I never fought in school. I was always too reserved to be moved to anger and too smart to get myself backed into a corner. I guess that’s why I never realized that I had an unusual knack for it until just recently. So here I stood with bloodied knuckles and a debatablely stolen Twix bar. I didn’t realize I was one of them.
There were stories about where ‘they‘ came from. Some say the government started putting chemical agents in the milk in the mid-nineties, others say it’s centuries of living in an unnatural man-made environment. Long story short there is genetic mutation in humans at a rate previously unprecedented in North America, or recorded human history for that matter. I had been following the stories for months now. Fantastic stories of paparazzi trying to get a good shot triggering the power of flight to frustrated first time mothers finding super-speed and leaving everything behind. It seems around one in three hundred or so in my generation was changed in some way. Though my power is not as awe inspiring as some, I’m glad I have it. In a world of super powered degenerates, those without powers are helpless to the whims of those who see themselves as above the law.
What’s my power, you might ask? Well, I’m really good at fighting…
This all started on my midnight walk home from work. I always stop at the 7-Eleven across from my apartment for a candy bar and a lotto ticket. Every night I am greeted by a 48 year-old Hispanic man named Hector when I approach the register and we’d small talk about how crappy our days had been. Every night that is, except for this night. I grabbed my Twix and spun around to greet Hector with a grin. My smile was met with an expression of dismay as a pickup pulled up in front of the store. Couple of young punks with purple mohawks hopped out and kicked in the glass of the automatic sliding door. One stood six feet tall with muscles violently bulging from his arms and torso. The polar opposite of his relatively shorter, scrawnier companion. The convenience store greeting tone beeped menacingly. The smaller of the two kicked over a magazine stand and snarled.
“Aye, I’m in the mood for a Red Bull.”
“On it boss!” The larger man strolled up to the counter and threw a punch, exploding straight through Hector’s face. Blood and bits of skull flew in all directions as if from a burst piñata.
The murderers chuckled as the remnants of my friend’s face landed on the freshly mopped floor. The short one standing behind his overly-muscular compatriot pointed to me with a toothed grin.
“Oi! What you got there? Eh, doesn’t matter, it’s on the house now!” He threw his head back in laughter.
I clenched my fists, suffocating the partially melted Twix bar in my grasp. My mind flashed back to all the times I had backed down from a fight. All the times I had walked away and regretted it afterwards. Not this time.
The shorter one composed himself and barked orders.
“Aye, grab the pillow cases from the truck. We’re gonna clear this place out.”
The goon hurriedly left the store for the bags. The one in charge strolled over to the fridge with the energy drinks. That’s when I made my move. I swiftly walked toward him. My eye twitched and I think that’s what tipped him off as to what was about to happen. His face contorted with fear. I closed the distance. Ten feet. Five feet. Two feet. The melodic chime of the greeting tone sounding as his friend returned was the last thing he heard.
I had seen kung fu movies before, but I didn’t think snapping someone’s neck would be as easy as it was. One solid motion and a solid pop later the man slumped to the floor lifelessly.
“Hey! You killed da’ boss-man!” In a flash of purple, the mohawked man charged at me.
I had to act fast. I crouched onto all fours and scrambled a few isles over, back to the where I got the candy. I knew this place well. Better than a hulked out muscle junkie anyways. The beast who smashed in my friend Hector’s face rushed to my last position and let out a growl of frustration.
“SHOW YOURSELF!! LET ME CRUSH YOU!!” The man sounded on the verge of tears as he threw his fist into the ground next to the body of his friend.
“SHOW YOURSELF!!” He shoved over the nearest shelf. Assorted potato chips rained down through the store.
That’s when the power cut out. The faintly humming florescent lights were replaced by a silent darkness.
The sound of feet on assorted potato chips echoed in the darkness. He was looking for me.
“WHERE ARE YOU?!!”
That time I was able to place where the crunch had originated. Two isles down- toiletries and contraceptives. If I could lure him one isle over I might be able to push the divider on top of him and make my escape. I grabbed a fistful of M&Ms and tossed them into the next isle. A few seconds of silence followed. I readied myself to knock over the metal divider. I took a step back to get something of a running start when I charged.
An explosion of noise under my left foot broke the silence. I froze in place. My heart dropped. Maybe he didn’t hear that.
The footsteps grew louder and closer. He definitely heard that. I turned away from the noise to make my escape. I made it a few steps before a warm, meaty palm violently grasped onto my shoulder.
“AHA! I’VE GOT YOU NOW!!”
One moment I was in the candy isle, the next I was in the air. I blinked in and out of consciousness several times before awakening against the feeling of cold, shattered glass.
The power surged back on.
“Thought you was so smart huh?” The thug was standing over me chuckling to himself over his relatively quick victory.
Everything hurt from my neck down. My breathing was sharp and painful with every new breath. I spat blood onto the white ceramic tile as I struggled to my feet. That’s when it kicked in.
My pain dissolved, replaced by a fire from within my chest. I felt good. I shot a confident smirk at my opponent. He had been waiting to see if I would stand up again. Those few seconds he allowed me were a deadly mistake on his part.
“Want some more boy? I can-”
His nose cracked and contorted as I sent my palm upward at devastating speed. Next came a swift kick directly onto his kneecap. There was a loud pop before he collapsed under his own weight. A moment ago the man was a hulking behemoth, now I looked down at a pathetic figure writhing in pain on the floor. I formed a fist with my left hand. My Twix bar crinkled. I had forgotten that I was still holding onto it. My mind raced, thinking about my daily routine. Candy. Lotto ticket. Hector. Things would never be the same all because two young punks walked into a 7-Eleven past midnight.
A new fire burned in my chest.
“Hey what’s your name buddy?” I took a step in his direction.
“Er, ah… Georgie..” He desperately squirmed away, inching toward the door. “P–Please, don’t…”
I leaped to block his escape. The look of fear in his teary eyes was delicious. He was at my mercy. This was more than fun. This was justice.
I prodded him with my foot to flip him over. The back of his head slammed against the bloodied ceramic floor. He gasped in pain. I got in position on top of him.
“Well Georgie, the thing is–” The fire expanded in my chest. I couldn’t help myself anymore.
I beat him mercilessly. With every hit to his head I could feel a little bit of him ebbing away. I kept going past the point where my knuckles started to bleed. When I was done I rose.
I looked down at my bloody hands and the mashed up Twix bar. The feeling of justice was addicting. I craved for it. I needed it again.
The automatic door chimed as I left to find my next victim.