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I hope people get a kick out of this because it has a little bit of everything. Action, romance, easter eggs, anything you cam think of. It was inspired by an art project in 6th grade and turned into a project I have been thinking about for 4 years.
Portales, New Mexico, that's where it all starts. Life, love, despair, everything. It's just a small little town but it does have its perks. The town is known for atomic energy, which gives us a handful of things like wealth, power, and me. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning, to where it all almost happened.
Portales High School, home of the Angry Atoms. Not a big fan of football honestly, but our team does have skill. I should know, cause I was once a key player. But that all changed, just like everything else in my life.
“Hey Adam, are you going to just stand there and stare off into space or are you gonna help me?” My friend, Garrett Lannister said. We were working on a project for his senior class in technology. Everyone had to work on one to graduate, but not me. I finished mine my freshman year because I normally procrastinate on everything, so I decided to work on it early to get it over with.
“Yeah, Gizmo, I’ll be there in a sec.” I told him. Gizmo, hmph, that’s what I called him. He was always working on something that was technological and stuff that I nicknamed him after what he creates, little gizmo.
“You gotta stop getting distracted and work man, especially if you’re thinking about her.” He said, that smartass. I knew exactly who he was talking about.
“Not funny man,” I told him. “And if you want my expert help with this… whatever it is, you need to shut it.” He would always joke around about my quote on quote “love life”. But as I said that, she walked by.
“Hey boys.” She said waving and smiling. We both smiled and waved back. Her name was Hope Jennings and she was the shining star of Portales. Not only that, but my dream girl. We had known each other and were friends since kindergarten, but I always had stronger feelings.
“I told you stop thinking about her.” He said jokingly as he threw a wrench at me.
“Ow, dammit man that hurt.” I said, shocked that he actually threw it.
“Well, I told you to stop. Why don’t you just say something to her man?” He asked me.That was a tough question I didn’t really want to answer.
“Well, ya know, I don’t think I should. We have a good and long friendship that I don’t want to mess up.” I told him. Although that was complete and utter B.S., I wouldn’t want to admit that.
“I call B.S. on that.” He said. Well crap, he saw right through me. “I bet you even she knows you like her, so why don’t you say something?”
“Okay I will… at the senior field trip tomorrow.” I said trying to slip it past him as fast as I could.
“Panzy, I bet you won't even get a single syllable out.” He said. Maybe he was right, maybe I was a chicken like everybody that knew me and her thought I was. Only time could tell.
“Let's put a bet on it,” I told him. “If I can't ask her out by the end of the day tomorrow, I’ll help you endlessly with this thing. But if I win, I leave the project.”
“Sounds fair.” Gizmo replied, smiling. “Better get a lot of 5 Hour Energy's, cause we are gonna pull an all nighter.” And with that we shook on it. By the time that happened it was already five o'clock, every student left on campus had to leave or be arrested, not joking they really will arrest you if you stay there. But anyway, I just jumped into my Jeep and started for my house. I lived alone, which sounds depressing but it’s true, Both my parents died by the hands of a power crazed mob boss, mostly because my dad was the lead officer on the Portales police force. But that didn’t stop him and my mother from being vulnerable. I was bassically orphaned at the age of 10, no surviving family members near me. So I just drifted between Gizmo’s place and living alone for eight years. Having them gone made me realize that even in a world with mighty warriors that go around the globe saving people, not everyone can be or is saved. So I go in the house everyday knowing I’m alone, but I’ve gotten over it for the most part. Now that most of the depressing things are over, let's dive into what everyone really wants to know. How I became what I am today.
It was insanely hot the next day, all the senior class got on to the smallest and cheapest busses the school could afford and headed to the Portales Nuclear Plant on the outskirts of town. The original owners of the plant built the place far enough so that if the reactor blew. Smart idea at the time, but when you have to travel a little over an hour in a small ass bus with a bunch of sweaty people it starts to sink in that maybe they should have built it a little closer. Either way it was still going to be a long time before we even go into the place because the new owner has to give a speech for the grand opening and blah blah blah. I didn’t care for it.
“So, when you gonna ask her?” Gizmo said. Never mind the heat and distanc, having to hear him bug me is, dare I say, worse.
“I will on the tour, just chill.” I didn’t really think I could do it honestly. I tried before but froze, that was also my freshman year. The reason I add that in there is because it was the worst year I’ve had at that school, but I’ll get to that. We pulled up to the place, which was packed with news crews and kiss ups trying to smooch their way into the business and gain part of its profit. After 30 minutes of waiting the new owner finally arrived and walked up the stage. His name was Alexander Wright, one of if not the richest man in Portales. I also had the unfortunate pleasure of knowing his son, Jerome Wright. He tried to get on my good side a few years back but I ended up turning down all of the offers he and his dad gave me in trying to get the son of the former “Greatest Police Officer in Portales” to back his programs. I hate the S.O.B.’s so much.
