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This is the first of a series known as Origins - which will explore the beginnings of several of my "New Kids On The Block" heroes (Freedom-Striker, Liberator, Blight, Agent Red and Avian). They are part of the Short Stories category and aim to give viewers more insight into the events that created these individuals..

Origins: Freedom-Striker

The scene begins in a dark city-street amidst the backdrop of a rainstorm, a figure moves from shadow to shadow as a voice narrates from above:

"they call me Freedom-Striker.. I'm what some would call a vigilante.. always having to keep myself hidden to avoid the clutches of criminals or worse.. not to mention the law.. cops don't take to kindly to people like me endangering innocent lives and putting the very idea of law and order in jeopardy.. yet they don't know the truth about the world.. if they did they'd realize why I do what I do.."

"people ask me why I choose this name and I'll tell you why: I'm free now.. free to strike out at any who would hurt me or my friends.."

"..I wasn't always like this though.. no.. I remember how it all begin.. back when I was a kid.."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The scene shifts to a sunny morning in a quiet suburban community, a young woman enters an untidy room littered with torn posters and sports equipment - pulling the curtains open and allowing the morning sun to shine in as a small figure wriggled under a mountain of covers.

"Rise and shine, Mick - your brother and sisters are already up and dressed.."

"..ugh.. I don't wanna get up today, mom.."

"Nonsense, Mick - now hurry up or you'll miss breakfast"

The young woman leaves the room and after a few minutes a boy no older than ten years of age emerges - his black hari sticking up in a wild "style" as he rubbed his eyes and stumbled out of the room.

The boy headed for the bathroom only to be shoved aside as a teenage girl rushed by and slammed the door shut, her hair wet and comb in one hand: "..sorry, squirt - I saw it first!".

"Hey! No fair! Lisa! Open the door!" "MOM! LISA'S BEING A DORK!".

"now, now Mick - be nice to your sister.." the young woman noted, coming out of a room carrying a small child who was only just past infancy.

"..not my fault she's a BIG STUPID HEAD!"

"Mick! go to the table at once!"

"..not fair.."

The boy marched his way down to the table downstairs, greeted to the sight of his older brother reading his sports magazine, dressed in his typical jock uniform while his sister drew in crayon - upon seeing him the sister ran over.

"I drew this for you, Mick!"

The boy looked at the picture, which was a stick-figure with stink lines and flies on it.

"..nice, Sara.. real nice.."

The boy dropped the picture on the floor and headed to the table, grabbing a bowl of cereal as his older brother flat out ignored him - per usual.

"whatcha reading?"

"nothing"

"oh come on, Brad! I wanna know!"

The scene shifts from the table to upstairs as the young woman cradles the young child to herself, the door suddenly ringing down stairs - going down the stairs the woman proceeds to open the door, child still in her arms.

"..hello?".

The scene shifts back to the table and the older brother flicked a page of his sports magazine, ignoring the younger boy's plea - when suddenly a gunshot echoes across the room.

"..what the hell!?" the older brother yells out, getting to his feet only to fall down as another gunshot fires - this time into the room, the youth dropping dead on the ground as the girl screams.

"MOM! BRAD!" Mick yells out, instinctively diving under the table as another gunshot rings in the air - cutting his young sister down before he can react.

Mick cowered under the table as a pair of dark boots marched into view, followed by several others as a gang of masked figures barged into the house - several running up the stairs, the sounds of muffled cries can be heard followed by several gunshots.. then silence.

Mick shuddered, closing his eyes as he curled into a ball - tears streaming down his face as he hid under the table, unable to move out of fear: for half an hour he lay there until he heard sirens and yet more footsteps.

"..we got a survivor! come on!" a voice yelled out, a pair of arms reaching under the table and pulling the distressed boy into a waiting ambulance as several figures entered the house - sirens blazing as several neighbors watched in a mixture of curiosity and alarm.

++++++++++++++

The scene shifts to a hallway several weeks later, the young boy sitting alone with his head bowed - several figures talking to one another on the opposite end of the hallway: after a while a woman dressed in an old-fashioned long black dress came into view.

"..Mick? this is Elizabeth - she will be taking care of you for a little while.." one of the doctors said quietly.

The boy said nothing, he didn't even move his head.

"..It's very nice to meet you. Mick.. I.. I think we'll have a good time together.." the woman began.

The boy stood up, still silent, his head bowed.

"..come along, Mick - that's a good boy.." the doctor said.

The boy simply stared at the floor as the woman took him by the hand and the pair walked out into the car park nearby - entering a small car before the two began the long drive across several woodland areas until they reached their destination at a large house situated atop a hill.

++++++++++++

Five years passed by and Mick grew into a teenager, Elizabeth was a loving carer and despite her outward appearance was always giving praise - putting up with Mick's erratic behavior and volatile temper despite the objections of her family.

Living alone Elizabeth viewed Mick as her own son and in turn he grew to care for her as if she were his mother, yet he never forgot his family - all of whom had been taken from him - not even Ian had been spared, looking at the half broken picture of his old family Mick had grown especially bitter upon seeing Ian, still an infant, clinging to his mother - had he been alive today Ian would of been celebrating his sixth birthday.

Mick had also been experiencing headaches for the last couple of years, numerous trips to the doctors could not explain them and although nearing his fifteenth birthday Mick was still prone to sleeping with the lights on.

Yet today was different, Mick awoke with a start as a large fuzzy paw batted him square on the nose - leaping up Mick caught a glimpse of a ginger tail zooming out his bedroom door and he rubbed his nose with a groan.

