Have you ever been addicted to a story before? No? Well, you will be after you read this one!
Rob nearly had a heart attack when he saw his math quiz grade his teacher handed back. He redundantly blinked, but his eyes weren’t playing tricks; the number stayed the same. Rob groaned. His worst nightmare had come true. It was a 99%.
“I failed it!” Rob muttered. He snatched his quiz off the table and flipped to the page where he made his salient mistake. It was question 37. He had put down 37.86. The answer was 37.9. He had forgotten to round to the nearest tenth.
“Stupidity is a burden,” He murmured and flicked the paper out of his hands. It flew into the air and under his desk. But Rob didn’t bother picking it back up; he even couldn’t bear looking at it again. When his teacher came and told him his class average, the number nearly reduced him to tears. Before today, it had been, and always been, a 100%. Now, it was a 99.97%.
“Dad’s gonna kill me,” Rob whispered when the bell rang for lunch. He stormed out of the classroom, looking as if the world was coming to an end.
The weather in Summerfield was always capricious. It could be bright and cloudless in the day and end up snowing by night. Today, Summerfield was sunny and beautiful, which slightly lightened Rob’s mood.
But dad’s still gonna kill me, Rob thought dully to himself. For some reason, his father was harsher than the father of any of his classmates. When he was twelve, he had won second place in the International Math Olympiad (IMO). Any dad would have been jumping for joy at this news, but not his. In fact, his father was most displeased. He raved for hours about how Rob should’ve won first and how disappointed he was. And from then on, Rob knew he had to be the best at everything. It was his fear of his father’s ferocious wrath that always made him become the top student in his class, get a perfect score in every exam, and win every tournament or contest he competed.
He had always been a hard worker. There was never a time when Rob’s classmates did not see him not studying his math or reading his English assignments. It was his down-to-earth, inexorable determination that made him achieve what he had achieved.
But although he was always absorbed in his education, Rob was never classified as a nerd. To most people in his school, nerds were nosy, high-pitched geeks who were completely defenseless and always being beat up by bullies. But nobody ever picked on Rob. Ever since the day he could walk, his dad, along with SAT courses, sent him to karate, tae kwon do, Wushu, and practically every martial arts class that existed in the neighborhood. Rob was very fit and athletic since. There were rumors that he could even take down Chuck Norris, who was considered to be the strongest and most formidable person in the world.
But because Rob was so well trained both physically and mentally, he couldn’t help but feel a shred of disdainful pride and arrogance. In his eyes, he had considered himself to be superior to his peers and even some of his teachers. Because of this, Rob never had any friends. The only time he was ever called upon was when a classmate needed help on a problem. At first, Rob didn’t care. He was always busying himself with his schoolwork or his martial arts. As long as he was the best at everything, he was content.
But then, Rob’s views of life slowly began to change. As he strolled down the hallways, Rob couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy when he sees groups of ebullient friends excitedly chattering, a couple hugging, or even a pair studying together. Each of them had a buddy to be with, or a companion to talk to. But every time Rob asks himself, who do I have? Who cares about me? Who can I talk to or be with? Only one ugly, devilish, atrocious word spoke back to him: nobody.
And as the days passed, Rob felt more and more lonely. He yearned for someone to hang out with. He could almost feel the growing rift between him and the rest of his classmates. Whenever he tried to talk to someone, he was ignored. Sometimes, he even felt as though he was screaming to the whole world, yet no one paid the slightest attention to him. To them, he was a freak. A weirdo. Someone more interested in indulging books than the real world. And slowly, he started to lose confidence in himself. He began to stop participating in class or even listening to his teacher’s lectures; instead, he began to occasionally find himself lost in his thoughts. He daydreamed of a life where he was popular. A life where he was liked. A life where he had a somebody. He read more and more fantasy. He became wrapped around the fake, unrealistic world of the novels, feeling a vicarious joy for the main character as he or she changes from zero to hero. He wished that life was as simple and easy and supernatural as the stories. But it isn’t, he had thought sadly, real life is cruel; it doesn’t care about happy endings.