“Ladies and gentleman of Portales,” Wright started. “It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the new and improved Portales Nuclear Research center.” Cue applause. “We live in a world of gods wielding hammers, carrying shields, and wearing suits of armor. We need to have the ultimate protection when it comes to our homes, that is why we at Wright Enterprises have decided that starting immediately the nuclear program will be focusing on creating atomic powered men and women to improve the safety of Portales and the rest of the country.”
Surprisingly he got a standing ovation. I thought this guy was mad, this was the same project he tried to get me to back? It’s not like I could prevent him from doing it anyway, but still it sounded like it would blow up in his face. That being said the tour moved on and me and the rest of my sweaty classmates and moved into the cool, air conditioned facility. Hope was just ahead and I caught up with her.
“Hey Hope.” I said, trying not to sound nervous.
“Hey Adam,” She replied. “It's been awhile since we last talked.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I've been helping Gizmo with his senior project.”
“I saw you guys working on it. Then I saw Gizmo throw a wrench at you.” She said. Damn, she actually saw that. Hopefully she never heard our conversation. “And I heard him say something about you and me.”
“It was nothing, just him being a smart ass.” I told her. This was definitely an uncomfortable situation for me, not so sure about for her. We walked a little more with the group and started talking about all different kinds of stuff like her cheerleading trophies and competitions, the fire at the high school a few years back, and my parents. “Is the case still open?” She asked.
“No, they closed it after the gang stopped having activity in town.” I said. All of a sudden I got the feeling of being watched and heard someone from behind me.
“Adam Barnes.” He said. I couldn’t quite tell who it was but I told Hope to go ahead on. I walked to where I heard the man and I was pushed against a brick wall. It was surrounded by boilers and out of anyone else's sight. “You’ve been a pain in my ass for years Barnes.” The guy said.
“Jerome Wright, what a pleasure.” I said sarcastically. I finally got a good view and saw Wright with a couple of his lackeys with him. “So nice of you to let your dogs out for a walk for a while, it really helps adjust themselves to new places.”
“Shut the hell up,” He said, trying to act tough. “You know, you should have accepted me and pops offer. It be a shame to have all the members of the once great Barnes family to die.”
“Your tough guy act isn’t new, to convince me you’re gonna have to do better than that.” As soon as I said that they all started to pummel me. It wasn’t the first time I have been beat up, but it still hurt like hell.
“Ya know J, there is a place we can throw him if he doesn't comply.” One of his little goons said.
“Good point Sam, now what do ya say Barnes. Accept the offer or go to the ‘secret place’?”
“Oh no, I would much rather see the secret place. It sounds like fun.” I might be beaten, but I'm still a smart ass. I guess me and Gizmo got something in common. After saying that, they lifted me up and carried off. I finally saw the place they were talking about. The nuclear accelerator. It had a little open area inside just in case a guy had to go in and fix something. They threw me in and bolted the door shut.
“Last chance.” He said. I just got up and gave him the bird. He then gave the order and one of the guys threw a switch and turned up the atomic energy to the highest point. I could feel the air being taken out of my lungs as the reactor stirred up the atoms inside. The energy was too great and an alarm sounded. The reactor was overriding. Everyone was evacuated, except for me. I couldn't stand, I was too weak. What I thought was my last thought, I saw Hope. Thinking it was the last time I would ever see her again. Then the reactor blew, spreading atomic energy everywhere and destroying the plant. It went off like a bomb. As soon as it blew, everything went black.
I woke up, didn’t know where I was or what day it was. I looked around and saw a small T.V. in a corner. I got up, everything hurt. I painfully walked towards the T.V. and saw that the local news station was on. I saw what day it was. November 15. The only problem with seeing that was the fact that the field trip was on September 9nth. I was seemingly out for nine weeks. All of a sudden the anchors began to talk about me, saying that police have made the decision to call of the search that was put on for me. They were more than certain that I died in the blast. I saw Hope talking, tearing up about how I ‘died’ and couldn’t handle it. I punched the T.V. I looked down and my hands were taped. I was so confused.
“Now that wasn’t called for,” A man said in the background. “That was my favorite T.V.”
“What?” I said confused. “Who the hell are you and where am I?!”
“I’m just an old man who searched the wreckage of the plant and found a young boy whose body was barely damaged. A young man who was in a coma for over two months until today.” He said. “The reactor didn’t kill you like it was supposed to. But then again if it did we wouldn’t have a blessing like you, one that Portales needs.”
“What are you talking about?” I said as I looked around. I saw large hole in what seemed to be a barn that we were in.
“That reactor gave you supernatural abilities. Like anything I have ever seen.” He said. He looked to be at least eighty. “You can conjure energy from your body and use that energy to do whatever you want. Like in rage, you can use it to destroy my barn.”
“Don’t worry about it,” He said reassuring me that it was just an accident. “What you need to be worried about is that girl.”
“Who, Hope?” I asked. He started to explain that Hope had been rumored to be with Jerome and that he had been abusive. His father had died in the blast and he had taken control of his company, causing him stress and making him more aggressive. He was still a jackass either way.
