Chapter 4:

Brightstar Arc 1 (Chapter 4)

Brightstar: The Rising Superhero


Popping high beat music played in the background as I pushed myself back and forth on the swing. At the jungle gym across from me, a kid was playing with what seems to be an orange cat. A chubby one at that. Well, at least that helps with the supposed image of a playground instead of the two to three giant buildings surrounding us like a prison.Bookmark here

This city needs to get better in urban planning because as far as I know this playground location is definitely a poor choice. Because it ruined the aesthetic, it’s all about the aesthetic. If it looks nice, it looks well maintained and proper.Bookmark here

“Sorry, I got caught up with stuff earlier,” said Jake as he huffed his breath.Bookmark here

I took a quick glance at Jake with a sour look on my face before looking around me again.Bookmark here

“What’s up with you?” asked Jake.Bookmark here

I launched myself from the swing and landed on my two feet. With all my heart, I shouted; “This playground sucks!”Bookmark here

“You just noticed it now? What do you expect we’re in a bloody city.”Bookmark here

“Well, when I was a kid, I didn’t mind the view because I was having so much fun. But now… urgh, I just see it now, and you were right all this time. This playground sucks.”Bookmark here

“I’m always right, Huhuhu. But enough complaining because let me present to you…. Your new costume!” Jake took out a dark hooded jacket with yellow stripes going down its sleeves and a yellow scarf with chequered black lines.Bookmark here

“Jake...”Bookmark here

“I know, it isn’t much, but it’s all I got and could make in a short time,” he sighed.Bookmark here

“No way, it’s perfect!” I took the jacket and the scarf then quickly went into the public restroom to change my attire.Bookmark here

“Boom!” A wide smile appeared on my face as I jumped out of the public restroom and posed heroically with my hands against my waist.Bookmark here

“Lookin' nice. Oh! Here. It’ll cover your fingerprint for the secret identity deal.” Jake took out a pair of gloves, weirdly cut out, only the palm was visible under it using a see-through plastic that was sewn around the palm.Bookmark here

“Nice!” I grabbed them off Jake and wore them in quick succession.Bookmark here

I posed to check out my new apparel and posed some more, and posed, and posed, and posed, and posed more. Moar!Bookmark here

“Dude, you don’t have the time. You need to do whatever it is you want to do and do it fast before night. I can only cover you so far before Miss Catty of yours blows a fuse.”Bookmark here

“Alright, let’s do this!.”Bookmark here

A couple of seconds passed, I still stood there with my hands against my waist. Jake looked at me with a raised eyebrow, and he groaned deeply while facepalming himself.Bookmark here

“Do you even know what to do?”Bookmark here

“Zero. I got nuh-thing.”Bookmark here

“What?! I thought you did some research on this kind of stuff?”Bookmark here

“I did. Google-it-ish and there isn’t any guide to this kinda stuff. What about you, do you have any idea what to do next?”Bookmark here

“Me?! I’m not the one who wanted to become the hero here. Ughhhh...”Bookmark here

“Aww, but I respect your distress. I shall find crime and stop them! Fear me because I am…”Bookmark here

“Normal-man!” Jake teased.Bookmark here

“Nooo, that won’t be my super name and quit bothering my speech.”Bookmark here

“Fine, but ain’t like fighting crime is a bit rash? Shouldn’t you like, start with the small stuff first?”Bookmark here

“Oh! Now you want to chime in.”Bookmark here

“Alright. Alright. It just... Isn’t it a bit too dangerous for your first mission? You do realize that bad people have guns and weapons, you could get yourself killed. I’m a bit…”Bookmark here

“Worried about little old cutie me?”Bookmark here

“First, don’t call yourself cutie. Ugh, hearing that just sent a shiver down my spine. You can call yourself whatever you want but don't call yourself that. I don’t like it, not one bit. Let me get this straight, I really don’t like it. Second, I think I know what your first quest should be,” Jake pointed at the kid across from us.Bookmark here

