Misery’s Beginning Part 1

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Ed-die             Ed-die             Ed-die

 

The crowd was chanting for him.

 

Several hundred fans chanting in perfect rhythm, no one was out of sync. It was strange to hear so many people at the same time saying the same thing, it was deafening.

The energy was high, there was an electricity and crackle in the air and a vibe in the crowd that was unlike anything most people would ever feel, this wave of pure emotion and power, it was like a drug –feeding off of that vibe and that energy made you crave it more and more, Eddie was a rock star and in that moment, that exact moment, he didn’t want to do anything else. It was go time.

 

Eddie Knight walked on stage, trademark cool electric blue Fender guitar in hand.

 

The crowd exploded with applause and cheer, Nigel Tufnel would have been proud, the crowd had most definitely turned it up to eleven.  He took a step back and breathed, it was always a surprise as to how the crowd would react each time he came onto stage.

‘How did we get here?’ he thought to himself.

A few months ago, he couldn’t get anyone to hear his music outside of their local area and now Misery Road was playing sold out shows left and right. He had been at it for a long time, over twelve years and now overnight seemingly, they were superstars.

As he approached the stage, he looked back over his shoulder to the side of the stage at his longtime girlfriend and now wife, Molly.

Molly had been his childhood sweetheart, together since middle school, through all the ups and downs life had to offer.

Her large brown eyes said it all, ‘go ahead, they need you more now.  I will be waiting here for you, as always.’

Eddie the glanced over at his band mates, they had been together for a long time, they were family, brothers.  Locke- who really was his brother from another mother, they had been friends since before they could remember; Trent, their friend from high school; Quad, even though Eddie had only known him for a short time, he had proved himself and intrinsic part of their band.

All of them had paid their dues and their hard work had paid off. It wasn’t about the money to Eddie, although being able to buy some of the nicer things in life and to have some security for him and Molly was nice, it was about being able to share his gift, his talent with the world.

Locke nodded at Eddie, it was time.

He wasted no time strumming that familiar chord, Misery Road had opened with the same song for every show, Hester’s Sin, or as most people called it ‘Pearl’s A’. It came from a line in the song- ‘You left me broken and battered like all the rest, like Pearl’s A branded on my chest.’ It was an angry break up song, but if one actually listened to the words; it was in fact the story of The Scarlet Letter boiled down to about three-ish minutes. That line seemed to resonate with a lot of people, spawning stories, article and a plethora of fan art based on that one song. One girl from Ohio actually wrote her entire college English final paper on it and got an A+, she send it to Eddie who kept it in a box in his closet.

The crowd was already nuts, but when they heard that chord, they went berserk.

Something about the crowd though, something felt off. The energy and vibe changed from being fans to something slightly darker. Like the music was stirring something inside them, they were being overly aggressive, pressing against the security harder and harder wanting more than just to hear music when it quickly turned ugly.  In unison, the crowd rushed the stage, quickly over powering the security around the stage.

Eddie braced himself for impact as he felt a wave of savage human energy . . . but nothing came.

 

Opening his eyes, he realized that it had been a dream. Eddie Knight was still in his bed in his room.

I think I would know that dream by now, he thought; I’ve had it more time than I can remember.

 

Eddie was the lead singer and guitar player for his band Misery Road, and while not a major success, they did have a large following, but like most, Eddie wanted to make a name for himself and for his band.

Molly was in fact his wife; they had been married for almost two years.  He looked over to see if he had woke her up, but her side of the bed had been long empty.

Where was she?

Oh, that’s right, she got up early to go to her apartment, he thought.

Molly had kept her apartment after they were married; it was now her design studio.  She worked for one of the top American fashion designers of the past twenty years, Kat Denning? Simmons? Kat something or other, Eddie couldn’t remember her last name.  Fashion was not his thing and relied on Molly or Locke to dress him and to make sure he matched when he dressed himself so remembering the name of one of the biggest names in fashion was low on his priority list to remember, even if it was his wife’s boss.

Molly had her own line, Band Clothing, under Kat’s label.  She was trying to get some lose ends tied up before she left on tour with Eddie, something that she did on occasion.  This was a particularly eventful time for Molly, as Kat was showing her collection with a few other up and coming designers under her label during Fashion Week in New York.  And as it happened, that’s when Eddie was going to be up in New York for their finishing of the first DVD and also the end of their East Coast tour.  Molly hardly went with them on tour, but this was an exception.

He glanced at his clock radio, it was ten til eight on a Thursday morning; got to meet everyone at the studio at eighty thirty, better get ready he thought as he ran his fingers through his short, unkempt dark hair.

