Hey guys I was thinking of making this a more member-friendly website, by letting all members be administrators. Would that be chaos? Or do you think it would be more fun? Post your opinion and I'll decide!
The FAYZ? Is that what they call it now? That’s what they decide to call a giant electrifying dome that surrounds us? That sounds too temporary. Like a phase that you go through. But this thing doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. You see, one day I was in Phys Ed at my school in Perdido beach, and the teacher was in the middle of telling me to stop getting hit by the dodge ball when it happened. He disappeared. “Poof.” So did Jonathan, an older bully of 15, who got held back. At the time, I thought I must have been seeing things. But now I’m sitting outside on the bench we left on my porch, 4 or 5 months later, still stuck. Ever since the beginning of the FAYZ, I, Ned Rigby, a 14 year old basketball player with a lean but muscular physique, have been rooming with some of my old teammates: Jim Kerrigan, a second string Center with short blonde hair and a very nervous mien about him, and Riley McDonahue, third string point guard who was always trying to one-up the next guy. I used to be the second string right wing. None of us got to play very much. Maybe that’s why we got to be such good friends. Jim and I however, were not like Riley. We had developed powers. Jim, well, he controls electricity. Jim happens to be a 3 bar, like me. You see Diana Ladris, the evil witch of Coates Academy and loyal accomplice of Caine Soren reads peoples power levels. She explains them with cell phone bars. One bar, two bar, three bar, and four bar. I’m a 3 bar, water manipulator myself. Can’t make it, but I sure as hell can make it move. There are only two four bars. Sam and Caine: Fraternal twins. They hate each other’s guts. Sam’s our hero. The king of kings. Caine is the evil one. He will do everything he can to manipulate you. He can also throw things with his mind, telekinesis. Sam shoots green-white light from his hands. He’s a blowtorch. You don’t want to mess with him.
“Rigby! I swear to God if you keep letting that ball hi—.” Poof. Gone. No leaving. Just disappearing. I stare at the empty space that once occupied Mr. Stags.
Turning around to look at Jim, I see him staring at his hands. “I…I…didn’t..,” he stammers. All of a sudden Riley comes bursting through the Jim doors with a big smile on his face.
“NO TEACHERS!!!” That caused a very mixed reaction to the class. Some kids cheering and jumping all around the gym, others still stare in fright and a few just screaming. From behind Riley I could make out a 7th and 8th graders looking at their cell phone and holding them up at various heights. Jim and I dart over to Riley and we head out into main hallway. To our left, we see Sam Temple, or School Bus Sam*, Quinn Gaither, Sam’s odd surfing buddy, and Astrid Ellison, beautiful and extremely intelligent, talking to a few smaller kids who seem to be talking about raiding candy from the teacher’s lounge.
To our right are the clear double doors of the school, decorated with some pictures of scale drawings of Thanksgiving Turkeys that the 6th graders did in Math. The Three of us walk out of the school to see almost the entire student body wandering around on the freshly cut grass. Most kids stayed together in cliques. We stand there for a few seconds, taking it in. Bursting through the door, comes Sam and his clique looking more confused than ever, yet somehow still confident in themselves. Quinn bumps me in the shoulder.
“It’s cool. Hey Sam, where do we go from here?”
“I wish I could tell you brah. But I have no clue. Maybe head to the town plaza? I have a feeling that a lot of kids will find their way over there.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Riley says with a cunning smile. Sam turns back to Quinn and Riley winks at Astrid. She glares. I elbow him in the side. “Hey, what was that for man?”
“For winking at Astrid the Genius. She’s way out of your league,” I reply, knowingly.
“Ned?” Jim asks nervously with a sad and serious expression on his face.
“What about me?” he stammers, laughing his head off. We all start laughing until our bones ache. I have a strange feeling it would be awhile until any of us laughed that hard in awhile.
Jim, Riley and I are sitting on the ground outside in the town plaza when I smelled the smoke. I hop up and look around at the beautifully built buildings and the misplaced kids screaming for their parents. Then I spot the source of the smoke coming from the daycare/hardware store. Not knowing what to do, I hobble over to the center of the plaza and see Sam looking at the fire as well, kind of spacing out. He then snaps out of it and starts scrambling around shouting orders.
“Ned, you go see if you can get some equipment from the fire house!”
