Beast of the Bronx Chapter 1

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A self-published novel about three teens saving the world from an evil drug-lord with powers to transform into beast-like creatures. Warning: this story contains editing errors. They were done on purpose for the story I'm currently writing. This is the first in a 6-part (maybe 7) book series.

One 

 

 

The heavenly sound of bells filled the clear sunny air, signaling school’s dismissal. Flocks of high schoolers flooded the concrete sidewalks as some piled onto the cheese-colored buses. To a passerby, it was a beautiful spectacle. But to a driver, it was a nightmare. One boy managed to walk away from the site, with his green bookbag weighing him down.   

AndrewRobertsstood at average height. With a lean body and round face, Andrew looked like he still went to middle school. His short brown hair had bangs that hung right on top of his green eyes and he wore baggy jeans and a blue t-shirt. 

His mind seemed to be elsewhere as the sounds of cars and people passing by became fuzzy. Everything to him was boring: boring school, boring family, and boring life. All Andrew ever wanted was a bit of change to make his mundane life more meaningful.  

Crossing the street was no problem, thanks to the new traffic light set in by the city. As he walked passed a Fred’s Wings restaurant, he saw two guys dressed in suits beating up a kid in an alley. He watched their fists pound the kid’s face like a baker kneading dough. Blood splattered everywhere as the kid’s face caved in with each blow. His Chiclets-size teeth popped out like a busted piñata and his nose became flat. In Andrew’s heart, he wanted to help him but his mind knew the outcome. Andrew quickly walked off, trying to forget what he saw. 

 That’s how it is in the Bronx nowadays. Life has changed ever since this new drug-lord came into town. They see guys in suits beating up punks and other drug-dealers. Now they’re trying to hurt the elderly with their protection program.  

Back then, the Bronx was peaceful. Even though Andrew was living in Co-op City, the people there were friendly and always looked out for each other. The apartments there were like skyscrapers. He used to envy the people who lived on the top floors since they could see everything the Bronx had to offer. The smell of the bus fumes always followed you no matter where you were and the cries of the pigeons seemed to tell a story of their struggles here. Andrew remembered going up to the rooftop of his apartment building watching the sun hide behind other apartment buildings, as it approached the evening. Back in those days, the Bronx was considered beautiful and safe. Now, Andrew wonders why he lives here.  

Andrew turned on his street, De Reimer Ave. A gentle breeze blew across the grassy field of his twelve-story brick apartment complex. Suddenly, he saw a familiar face, eating a sandwich. 

“What’s the word for today, Toby?” Andrew asked with a smile. 

Toby was the neighborhood hobo. He was a wise Asian man in his sixties and stood at five feet. He wore dirty blue jeans and a shabby red polo. His brown shoes seemed to be as weary as he was. 

“Darkness approaches, Andrew,” he said staring at the sky. “The world’s gonna be in some deep doo-doo if you don’t stop it.” 

“C’mon Toby, I can’t save the world,” Andrew replied chuckling. “I know you like to prophesize to people, but this is way beyond you.”  

Toby looked at Andrew with serious eyes. “Don’t question God’s plan. Just be ready for that time of change.” 

Andrew sighed. “I will, Toby. See ya.” 

As Andrew walked passed him, he felt a cold chill run down his spine. He began thinking if Toby was right.   

Me, save the world? That’s impossible. But…what if… 

The elevator ride up seemed non-existent as Andrew continued to drown his mind in Toby’s words. Like a routine, Andrew walked down the second floor hallway while pulling his keys out of his right front pocket. He reached the green painted door and unlocked it. When he got inside, he sighed and pretended to be cheerful. 

Andrew and his family were living in a four-bedroom apartment with white walls and ceilings and red carpeting. Andrew walked a couple of steps and turned to the right, staring at the kitchen.  

The kitchen wasn’t big. It looked like a narrow hallway with cupboards on each side, a refrigerator, an oven, and a sink, but it had enough room for two people to cook.  

“How was school Andrew?” his mom asked while cooking dinner. 

