Book 1: Justyce Begins
Episode 3: Monsters and Heroes
Gavin didn’t look convinced. “An angel? Are you serious? That’s impossible, Logan. Maybe he’s part of whatever is going on. Be careful, Logan. The army is involved. I think you should stay away from Obadiah until we talk to dad.”
“Come with me, please, Gav. Let me show you what I found.” Logan led his brother back to the field and down to the crater’s center. “Look at that. Doesn’t it look like the imprint of a body? And look at the size of this crater, and the footprints only lead out of the crater, not in.”
“It is all very odd. I guess that’s the theme of the day. But an angel, Logan? I just don’t know. It could mean just what I said. He could be a part of whatever is happening.”
“Gavin, there’s something else. The feather was glowing a bright blue earlier, the same blue as all these little meteor rocks! Explain that! Touch one, and maybe you’ll understand.” He picked up a blue rock and tossed it to his brother.
“What the hell? It feels weird. Like it’s pulsing or something.” Gavin was now staring at the glowing blue rock in the palm of his hand. “Grab a couple more rocks so we can show them to dad when he gets home.”
Logan stuffed a few more blue rocks into the pocket of his jeans. “Gavin, I think Obie is out here somewhere. I’m worried that he may be hurt. What do we do?”
“Let’s go home and see if dad is there. If dad isn’t home, we can drive around and see if you can find your friend. But, Logan, we don’t know where he is or even what he is. You must understand that we probably won’t find him.” Gavin said.
“When I hold the feather, I feel if he’s close, but I can’t get an exact location. I appreciate you trying to help. I really do.” Logan said.
“Let’s go home and see if dad is there,” Gavin said, and they walked back to his car.
Ashton Connors sat in math class, trying to calm his nerves. Ash couldn’t sit still. His mind was in overdrive, and he hadn’t even had his usual latte that morning. Ashton heard a cracking sound and looked down. The tile underneath Ashton’s foot splintered as if someone had hit it with a hammer. “Crap!” Ash thought to himself. “I hope Mr. Bailey doesn’t see that, or he’ll blame me!” In his nervousness, Ash started tapping his pencil faster. Ashton watched, spellbound, as his hand moved so quickly that all he saw was a blur. With another loud crack, the pencil drilled entirely through the desktop.
“Mr. Connors, what is going on back there?” Mr. Bailey asked as he turned from the blackboard and looked directly at Ashton.
“Nothing, sir. Everything is fine.” Ashton was so worked up between the broken tile and the pencil sticking out of the desk that his whole body started to shake. Ash could barely follow his own movements as the desk began to vibrate.
“Mr. Connors, whatever you are doing, please stop this instant!” You’re disrupting the class, and if I have to speak to you one more time, you’re going to the principal’s office.”
“Mr. Bailey, I…” Ashton started to say, but then… CRASH!
Ashton’s desk fell apart, and he landed amongst the pieces on the floor. The students closest to him leaped out of their seats and backed away.
“Ashton! What have you done? Are you okay?” Mr. Bailey rushed to Ashton’s side.
“I’m alright. I don’t know what happened.”
Mr. Bailey’s eyes took in the disassembled desk and the smashed tile, and the pencil impaled through the desktop. He shook his head. “I don’t understand why so many of you kids have to be so destructive. Come with me, Mr. Connors.”
Ash opened his mouth to try and defend himself but quickly closed it again. It was no use. He couldn’t even explain what happened to himself, never mind explaining it to an adult. Ashton sighed and followed Mr. Bailey out of the room.
As Bryson drove through town, he took a right turn onto Sunset Street, and without warning, a car fell from the sky and landed upside down in front of him. Bryson slammed on the brakes but still smashed into the other car’s side.
Shaken up but unhurt, Bryson got out of his car and rushed to see if anyone needed help. Bryson got to the other vehicle, looked in, and saw two unconscious men. The vehicle lay on its roof, and both doors were wedged shut. Bryson peered in through the smashed windshield to see if he could pull the victims free. The driver was pinned in place by the steering wheel. The passenger hung upside down from the seatbelt and moaned softly. Bryson called 9-1-1 and reported everything he saw. After he hung up, Bryson crawled into their car to see if he could do anything while waiting for the paramedics. Bryson began feeling pain all over his body, then heard a voice. He looked at both men, and they were both still unconscious, yet a voice clearly said, “Oh God, please help me. I can’t feel my legs. I hope Brett is okay.” And someone different crying, “Oh my God, what was that thing. It looked like a bull. I can’t believe it picked up the car like a toy. Why can’t I wake up? Where’s William? I can’t see anything!”