“Uh…okay. Sure thing!” I manage to get out. He seemed so determined and righteous that I felt like I was being talked to by a celebrity. I dart off towards the fire house when I hear a scream coming from the day care. I panic. I can’t just stand aside and watch someone burn. As much as I beg myself not to, my strong legs are already carrying me towards the back of the building by the fire escape. If I’m going to do this, I don’t want Sam to know I’m breaking the rules. I somehow manage to hop onto the fire escape and climb up to the window. I was praying for the window to be locked so I didn’t have to go in, but of course, it wasn’t.
The split second the oxygen got into the building through the window, the fire breaths power. Somehow time slows down and I can see a puff of fire and smoke about to engross me. In defense I raise up my hands with my palms facing out, which were already pointed at the walls while resting on the railing, and the water from the pipes comes shooting out like crazy. Gallons and gallons of water pours out and in my panic, I somehow caused this. I lift my hands again and the cool and clear water sways along in sync with the movement of my hands. I shove them forward and the water startles the fire. But more water poured out, so once again I pushed it into the fire with smooth and fluent hand movements. More water comes out, I push. More water comes out, I push. I repeat and repeat for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time until the room is safe enough to enter. I climb in, putting one leg over at a time, and hear the same scream again.
Through the flames and smoke I see a silhouetted figure moving down the hall towards the screams. Sam Temple, shooting greenish-white fire from his hands, pointing directly at an unsuspecting little girl.
“Wait, so Sam was shooting the little girl with flames from his hands!?” Riley questioned. We had already checked each other’s houses, despite the comments from other kids that everyone over 15 was gone. After several break downs, we decided to crash at my house. Each of them got a change of clothes from their houses, and the second we reached home we took hour long turns trying to de-stress in the milieu of a nice, warm shower. Riley’s dressed in white basketball shorts and matching basketball shoes and his jersey, which was his favorite outfit. He was pacing back and forth crazily. I’m dressed in black converse high tops, my favorite pair of skinny jeans, and a t-shirt reading the title of a band called “Monster Island,” laying down on my couch in disbelief. Jim’s sitting uncomfortably at my dining room table in black skate shoes, black skinny jeans with a tight fitting black t-shirt that show of his meek figure, and staring off into space with a worried expression worn on his face.
I decided not to mention my water abilities, though; I didn’t want to freak out my friends. They’ve been through enough already, what with Riley losing his girlfriend to the FAYZ and Jim being beaten by his father. Plus, Sam being some sort of murderer didn’t make it any better.
“Well, what do we do now!? We certainly can’t trust anything Sam says or does! He’s a freakish murderer!” reasoned Riley.
“How is he freakish?” Jim questioned, surprisingly bold.
“For Jesus’ sake, Jim, he shot fire out of his hands! Anyone that can do that has to be some kind of mutant or something. Alien, hahahaha, a freak show, right Jim?”
That comment brought Jim to sit back down in defeat. Riley turned his frustration towards me. “And how did you see this? How could you even get in the building without burning up yourself, unless you’re just a freak like Sam?”
“Riley, are you really going to question a friend in the time of crisis. Of course I’m not a freak. And I saw it through the window at the back, I wasn’t in the building.”
“You’re right, Ned, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be questioning you. I just miss Rebecca. I shouldn’t be taking my anger out on you.” I didn’t want to respond, in fear that it might hint at my having powers. Aware of the awkwardness in the air, he followed up with “It’s getting late, I’m just gonna go to the bathroom then crash in your guest room.”
Thank God he wouldn’t sleep in the same room as Jim and I; I need to talk to him. He seemed to feel the same.
“Ned…I…I think this is all my fault. I have the power. I’m a freak.”
“Jim…you’re not a freak. It’s not a bad thi—“
“I can pull electricity out from nowhere and…blast it. My father beats me because I showed him the power. I’ve known for awhile now.”
“You’re not alone. There’s you, Sam, and…me.” Afraid of his response, I resist the urge to demonstrate. But the pure liquid coming from my icy glass of water gave me courage. I raised my palms outward and lift them, the water follows. Jim disappears.
The second he disappears, so do I. Well I don’t disappear, I disappear from sight. A hand was grabbing my shoulder. Punch to the face. I groan. Punch to the face. I knew I couldn’t fight because I couldn’t see who was punching me. Smack to the face. Out cold.
I wake up at Coates Academy, tied down to a chair. Jim next to me, tied up as well. Looking down on us is Drake Merwin, Satan’s reincarnation, holding a gun, and Caine Soren, completely unarmed yet not intimidated at all by the pistol in Drake’s hand.
