Tyler threw off the cold sheets, sat on the edge of the bed, rubbed his eyes and stretched. The morning sun was peeking through the bottom of the window shade like a spotlight in the black of night. Every muscle in his body ached. He sauntered out onto the balcony in his black boxer briefs and leaned on the black wrought iron railing of the replica Himeji Japanese castle that he now called home. His magnificent HD animated birthmark on his upper back gyrated fluently in a clockwise motion, changing from black and white to blue, green, orange and then red.
Being restricted to a six-acre prison wasn’t exactly what Tyler had envisioned when he began his final phases of superhero training. Tyler thought of it as more like torture. Well, perhaps the words prison and torture were a bit extreme. However, being cut-off from almost all communications with the outside world, coupled with the grueling teachings, made him feel that way.
Tyler utilized the breathing techniques that Master Tanaka had taught him. The birds were chirping, the smell of rain was in the air and a cool breeze was lightly whipping his face as he overlooked the huge green lawn, heated concrete driveway, the seven-car garage and the ten-foot high fence. Every morning for the past eight months, he had started his day with the same routine. This day, however, was different. An eerie feeling was drawing Tyler’s attention east to New York City, or perhaps Boston, but he didn’t know for sure where or what it meant. With his enhanced vision, he could barely make out New York City’s skyline forty miles in the distance. In the back of his mind he heard Master Dogmai’s words—We all feel something evil is lurking just over the horizon. However, with you here now, we’ll endure.
Hearing the urgency in Ben’s voice made the hair on the back of Tyler’s neck stiffen like nails. He ran in from the balcony and stood on the top floor, peering down the spiral staircase. It reminded him of the picture hanging in the office on the television show Castle, which he hadn’t watched for over a year, and it was like rubbing salt into his wounds.
“Coming!” Tyler called, and his heart raced as he ran down the six flights of winding stairs with blazing speed. Maxx, Tyler’s dog, who was lying on Tyler’s bedroom floor, sprang to his feet and quickly followed.
“What is it?” Tyler asked, confronting Ben at the bottom of the staircase.
“There’s no time to explain right now, but you need to go.” Ben took a deep breath then paused for a few seconds. “But I think you should get dressed first.”
A few minutes later, Tyler was back downstairs and standing fully clothed in the foyer.
“Tyler, you’ve been through intense, grueling, and sometimes outrageous training. Today is the day we’re breaking the chains. Pat and I are confident that we’ve taught you all that we can. The rest will have to be learned in real life situations. We’re both so very proud of you, Tyler, and the progress you’ve made. But now you’re needed, and you must go.”
“Go where? What are you talking about?”
“California. The San Andreas Fault, to be more specific, just north of Los Angeles.”
“Why am I going to California?” Tyler asked, with a confused looked on his face. “Wait a minute, are you telling me I can leave the grounds?”
“Yes,” Ben replied. “Please don’t question why, just go. Call me from your cell phone when you get there. It will only take you a few seconds to arrive, but when you get there you’ll know what to do.”
“I want to talk about this!” Tyler demanded, placing his hands on his hips. “I’ve been imprisoned here for over eight months. I’ve been pushing my body to its limit day and night on martial arts. I’ve been carefully reading and studying the Codex of Enoch. I’ve been working diligently on my home schooling. I’ve been practicing my self-discipline and meditation. I’ve been cut-off from the outside world and now, suddenly, out of the blue, you want me to go thousands of miles away?”
Master Pat Tanaka emerged from the darkened hallway. “Tyler, I know how difficult this has been for you being secluded from the world, but today is the day. The day your help is needed,” he said calmly. “In the past eight months you have passed your fourth and fifth degree black belt tests. You have read and comprehended pretty much the entire Codex of Enoch. Just as Ben mentioned earlier, there’s nothing more we can do to prepare you for what the future has in store. It’s time that the world knows of Metatron. But first take a look at the monitor.”
Tyler turned and came face to face with a hovering hologram monitor. There was a satellite streaming video of a fault spreading apart. The first thought that popped into Tyler’s mind was of the movie San Andreas, which was one of the DVDs he was allowed to watch.
“Is this really happening?” Tyler asked. “How fast is it spreading, guys?”
“From what we’ve been monitoring in the last few days, about seven feet per day,” Ben replied. “And it’s already breaking roads and bridges, along with demolishing houses and businesses. The widest section is in the Carrizo Plains area.”
“So, is this considered an earthquake?” “It could be, however, this type of earthquake or phenomena has never been seen before.”
“What about people? Have people been killed?” Tyler asked worriedly.
“I’m afraid so, Tyler. About a dozen.”
“Why did it start spreading?”
“We’re unsure. That’s why you need to go take a look,” Pat said.
“Okay. I’m going to find out who or what is behind all this devastation. I have an idea but I have to be sure.”
Realizing he was no longer going to be confined behind the compound fence, Tyler smiled and glanced over at Maxx. “Now I know how you felt, buddy, when Jude used to tie you up to that old rusty chain back home. Then, when I would come home from school and unhook you, you ran around the yard like a bird that was let out of its cage. You were so overjoyed.” Tyler thought about his older brother for a moment. Jude would always play pranks, which really annoyed him, and he hated the fact that Jude didn’t really care for Maxx. But now? Tyler would give anything to see his brother again.
Tyler shrugged away his thoughts and focused on the task at hand. Just as he was getting ready to teleport, his phone rang. He recognized his girlfriend Kendall’s ringtone immediately. He looked forward to their calls because they had been restricted to only one a week. Master Tanaka had insisted that any more would disrupt his training. Furthermore, Tyler hadn’t seen her in over eight months, since Kendall, her mother and sister had moved to Kansas. It didn’t help that Tyler had moved to Montrose, New York.
Tyler’s new watch cell phone had a built-in retinal scan for security purposes, and he rolled his left wrist clockwise then raised it toward his left eye. A blue translucent light beam scanned his eye, unlocking the phone.
“Hello, hello,” Tyler said, waiting for a reply from Kendall, but she said nothing. “Must be another dropped call,” he mumbled, then grabbed his black hoodie and Ray-Ban predator sunglasses and disappeared.