After six grueling hours of Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Gym, and other people’s kids, the eighth-period bell finally rings and the kids are let out. A stream of kids run out the building–glad to be out of the dungeon disguised as a school–and head home to play video games or to the park with their friends to play sports–mainly basketball and sometimes baseball or soccer. Kyd is one of the last to come out after the stampede because one, he’s not in a rush and two, he’s not trying to get trampled.
Kyd looks up at the sky like he always does and reflects on his day–thinking back to when Ricky Garcia kept smacking him in the back of the head whenever he walked by in Math; when Chris Johnson kept yanking his ‘fro and pretending it wasn’t him whenever Kyd looked back in Social Studies, when Gary Macklemore kept sticking twisted up paper into his ear trying to see how much wax would come out in English, when Kayla Gonzalez–dubbed one of the ugly ones–kept staring at him and grabbing his butt in Science, where they sat next to each other, and worst of all, when everyone on the other dodgeball team tried to get in a headshot when he was the only one left in the game–throwing all the balls at the same time. Kyd lets out a sigh of relief that another day has passed and he’s another day closer to getting out of this cesspool of misery.
If anything good came out of today, it’s that Kyd didn’t have to use his powers. There were a couple times he came to close, however, like when Jose Rivera–a kid that hangs with gang members and skateboarders–bumped into him on the third floor and knocked a pile of books out his hands and stepped on them one by one. Rivera called him a nerd ass pussy and laughed all the way to his Special Ed class. There is a vent that runs along the hallway–a steel vent–and, at the time, it took everything inside Kyd not to drag that vent down and bust him upside the head with it.
There was no one in the hallway which meant he could knock Rivera out–Rivera being none the wiser–pick his books up and go about his business. Kyd would’ve been satisfied but his mother’s orders took precedence. When you have a no-nonsense mother who works as a high school teacher and a father that’s a college professor–that also served in the Marines for a time, discipline was something to be feared and revered and Kyd would rather face a hundred bullies than take one punishment from either of his parents–powers or no powers.
I hate school, Kyd thinks when he walks down the stairs and heads toward home.
An alleyway is just a block ahead when Kyd crosses the street and walks up Pennsylvania Ave, but he is unaware; growing up in East New York and riding in the back of his parent’s car every other day, he knows the neighborhood like the smell of mamma’s biscuits. Kyd walks habitually, lost in his own thoughts and the mystical, magical nature of life. He looks dreamily at the birds perched atop the streetlights, the apartment buildings with their faded browns, dirty beiges, brick reds, and graffitied grays; abandoned buildings at the end of each block with a FOR RENT or FOR SALE sign tacked on the front, the line of old cars–some BMWs and Mercedes Benz’s–streamed along both sides of the street, some of which have the yellow boot on them and a ticket, one being towed.
The smell of polluted air and trash, piss, and excrement fills the air along with chicken on the grill when he walks by the Jamaican selling breasts and thighs and legs for five dollars–three or four people lined up to buy. The sky is a steel gray, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain, the clouds consume the sky like a planet-sized comforter–the one his mother uses whenever she makes up her and Curtis’s bed.
The alleyway is just up ahead but Kyd is no more aware of it than he is the dog doo-doo on the ground to his right–which he sidesteps without a second thought. Kyd continues looking at the world with wondrous eyes as he walks past the alleyway, a shadowy figure waiting in the cut–its sulfurous, dirty yellow eyes shine brightly in the darkness of the alleyway when he pounces and snatches Kyd with an eerie silence and stealth.
Kyd lands in a brown puddle of water, facing the sky, his backpack putting him in an awkward position with his spine elevated and his bottom on the ground. He rolls over and gets up with filthy water running down his cargo shorts and the back of his legs into his socks. Now I’ll have to take a shower, Kyd thinks then looks around–the thought vanishing as he does. The narrow walkway, forest green dumpsters overflowing with trash, the dirty windows with dark gold lamplights shining behind them, the fire-escapes leading to the rooftops and the dead-end path that shoots off to the right in the middle, and the dark, ominous backdrop that makes everything look like something out of a dystopian fantasy novel all hit Kyd like a heavyweight boxers’ punch. He is in an alley which can only mean one thing. . .
I’ve been snatched. . .
