“You can do this Carli. You’re a globe trotting adventurer, slayer of mythical monsters, finder of lost treasures, and star athlete in Surfing, Gymnastics, and Powerlifting. You can do this.”
Carli Evans said this to herself as she walked through the halls of her high school in the direction of Brandon Wallis, the guy she’s had an eye for since kindergarten, and since the Sadie Hawkins dance was coming up she thought she would ask him out. After all, she was pretty and adorable, what isn’t there to like about her? Well sure she can be a little intense and one of her boyfriends did disappear mysteriously, but other than that how could Brandon possibly say no? Carli walked up to the boy who was standing at his locker packing things into his backpack. “Hey, Brandon.”, Carli said with a smile, “How ya doing?” Brandon turned to face our heroine. “Oh hey Carli. I’m alright. How ‘bout you?”, he replied.
Carli began to blush and sweat just a little, this was it. “I’m good,” she said, “but hey there’s something I’ve been meaning to…” All of a sudden, the jewel on her left earring began flashing red and beeping. This made Carli blush even more, she knew guys saw her as weird and her chances of him saying yes were already slim, but now she’s basically blown it! “Your earring is beeping.”, Brandon said pointing at the device on Carli’s ear. Carli panicked and in one breath she quickly said, “I have to go but before I do I’ve been meaning to ask will you go to the dance with me next week? Yes? No? Maybe? Whatever, just text me your answer, bye!” Our heroine burst down the hall like a bat out of hell leaving poor Brandon confused as to what the heck had just happened.
This is a story about Carli Evans.
Sixteen years old, Carli Evans works for an organization called the House Of the Unknown (HOU). This organization is dedicated to protecting the world from the panic and chaos of things we do not yet fully understand. Weather the threat be foreign or domestic, man made or animal, mythical or mechanical, the HOU makes sure it is taken care of, examined, and safe before anyone else knows about it. They only recruited the best. And Carli, well, she was the best of the best.
Carli ran across the school and into the theater room which she knew would be abandoned because the teacher likes to get home as fast as possible. She closed the door and locked it behind her. She took the earring off, pressed the secret button next to the jewel, put the earring on the floor, and turned out the lights. Out of the jewel came a bright blue projection, a hologram if you will, of a small old Latinx woman with white hair and a navy blue business suit. “Good afternoon, Evans.”, the small hologram lady said, “I have an assignment for you of the utmost importance.” “What is it Director?”, the teenage agent asked, “Robot uprising? Alien embassaries? Is the president using a priceless magical item as a paperweight? Again?” “Enough joking, Evans!”, the director shouted with a hint of frustration in her voice, “Your target is your number one priority as of this moment. The same goes for all other assets we have in the area.” Next to the old woman appeared various newspaper headlines and social media posts all relating to one person. “There’s a new vigilante on the streets,” said the director, “and he’s the first super powered person in decades, we need to know where he got his powers from, who he is, if he’s a threat or not, and we need to detain him.” The pictures had the same person in different outfits and weapons. The only way one could tell that it was the same person is that he had the same facial frame, and each mask that he wore all had the same pattern. They all had a pattern that looked like the way glass does when it is broken. They had strange shapes on them as if it was in pieces. “Ok,” Carli said, “any leads?” “We have a plan.”, the old woman said, “Our sources tell us that tomorrow night at 10 Pm, the bank on sixth street is gonna be robbed by members of the Time Crunch Gang. We want you to be there to be ‘making a withdrawal’ by the time they begin the stickup. It’s the perfect bait for a wannabe vigilante with heroic tendencies.” Carli was not completely on board with this plan but she did not want to question her employer’s orders, so she simply asked the question, “What if we’re wrong and the target does not arrive as planned?” “We have considered this,” said the miniature director, “we will allow you to carry a concealed weapon of your choice. If the target does not arrive within fifteen minutes, you have full permission to defend yourself. Remember, it is imperative that this target be brought in, so good luck.”