“I must say, spectacular work, Bug. You have proved to me worthy. You are dismissed,” Caine says, with the same cunning smile as someone I know, but before I could think about who, out of nowhere comes a small, creepy little kid who must be able to appear and then disappear at will. Bug walks out of the small dark room with a giant tub of something being stirred by other Coates kids. “I will leave you with the subjects, Drake,” murmurs Caine, obviously upset about something.
“Well hello, lab rats. I see we’re alone. And thanks to the generosity of Caine, I am allowed to do whatever I want with you. You see, our little Bug was eavesdropping on your entire little conversation there. We know about your powers, and we’re going to conduct a little experiment on you two. Now if you would be so kind as to follow me over to the torture chamber, I would be so delighted,” spoke Drake with a wicked smile. I don’t know if it was the smile or the gun, but when he untied us, I sure as hell followed him.
“Jack, are we set?” asked the devil.
“I believe so, but I’m only an expert at technology, if even that, and I—“
“Well okay then, boys place your hands in this here cement tub.”
Most likely harnessing the courage that I’m in lack of, Jim stated “No.”
“I beg your pardon?” Drake asked, now very irritated and pointing his gun at Jim.
He lifted his palms and brilliant blue-white strands of electricity formed in his hands, the strands lapping over each other and moving, giving off a loud hum of power. “I said NO!” He pushes forward and shoots out strands of electricity, letting them fly directed at Drake. I see the water pumps that are being used in making the cement mixture. Stretching my arms towards them, closing my fists then pulling back, released a plethora of water. I throw the water at Drake, knocking him down and getting him soaked, which simply created more pain when Jims next wave of electricity came. Drake screams in agony. I just notice the other kids have set off some kind of alarm when Caine walks in, once again unarmed. Jim and I cease.
“What is going on!” bellows Caine, who’s in rage.
With some sort of telepathic agreement between Jim and I, we aim our palms towards Caine. He still shows no fear. I’m starting to get nervous when a smile creeps onto his face, a wicked, unnatural smile. He lifts his palms. Jim propels his electricity at him, and Caine ducks. A strange feeling of freedom comes over me when I realize that the only thing I’m free of is gravity. Caine’s keeping Jim and I suspended in air.
“You just had to put up a fight. All of you Perdido beach kids are the same. So proud. Yet so weak. It will bring me much pleasure to experiment on you.” My eyes follow his outstretched palms as he brings us down to the ground and forces our hands in the cement mixture. He kept us there for several minutes before I could feel the cement starting to stick to my hands.
“You see, as you must have noticed, kids up here seem to share this same so called ‘power’. It was Computer Jack who suggested that the power was controlled with your hands. So I decided to test his theory by starting up a collection of freaks whose powers will be useless without the use of their hands.”
With every ounce of dignity I had left, I simply stated:
“You don’t know who you’re messing with.”
With our hands cemented, we were thrown outside without any food. I overheard Caine and Drake talking, and from what I can gather, they don’t plan on feeding us very much. Several days pass before they throw us some scraps from a bowl of cereal. It’s absolutely foul, but I have to eat something, so I stick my head into a bowl of food that dogs wouldn’t even eat. With the cement on our hands, it was getting too hard to move around; especially with so little food.
When about a week past, a tough girl named Dekka was added to our group. A few days later, a Taylor joined us. Eventually, there were about 2 dozen of us cement-hands. Jim and I were the weakest of them all. We couldn’t even get our sprits lifted by a kid who could lighten one’s mood with any story that he tells. When there were at least a hundred of us, the pretty Asian girl Taylor, tried to make a run for it. She got down by the road but then collapsed by a tree and he body lay limp. Throughout the day, Jim and I exchanged glances and looked at her with pity. We know we should help, but if we did, we’d be no better ourselves. That night was filled with nightmares of Taylor screaming, Taylor running, Taylor hiding. Everywhere I looked, Taylor was getting at my conscience. I couldn’t take it anymore. Looking at her lay face down in the dirt, completely helpless, made me decide I had to get her.
So I’m waiting for the perfect opportunity. But every time one comes up, I come up with a reason why it won’t work. I’m the only one stopping myself from saving her. I look at her shamefully, and out of the corner of my eye, I spot a car approaching. Out of it comes the one and only, betrayer, Sam Temple. Why can’t he just get out of here? Heaven knows what he’ll use Taylor for. Target practice? Besides, if he sticks around any longer, he might end up like the rest of us.
I turn around to check on Jim and I barely notice his even skinnier physique propped up against a weeping willow. “Hey Jim, look who’s here,” I comment in a very coarse voice, though I shouldn’t be surprised.
