Zack and his two adopted parents were sitting at the dining room table eating breakfast. Zack, are you over your fear of going outside yet? George asked.
Zack hesitated to respond.
why? he asked, warily.
Well, its been about a week since you got lost, and I think its about time you got over it. George stated. Zack nodded in agreement.
That, and your father wants to take you to work today. Mary said, in a gentle voice.
Zack was a bit shocked. You do? Zack asked, turning to his father. Why? Wouldnt I just get in the way? he asked.
Actually, theres going to be a big meeting at City Hall, and they apparently have some problems with their equipment. Ive been hired to fix the problems, and I was thinking that I should bring you along, just incase theres some kind of shortage or something. George explained.
Zacks eyes lit up at the opportunity. Zack actually loved getting into situations where he would get electrocuted. Somehow or another, his electrical powers made him somewhat dependant on the electricity his body stored. George worked as an electrician, so sometimes he brought Zack along for safety purposes. Zack loved to help others, so he was always delighted to be brought along.
Ill take that as a yes then? George asked with a laugh. You better get ready to go! he added.
Just be careful, you two. Mary said, with a little concern in her voice. I mean, its true that back in Levi Zacks electrical powers were accepted by others, but this is Miracle City. The people here tend to be elitists, and who knows what kind of problems youll run into if his powers are discovered! she said, worriedly.
You worry too much, Mary. Its not like Im going to have him use his powers. Hes just going to be there to take care of any shortages. George said.
Yes, but still. Think before you act. Mary said, seriously. Zack and George both agreed. After that, Zack readied himself to leave with his father.
Miracle Citys town hall was a large white building with white columns supporting an outdoor overhang. It rested at the top of a steep hill, so many stairs led up to the building. About twenty steps extended from the sidewalk, then were was a flat stage, which was where the meetings and such took place. Twenty more steps led directly to the building. In the flat space between the two stairways was a stone stand, where the speaker was supposed to stand and give their speech.
Zack sat down and watched his father work. Noontime came and went, people were starting to gather. Zack was getting horribly bored, so his eyes began to wander. The mayor came out of the building and spoke with George briefly. Police cars and news vans were gathering in the street. Zack shivered when he recognized Luis Lawson, the policeman that had almost arrested him a week before.
Zack began to wander around the area out of boredom. He leaned against the rail that lined the stairway. It was then that Zack heard something. While his sense of hearing was stronger than most peoples hearing, Zack had a peculiar trait. Whenever Zack closed his eyes, his sense of hearing became stronger. Upon hearing the strange noise, Zack closed his eyes and focused his attention on his hearing.
Hey, is the Electric Cannon up and runnin? a shady male voice asked.
Yes. One of the Shadow Warriors is going up there now. I believe we placed it on the second floor of the bank. Another suspicious male voice said.
Good! Im so glad I thought of this plan! When that professor-dude gets up on stage, well zap him! the first guy said.
Im not so sure thats going to work. How can a cannon fire 3000 volts of electricity at a single target? Electricity isnt like a bullet you know! It will likely spread all over the place! the second guy remarked.
Yeh, I know. I had the scientists back at the base figure it out. Weve even tested the cannon on a Diantion downtown! We were over a block away and ZAP! The dude was dead! the first person said.
Oh? In that case, I think I might find someplace to watch. Id like to enjoy somebody getting fried! The two suspicious characters laughed.
Zack opened his eyes and looked around. The voices had been coming from the alley between the City Hall and a building next to it. Zack wondered who those suspicious people were. Electric Cannon? Able to fire 3000 volts of electricity on to one space? he thought. The words repeated in his head. Was this serious?
Zack! What are you doing all the way over here? George asked, approaching Zack. Zack startled but snapped to attention, temporarily forgetting what he had just heard. Im sorry Zack, I didnt mean to startle you. George said.
Zack shook his head. Are you done with work? he asked.
Yes, but Ive been invited to watch the meeting. I think I will. George stated.
I thought official meetings bored you to death. Zack remarked, quoting his father from a time before.
they do. George replied in a flat tone. But I just found out that one of my old school friends will be at this meeting. I would like to see what became of him since we last saw each-other. George said.
Zack thought a moment. Okay. Go ahead and watch the meeting. I wont get into anything, I promise. Zack said.
Are you sure? You better not wander off either. Ill be in big trouble with your mother if you got traumatized again! George said.
I wont wander off either. I promise. Zack said, sincerely. The meeting seemed like it was about to start.
All right. How about coming away from the road a little bit, though? George said, before walking over to the designated audience area.
Zack was quick to remember the words of the suspicious men that he had heard. Zack began looking around at the surrounding buildings. Didnt one of them mention a bank? he thought.
