In a world where super powers are the norm, a group of teenagers celebrate their high school graduation, unaware that the simple party is the start of a world altering adventure. (the title is being changed. 'Last Generation' is the name of the series, 'Not a Hero' is the name of the first book)
Draven – The Party
April 17th, the 3131st year since the first hero
A bright flash blinded Draven before he could even react. He rubbed his eyes, trying to wipe away the bright dot in the center of his vision.
“That was a great one!” His mother said. “Let’s take another!”
Draven cursed under his breath, adjusting his arm around Bri as he prepared for the light. The flash sparked and clicked, briefly lighting up the parking lot of Brava High School.
“Are we done? You’re gonna blind me.” Draven said.
“No.” Draven groaned, turning his body. He wrapped his arms around Bri, digging his head into her shoulder as she giggled in protest. After hearing the click of the camera, he cautiously pulled away from her.
“Oh my gosh.” His mother sighed. “This is so cute!”
“Can we go now?” Draven asked.
She held it up to his dad, showing him the picture. He grunted and nodded in approval. She then turned the camera around towards Draven and Bri.
“I get it, I was there, mom.” He said, stepping away from them.
“Aww, look at us, Dre.” Bri said, taking the camera. He breathed heavily out of his nose, turning back towards them. On the little screen he saw himself shoved into Bri’s shoulder, her teeth shining brilliantly from the flash as she was mid laugh. He had to admit, it was a great picture. He grabbed the camera from her, studying it a bit more.
“Wow,” He said, “It really is. You’ll have to send it to me.” He handed the camera back to his mother.
“You’re free to go now.” She said. “But make sure you keep me updated.”
“And don’t do anything stupid.” His dad chimed in.
“We want you home before midnight.”
“Okaaaay.” Draven said as he walked away from them. He pushed through the crowds of gowned teenagers, moving towards the maple tree on the west side of the building; where his friends were supposed to meet him. Behind him, Bri followed closely. He had known her for as long as he could remember. Their parents had been best friends for over three decades, and the friendship passed down almost genetically. Draven and Bri had always been close, even when she became vastly more popular than him. Her popularity had granted them an invite to a graduation party, taking place tonight at the house of one of their classmates, Erik.
Erik wasn’t particularly popular, in fact he was considered an oddball by most of the school, and if it wasn’t for his older brother who would buy beer for them, he probably would have been forgotten. His house was also located in one of the new housing developments near the edge of town, meaning they could have large parties and disturb no one.
The two of them reached the tree, finding their other friend Quentin was already there, avoiding the crowds. He was still stuck in his “scene” phase (a phase that all of them at had gone through); black choppy hair with teal tips, ripped pants that hugged his skinny frame, tank tops and an assortment of accessories. Quentin was known as the class clown despite his obvious depressive behavior; sometimes Draven thought the countless wristbands he wore functioned more as cover up than fashion.
He had balled up his gown and dropped it against the tree truck, and was left leaning up against the tree, hair hanging down over his face. Upon hearing them approach, he leaned his head back.
“Sup, Q.” Draven said, fist-bumping him.
“Nothin’.” He said, holding air in his lungs. He breathed out steadily, releasing a cloud of smoke into the air. He held out a small glass pipe to them, but they both refused. Quentin shrugged, taking another hit for himself.
“We still on for tonight?” Draven asked, adjusting the black cap on his head, causing the tassel to fall in his face. He blew it out of the way.
“Far as I know, Aidan didn’t cancel it.” Quentin said, exhaling again.
“Nolan will be there, right?” Bri asked.
Draven glared at her, one eyebrow raised as a smirk grew on his face. “He’ll be there alright.” He raised his eyebrows quickly, biting the corner of his lip.
Bri playfully pushed his shoulder. “Shut up.”
“Speak of the devil.” Draven saw a boy a bit shorter than him approaching. He was thin, yet packed on muscle, and walked with a certain ‘look at me’ attitude.
“What up?” Nolan said, brushing his hands through his blonde hair. Draven and Nolan had met back in kindergarten. Back then, they were nearly identical in the way they acted. But over the years, their personalities changed immensely, and they drifted apart until reunited once again in high school, becoming closer than ever. Draven had grown up with only sisters, so Nolan felt like the brother he had always wanted.
“Oh, shit, gimme some of that, Q.”