And as his life revolved more and more on books, he lost a lot of care for the things that used to matter to him. His interest in education was no longer as strong.
Perhaps that is why I got a 99, Rob thought. Rob stepped outside the building and walked through the warm, incandescent sunshine. He sprawled across the fuzzy green grass of his school’s courtyard and stared up at the blue sky.
I can’t continue like this, Rob finally decided, I can read novels all I want but none of it will ever come true. I can’t just wait for people to start talking to me. Change just doesn’t happen to me, I have to make change.
The boy got up to his feet. There’s this girl I saw, Ashley, who didn’t seem to completely abhor my guts, Rob thought, perhaps I can start by talking to her. But before Rob could start walking back, some thickets in front of him began to enigmatically shake.
“What?” Rob asked himself, curious. His legs cautiously brought him to the bushes. Suddenly, a vicious-looking, white hare jumped out. It saw Rob and bared its fangs. Astonished, Rob nearly fell over.
“What in the-”
Suddenly, the hare leapt and sank his sharp teeth into Rob’s left leg. The boy screamed in agony but shook the creature loose. Rob then moved into a fighting pose he learned from martial arts; but instead of continuing to attack, the hare ran away.
“Hey!” Rob shouted and followed. The white hare darted across the field; as fast as Rob was, he had trouble keeping up. Then, the hare came to an abrupt stop and jumped into a rabbit hole. Rob stared at the gap in the ground but couldn’t go in-- the hole was too small.
Perhaps there’s a rock around here, Rob thought, maybe I can drop one in there and see what happens. But before Rob could move, a chilling whisper echoed out of the hole.
“You sure he is one?” The voice asked.
“Yesssss” Another voice answered.
“Then I will go and check,” The first voice murmured.
Some sixth sense in Rob told him to flee, but he couldn’t. His feet were rooted to the spot. His body was paralyzed. His eyes were glued to the cryptic hole in the ground. Then, a black liquid oozed out. It slid across the dirt and stopped about a few feet away from Rob. Then the fluid began to shift its shape. It slowly morphed into the shape of an anthropoid. Its body then began to ossify.
“What the hell are you?” Rob frantically cried out. Such a creature does not exist in this world. And its shape shifting was scientifically impossible. It can’t be, Rob thought. But there was no other explanation. The strange morphing technique was so paranormal; it was almost as if it was magical.
“So you are one,” The monster said. His voice was monotonous.
“One of what?” Rob managed to croak.
“One of a Potential.”
“I am afraid that I cannot let you live. You could pose great threat to us later on,” The monster said.
And before Rob could utter another word, the anthropoid surged towards him and rammed into his chest, knocking the boy onto the dirt.
“You are so weak,” The anthropoid sneered.
And at those words, Rob’s blood began to boil. His desire to defeat the mysterious creature fueled him back to his feet. He gave out a battle cry and punched the anthropoid in the face. Rob expected the anthropoid’s body to be hard like a rock but instead it was soft and squishy like human flesh. The impact of his fist knocked the anthropoid back a few inches.
“So you can fight!” The anthropoid taunted, “I didn’t know since you look so much like a wimp.”
Rob smiled, “It’s not the size of the man in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the man!”
He sallied forth and kicked the anthropoid in the abdomen, smacked its amorphous face, and finished the combo with a karate chop to the chest.
“Take that!” Rob cried triumphantly. But the anthropoid hardly seemed injured. Instead, it seemed as fresh as it was when it began.
“No way…” Rob whispered. Such an aggressive attack was strong enough to cripple professionals. At the very least, it should’ve been heavily wounded. And as fear seeped in, Rob’s sudden paroxysm died out.
It was now the anthropoid’s turn to attack. It lashed out a deadly kick that Rob only just barely dodged. With a shout, the anthropoid threw a punch at the kid which struck him square into the jaw. Rob howled in pain. He collapsed to the ground; his trembling hands covering his mouth. His tongue tasted dirt and Rob immediately spat it out. But when Rob opened his eyes, to his horror, he realized that the substance in his mouth was not dirt; it was blood.