“Its…Sam,” he realizes, his voice even raspier than mine. He has a smile on his face. “He’s come to save us, Ned. He’s come to save –“
“You two! Get in here!” speaks a bold but frantic female voice. Diana. We crawl over to her, embarrassed at how weak we must look in this cement. She sneaks us into Coates. “Now listen, I think that what Caine and Drake are doing is wrong. So I’ve come to help you.”
“What makes you think we’re gonna trust you, Diana,” I question. She pauses, realizing how confused we must be.
“Honestly, there’s no reason why you should trust me, but if you want to get out of this place, I recommend you listen to me.” We say nothing for awhile, still wondering if this is a trick. “Listen, if you don’t believe me, try believing some food.” She leaves the room for a few minutes, and comes back with an almost finished box of wheat thins, and two glasses of water. “Eat it,” she commands. “It’s good for you.”
Without hesitation, we knock the box over with our heads and get the stale wheat thins on the ground. We’re eating like pigs, but at this point, food is food. We eat all of the thins, and practically lick the floor where the used to be. When we’re satisfied, we look around at the dark room, painted a navy green, and realize that Diana was nowhere to be seen. The food gave me a quick energy boost, enough to stand up all the way. I walk over to the window and see the cement tub, that was moved outside, and Sam, Astrid, and Astrid’s brother Little Pete. They were being cemented.
Yes, they were cemented, but now they are not; neither are we. Out the window, I spot Caine, Diana, and Drake sprinting back to the building. We should run, but for some reason, we stay rooted to the spot. My hands are deathly pale, but gaining control. Diana bursts through the door. So does Caine and Drake.
“YOU! What are you doing inside!?” demands Caine, still obviously of what just happened.
“Caine, as you know, our little Bug kept an eye on the prisoners, right?” Caine glared. “Well he commented that these two had extraordinary powers based on what he’s overheard. So, I invited them inside and got their readings. Both 3’s. I thought they could be useful.”
Caine’s pacing around us now, looking at us from head to toe. He doesn’t seem to know what to think. Finally he speaks up. “Very well. Diana, Drake, leave us.” They both follow his command, Drake obviously disappointed that he can’t kill us. “Let’s see here, give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just throw you against the wall and kill you?”
“We do have something in common, Caine,” I point out.
“And what is that?”
“We all hate Sam Temple.”
Caine seems satisfied. “Is that so? And why might that be?”
“He’s a murderer. A cold blooded murderer who killed…who killed—“
“Your sister, Ned. He killed your little darling sister in the fire, didn’t he? And who do you think lit that fire, hmm? Your sister, Ned. So who do you think came to the rescue? Sam Temple, Ned.”
His words stung like fire. I didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to remember the pain of my sister’s loss. But he was right. I had known about my sister’s ability to start fires with her hands; it was my fault. I should have picked her up the day of the FAYZ. But my mom always did that so I didn’t think to get her. But no, it wasn’t my fault. This is all Sam’s fault. Sam Temple killed my sister, and I’m going to make sure he pays the price.
“I think I have a deal that will satisfy us all,” spoke Caine.
“And what is that?” Jim chimes in.
“You two work for me, and I make sure Sam Temple dies.”
“You’re on.” I say. All eyes on Jim, who’s hazel eyes look from Caine to me. He’s looking me straight in the eyes.
“It’s a deal.”
Caine puts on that cunning smile of his, and leads us to what I assume used to be the cafeteria. Waiting there are Drake, Diana, Computer Jack, Bug, and a few others that I assume are mutant Coates kids who have been loyal to Caine from the start.
“Okay, now we have to assume that they predict an attack,” Caine explains, “Which is why we don’t attack.”
“That’s your plan, moron? Not attack? O OHH I’m so scared! Caine’s gonna kill us with all of these nonexistent attacks! Caine, you’ll be the laughing stock of the FAYZ!” Diana mocks.
“As of right now, Diana, I could care less about reputation.”
“For once, I agree with the witch. Caine, we have to attack.” Drake says.
As much as I could tell Caine despised Drake, he gives in. “Fine, we’ll attack. But not head on. As we all know, my 15th birthday is coming up, which means Sam’s is too.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Sam…is my brother.” He turns away, disgusted at the word ‘brother’. “Now, back to the attack. Sam does not know how to beat the poof. So I must kill him while I have the chance. Since he expects an attack straight on, we must be unpredictable.”
“What about the school?” asks one of the other kids.
