Hidden Record: A World Worth Saving

*Note: This is an excerpt of a larger novel-length piece.*

Reported By: Jack Melody

Date of Events Described: 8/15/2806

Date Recorded: ???

“Come on, Jack,” Lawrence said, lifting me off the matt by my hand. “I need you to be more creative. You’re fast for a kid who doesn’t have his powers yet, but if you only try to hit me in the same three ways, I’ll just keep knocking you on your butt.”

“Yeah, big whoop,” I snapped. “You’re part of the ETF. It’d be pretty embarrassing if you couldn’t sweep kick some kid.”

As I rose to my feet, he lifted me up by the shoulder strap on my tank top. He was a lot bigger than me back then, the height and the muscle. 

“Don’t be smug! You think because I’m stronger than you we shouldn’t be fighting? Most of the people you’ll have to fight in this lifetime will be stronger than you. They’ll be better. I don’t care if you join the ETF or not. There are people out here who will crush you without a second thought.”

“You think I don’t know that? I just want to be strong enough to get away from people like that. I don’t want to fight a bunch of assholes flexing on a child!”

“You signed up to train with me, Jack, which means if you get the chance to take a stand for justice, you’d damn well better do so.”

“Justice? The hell do I care about that?” I shouted. “I’m just tired of getting my ass kicked. I want to return the favor. Isn’t that enough?”

I ran toward him, sloppily and arrogantly as I always had, and without skipping a beat he pivoted out of the way of each of my strikes. I felt the room heat up as he avoided each palm strike. His already thin eyes became even sharper and more focused. His entire shirt burned to ash as an aura of flame surrounded his toned torso. The flames gathered at his back, exploding into the shape of an angel’s wings. His long dark brown hair shifted color to a reflective platinum and his pupils followed suit. He didn’t do this often. Awakening Level Phoenix. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and spit on the floor. Jackass was just showing off.

“So what? Are you gonna burn me now?” I asked. “I don’t give a shit! I’ve been getting pushed around by people stronger than me my whole life. Kids at school, my dad, you think you’re any different?”

I could hear my heartbeat, and it was just pissing me off even more. Like I was nervous, but knowing that I was nervous was just making me even angrier. Then I felt tears start to well up and my breathing lose pace. Then, the hot air dissipated. Lawrence’s aura returned to normal, as did his hair and eyes. The wings turned to smoke and he approached me, wrapping his arms around me. I could feel the warmth of his skin, as the fires of Phoenix returned to a simmer within his blood. I breathed in the smell of smoke and sweat, but the burn had all but gone away in the comfort of his embrace.

“That’s not what this is, Jack. I would never hurt you,” he said. “There’s something I need you to understand, kid. It’s because of the way the world has treated you, that it’s all the more important that you seek a life of justice. You’ve only scratched the surface of what people are capable of. You’re going to see some terrible things, and you’re going to lose hope. At times like those, remember the things I’ve taught you. You are so much better than the world’s evils. You have what it takes to become a hero.”

Not a day goes by where I don’t remember the words I said back to him.

“I’ll become a hero when you show me a world worth saving.”

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