“I'm not the one to encourage violence, but if you want to get the punk you might as well do it at your school. But you shouldn't go there and let them know it's you.” He said as he moved towards a chair. He picked up an old hooded leather jacket and handed it to me. “The jacket can disguise you long enough to strike fear into him. Also your hands are taped, if you haven't noticed. This is because the energy you use gashes the hell out of them, cuts em up every time. It also seems to help in controlling the blasts.”
“I can't thank you enough for helping me, now where is town from here?” I asked. He said not even two miles out, and with that I made my way towards the school.
30 minutes later I arrived at Portales High. The downside to the school was always the lack of security, but today was the perfect day to have no security because I just walked in. I looked like any other kid with a hood over his head. I saw Gizmo standing at his locker, and I almost walked to him when I saw Hope and Wright walk down the hall. You could visibly see the cuts and bruises on her and yet no one said a thing. She looked towards Gizmo and Wright noticed it and gave her a hard slap. No one said anything, not a word. They walked past me and toward the door. I was so infuriated and let out all my anger.
“WRIGHT!” I yelled out. It echoed out through the halls, everyone stopped and looked towards our direction. He turned around and saw me standing in the middle of all the students, people moving away from me. “If you hit her one more time, nothing's going to go right for you.”
“Listen, I don't know you but you tell me to do anything else you’re dead. Got that?” He still tries to be a tough guy.
“You listen to me, bub, lay another hand on her and you’ll be counting stars.” Suddenly his little groupies moved toward him, big grins on their faces.
“You don't get, do you?” He said with a dumb smirk on his face. “You’re in MY town, MY school. You ain’t gonna tell me what I can and can’t do.”
“We’ll see about that.” With that said, he motioned for his guys to come after me. I started to think about how to use the powers he was talking about. As the first guy came up he socked me in the gut, but it didn’t really hurt. Then the other two guys came up and they all started to pound on me. One hit after another. This started to piss me off, then I noticed my hands started to glow red. The glow started to get bigger and bigger and then all the energy I built up let out and knocked all the goons down. As I looked up they were scattered everywhere, one hit a group of lockers so hard that they were dented. I then made my way towards Jerome.
“What are you?” Jerome asked. I moved towards him and he let go of Hope. I grabbed his shirt and lifted him up off the ground.
“Your worst nightmare.” I said. As I let him go, he ran off out the door. As he left, I walked over to Hope and helped her up. “Are you okay?”
“”I'm fine.” She said. To my surprise she wasn't afraid. “Who are you?”
“A friend.” I said and walked out. As I left, I could hear the applause of the other students. It was as if they liked what I did and accepted the fact that I helped Hope. Whatever the reason, I knew that I had to go somewhere because the police would surely be after me. And I knew exactly where to go.
He walked in and closed the door. He turned on the light and turned around.
“Don't yell,” I said. “It’s me, Adam.”
“Prove it!” Gizmo said loudly.
“Listen man, it's me. Look.” I pulled the hood off my head and revealed my face to him.
“Oh my god, Adam! It is you!” After a quick hand shake, I explained what happened to me after the explosion, the old man, coming back to the school, everything. “So let me get this straight, some random guy found you in the wreckage and didn’t get affected by the radioactivity?”
“I guess not, why do you ask?”
“Everybody tried to look through the wreckage, but it was too dangerous to go in,” He said. “The levels of radioactivity were too high for any human to survive.”
“So what are you saying, that guy was some otherworldly being or something?”
“I don’t know, it’s hard to say. But either way it’s a miracle you’re still alive!” He started to ramble on about the possibility that he could detect exactly what happened to me in his lab. I was all in for it. We made our way down to his houses bomb shelter where his dad left him hundreds of gadgets and gizmos to help out with detecting anything in a person. We were in New Mexico and were a town made for atomic testing, so everyone had a bomb shelter. His dad was a world renowned scientist that was on the break of discovering the cure for almost all cancers until he died in a plane crash. Gizmo lost his only family before he even knew me.
“So this stuff will detect exactly where the blast hit and what it effected?” I asked.
“Possibly.” He started to instruct me to a place near a scanner that was designed to detect abnormalities in the human body, like cancer or other terminal diseases. He started the scan and after a few minutes the results were in. He showed me the data and explained what it all meant. “The explosion caused dormant genes to become active and allowed you to have abilities that I have never seen before. You can, obviously, emit nonlethal atomic energy from your body and use it to stun any other human being.”
“Cool, cool. Anything else?”
“Let me check.” He started to type on the computer faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. “You are resistant to almost all thing combat wise, like heavy punches, kicks, etc. But possibly weapons too. We could do other tests to see what all has happened to you.”
“I’d love to find out what the hell happened to me, but I need rest.” I told him. We headed up stairs and started to unwind. We discussed if I should remain ‘dead’ or if I should show the town I was alive. “I’ll come back when the school reopens from the damage I caused. Just to not give anyone a reason to suspect early that I am the guy that attacked Wright.”