“It was good, mom. I got an A on my History test.” 

“That’s good to hear.” 

Lily Roberts was two inches shorter than Andrew. Her blue eyes were filled with warmth and love and her dirty blonde hair draped most of her back.She wore her pink pajama bottoms and the white polo she wore to work earlier. 

“Hey Andrew,” a voice said as he came out his room. 

“Sup William,” Andrew replied. 

William Roberts was Andrew’s younger brother. He was the same height as Andrew with short flat brown hair and handsome blueeyes. He wore blue jeans and his favorite Einstein t-shirt. 

“Andrew, are you going to the football game tonight?” 

“I don’t know William. I have homework to do.” 

“Don’t worry, I’ll help you.” 

“At a price, right?” Andrew asked seeing through his little scheme. 

“Oh, nothing to big,” William answered smiling, “just that you’ll let me hang with you and your friends.” 

“I think I can do it myself,” Andrew replied walking to his room. 

“Andrew?” William whined. 

“Under one condition.” 

“You name it.” 

“That you don’t do your joke routine.” 

William blushed and then muttered, “My jokes are fine.” 

“Take it or leave it.” 

“Alright, fine, I won’t make any jokes.” 

***************** 

The roar of the crowd filled the clear night air as William and Andrew went to their school’s football game.  

PS 78 was the name of their school, located on Baychester Ave. It was a minority populated high school. There were some whites and other races, but blacks ruled this school. The building itself looked like it was built in the seventies. The outer walls were cracked and some of the windows were broken. The inside was much worse. The hallways were filled with long jagged cracks and some of the lockers were banged up worse than front end collision. Parts of the ceiling had holes in it with roaches randomly crawling in and out and some of the lights kept on flickering, giving the hallway an eerie feel. Even the description of the bathroom would make newcomers hurl.  

At the football field, William and Andrew sat down near the back, next to William’s friends. One of William’s friends, Leon, who was sitting next to Andrew, began calculating the trajectory of the last play. 

Leon was just like William: smart yet so clueless about life and sports. He was an inch shorter than William and Andrew, but a year older than them. He had a chubby body and face, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and he wore thick soda bottle glasses. Leon’s mop-top hair was a black color, haddeep dark brown eyes, and his semi-wide nose could suck in air like a vacuum.  

“I’m glad our quarterback didn’t throw the ball at a 48.5° angle, or we wouldn’t have scored.” 

“Whatever, Leon,” William replied. “If Terrel ran four seconds slower, after catching the ball, the other team would’ve creamed him.”  

Andrew sighed and then looked at the scoreboard. Their school was up by seven.  He let out another sigh. It’s not that Andrew didn’t like sports: he just felt bored and fed up with life. Even with most of his friends around him, he kept to himself. He stared at the stars for a moment and then smiled. It really was a perfect night for football. Not a single cloud was in the sky and the moon was full and bright. Andrew’s thoughts slowly drifted towards Toby’s words once more, drowning out the sounds of the game. If this night was going to be a night of change, where was his sign? 

 Suddenly, the whistle blew, bringing Andrew back to his senses.He looked at the field and saw that his school had the ball from the kick-off. The quarterback threw the ball with great trajectory. The receiver caught and held the ball tightly, running as fast as he could to the end zone. He dodged left and then right, shaking off the oncoming opposing team. With only five yards remaining, the receiver took it into overdrive. BAM! The receiver felt weightless for a moment. In that moment, all he could see were the floodlights and the starry sky. Then, a loud thud came as his face met the ground. The whistle blew and the referee called for a time-out.  

“That…had to hurt,” William said with his eyes wide open. 

“I know,” replied Andrew. “That’s what football is all about: getting hurt just to get a ball onto one side of the field.” 

“Hey, Drew!” someone called out. 

Andrew looked down into the stands and saw his best friend, Mark Rivers, waving to him.  

Mark was three inches tallerand was the same age as Andrew. He had curly black hair in a fade hairstyle and a mocha complexion. His dark brown puppy dog eyes manage to get him the ladies and he had a small wide nose.  