Quentin passed the pipe to Nolan, who put it up to his mouth, lighting its contents with a snap of his fingers. He inhaled deeply, making a disgusted face. He pulled the pipe away from his mouth, looking inside of it as he spit on the ground. He flipped it upside down and tapped the bottom, causing the ashes inside to fall to the ground.
“You guys ready?” He asked.
“Hell yeah, I’ve been ready since this thing started.” Quentin wrapped the pipe up in a napkin, pushing it into the pocket of the ripped jeans that hugged his skinny frame. The four of them walked down the side of the building, past rows of cars and groups of people snapping photos. The late afternoon sun had nearly retreated behind the horizon, but that meant the day was just beginning for them.
Nolan scoffed as they reached his beat up off-roader. “I don’t even need this anymore.”
“Why? Can you fly already?” Draven said.
“Hell yeah, man.”
“Then show us.” Draven threw his cap into the car.
“Well, I can only get a few feet off the ground…”
“That’s what I thought.” Draven said after pulling his gown off.
“Bitch, you can’t fly at all.”
“Shut your mouth.” Draven said, getting into the car. Nolan had recently just tapped into his abilities with help from a “spiritual class” he heard about through late night television. Draven had always thought those classes were a waste of time; a marketing scheme to pray on the stupid and the desperate, but he was proven wrong the day Nolan came home with his hand on fire.
“You wanna go?” Nolan taunted, starting his car.
“Stop trying to get me to fight you.” Draven said.
“Why? Afraid to get burned?”
“No I’m afraid I’m gonna make you cry.”
“Ooohh!!” Bri and Quentin chorused.
“One of these days I’ll get you to fight me.”
“If they didn’t ban arena matches I’d say yeah in a heartbeat.” Draven looked out the window. Recent changes in law had severely limited the use of abilities outside of acceptable zones; even those dwindled as the years went on. No more arena matches, no more Elemental Games; hell, even simple uses like lighting a cigarette with flame abilities was frowned upon. Practically the only power-related thing that wasn’t illegal to do in public was flying.
Even schools stopped teaching about abilities; including methods of obtaining them and how to use them safely properly. Even with school aid, some people had an incredibly difficult time unlocking their abilities, while it came naturally for others; like Draven.
Everyone was born with an inner ability, something they couldn’t change that was determined by genetics and heritage. Once a person had unlocked their abilities, their status went from “human” to “hero”, granting them a few perks along with their base abilities; such as increased agility and endurance, as well as becoming less fragile than an unpowered human.
While most flaunted their powers whenever possible, some chose to keep them a secret, despite it being considered highly illegal. Some did it to avoid being treated differently, sometimes even cruelly, while others did it just to avoid getting sucked into the mess of the war and politics of it.
Draven was one of those people, opting to keep his hero status a secret from even his parents. There were only five people in the world that knew of his powers, and that was on accident when one too many bottles of alcohol showed his friends his ability to control and manipulate electricity. Luckily for him, they’ve told no one, and his identity was more or less safe.
To him, his abilities weren’t just a convenience he controlled, they were an extension of his body; a special part of him that he needed to study and meditate on, just like the old days. Back before the industrial revolution, back before everyone wanted things faster and cheaper, everyone thought like Draven. They opted to hide their abilities and meditate on them, connecting with them spiritually to enhance their capabilities. But now the connection didn’t matter to most. Nobody wanted to refine their powers, they just wanted to get them and use the raw energy to impress friends or get a cool job.
Draven’s admiration for the old ways was what stunted his popularity growth, but he didn’t mind. He had enough friends to make him happy. Besides, he respected the old ways. They were simpler and easier to understand than this fast paced, chaotic world.
A buzz in his lap shook him from his thoughts, and he glanced down to see he had received two messages on his phone. The first one was from his parents, asking if he was safe. They always wanted to know where he was and what he was doing, and at his age it did far more than get on his nerves. He ignored the message and opened the second one, from his friend Emma; whom he had met in ninth grade. He had only known her for a year before she moved across the country to Hamilton, but that didn’t stop them from talking nearly every day; either on phone, through social media or on a webcam.
‘Heyyy whats up??’ The message read, causing him to smile.
‘Nothing much, just heading to a party, you?’
‘Ooh fun! Guess whattt??’
‘Im coming to alpine in june!’ Draven couldn’t help but smile at the message. Alpine was only a forty-five minute drive from Brava. He could take the bus out there and see her for the first time in over three years. He felt a fluttering in his stomach; the two of them had devised a multitude of plans over the years to meet up again, but all were for naught. She confirmed the trip by sending him a snapshot of her plane ticket.
