Author Topic: The Heroes Guild - 1. We fight a crocodile bear  (Read 823 times)

Offline Skylan

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The Heroes Guild - 1. We fight a crocodile bear
« on: January 09, 2014, 04:29:00 AM »
No critiques, please. But if you choose to grace my writing with your time, I hope you will enjoy.

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                           Alan
               1 - We fight a crocodile bear.

   Even before we got into a fight with Ultraman, my sister and I were having a bad night.

   For starters, we’re vigilantes. Lately, that’s given us a lot of grief.

   “There they are!” someone shouted.

   My sister waved her hand and tree roots sprung from the ground, sealing shut the park gates. We ran down a cobblestone path, past a fountain and hid behind a row of trees. From far away we could hear a mob of voices circling the park.

   “Some gratitude,” Savannah said, trying to catch her breath. “Maybe next time we should just let their boat sink.”

   “It’s not them,” I told her. “It’s that stupid bounty the Guild put on us.”

   At least, that’s what I kept telling myself, but I knew how Savannah felt. It was difficult trying to be the hero when everyone you saved turned around and pointed a gun at your face.

   “Hmph. Maybe,” she conceded.

   “How are you holding up?”

   She took a shaky breath and flexed her fingers. After a moment, she said, “Fine.”

   Fine was always Savannah’s go-to response. But I knew better. She’d already overused her powers today, and it always left her exhausted. Unfortunately, she’d run herself into the ground before she admitted it.

   “Better get moving,” she said. “Car’s on the other side, right?”

   “Yeah. We should get there before anyone else has time to circle around.”

   That was my hope, anyway. The park was shaped like a football field. Any other time, it would have been nice to visit. There were fountains, playgrounds, marble statues (of people I didn’t like), and a cobblestone bridge that crossed a small lake in the center. But today, it was just our escape route.

   Two weeks ago, The Guild – a government sanctioned group of superheroes – officially put a price on our heads. They gave us a choice: Reveal our identities or be branded criminals. And when we didn’t show, the wanted posters went up.

   My sister and I are sixteen. We’re young, but don’t let that fool you. We’re good. There’s a reason The Guild themselves haven’t gotten the best of us yet. But the last two weeks have been difficult. Even someone like us can only outrun mobs, cops, and superheroes for so long.

   When we made it to the other end of the park, we found the gates locked shut.

   Savannah angrily kicked at them. “Of all the days,” she muttered. “These things are never locked.”

   On a good night, this wouldn’t have been a problem. We could have smashed the gates, jumped over them, or even better, not have been running through the streets in the first place. But tonight, we had few supplies, Savannah was exhausted, a crazy mob would surround us any second, and our only hope of getting away was a tiny car on the other side of the street. By far, this was our worst night yet.

   Savannah knelt and touched the ground with her fingertips. “There’re some roots here,” she said. “Maybe I can use them to dig up the gates…”

   “Actually,” I said, fishing out a screwdriver from my jacket, “why don’t you let me handle this one?”

   Savannah was so tired, she didn’t even argue. She just nodded and kept a lookout for the mob. I pulled out a clip from her hair and got to work. A minute later, the padlock clicked open and we hurried outside, locking the gate again from the inside.

   “There,” I said. “With any luck, they’ll think we’re still in there.”

   We hurried into our car, an old station wagon Savannah had salvaged from a junkyard. I don’t know how she ever got it working, and it definitely wasn’t our first choice, but for now, it was all we had. We’d just buckled up when a bell tolled in the distance and Savannah and I exchanged a look. We both knew what it meant – it was midnight. Ultraman, our least-favorite Guild member, would be doing his rounds soon. And trust me, he was not someone we wanted to run into.

   “Better get moving,” Savannah said, and drove off down the street.

   Lucky for us, the streets were mostly deserted at this hour. Every now and then we’d pass a homeless person with a trash can on fire, or shady-looking groups of teenagers on the street corners, but no one paid us any attention. In this city, you minded your own business. It was safer that way.

