Isabel kept a very strict daily schedule and had done so for the past thirteen years. At first it was to help deal with the grief of losing her husband but now it was integral to who she was. Her husband had been killed in an automobile accident involving government vehicles. After months of paperwork she was left with a sizable sum of credits, more than she would need in her lifetime. Smart investments allowed her to do whatever she wanted with her life, besides taking care of her only child. Years later, once Benji was able to take care of himself, she searched for something to do, something to occupy her time.
Her mornings were spent at a food pantry, preparing meals for the elderly and homeless throughout Raven City. Even though basic income and housing for all was available for each citizen, people still fell through the cracks. The meals Isabel helped prepare were offered to everyone with no questions asked. All were welcome. She received normally no income other than a sense of satisfaction but today she earned experience, an enormous amount of experience. After a bit of information sharing it was clear she was receiving far more than others so she chose to leave early, allowing others to gain experience in her stead. There was no need to monopolize it.
After a light lunch at one of her favorite restaurants, she made her way to the Raven City Crisis Shelter, which housed victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Raven City, for all its merits, had an ugly side. Most chose to ignore it. The news rarely reported on it, choosing to report happy, feelgood stories instead. The police did their best but they couldn’t be everywhere. Most of the people living at the shelter were teenagers or young adults. The building itself was one of the most secure buildings in Raven City, their security primarily made up of ex-military or off duty police officers. The two armed guards at the door relaxed a bit as they noticed her walking up to the former office building. She knew both of the guards very well but showed her badge anyways.
“Afternoon, boys.” She said with a smile. The men wore somber expressions. “How are things today?”
“Bad, Isabel. We’ve had all sorts loitering around here. That business with the World Spike brought out the cockroaches if you catch my meaning.”
Her smile faded. “Anything serious so far?”
The second guard spoke up, “We’ve had to be very blunt with a few people but nothing that required force.”
“Well, good job so far. I’ll be here until late this evening. Keep me posted.” The two men parted with one waving at a camera mounted just above the steel security door. She heard the lock click and pushed the door open and stepped inside, letting the door slam shut behind her. The inside opened up into a large area with tables and couches scattered throughout. At the far end of the room sat a reception desk. A pair of elevators and two steel doors sat directly behind the desk. Isabel crossed the empty room and approached the woman sitting at the desk. The woman looked up and smiled as she saw Isabel approaching.
“Oh I’m so glad to came today, Isabel.”
Isabel smiled at the middle aged woman who sat behind two large computer monitors. “Hello, Angie. I heard from the boys outside that things have been rough today.”
“Oh you don’t know the half of it. All sorts of wackos have been calling and demanding that we turn over our clients.”
“Let me guess, they think they’re all powerful now and we should cower at their feet in fear?”
The woman chuckled, “That about sums it up. I’m sure some people could follow through with their threats but luckily only a few have showed up to try.”
“What’s the situation in the dorms? Any problems there?”
Angie’s smile faded. “Most are distraught. That bastard that did all this wasn’t kind to those poor souls. A few have shown improvement but most of the others are suffering. Their abilities are useless to say the least.” She continued, “My abilities make me better at what I do and are generally helpful but some of those poor souls have been traumatized by theirs. Isabel, there have been a few suicide attempts.”
Isabel’s expression turned grim. Not every case ended up with the victim improving enough to where they could return to their original lives. Suicide was an unfortunate part of life at the shelter. It was hard enough to help these people before the World Spike. Isabel felt anger boiling inside of her.
“Um, Isabel, I don’t mean to alarm you but your hands are on fire.”
Angie’s voice snapped Isabel out of her trance. She looked down at her fists and was in awe of the golden flame that surrounded them. She should be screaming in agony but it felt like she was wearing a pair of soft, fuzzy gloves. The flame left trails in the air that disappeared as she moved her arms. She focused on her breathing causing her anger to subside, taking the golden flames with it.
“Sorry about that. It’s one of my abilities. I’ll be more careful.”
“See that you do, Isabel. You need to be the loving, caring person you normally are, not some human tiki torch.”
Isabel nodded her head, walked up to one of the elevators and pressed the button. She took a deep breath to steel herself for the work to come.
It was 11pm by the time Isabel packed up to leave. She wanted to leave earlier but the residents of the shelter needed her. With the help of the other volunteers, they finally got everyone fed and into their rooms. She was surprised at how many people came in to work the night shift. They would be able to take care of any nightmares or other issues that pop up. After arriving back on the first floor she saw that Angie’s desk was occupied by another volunteer. She said goodbye to the young man and walked across to the security door. As she stepped out into the cool night air two different guards looked back at her. Both gave a polite nod as she walked between them. It was a long way home but one she had made countless times before.
As she walked she noticed the streets were unusually quiet tonight. Occasionally she would see a car driving down the road but she saw nobody else walking. Stores had long since closed or were closing. It wasn’t long before she came to the train station nearest the shelter. She entered the terminal, scanned her transit card causing the reader to beep letting her know she could continue. As she neared the stairway leading down to the passenger landing, she heard two more beeps from the entrance. She hurried down the stairs to wait for the train. As she stood on the platform, she checked the time on her cellphone. The train was due to arrive any minute. Footsteps echoed down the stairway behind her. She turned to see two men wearing dark clothing walk across to wait just out of arms length from her. She put her phone back into her bag and waited for the train. She brought up her status as an afterthought.
|Name Isabel Ferrell
Class Urban Crusader
You are able to repair objects in your home with mana.
