I walked up to the front desk in the police station at about 2:15, nervous as hell.
“Um… hello? I’m interested in applying for the SVRA team?”
“Thats nice, kid, but you had to make a reservation. I’m not here to interview you.”
“Wait, really? The ad didn’t say anything about having to call. Today is really the only day I have free. Could I just meet with them quickly?”
“Because procedure, punk.”
“Thanks for the details. Look, let me just show you what I can do, and you can choose to refer me to them if you are impressed.” I said
“Fine. Whatever, kid. What can you do, make the twenty bucks I have in my wallet disappear?”
I gingerly reached for a small knife in my coat pocket and quickly cut my upper arm. A small bit of blood began to seep from the wound.
“What the fuck?” shouted the cop.
“Wait, wait for it. I promise I have powers. Just give it a second.”
Despite my pleadings the police officer at the front desk did not look at all impressed. I stood there for another good twenty seconds, glancing nervously at the offensively bright, blue wall of the station’s interior. Then, the small cut I had made in my left arm started to close.
“That’s it?” The cop asked, clearly unimpressed.
“Yeah, pretty cool, right?”
“Kid, I’ve seen a stronger healing factor in a starfish. I’m sorry, you’d be lucky if that’s a D class power, and we simply can’t accept a low level power like that. You would get in the way of the other more…proficient members.”
“You’re shitting me, right? How many people do you know who can do that?” I probably shouldn’t have said that, as it was clear I was coming between the cop and whatever he was playing on his smartphone.
“Alright, now son. I know people who can spray fire from their armpits. What you have is hardly anything of interest. Hell, my great aunt is probably more interesting than you, and she’s dead! Now please, you’re keeping me from attending to the monitor and thus interfering with police activity. So please, get the fuck out.” I backed away, throwing a scowl the officer’s way before taking off running. I didn’t get far before a kid dressed in black, with blonde and brown hair walked out of a conference room. He cleared his throat, and said,
“The following heroes have been accepted. Apollo, Luna, Dagny, Everest, and Exile. To those applicants denied acceptance to this pres-,” He paused, his head drifting to the side as a devilish grin appeared on his face. “To those applicants denied acceptance, please get the fuck out and never come here again.” Then he marched out of the room, the six people he named following him. I stood there, stunned for a moment. I couldn’t believe the way these so called “heroes” were treating applicants. After a moment, I decided that it was in my best interest to leave. Maybe find someone more appreciative of my talents. Maybe strike out on my own, and become a vigilante. Maybe…maybe give up on this entire dream of being a hero. There were other viable jobs out there. It always seemed like there was a need for more telemarketers as the number of those people who were hunted down and killed must be remarkably high in that profession. Yeah, maybe that was the path for me. I knew that there was no immediate career in paleontology and I had to make some money first, and telemarketing might have been the thing for me.
I pushed through the large front doors of the station and made my way through the downtown area. The vast array of bank owned buildings towered over head, giving the illusion that I was actually in a large, and far more impressive urban center. It was time for some serious thought regarding my future, and when serious thought is called for it is best to smother that idea with a movie or some other distraction. After deep consideration I decided to just go buy a used game at gamestop, and head home.
To make up for lost time at the station, and to avoid getting to the store after closing hour, I decided to take a series of winding back alleys. It wasn’t too long before I began to regret my decision. The tight corridors of the alleys seemed to form a maze of brick and cold metal. The walls seemed to stretch up, tapering off into some unseen ceiling. I was so consumed with well designed urban architecture and my own troubles that I almost failed to notice a tall, lanky figure approach me. My eyes immediately started to hone in on him, but still, before I could even make out the basic figure of his body, I was struck motionless by an intense aura of uncontrollable panic. The corners of my eyes began to fill with darkness and a bitter chill cut right through me. With a good deal of effort I managed to shift my head upward and had my first clear look at the man who had frozen me in my tracks. He was tall, with long, thin arms and legs. His entire visage was shrouded in a thick shadow and constantly seemed to be shifting and bulging, making it difficult to make out any definite details. As I tried to focus harder on the figures head it would suddenly shift onto its side, then immediately back to its normal position. Simply focusing on the figures head was disturbing. As he approached I could see that he was wearing just a simple black hoodie and jeans. He removed his hood and bent down, to look me in the eyes. I stood there, unable to speak, or move.
At first, his eyes seemed normal enough. Vibrantly green, but otherwise human. Then…then, they changed. His eyes flipped to solid black, with just a tiny red dot in the center. I screamed. He brought his hands out from his pockets, and revealed long fingers with well kept fingernails. He shoved one across my face. I will never forget those eyes. Something in them implied … Look at it this way. Humans have three things going for us. That’s all that’s kept us alive since we evolved. Our brains, our hands, and our brutality. Our brutality, combined with the ability to make tools… that’s what’s made us the dominant species. When there were multiple hominids, we cro-magnons killed the rest of them, even though they were better in almost every other way. Since then, we’ve buried that side. We act politely, donate to charity. But, under that thin veneer of humanity, we’re still just brutal animals with a nice gimmick. What I saw in those eyes was demonic. It was not human. It was something far beyond. Infinitely more intelligent, looking at me as if I were an ant. But that wasn’t the scary part. No, what I saw in those eyes was a brutality so far beyond our pitiful human violence that there’s only one word for it. Evil. What I saw in those eyes was pure, unfiltered Evil. If I had seen them for any longer, I would have been left gibbering.
After half a second, his eyes turned pure white, and his expression changed. He looked as if he were trying to swallow an egg that a skunk had pissed on. Upon closer inspection, it appeared as if there was something slithering around under his skin. After a minute, he seemed to get it under control, and he looked at me, his eyes a psychedelic, changing mix.
“You look tense. What’s wrong?” He joked.
His voice was disturbingly relaxed. If I had been able to close my eyes and listen, I would have thought that he was an old friend, greeting me after a long separation. I could feel my limbs begin to relax, and control return to my muscles. I turned and began to run, but before I made it two steps, something cold grabbed my leg and pulled me back to him.
“Now, now” he said. “That’s no way to make new friends.”
“Who the fuck are you?” I shouted.
“Irrelevant. A far more interesting question is who are you…or perhaps, who could you be?”
“What?” My eyes widened a fraction. “Wait, what do you mean?” I asked.
“I know what you desire. I can smell the reeking stench of rejection, of failure. You strive to be recognized as something more, even when you really shouldn’t be. However, I find your desire to improve yourself…admirable. In fact, it reminds me of myself. That is why I am extending you an offer.”
“Wait, what do you mean? What are you gonna do?” I asked, fear starting to ebb into my voice.
“I’ve been watching you, and you really are not anything remarkable…not yet. Your power is weak, but I could offer you an alternative. An opportunity to be something, far greater than what you are now.” The soft certainty he said this with was chilling.
“Wait, so you can give me powers? Class A powers? What’s the catch?” I asked.
“Well, as I’m not one to lie, there will be certain desires to satisfy. One may stand out stronger than the others, however once you have “scratched” this itch, I think you will find you new power set very agreeable and, well, more stable.”
He paused and I thought over the opportunity. I knew that the ability to hand out powers was not common, and that there was probably something more to this man than I could see. I remembered the flat, bored face of the cop, and that smug look many with high class metahumans have. I was overcome with a burning passion, no, a lust to be more than mediocre.
“Yes. I’ll take it. Give me everything.” I said with more certainty that I was comfortable with.