Whoever said rock stars got to sleep in for however long they wanted should be strung up, he thought.

 

It was hard enough with the band stuff and a marriage, but with his other job; Eddie often wondered how he kept it all together.

 

Eddie, Molly and the others in the band worked for Atticus, a Watcher.  An alien from an Earth-like planet, sent here to train and guide certain individuals in protecting the Earth from alien attacks.

There were always others popping up in need of such direction and guidance from the Watchers. These were humans that somewhere down their family line, had relations with Watchers or other alien refugees that were calling Earth home temporarily or in most cases permanently.  While most never displayed any special traits beyond someone being gifted in sports or academics, occasionally extra ordinary powers emerged. They often surfaced several generations down the family line. The unofficial term, coined by such people, was Half-Breed. Eddie, Molly and the others in the band were Half-Breeds.

Becoming aware of their powers early in life, Atticus came to them immediately. It seemed Half-Breeds, whether aware of their ability or not, seemed to gravitate towards each other naturally, safety in numbers as they were often targets for elimination from either aliens or some shadowy human organization.

Even before Atticus had come to them, Eddie was fully aware of all of this information.

 

His father, Andrew Knight had died under mysterious circumstances when Eddie was just five years old. He was unsure of what was happening at the time, all he remembered was being sad for a long time. His mother, Lilly remained positive and reassured Eddie that everything was going to be okay, and that they would manage somehow.

Eight years had passed, Eddie was thirteen; Lilly taught art at the local high school something that she lived for. For as long as Eddie could remember she was always painting or sculpting something. Art was in Eddie’s blood, he was either going to be an artist like his mother or a musician like Andrew was. Andrew Knight was a classically trained violinist and pianist and was self taught in about a dozen other instruments.

One morning, Lilly heard him banging away on the piano and knew that he would be a musician like his father. So she told him to go up the attic and take down his father’s other instruments and bring them down, was only fitting that he would learn on his father’s instruments.

While moving some stuff around in the attic, Eddie accidentally knocked a pile of boxes; the top box was unopened spilling its contents of piano music out. Cursing under his breath for not being careful, Eddie quickly picked up the strewn pieces of paper and put them back in the box when something inside the box caught his eye. It was a book, a worn leather journal, a diary.

Eddie immediately recognized it as his father’s, the image of him writing it in every night was burned into his mind at a young age, another piece of his father to hold onto.

He sat down to read some of it, he had to.

Apparently this was one of several diaries that Andrew had kept since he was a teenager. Andrew had written on the inside front cover that this was the fifteenth journal that he had kept, the others were kept safely in a box. Eddie guessed that this box was among the dozens and dozens of boxes in the attic, he decided that one rainy day when he was starting to go stir crazy he would come up here and look for that box, he was satisfied to have this one for now. He tucked it under his shirt and took the violin in hand and climbed down to his room, his plans for the afternoon had changed.

It started off innocent enough, just a run down of how Andrew’s day had gone and what he done and his thoughts, standard journal stuff. But the words Andrew had used, really made it come to life for Eddie, Lilly had told Eddie that Andrew had a knack for the written word that he was contemplating becoming a writer before he became a professional violinist and pianist.  The entry that he had made about going to the store to buy some milk and eggs for a cake Lilly was making, engrossed Eddie in his description of the weather and how the wear and tear on the pavement in front of the store had made this strange indentation in the pavement that looked like an ancient forgotten Celtic symbol.

There was no dating in the journal so it was hard to tell as to when it was penned, but from some of the events that Andrew had written about, Eddie assumed that it was sometime after his birth because several pages were written about Eddie’s Dinosaur Party they threw for him when he was about three.

Soon after the party though, the tone of his journal entries changed from about Andrew’s day to day life and started focusing on a chance meeting with a man named Atticus.

Andrew had met Atticus one night while on his way home from one of Andrew’s concerts. They were discussing classical pieces and their favorite conductors when the train that they were on came to an abrupt halt and then darkness. Andrew suddenly found himself alone, he was sure that there were other people in the train car with them earlier, but it was now empty. He was about to move to one of the ends of the train car, when suddenly something came crashing through one of the windows-

‘The subway car I was in was black as pitch and whatever that had come crashing through the window, I could hear it moving. It had claws, I could hear the faint ting of them against the metal as it found itself in new surroundings. I could hear it breathing, a deep powerful breath, like no other beast I had heard before. I couldn’t tell where or what it was, desperate I tried for the door on the end of the subway where I was, whether it was locked or broken, I didn’t know, all I knew that it would not open.

