Chapter One: Melissa
“The Team are here, I can’t hold them off!”
The second I hear father’s voice in my head, I start running. I just shoot out of my desk, with my teacher midway through one of his long speeches, and rush out of the class. I hear Mr. Francis trying to call me back, with threats of telling the principle, a phone call home, or suspension, but that has to be the last of my worries.
Father is in trouble. And I can’t waste my time in a history lesson.
“You’ll have to try!” The thought just swims around in the forefront of my mind, waiting for father to pick it up, and send something back; an update on how he’s managing the so-called heroes, maybe. I force my feet to move as fast as they can, as I push the school gates open, with my mind. That short sprint already has me panting, with my heart racing, and I just lean on the pole that I locked my bicycle to, for a moment. A very short moment, because I cannot afford to waste any time; father cannot afford for me to waste time! I pull the key out from my jacket pocket, and attempt to unlock the bike lock, frantically, dropping it, not once, but twice.
Stop panicking! Stop panicking! Stop panicking! It’s all that I can think, and it far from helps. When I get a hold of myself, and finally do unlock my bicycle, I pull my jacket off, tie it around my waist, and start pedalling like it’s the only thing I know how to do.
“Melissa, you’re psychokinetic,” father sends to me.
For a good few seconds, my mind goes blank, having no idea what he means, but when my legs begin to feel the burn of the heavy pedalling, a light bulb clicks.
“Thanks!” I lift my feet off the pedals, and bring my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them. I simply let my mind, which is far more powerful than my body, do the work. The difference is hugely noticeable, and I effortlessly weave in and around all the pedestrians, quickly trying to finish the one mile ride home. I couldn’t care less about all the people who call out to me, or the people who honk their horns, as I ride from the pavement, across the road, onto the pavement again, and across the road again.
Even considering the circumstances, it amuses me how father still feels the need to warn me of how dangerously I’m riding. Then again, I don’t appreciate the blatant invasion of my privacy. Strangely enough, I find it far more uncomfortable when he looks through my eyes, not through my mind.
“I’m almost there. What’s going on?”
“I can only keep them busy for so long. But Night Drone isn’t making it easy. I didn’t bloody know he could block me out of his mind!”
Neither did I… Night Drone, a hero who could control everything to do with sleep, including people’s dreams. I knew he could manipulate people’s dreams and nightmare’s, getting into people’s heads, but I never knew that he also had a psychic block.
“Turn them on each other. Make them all go after Night Drone.” Father never was good with using his commonsense.
“No need. They’re all out cold, living in a nightmare… apart from Night Drone. How can he be blocking me?”
Well, I stand corrected. I don’t answer his question, because I don’t feel like I really need to. He’s not that stupid.
Above me, I can hear the sound of sirens. I look up, and sure enough, the hover cars are making way for the hover police cars, driving above those of us who do not have hundreds of thousands of pounds to throw away. But more importantly, back down on the ground, the road ahead is blocked off with police barricades.
“Is the police there with you?” I ask, as I force back the barricades. The police seem to think that whenever a “battle” between vigilantes and villains break out, they need to block off all surrounding blocks. It is utterly ridiculous. My father is not even dangerous. For the most part, it’s the heroes who put people in danger.
“No, but I can hear the sirens. They’re waiting outside for The Team to finish the job.” He sends his dark laugh through my head. “The idiots.”
I smile as I finally turn onto my road.
“Hey! You can’t be here!” one of the officers shouts at me. I simply ignore all the angry officers shouting at me, and push all the police cars out of my way, as I ride down the road. It’s funny how a bunch of fully grown police officers can’t even handle a psychokinetic teenager. Some of them attempt to run out of the way of the cars, most of them fail. The ones who are actually inside the cars—well, I’m sure that they won’t be screaming any time soon, with the way the cars slam into the houses.
Some of them are still standing, and have their guns pointed at me, but I just push them away, too, into the brick walls of the houses.
I jump off the bicycle, and run to my house. “I’m here, father. Don’t worry.” As I run up to my home, I’m not given a good impression of how things have turned out; the roof has collapsed in on the top floor, if you can even call it the top floor, anymore. I continue forward, though, not even trying to bother with the intricacy of the lock system, and just force the door open, blowing it off it’s hinges.
