Read Hunting Heroes: A Superhero Novel Online

Authors: Derek Pozel

Tags: #Science Fiction | Superheroes

Hunting Heroes: A Superhero Novel

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Hunting Heroes

A Superhero Novel

 

 

By Derek Pozel

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, events and incidents are a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the real world is purely coincidental because is a complete work of fiction.

 

Copyright © 2015 Derek Pozel

All rights reserved.

 

 

Cover design by Derek Pozel

 

Cover Art “Grunge ripper paper USA flag pattern” by Andrey Kuzmin/Shutterstock.com

 

Cover Art “Detailed vector Chicago silhouette skyline with USA flag” by Irina Solatges/Shutterstock.com

To my wife,

For believing in me

 

To my mother,

For always letting me find my own path

 

To my family,

For putting up with me all these years

 

To my nieces and nephew,

Dream big

 

Special thanks to

To Sam,

For editing those rough early drafts and sitting through the mess of ideas that spilled out of my head

 

To Frank,

For letting me bounce ideas off you in those early years

Chapter One

When the people of Chicago screamed to the sky for help, the superhero Patriot was the only one who answered their call. Today, he perched atop an antenna on the Sears Tower. This was his place to find peace in a city of millions, to keep a watchful eye on those below his dangling feet.

Patriot sucked in the air through his dry lips and leaned back onto his hands. He closed his eyes and pointed his head to the sunlight pecking through the puffy white clouds. The warmth of the sun washed over him in waves, he cracked a smile when the chill of the wind kissed his exposed skin.

The faint echo of an explosion reached his ears, breaking his serenity. His eyes sprang open and a smirk twisted on his lips. He jumped to his feet, slid his goggles over his hazel eyes. He pushed his shoulders back and puffed out his chest. Patriot thrust his right fist towards the clouds and he darted upward into the sky. Duty called yet again.

A thirteen-year-old boy with short unruly black hair and midnight blue eyes sat alone staring out the grime coated window of the crowded school bus. His eyes bounced to every building and face he passed in the hopes he would see a hero, not just any hero, the ultimate superhero Patriot.

A loud pop in the distance broke Garrett from his endless gaze out the window. He sighed when he peeked over the back of the stiff vinyl seat at the girl who sat behind him. The sight of her strawberry blond hair in the sparse sunlight caused his heart to flutter. He could not hide his smile when he locked onto her copper colored eyes. They shone with a radiance, which made him forget about the outside world and the heroes who roamed the streets in secrecy.

“Do you see any, Emma?” Garrett asked over the sound of the other young teens on the bus. “Because I don’t see anything.”

“Nope, sorry,” Emma said. “I don’t think we’ll see anyone flying around today. I think they like hiding and being mysterious.”

“I’d be awesome if we did,” Garrett said. “I still can’t believe there are real life superheroes. I know Ethan would be jealous if we saw one. It’d make this field trip much better than going to the museum.”

“You and your Afflicted. It’s all you talk about,” Emma said. “And all Ethan talks about is girls at his school.”

“I hate that they call them the Afflicted. It’s stupid,” Garrett rolled his eyes.

“I don’t know why they do,” Emma said. “But don’t forget, all the Afflicted aren’t heroes. There are more bad ones than good ones.”

“I know, but still, they can do anything they want!” Garrett’s eyes lingered on Emma.

“Not anything they want. They still have to follow rules,” Emma tilted her body closer to Garrett. “How come I never hear you talking about girls? Do you have a secret crush on someone you haven’t told me about? I thought we were best friends. I swear, I won’t tell anyone.”

Garrett pretended he could not hear her over the sounds on the bus and shifted his attention back to the window. He cowered in his seat and his face flushed, he prayed Emma did not notice.

“There’s the museum,” Emma raised herself over the back of Garrett’s seat. “Look at the lions.” She whispered into Garrett’s ear and pointed at the green lion statues.

The sweet scent of her hair filled his nostrils, his next words froze in his throat. Garrett tilted his head and stole a glance at her angelic face an eyelash away. He found it difficult to swallow the lump in his throat and forced a cough instead.

“Looks like Garrett and Emma are about to kiss!” one of their classmates yelled from the back of the bus.

