Axel stood in the middle of a burning city watching as flames enveloped everything around him. As he watch his world burn to ashes, he heard the maniacle voice of a evil woman laughing at him through it all.
"The light of the father shines brightly within you..." A voice whispered in the distance
"Nooooooooooo!" Axel yelled, frantically waking in his bed. "That same dream of the burning city...when will it stop?" He said grabbing his forehead. It was drenched in sweat, as if he had just left a battle.
"Shit!" Axel said looking at the time on his holophone. "I'm gonna be late for school!"
After slipping on his school uniform he ran down the stairs of his 1 bedroom apartment and darted out the door.
As soon as he opened the door, a cloud of dust blew into his face, kicking up from the sandy roads of his hometown. As the hot desert sun beamed down on him, he held up his hand, trying to block out the light. Although it was working hours on a Monday morning, the streets were filled with people suspiciously loitering around. Axel made his way through the crowded streets trying to make it to his bus stop.
"In the year 2230, you can live in one of two places." Axel thought
"The futuristic cyber palaces of the city states, controlled by the SPA…"
"Please somebody help!" A woman screamed.
"Or the badlands, the lawless post-apocalyptic areas still recovering from the great shift of 2030"
"Somebody please!" The woman called. Surrounded by three men she helplessly fought as they tried to rip away her purse.
"32 times" Axel thought "…32 times I've tried to stop a mugging just like this, and 32 times, I got my nose bashed in…And yet!"
"Hey what the hell is that kid doing?" One of the thugs yelled
"I've seen myself stop a mugging in my dreams!"
Axel ran at them, punching and swinging without a single blow connecting. When one of his punches finally landed, the men laughed, completely unfazed by his weak attacks.
"Hey kid! Simmer down!" One of the thugs said, bashing his elbow into Axel's nose.
As Axel staggered backwards, another thug came from behind placing him in a headlock.
"I'll kill you for this you little-" One of the men groaned
"Please, just take my purse! Just don't kill the child!" The woman cried offering her purse to the bandits.
The group yanked the purse from the woman and got on their hovercycles. As they took off they blasted dust and dirt into Axel's face, as he coughed, trying to catch his breath.
"It seems no matter how hard I try to fight reality... It always seems to hit back harder… That's 33 times now…" Axel thought as the woman took a handkerchief and dried his bleeding nose. "I guess today is not the day."
Axel made his way down the dusty dirt road, arriving at a post for a bus to take him to school. Standing there beside him was a young girl in pigtails and overalls, dressed surprisingly cute for the desert wasteland she was standing in.
"22 times… 22 times I've asked her, my crush… Mariya to date me, and 22 times I've been humiliated, maybe this time will be different...Maybe today is the day my dreams come to Reality!"
"Mariya…" Axel began twiddling his fingers. He began to turn red, hesitating as he tried to make an approach.
"For the last time the answer is no! I don't care how many times you've "Seen me in your dreams!" That just makes it creepier!" She yelled smacking Axel across the head. He fell over crashing into a barrel of trash on the side of the road.
"23 times now" Axel thought as his eyes spun around in circles "… I guess today isn't the day for this either…"
Barreling through the sandy wasteland, a bus, hovering from air jets seated around its wheels, landed next to Axel and Mariya. As it creaked and crackled, its rusty metallic body showed no signs of wash or maintenance in what must have been decades. As it jets cooled down, a door swung open with a loud creak opening halfway
"Stupid piece of junk!" A voice yelled from inside
A man kicked open the rest of the nonfunctioning door stomping his feet as he walked out of the bus.
"Hey you dumb kids." A man smoking a cigarette said stepping out of the bus
"Get your asses on the bus!" He groaned
"You could be a little nicer, you know!" Mariya said getting on the bus.
"Shut up and die already pig face!" The man barked unabashedly.
"I'm gonna report you for that!"
"Report me? I'm only doing this job because I'm weak, it's the only way I can make a living without being killed! You go ahead and report me! And when I'm replaced by some perverted drug lord you'll be crying for ol Sammy to come back!"
"I guess" Mariya said, taking her seat.
"Hey blue haired kid! You know the deal! I drop you at Nautica Valley and you've gotta walk the rest of the way! You're the first stop so don't get too comfortable"
"Is this what I will become if I don't awaken my powers?" Axel thought as he took his seat.
"I know…" Axel said looking out the window of the clunky bus's windows. "I know..."
After a half hour of silent window gazing, Axel got out of the bus and made his way to his destination.