“A kid?” I looked at the kid, and he seems to be fidgeting at the tree in front of him. The boy’s gaze was hypnotized at one of the branches above him. Oh, I see it now, that is the same orange cat he played with earlier, and now it is stuck on the tree.Bookmark here

“Ain’t this situation a bit cliché? A new hero helps a cat get down a tree? That's literally in one of the motivational postures at school.”Bookmark here

“Everyone needs a good start, besides...what could go wrong?” The pipes rumbled ominously in the background, Jake and I shared a glance with widened eyes.Bookmark here

“Why do you say that? Now everything can go wrong.”Bookmark here

“It’s probably nothing. Come on, you ain’t the superstitious type. Go. Go save that cat.”Bookmark here

With a deep sigh, I jogged to the kid carefully, I watched both sides of the playground for any sign of dance while covering half my bottom face with the scarf. After I arrived beside the kid, I cleared my throat. “Don’t be alarmed, small child. It is I… ahhhh. Still brainstorming a name, but that doesn’t matter because I am a superhero, and I’m here to help!”Bookmark here

“You are?” The kid stared at me with a raised eyebrow as he took a step back away from me.Bookmark here

“Yes. So what’s the deal-io kid?”Bookmark here

“The cat I played with earlier, she somehow got spooked and ran up the tree.”Bookmark here

“Spooked?”Bookmark here

“Probably the cars, or a truck, or probably a ghost here. I don’t know! But she looks terrified up there, and I think she doesn’t know how to get down.” The cat hissed and glared at me with full animosity.Bookmark here

“Scared? Look pissed off to me. I don’t know about this, it seems that cat doesn’t want me near her.”Bookmark here

“Please… I know her, she’s really scared right now.”Bookmark here

“Are you even her owner?”Bookmark here

“No... we just met, but we have a good vibe with each other.”Bookmark here

I looked at the angry cat and back at the puppy eyes’ kid; I sighed, “Fine, let’s do this.”Bookmark here

“You can do it!” Jake sarcastically cheered me on with a nice cold drink in his hand.Bookmark here

After yelling my heart out while jumping and down, but the cat remained perched on the branch. I wiped the sweats off my forehead and was panting heavily. The kid looked at me with a raised eyebrow and crossed his arm when he started to question my abilities.Bookmark here

“You do have a superpower, right?”Bookmark here

“Of course, I do... But, my power needs to be a secret, or I will get into a lot of trouble.”Bookmark here

“In trouble? Mister, I’m starting to question what your deal is. Are you some kind of weirdo? If you are, then I won’t hesitate to shout for help.”Bookmark here

“Yes, he is!” Jake shouted from across the playground.Bookmark here

“No, I’m not!”Bookmark here

The kid took another step away from me, this time as a precaution against me. With my forehead against my palm, I groaned loudly at my fist.Bookmark here

A rush of air poured into my nostrils and I jumped toward the tree’s body and wrapped my arm around it. Then very awkwardly climbed up to the branches while trying to hold on with every strength I got.Bookmark here

Do know that I’m not exactly an athletic type of person. Yet, I once played baseball for my school, and sure I haven't played it for a long time now. But, I am still capable of such an exhausting activity. In conclusion, I’ll be damned if I can't climb this tree.Bookmark here

Every crevice on the surface of the tree was grazing against my body. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling and I can guarantee you that.Bookmark here

“Are you okay? You look like you’re about to faint.”Bookmark here

“Nope. I’m fine.” I did say that, but hell, I forgot about the injury I had two days ago. Now, every time I pressed a certain part of my body against the tree, a sharp pain surged from the touch, a sort of sharp poke, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of poking.Bookmark here

“Dude, people don’t climb a tree that way!” Jake chimed in one more time from the comfort of his distance.Bookmark here