Emma jerked her head away from Garrett and dropped back into her seat.

Garrett jumped up and spun around. “Shut up, Tim!”

“Ignore him,” Garrett said and found it impossible to look her in the eyes. “Tim’s being an idiot. But yeah, the lions are cool looking I guess. We can take a picture by them or something.”

Emma stared at the sticky floor of the bus. “I’d like that,” she looked up and cracked a slight smile.

“Me too,” Garrett said. He sat back down and slid his hands under his legs to stop them from shaking.

The bus turned down a street two blocks past the museum and slowed to a stop. The eager students rose from their uncomfortable seats, ready to meet the outside world.

With a dismissal from their teachers, they were given instructions on where they all would meet. The students had an hour to explore the city. They began to push to the front of the bus, to escape their cage, to taste freedom in the city of Chicago.

The sounds of the city overtook each student when they stepped off the bus. The city seemed chaotic and wild compared to their mundane lives in the suburbs.

“Wow,” Garrett whispered when he exited the bus. His eyes scaled the buildings and he thought they swayed in the wind. His ears bombarded with the background noise of people, cars and the voices of his excited classmates around him. He felt a hand tug on the back of his navy blue jacket and it brought him back from the city overtaking his senses.

Garrett turned to see Emma with a wide smile on her face. “Stick close to me,” she said.

Emma let go of his jacket and shuffled through their classmates, to take her place by his side. Her soft hand brushed against his, and the two friends shared an awkward glance.

“I like your nail polish,” Garrett blurted out. “It’s purple, your favorite color.”

“Thanks,” Emma stroked a loose strand of hair back behind her ear.

Garrett searched for the courage to take her hand into his own; he ended up smoothing out his jeans instead.

Garrett feigned interest in the city around them when they began to walk down the street to Michigan Avenue. Emma walked alongside him, talking to one of the other girls in their class. Garrett was in his own world, his body moved with the group of students, his mind on the girl beside him.

Garrett stole a peek to his right and felt Emma’s hand graze against his own. Goosebumps rose along his arm and a flood of butterflies took flight in his stomach. Emma slid her delicate hand into his, and his world forever changed.

He gave Emma a nervous glance and found relief when he saw the perfect smile across her gentle lips. They stopped on the cracked concrete sidewalk and let the herd of classmates continue on. The world slipped away, they were lost in each other for only a passing moment. It was enough.

“You knew?” he asked. “I should have been the one to make the first move.”

“Of course I did,” she said.

He dropped his eyes to stare at her feet. “I was too scared you wouldn’t like me and we wouldn’t be friends anymore.”

Emma chuckled and lifted his head with her free hand. “Garrett, we’ve been friends since we were five years old. I care about you. I always have and always will.”

“I know and I care about you too,” Garrett said. “I’m just…so shy around you lately. I was worried you thought I was weird or didn’t want to be friends with you.”

“You’re always weird, it’s who you are,” Emma said. “You make me laugh and you are always there for me.” She peeked around to see if anyone watched and noticed people were distracted by something in the sky behind Garrett.

She leaned forward and gave him a quick soft kiss. “That’s two,” she said when she pulled away. Garrett touched his fingers to his lips his eyes wide open. He felt incredible warmth radiate throughout his whole body.

“You’re the one who has to tell Ethan,” Emma said.

Garrett’s face darkened at the thought. “I am going to get my butt kicked. I think it’s worth it.” He could not contain the idiotic grin, which overtook his flushed face.

A shiver crawled down Garrett’s spine and his body trembled. The lovers haze lifted and the world came back into focus. Something felt off to him, the sensation would not go away. He chalked it up to nerves, excitement and his first kiss.

“Oh my God!” A boy from his class yelled, pointing to the sky. Garrett’s head followed the boy’s arm. He saw two shapes above Lake Michigan. His eyes opened wide to match the smile on his face.

Emma dug her fingers into Garrett’s arm. “Do you see that?”

“It’s them,” Garrett said to Emma. He shrugged off the strange feeling in his body. “It’s an Afflicted.”

“Are you sure?” Emma said, her grip on Garrett’s hand grew tighter.

“It’s Patriot! It has to be,” Garrett said. He let Emma’s hand fall from his own when he stepped closer to the curb.