Your spirit rages when confronting those you consider evil.
When you witness family or friends being injured or threatened, you cannot feel pain until the threat is eliminated.
Earlier in the day she had to instruct her A.I. to stop notifying her of each experience gain. She would wait to consult Benji on what her level up reward should be. A minute later the train rattled down the track before coming to a stop at the landing. Isabel entered the train and sat in the car nearest the conductor like she always did. The train pulled away, slowly picking up speed. She breathed a sigh of relief and settled in to wait out the short trip to the next station. She stared out the window across from her and thought about what government officials had announced throughout the day. She wondered if depending on the government to protect her was the wisest choice.
As she weighed the options in her head, she heard the door to her car open causing the rattling of the tracks to flood the compartment. She looked to her left and saw the two men from earlier walking into the car. They sat across from each other no more than ten feet away from her. She looked to her right at the conductor before looked out the window again.
“It’s late out miss. A bit too late for a beauty like yourself, if you ask me.”
She looked at the man to her left and simply nodded.
“What brings you out so late at night, if you don’t mind me asking.” The second man spoke this time.
Seeing that they weren’t going to leave her alone she answered, “I had to work late.”
“That wouldn’t happen to be at the crisis shelter would it?” She turned her head and stared at the man to her left.
“Oh, I think that’s a bingo. See? I told you she was the one.”
The second man replied, “Yeah, looks like our information was correct. Blonde hair, smoking hot. Lady,that rat hole you work at has something that belongs to our boss.”
“They don’t belong to anyone, you bastards.” She watched as the man's expression went from a sleasy sneer to anger.
“Shut your mouth, bitch!” The man to he left screamed. He stood up and took a few steps closer before continuing. “Either you turn over those whores you stole or we’ll just take you back to the boss. I’m sure he’ll get top credit for your pampered ass.”
The other man spoke, “Hold up there, bro. Something weird is happening to her hands.”
The first man screamed, “I don’t give two shits about her hands! She ain’t gonna insult me and then tell me no. This bitch needs to learn how to respect a man.”
Isabel stood up her fists blazing with the same golden fire. The thug charged at her with a wild right hook. She ducked by falling to her knees, her right fist impacting the man’s crotch. The flames caused the cloth of the man’s pants to catch fire. As he fell to his knees in pain trying to put out the fire, she stood up and brought her right knee as hard as she could into the thug’s jaw. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he fell to the floor, his pants still burning.
“What the fuck!” The second man shouted as his friend fell to the floor in front of him. The conductor announced over the intercom that he had notified the police and they would be waiting at the next station.
“You’ll never get those poor girls. You want to make money? Put a wig on your friend here and put him on the corner. Might want to take him to a doctor first though because I felt something pop with that punch.”
“Whoa, lady. I think I'll take my chances with the cops.” Isabel stood with her back to the conductor’s door, her hands blazing as she held them ready in front of her. She watched as the second man extinguished the fire that was happy burning away on his friend’s crotch. After the flames were out he walked over to the exit and stood there, leaving his buddy lying unconscious.
A few minutes later the train pulled into the station. As the doors opened, police rushed into the car. The two men were quickly put into handcuffs and dragged from the car. Isabel took a deep breath and shook her hands, extinguishing the flames. A police officer motioned for her to step off the train. She grabbed her bag off the floor and left the train. As she followed the officer towards the station entrance she was approached by a man wearing a brown suit. She took her ID from her bag and handed it to the waiting man.
“Miss, I’m Detective Overton of Raven City PD.” He said while scanning her ID with a handheld device. “I’d like to take your statement if you have a few minutes.”
“Of course, Detective. I assure you it was self defense.”
The man handed her the ID and nodded. “I watched the live feed from the train on my way here. You aren’t in any trouble Miss Ferrell. I just need your statement for the report.”
Isabel gave Detective Overton a brief description of what happened before and during the attack. He asked a few questions which Isabel answered. A uniformed officer came over and whispered into the detective's ear for a moment before leaving.
“Well, the man you left standing has apparently seen the error of his ways and is very cooperative. It seems they’re both from the Low Gang. Well, that’s what they used to be called. They’re calling themselves the Powerless now.”
“I know of them Mr. Overton. I volunteer at the Crisis Shelter. They’re responsible for nearly half the women we currently house there.”
Detective Overton nodded grimly. “A few of the boys moonlight as security there. Raven City PD thanks you for the work you do, Miss.”
“Yes, we try to keep everyone well protected.”
“Be that as it may, I’ll contact the mayor about sending a detachment from the military to watch the over area. No promises though, they’re more than a bit uptight.”
“I appreciate your concern, Detective. Am I free to leave? I’d like to get home soon.”
Detective Overton put his notepad into his coat pocket and motioned to a nearby officer. “I like for one of the boys to drive you home if you don’t mind. Just in case. I’ll contact you if I have any further questions.”
“Thank you, Detective.” She followed the young officer out of the station and walked over to a wait police cruiser. The officer opened the passenger door for her and she sat inside. A moment later the officer got into the cruiser and drove off towards her house.