“Why don’t you show me how to do it, huh?!”Bookmark here

“Your right. It’s your deal. I shouldn’t bother. Please proceed.”Bookmark here

“URGHH!”Bookmark here

After a pain-inducing climb, I finally reached the same level as my yet to be my new feline friend. Then by using my non-existent acrobatic skill, I slithered down the branch while making cooing sounds in the hope that the cat would come toward me willingly.Bookmark here

“Here Kitty, Kitty.”Bookmark here

It was unbelievable, the cat had leapt from the branch and into an open window, I was stricken with confusion. However, in the glimpse of his sight, my heart dropped when I slowly saw the subtle changes of the kid’s eyes bleed into disappointment. I gritted my teeth, pushed myself up, and leapt toward the opened window. Even Though I didn't see their faces as I jumped out, yet, I knew it was a sight to behold like an eagle soaring through the sky.Bookmark here

My hands touched the floor then my whole body rolled forward from the momentum and stopped when my feet were placed in front of me. The force flowed down to my legs as if my whole body was pulled down, but I held my stature. Without giving it much of a thought, I posed with my two arms spread apart like a pair of wings.Bookmark here

“......”Bookmark here

CLANG!Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

I turned around and the open window was obstructed with metal bars.Bookmark here

“......”Bookmark here

RINGGGGGG!!!!Bookmark here

“Ehhh?”Bookmark here

“Kenn?!”Bookmark here

“EEEHHHHHH???!”Bookmark here

“Kenn!”Bookmark here

I rushed to the locked window and squeezed my cheeks against the cold metal bars.Bookmark here

“Jake! Jake! Get me out of here!”Bookmark here

“You must have tricked the alarm! Are you crazy, jumping into some random building?!”Bookmark here

“I needed to catch the cat! Wahhhh!”Bookmark here

Everything is coming to me now, the cops are going to take me away, and my face will be on the TV. I have to go to prison, and when I get out, I can't find a decent job because I was branded as a criminal, and worst of it all, my mom… I can see it now, the terrifying pale demon is coming for me with her scary kitchenware.Bookmark here

I pressed my squishy face against the metal bars, “Bababababababa….”Bookmark here

“Blockhead! You need to get out of there!”Bookmark here

“I can’t!” Tears started to form under my eyes.Bookmark here

“Don’t cry, you idiot! I’m going to create distractions, so you can escape. Wait for me, okay?” Jake ran away along with the kid and headed toward the building entrance.Bookmark here

“Don't leave me--Eek!” My hand quickly covered my mouth.Bookmark here

A pair of footsteps echoed from the corner of the hallway, panic arose, I glanced around me. Changing my gaze from the cat, the fire hose box, the garbage bin, and the metal locker. So much blood ran up to my head at that moment that I just started jogging in a circle for no reason.Bookmark here

A masked man carrying what seemed to be a handgun turned around the corner to find…Bookmark here

Nothing.Bookmark here

He made his way toward the window, looking outside, and saw nothing but an empty playground. After a good tug on the barred window to see if it is secure or not, he turned and slowly made his way back to the corner, but! He stopped when he heard a rattling noise coming from the corner.Bookmark here

I clenched my lips tightly as he reached for the knob. The masked man readied his handgun and slammed the locker’s door open.Bookmark here

“A cat?”Bookmark here

Yes, it was a cat, and inside that locker was nothing more than a broomstick and a bunch of cleaning supplies.Bookmark here

“Meow.” The orange cat purred against the man’s legs.Bookmark here

The masked man holstered his gun and picked up the cat. Petting the cat, he would then walk away with the cat in his hands. That doesn't do well for me. I needed the cat. So I could return it to the kid.Bookmark here

“.....”Bookmark here

Caw...Caw.Bookmark here

I pushed the lid open and crawled my way out of the garbage can. When I stood, a bunch of gross leftovers that were attached to my clothes fell off such as a half-eaten doughnut, a piece of eaten chewing gum, and stained with a half drank coffee. My pocket vibrated, I reached for the phone and swiped right to answer.Bookmark here