There are dead bodies all over the entrance hall. I don’t panic, because I know none of them are father. They’re only his men. Stepping over them, I glance around, and it looks as if all the world’s natural disasters happened in here, at once. Not such an unlikely scenario, considering one of my father’s men could control the elements. If he survived, I’m sure father would kill him, himself, for wrecking the house. The floor has literally opened up, revealing a crevice full of wet dirt. The carpet is damp, and squelches beneath my feet. And everything else in the entrance hall is all burnt, our bookshelf, with all the books on them, our wall, with all the photographs on them. Everything.
“Father!” I shout, not caring about the four ‘heroes’ trespassing in my home. As long as he’s alright, then The Team is only a minor inconvenience.
“Who’s that?” A male voice asks, from the main room. I run in there, to find my carpeted floor swamped with the motionless bodies of three of the four members of The Team. The fourth one, standing tall, in front of them, protecting them.
“Who are you? How did you get past the police?” the man says in an emotionless voice, with a face to match.
He’s dressed strangely for someone who is supposed to be hunting villains. Then again, I guess all heroes have their own ridiculous style. With his suspender trousers, white shirt and tie, all he needs is a suit, and you would think that he’s some office clerk; but with the unnecessary addition of his sunglasses you would guess that he’s in some secret government agency, and not a member of a vigilante team.
“I asked you a question,” he says, still with a flat monotone.
I don’t answer, because he is irrelevant. I have always loved my side-ability, if you could even call it that. I may even think it’s more powerful than my main ability. Being able to negate other peoples abilities definitely has its benefits.
“Hello Night Drone.” I look around the main room. No sign of my father. But what I do see only justifies my view on these ‘heroes’. Apart from the obvious wrecked furniture, there is a huge hole in the ceiling, with water dripping down it. It looks as if it’s crumbling by the second, and the creaking sound that I am hearing from it is not exactly heartening. It could fall on us at any moment, so I reinforce it with my mind, not much, because I don’t want all my attention to be set on keeping my home from crumbling. They may not have done this, but they are the cause. My gaze settles back on the dark-haired man. “You wouldn’t by any chance have the decency to tell me where my father is, would you?”
I stay perfectly calm, even though the three other trespassers start to rouse; because with me here, that means wherever my father is, his ability won’t work on them.
The reaction these heroes give, when they find out my father is actually a father, never ceases to make me smile. Of course, there is a reason why it has never been made public. One, because all the heroes that have found out that I’m the daughter of Anthony Cole, one of the country’s most infamous villains, have never had the opportunity to even process that information, themselves, before being quickly taken care of. And two, I cannot even begin to imagine how awkward that would make my school life.
“Yes. My father.” I nod at the gaping man. “You wouldn’t know where he is, by any chance, would you?”
The other three heroes start to get up, first, on all fours, and then they stand. They look around, as if they all just woke up from an amazingly realistic dream, and they finally settle on the girl standing in front of them, with her hands linked behind her back and eyebrows raised, me.
“Hello Team. Or do you prefer me to say, hello The Team.” I frown, slightly, as I say it. “Might I just say, you four really need a name change. ‘The Team’ isn’t exactly that original, nor does it exactly roll of the tongue, you know?”
They all merely stare at me, mostly very confused. Except, of course, for the woman, who looks me up and down with such displeasure, that I can’t resist addressing her.
“Sentient, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Sentient being her alias, because she can create sentient beings out of the darkness, as well as using the darkness for other purposes. “I must say, though, it’s not just a pleasure to meet you, but also to finally meet a good female role model for us young girls. Losing your temper at the most trivial things and acting like a spoilt brat? I’m glad little girls look up to someone like you.” I finish with a smile.
I have to resist the urge to laugh when I notice her fingers stray over the throwing knives on her belt.
“Who the hell is this? Where’s Anthony?” She starts to walk forward. She only manages to put one foot forward, though, before I stop her, and make her, unwillingly, step right back.
“What the fu—”
“You know, I don’t appreciate trespassers in my home,” I say, glaring at each and every one of them. Staying on the wide-eyed Sentient, the longest. “Especially not filth like you so-called heroes.”
