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The Vigilantes: Intro This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The leaves were beginning to fall just as fast as they changed to the familiar colors of October. The short cold days came in fast. We were expecting a pretty cold winter. I missed the summer, being with my dad. But a new school year had started and I knew between school and my dad’s job that we probably wouldn’t see each other a whole lot. Being a fireman he was always on call. I felt a certain sense of change that I hadn’t felt before. Maybe it was just that I was growing up and getting used to my sophomore year at a new school. Our old high school burned down over the summer. The police suspected arsonists, so did my dad. The school wasn’t very up to code to begin with because there wasn’t money to bring anything up to date in the schools it seemed.

Change was everywhere. Nothing felt familiar anymore besides the fall weather. They say you’re more aware of change and problems as you get older and I was finally starting to realize that. I had always lived in the city, but never was aware of the dangers that surrounded us. My dad made everywhere we were together feel safe, so I had never noticed any real danger.

My dad would always tell me to be aware and alert where ever I was. He’d teach me what to do if I had ever been taken from him in almost every possible situation. I had just thought that he told me these things just because he didn’t have anything else to talk about. His dad was a cop and taught my father everything he knew. Being around those two was the safest place I could ever remember. It was only now that I realized why my dad was constantly training me for the unexpected, when I didn’t even know it. I wasn’t very naïve at the time but I truly believed my father was invincible. He never really got sick so when he did I’d get a little worried cause I wasn’t used to seeing him that way. I counted allot on him. Since my mother passed away he became twice as protective. I couldn’t remember how my mother was but my dad said she was a lot like him.

It was getting close to the end of the month and the days were getting colder. My dad would get home later so I saw him less. He promised things would become less hectic soon and we’d hang out more. I was at school waiting to get out. I saw the busses drive in the parking lot outside the window. Relief always came over me seeing those busses.

As I was staring out the window I noticed our principal had walked up to the teacher’s desk. I couldn’t make out what he was telling my teacher but he’d briefly look up at me with a rather confused face from time to time. The principal then slowly walked to my desk and asks me to follow him to his office. I tried thinking of something wrong I had done but nothing came to mind. I was nervous of course; I hadn’t ever gotten in real trouble before at school. It was a quick walk to his office.

As we entered the room I start feeling more anxious. I wanted to ask the reason for me being there but something held me back from speaking at all.

“Have a seat son” he said softly. I hadn’t heard an adult other than my father speak so calmly to me before.

“Would you like a cold drink?”

“Sure why not?” I said optimistically with a smile. I thought by him asking me for a drink excluded me out of any trouble and that maybe what I’m here for isn’t so bad after all. He then left through another door. One of the office secretaries walked in with a cold soda with a napkin wrapped around it. She stared at me with a smile.

“You like orange flavor?”

“My dad likes it more than I do, but I’ll drink anything”, I said chuckling.

Her smile quickly left her face and she walked out the room. Before I could think about her awkward reaction to what I had said, the principal walks back in. He shut the door then walked to his desk.

“I just spoke with the city sheriff and fire department”, he says with a sigh, “Son… your father was in an accident earlier this morning.”

My heart sank and for a moment I didn’t think I was in my own body.

“…He didn’t make it son… I’m sorry, Tony.”

I found out later on that he had been called to a building because of arsonists. The building had collapsed on him and the rest of his crew. An uncontrollable anger came over me. I knew the police and fire department had been trying to catch these guys for months. I needed to find these criminals and bring them to justice. My instincts were clearer than ever.

Nothing else mattered to me at that point. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I wasn’t going to stop until I found them.




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