With that said we shut everything down and rested. For almost an entire week we waited, then the school reopened. Gizmo and I traveled together in his car and pulled up to the student parking lot. The school had announced that a pep rally was being held by the mayor in the gym to inform the students of what exactly happened during the ‘attack’ and how things are going to be handled in the town from now on, plus a bunch of press would be there. That didn’t exactly help my plans. We arrived to the thing late and in the middle of his long lecture.
“And as we see this possibly new threat arise, we encourage anyone that encounters anything like the attack on Jerome Wright to report them to the police. And another thing…” He was cut off by one of his security guards. “WHAT?!” He exclaimed loudly in the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen of Portales High and those of you watching this live broadcast, remarkable new has been told to me that a familiar face has arrived at the school moment ago. Sir would you please walk towards the podium.” I walked towards the mayor, his security guard noticed me earlier than I expected. As I made my way towards him, the gym went silent. No one said a word, they were all surprised that I was still alive.
“Hi everyone,” I said into the mic. “This isn’t a ghost you’re seeing. I’m alive and well, and I’m back.” As I said that, the uproar of the crowd was deafening. It was almost like the reaction I got from helping Hope. I looked up and saw her, sitting in the front row. Her hands were covering her mouth, tears streaming down her face. I walked over to her just as she ran towards me. Full force she knocked me down in a hug that we haven’t shared since our freshman year. As we got up cameras began to surround us, much to the disappointment of both Hope and me. Reporters started to try and yell and get over the noise of the crowd, asking how I survived and other bullshit like that. I got so aggravated that some energy released out from me and caused a power outage. As the darkness and confusion surrounded the gym, we escaped and ran to the nearest place we could to be alone. We arrived at an old tree that only me and her knew where it was. It was the place where we became true friends all those years ago.
“How did you survive the blast? How did you make it back? Why did you decide to come back now?” She asked. She was really letting the tears show now.
“It’s a long story,” I couldn’t tell her the truth, but I couldn’t lie to the only girl I ever loved. “I...um… was saved by the...uh...hooded guy that helped you. He pulled me from the rubble and saved my life.”
“But how did you live? No one else did, no even Mr. Wright.”
“I don’t know. Me and Gizmo are trying to figure that one out. But none of that matters right now. What matters is that I’m back, and I’ve been meaning to tell you something. Ever since we met, I’ve always had a crush on you and never knew how to tell you. I wanted to tell you before the trip, the blast, and everything else that happened. I love you Hope.” I expected her to walk away, not knowing what to say. But instead she kissed me. Believe it or not, she kissed me and I didn’t know what to do.
“I love you too.” She said as we stood there near the tree where we started our friendship, right at the moment that we started our new relationship.
A 9-1-1 call was in progress. Hostages were being held at the bank by suspected gang members. This was a few months after I came back, Gizmo and I had gotten an old police radio transmitter and listened to it every so often to hear for any trouble. I had decided after me and Hope got together to help those in need, like the hero the town portrayed me to be after I confronted Wright. They wanted the police to say away from my work if I had decided to be who they wanted. Officers arrived at the scene and tried to immediately negotiate with the robbers. Three attempts were made before I arrived. I walked past the officers as the kept their firearms raised. I got to the door and walked in. The robbers instinctively aimed at me. I saw twelve hostages, but only five captures.
“Stay right there or we will kill you, man.” One of the men said.
“Keep calm, keep calm. I’m only here to make sure you bozos don’t make any sudden decisions.” I said.
“Take off the hood and we’ll talk.” The guy said.
“You know I would, but I just don’t feel like it right now.”
“Take it off or we shoot you.”
“Oh, when you put it that way, no. Go right ahead and shoot me.” Just as the words left my mouth, bullets flew from their guns and struck me dead in my chest. As they stopped, I saw the bullets down on the ground. Crushed, didn’t even break the skin. “My turn.” I said as the energy built up around me, then I let it go. One by one I knocked down the members of the gang and took out their weapons with ease. After they were all down, I freed the hostages and left out the back door so no one could follow me. Gizmo was there waiting for me and we made our way back to his place. As we arrived there, we got out of the car and into the house. Down to the basement we went as I immediately went through the scanning process. We did this almost every day until we couldn’t find anything else strange in me. There was always something there though.
“That was risky man, you need to be more careful when dealing with guys like that in those situations.” He said.
“I know, I know. But this was the third time hostages were taken by the same group of gangsters, so I thought I’d be a smart ass.” I told him. The calls we had taken over the past few days were all tied to this gang that was suspected of drug trafficking, robberies, and murder. I didn’t say anything to Gizmo, but I thought this was the same gang that killed my parents.
“Well, just try next time. Okay?”
“Yeah sure. You know we’ve been doing this type of stuff since November and seeing the fact that it’s now March, I’ve never felt so alive before. I’ve got Hope, a great friend in you, the city behind my back. What could go wrong.?”
“You shouldn’t have said that.”
“Why? Whats wrong?”
“Look.” He showed me the screen. It was all there, the data, everything. It basically spelled it out for me, and it was bad.