   We stopped at a red light and several sports cars barreled past the intersection, blasting music so loud I shook in my seat. Illegal street racers from the looks of them, and one of the cars had a broken windshield stained red. Of course, there were no police after them. There never were.

   “Bunch of scum,” my sister muttered. Her hands were pale from gripping the steering wheel.

   I knew who she was thinking about. Mom. She would have never let the city get so bad.

   There was a sound above us like a blast of wind and we looked up to see something fly through the night sky like a rocket. He was just a silhouette at this distance, but we knew who it was.

Ultraman.

   “Do you think he ever actually does anything, or just flies around like a moron?” I asked.

   Savannah cracked a smile. “Probably on his way to claim he saved the sinking yacht.”

   “And then blame us for the sinking in the first place.”

   And that’s usually what happened. Somehow, Ultraman would end up taking credit for the things we did right, and blame us for whatever had gone wrong. It was one of the perks of being a legal hero. The Guild could say whatever they wanted, and we couldn’t defend ourselves without being exposed.

   Just as we reached the edge of town, between an industrial area and the forest beyond, the car sputtered and started smoking. With a loud bang the engine died and the car ground to a halt.

   Savannah smacked the steering wheel. “Piece of junk.”

   “Hey, at least we made it to the forest,” I said.

   Aside from being a good place to hide, the forest is where our home was. There were lots of dangerous animals, so no one ever wandered in, and the trees were so thick, even Ultraman couldn’t see anything from above.

   Savannah popped open the car’s hood and we had a coughing fit as a smoke cloud billowed out.

   “That’s it,” Savannah declared, smacking away the smoke from her nose. “It’s done.”

   “Well, at least we got a good run out of it. How long did it last, three weeks?”

   Hands on her hips, Savannah sighed and gave me a blank look. “Why do you always do that?” she asked.

   “Do what?”

   “Try to sugarcoat all our problems.”

   I stared at her.

   “Sugarcoat?”

   “Yeah, you always make light of things, Alan. It’s like everything is just one big inconvenience to you.”

   I raised my palms up. “Alright, fine. Look, maybe I do look on the bright side too much. But don’t get mad at me, okay? I’m just trying to keep our spirits up.”

   “Well, stop it, it’s annoying.”

   She shook her head and wandered off to the forest.

   I guess I should have been upset. Not just with her attitude, but everything else. I just didn’t see any point with getting angry. I’d noticed a long time ago that too much emotion tended to make people do stupid things.

   “Savannah,” I called out.

   But before I could say anything else, she turned and held her hand up for silence. She didn’t look mad anymore, but her eyes were a little glazed, like her mind was somewhere else.

   “I’m sorry, little brother,” she said.

   “You’re sorry?”

   One thing about Savannah, she never apologized for anything. She believed people said and did what they meant, so if you said you were sorry, it was the same as lying.

   “It’s just been hard without mom. I don’t mean to be so angry all the time.”

   “Hey, don’t sweat it,” I reassured her. “I miss her too.”

   “I know you do. It’s just sometimes I forget that, you know? We’re in this together. Fighting crime, looking out for each other – it’s just us now.”

   “Yeah, well… I guess it couldn’t hurt if I was more serious every now and then.”

   Savannah smiled. “Nah, you keep doing what you’re doing. One of us has to have a clear head. Anyways… We should get going. I’m beat.”

   “What about the car?”

   She gave the station wagon a quick look and shrugged. “Doubt I could fix it again. And anyway, I’ve almost finished repairing our suits.”

   Our suits, I thought.

   I reached into my jacket and pulled out a digital watch. It looked like the kind you’d get as a prize in a cereal box. I clicked one of the side buttons and the screen lit up with an infinity symbol. The frame clicked and whirred, expanding until I was holding an ornate silver bracelet with a screen in the center. The infinity symbol was blinking blue.

