The Life of a Teenage Superhero
An excerpt of a piece soon to be part of a larger novel.
You were only fourteen when you ran away from home.
Living with your parents was absolute misery. They were the type of parents who were full of hate: they hated their jobs, hated their spouses, hated everything about themselves. You didn’t really care why they did what they did, and you never will, but even if there was some sad sob story behind their abuse, it wouldn’t matter. By the time they were stable enough to say sorry, you were long gone.
You grew up far too quickly, or perhaps too slow for your home, and you have to leave behind the things that don’t serve you. So you left.
You spent two years on your own, doing things you know you’d regret because you were a teenager and that’s what teenagers do. You hurt people. You made friends. You partied, you fought, wasted your time and then you woke up with superpowers.
That day, you went to sleep and the next, objects were floating around you.
Two weeks after you woke up with powers, you met Annales. You’ve heard of her before. Everyone in New York has.
She was the director of the Order at the time, the premier superhero team based out of Manhattan. She was also a key player in bringing down the last director, Solar Flare, who was — for lack of better words — a murderer.
Solar Flare was boundless in physical power, but he was traumatized. Scarred. It was a shock to nobody when a group of telepaths took advantage of his mental state and did their bidding through his hands. He did not murder anyone, but his body did. Nuance matters none to heroes, and so she killed him.
Regular people became even more paranoid, and rightfully so. It could happen again. The media imagined a person sick enough – not necessarily ill, but bitter, scorned or just traumatized – and imagined them winning the power lottery. Now imagine them winning again. Now they’re a reality bender, a telepath, a healer, an elemental, or just plain invulnerable. People couldn’t develop technology fast enough to combat it. What will you do against someone trying to kill you if they’re bulletproof?
That’s where the registry comes in, and that’s what got you. Know your enemy. You intended to dodge it- as far as you knew, you wouldn’t be using your powers, but she found you. There’s no telling how she tracked you down – you had no address, and you hadn’t used your legal name in years – but she still found you. She found you and told you she was searching for others like you – recruiting the aimless, lost, and purposeless to make into heroes. You told her you were only sixteen. She said it did not matter, children can be heroes too.
After a few legal proceedings, you were officially a hero. They took your measurements, made you a suit, gave you housing, taught you how to fight. Annales taught you personally – she taught you how to take the hurt, how to ignore your body’s attempts at self-preservation, and how to walk on glass. She taught you how to be a hero too – how to smile when you’re missing teeth, how to handle the press, how to make your fame truly yours.
You fought a lot. You fought B-listers to cartoon villains ten years your senior. You personally tried not to kill, to help instead, but the people want rock: they want to see blood and carnage and guts, the shedding of skin, the cameras reflect well on gore for a reason, and that’s what you’re told to do and so you do it. They loved you for it.
On the day before your birthday, you told yourself you’d bleed for better reasons. You turned seventeen at midnight on June 28th and that’s exactly when you fought other heroes for the first time. You and a few others.
It was less hatred of them and more of an order, you even don’t remember what you were fighting about, all that comes to mind is the standoff – the gritting of teeth, clenching of fists, the tense air heavy with iron. It was the first time you felt intimidated.
You walked away with teeth dislodged and one less finger on your left hand. Still, you won. That’s all that matters. The world was saved again.
You are around eighteen when the world ends.
It isn’t the first time the world has ended, not for you. This time, you watch the world give way to nothingness, as you stand on the station and look up at the coming void. It’s spreading quickly. You aren’t supposed to be here, but here you stand, in a full suit, as if nothing has truly changed. It hasn’t. You are here to save the world.
You are the only one left who can.
As a huge superhero fan, I have found lots of inspiration within the stories of heroes, such as the X-Men or Teen Titans. I was always fascinated by the trials and tribulations of heroes, especially when young heroes are thrown into adult situations. Another one of my favorite genres are coming of age books, and I wanted to mesh them together into a piece that was entertaining for me.
Taranis is currently a high school sophomore in Brooklyn, NY. He enjoys reading, writing, playing the guitar and anything creative. He wants to connect with others and experiment with new things, both in and outside the writing world. He hopes to publish a novel one day and help people understand themselves through fiction.