Something moves behind Kyd and his head snaps in the direction of the swift, whooshing sound. It moves again and Kyd turns, unable to keep up with whatever snatched him. The shadowy figure with dirty yellow eyes looms over him and tries to swoop down for the kill but Kyd instinctively dives and rolls out the way and turns to face the figure.
What Kyd sees just about scares his soul out of his body.
The first thing Kyd notices are the three-inch-long claws dripping with a black, thick substance Kyd thinks can only be blood, the second thing is the long, white, filed cannibal’s teeth and the wide, sadistic, almost manic grin on the creatures’ face. The third thing being that only the top half of its body resembles a human, the bottom half looks like that of a ghost. The last thing–perhaps the thing that scares Kyd most of all–are those dirty yellow eyes with a murderous intent that instills a paralyzing fear in his heart. Kyd’s backpack slides off his back and hits the floor with a soft thud and his face turns to a pale and ashy brown. The shadowy creature gazes at him like a lion about to feast on fresh prey and more water starts to run down Kyd’s legs, only this water isn’t from the puddle but from Kyd himself. Those dirty yellow eyes all but take Kyd’s breath away as he stands there like a mannequin–his face frozen in terror.
“Yes,” the creature says with a low, raspy, deep voice, “you are the one I must destroy.” the creature continues, “Yes, you are the one, indeed. You are the Magnet.”
Kyd has an inkling of what the creature is talking about but is incapable of following it all the way through, the terror that has a death-grip on his mind won’t allow for such calm and analytical thinking. Kyd tries to say something, but his mouth just opens and closes like a goldfish, his legs turn to mush and are about three seconds from giving out on him with his heart not too far behind. The creature roars a loud, terrible, grating, ear-splitting roar. The glass on all the windows shatters and falls on top of Kyd’s head. Tears stream down Kyd’s face like a waterfall and his legs go on a permanent vacation when he falls to his knees–the fear and terror now have him in a straitjacket.
The creature smiles a sinister and evil smile as it rushes Kyd for the kill, his eyes never leave the creature’s when they go from an ashy, lifeless brown to a deep and radiant silver. The creature is repelled with a groundbreaking force and pushed back into the dumpster. Kyd stands up with a far-away expression on his face–as if the thing acting on his behalf is not him but another, more confident entity. Kyd extends his hand toward the dumpster on the opposite side and it levitates, he looks at the creature trying to shake it off and pull himself out and waits, looking at him with a murderous gaze of his own.
When the creature pulls itself out, Kyd swings his arm and the dumpster swings with it and hits the creature again–bashing its head into the black, brick wall. Kyd lifts the dumpster up and slams it on the creature’s head repeatedly in an almost cartoonish fashion. Kyd tries to slam the dumpster a final time, but the creature moves out the way and tries to rush Kyd again, big mistake. Kyd throws one dumpster away and pulls the other one–the one the creature was just in–toward him, scooping the creature up. He lifts the dumpster high into the air and the creature lets out a low, whispery yell, Kyd flips the dumpster over and yanks down, the dumpster hits the ground with an earth-shattering force and the creature goes silent.
Kyd–with silver eyes and a straightened, silver afro–lifts the dumpster up to reveal a black, shadowy, and groggy creature. Kyd extends one hand toward the dumpster he flung to the side and the other toward the dumpster he just trounced the creature with and scooped it up again. He brings the dumpsters together and crushes them into a ball and shakes it like his mother does when she brings home a fresh carton of orange juice before opening it. To finish things off, Kyd spins the crushed dumpsters around and throws them into the stratosphere–watching until the object becomes nothing more than a blimp in the sky.
The alleyway loses that dark and ominous backdrop and the world reveals itself once again with groups of kids walking home from after-school and sports practice, buildings with faded colors, pigeons perched on streetlights, lines of dusty, old model cars along the block and dog doo-doo in various spots on the ground. Kyd loses the confident, silver eyes and the straightened afro and reverts to normal.
He stands alone in the alleyway with the shadows to protect from his embarrassment when he realizes he’s pissed his pants. He looks for his backpack and finds it laying haphazardly on the floor and picks it up then goes out the other way and heads home–taking the side streets so no one from school sees him and the wet spot in the center of his shorts.
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