This is the 117th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
The Power of Good and Evil by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 27th March 2013
Word count: 893
I suppose I should start this off the way they do in comics. I’m not someone you’d look at and think “superhero”, I was an unfit geek from the arse end of no where. And indeed when it happened I was outside having a cigarette, (I’ve since quite – apparently there are certain expectations with being a role model).
So there I was on my break from my typical menial job when there was a crash and I was blown off my feet. Everyone at the smoking shelter outside the eighties concrete block was. Metres away there was a smoking crater, with flashes of light coming from it.
Everyone else moved away, but for stone reason I couldn’t help but get closer. For some reason, I was thinking pound notes. It might be a meteor, or maybe a fallen satellite. I never claimed to be an angel, not as such.
In the crater which was easily twenty feet deep, and twelve feet across at the bottom, there were unbelievably two figures fighting. One dressed in pristine white, the other in red, each with hair to match their garb. Let me tell you my jaw dropped. They were human in appearance, but this was something else. When I say pristine, despite the smoke, the mud, and the burst water main, no dirt seemed to touch them.
They were fighting hand to hand, and then they were throwing weird colour light at each other. They were so preoccupied with killing each other they didn’t notice me, I’m not sure they even noticed where they were.
Then at once they each fired simultaneously, and as the beams of light collided there was a sudden explosion of light and I was throw backwards onto my back again. I lost consciousness after this.
I woke up in hospital, alone but as I looked round there were plenty of cards and stuff.
I was questioned by police, the army, and a bunch of scientists. All of whom seemed to think I was crazy, that a concussion had got the better of me.
Turning on the news, I saw the official reason for crater, they claimed it was an old Russian satellite that had returned to Earth unexpectedly, and uncontrollably.
So much for riches and fame, right?
I never quite felt right after though, there was always this tingling deep inside. Here’s the weird thing though, over time I began to realise the tingling changed user certain circumstances, when I was doing good it would be a soothing sensation, and when I did something bad it was like fire.
Over time I learnt to trigger these sensations. I did a sub three hour marathon by maintaining a stream of naughty thoughts. The fire was the most intoxicating sensation, it was also the least predictable. It wouldn’t just go away at will, and sometimes I’d lose control. I got in a fight at a bar, over a woman – the sensation had crept up on me, and suddenly I was in a fight, and then his friends joined in.
I got my first true glimpse of the extent of this strange firey power. I beat two of them, and I mean beat, bones were broken, heads smashed, countless internal injuries, I left them lying in pools of their own boss and vomit. The last one pulled a knife, now I realise it wasn’t a big knife by any standards, but back then I wasn’t as familiar with these things, and that fire surged on my adrenaline. He started to approach, and I somewhat instinctively threw my left arm forward and flames flew out.
I’d not been in a fight since school, but until the fire finally abated I was itching for another one. Once it was gone, the full impact of what I’d done hit me. The guy ended up with second degree burns to his chest and face, he was lucky to survive. He would always carry those scars though, and I felt such a tremendous guilt.
That smooth, calming sensation returned, only now it was somehow intense, it seemed to be matching my guilt, it was terrible, and yet I endured it for the sake of my guilt.
My powers didn’t end there, I discovered that I could pass the sensation temporarily onto others. I could calm a situation by sharing what I called the White sensation, I could trigger guilt, and smooth over fear. If I shared the fire sensation I could inflame a situation, give someone a great deal of guts and determination, set allies against each other with paranoia.
It was amazing, and once I made that jump into the whole superhero gig, I didn’t look back. In fact I got more powerful, I could use the fire to fly at incredible speeds, the white let me hover, let me hide myself too.
Still, it was a constant battle to keep the fire under control, lest it consumed me and those around me. I couldn’t not use it though, it was fundamental, that power could save people.
Anyway, I guess the story of how I dealt with the terrible nature of the fire, and by extension by own terrible nature is a story for another time. I just wanted to explain how I began this journey. No one’s ready for the true and terrible story that happened next.