“Sup son,” said Mark as he slapped fists with Andrew. 

“Sup kid,” replied Andrew. 

“Yo, have you seen the chicks down there?” Mark asked pointing to the group of girls sitting near the front row, “The one in red is fine.” 

Andrew took a good look at her.She seemed to be two inches shorter than Mark and her curvy body was proportionate. She had short black hair, smooth light brown skin, a cute smile, and of course gorgeous emerald green eyes behind her small square glasses. She wore a red spaghetti strap top with skinny leg jeans that advertised her curvy butt.  

“Damn, she fine.” 

“I was thinking of talking at her, but some guy beat me to it,” Mark said with a disappointed tone. 

“You’ll get your chance,” Andrew said trying to cheer him up. 

“Sup Big Will,” Mark said slapping fists with William. 

“Sup Mark,” replied William. 

“Yo Drew, I hear there is a new club in town for teens sixteen and over. Wanna check it out?” 

“A’ight, when?” 

“After the game. It’s a good way for you to holla at some girls.” 

“Sure Mark,” Andrew said sarcastically. 

“Can I come too?” asked William looking at Mark. 

“Sorry dawg, but you’re still a baby,” answered Mark. “They don’t allow fourteen-year-olds in the club.” 

“Besides, you have to do my homework,” Andrew added with a smile. 

“Fine,” William muttered. “I’ll ask Leon to drop me home.” 

“You better hurry,” replied Mark watching Leon walk towards the exit, “Leon’s leaving.” 

“But…the game’s not done,” said William and ran after Leon. 

Andrew smiled as he sat next to Mark for the remainder of the game. The game was fierce. Both teams went all out to score on each other, bashing, dashing, and crashing into each other. The sound of the whistle blowing filled the night air as the scoreboard’s lights flickered with excitement. By the end of the last quarter, PS 78 was declared the winner. 

“Great game,” Mark said as he got up. 

As the stands slowly emptied themselves, Andrew followed Mark to his car. Suddenly, a hand reached out for him. Andrew turned around to see a familiar face. 

“Hey, Hime,” he said then hugged her. 

Emily Lucas, aka Hime, was three inches shorter than Andrew. Her long blonde hair was in a ponytail and her big brown eyes are always cheerful. She wore a pink tank top with a white cardigan over it and boot cut jeans. 

“Guess what?” she asked with a huge smile. “I finally got that pink cell phone I always wanted.” 

She pulled it out of her pink purse and showed it to him. Andrew couldn’t believe how small her flip-phone was. It was literally half the size of his hand and had a sleek look to it. And the pink color seemed to shine in the light. 

“That’s really awesome, Hime,” Andrew replied with a smile. “How much did you spend?” 

“Less than a hundred dollars,” Emily said in a bubbly voice. “It’s got texting, a camera, mp3 storage, and Bluetooth capability. And the color is sooo cute!” 

Emily jumped up and down with excitement. Although Andrew didn’t want to stare, her large chest seemed to bounce along with her. He averted his eyes towards the field and smiled. 

“I’m glad to see you happy about it, Hime.” 

“Hey, Drew, what’s up with the ‘Hime’ word?” Mark asked, interrupting. 

“To me, Emily is like a princess,” Andrew answered. “So, I decided to call her Hime, which is Japanese for princess. Found it in a Japanese dictionary.” 

“And only Andrew can call me Hime,” Emily added with a stern look. “I’ll get really mad if you do, Mark.” 

“Why?” 

“Because, when you say it, you sound like you’re making fun of me.” 

“But…” 

Andrew grabbed Mark’s shoulder and shook his head. “Let it go, man.” 

Emily looked at the time on her cell phone. “I better go. My family is probably looking for me. See ya tomorrow in Science class, Andrew. Bye, Mark.” 

“Later, Hime,” Andrew said, waving. 

“Bye,” Mark replied, also waving. 

They both watched Emily run off towards the east parking lot and then headed for Mark’s car. 