Panic erupted into Rob’s body. His breathing increased dramatically. His heart rate gradually pounded faster. As powerful as the punch was, Rob wasn’t sure if that was the hardest the anthropoid could punch.
Rob swore. It was a single, ugly word that Rob has not used in a long time. Well, Rob thought, at least I now know my jaw isn’t broken. He rose back to his feet. His mind was wildly thinking for ideas.
Rob dug into his pockets and felt a bubble gum that he was going to chew next period. Suddenly, Rob’s face lit up. He had a plan.
“What are you doing?” The anthropoid suspiciously asked as it watched Rob unwrap the wrapper and stuff the gum inside his mouth.
“Just chewing some gum,” Rob answered, “It helps me relax. I hope you don’t mind.”
Now I just need a large but light object, Rob thought. His eyes searched wildly around his surroundings. There was a gigantic leaf lying on the ground about a yard next to him. Its face was big enough to cover Rob’s head. Perfect, the mischievous boy thought, just what I need. He looked back at the anthropoid. The monster was about six feet tall. Its limbs were all bulging with muscle. Its head didn’t have a real shape, kind of like a blob of some sort, but there were two black eyes poking out of its wrinkly sockets. His chest was smooth except for a crinkly circle that kept on bulged about twice every second. Rob knew what was making the bulge: the anthropoid’s heart.
“Hey, that’s a very cool leaf over there!” Rob shouted with fake delight. He scrambled over and picked up the fallen leaf.
“What are you doing?” The anthropoid demanded.
“Well, you see, I have a very large leaf collection. This will be a great bonus to it.”
“Enough of this!” The anthropoid shrieked, “This is taking too long! Either continue fighting me or die!”
“Yeah,” Rob agreed, “This is taking quite a while. But don’t worry; I’ll take care of you soon.”
About a hundred yards away, an old man and a girl were standing on top of a mesa, watching the Rob’s fight with the anthropoid.
“You think the boy will be alright?” The girl worriedly asked.
“I’m sure he will,” The ancient man calmly answered, “If he truly has his father’s blood, then he will win this fight.”
“But, sir, with all due respect, this boy is fighting an Amophon! Few beginning Potentials have ever defeated one! And we need all the Potentials we can get!” The girl said.
“Don’t worry,” The old man grinned, “I am certain he will win. But if things seem to not work out, I will step in to help.”
“What did you say?” The anthropoid sneered, “You said you will take care of me?! You humans are very good jokers. How could you expect to defeat me when you are weak enough that you were knocked down and leaking you precious blood after one single punch?”
Rob took the bubble gum out of his mouth and wiped it onto the leaf. Since the chewed up gum was so sticky, it immediately stuck to the leaf.
“Like this!” Rob roared. He surged as fast as he could to the anthropoid and stuck the leaf onto its face, covering its eyes.
“Hey! I can not see!” The anthropoid whined. And as it lifted its hands to take the leaf off, Rob used all his strength and smashed his fist at the bulging, crinkly circle on the anthropoid’s chest. The fist, instead of just shoving the anthropoid back a few spaces like Rob expected, dug through the circle and into the anthropoid’s chest, crushing his heart and flesh within. As sickenly surprised as Rob was, the anthropoid was even more shocked. It shrieked in agony and horror. Disgusted, Rob pulled his hand out of anthropoid, bringing out the remains of the monster’s destroyed heart.
Dying and collapsing, the anthropoid managed to wheeze one last message to Rob before it passed on, “Enjoy your victory now, but your success is short lived. Soon there will be more monsters after you. At least my death to you would have been quick and painless. But the demons out there will not be as merciful as mine. Have fun living the remainder of your life, for it will end with excruciating torture in hell!”
And with that, the monster burst into flames and its remains were blown away in the wind.