Nautica Valley was a forest reservation home to many exotic species and wildlife mutated by the great shift. It was a giant forest of green valleys and mountaintops that separated the Badlands from the civilized world. Axel journeyed into this fearsome place every morning, crossing out of the badlands to get to school.
After a few minutes he came to a cliff crossing that he passed every morning finding a face he was all too familiar with, patiently waiting for him. A face he couldn't help but dread.
"So here we are!" Pb said cracking his knuckles. "It's finally tomorrow! Let's see what you've got!" He said gloating.
"I… I was wrong…" Axel said, dropping his head. "Today… isn't the day…"
Pb tilted his head to the side, arrogantly chuckling at Axel's acquiescence.
"Don't disappoint me! C'mon and show us what you've got!" Pb said gloating.
"I.. I've got nothing…" Axel said, giving up.
"So you're going to give up then?" Pb said "You're finally going to leave this school once and for all?"
"The light of the father shines brightly within you."
"No, I can't do that…"
"I've already told you… I'm going to hold on to my dreams!"
Pb's eyes flared up with an intense rage as he gripped his fists as tightly as he could. As he writhed in anger, little blotches of black metal began to appear on his face.
"This isn't good!" Axel thought "His body is beginning to turn into lead! If I don't get out of here soon,"
"Dreams!" PB yelled "Everyone has dreams! What makes you so special that yours will come true!"
PB hit Axel with a devastating blow to the stomach bringing Axel tumbling to the ground as he gasped for air.
"Shut up about dreams! Let me tell you something about reality!" Pb said
He started stepping on Axel's chest as his leg slowly turned into metal.
"Ehhhh" Axel squirmed, fighting for air as PB's huge legged began to increase in weight. The force on his chest kept growing, stifling his breath until it was barely a wheeze.
"You may be sliding by in class passing by with D's and C's but tell me. How is your physical exams going? Because you know those are the most important things we need to pass to get into the SPA! I'm passing with high marks in every category and you? You can't even outrun a turtle! So Axel when all is said and done in two months, when the final examinations comes and that gauntlet starts, Tell me who will be the one laughing then? " Pb said lifting his leg off of Axel
Axel grabbed his chest desperately, catching his breath. He slowly recovered he cradling himself on the ground away from his tormentor. He knew Pb was right. He truly was a loser. He had no hopes of passing the test.
"You good for nothing piece of shit!" Pb said kicking Axel in the gut
"GFFF" Axel sputtered out...
"Hahahaha Yes! Yes! Now we're getting there! You think you're so cool don't you!" Pb said slowly, turning his body into metal. His eyes flashed with rage as the lead spread through his face.
"Always talking about dreams! Tell me! Can your dreams save you now?"
"Ughh!" Axel gasped as Pb once again hammered a kick into his side.
"Your number 24 in the class!
"Please…. Stop" Axel said As Pb hammered in another kick.
"You're nothing but trash! You little Shit! You think your dreams are going to come true? You think you of all people get to have your dreams fulfilled!" Pb yelled
PB reached his hand back, fully transforming it into lead. The huge black arm hung over Axel, ready to bash into his skull.
"I'm going to show you how hard reality can hit!" Pb yelled "I'm going to engrave my fist into your face! That way you'll always remember!"
"GAAHHHH" Pb yelled, slamming down his fist.
Axel closed his eyes preparing for the attack.
After a few moments he slowly opened them, looking up at someone holding PB's punch back. A boy with green hair had caught Pb's fist and was forcing him back.
"Lance what are you doing here?" PB said stumbling over himself
Lance said nothing, viciously glaring at PB without as much as a blink
"You got lucky this time!" Pb said walking away "I'll see you at school!"
Axel struggled to his feet looking at the boy in astonishment.
"I've never even spoken to him before… why… why did he save me?" Axel thought
"No need to thank me loser" Lance said, cutting him off "Honestly, I agree with Pb you should get the hell out of this school"
"Then why why did you save me?" Axel answered
"Because... Even if you are a loser" Lance said building up a current of wind. "Even a loser… deserves to live" And in a moment he was gone. Just as quickly as he had come.
Axel looked at his watch.
"It's not even first period and I feel like I've been through a whole day. Maybe I should just give up… maybe everyone is right… I thought today was the day…But maybe that day is never coming"
Axel closed his eyes remembering his mother's final words.
"No" Axel said grabbing his necklace. He held pressed it into his chest, cherishing his mother's will.
"I won't give up, I can't give up… Not as long as I have this necklace to remind me."
"I've seen it! Today is certainly the day! The day my dreams become a reality!"