“Perfect. Thank you, Panda.” Panda smiles, and then goes back to frowning when he gets an evil stare from Drake. I’ll send a few men there, because I’m sure he’ll try to go play hero and go right to the school. But then the rest of us go right into town. That includes you two. What are your names again?”
“Ned, Ned Rigby. And this is Jim…sir.”
Jim and I have been given orders to attack when the sun goes down and there is proof of Sam in the school area. We are prepared. I can’t create the water, but I can manipulate it. So, Caine so kindly positioned me by the fire station.
We, as a group, had decided to attack on Sam’s birthday. Caine believes it will add dramatic effect. It may, but that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried about making sure I kill Sam Temple. Caine and the others spent the entire week drilling Jim and I with exercises to master our abilities. Caine seemed genuinely impressed, but I could tell that beneath that phony smile, he was scared of us.
Diana was in charge of armor. At least that’s what Cained calls it. We’re each dressed in a black sweater with matching sweatpants. There’s dirt on our faces, and for a final touch, Caine equipped us each with pocket knives. We’re heading out.
There were several vans waiting for us. Jim and I get into one on the far left, along with Bug. A Coates kid who I’d never really recognized before is driving our van, and he has no idea what he’s doing. I show him how to take it out of reverse, and that definitely helps our progress. The other cars are already on the road, so we try to catch up.
“So, are you guys, like mutants or something?” the kid asks.
“Something like that,” I reply, with a little grin on my face. The driver keeps trying to start conversations with me, but he soon realizes that I have other things on my mind.
Jim has been silent for most of the car ride, so I was surprised when he spoke up. “Ned, I’m not so sure this is the best idea. I mean, I know Sam killed your sister and everything, but we don’t stand a chance. And besides, we’re doing this for the wrong reason.”
“He killed my sister, Jim. He deserves to die.” There’s a long pause.
“Okay, Ned. But just know that I refuse to be the one to kill Sam Temple. I’m only doing this for you. No other reason. Just remember that.”
“I will Jim. I promise.”
With that note, the car stops right outside of the town. It’s already nighttime, and I can almost feel the anxiety in Perdido beach. They’re waiting for it. They expect it.
“Sam’s at the school. Are you ready?”
“Ready. Let’s just get this thing over with,” I say.
We start sprinting full speed at the town. The folks in Perdido beach were prepared. There were many kids in the town square, wearing whatever they could find to use as a weapon, or armor. We were outnumbered, but definitely better fighters. Charging at the wall of kids, I spot a giant blur of yellow moving to my left. Giant amounts of wolf-sized coyotes are also running at the kids. The two armies collide. A kid with an empty beer bottle tries to knock my head but I end up getting his legs and taking him down. Jim’s over to my left, doing absolutely marvelous amounts of damage. He seems to have a form of an electrical force field around him, and he’s blasting electricity all over the kids. They fall before they even get to him. Meanwhile, I spot Sam in the distance, by the firehouse. Perfect.
What’s even more perfect about it, is that Sam lives in the firehouse, so his home is about to become his own worst nightmare. I’ve mastered the ability to reach out with my powers to large distances. So while I’m about 50 yards from the fire house, I explode the fire hydrant. Beautiful, crystal clear water explodes onto the street and keeps spraying. I catch it in midair and throw it at Sam. He doesn’t see it. He keeps moving, but right past me, right into the battle, eyes set on Caine. Out of nowhere, Orc, a giant bully, comes running at me. I use a new trick Caine taught me, and swirl the water around with my hands, then slowly push my hands outwards to my opponent. After that, I continue swirling it until it completely envelopes Orc. I hold it, I keep holding it. Sweat dripping down my long, black bangs and into my eyes. Take mental breaks, I remember Caine telling me. I see Orc start to panic a little, and release him. He collapses onto the ground.
I spot several of kids dressed in camo check me out, then surround me. I try the move Jim did earlier. I make a bowl with my hands, and then begin to cup them together, causing a giant sphere of gushing water to engulf me.
They charge at the water, but it just shoots them back twice as strong as they hit it. Here comes the difficult part. Put the shield on hold, on one side of your brain, while on the other, open a new window. I do just that, I keep the force field up, while outside of it, I force the hydrant’s water to throw itself at the enemies stronger than a fire hose. I hear a cheer coming from behind. I know that cheer. Riley.
Riley has a desert eagle gun in his hand. I don’t know how, but he does. I drop the shield, but then catch the excess water and project it at Riley. Riley shoots. Excruciating pain in my left leg. He fires again. My left shoulder. By now I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. Jim looks over, and then starts charging at Riley. But he’s too late. One last shot. Dead.