   “I never noticed how much more difficult our jobs are without these things,” I said.

   Savannah started to say something, but then I heard a noise that made us both freeze. A loud, deep growl was coming from the forest. It sounded like a lion on steroids, but I knew that couldn’t be right.

   A flock of birds exploded from the tree tops, and something a lot worse than a lion bounded out of the shadows.

   I had to blink twice before I accepted what I was seeing. The creature advancing toward us was the size of a minivan. It had a long, flat snout with razor-sharp teeth the size of butter knives. Its body was like a bear’s, minus the fur, and ridged like armor. A long tail swished behind it, forked like a fin, and it gleamed like a sharp blade.

   We took a step back and the creature crouched, tensing its hind legs, threatening to pounce.

   Through gritted teeth, Savannah asked, “What – the crap – is that?”

   “Nothing I’ve seen before,” I said, trying not to move my lips. The silver bracelet shrunk back into a watch and I slipped it in my pocket.

   My mind was racing a million miles per hour. Savannah and I had plenty of experience with wild animals – we lived in a forest, after all. But we’d never seen anything like this before. I wasn’t even sure it was something we could fight or outrun. It kept advancing, darting its head between us like it was trying to decide which one to maul first.

   I glanced to my right. A chain-link fence separated us from the industrial area. Beyond it were concrete buildings, steel frameworks, smoke towers, rows of warehouses – in other words, plenty of cover. All we had to do was get past that fence…

   As if reading my mind, Savannah yelled and backslapped the air. The ground in front of the creature exploded. Thick roots shot out of the ground like tentacles and closed around it like a cage. The creature pounced and crashed against them.

   “Run!”

   She didn’t have to tell me twice. I ran to the fence and clasped my hands into a foothold, but Savannah had other ideas. She plucked something from her hair – a clip, I thought – but then her hand glowed and a three-foot sword grew in her grasp. She slashed the fence, cutting it like tinfoil.

   And then I realized it wasn’t really a sword at all. In lieu of a blade, was a flat, thorny stem, and instead of a hilt, Savannah was holding a rose.

   “Since when can you do that?”

   “No time, run!”

   There was a huge ROOOAAAR and the cage of roots blew apart. We jumped through the fence and ran between warehouses. We made it to the other end and ducked under some framework. The creature bounded past us, cracking the ground wherever it went. It sniffed the air, roared, and ran off into one of the warehouses.

   “We need a plan,” Savannah whispered. Her face was beaded with sweat.

   I nudged her and nodded at the stem-sword. “What’s with that?”

   “Just a new trick I’ve been practicing.” She flicked the blade with her finger. “Strong as steel, and even sharper.”

   “Sharp enough to cut through that crocobear?”

   She narrowed her eyes at me. “Croco-what?”

   “Err, well, you know, it looks like a crocodile. With a bear’s body. So… crocobear.”

   Savannah sighed and shook her head, but I thought she almost smiled.

   “I don’t know if I can cut through it. I’m not exactly itching to get too close, either.”

   “I’ll do it, then,” I said.

   She stared at me.

   “No way.”

   “Come on, you know I can. No one’s better at taking hits than me.”

   Savannah bit her lip, considering this.

   “Alan, even with your powers, that thing is huge. What if it eats you or something?”

   “Then I’ll cut it up from inside. We can’t hide here forever.”

   I heard a metallic grinding noise in the warehouse over and crocobear leaped out of the entrance, a forklift crunched in his teeth. He flung it into the air where it crashed through an office roof. Immediately, alarms blared and floodlights lit up the area.

   ROOOAAAR!

   “That’s going to attract attention,” I said.

   “Unwanted attention,” Savannah added, and I knew who she was thinking of.

   “If we’re not going to fight it, then we should try to get to the woods. Let Ultraman deal with it.”

   Crocobear was running in circles. He seemed confused by the alarms and roared at the floodlights like an angry dog.