“Hi. Hi. Kenn speaking.”Bookmark here

“You idiot! Hi. Hi. My ass! You are in a bank, and it is currently being robbed!”Bookmark here

“Jake, I’m scared...” Both pairs of my legs shook in fear.Bookmark here

“Heroes don't get scared. I knew you weren't up for this kind of stuff. I should have stopped you earlier. This was my fault, I should have listened to my instinct.”Bookmark here

“Jake, I’m sorry to interrupt you, but this isn't about you. It’s about me! How in the hell, am I going to escape?”Bookmark here

“You can't. But I think you can hide until this situation calms itself down and then pretend like you were one of the hostages.”Bookmark here

“Mister, can you ask him about my cat?”Bookmark here

“This isn't time for your cat, kid.” Jake nudged the small child away.Bookmark here

“No.” I clenched my hand tightly.Bookmark here

“No, what?”Bookmark here

“The kid is not wrong, Jake. I went in to get his cat, and that’s what I’m going to do.” I swiped away to end the call then stored the phone back in my pocket. With a newfound determination, I pulled my scarf up to hide my face while revealing a pair of glaring eyes.Bookmark here

Terrified beyond beliefs.Bookmark here

Of course, I'm scared. They have guns and I have only my fist. How am I supposed to fight them? With my fist? You know what? Screw it. 50% percent effort, 30% percent creativity, and 20% percent bravery.Bookmark here

Making sure my back was against the wall as I tiptoed to an open break room. I went up to the fridge, opening up, and felt the cold wind against my face. Somehow this felt calming, now I wish I could stay here all day. However, now is not the time to loiter around.Bookmark here

I took the sandwich label ‘Lydia’, unwrapping it and placing it near my lips. The sweet scent of Mayonnaise eggs lingered under my nose, I took a bite and relished the taste.Bookmark here

Why am I eating this?!Bookmark here

I placed back the sandwich. My gaze went to a single banana in the fridge. After investigating the banana, I noticed a label on it. ‘Lydia’.Bookmark here

Dang Lydia, who hurt you?Bookmark here

Peeling back the banana, I munched down the delish inside and kept the peel in my pockets. When I left the fridge alone, I stood up to meet the cabinet. As quiet as I can, I opened up the cabinet. There’s nothing but paper plates and cups along with a roll of the see-through plastic wrapper. I took the wrapper with me and closed the cabinet.Bookmark here

With careful consideration, I peeked out of the break room and into the hallway. There’s no one here. Coming closer to the T-shaped intersection, I took out the plastic wrapper and the duct tape I grabbed along the way. Tapping the plastic wrapper across the wall and near the floor, I created a trap for my plan. I stored the plastic wrapper in my jacket and made my way further into the bank.Bookmark here

The rooms were desolate, empty of any living human. However, I noticed a few broken things along the way as I made my way deeper. With each room I examined, I grabbed a couple of office supplies, stored them in my pockets. Finally, I arrived at the bottom of the stairs.Bookmark here

Flashes of red and blue lights peeked through the closed curtain blinds. Three masked men gathered around a small office. Inside it, more than a dozen hostages were gagged and tied. They looked terrified, but none of them was hurt from where I could see them. One of the masked men held the cat that I was trying to save.Bookmark here

“You have no way to go! We got you surrounded. Surrender or we will have no choice but to use force!”Bookmark here

There seems to be infighting between the three of them.Bookmark here

“You said that this was supposed to be easy!”Bookmark here

“I never said that!”Bookmark here

“I can’t go to jail, man.”Bookmark here

“Don't worry, we still got the hostages. We can barter our way out. But, I won’t leave without any cash so keep on gathering them. Besides, if anything happened we still have our back-up.”Bookmark here

