As my eyes slowly open, I attempt to stretch but stop for two reasons. One is my arm being stopped by the interior wall of my truck, and the other is a pang of pain from the increasing soreness due to sleeping in my truck for the last week or so. I attempt to collect myself, feeling my hands shaking a bit from the nightmare I just had, and taking a moment to wipe the tears welling up in my eyes.
I try to stretch a bit more before giving up, just trying to get comfortable as I reach into my pocket, grabbing my cigarette box and lighter. Then I open the window a bit, feeling the cool winter air flood into the small space I’m currently in. Taking a moment to light a cigarette once the chill wears off, beginning to smoke to try and calm my nerves. What a great start to my birthday.
I turn on the radio, letting the sound of some pop song of the week fill my ears as I take another drag from my smoke. I then let the smoke slowly flow out from my lips, feeling myself calm just a bit before putting it down and looking into the rear view mirror to make sure I look presentable for work.
I see myself, my lightly tanned white skin, short and a bit messy black hair, dark brown eyes. Alongside my usual facial features are also numerous bruises and cuts from a fight a couple weeks ago. Glancing down I look over my black hoodie, a couple food stains on it from the last few days, it’s gonna need a wash …
Before I can form the next thought the song playing gets interrupted by the faux-enthusiasm in the voice of a radio host. “Sorry to interrupt the song folks, but we just got word of a battle going on downtown between The Enclave and Lo Imdomable.. Be sure to steer clear from Little Korea to avoid the danger!”
The Enclave are a government sponsored group of Parahumans doing Super Hero work in the US. Apparently they're also taking charge of monitoring the Suit psychos and even putting them behind bars when they become too dangerous. Parahumans being people who attained Super Powers through Soul Ignitions... which are some kind of change in someone that sparks something fundamental within them.
Lo Indomable are one of the local criminal Suit teams in Redwood who want freedom from the Enclave’s eye or something along those lines. I don’t really pay too much attention to all that, just knowing what I overhear on the radio or news at work.
A knock on the passenger window of my truck pulls me out of my thought process. Looking over, I see a familiar face, my best friend. I unlock the door for her so she can get in, taking a seat inside the truck beside me.
She brushes some of her long dirty blonde hair out of her face as she gets comfortable. Her thin but athletic body leaning back into the seat as she stares at the ceiling of the truck before turning her blue eyes towards me.
“Still kicked out I see, you look like shit J.” She comments, giving a good look over my body before meeting my eyes, the bruises and cuts on her face a bit more faded than mine from the fight.
“Well you don’t look too much better yourself.” I reply, offering her my almost finished cigarette which she grabs and takes a puff from, finishing it off.
In return she hands me a bag from the burger joint around the corner which I open and pull out the burger inside, unwrapping it and beginning to eat.
After tossing the cigarette butt out of the window she leans back again with a sigh, running a hand through her hair.
“Shitty morning?” I ask, looking at her a bit curiously, but already expecting what her answer will be.
“Yeah, Seth was fucking with mom again, but I handled it.”
Yep, that’s what I expected.
“I also saw Clay, had to give him rent for last month, and November.”
I feel myself tense up at his name, looking away from her as my dream from last night floods back into my head. A slight pain begins to burn in my side as I try to push it out of my mind.
“You alright man?” I feel Izzy’s hand land on my shoulder, slowly turning to face her.
“I uh … just a bad dream.”
“No, shut up, I know you’re about to yell and tell me to fuck off and if you do I’m gonna punch you.” I look at her silently and angrily, wanting to yell but knowing she’s not messing around I’d rather not get hit at the moment. “Just answer this, was it that night?”
“Okay, thank you.”
“I love you too pal.” She pats my shoulder and I weakly smile at her.
I finish eating my burger and toss the wrapper into the bag between her feet, taking a moment to calm myself again before looking at Izzy.
“I gotta get to work, I’ll see you later”
She nods and we both get out of the truck. I watch as Izzy walks over to my side and gives me a tight hug which I loosely return before she rides off on her skateboard.
I stroll into the shop afterwards, it’s the same as it always is. Two workstations, filled up tool boxes, cars on the lifts waiting to be worked on. I notice that Nyx’s office is empty before spotting her underneath one of the cars.
“Hey, where am I needed?” I call out to her
“Other station, it needs a new left rear tire!”