“Who are you?” one of the other men asks, who I instantly identify as Infinite. There is no missing those bright turquoise eyes of his. Call me a hypocrite, but in my bedroom there is a poster of Infinite, covering my door. He’s one of the few heroes that I will admit is hot. It is a shame that he’s with that temperamental bitc—woman.
“Looks like you’ve got yourself another admirer Damon,” the last man says, brushing himself down.
I instantly look away from Infinite, or Damon, as the fourth hero said, and glare at the final member, unaware that I was staring. Of course their parents’ weren’t stupid enough to give their children such ridiculous names. I would love to say that the rest of the world isn’t that stupid, either…
Where Sentient and Infinite are wearing what seems to be a team uniform, of sorts—black cargo trousers, and a black jacket, Sentient with a black tank top, and Infinite with a black T-shirt—the final member Steel Wing feels the need to scrap the shirt and run around with his dark-skinned chest on show for the world to see. I guess it is sort of fitting, considering his ability to morph into birds. No prizes in guessing what their team colours are.
As much as I hate infinite the least, I still try to address his question as coldly as I can. “Are you really that stupid? This is my home. Take a wild guess.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a slight movement in the dining room, and when I pay more attention to my peripherals, I notice that it’s father, creeping around the dinner table.
“We don’t have time for this,” Sentient says, reaching for a knife on her belt, she pulls it out, and when I look up from it, to her, she’s glaring right back into my eyes.
“Erin, she’s only a teenager!” Infinite says, snatching the knife out of her hands.
“Not that I need your help,” I say, smiling at him, “but thank you.” I always did like him.
Another silence follows, and I just rock back and forth on the balls of me feet, whistling an improvised tune to myself.
“What are we doing?” Erin shouts out. I don’t jump at it, but everyone else does. I even think I see my father jump, a bit, out of the corner of my eye. “Jon, just make her sleep, then, and we can do what we came here to do.”
Everyone turns to Night Drone, who is still staring at me in disbelief. He shakes it off, though. “Yes, of course,” he says, as if it’s going to be that simple.
I just examine my nails, while he fails at using his ability, frowning at how dirty they’ve gotten. I sigh at the futility of his effort. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s just pathetic, really, that these high profile heroes can’t even handle a seventeen-year-old girl. Glancing up, I see him scrunch up his face, and I merely raise an eyebrow at him.
“Are you quite done?”
Of all the things that he would do, he actually takes a step back, his mouth seeming only to know how to gape at me.
“Not working, is it? I imagine that must be quite frustrating. Does anyone else want to try?”
And sure enough, I watch them all concentrate, as they attempt their abilities. Sentient even goes as far as extending her hands out at me. Infinite, being a replicator, puts the knife he stole from Sentient in his palm, and tries to make a copy in his other hand. He fails, of course.
“Okay, well that was pointless,” I say, putting my hands in my pockets. “I guess it’s my turn to try.”
A smile breaks out on my face, as they all rise a couple of feet off of the ground. They always try to struggle. Father finally makes himself known, and he comes out of his hiding place, joining my side, chuckling to himself.
“That’s my girl.” He places his hands on my shoulders, and the two of us watch the heroes struggling in the air.
“How the hell could a scumbag like you even have a child?” Sentient asks.
I don’t even let my dad answer. I point my hand at her, and she rises up higher than the rest. She rotates, so that she’s levitating horizontally in the air, her wispy black hair hanging over her pasty face.
“Let me go!” She grunts, and I can feel her struggling against my mind, not that it’s going to be anywhere near enough for me to put much effort in. With a simple thought I could slam her through the ceiling, and with another thought, I could bring her crashing down, face first. So tempting.
“What’s your name?” Infinite asks me.
I don’t want to split my attention. I want to just end this woman now, but I turn to him. “Melissa,” I tell him. I know it’s not wise to tell them my name, but considering that they’re all going to die soon, I figure that it doesn’t really matter.
“Well, Melissa, do you really want to go down this path.” I almost roll my eyes at that line. He doesn’t seriously think he can talk himself out of this, does he? “You’re only… a teenager. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Turning that life into a life of villainy—it’s not something that you should willingly walk into.”