Bryson shook his head. What the hell just happened? Was he hearing their thoughts and feeling their pain? Bryson searched to see if he could find the names William or Brett, anywhere in the car, but then he felt different feelings. Bryson was now filled with white-hot rage and heard a roaring inside his head so loud it felt like his skull may bust in two. He fell to his knees and grabbed his head. Slowly Bryson turned toward the road and then wished that he hadn’t. Bryson found himself face to face with something that should not exist outside of the movies.
The creature was seven feet tall and looked to Bryson like a minotaur out of Greek mythology, but he could still see human features beneath the dark brown fur. It had a brown leather-like hide that completely covered its massive body. The creature’s head closely resembled a bull, except the muzzle wasn’t quite so prominent. The monster also had large, sharply pointed horns protruding from its head. Its arms and upper body would put the bulkiest bodybuilders to shame, and its tree trunk sized legs ended in hooves instead of feet. Bryson could not believe his eyes. He was almost too stunned and scared to react at all. Bryson tried to slowly back up but immediately hit up against the wreckage of the cars. Bryson nearly fainted from shock when the creature began to speak.
Harvey was startled out of his reverie when he noticed his friend Ashton Connors walk out of the school, closely followed by the vice-principal. They walked to the end of the parking lot, where Ash kept walking off school property, and the vice-principal turned and walked back into the school. Harvey was staring outside, lost in thought, even though he should have been paying attention to his calculus teacher. “What was that all about?” Harvey thought to himself, then he raised his hand.
The teacher acknowledged Harvey. “Yes, Mr. Kastala?”
“May I go to the restroom, please, Mr. Sawyer?”
“Can’t it wait until the end of class?”
“Not really, sir.”
“Okay. Fine. Go. Make it quick.”
Harvey grabbed the hall pass from Mr. Sawyer’s desk and ran out of class. He ran past the bathrooms and out the front door. When Harvey got to the street, he looked all around, trying to see if he could find Ashton. Bingo. Harvey spotted Ash across the street, just entering the park. Harvey dashed off to catch up to his friend.
“Stand aside or share their fate. The stones they possess must be mine.” The bull creature stared at Bryson with glowing red eyes and waited for him to move.
The thoughts that ran through Bryson’s head were, “Could this thing be talking about one of the blue meteor rocks? Can he possibly know that I have one too? Can I live with myself if I just let him do whatever he wants to these injured men? What do I do?” The words that came out of his mouth were, “Are you really a bull? I called the cops already. Should I call animal control instead?”
The creature roared as it charged at Bryson. He reacted without thinking. Bryson ducked under the creature’s outstretched arms and extended his own arms out towards the bull, palms outward. He felt a power surge through him, and he saw the beast thrown through the air back towards the center of the street. The bull was even angrier now. “Who are you, little man? You must have a blue rock, too. Taurus the Bull shall grind your bones to dust and take it from you!”
“Taurus the Bull shouldn’t refer to himself in the third person. It’s pretentious, especially for a heifer like you.” Quipped Bryson.
The bull lowered its head and charged again. Bryson tried to do the same thing he did before, but it didn’t work. Pain exploded in his right side, and he was lifted off the ground and tossed thirty yards down the street. Bryson smashed into a row of mailboxes. He looked back towards Taurus and saw that the bull was trying to pull one of the men out of the car. Bryson was scared, but he knew he had to try and protect the men from Taurus. Bryson groaned and stood up. He thought about how he had thrown the creature using only his mind. Bryson needed to access that power again. He looked around at the mailboxes and posts, broken and scattered at his feet. Bryson closed his eyes and pictured picking up a mailbox with his mind. When Bryson opened his eyes, one of the mailboxes was floating in front of him. He concentrated, and the mailbox flew at an incredible speed and smacked Taurus right in the back.
Taurus snarled and turned to face Bryson, letting go of the man in the car. The bull strode forward, head lowered, and yelled. “I’ve had enough of you, little man. I’ll beat you into a pulp and then finish what I came to do.”
Bryson crouched behind the pile of mailboxes and started sending them out at Taurus. Taurus, caught off-guard by the sudden rain of metal, stopped, and covered his face with his arms. Seizing this as an opportunity, Bryson let his new weapons fall and sent his power out at Taurus, sending the creature flying about fifty yards backward through the air.
Sirens wailed in the distance, growing ever closer, drawing Bryson’s attention. Bryson saw two police cars blocking the end of the street. The police were not attempting to move any closer. Bryson waved at the cops, trying to get them to come to help the men in the car. He didn’t even care if they wanted to help him fight Taurus. Bryson knew the cops saw him, but they moved no closer. While he watched, an ambulance drove up. The police initially stopped the ambulance, but Bryson heard raised voices. Then the ambulance pulled onto the sidewalk and drove past the police roadblock. Help was on the way. Now all Bryson needed to do was distract the giant homicidal cow.