“Is that your girlfriend?” Bri teased as the car came to a stop a few houses away from Erik’s house. Actually getting here was a task in itself; it was the only house in the area that was fully constructed, near the back of the housing development. All the construction workers had gone home, giving them literally the entire neighborhood to themselves.
“No.” Draven said, turning the screen away from her.
“Who is she talking about? Emma?” Quentin said as he exited the passenger’s seat.
“See, even he knows.” Bri said.
“We’re not dating.”
“But you’d like to be.”
“No. Besides, you know I’m trying to get with—Hey Gwen!” Draven stopped himself short. Behind them a bright red sports car had pulled up, and a slender woman with blonde curly hair had stepped out. She was considered one of the coolest girls in school; straight A’s, honor student, tons of scholarships, rich parents and looks to boot. She was the type of girl that was always attractive, in body and in mind; she could roll around in crap and still get hit on.
“Hey Dre! You guys ready to get smashed?”
“I’m always ready to get schwasted.” Nolan said.
The house was large and welcoming. Upon entering, they were greeted warmly by tables and tables of food and drinks; to which they quickly helped themselves. The house already smelled of weed and alcohol; not that that was of any issue to any of them. The party had just begun a little over an hour ago; some people even left graduation early, or skipped it entirely just to come here.
It didn’t take long for Draven and his friends to migrate to one of the many sitting areas, where they played various drinking games and chatted about nonsense while other party goers popped in and out; some were more welcome than others.
“What do you want, Avery?” Gwen groaned as a man slid onto the couch next to her.
“I just want to hang out with you beautiful people.” He said, smiling at Gwen.
“If we’re beautiful people then you don’t belong here.” Quentin snapped.
“Gasp!” He said. “This is a party, where we jest and regale on past adventures, no need for the venomous words, my good sir. Now, my lady, where were we? You know, some people think I might be the Catalyst—”
“Cool it, Avery. She’s not interested.” Draven said, realizing his mistake a second too late. Avery lowered his head slightly, smiling devilishly as he glared at Draven. He lifted up his fist and clenched it in the air. A cool blast of air radiated from him as ice crystals grew on his arm.
“I am cool…” He declared.
“Alright, we get—”
“Because I am…”
“POLAR FANG ICE WARRIOR!” He shouted, as a blade of ice formed at the end of his arm. He stood up heroically, holding the sword up into the air. He received a few cheers from the other party goers, which boosted his ego. He jumped up on the couch and turned to them, his arms outstretched.
“I am the coolest of the cool!” He said. “Does anyone dare stand up to the power of my coolness?”
“I’ll kick your bitch ass.” Nolan said, standing on another couch. Avery spun around, ducking low and holding his sword up in defense, giving Nolan the same glare he had given Draven moments ago.
“Ahh, a challenger who bares fire! This should be a test of my abilities!”
“Shut the hell up and let’s get on with this.” Nolan held up a fireball.
“At arms!” Avery shouted.
“Settle down, everyone!” A voice came from the crowd. A large man stepped out from the teenagers, smiling but shaking his head. “There will be no fighting in my house. Or standing on my furniture.”
“Sorry, King Aidan. I meant no disrespect.” Avery absorbed his sword, dropping back down onto the floor.
“You too, fire boy.” Aidan said. Nolan dropped down onto the couch, extinguishing his fire. “Avery, I thought you knew better.”
“I’m really sorry, I just got carried away.”
“Just do not let it happen again, Polar Fang Ice Warrior.” Aidan smirked, shaking Avery’s hand. He turned and walked over to Nolan, who was lighting up a bowl.
“I have seen you around, but I do not think we have met.” He said, holding out his hand. Nolan stared at it while he smoked, taking his time inhaling. He gave the pipe back to Quentin and held his breath for a moment, still staring at Aidan, who had put his hand down.
“Nolan.” He said as he exhaled.
“Pleasure…” Aidan said, wafting away the smoke. “And how could I forget you, Ms. Sparrow.”
“Good to see you.” Bri smiled sweetly.
“And the ever wonderful Ms. Denton!” Aidan said, holding out his arms. Gwen stood and hugged him, returning her pleasantries.
“I do not think I have met you before.” Aidan said to Quentin, holding out his hand. Quentin shook it, introducing himself quickly before returning to his alcohol. “And you, you must be Draven.” He said with a smile. Draven returned the smile, reaching out his hand. Aidan stared down at his hand as they touched, shaking it a bit too long.