“Why is this showing up now, why has it not been noticed before?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe it was undetectable, like a new form of it. Or maybe it just happened recently and we are just seeing it now.”
“Do more research on it, then we’ll decide what to do.”
“Of course, oh by the way, I did some research like you asked me on that old man.” He said.
“And, what did you find?”
“Nothing. The description you gave me doesn’t match any of the people of his age on any of the census taken. He’s like a ghost.” He said. It didn’t make sense. How could someone like that, as old as he was, not be registered on any census.
“There’s only one thing left to do, and we need to go now.”
We were two miles out from town. We walked up to the damaged barn and opened the door. It was seemingly empty. The T.V. wasn’t replaced, holes still in the ceiling and walls, straw bed still in the same place it was when I woke up.
“I guess he hightailed it out of here.” Gizmo said.
“No, he wouldn’t. A man secluded from society for years just to find a teenager in rubble, kept an eye on him for two months until he awoke, then guided him back to town wouldn’t just leave after that. Unless he was seen doing it.” We looked around for any sign that he had been there recently. Spread out everywhere were old newspapers dating all the way back to the 1940’s. They told stories of that Cap-sicle they fished out years ago, how he fought with the Allies and the serum that made him what he was. But there was other papers talking about the Manhattan Project, and the attacks Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But it didn’t talk about the bombs. It showed a man in the plane being dropped on the cities.
“I guess you decided to come back.” The old man was standing right outside the door, cleaning what it looked like a hubcap. “Pretty impressive what you’ve been doing lately, saving all those people.”
“What is all this? The guy being dropped on Japan, the Cap, the serum? What is it.” I asked.
“Secrets, kid. Secrets that I tried to hide and bury for years. So has the government. I’ll tell you, just have a seat and don’t freak out.” As Gizmo and I sat, he lowered his aged body down and began. “I was a young private in the U.S. Army during World War II and I was stationed here in New Mexico, more precisely here in Portales. The Manhattan Project was in full swing and I had to be subject to experimentation. The project wasn’t just about atomic weapons, it was a continuation of the super soldier experiments. Rogers may have been the first, but I was the last person to be inserted with the serum. They did switch the formula and instead of muscles and super strength, it gave me access to atomic energy that can be exerted from my body, like you. I was nicknamed Atom Bomb, and the name stuck. I got married years before and was expecting a child, but the wife got pregnant after the experiments, however. This was dangerous because it could possibly have passed down the atomic genes from generation to generation. But the time came to do the deed. I was loaded on a plane and then dropped on the poor Japanese cities twice. Both times exerting immense energy that would later on be the same in other nuclear bomb tests. After the drops, I was to be erased from history, my wife was informed that I died during testing and my son grew up without a father. I watched him grow up, his son, and his son. Three generations not knowing I was still alive. But now the third does.”
“What do you mean, ‘the third does’?” Gizmo asked.
“Because I’m looking at him right now.” He said as he looked at me. “You Adam, you’re my great grandson.”
“This doesn’t make any sense,I was told all my family died years ago and accepted that fact, now this. How?” I said puzzled.
“Adam, it’s true. That’s why you survived, you already had atomic genes in you that saved your life. You are the only person like this now. I’ve grown too old and the genes just aren’t that active any more. But they were active enough for me to get you out of the rubble before he did.”
“Who, what do you mean by ‘before he did’?” I asked.
“The man that planned the explosion. He worked for Wright and decided to jump ahead of planning and make nuclear super soldiers again. Wright was the son of the lead scientist on the project and thought it was a good idea to make it happen again. His accomplice pulled the trigger on the whole thing without anyone else knowing and told Jerome and his buddies to set it off. I saw him on the rubble before I pulled you out. Disguised just as he was all those years ago. We called him Havoc, and now he’s back.”
“What does that mean for me, for us.” I asked.
“What it means for you is that you finally have an idea of who your parents murderer is.” He said.
“What. What did you say?”
“Havoc killed your parents. He is the leader of the gang you’ve been trying to take down, but now you have his attention. You’re alive, and now there’s a super powered being in the city. You have a target on your back kid.”
“What about you, you need to leave or else you dead too.” Gizmo said.
“Already ahead of you. I’m leaving tonight, going up north so that hopefully he can’t find me. And I’m sorry that we had to meet this way. But honestly, we would have never met in the first place.”
“No worries, I understand completely. But let me ask you one thing. How do you inform a loved one of something terrible that is about to happen?” I asked him.
“Well, you be honest with them. But try not to worry them too much.” After a quick thanks, we made our way back to town. I dropped Gizmo off and drove to Hope’s house. I had to break the news to her, and it wasn’t going to be an easy task. I knocked on her door and she was the one who answered, her parents had gone on vacation. After a quick hug we walked in the house and sat on her couch.
“Hope, I...uh...don’t know how to say this. I...I am dying.” I told her. It wasn’t easy.
“What?! How? Why?” She started as tears started in her eyes.