I leaned away from the corner. Beside me was the emergency panel. A smirk appeared on my face. I opened up the panel and saw a roll of fire hose inside. A flash of memory, an old one back when I was still in elementary, I remember it now, just like on the TV: Delta appeared with a giant smile on her face and a proud posture over her opponent. No fear. Only inspiring hope. Slipping the nozzle between my belt, I inhaled my last breath before leaving the corner.Bookmark here

“BEWARE!”Bookmark here

They all turned toward me as I stood over the counter with both hands on my waist.Bookmark here

“Who the hell are you?!”Bookmark here

“Fear me Darkness! For, I am Light. I am Hope! And, I am your Saviour! They called me: Brightstar. In the deep darkest place I shall appear like a star! Seek me and I shall lead you to your safety!”Bookmark here

“Who is this crack job?”Bookmark here

I took out the nozzle then quickly sprayed over the three men. They waved their arms up in the air, protecting themselves from the strong gushing water. Behind the nozzle, I had the biggest grin on my face as I taunted them.Bookmark here

It didn't last long as they recovered their senses, I left the nozzle behind and started running. Two of them chased after me, it was exactly as planned. I turned and swung myself over the corner, fast enough to outrun them, but not enough for them to lose sight of me.Bookmark here

Finding myself back to where I was, I carefully avoid the mischievous trap I set up earlier. Jumping over the plastic obstacle, a grin appeared. Hearing my opponent's scream of annoyance, I knew that one of them had fallen for my traps. I kept on running, after turning around the corner, I pushed myself inside a locker.Bookmark here

“Where did he go?”Bookmark here

“Split up and search every room!”Bookmark here

The two of them separate, each taking a different route. Through the grate, I saw one of them standing in front of me. Alone and far from his ally, I burst out of the locker with both my arms up.Bookmark here

“Stardust Slam!”Bookmark here

Shocked by my appearance, the robber didn’t have time to move out of the way. My arms slammed against his chest, and I was carrying him backwards with my momentum. The force from my slam lifted his feet up and was heading toward the glass pane behind him. Instead of crashing through the glass, we bounced off from it, but I managed to knock out the robber after the back of his head hit the glass.Bookmark here

We both fell to the floor because the robber wasn’t the only one who was stricken by the glass pane. Along the way, my foot slipped, and I sent myself against the durable glass. Now I know real glass doesn’t break easily. I groaned, but as I heard the other robber was getting closer to me, I rose despite the pain.Bookmark here

In line with my sight, I took out the banana peel from my pocket and tossed it in front of the robber path. The robber halted his charge and looked down at the peel with a raised eyebrow. A moment of opportunity appeared, I ran toward him with my fist ready.Bookmark here

“Stardust punch!”Bookmark here

The robber raised his head and found me in front of him, but before I could even land a shot, my carelessness got the better of me. I stepped on the banana peel and was sliding across the floor until our forehead met. Both of us grimaced in pain as we broke away from the impact. Yet, it didn’t deter me from my earlier plan.Bookmark here

“Stardust punch 2.0!”Bookmark here

My fist glowed brightly, blinding him momentarily. It was too late for the robber when my clenched hand rammed against his face, breaking his nose and knocking the robber out. He fell against the floor with a loud thump. I breathed heavily over him as I raised my fist in victory.Bookmark here

“I am the light that shall vanquish the darkness!”Bookmark here

Taking out the plastic wrapper and duct tape, I quickly tied both of them to an office chair. Stripped them of their weapons then I tossed them in the garbage can.Bookmark here

I did it. I can’t believe I did it. Take that Jake! I know I can do it. If my dad sees me now, he would be proud, but if it were my mom. Well, I hope she didn’t, or I will get into so much trouble.Bookmark here

With no time to waste, I quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran down the hallway. Arriving at the same corner where I last hid, I examined the room. Only one left, taking him out is the plan, but getting close to him is another. That’s why I have this fire extinguisher. I ducked down and crawled toward the counter.Bookmark here