   “Maybe if we’re lucky they’ll take each other out,” Savannah said. “Let’s go.”

   And as per our luck, we had barely stepped out of our hiding spot when crocobear fixed his eyes on us, and he didn’t look happy. He bared his teeth and pounced.

   Instinctively, I pushed Savannah out of the way and crocobear slammed into me, one thousand pounds of animal sending me flying through the air. I hit a concrete wall, smacked my head on a girder and landed on a stack of cardboard boxes.

   My vision went purple. I heard Savannah scream my name and crocobear roar angrily. I sat up, aware of my injuries already healing. Broken bones snapped back into place. Torn muscle regenerated. My open wounds steamed like they were hot and closed as new skin grew over them. I stood, my vision clearing, and almost fell over again.

   Crocobear was thrashing around like a crazed bull, Savannah clinging tightly to his neck like a cowgirl with a death wish. The beast tackled some frameworks and Savannah’s stemsword went flying out of her grasp. It skidded along the floor and stopped at my feet. Crocobear reared and stamped hid paws on the ground. Savannah’s arms slipped and she was thrown off behind some crates.

   With no time to think, I picked up the stemsword and yelled, “Hey, crocobear!”

   Crocobear looked right at me and blinked. For the first time, I noticed it had two sets of eyelids, like some kind of amphibian. But I didn’t have time to think about it, because it growled, ran right at me and my instincts kicked in.

   Before it could slam into me, I rolled to the side and stabbed its leg. The blade cut through it like butter and something gushed out of the wound. Crocobear crashed into the cardboard boxes and shook its head in a daze. And then my jaw dropped.

   Flowing from crocobear’s wound was some kind of glowing mist. Light, I thought. Literally, light, but in some kind of steam form. But the surprising part was that crocobear’s wound was already healing. In seconds, it closed up and disappeared. Not even a little scar was left.

   “Whoa,” I said in surprise. Now, I really was in trouble. My biggest advantage in any fight was being able to heal from anything. But even I had my limits, and I doubted they were anywhere near as high as crocobear’s.

   “Alan, run!” Savannah yelled behind me. She limped into view, wincing with every step, and blood was trickling down her face.

   With a sinking feeling, I realized we weren’t going to win this. This monster was way out of our league. Savannah might have stood a chance if she was fresh, but she looked like she was about to drop.

   I raised the stemsword and focused on crocobear. I wasn't going to let my sister get hurt. “Savannah,” I called out. “Get to the forest as fast as you can. I’ll keep it distracted.”

   “Are you insane?”

   “Just do it!" I snapped. "Maybe I can’t kill it, but it can’t kill me either. I’ll run away first chance I get, but we can’t be here when the cops show.”

   “But-“

   “Just go!”

   Savannah started to protest again but crocobear pounced. Before I could even defend myself, a gust of wind blasted me in the face and knocked me to the ground. There was a loud THUMP like a boulder hitting the ground and I saw crocobear fly through the air like a ragdoll. He smashed right through a concrete wall and several girders collapsed on him.

   Smiling smugly, and standing where crocobear had been, was a man dressed like a lame comic book superhero. His costume was one piece and black like a diving suit. Strapped to his shoulders by two buttons was a calf-length purple cape with a zigzag edge. His hair was cropped military style and wore a ridiculous pair of star-shaped sunglasses.

   “Ultraman,” I managed to say.

   He smirked and jutted his thumb in crocobear’s direction. “I haven’t a clue what that was. But I think I know who you are.” He pointed two fingers at me and Savannah. “The infamous vigilantes. Pfft. A couple of kids. That’s disappointing. But all the same, your crime fighting days are over. You're coming with me."
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 03:31:59 PM by Skylan »

Offline 2par

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Re: The Heroes Guild
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 06:34:33 AM »
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Offline heidi52

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Re: The Heroes Guild
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 07:44:28 AM »
Thanks for the fun read.  :)