When an agent turns sixteen, it’s HOU tradition to purchase the young asset a automobile, designed to aid in future missions, as an incentive to pass their driver’s test. Luckily Carli was best friends with Jefferson Copper, one of the biggest eggheads in the lab, so she had some word in what car she got, a small word, but a word nonetheless. At least she got to choose the model. On her sixteenth birthday, Carli received a two thousand eight Ford Explorer she named “Dora” armed to the teeth with machinery and gadgetry so cool that it seems like it came out of a dream, a really cool SciFi dream. On the outside however, Dora looked very normal, but on the inside she was anything but. Still, she had a radio which Carli was listening to while waiting about a mile away from the bank on sixth street. Carli glanced at her watch, and seeing that it was only 8 pm and someone at the agency took care of all her homework for her, she decided to call Jefferson to talk and pass the time. He answered the phone with, “Hey girl hey, what’s up?” Jefferson was like a girl, you could tell him anything and he would understand where you’re coming from, and the emotions that you feel. “Can I talk to you?” Carli asked, “It’s about Brandon.” Jefferson gasped and said, “Brandon? The guy you’ve had a crush on since before you knew basic math? Oh, spill the tea sis!” Carli explained all the events that happened that morning. “Your earring went off?! Ha! That’s hilarious!” Jefferson said with a giggle, “I mean, I’m so sorry for you.” Jefferson could feel Carli’s death stare through the phone. Carli groaned and said, “I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” “Listen little lady,” the extremely gay tech nerd said, “that boy would be crazy not to say yes to you. You are adorable, funny, and you speak like ten languages.” “Seventeen.”, Carli corrected. “Whatever! The point is,” Jefferson said, “you are amazing! Any guy would be lucky to have you! Except for me. Sorry I’m just not straight enough for you.” Carli laughed at her friend’s remark. She sighed and said, “Thanks for that, you always know what to say to make me feel better.” “Anytime Honey,” Jefferson said, “listen it’s almost nine thirty so you’ve gotta go. Good luck, love ya!” “Love ya too.”, Carli said as she hung up the phone and started her car to begin driving to her destination.
She walked into the large bank wearing a white t-shirt, a blue skirt with a matching jean jacket, and converse. She wanted to look semi-helpless but something that she could fight in. Her hair was up in a bun with a hair pin in it. The pin was no pin however, it was a gift given to her by the illusive Insectus Cult in South America when she saved them from a group of marauders. They claimed it to be a gift from the Bee goddess and called it “Queen’s Stinger”, Carli didn’t really believe in that but whatever it was is was a sword that could grow to the perfect size for the one who’s wielding it, and shrink to the size of a hair pin, making it a totally concealed weapon. Carli walked up to the counter at 9:59 and asked to make a deposit. At exactly 10:00:00, five men wearing steam-punk masks with AK-74s came barging through the door. The first man shot his gun in the air and yelled, “ATTENTION NEANDERTHALS, THIS IS A ROBBERY, ON THE GROUND WITH YOUR HANDS UP!” The counter woman moved and inch and the second man pointed his gun at her and said “DON'T YOU DARE PRESS THAT ALARM!” Three of the men began searching the building for other hostages, the first man grabbed Carli and sat her against a wall, and the second man walked over to the counter woman and started barking orders at her. Carli kept glancing at the clock on the wall above the counter, watching the clock tick, when at 10:08, Carli heard a loud crash as someone dropped from the skylight, breaking the glass in the process. The person landed on one knee, you know, the classic superhero landing.
He was skinny, pale, looked to be about Carli’s age, and was slightly taller than average. He wore black slacks, a swampy green hoodie sweatshirt, a white button up shirt underneath, a black neck tie, fingerless gloves, various rings, a black suit jacket, Italian leather shoes, and a mask. The same mask from the photos. This was the guy Carli was looking for. The other three bad guys heard the glass break and rushed in to investigate. Upon seeing the vigilante, the five men turned and formed a circle around him. The vigilante smiled, and said, “Now I’m gonna…” Before he could finish his sentence the men around him fired their guns at the intruder, but when they ceased their fire, the boy was gone. Carli looked around and was startled to see that the boy was sitting next to her on her left. “Well that was just rude,” he said to the men, “can’t a guy get a word in before you start trying to kill him?” The men raised their guns to shoot but it seemed as though they had all run out of ammo. While the men were reloading their ammunition, the vigilante put his arm around Carli and said, “Hold your breath.” Carli took a large breath and held it as the boy pushed both of them backwards, but instead of hitting the wall behind them they seemed to go through a portal. Surrounding Carli was an endless void of white and black, with some furniture though. “You can breathe now,” the boy said, “you take a seat here and I’ll be right back. In a split second the boy was gone. Carli could barely understand what was going on, then she blinked and the void was gone. When her eyes opened she was on top of a building in a place she didn’t recognize, until she turned around and saw a huge metal structure that simply took her breath away. “I’m in Paris!”, she said to herself softly in disbelief and amazement as she stared at the Eiffel Tower.
