He could still hear her voice over the phone. He couldn’t answer her she sounded so upset. How could he blame her? He was running the chance that he had, the chance that he had been given, but how could he live when it felt like everything he did, every choice he made was being watched. He knew that they were out there waiting to see exactly what he was doing. Who he was speaking to. They paid for him to attend school away from Los Angeles, one that afforded him a chance to enjoy art like he had never done before. Teachers who encouraged him to express himself through his art, but all he could do was find ways to upset them.
There were so many things left for him to learn, but as popular as he was with his art teachers the other teachers, his academic ones found him to a bit of a waffler. That’s what they called him. Just because he didn’t find much meaning in his other classes. He did his work. He made decent grade, but he felt that there was something more going on, and no matter how often he told his mother she told him that rebelling would not be allowed. His mother cared, she loved Kyle, but there was something else, something he couldn’t quite understand. All Kyle could guess was that they were watching her too. That they were waiting for his mother to make some kind of mistake, but he was baffled as to what kind of mistake that his mother could make.
They answered all the questions and he went through the endless tests that he had been given. As much as he wanted to provide doctors with answers he couldn’t. There was nothing that he could provide them with. He survived a horrific plane crash with nary a mark upon him. How many tests did they put him through to find out if he was some kind of metahuman. He knew what they were trying to find out. Kyle wasn’t a fool. They were trying to figure out if he was different if he had superhuman abilities.
He wished he had something to tell them, but all he remembered was the plane going down and the crash. He remembered the sounds of people crying around him. Babies screaming out as the plane went down. He was returning from a school trip from Washington D.C. He couldn’t believe his mother had saved enough to send him to the capitol. To see where it all happens, where the laws that govern the land start, to see the White House and the museums. Oh if only he could have gone to New York too he wished, but they had to return.
She said she wanted something good for Kyle after all that happened in Coast City, something better. She wanted to give him a different memory for the year something for him to hold on to than the tragedy on the Coast. DC was different. The atmosphere was tense, but it seemed that they were glad to have the students there. It was interesting. It was interesting until it became terrifying and he could not find his way out of it.
It began as a tremor that turned in violent shaking, turbulence they called it. It seemed to catch them by surprise, but it resulted in terrible damage to the plane it brought it down. They wanted to know what he remembered. He remembered the voices of the people around. He remembered seeing parts of the wing starting to shear apart. He remembered the violent drops of the plan. Kyle remembered the voices of pilot telling them to prepare for impact. They were doing a forced landing.
Brace! Brace! Brace! Head down! Stay down! They repeated it over and over until it was the last thing he heard and his body lurched forward. Afterwards darkness.
That is what Kyle Rayner remembered from that fateful night at least that’s what he told everyone even his mother. What else could he tell them? He had no idea how he survived the crash that took everyone else’s life. It made no sense. There was no rhyme or reason why he survived. He shook the can of paint in his hand and resumed the coating the concrete wall with it. It wasn’t the first one he had did. They usually took all night, because he could never bring it all into focus.
His mother asked him several times after he came to in the hospital if he had told them everything that he could remember like they expected him to know. So many doctors and the shrinks that wanted to scoop out what they thought he was holding back. Perhaps it was subconsciously the posited, but he offered nothing more than what he could provide them with. The story was told by numbers, because it was always the same nothing changed. How could he rehearse such a thing?
When his body had been found it had been thrown from its chair his body was bruised, but not so much that they would have to worry too much, but that alone made them worry. Was he something else? Was he an it instead of a he? Those were the whispers that circled around the floor that he was placed on. There were no other patients. He was the only patient that they had and he was put through many tests. Tests to gauge, his strength and endurance. Perhaps he possessed superior speed and agility, but there was very little that was remarkable about Kyle Rayner beyond skills that could not explain how he was able to survive a plane crash that killed every single person either upon impact or hours afterwards.
Why him? Perhaps it was a miracle. A nurse joked about it while passing his room which became his cell. It was something that made him wonder if it had been a miracle. Kyle Rayner miracle boy. He laughed it off, because there was nothing special about him, nothing but his drawings which he used to speak for a while. He said very little for a while. Instead he became obsessed with the plane crash which he drew from no perspective beyond his own, but how much did he knew know? He could guess, make assumptions, but as far as he knew he did not have an out of body experience? Or did he?
Brace! Brace! Brace! Head down! Stay down!