I give him a warm smile, and lower him back down to the ground, although, still in my control. “It’s a shame you associated yourself with filth. I really don’t want to hurt you, Infinite.”
“You don’t have to. Let us go, and I promise we’ll leave you and your dad.”
I tilt my head, a little, to the side, narrowing my eyes, and opening my mouth to say something, but not knowing what to say. I glance up at my father, and he looks down at me, shaking his head. That’s all I need from him. I turn back to Infinite.
“And why should I believe you? I can’t exactly trust any of you, can I?”
“Well, you should.” He smiles back at me, and I find myself blushing, and looking away. “After all, we are the heroes. We’re not going to intentionally orphan a young girl, are we?”
Father squeezes my shoulders, prompting me to wrap this up. I remove them from my shoulders, though. Thinking, actually taking the time to think, albeit for a very brief moment, I realise that I’m only doing this to protect him. If they won’t harm him, then killing them would be unnecessary.
“And you won’t ever come back?”
What am I saying, though? I am not like them. They tried to kill my father. They know that I’m his daughter. I told them my name, for god sake!
“We won’t come back.”
But this seems like such a reasonable proposition.
“You won’t tell anyone I’m his daughter.”
What am I doing? I should kill them all now. I shouldn’t stall any longer. Father keeps squeezing my shoulder, and I know that I should listen to him.
“I’ll make sure none of us do.”
All these thoughts though, and I still find myself just staring at Infinite, wondering if I have become crazy, as I seriously consider letting them go.
“If any of you come back, I won’t be so hesitant to kill you.”
“Melissa? What are you doing?” father asks me, his disbelief obvious. “You can’t make a deal with filth like them. You can’t trust a word they say.”
“I think you should let you daughter decide what’s the best decision, Anthony.”
What is the best decision, though? They broke into my home, caused it to become pile of wreckage. They were trying to kill my father! Why am I even considering this? I should just tell him to shut up, kill him, and be done with this!
My thoughts scream at me to do the smart thing, and kill them, but I can’t. It’s not particularly hard, but I just… don’t want to? I find myself slowly releasing Infinite. I don’t look up, especially not at father. I can only imagine how disappointing this must be for him.
The other two men drop the few feet back to the floor, stumbling for their balance, while Sentient falls the few feet, face first, back to the floor. The short scream that she gives, is hilarious, and I laugh as she picks herself up off the floor, glaring right at me.
“If I had my way…” she mumbles under her breath.
“You know the way out. Try not to trip over the bodies.”
Infinite is the first to make a move. I can’t help but cringe slightly, as he brushes past me. After all, he is still a hero. “Come on guys,” he says.
None of them move, though. Night Drone and Steel Wing just look at each other. Sentient clenches her fists, still glaring right at me.
“Damon, you are not being serious,” the brat says. “This is Anthony Cole. One of the country’s top ten notorious villains.”
“Yes.” Infinite steps back into the room. “And this is his daughter, who we’re not going to orphan, am I clear.” His voice takes on a tone of authority, and with a stern gaze, he tries to stare down his girlfriend. “You know I don’t like ordering you, but Erin, this is an order. We are going, now.”
The two other men follow the order, instantly. The stubborn woman, however, takes her time, slowly walking up to… me. She doesn’t tower over me, but she still bends down, a little bit, to my level. For what must be the first time ever, she actually smiles smugly at me. If she wasn’t already a hero, she would make one terrifying villain. The way she glares at me, with her unblinking, silvery grey eyes, it is as if she is trying to see if she could make me burst into flames. I shouldn’t be scared of her, but I find myself struggling to keep her gaze, and hold my ground.
“Little girl, you have no idea who you are pissing off,” she whispers harshly at me.
“Neither do you.” I silently curse myself, at how uneven my voice sounds. I can’t let her get to me. I have to at least have this small victory.
She looks away for a brief moment, shaking her head. “You know, I’m not going to regret this one bit. Sorry Damon, but this is what we came here to do.”
It takes me far too long to process what had just been said. It is as if I just shut myself down, as she says those words. She doesn’t look away from me, not even for a second, not even when she brings her hand forward, over my head, so quickly, that I can’t make out what she’s holding, not even when father cries out, and not even when she pulls her hand back, and I see in her hand a black metallic knife, covered in blood.