***************** 

The road to the new club, Fire & Ice, located in Manhattan, seemed long and uninteresting. Mark’s dark blue car zoomed down the highway, seeing that traffic was clear. Silence filled the air between them as the hip hop beat boomed in the car. All Mark was thinking about was getting some digits. Andrew, on the other hand,felt that Toby’s words were about to come true. As they passed the club, they noticed how incredibly long the line was. Getting in would take them hours. Mark parked behind the club, on the corner of East 37th Street. It looked shabby, but it was the only place left for parking and you didn’t have to pay.  

As they got out the car, something caught Andrew’s eye. He noticed this abandoned-looking house with the name Madam Renee’s Fortune House written above the door. Something inside Andrew was telling him to check this place out. Andrew hesitated, staring at the building. The outside was filled with cracks and some of the shutters were off their hinges. Even the steps looked worn and rotten. He clenched his fist tightly, summoning enough courage to move. Slowly, heapproached the door. 

Locked… he thought, turning the knob. 

“Hey man, I don’t do looting, a’ight,” Mark said sounding concerned. 

“I’m not trying to shoplift,” Andrew said. 

“Enter,” a voice called out to them. 

“You heard that?” Andrew asked Mark. 

Mark nodded. Andrew turned the knob and the door suddenly opened. As Andrew went inside the dark house, Mark slowly followed. It was too dark for them to see what was inside the house, but Andrew knew the room was huge. Their hearts were beating like drums as they cautiously approached the center.Both of them felt like turning back, but their bodies were too stiff to move. Suddenly, blue smoke covered the room. Their eyes widened as they tried to figure out what was going on. Then, a huge spotlight shined in the middle of the room, revealing an old lady sitting on a hovering chair holding some kind of deck of cards. They couldn’t see her eyes, since she wore shades and her face was wrinkled. She had gray stringy hair that was in a ponytail, and a small thin nose. She wore a black dress with a purple shawl over it and matching bandana. 

“Who are you?” Andrew asked. 

“The question is: who are you?” the lady asked pointing to Andrew. 

“Yo grandma, what gives?” Mark asked. 

“You must defeat the man you never knew,” she said looking at Andrew. 

“What the hell are you talking about?” Andrew asked. 

“Andrew, you know you’re adopted and have been seeking the answers to your questions. Mark, you too have been seeking the answers to your questions. You two have the power to change this city. But to do that, you must seek the power inside both of you.” 

Suddenly, Toby’s words came back to haunt him. This was the sign Andrew needed and now he didn’t know what to do or think. Excitement and confusion both occupied his mind. 

“How…do you know our names?” 

“I know all.”  

“You ain’t God, are you?” asked Mark. 

“I’m just a fortune teller with amazing psychic powers,” the lady answered calmly. “My name is Madam Renee. You two were brought here to receive a gift.” 

“What would that be?” Andrew asked. 

“The power to meta-morph,” she answered looking at her cards. “Only you two can stop this evil man.” 

“Meta…what?” Andrew asked with a confused look. 

“Meta-morph. It is an ability only given to people with a strong DNA. You two have this ability and need to harness its power soon.” 

“Who is this evil guy?” Mark asked. 

“That, I do not know,” Madam Renee answered. “I have tried to seek out his face, but there’s an evil force blocking me from getting any further.” 

“Okay, so how do we get this power?” Andrew asked. 

“You will receive it soon,” Madam Renee answered with a smile. 

Immediately, she pulled out two cards from her deck and showed them to Andrew and Mark. Mark’s card was a picture of a panther while Andrew’s was a picture of a wolf. Both of them stared at their cards with unenthusiastic looks. To them, they were really cool drawings on cards. Madam Renee raised both hands and placed the cards on their foreheads. Suddenly, a weird light began to surround them. They freaked out, but soon began clenching themselves tightly. They dropped to their knees as their backs began to burn. Sweat rolled down their cheeks and dripped onto the hardwood floor. They cried in pain as the burning sensation increased. Both of them really thought they were going to die. Soon, the light faded and the cards on their foreheads had disappeared, along with the burning pain. 