The outside emergency lights flickered to life, bathing the subway car in a low, eerie yellow glow. I saw a tail dancing around, like a charmed cobra. As my eyes grew more accustomed to the light, I could see its body slinking though the rows of chairs; matted hair mixed with what looked like scally skin, I had no idea what it was, but I could feel the evil radiating off of it, I had to try to get out of there.

I tried the door again; I kept as quiet as I could, hoping that this nightmare creature hadn’t heard me. That’s when I heard it growl, a long and low growl that ripped through my entire body. Panicked I used my violin case as a battering ram and crashed it through the glass on the door, with the goal of getting through the small window and run as fast as I could.

I heard the creature growl again, fear and terror made me turn around because up to this point I had only seen glimpses of it and didn’t want to see the rest. But it sounded right on top of me, I had to see, see what was about to devour me.

I couldn’t see its face, was too dark to make any sort of accurate description, but its eyes. Those eyes, I will never forget them. They were like something out of the deepest ring of Hell itself, surely the devil himself would have averted his eyes when this creature came roaming through his kingdom, seeking to devour the souls of the damned. They were a sickly bright orange color, the shone right through me and paralyzed me with fear, I couldn’t move to save my life.

Its fangs glistened in the sick yellow light. Horrible fangs dripping with saliva and shone like slivers of the crescent moon on an autumn night, stained with the blood of its long forgotten prey, I felt that I was next. . . ’

Eddie’s heart was pounding; it was like a scene from a horror film as this nightmare creature attacked his father. He noticed that it was darker outside than when he went into his room, it was almost 6pm. He could hear his mother calling down to him for dinner, frantic he flew down the stairs, his mother was giving him his space, but drew the line at dinnertime. You ate at the table for dinner, no excuses, unless you were sick.

Eddie still remembered that dinner down to the smallest detail.  Even though it only took about thirty minutes to eat and help clear the table, it seemed to drag on and on.

His mother suggested that they watch a movie or something, but Eddie was quick to bring up some homework that he had to finish and bolted back to his room before she could respond.

He whipped out the journal that had been pressing against his back during dinner and flipped back to where he had been reading before he had slumped down onto his bed. He had brought it down to the dinner table instinctively, it felt too good to be true and having it with him on his person, felt that whatever had brought this piece of his father back to him didn’t take it away again.

Andrew was unsure what exactly happened, everything had gone dark when the creature had turned its eyes towards him. The next thing he knew he was in an alley; clothes rumpled and dirty but otherwise intact, just some bumps and bruises. His briefcase and violin case were placed neatly next to him. Shaken and confused, Andrew quickly grabbed his belonging and started to run when another large, familiar figure caught his eye at the end of the alley. It was the same size of the creature from the subway, but this was lying motionless, the darkness and evil that radiated in the subway car was now gone. Terrified to go anywhere near it, Andrew turned to go the other way when he came face to face with Atticus, the man from the subway.

Atticus explained that the creature that attacked him was called a Night Hawk, at least that was as close of a translation that he could come up with, a carnivorous creature that usually stays away from people and towns, preferring to stalk and hunt its prey in the forests and lonely places- this one though was very far away from his home.

Eddie couldn’t believe what his father had written, about how aliens, beings from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, were among humans on Earth. That the creature, the Night Hawk, had attacked Andrew was from a planet that was so far away that Eddie or his father couldn’t even comprehend the distance-

“It is from the Water Star System,” Atticus had said. “Basically,” he pointed to the night sky above towards the moon. “If you go just past the moon, hang a left and go for about 2 million light years in that direction, you’ll be there. It is called the Water System because the light from their sun, when it passes through the gas clouds that swirl there makes it looks like the entire system is underwater. Beautiful.”

Atticus had explained to Andrew that someone had been smuggling other dangerous creatures to Earth for sale to some people that would use them as weapons both on Earth and abroad. Even though what Atticus was telling Andrew seemed so far fetched and fantastic, there was something about what he was saying that resonated with Andrew. So much so that before he knew what he was saying, Andrew was offering to help Atticus with his mission. Something that Eddie could not believe since from the little he remembered and what he was told about his father made him seem like a pacifist, using his words that his brawn to solve problems.

The journal entries that followed were about him training with Atticus. Eddie found these entries odd, there was a lack of the imagery that the other entries had. Like it was more like a check list of what he had done for that day then the usual tone of Andrew writing a letter to a friend.

