Teen Superheroes Book One:
Diary of a Teenage Superhero
Copyright 2012 Darrell Pitt
Find out more about Darrell at his website:
My name is –
Scrub that thought. I don’t know my name. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how I came to be here.
I don’t know anything.
I’m lying flat on my back looking up at a ceiling coated in peeling mustard yellow paint. Light is streaming in through a window, casting long rectangles across the floor and the bed. A white drape, fading to brown, covers the window. To its left hangs a small white sink. It’s leaning badly, clinging grimly to the wall by only one bracket. A single square mirror sits directly above it. A plain round clock to its left counts the minutes.
This place has all the trappings of a seedy motel room. It even smells like it. Stale. Unkempt. Even the mattress smells bad, covered by a grimy gray sheet.
The face staring back is completely unfamiliar.
But this is me. Male. Seventeen. Maybe eighteen. Short cropped brown hair. Brown eyes. A small scar on the left side of my chin. I’m wearing a blue and white striped t-shirt. Gray jacket. Faded blue jeans. My shoes are clean, though worn.
Then I examine my hands. Not working hands. Not someone who’s used to outdoor labor. I’m probably still at school.
Wherever that is.
But I still have one overriding question.
Who am I?
I turn around to survey the room and discover something so unexpected I fall back in surprise and almost dislodge the sink completely from the wall.
A man is lying on the floor.
As I was a few minutes earlier, he is face up and staring at the ceiling. Unlike me, he has a wound in his side, possibly a bullet wound. Blood seeps from it. His eyes are open and staring. More blood stains his mouth.
He is lying so close to the bed, I can see why I didn’t notice him earlier. Did I do this? Did I harm this man? I don’t see a weapon. Regardless, I have to help him in whatever way I can. Kneeling beside him, I gently pull his shirt apart to examine the wound. I don’t know wounds – no medical training springs to mind – but it looks bad. I reach into my pocket and find a handkerchief. Pushing it hard against the injury, the man’s eyes shift to me.
“It’s okay,” I tell him. “I’m going to get help.”
He shakes his head. Tries to speak. Fails.
“I’ll get an ambulance,” I say.
“No,” he responds. “My…”
His eyes search the ceiling hopelessly. He wants to speak, but the pain is so bad the words will not come. I take his hand.
“I’ll get help,” I offer.
The stranger squeezes my hand and before I know it he is dragging it to his coat pocket. He forces my hand around something hard and rectangular. A book. As I draw it from his pocket he points to me. I know what he’s saying.
He wants me to take the book.
I don’t care about the book. It can wait. “I’ll get help.”
He shakes his head. With an enormous effort, he takes a deep breath and looks into my eyes.
“Your name is Axel,” he says. “You have to find the Swan. You can’t trust…”
A spasm of pain seizes him and he shudders. For a long moment I think he’s going to die. Then the pain seems to subside as his breathing becomes more rapid.
“Trust no one,” he says. “Some…at The Agency…will help you. The answer…is in the book.”
“The book?” My mind whirls in confusion.
His hand traces a path across his body and finds its way up my arm. He points with a single finger. There are a series of tiny pinpricks running all the way up my arm. I touch the injuries.
Either someone has injected me…
Or I’m a drug addict.
“The Agency…” He tries to speak again, but the pain must be terrible. A pattern of sweat breaks out across his forehead. I should be finding a doctor for him, but now he grabs my hand again and holds it tight.
“Make…” he begins again.
“Yes,” I say.
“…a difference,” he says. “Make…”
How I’m supposed to make a difference is a subject that becomes a moot issue. The stranger’s head falls back as his hand goes limp and his eyes go unfocused.
I slowly release his hand. The whole incident has been so shocking, so unexpected, so mind numbing that I feel like I’ve been hit with an electric shock. The man is dead. I’ve got to find – who? The Swan?
Apart from a type of bird, I have no idea what or who the Swan could be. And then there’s The Agency.
Oh great, I think. Trust no-one, but at least some people at The Agency are on my side. Whatever agency he was referring to.
Vitally important, actually.
My name is Axel.
I’m Axel – someone. No last name. No address. I rack my brain. There is a curious blank void that seems to lie outside of my thoughts. Even my own name means nothing to me. It’s as foreign as everything else.
I don’t remember friends or family. I can remember places. Television programs. Types of food. Lyrics of songs. But as soon as I try to extract personal information about myself – nothing.
The sounds outside the window slowly intrude. The din of traffic. The faraway whistle of a train. The overhead drone of a passenger jet. Slowly the sounds bring me back to the present. Slowly I realize that I’m now sitting on the floor with the body of a deceased individual. The man’s body is cooling. He will never move again under his own volition. At some point in the future he will be laid to rest.
Under normal circumstances I would go to the police, but these are not normal circumstances.
Trust no one.
That’s what he told me. Trust no one. The book he handed me is sitting on the floor. I tuck it into my back pocket. Then I start a search through the pockets of the dead man. I’m squeamish, but not so squeamish I don’t make a thorough job of it.
The only thing I find is a business card. It reads:
Below it is an address on West Forty-Ninth Street in New York City.
A sound comes distantly from within the building; a jarring, clanking din. It can only be an elevator. As I hear it wheeze to a halt, I slowly rise and stare at the door. I have to get out of here. The best course of action is to make some distance between myself and this crime scene. I don’t think I’m responsible for this man’s death – I don’t see a murder weapon – but staying here can only be asking for trouble.
I cross to the door, but at the same time I hear footsteps in the hall outside. They are the tread of more than one individual. Maybe two or three people. Purposeful. Determined. I hear them draw frighteningly close just as I reach for the door handle.
Holding my breath, I don’t make a sound.
Someone starts to turn the door handle from the other side.