped back.
    Justin stepped forward.  He put his hand on Fireball’s chest, Fireball immediately hit the floor and couldn’t move.  “What… are you… doing to… me?” Fireball barely managed to croak out the words.
    Justin bent at the waist to come face to face with Fireball.  “I’m breakin’ the law.”
    Justin stood up straight and turned to go back to his transaction.  Trouble was, now there were three police officers in his way.  Justin cracked his knuckles and neck.
    “I guess this means, no jobs for me today.”

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