The robber took out his walkie-talkie: “Did you get the kid?”Bookmark here

Nobody answered, a quick breath in, I ran toward him. He saw me coming, but as he took out a gun, I duck and slid toward him. Aiming the nozzle, I squeezed the handle and poured the white thick plume of smoke at him. Blinding his sight. After emptying the fire extinguisher, I stopped myself and took a swing at the man.Bookmark here

The plan worked, when the man fell unconscious after taking the full brunt of the hit against his head. I let out a sigh of relief as I turned my gaze at the hostage. Suddenly, a slimy rope wrapped itself against my waist. I looked down and followed it to a man, half frog, it was his tongue. I finally realized the weight of the situation.Bookmark here

Thump!Bookmark here

My body was fling across the room, slamming against the concrete column. I withered in pain as my teeth gritted together. I lifted my gaze at the new threat. Middle-aged man, with black hair and eyes. His skin was green and slick, his eyes bulged out to the side resembled a toad. As his tongue retracted, the skins under his throat bulged out.Bookmark here

“Ribbit.”Bookmark here

As he lashed out his tongue at me, I rolled to the side and barely missed the attack. I stood and ran toward the counter. The toad man was unrelenting in his attack, but I managed to dodge his tongue until I arrived at the back of the counter. He got a good aim for a half toad man. However, I was safe from his attack if I hid behind the counter.Bookmark here

My safety was an illusion when the toad man leapt across the room and over the counter with a single jump. He was above me in a matter of seconds, expanding his tongue at me. My body broke through the wooden counter. I coughed out my pain as I rolled away.Bookmark here

That attack had caused too much damage and the pain that I felt was beyond me as if a thousand needles were poking every part of my torso. I almost fainted.Bookmark here

I can’t do this. Who am I kidding? Against another powered is idiotic. I can barely take out the other guys, let alone fight someone who has a higher advantage than me. I can’t do this. I’m just a kid. I can’t. Can’t. No way. Jake is right. A hero, who am I kidding?Bookmark here

All your so-called power does is ‘glow’ around your hands and that’s all, nothing more. You are just a regular boy.Bookmark here

A Hero? Pfft, what? Stop joking around. Kenn... your only power is that your hands glow. You are not going to help anyone with that.Bookmark here

I’m so weak, aren’t I?Bookmark here

They were right. My mom, Jake, everyone else. Laying there on the floor, despair loomed over me, and I was ready to give up.Bookmark here

“Meow…”Bookmark here

I slowly lifted my gaze at the cat, it purred on top of the cabinet without a care in the world. Then my gaze wandered beside the cat and at the hostages. They all were looking at me. Hope in their eyes. Their faith in me was unwavering. They were counting on me to save them. The kid was counting on me. Everyone is.Bookmark here

‘You are stronger than you realized, Kenn T. Johnson.’Bookmark here

“Stay down, kid. If you know what’s good for you. Ribbit.”Bookmark here

“No…” I whispered under my breath.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“I said no.”Bookmark here

‘You are a hero!’Bookmark here

“I am a Hero!” I stood up through the pain and by sheer will alone.Bookmark here

“What!? I said stay down!”Bookmark here

The toad man lashed out his tongue once more. I can see it coming. With a quick sidestep, I missed me and I started running toward him with my fist ready.Bookmark here

“You are not a hero. You are just a kid!”Bookmark here

He shot out his tongue again, and I dodged it again.Bookmark here

“I’m not a kid! My name is Brightstar!Bookmark here

The toad man was about to leap away, but I stopped him by illuminating my hand to the point that the bank was filled with nothing but light. Nobody could see and that was the plan. Even the toad man couldn’t see anything past the light. It was too late for the toad man when I launched my fist against his face and tossed him back with all my strength.Bookmark here

“ULTIMATE STARDUST PUNCH!”Bookmark here

The light simmered down, and both of us were on the floor. Exhausted beyond anything I ever felt in my entire life. Still, I had a big smile on my face.Bookmark here

But, I did it.Bookmark here

I freakin did it!Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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