“You are so beautiful.”, said a voice from behind. Carli turned around to confront whoever it was that had complimented her and saw the vigilante. She laughed and blushed at the sight of him. She was swooning a little but she didn’t know it yet. “What happened, what about the men at the bank?”, she asked. “All taken care of, what matters right now is that you are safe.”, the vigilante responded, “What’s your name?” He asked this as the sun began to rise behind the tower, it was the most beautiful thing Carli had ever seen. Our heroine smiled and said to him, “Carli Evans.”, as she turned from looking at the sunrise to see her rescuer. He had eyes like the pacific ocean, it was a light, blue-ish green that she could just look at forever. “What’s your name?” Carli asked, suddenly remembering her mission. The boy stepped closer, took of his glove, though somehow the rings stayed on, and put his soft, warm hand to her cheek. “My name,” he said, “is…”
Before he could finish, a helicopter flew over the two with a spotlight on them as HOU agents began to appear from all different angles. “Don’t hurt her!” He said as he pulled Carli close and she took a breath and closed her eyes. When she opened her eyes, she seemed to actually be on the Eiffel Tower. From there she could see the battle ensuing on the rooftop where she just was though she couldn’t see what all was happening, she could tell it was chaos. She put her hands on the railing, fearing that the organization she worked for would kill the boy who had just saved her life. She then felt a hand on her shoulder, and she heard the boy’s voice whisper in her ear, “My name,” he paused, “is Shatter.” Carli turned around, relieved, our heroine looked into the hypnotic eyes of her knight in shining armor, and in a burst of emotion…
She pulled his head down and kissed him.
After two seconds, Carli pulled away, embarrassed she said, “I am so so sorry, I don’t know what came over me I just…” Shatter then leaned in and kissed her passionately. After a little bit, Shatter pulled away, and softly said, “I will find you again, Carli Evans. But until then,” he then leaned in and kissed her again then said, “you’ll have that to remember me by.” And like before, Carli blinked, and he was gone.
“Are you kidding me?!?!”, the director said to Carli the next day at HOU headquarters in a location I am not allowed to disclose, “You had one objective and that was to bring him in! Why is that so hard?” “I was about to,” Carli shouted defending herself, “before you and the entire House Of the Unknown came down on us and scared him away!” “And another thing,” the elderly woman said, ignoring Carli’s statement, “what were you doing in France?!” “I believe the target has some sort of teleportation ability,'' Carli reported. “Why couldn’t you just bring me Mathew?!?! It was all I asked!”, the director said, enraged. “Who’s Mathew?” Carli asked, “And is this one kid so important to you?” Immediately the old woman responded, “BECAUSE HE IS MY GRANDSON!”
Silence filled the room as the two just looked at each other. It all made sense now. Shatter, who’s real name is apparently Mathew, must have run away from home and somehow gained these abilities. The old latinx woman let out a sigh, and said, “You did good. We now have his handle. You’re dismissed.” And with that the director left the room. Leaving Carli to her thoughts and to finally wrap her head around all that she had been through. Her first thought was, “I kissed a guy, at sunrise, in Paris, on the frickin Eiffel Tower!”
When Carli left the building and was walking down the stone steps to the street where Dora was parked so that she could get home, she felt a vibration in her jacket pocket. When she put her hand in to pull out her phone, she felt another thing too. She pulled out her hand and in it was her phone, but also a piece of paper. The paper had a number on it, and it sayed, “In case you ever need me -Shatter.” Our heroine smiled as she looked at her phone and saw it was a text from Brandon. “I never got to answer your question,” it said, “but I would love to go to the dance with you. Maybe we can see a movie together beforehand? How about Saturday?” Happy that she had gotten the guy, she responded, accepting the invite to a movie, but then she texted the number on the paper.
I would love to see you again soon.