One would attest this to the nature of the entries, but Eddie sensed something else- the entry where Andrew had met Atticus felt like a one off, that if this was the only encounter that these two where to ever have, Andrew made sure to get down everything that happened. But now that they were working together, Eddie got the sense that maybe his father omitting information because he was either doing things that either he didn’t want people to know about or maybe he felt that he should be writing these things down for his own safety.

Eddie soon found himself very tired, he looked at his clock, it was now well after 10pm. He wanted to continue on, but knowing that he might not finish tonight, he decided to wait and pick up where he left off the next morning.

He dreamt of his father that night- his father wasn’t dead, but rather was in hiding and had come to take Eddie away to join his fight with Atticus across the globe and beyond. Travelling to far off planets and meeting all sorts of people and things. Fighting monsters and hostile aliens, but the school year was looming and Eddie had to return home but his father promised to pick him back up for Winter Break but he could tell no one about what he had seen or done.

He woke up satisfied but sad, he didn’t want the dream to end- he wanted it to be real.

As Eddie read on, he saw Andrew and Atticus grew very close to each other, almost like brothers and traveling the world together fighting alien monsters; packs of Night Hawks, swarms of Sand Fire Flies, a Wild Saber and other creatures that sound like they came out of the mind of Tim Burton. As Andrew they grew closer to each other he soon learned that Atticus himself was not of this world. It seemed strange and obvious to Eddie that Atticus was not from this world, his description of Atticus the next day after their meeting on the subway would make one wonder-

‘He was about six feet tall, youthful in appearance but there was something about his eyes that made him seem ancient, wise beyond any human comprehension. He wore black rimmed glasses, a worn but spotlessly clean tweed coat, black tee shirt and khaki pants off set by a pair of black neoprene fingerless gloves. He had dark black hair at first, but as we talked in that sidewalk café, I noticed that his hair was not black at all but rather a very dark green, when the light would catch it just right it would ignite in a rich dark emerald color. If Tom Baker’s version of Doctor Who somehow had a son, he would be it…’

Eddie spent a good portion of the morning reading and was particularly engrossed about Andrew capturing and containing a Swampy, a creature that was a sentient blob of gel that if left unchecked could devour everything, when he saw that there was nothing written on the next page, the entry just ended. On a closer look, he saw that the last few pages of the journal had been torn out. Curious he thought as he closed the journal.

Venturing back up to the attic he found everything just as he had left it from the day before. He was sure that he had seen some more of his father journals in one of them when he was up there. Sure enough there was every journal that his father had written from a boy around his age and while he was appreciative to have such a rich and deeply personal piece of his father, he wanted to find the one after the one he had.

There was only the one box of journals in the attic. The other boxes were old papers, decorations and other stuff that one puts away because they feel they need to hold on to them but never give them a second look once they are put away.

When he asked his mother about the journal, she let out a nervous laugh. She told Eddie that Andrew sometimes got bored just writing in his journal and would often go on a tangent and write some fiction for awhile and that the stories that Eddie had read about his father and Atticus were just stories, nothing more. He then asked about his father’s other journals; he had looked around the attic for the rest, but couldn’t find them. With a heavy sigh and a tear welling up in her eye, Lilly told Eddie that Andrew’s other journals were gone, that they somehow got mixed up with some of his things that she had taken down to the Goodwill and were now gone.  Eddie could feel that she was not telling him something, she was hiding something from him, but kept himself from pressing further. Even though she had moved on from Andrew’s death, it was still a sore subject to talk about. He was grateful to have this piece of his father, even if it was incomplete.

Back in his room, Eddie carefully put the box of journals away in his closet for a rainy day. When he felt like he needed to reconnect with his father, he would pull them out and read them. But the one journal, something told him that he should not put them with the rest. Those pages were ripped out for a reason, whether it was his father in order to keep his family safe or his mother who had found the journal and tried to keep how he died a secret. . .

That thought sent a chill down his spine, maybe his exploits with Atticus was the reason for his death? That during one of his missions that something happened to his father, either some alien beast did him in or someone from some shadowy agency brought an abrupt end to his father’s deeds.

Either way, those feelings did not sit with Eddie well as he ran his fingers over the frayed edges of the torn out pages in the journal. As much as he loved having this piece of his father, he wasn’t sure if it was his place now to find out what happened.

With a heavy sigh, Eddie decided to place that journal under his bed, right next to the one that he kept. They would keep each other safe.

 

Two years past. Eddie was fifteen, the summer before he entered high school.