Draven pulled away, uncomfortably clearing his throat.
“So, uh. You have ice abilities, and you have fire. What about you, Draven? What abilities do you have?”
“Uhh...none.” He said, catching the disappointed glances of his friends.
“Everyone has abilities, have you just not discovered yours?”
“Ah, well, my apologies. Anyone else? Quentin? Brianna?” He said, looking between the two, but he received negative answers from them.
“I am sure you will all find your groove soon enough. It was good meeting you three, and catching up with the rest of you. I hope to see you around!” Aidan said before disappearing into the mess of people.
Draven awkwardly glanced back at his friends, unsure of what had just happened. Gwen smiled at him and set her beer down, jumping up clumsily and grabbing his hand. She led him through the stumbling teens and gyrating bodies, discovering that she had led him into a dance session.
“Oh, shit, hold on.” Draven said, trying to find a place to put his beer. He glanced back and forth, but was standing in the middle of the living room. He tilted his head back and downed the rest of it, putting the empty bottle into his back pocket. Gwen moved close to him, moving her body along his, eventually turning her back to him and rubbing her backside against him.
She leaned forwards, but in her drunken state she leaned too far, falling to the ground. She rolled onto her back, laughing so hard no sound came out. Draven knelt down next to her. “Are you alright?” He couldn’t help but giggle.
“I’m fine.” She slurred. “Come down here with me they won’t see us.” She put her finger up to her lips.
“Alright, I think you’ve had enough to drink.” Draven said, picking her up. She wrapped her arms around his neck, giggling as her head loosely moved about. It found a resting place against his shoulder, and she nuzzled her face into his neck as she continued to laugh for unknown reasons. Draven shuffled through the crowd, doing his best to ignore the feeling of Gwen’s lips lightly graze his neck, and her teeth nibble on him.
“Whoa, out already?” Quentin said.
“She wasn’t too good at shots and ladders, remember?” Draven said, gently lowering her to the couch. She reached up for him, wiggling her limbs around like a child as she tried to grab hold of him. He grabbed a blanket off of the back of the couch and laid it across her, tucking her in. He wasn’t trying to be cute; he was just trying to limit her movement so she wouldn’t stumble away. She realized what he had done, and began wiggling to try and free an arm. Draven stood back up, intent on returning to the dance floor, but she called out to him.
“My head hurts…gimme a head kiss…kiss on my head.” She said, still struggling. Draven glanced over at Bri, who was smiling with glee, all but verbally telling him to do it. Draven shrugged, and bent down to give her a kiss on the forehead. As he lowered himself, her hand shot out from underneath the blanket, grabbing Draven by the collar and redirecting his kiss.
Their lips locked for a moment, the soft feeling of her over-moisturized lips felt amazing even though it was a drunkenly sloppy smooch. He pulled back, mesmerized by the sudden kiss.
“Hooooo-ly shit!” Nolan said, laughing. Somewhere in the distance, Avery let out a feminine scream, but Draven couldn’t see where he was.
“Alright, bed time.” Draven said, smiling at Gwen. She smiled back, knowing exactly how much Draven enjoyed the kiss. Draven moved over to Nolan, who was holding out an over-filled shot of alcohol.
“Thanks.” Draven said, downing it quickly. He clenched his teeth, breathing sharply, taken back by the strength of the alcohol.
“What hell was that?” Draven said. His body shuddered as the warmth moved down to his stomach.
“Encouragement.” Nolan said.
Almost like magic Draven could feel the alcohol working through him, egging him on and pushing him back onto the dance floor. He moved his body wildly and without care, attracting the attention of multiple women, from exes to strangers, who proceeded to try and dance with him. He had plenty of beers and more than a few shots in him already, so he didn’t care who it was; he was just looking to have a good time. This could possibly be his last night being single, so the more girls he danced with, the more fun he had. With no intentions of doing anything more than dance, Draven felt morally sound; in a drunken sort of way.
As the hours passed, so did the party goers blood-alcohol levels, turning once great dancers into stumbling giggle bags. People were beginning to pass out left and right, but the party didn’t stop. The music was cranked louder, and even more drinks were being brought in. In truth, the party seemed to have reached its peak.
That is, until the police arrived.