He heard the words pass through his mind again while he reached for another spray can. Shutting his eyes he took a deep breath. The flight attendant’s words passed through his mind again, but when he opened his eyes he was no longer on the roof of a building outside of Metropolis instead he was surrounded by bodies hanging in the air, twisted and turned in positions that were humanly impossible. There were burns upon their bodies and flames around him all frozen in time. It moving picture that had been paused for his benefit. He shut his eyes willing the images away just like he had before.
The images had come later, not until he was out of the hospital and after the second facility. They returned when he was on the bus. His mother was nervous about him taking another plane. He was on his way to his new school, private school all the way on the other side of the country. He was asleep when the images came, but it was the images that unnerved him it was the voice, the one that followed him since the crash.
”You will do.” He remembered it, but told not one, but there was something that caused him to flinch in a way. It was not until he was on the bus dreaming that he understood why. The hands, small blue hands reached out for him and then darkness.
You will do? Blue hands. Perhaps it was his subconscious attempting to make sense of everything that occurred. Perhaps there was some unforeseen damage that had occurred, perhaps something that people could not detect. Perhaps some type of brain trauma? Kyle had no idea, no recollection. All he could recall with complete before that moment were the tests. Tests that turned him inside out and the only compensation that his mother was given was that he would be allowed to enroll in a private school in Metropolis that would allow him to pursue an art career.
His mother agreed, because she wanted Kyle to have a good education one that would allow him to pursue his love of art. It could be encouraged at home, but resources were limited and truth be told Kyle’s mother wanted him away from the streets. She wanted him to stop tagging. He was better than the graffiti art that he was doing, but his mother didn’t understand. The city offered unlimited canvases and it was more than tagging.
Either way Kyle had no choice in the matter. He was being shipped off to Metropolis. He would finish out his secondary education and then move on to college or art school. That was the agreement that had been made per the deal that had been made between Kyle’s mother and the various agencies that had put her son through the endless battery of tests. For the last two years he had his body and blood tested to see if there was anything different about him. Anything that would set him apart from all the other passengers.
His name had been kept out of the papers and hidden from the media. They did not want this to become a circus and unlike years gone past new laws that had been passed to help the government with having to share information that dealt with national security. Sure Kyle was nothing special, but rather jeopardize a normal citizen that was suspected of being meta they treated him like he was one in terms of being able to keep his name away from the reporters.
It was the least they could do, but no matter what they told Kyle and his mother knew they were still watching him. Waiting for him to display some kind of hidden talent or ability that would explain how he could have survived the plane crash. They cared very little for the horror of it all, for what haunted him every waking day. The only way he could exorcise it was by painting and rather than have his instructors worry about his mental well-being by turning in assignments that depicted various images of death and carnage various buildings in metropolis displayed them.
Unfortunately for Kyle there were some individuals who didn’t care for it, which lead to conversations with his mother. Still tonight there were no images of death or carnage there was only hands, blue hands and negative space, hands that were reaching out for something or someone around them the negative space that could be filled with anything. Someone need only look with their mind rather their eyes to fill it. Finishing the piece he looked it over before checking his watch. Reaching out with his other hand he touched the ring he wore the one that had been mixed in with his belongings and placed on his hand by one of the nurses. Odd ring it was silver. He wanted to tell them that it didn’t belong to him, but he didn’t. It was his lucky charm. They were the two things that made it out of the wreckage unscathed. Whenever he thought about the crash or anything related to it Kyle found himself rubbing lightly as if it could chase it all away and sometimes if he was lucky it did.
Angels. The idea of them was not foreign to Kyle, but whether or not he believed in them? Kyle could not say he did or not. He would like to believe in them. He knew that a lot of people that came out of an experience like his might start believing. They called him a miracle, and God dealt in miracles so why would Kyle think anything otherwise?
Perhaps it was the ‘You will do.’ The idea of God saying something like that was a bit disheartening. Especially given everything that was taught when he was younger. Also no one said anything about Angels being blue, but it didn’t stop him from wondering or researching. He wanted to know and he wanted to know why he could not remember anything beyond the blue hands. He wanted to know if there was something more than blue hands. There had to be something beyond the blue hands.
Looking over finished work Kyle put the rest of his spray paint cans into his bag so he could get back to the dorms. He knew that he would probably be late, but he could call the dorm monitor and let them know that the movie ran a little longer than expected, because that is where they thought he was, a movie. Too many art shows that his instructors did not know about would become suspect.