 

Eddie, Locke and their new friend Molly were sitting in a local mom and pop burger joint next to what would be their high school, wondering what to do next; the day before they had fought someone who had abilities who was doing harm to others.

It was a relief to Locke and Eddie that they now had someone else that shared the same secret, but they were at a loss as to what to do next.  Both had discovered their abilities over the Winter Break of their eighth grade and had spent the time since then training as best they could.

Most people would either freak out or tell someone if they could do the things that they could do. But upon discovering their abilities, both Eddie and Locke concurred that it was best not to tell anyone. And that somehow, even though it was fantastic, it seemed only natural to have their powers.

Eddie possessed the ability to manipulate and conduct electricity through his body and fire bolts of electricity through his hands. Better than a Duracell, he often joked. His power did have drawbacks- he had to wear a special armband at all times; it drew excess power out of his body and would reflect unwanted energy. It seemed that Eddie could only control his draw of electricity when he was in a total state of concentration; prior to having his armband whenever Eddie would sneeze, hiccup or get emotional he would short out nearby small electronics.  Even with the armband though he had to keep his cool, the armband kept him from shorting out small electronics but if he really lost his temper, he would discharge a sudden powerful burst of electricity.

Locke Curtis was Eddie’s best friend and eventually became bass player of Misery Road. His power was truly unique- with his left hand he could generate an intense blast of cold. Similar to Iceman from the comics, he could draw moisture out of the air and rapidly freeze it into almost any form he could think of- from snow to razor sharp ice shards to solid shields of ice, he could do it all with his left hand.

With his right hand, Locke could generate a small blast of heat although nowhere near as powerful as his left hand.  Locke did gain some control over the heat, sometimes being able to create a small heat blast randomly, most of the time he was unable to generate anything from his right hand.

Then there was Molly Chambers. Even though Locke and Eddie had been friends since they were little, Eddie gravitated more towards the artist and drama kids and Locke was a serious jock so apart from brief encounters in the hallway and when they had classes together, they didn’t hang out as much in school or out, although they said they were best friends, most were unaware of the friendship in school. Molly was part of the A crowd- dressing in the trendiest clothes and going to parties almost every weekend; she knew Locke because her circle ran with his circle, but had no idea who Eddie was.

She came from a military family- her mom was a high ranking officer in the Army, her dad was in the CIA and her older brother was a Marine; they trained her at an early age to be a dedicated person in all she did. Her parents had decided that it was best for her in the long run to go to school in one place instead of traveling around   It was her dedication and strong will that cause her to have full control of her power, and for good reason.

Her ability allowed her to create a destructive wave of sound from her vocal cords. This ‘sonic scream’  could be focused so tightly that she could shatter glass in a precise pattern or she could let it all out and level a three story building, something she had done once and to this day is still proud of.

 

Everything changed though, during the class trip that brought them all together. Their first and almost last skirmish bonded them all together on that day. But once the adrenaline wore off and real life returned to somewhat normal, questions started to come up.

Would they just have to sit and wait for someone else to come with powers and try to hurt them like the one guy they fought? Were they now being watched and would be kidnapped by someone to be used as weapons? Would they start wanting to hurt other people?

All of their questions though came to a stop when Eddie saw a familiar figure walk through the door.

It was like the words that Andrew written about their first meeting had come to life, the same tweed coat, the fingerless gloves, the dark hair with its dark green hue- it was Atticus.

With Atticus there, it was almost as if Andrew had come back from the dead.  Eddie had practically memorized what his father wrote about him, and was fully aware of what Atticus’s presence meant, aliens again were threatening Earth and like his father, Eddie was chosen to help in the fight.

Atticus was taken aback about how quickly Eddie accepted the whole thing. Very few people seemed ready, willing or eager to hear what he had to say about what was really going on in the world. The events that had taken place the day before with Eddie, Molly and Locke fighting a rogue Half Breed on a killing spree had alerted Atticus that his services were needed again to train people again. The dark forces were on the move again, this time it seemed with more sinister motives. Eddie seemed to know all of this.

Eddie never told Atticus or anyone else how and why he knew so much, or was so ready to accept his role; something deep inside him told him that this was best left unsaid for awhile, although Eddie did feel that Atticus might have been aware of the diary, it was never mentioned or brought up.

Atticus immediately set to work on their training, they each had told their parents that they had been accepted to be a part of a special program for tutoring for their advanced placement classes and would have to go to some early morning classes as well as after school each day.  They all hated lying to their parents, but the sake of the world was at stake.

 

That was over 15 years ago when he came into their lives, and they never looked back…

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