“Mark, you have the spirit of Pansā, the Japanese panther. And you Andrew have the spirit of Ōkami, the Japanese wolf.” 

Mark and Andrew slowly rose from the floor and faced Madam Renee with cold stares. 

“So how…do we…use it?” Mark managed to ask. 

“You will know soon enough,” Madam Renee answered. 

“This still doesn’t make any sense to me,” Andrew replied, struggling to stay up. “How do you know that I’m adopted and how is this evil man related to me and this city?” 

“That’s a good question,” answered Madam Renee. “In order to answer that, you must trust me first. I can reveal to you most of your past, but everything else will be revealed to you in due time.” 

Andrew nodded. For once, he wanted to know the truth behind his birth. He and Mark sat down on the floor and listened to Madam Renee. 

“This is all I know: Andrew Roberts, you have been alone ever since you were born. Your real parents lived in Japan and abandoned you because they were two irresponsible people who thought they were in love. Once you were born, your dad left and your mother made the ultimate decision: putting you up for adoption. For five years, you have been in St. Mary’s orphanage in New York, until the Roberts family took you into their home. Their story was that after having William, their real son, Lily Roberts wasn’t able to have any more children. Since then, you have been part of the Roberts family.” 

Andrew was stunned. His throat became dry and no words could come out. For seventeen years, he felt empty and alone. Even though he was surrounded by love ones, he still felt incomplete. But now, he truly was whole. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he continued to wipe them away. Mark could see how happy Andrew was and patted his back.  

“Andrew, Mark, now do you trust me?” Madam Renee asked. 

They both nodded. 

“Good. For now, live your lives normally. I will call upon you when the time comes.” 

Suddenly, the blue cloud of smoke covered them. Mark and Andrewcoughed as they tried to see what was in front of them. The smoke cleared. They looked around and quickly realized they were back outside, behind the club. Mark looked at Andrew with a “what the hell just happened” look. Andrew shrugged his shoulders and then looked at the Fortune House’s door for a moment. Mark knew what Andrew was thinking and then placed his hand on Andrew’s shoulder. Mark pointed to the car, signaling that they should go home instead of checking the club.  

***************** 

Andrew got home to find Lily and her husband, Mike, in the living room watching TV.  

Mike Roberts was four inches taller than Andrew and had a small gut. It’s not that Mike was fat: it’s in his dad’s genes. His short brown hair covered his forehead while his thin mustache barely covered his lips. His face was sort of round and his blue eyes was filled with insight. He wore his blue striped pajama bottoms and a white raggedy t-shirt.  

The living room was the largest of all the rooms. On the left side of the living room stood three cabinets filled with glass and china. Down a small narrow hallway, behind the living room, were the bathrooms and bedrooms. They’re small rooms, but comfortable. Mike usually would sit on the black leather couch and watch the news on a twenty-four inch TV screen. 

“How was the game, Drew?” asked Mike still looking at the TV. 

“It was great,” Andrew answered calmly. 

“William told us you went to a teen club with Mark,” replied Lily with a stern look. “Is this true?” 

“Well…yeah…” Andrew answered, averting his eyes elsewhere, “But the line was too long. So, we headed back home.” 

“That’s good to hear,” replied Lily with a smile. “You’re too young to be going to clubs. Even your father and I didn’t go to clubs until college.” 

“I understand, mom,” said Andrew. “Night, guys.” 

They waved as he went straight to his room. Andrew lay on his twin-sized bed, staring at the ceiling.  

Andrew’s room was like any typical teen male: it had pictures of sexy models plastered on the walls, a game console next to his small TV, a large drawer filled with clean clothes and a large closet filled with dirty ones.   

That night, Andrew couldn’t stop thinking about what Madam Renee said to him about his past and defeating a man he never knew. As Andrew kept on asking himself more questions, his eyelids began to close. Soon, Andrew fell into a deep sleep with the full moon shining down on him. 

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