They came bursting through the door, shouting “Everybody freeze!” much to Avery’s delight. For the sake of the joke, he encased himself in ice, which didn’t last long against the powered police force. They wielded leech cables, a sort of baton with an end that could be shot like a stun gun. The tip as well as the reinforced cable emitted a controlled electrical shock, subduing the abilities of heroes. They also had a reverse function, sucking electricity out for those rare electric heroes like Draven.
The cables rained into the room, shocking whomever they came in contact with. One hit Draven in the arm, sending electricity surging through him. His entire body tingled and grew warm, soothing his aching legs. He fell to the ground, pretending as if it was affecting him. People ran about, rushing towards the back doors to try and escape. Some used their powers to aid in their escape, but those unfortunate enough to not have their abilities had to make due with wobbling legs.
He noticed Nolan stumbling towards the back door, with Gwen in his arms. He pulled the cable off of him, scrambling to his feet and running into a wall. He recovered quickly, ducking down as he rushed out of the back door. He glanced back and forth, trying to find Nolan in the scattering crowds of people. From the sides of the house came more officers, looking to stop anyone they could.
Draven spotted Nolan hobbling towards the fence, and took off after him. He ran, struggling to keep his feet forward as his stomach churned from the alcohol. He caught up with Nolan, calling his name as he neared.
Nolan let out a yelp, dropping Gwen at his feet. He continued running, tripping over her body and rolling onto his back, flame in hand.
“Whoa…shit dude, you scared me!” He said, extinguishing the flames.
“Dude don’t drop our friend!” Draven said, gripping his stomach. He stumbled forwards, against the fence and puked over the other side.
“God dammit!” Nolan struggled to lift Gwen up.
“I’ll get her.” Draven said, pushing himself off the fence.
“No,” Nolan flailed his arm at him. “You go over the fence I’ll give her to you.”
Draven turned on his heels quickly, almost causing him to fall over. He walked to the fence again, falling against it and looking over to the other side.
‘Not there…’ He thought to himself as he saw the pile of vomit. He moved a few feet to the left, jumping and swinging his legs up. He landed on top of the fence, straddling it. He wiggled and pushed until he fell off onto the other side, where he scrambled to his feet.
“Dude, what are you doing?” Draven asked, watching as Nolan was lazily pushing Gwen over the fence, away from Draven.
Draven caught her by the arms, twisting her awkwardly as he tried to get a good grip on her.
“You got her?” Nolan asked. Draven nodded in affirmation, and immediately Nolan turned and took off, running down the length of the fence.
“Dude! Come take her! You can fly!” But by the time Draven had finished, Nolan was already too far away. Draven lowered Gwen to the ground, adjusting his grip as he watched through the fence. People ran all around, trying with little luck to escape into the partially built homes and around the mounds of dirt. He noticed something odd about the officers; they weren’t wearing the standard Brava police uniform. Instead, they wore an entire brown uniform that sort of resembled military fatigues. On their arms were ranks, and a small patch with some sort of bird’s head on it. There was a certain familiarity behind it, but Draven was too drunk to recognize it.
Just then, someone jumped the fence, sprinting past Draven at full speed. Draven stood up and saw an officer running towards him, in pursuit of the other kid. Draven turned and ran, using all of his concentration to avoid falling over while the world around him was spinning. As he reached the street, he felt a rumbling beneath him, the ground was altered slightly below his feet in order to trip him up; the cop was an earth hero. Even in his drunken state, he could have easily outrun an unpowered officer; he had done it before. But this one was going to give him trouble. He had to get off the ground, and quickly.
He ran through the street, dodging the small cracks and pits the earth cop was creating. Draven saw a manhole cover, lit up under a street light like a beacon of hope. He pumped his legs as hard as he could without confusing his drunken self, pushing and pushing until he finally stepped foot on the metal lid. He sent a surge of electricity through his feet, magnetizing the metal lid so that it would force itself upwards.
He rode the lid up into the air; five feet, ten feet, twenty feet up. He jumped off of it, landing onto the nearest telephone wire, sending a surge of electricity through his feet. The energy flowed through his body and into the wire, pushing him forwards. He had done this countless times before, and had gotten pretty good at it. But he had never done it before while drunk and carrying an unconscious person.
All of his strength and concentration went into balancing on the wire, pushing him faster and faster. He leapt over the tops of the poles, landing sloppily on the wire on the adjacent side. The energy flowing through him was enough to temporarily ease the effects of the alcohol, giving him enough control to get into a safe rhythm. He kept going, further and further, traversing wire after wire until the officer was nowhere in sight.