Bryson positioned himself in between the ambulance and Taurus. The bull was back on his feet and ready for a fight. Bryson could hear the creature’s jumbled thoughts. “You’re from the docks? Who were you before you became Mad Cow Man?” Bryson asked with a smile.
“Get out of my head!” The Taurus yelled. “I’m gonna shut your wise-ass mouth for good.” Taurus charged at Bryson. Still listening to the bull’s thoughts, Bryson easily dodged the charge. He kept taunting Taurus and leading him further away from the paramedics and the two men in the car. When the bull realized what Bryson was up to, it was too late. They were three blocks away when Taurus noticed the ambulance driving away in the other direction. He turned to head towards the accident scene when two army helicopters landed in the street.
Men poured out of both helicopters. Taurus started forward, then thought better of it and ran off, roaring in frustration. Bryson considered checking on the men in the car, but he caught random thoughts from the army guys. They planned on questioning him, so he decided to leave before they could grab him. Bryson darted down a side street and disappeared into the city.
Christine Justyce heard the boy stirring in the living room. She peered in to see if he needed anything, and Christine saw that he was already back to sleep. She picked up her phone and made a call. As soon as the other person picked up, Christine began to speak. “Caleb, it’s me. I need you to come over to my house right away.”
“What’s wrong, sis?”
“An injured boy showed up at my house last night. He’s hurt bad. Can you come over right now?”
“Why did you call me and not an ambulance or the police, Christine? What else is wrong?”
“He has two huge, very raw wounds down his back. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
“I’ll ask again. Why call me? What is happening?”
“His blood is bright glowing blue. He showed up covered in mud right after that strange meteor shower. Caleb, I don’t think he’s human.”
“I’ll be right there.” Caleb Justyce hung up the phone and headed to his sister’s house.
Erik didn’t have a plan of action after leaving Bryson’s apartment. He decided that he wasn’t going to class. There was too much on his mind to focus on college. A pleasant stroll through the park might be just the thing Erik needed to clear his head. Erik started to hear noises when he was about halfway through the park. He slowed his pace and left the path. From behind a stand of bushes, Erik peered into the big picnic area situated right in the park’s center. What he saw, Erik could hardly believe. For lack of a better word, two monsters were terrorizing a family near the barbecue pit.
One of the creatures looked like a mythological centaur. The centaur was a female and had long chestnut brown hair that matched the color of her horse body. The second monster was something Erik had never seen before. It had the basic shape of a man, and Erik could see that it had human facial features, but the skin had a reddish hue, and things that the family threw at him bounced off as if the skin was a hardened shell. The creature’s left arm ended in a relatively normal-looking hand, but the right arm ended in what looked more like a giant claw. Erik wondered to himself if this could be his own fate. Were these monsters caused by the effects of the blue meteors? Would he turn into one, too? He’d have to find an alternate path to get home, but should he call 9-1-1 first? Could he do anything to help? Could paramedics or even the police help against monsters? Erik snapped a couple pictures with his phone, then turned and ran back towards the school as he called the police.
Two ambulances pulled into Newville General Hospital and dropped off their patients. There was a flurry of activity in the emergency room. Both William Fuller and Brett Greene were in critical condition when they arrived. William had numerous broken ribs and internal injuries. Blood was dripping out of his mouth and nose. Brett had cuts all over his face and upper body. He also had a broken left arm and crushing injuries to both legs. Both men had glowing blue rocks in the pockets of their jeans.
“Ashton! Wait up!” Harvey yelled as he closed ground on his best friend.
Ash heard someone yell his name and stopped. He turned around and saw his closest friend, Harvey Kastala, running to catch up to him. Ash took a seat on a park bench and waited for Harvey.
Slightly out of breath, Harvey sat down next to Ashton. “Hey, Ash.”
“Why are you here, Harvs? Shouldn’t you be in class right now?”
Harvey waved the hall pass in front of Ash. “I’m in the bathroom. Duh!”
Ash rolled his eyes. “Go back to school, Harvey. I’m fine.”
“What happened? I saw the vice-principal walk you off school property?”
“I’m not sure what happened. My desk fell apart, and the school blamed me. Destruction of school property. It’s been a weird day, Harvs.”
“I know. My dad’s unit is on high alert because of the meteors. They think there’s more to it than that.”
Ashton’s eyes grew wide. “Do you know what they think is going on? Are the meteors dangerous?”
“Ash, what are you not telling me? What happened at school?”
Ashton sighed. “You know me too well.”
“You’ve been my best friend since kindergarten. Now spill it!”
“Okay. Alright. Well, my strange day started before I got to school. I was passing by the antique store on Park Avenue. The store burned down in one of the fires last night. I stopped to check it out, and I noticed a bright blue rock in the antique store’s ashes. It was stunning, so I picked it up.” Ash pulled the rock out of his pocket and showed it to Harvey. “The damn thing started glowing and made my whole body feel weird. I don’t know why, but I kept it.”
