Thomas and the ice generating criminal had barely any time to stand up before the masked man leaped across the street, landing in front of them. Blood was still dribbling from the mouth of the criminal as his attacker raised his fist. Not thinking clearly, Thomas acted on autopilot, placing himself between the criminal and the masked man.
“This is ridiculous! Stop!” Thomas shouted.
The man hesitated, “Get out the way! This fool needs punishing.”
“And who are you to dole out punishment?” Thomas asked, fear present at the back of his voice.
“Because I have the power to!” he responded, pulling back his fist as he did so, “No get out of the way.”
Thomas’ legs didn’t move. He wasn’t sure if that was because of fear or courage. As he stared up at the raised fist, Thomas had various memories of the past come to my mind. He wondered if that was the whole your life flashing before your eyes thing that preceded death. He thought of his family, of how his first day away from them would be his last. Thomas closed his eyes.
“Freeze!” came a scream from behind Thomas.
Thomas’ eyes immediately opened, his head turning quickly to see that the police had finally arrived. Two squad cars were now only fifteen feet from Thomas, with four cops covering behind their doors, guns drawn.
The man in the mask lowered his fist, “I have no battle with you.”
“Put your hands up!” an officer replied.
The ice user behind Thomas immediately raised his hands, “I surrender! Just don’t let this crazy motherfucker kill me!”
Thomas had seen enough cop shows and videos to know that if he didn’t comply with the officers then he could very well get shot. So his hands shot up into the air as well, before he lied down on the pavement, trying to look as least intimidating as possible.
“What are you doing?” the masked man shouted at the police, “He’s a worthless criminal. He should be shot like a rabid dog.”
“Shut up and put your hands up!” was their reply.
Instead, the man in the mask walked past the prone Thomas and grabbed the criminal by his collar, “You’d really fight me over this piece of trash?”
“Surrender now!” came the answer.
Sighing, the masked man threw the criminal to the ground, causing him to cough up blood. The second he hit the pavement, a single shot rang out, tearing through the masked man’s left shoulder. He hissed in pain.
“Damn it Jackson!” an older officer yelled, “You wait till I give the order to shoot goddammit!”
Blood started to flow from the masked man’s shoulder as he glared at the police. He then looked down at the criminal lying on the ground, his fists clenching. But upon looking back at the police, he eased his muscles.
“I’m not the enemy here. One day you’ll see that,” he hissed, “One day you’ll be with me cleaning up all this fucking trash.”
Before the officers could respond, the man jumped into the air, landing on a nearby roof. He then continued to leap, moving from roof to roof. The older cop swore before calling in for backup to follow him. After that things got a little hazy. An ambulance arrived soon after to take the criminal to the hospital before the cops could talk to him, as he seemed to have broken ribs and internal bleeding.
The cops did question Thomas alongside the other motorists that were on the street. Thomas was completely honest with them about what happened, save the fact that he had used his power to push the criminal out of the way. Thomas attributed the big grab due to an adrenaline rush. It seemed like the other witnesses agreed as no one had seen the golden energy around Thomas when he propelled himself, the brief sight being lost in the chaos of the encounter.
Thomas was still shook up as the cops let him go. They had taken his contact details and said that they would be in touch as their investigation progressed. The stress of his first day in San Fransisco had left Thomas drained. As he walked over to his truck he was reminded that the front had been damaged by the wall of ice. While he could still drive with it, it was unsightly. Thomas wondered if he could get an employee discount if he took it to Luke’s auto garage.
Thomas looked up another route to his new home, as between the ice and the police, most of the street had been cordoned off. Thomas drove in silence, no music playing, just him and his thoughts. He wondered if the criminal would out him as an altered, as he had definitely seen him use his powers. Thomas hoped that the whole saving his life thing would allow for some secret keeping. But then again, when faced with a police interrogation, who knows what secrets he would give up.
The thought still bothered Thomas as he found the house. It was of a decent size, with a driveway that could fit two vehicles. Thomas pulled his truck onto the left side of the driveway, as Luke had specified. Then he walked to the side of the house, pulling out the key Luke gave him. Opening the side door, Thomas walked down a flight of steps into the basement.
For the first time Thomas saw where he would be living. It was a small basement with four rooms: a bedroom, washroom, laundry room, and kitchen/lounge. There wasn’t much furniture, but Thomas hadn’t brought much with him. To Thomas it was a perfectly acceptable living situation.
Still exhausted, Thomas sat down on the small bed that came with the place. He pulled out his phone only to seen that he missed two texts while that whole incident downtown was taking place. They were from his brother. The first was an image of some kind of medical tent next to a coffee shop not far from where he used to live. The second text was a link to an article from today.
Confused, Thomas opened the link. It was an article recapping all the presidential announcements today regarding altered individuals. First was a long list of restrictions on what altered people could do. While that was bad enough as it was, the Forrester government had started randomly checking the blood of citizens to see if they were altered. Thomas now realized that the photo Daniel sent was of a blood checking station in their neighbourhood back in Phoenix.
Thomas was immediately fearful for his brother, as he still thought he could be an altered. The photo he had sent meant he was near the blood checking station, so Thomas wondered if that meant he had been tested. Thomas was also fearful for himself as he was definitely an altered. A quick Google search revealed that the same kind of stations had already started popping up in San Fransisco, with some kind of violence already happening at one.
Thomas let out a long yell of fuck. Images flooded his mind again, but rather than memories of the past, they were anxieties of the future. He had thought that he could get by as an altered by keeping his head down and only using his powers in emergencies. But if they were mandating blood tests, Thomas saw no way to coast by.
With his head still full of anxieties, Thomas lied down and closed his eyes, hoping his tiredness would win out. It eventually did, as darkness invaded his mind’s eye, encompassing all of his psyche before beginning a deep sleep.