I take off my jacket and toss it onto a nearby chair before approaching the car, turning on the nearby radio to the station I had on in my truck and hearing a continuation from the report I had heard earlier.
“Ladies and gentleman, it appears that Retribution has made his way onto the scene to assist the Enclave. That should make some quick work of Lo Indomable! Things should go back to normal in Little Korea shortly.”
I sigh, Retribution is seen as the true Hero of Redwood. Being one of those original Heroes who’s been doing it for decades. He leads his own team of Rogue Suits named The Redwood Wardens. I don’t really know much about them aside from having kids and teens as the majority of their members.
I push the Suit talk from my mind and get to work on the car, removing the tire and grabbing a new one to put on. By the time I finish tightening the lug nuts I hear Nyx call out to me.
“Dominic is heading over and gonna pick up food, do you want anything?”
“No, Izzy brought me some food.”
“Alright, finish up over there so you can come socialize like a normal person”
I roll my eyes and make sure the tire is on properly before going to sit on the chair I tossed my jacket onto. Around 10 minutes later Mr. Anderfield shows up, standing a couple inches shorter than me. He wears his usual big smile across his face, the recently cut short black hair with some graying bits showing his age. His bright brown eyes are almost the same color as his complexion. He carries in a bag from a burrito place a few blocks away and pulls one out, handing it to Nyx as he kisses her on the cheek.
“I thought you’d be busy Dom.” Nyx states to her husband as she takes a seat and opens the wrap around her burrito to begin eating it.
“Nope, I wasn’t needed today.” He responds and begins to eat his own food before turning to look at me. “Good to see you Mr. Scott, I hope you’ve done your homework over the break.”
“We both know I didn’t.”
“Well, I can always hope.” He chuckles a bit nervously before continuing to speak. “I’m sure you’re excited to begin discussing the history of Suits, it’s always the favorite part of the class for the students.”
“I think it’s actually yours Dom.” Nyx cuts in, sounding more than a little annoyed.
“Well that is true, but you know the young people nowadays are obsessed with the Heroes and Villains out in the world.” He speaks excitedly, for some reason having passion towards a stupid subject like this.
“The origins of many Parahumans as you probably already know are Soul Ignitions, a fundamental change in a person that sparks something within them” Dominic turns to fully face me, the usual smile he has across his face as he tries to explain the subject to me.
Just over his shoulder I can see Nyx sigh and turn away.
“Most people will go through an Ignition during their lives- but- only a select few will attain powers through the process- there's so many people that could have powers, yet they don't. And-”
I look at him with a rather annoyed expression, which I see that Mr. Anderfield quickly notices and lets the words fall short. “I’m thankful that you care to help me along, but I don’t care. I’m gonna get back to work.”
I get up and head back over to the car, listening to the pair chat idly. Not really paying attention to what they’re saying but it’s clear that after only a few minutes Nyx gets upset and walks off to get away from him. He walks past me out of the shop, giving me a simple wave as he exits.
Around an hour later I finish attaching a charger to a truck’s battery and take a seat for a break. Not even a moment later I feel my phone begin vibrating in my pocket. Once pulling it out I see that I’m getting a call from my sister Thea, I hesitate before answering it.
“What do you need?”
“Mom says that you can probably come home after work today, dad seems calmer.” She responds, speaking quietly as usual.
“Okay, thanks for letting me know. How’s Jess?”
“She’s okay, Jazmine took her out to the mall to take her mind off you not being home. She’ll be happy when you come back.”
“Alright …” I feel a slight sense of calm come over me. “Don’t tell her I’m coming, I wanna surprise her.”
“Okay, and happy birthday Jason. I hope it’s going okay.”
“I’m alright, I’m gonna head to Joe’s with Izzy after work.”
“Be careful Jason, and I won’t tell mom or dad like usual.”
“You better not, see ya later.” I hang up and look at my phone lock screen, seeing a picture of Jessica from her birthday last month. Her long and bright blonde hair tied into some braids and a bun. Bright red glasses around her hazel eyes helped to make her round face even cuter than usual. She was wearing a shiny pink princess-like dress, something she made me help pick out for her.
I smile at the picture for a moment longer before hearing a car pull up, and a moment later the front door to the shop open. I get up and begin walking over to greet whoever it is as Nyx has stepped out of the shop for a bit.