Harvey started to reach for it, but Ash pulled it back. “No! Don’t touch it. At least not until I finish my story. Then you can decide for yourself.”
“It may be too late for that.” Harvey reached into his pocket and pulled out his own four small blue stones. “They’re a lot smaller than the one you have, but I felt the same energy pulses throughout my body that you described. So, please, I need to hear the rest of your story.”
Ash reached out, placed a hand on Harvey’s forearm, and stared deep into his bright blue eyes. “Oh, Harvs, what’s happening to us. I hope to God that you don’t experience what I did today.”
“Just tell me, Ash. What happened?” Harvey asked.
Ashton relayed his story. He told Harvey about the floor tile, the pencil, and the desk falling apart. Ash explained that none of it was intentional. His body vibrated so fast that Ash could barely follow his own movements, and he had no conscious control of it. “So, that’s my story. It can’t be a coincidence. It’s gotta be related to the stones, right?”
Harvey was about to respond when an older boy came running out of the park. Harvey thought he recognized him. Erik? Something like that. He thought the boy graduated with Gavin. “Dude, where’s the fire?” Harvey said as the boy ran over to where Harvey and Ashton sat.
“There’s not a fire, but there are two monsters in the park, and I think they’re chasing me! We need to get out of here!”
“Whatever drugs you’re taking, you need to quit,” Ash said as an arrow flew out of the trees and stuck in the bench right between him and Harvey.
Bryson was out of breath when he reached Grace’s apartment. He took a few minutes to gather himself and then went upstairs and knocked on the door. Bryson heard Grace yell out from inside the apartment, “Come in!” Bryson opened the door and went inside.
“Bryson, what happened to you? Your clothes are all torn. Are you okay?” Grace asked.
“I need your help, Grace. Even more now than when I called you. Have you seen the news yet this morning?” Bryson was pacing as he talked. The events of the morning had him pretty freaked out.
“If you are talking about the meteors and the fires, I’ve seen all the footage. What’s that have to do with the fact that it looks like you just went ten rounds with King Kong?”
“Turn on your TV. Maybe you can see it for yourself. You gotta see this, or you won’t believe it. I don’t believe it, and it happened to me.” Bryson waited while Grace turned on the TV.
“What is this, Bryson? This can’t be real. Is this a movie stunt? Wait… is that you?” Grace looked from the TV to Bryson and back again. “What is that thing?”
“It’s not a movie stunt. I just fought a freaking minotaur or something close to a minotaur anyway. It called itself Taurus the Bull, and he was hunting two other people, but I found myself right in the middle. Taurus was looking for these.” Bryson pulled the blue rocks out of his pocket.
“Are they pieces of the meteor?” Grace asked, reaching forward.
Erik closed his fist around the rocks. “Don’t touch them. Something happened to me when I picked them up. I’m different now, Grace. I could read their thoughts, the two injured guys in the car and Taurus. His thoughts were jumbled, but I know Taurus came from the docks, and there was a big explosion down there during the meteor shower. It must be all tied together. I think that the rocks turned Taurus into that monster and gave me powers.” Erik lifted Grace’s coffee table up with his mind, spun it around, and sat it down.
Grace was in complete shock. She could not believe or understand what she saw, even though it was happening right before her astonished eyes. Bryson had been right. If Grace hadn’t seen it for herself, she would have never believed it. Grace didn’t want to consider it even now. “This is a lot to take in, Bryson,” Grace said, running her fingers through her long dark hair. “What else can you do?”
“So far, I can read minds and move things with my mind. If I can do anything else, I haven’t discovered it yet.”
Grace looked closely at Bryson. “Your eyes have changed. They are a much brighter green than they were before. You’re not wearing colored contacts, are you?”
Bryson ran to Grace’s bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. He came back into the room and sat down again. “They are brighter. It has to be connected. My friend Erik Reilly found a meteor, and his hair changed color. Give me a minute to send him a text. I have to see if he’s experienced any other changes yet.” Bryson sent Erik a text, which was not immediately answered. “I need to go look for him. Will you help me find out what’s happening, Grace? The army showed up while I was fighting Taurus. I know you have high-level contacts in the government.”
“I’ll do what I can, Bryson. Go look for your friend. Keep me in the loop. Lay low. You were on that video clip. The army will probably come looking for you. You may want to stay somewhere other than your apartment.”
“That’s a great idea, Grace. I didn’t even consider that. I’ll find Erik and let you know if anything else happens.”
“Buy a new phone. Call me when you and your friend are both safe. I’ll contact my sources and wait for your call.”
“Thank you, Grace. I knew that I could count on you.” Bryson ran out of Grace’s apartment, toward Erik’s house, and down the street.
Coming Soon – Episode 4: Frozen Fisticuffs