“Hold on, calm down. Me and Gizmo were doing some scannings and found a lot of different things in me that were caused by the explosion. I guess I’m not the tough guy you saw me as after all.”
“No,no, that’s not at all what I think.” She said coming in for a hug. “You’re still my tough guy, my hero. You can find a to fix it, right?”
“I don’t know. For the first time in my life, I don’t know.” I felt like tears were coming out of my eyes now. The first girl I ever loved and the only one I ever thought I would love, I was going to lose. “But I do know that I’m not going down without a fight.”
“And that’s why I love you.” She said. I didn’t know if that would be the last words she would say to me, but I wasn’t going to have it that way. Gizmo and I were going to fix this, and it may be the last thing I do.
Later on I said goodnight to Hope and headed back to Gizmo’s, once I got there things didn’t get better.
“Bad news, someone’s out in front of town hall, there’s also some gang members out there. Seems related to all the other calls we’ve taken care of.” He said.
“Let’s hope so.” I said as I got the leather jacket and put it on, taped my fists and headed out. When we arrived there was a wall of officers in front of us. I walked up to the Sheriff. “What’s the problem?”
“Honestly I don’t know. These guys are just standing there and keep saying something about their boss.” He said.
“I’ll look into it.” I said as I walked towards them. “Alright ladies, listen up. I don’t know who the hell your boss is, but this is our town and if he thinks he can take it over with all these petty little things you guys are up to, than he can come out and try and take over.”
“Ask and you shall receive.” A mysterious and deep voice said. All of a sudden a large, robotic looking man came out of nowhere and was standing in front of me. “Well, here I am.”
“Boy do I got a big mouth.” I said to myself. “And who in the blue hell are you?”
“I am the leader of this gang, the most powerful man in Portales. I am Havoc.” He said.
“Hi, nice to meet you. I’m…”
“The Atom Bomb. I knew your great grandfather, but he didn’t have a large mouth like you.”
“How did you know about him?” I asked. He just stood there smiling. “How did you know!”
“Oh, I’ve always none. I also knew your father. He didn’t have luck like you or the old man, that’s why I killed him.” As soon as he said that, I flew towards him. Literally flying, I struck him hard in the face. It only seemed to faze him just a little. I then repeatedly started to strike, back and forth trying to get the upper hand. His suit must have been protecting him. I backed off and saw him press random buttons on his arm. A large blade then shot out of his hand.
“S***.” He then lunged towards me with the blade and tried to slice me in half. My reflexes were apparently too quick for it, I had never seen myself become so quick before. Dodge after dodge he finally landed a hard backhand, knocking me well past the barricades. “Well, that hurt.”
“Just give up Atom Bomb, you’re no match for me!”
“First off, thanks for the new name. Second, I could do this all day.” Havoc then proceeded to strike again. This time I landed in the office of the mayor. Crawling out, he continually kicked and punched until he lifted me up. He grabbed me by the throat and held me up in the air so everyone could see.
“Ladies and gentlemen, your precious hero is at my mercy. You wanted him so bad and wanted him to rise up and defend you. Now you see him fall!” With that said he jabbed the blade into me. Straight through my chest, it was unlike any pain imaginable. As he let me go I fell to the ground. The screams of the crowd in horror filled my ears, and I could see Havoc walking away with the rest of his gang. Then everything went black again.
I went in and out of consciousness and saw myself lying on a gurney with EMT pushing me through the hospital. Thankfully I still had the hood on, and they stopped me in an empty room and left. I felt some energy leave my body and it caused another blackout. I felt someone grab me and carry me out while it was still black. Then I faded again.
I awoke and saw myself back in the bomb shelter, this time on the old hospital bed Gizmo had. In front of me was Gizmo himself and the old man, my great grandfather.
“How many times do I have to save your ass, kid?” He asked.
“About one more.” I said jokingly. Laughing just made it hurt worse. I looked down and saw myself patched up, blood on the wrap and almost everywhere else.”I guess I’m not as invincible as we thought, huh?”
“Nope, not at all.” Gizmo said. “That should have killed you, but you’re one tough S.O.B. But we do have some bad news, that may be good in a way.”
“Well, I found the cause of you rapid decrease in health. It’s because of your powers Adam. The overuse of them anyway,”
“What are you saying?”
“You can’t use your powers anymore kid, unless you want to die soon.” The man said.
“Listen guys, I can’t stop being a hero now. Especially with Havoc around.”
“But that’s the thing,” Gizmo continued. “Everyone thinks you’re dead, again. They believe Havoc killed you and now he’s backed off a little on the crimes.” He then said I had been out for a week when they announced this.
“What about Hope? Has she said anything lately or tried to come by?” I asked.
“Yeah, she wanted to know where you were so I showed her that we were doing experiments and had to see if we could stop you from kicking the bucket.” He said.