Slipping the bag over his shoulder Kyle walked over towards the fire escape to make his way down to the alley blow. It was out of his system. Maybe he could stop thinking about it, maybe. Who knew? Making his way down the stairs Kyle reached the bottom level of the fire escape and made his way towards the ladder so he could climb and drop down to the ground.
Dropping down to the ground he glanced to his watch and pulled out his phone. He needed to put the call in let them know he was running late and start running.
Kyle was accustomed to making his way through the streets. It was something that the did when in Los Angeles, perhaps this was why he found himself out in the city painting on the buildings, because it was one of the things that he could control. He wanted to go higher, but he knew getting higher was a bit more difficult so he stuck to some of the neighborhoods where he could get away with his art.
Kyle knew that he was taking classes for it, but there were only a few classes that allowed him to be free and express himself. He wasn’t quite at the ‘We want to see what’s in your soul’ classes. It was more technique and working on form and shadow. Not that he didn’t appreciate it, he did, but there were some things that he wanted to do and there wasn’t always a free assignment headed his way. So he needed something that he could do away from the school.
As he continued to make his way down the streets he found himself colliding with a man that came barreling out he ran in front of. Kyle was unprepared for the collision he. Knocked to the ground it was literally like the air had been knocked out of him. His bag hit the ground with him as the man kept going.
“Let’s go.” He caught pieces of a conversation. Reaching out he started to push himself up from the ground as the guy that collided with Kyle glanced back, but not in Kyle’s direction he was looking at the building. Turning his attention back towards the car that pulled up he slipped in to the vehicle and drove off. A few moments later a van pulled off while Kyle was gathering his backpack. Looking back at the apartment building he shook his head pushing himself up. It wasn’t one of the more modern buildings. It was one of the older ones, probably targeted for gentrification.
Coughing a few times he glanced at his watch and knew he was late. Moving as quickly as he could Kyle resumed his light jog when explosion happened. He could feel the ground shake beneath him as the building he was just in front of him immediately started to catch fire.
There were dozens of phones up filming the blaze as it continued to grow soon it would engulf the building. People were also on their phones contacting emergency services to let them know that the building was on fire. If the fire department didn’t get out here soon it would spread to the surrounding buildings. Kyle knew that was a concern and was one of the people that was on his phone. He told them everything he knew basically the building was on fire. He didn’t know if he should say anything about the suspicious characters.
The fire had to had been going for five minutes already. Apparently, there were fires all around the area someone had begun in different areas of the city mainly in Suicide Slum, but it was going to take time for trucks to get in to the area though they seemed to be doing what they could to dispatch teams to each fire as they broke out. Some seemed to be smaller than others, but there were some that were rather large.
Kyle dropped his bag on the ground looking up as the fire continued to rage. He was quickly making its way through the inside of the building. There were people that were attempting to use the fire escape to get out of the building but it was already in disrepair. The hire you went the more dangerous it was. Kyle knew because he had been on the top of the building. He got out through the building rather than down along the side.
Staring at the fire he blinked a few times as he saw flashes from the crash. It all came rushing back. He could hear the sounds of people crying out around him. The shaking of the seats. Before he knew it he was running towards the fire rather than away from it. He moved right into the building as smoke filled the air. He saw them, he knew he saw them. The hands, the blue hands. They came out of the fire. He knew they did or maybe he was losing his mind.
He could feel the heat from the fire growing, but it didn’t stop him. “Keep going.” He told the people he passed. “Get out of the building.” The sprinklers came on, but they weren’t working the way they were supposed to. It seemed like everything was wrong with the building. Going for the stairwell he moved the door which was open to make his way up into the building. People were moving down. Most said that there were people trapped in the floors above them. The fire was bigger there.
How that was possible he Kyle didn’t know but he moved past the few people that came down the stairs as he moved up. He moved up as quickly as his legs would take him. He could help them. He could. That’s what he told himself. He made it up to the fourth floor when he looked at the door.
His doctor would tell him that this was reckless, but he heard no sirens there was nothing headed their way. Where were the firemen?
It passed through his mind before he kicked the door in. “Helps coming!” He called out to the voices that he could hear in the hall. They couldn’t get to the door. There had been some damage. He could smell it.
Accelerant. His mind flashed to the man who ran out. Instead of running towards the fire he ran towards the hall and broke the window open to try and give the smoke some place to go. They needed to get the window on the other the hall open, but most of the people were in their apartments trapped.