Garrett turned back to Emma. “It’s him. I can make out his blue uniform even from down here.”

Emma sighed and moved to stand beside Garrett. “This is your lucky day.”

Garrett blushed and took her small hand into his own. “It really is.”

“Garrett, I think we should move back.” Emma squeezed Garrett’s hand to get his attention. “I don’t think we should be this close to them,” her voice lost over the cheers of the onlookers.

Garrett pulled his eyes away from the sky and took both of her hands into his own. Confidence he did not know he possessed swelled within him. “It’ll be ok. Go wait by the newsstand behind us. I’ll be there in a minute. Then we’ll go take our picture with the lions at the museum.”

Emma tilted her head past Garrett to see the battle in the sky. “Don’t take too long,” Emma looked into Garrett’s dark blue eyes. “I know you want to see this, but be careful.”

“Two minutes and I’ll be there,” Garrett said.

Emma let her hands fall to her side. “I’ll be waiting for you to come find me.”

“I’ll never lose you,” Garrett whispered to Emma when she slid past him.

Garrett peeked at Emma while she pushed her way back through the crowd. A gasp from the group around him grabbed his attention. He spun around in time to see what had caused the commotion.

The Afflicted darted back and forth across the sky in furious battle. Cold blue lights burst from the villain’s hands while he chased after Patriot, they now moved closer to the city.

Garrett moved with the herd alongside the curb to follow the battle. His eyes never left the sky. The Afflicted started as small dots of varying colors on the horizon had now taken shape, to form two super powered men.

Arrays of lights shimmered for a second before they faded into nothing. It reminded Garrett of the fireworks on the fourth of July, except these came from a person’s hand.

“Cool,” he said.

Garrett rubbed the back of his head. “Do you feel anything?” Garrett said to the man who stood beside him. The man did not answer.

“Sir, do you feel anything? Like something crawling on the back of your neck?” Garrett asked again. A murmur escaped from the man’s lips. Everyone was too in awe at what they watched to even speak. Garrett swung his head back to the action up above. Then he heard a singular cheer race through the crowd.

Garrett saw the man in red topple to the ground. While the villain plummeted, he unleashed another beam of light. This time he caught Patriot directly in the chest. Patriot’s body jerked backwards higher into the air from the force of the attack. A trail of blue fire chased after him.

“Whoa,” Garrett ignored the tingling in his body. He continued to watch the two super powered men recover from their fall. Traffic began to pile up in the streets when people began to get out of their cars, to join the crowd of spectators. Customers poured from restaurants and stores, curious to see what caused the commotion outside.

Garrett watched the man in red dart over Michigan Avenue with Patriot in close pursuit. He dared not to blink when he witnessed Patriot spin in midair to dodge of volley of beams that came from the man in red. One struck a building and it rippled with blue fire when it met the concrete.

His stomach dropped when the man in red stopped above the street 30 feet away. He squinted and noticed a red gloved hand aimed towards the building next to him. The other pointed at the spectators on Garrett’s side of the street.

Garrett heard Patriot say, “Enough Coldfire, you’ve made your point.”

Screams echoed throughout the city as a stampede of people tried to escape Coldfire and his eerie glowing hands. Garrett held firm and watched the two men exchange words, they were drowned out by the roar of the crowd.

“Emma,” Garrett’s eyes widened, realizing he had moved with the crowd. He swung his eyes back down the street, to where he stood with her Emma. Panic spread throughout his body like a disease when he saw Coldfire’s last stand was the same place he told Emma to wait. He turned and marched back to his Emma. Back to the hand, he never should have let go.

He searched the faces when he fought his way forward. None were the small girl with the copper eyes. She was nowhere to be found.

“How could I have left her?” Garrett said. “What was I thinking?”

Garrett stirred his body into motion and mowed his way through the retreating crowd. Bodies pushed and pressed against him. The scent of cheap cologne and sweat filled his nostrils. His blue eyes darted past each face for any sign of her. They came up as strangers. Each step became harder the closer he got to the newsstand. He could not stop or the horde of people would sweep him away.

“Emma!” Garrett said, his voice an echo in the screams.

His body tossed about when it crashed against the wave of people. Faintly, Garrett thought he could hear his name on the wind.

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