“If this will save my life, and possibly others too. I’ll stop being who ever I am. The hero, the ATom Bomb, whatever. Just tell me when I can see Hope again.” After a few more tests and stitches, they let me go. I looked down at my chest, thinking about how I survived. Then I got in the car and drove off. Hope ran out and was happy I got out. I told her that we may have found a ‘cure’ for me dying. She was so excited. That was the supposed start of my new life, no hero work, no saving lives, nothing. I just sat around the house with Hope. They closed all the schools down after the Havoc incident and were worried he might target them next. At night I would listen to the old transmitter and wonder what I could do to help. I couldn’t stop thinking. Hope’s parents were still on vacation and I had been with her, staying in her house and it still couldn’t get these things off my mind. I would listen and hear that crime had increased in the town. All the promises Havoc made were false. He still runned the town, above and below ground. Hidden and seen. I constantly asked the old man if he had any weaknesses. But he would tell me the same thing.
“This isn’t the same Havoc. This one is a lot more dangerous.” I would even ask Gizmo how the blade could have possibly penetrated me when bullets couldn’t. He didn’t know, for the first time. I could do nothing, couldn’t think of nothing. I quit trying. Two months passed and things just got worse. The town built a shrine for the hero I once was. I would visit sometimes and wonder what it would have been like if I beat Havoc that day. He never stopped bragging about his victory, always calling out an unlucky soul to challenge him and his power. Without anyone knowing I had done some research on him and discovered his secret. But how could I get it out. I couldn’t, I never could. It truly was over for me. Until I saw the news that dreadful day. That was when I knew this wasn’t over.
“People of Portales, this is a broadcast to tell everyone on the behalf of Havoc to come out to the shrine for our once great hero in town hall. Havoc has taken a new hostage and is demanding that everyone come out to see… the public execution of Hope Jennings.” The news reporter said. The feed then went off. We were at the old man’s house when I saw this. I had just seen Hope go out to the store that morning, now she was going to be killed in front of hundreds of people.
“What can we do, how can we save her now?” Gizmo said.
“There’s only one answer. I come back from the dead and stop this once and for all.” I told them.
“You’ll die though. If you use too much of the energy, you’re dead.” He said, head down. He didn’t sound like he was trying to convince me this time.
“If I can save Hope and take out Havoc, then it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” They both looked at each other then to me.
“I’ll get the jacket and the tape.” Said the old man.
“Gizmo, I know you tried to help me these past two months and I appreciate it. But now he’s gone too far and he isn’t going to live through this. He obviously knows that I’m under the hood and he’s trying to lure me there.” I said.
“I know. Now enough about all that, go give this guy hell.” That was enough to get me to the point I needed to be to end this. He tormented my family for over 70 years, no it was time to return a favor. Geared up and ready, I was about to walk out the door before I forgot to tell them one more thing.
“I know you guys have been doing research on the cure, but you guys didn’t find the secrets in me that I did.” I then leaped into the air and started to fly towards the town. I found out I could conjure up enough energy to allow me to glide through the air at any speed that I wanted. Down below they started the opening to the execution.
“Portales, may you quake in fear as I now reign supreme and execute this young woman. If anyone dares to defy me, make it so.” Havoc said. Right behind him was Hope in shackles and in an iron stock. He then proceeded to bring out the same blade he used on me and raised it in the air. “If no one cares to do anything, let this execution commence.” That moment I landed in the middle of the street behind the crowd. They were speechless, just as they were when I came back to the town the first time.
“HAVOC! Let her go now, or else!” I said as loud as I could. He stared right at me.
“Portales, your prodigal son has returned!” He announced. “Have you come to see the execution yourself?”
“No, I came here to take her place.” I told him. The crowd parted ways and I walked up the stage. “Let her go and you can finish me once and for all.”
“I accept.” He then motioned for his men to let Hope out and she ran into me.
“Don’t do this, please!” She pleaded.
“Don’t worry about me, just run.” I told her as I walked towards Havoc. His men then grabbed me and chained my arms and legs to the ground. Bound to the floor I saw him as he walked closer and closer.
“You have courage kid. But it isn’t enough. Now all of these people will see you die, but this time permanently.” He said as he kicked my legs, bringing me to one knee. He put the blade against the back of my neck. “What keeps you going, makes you want to still try to defend this worthless town?” He asked as he began to raise the blade.
“The thing that keeps me going, her name is exactly the same as what she fills every person she meets with. Hope.” I said as I saw her turn and face me. That moment I knew she knew who I truly was. I saw her move her lips, saying “Adam”.
“How touching, now she can watch you die!” He then lifted the blade higher and came down with it. As it struck my neck, it shattered into pieces. The force of it knocked Havoc down a few feet away. His men then proceeded to try and attack me, but I just brushed them off with a blast that broke the chains. I then rose to the sound of the crowd cheering, then turned my attention to Havoc.
As I moved toward him I began to think about the secrets he had and stopped. I then turned to the crowd and was ready to tell them all about him.