“They need help up here!” He called as he moved towards one of the empty apartments where people had escaped from and immediately turned on the shower and dropped a blanket from one of the bed rooms into it. He got it good and soaked before he draped it over himself.
Crazy maybe. He just couldn’t stand there slacked jaw. Kyle looked in the direction he was going the flames that were making their way towards him he started to run to make his way to the other side of the hall knowing that it was probably best to try and get them out. If he busted the window on the other end if it hadn’t broken yet then air would rush in. It would feed it.
He needed to push past the fear. He had to see past it. He had to try. No one could do anything for a plane falling through the air, but someone could do something about this. Balling his fist he could feel his nails digging into his flesh as he ran past the flames.
Someone had to try. Someone had to be for them. That’s what he was in his mind. Kyle ran and when his eyes focused through the smoke he was certain that he saw the hands again one that was reaching out for him. He wasn’t paying attention to the ring on his finger. It changed from silver to Green.
“Kyle Rayner of Earth you have the ability to overcome great fear. Re-stablishing link with Power Battery.”
He was hearing things he knew he was he tripped just as a part of the wall came falling down upon him. Kyle didn’t think he moved his arm to try and deflect the debris, but nothing fell, he found himself encased in a done of green light.
“Full charge has been gained.”
Full what? He looked around for a moment realizing that he was no longer coughing as much as he was before. He started to move, but when he moved he seemed to glide along the ground. The crumbling wall fell and Kyle blinked a few times while he looked at what happened. It was then that he noticed the ring on his finger didn’t appear as it had. Even more than that it was glowing. He lifted it and tried to figure out what was going on.
Confusion was on his face, but as he tried to make sense of it all he remembered that he was here for a reason instead. He immediately moved towards the door releasing he lost his water soaked blanket which probably wasn’t as soaked as it was before.
“Damn it where are the firemen?!” He cried out and almost like magic outlines of bodies began to appear as if they were bring drawn in to existence rapidly. There were no detail to the faces immediately as the green firemen with MFD written across the front of their hats began to work immediately. Kyle’s eyes widen as doors were broken down and the green fireman began…well what firemen do? Men and women began to break down the doors and moved to remove the occupants who were half scared, but didn’t fight it.
Kyle glanced at his and the ring continued to glow, but it flickered for a moment and the fire crew began to lose their shape until Kyle focused on them on trying to help people. The green figures regained their cohesion immediately and resumed doing their job. They moved everyone that was trapped on this side of the floor off.
Kyle was confused as they moved passed him, but he looked away from anyone that might look his way and immediately he found himself being surrounded by fireman’s jacket, hate and self-contained breathing apparatus. He said nothing. His face was covered that’s all that mattered and he moved with them guiding them where they needed to go down the stairs and out the back as the front was getting the worst of the fire.
The firemen crew moved to the front and everyone gathered near the building were all stunned some of them starting looking up towards the sky as if they were looking for something or someone. Kyle said nothing he just moved with the ring as the siren began first as the green fire engine came barreling down the street as it was drawn into existence. The crew that helped the people out were now on the engine hoping off as they moved to get the hose out and moved to the hydrant.
The hose was attached and they turned it on and the water came through and finally someone was fighting the fire. Kyle did his best to keep the ring out of sight as he moved towards the engine to make like he was nothing more than one of the green figures.
Better to blend in than stand out right now.
That voice he heard another voice he heard it twice and it wasn’t like the other from the plane. It was different. He continued to focus his thoughts on getting the fire put out.
Working with the green figures Kyle was able to help get the fire under control. By the time emergency services finally arrived the fire was nearly out. However, along with emergency services there was the police. Squad cards came to halt and Kyle knew that it was time for him to make an exit as people stood looking at the constructs. There was whispers because some of them were trying to figure out who was doing this.
It was when the actual fire trucks arrived that Kyle kept working with the other figures and moved out having them all move in a pack so he could slip away with them hoping he no one caught sight of them as they all began to fade from existence until there was someone disappearing into the night as he snatched his bag full of paint cans. He needed to make a speedy escape.
Someone called out after him as he pulled his hood up, but it wasn’t the only thing that happened as an aura of green light surrounded him and he shot up into the air.
“Whoa!” He called out as he disappeared from sight not because he vanished, but because he was traveling incredibly fast
There was no way that wasn’t seen, but his face wasn’t thankfully.