"..Stripe!" Mick yelled, getting out of bed and following the cat - only to suddenly freeze as he felt unusually dizzy, quickly grabbing one of the bedposts to stop himself falling over he gasped as his head began to pound, as if someone was hitting it with a hammer.

"..ugh.." Mick groaned, falling to his knees as he clutched his head - the room starting to shake as ringing filled his ears, closing his eyes as he tried to block out the pain.

Mick opened his eyes, a cold sweat starting to run down his brow as he looked at the crucifix that hung on the wall near his bed - he was never religious himself but Elizabeth was and often tried to comfort him, though she never tried to force it on him.. yet as he stared at the crucifix his heart began to beat rapidly as he saw it turn upside down, thick black ooze starting to trickle down the walls.

<<..you should not be here..>> a dark voice whispers.

Mick begins to cry when suddenly a flash of light awakens him, Elizabeth's hand reaching over to rest on his shoulder as she bends down and whispers:

"..shh.. it's alright.. come on.. breakfast is ready..".

++++++++++++++++++++

The scene shifts once more to the woodlands surrounding the large house which Mick now called home, he and Elizabeth were walking down a quiet path as they often did in the afternood, only this time Mick sensed there was something different..

"..Elizabeth, aren't we getting a little far away from the house?" Mick began.

"..it's alright, I want to show you something.." Elizabeth replied, heading off the path - Mick tilted his head a little, unsure of what to do as Elizabeth motioned him between the trees.

"..what is it?" Mick asked, only to freeze as Elizabeth stood in a clearing with several stones - the sight startling Mick as he turned to leave, yet he soon found himself unable to do so as he turned around.

"you've seen it, haven't you? The Unborn.. you sense it.. in your dreams.. in your thoughts.. don't be afraid.. just listen.." Elizabeth began, yet her voice was different now - softer and almost ethereal, her entire image seeming to glow.

"..I want to go home.." Mick said, his heart beating fast as he felt weak at the knees.

"..The Unborn can sense you.. it knows you can see it.. it scares The Unborn.. the darkness fears the light within you.. the light that makes you special.. Mick.. that light saved you from death five years ago.. that light is what will guide you.. all you have to do is listen.." Elizabeth continues.

"..No.. no.. stop it.. please.. stop.." Mick cries out, falling to his knees and clutching his head as he struggles to cope - Elizabeth soon steps forward and sweeps over him, her dress changing into a brilliant white as a warm comfort fills Mick - he can't explain it and what was once frightening becomes at once like a dream.

"..oh my child, my sweet child.. forgive me.. I know it hurts.. now.. run.. run.." Elizabeth whispers, her words becoming compelling as Mick's mind races - unable to control his own actions as he suddenly flees across the woodland.

<<..run.. my child.. run.. do not look back.. run..>> the voice whispers, Mick continuing to flee as he feels a dark presence rise from the woodland behind him, yet he does not turn around as he continues to run.

The darkness sweeps over the woodland, engulfing the area around Elizabeth as she extends her hands - her entire form now glowing brightly "..remember, my love never dies.." she whispers, the darkness engulfing her as it sweeps across the area like an unearthly fog.

Mick continues running until he trips, tumbling down the hillside and cutting himself on numerous rocks as the darkness sweeps overhead - stopping at the edge of the hillside, as if afraid to go any further.

Mick falls all the way to the bottom and struggles to get up as he feels himself slipping - noticing a shadowy figure approaching from nearby Mick tries to motion, only to pass out as the figure crouches down:

"..oh my god.. Frank! Frank! call an ambulance!".

++++++++++++++

The scene shifts to a hospital ward several nights later, Mick was laying with a bandage around his forehead and a drip on his right arm - staring out at the darkness outside the hospital window.

"..this is nuts, we can't find any family or friends - no I.D. - nothing.."

"..did you check the house?"

"sure did, nothing - whole place was abandoned.."

"well what are we going to do?"

"we need to get the cops or something.. we can't just kick him out.."

"did you hear what happened in the ambulance? his eyes - they started glowing red.. that ain't natural!"

"he's just a kid"

"maybe he's one of them "special" kids.. you know the ones with the "gifts"?"

"so what if he is? poor kid can't help what he is, can he?"

"I'm just saying - they ain't natural.."

Mick had enough, he pulled the drip from his arm with a slight flinch and headed for the window - he could already hear some of the nurses running in and calling his name yet everything seemed in slow motion as he leapt off the ground and straight through the window.

Mick landed on the grass outside on his feet, neither the shattered glass nor the impact of the fall slowed him down as he turned around to look at the hospital a final time - then ran into the night:

<<..run.. my child.. run.. do not look back.. run..>>

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The scene returns to the dark city-street as the shadowy figure comes to a stop near an alley-way, crouching low as he watches two figures conversing.

"..I ran for a long time.. always looking for an answer.. a reason.. anything.. to explain what happened.. I never found it.. I tried every conspiracy theory.. followed every clue.. yet.. nothing.. that's when I decided to fight back..".

The shadowy figure watches as one of the figures pulls out a small packet and the other hands over a batch of notes, instantly the figure swoops down and beats the dealer down - tossing him into a nearby dumpster as the would-be-customer flees the scene.

"..beating a random drug dealer may not seem much but I learnt something from my past.. nothing is what it seems in this world.. sometimes you got to be prepared.. because when the darkness falls.. we're all in for a bumpy ride.."

- THE END -

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