“Havoc is not who we think he is. Instead, he is a lying, conniving, backstabbing piece of filth that shouldn’t be alive. Now I know the truth, his identity. Alexander Wright, father of Jerome and the cause of the nuclear meltdown that made me who I am. For over 70 years he has plagued this town and we didn’t even know it. He is the one who murdered Captain Barnes and his wife, then tried to cover it all up and get on the good side of their son. But now, it’s over.” I said as I began to move towards him again.
“Smart young boy, but who do you think you are that makes you think you can stand up against me?” He said as he removed the helmet, revealing his face for everyone to see.
“I am the hero this town needs. Like you said, we live in a world of gods wielding hammers, carrying shields, and wearing suits of armor. I am the strength and will of Portales. I am the Atom Bomb.” I then proceeded to strike him in the face. Punch after punch, I felt years of anger and hatred leave me. I then threw him into the building in front of us and began to attack more viciously. He began to fight back and we went back and forth, trading blows one after another. I finally regained the upper hand and started to exert the built up energy in ways I never had before. Lightning quick here my strikes, I finally managed to force him to stay down. But the problem was I didn’t know how I was supposed to end this.
“I see the look of disdain on your face Adam,” He said to me. “You can’t beat me. Not by mere punches and atomic blows. Your great grandfather tried that once, and I’m still alive.” He then began to laugh.
“No, there is a way to beat you.” I said. “You weren’t in the blast, you escaped long before. Who's to say another one won’t finish you.” I picked him up and flew out into the desert. I tried to get as far away as possible for what was about to happen next. I flung him to the ground and stood above him, then I wailed on him. “This is for my mother! My father! My family!” I said after each punch. I grabbed him again and flew straight up into the clouds. “And this is for me.” I let him go. He fell straight down, but the suit was strong enough to withstand that type of fall. My next thought was if I could survive what I was about to do next, if I was ever going to see Hope again. “I’m sorry.” I whispered as I plummeted down towards Wright. Then I struck him, causing a large mushroom cloud to form. I was the new Atom Bomb, like my great grandfather before me. Dropping down from the sky for the greater good. I stood up in the smoke, clothes ripped and bloody, to see the suit in pieces. Wright was nowhere to be found, and ashes in his place. I started to walk off towards the town, not happy with what I had done but knew it was what had to be done. When I made it back, the townspeople were cheering and happy even though they couldn’t see me. I hobbled near a street corner and sat at a destroyed building. I tried to catch my breath, head down trying to think about all that had happened. I saw two feet in sandals in front of me, I looked up and saw Hope. Tears in her eyes and on her face, she looked down at me then sat down right next to me and put her head on my shoulder
“Have I ever told you how much I love you?” I asked with pain in my voice.
“Everyday, everyday you do and it never gets old.” She said weeping. We just sat there, holding each other until Gizmo and Gramps found us and picked us up. Days went by and the local and national news blew up talking about the explosion and how a hero saved a little town from a plot that could have had a world crisis if it had been seen through. Jerome disappeared and was nowhere to be found, the remaining gang members were arrested and the town had plans to rebuild. I, well Atom Bomb was even given the key to the city. Me and Hope spent the next couple of days together as much as we could, and even got the best news.
“Adam, you don’t have any signs of whatever that was killing you inside!” Gizmo told us. “I can’t find an explanation for it.”
“I can.” I said as I looked at her. “I was given Hope.” We kissed and Gramps just looked at us in disgust.
“Get a room you two.” He said.
“Oh, common. Like you’ve never been this compassionate before.” She told him with a chuckle.
“You’re right, but that was a long time ago.” He looked at me and I knew what he was about to say.
“I may already know the answer to this, but you don’t have to go. You have all that you need right here.”
“Maybe, but the government will be looking for me now that a half century old experiment has been resurfaced. It’s just that time.” After a quick goodbye, he packed his things in a truck and went on his way.
“Do you think we’ll ever see him again?” Hope asked.
“I don’t know. But if we do, he’ll be welcomed with open arms.”
“And possibly a little guy too.” She smiled. I looked at her and smiled back. Our future looked bright, and it seemed like nothing could stop us.
Me and Gizmo had went back to the old barn to clean out somethings before the government did. It was the afternoon and half the barn was dark, mostly because the holes I made were on the other side.
“Mr. Barnes,” A mysterious voice came from the shadows. “We’ve been watching you for a very long time.”
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” I asked him.
“Just seeing if you really are a hero like you are portrayed to be. Now, why are you a hero.” I looked at Gizmo and looked back at him.
“Everybody needs a hero. That’s why I decided to become who I am, to help those in need. But at some point you realize ‘Does everyone need a hero, or do they just want a hero?’. Portales may never need a hero, but it wants one. That’s why I am here to give those people that needs a hero just that, but also to give to the people that need one one. No matter what the people need or want, I’ll always be here.”
“That’s all I needed to hear.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card. “We’ll be in touch.” He said, then walked out.
“Who was that guy?” Gizmo asked.
“I don’t know, but he gave me a card with an ‘A’ on it.”
“What does it mean?”
“Don’t know. But did you see his eyepatch. He must have been through a lot.” I said. From that day on nothing about being the Atom Bomb was the same again.