The meeting started, and the mayors voice could be heard through the speakers positioned around the area. The loudness of the speakers irritated Zack, as it was rather loud and Zacks ears were sensitive. The yellow-haired boy had to cover his ears with his hands to even stand being there.
Zack paid no attention to the words being said, but instead examined all of the two-story buildings around him. One of the buildings seemed to be empty, and the letters B and K were over the door. There was an empty space between the letters, where there was at one time and A and N.
It was then that Zack spotted movement in the second story window. A Darkian was positioning some kind of metal object in the window. Zack glanced behind him, towards the stage. The metal device was most definitely aiming at the podium.
So, to bring you more information on this matter
the mayor was saying. Professor Raymond D. Thundston will take the stage.
Zack remembered the words spoken only moments before: When that professor-dude gets up on stage, well zap him! Zack spun around to see a man in a white lab coat walking up the steps towards the stage. Zack glanced back at the window and the device in the window seemed to be glowing.
Zacks instincts took over as he began to run towards the stage. If that cannon really fired electricity, Zack could save the mans life. Zack ran past the crowd, dodged under security and ran up the steps. The professor person was now standing at the podium and was shaking hands with the mayor as Zack reached the top of the stairs. The man only had enough time to look in Zacks direction before the moment of impact. A explosion-like noise could be heard at the exact same moment that Zack tackled the two men.. Not even a millisecond later, Zack was struck by a huge blast of electricity, and the crowd of people gasped.
Zack closed his eyes and winced as the electricity hit him. He felt nothing, but he could see and hear the electricity as his body absorbed it. The golden topaz that hung from his neck glowed brightly as if it was absorbing the electricity as well. Zacks body sparked violently at first, but it quickly died down to only a few sparks.
Zack opened his eyes to see that the two men he had saved were staring at him in pure shock. There was no time for any other action to be taken before Luis charged up the stairs. I have no idea what the heck just happened, but you have broken several ordinances! Im taking you in, kid! the policeman stated. Zack attempted to speak, but Luis cut him off. You have the right to remain silent!
The arrest-happy policeman took Zack to Miracle City Police Headquarters, where he threw the child into a jail cell by himself. You stay in here until I figure out what to do with you! Luis stated, before locking the cell door and leaving.
It was then that Zack remembered his claustrophobia. It used to be pretty severe, but years of therapy had removed most of his fear. The only time his phobia bothered him now was when he was in a dark and small place
like the cell he was in.
There were a couple of intimidating thugs in the cell that Zack had been thrown into. Zack huddled up in the front corner of the cell. The thugs taunted him mockingly. Whats the matter, little baby? one of the thugs asked.
I bet he wants to go home to his MOMMY! one of the other thugs said. The two thugs laughed.
Zack crossed his arms and wondered if he had done the right thing. His parents were probably very displeased with him now. Zack had promised his father that he would behave and not get into trouble, yet
if Zack had not broken his promise to his father, the mayor and the professor person would have died.
Three hours passed, but to Zack, it was more like an entire day. It was then that Luis came into view. All right, here he is. He said, looking at somebody that Zack couldnt see.
An underweight man with golden yellow hair came into Zacks view. The man wore a white laboratory coat over his white shirt and gray pants. He seemed to be in his early-to-mid thirties. The man was wearing large, round-lens glasses, which had a silver frame. As the man looked at Zack, he habitually repositioned his glasses with his left hand.
The golden-haired man turned to Luis. Ill pay whatever fines youve given him, just let him out of here. He said. His voice was calm and sincere.
W-what? Luis remarked in shock. Are you sure about that? Werent you injured because of this child? Werent your glasses messed up because of what he did? he asked.
The mans response was immediate, as he didnt need to think of a response. Ill take a scrape and scratched glasses over death any day of the week! he said. His voice began to lose its calm tone as he continued to speak, If this child hadnt have shoved us out of the way, both the Mayor and I would be dead! Now release him before I tell Connie that you threw an innocent child into a cell with malicious criminals!
Luis eyes widened briefly. He then quickly unlocked the cell and beckoned Zack to come out. Youre free to do whatever you want with him. Luis said to the other man. Thank you. The man replied.
The golden yellow-haired man and Zack left the prison and went into the main room of the police station. Thank you for letting me out, sir. Zack said, gratefully. I was really scared in there! he added.
The man pushed his glasses back to the top of his nose as he replied. I dont blame you! They scared me, and I was on the other side of the bars! But enough about that. What is your name, young man?
Zachary Talibur, but I like to be called Zack. Zack replied.
Well then, Zack, Im Professor Raymond D. Thundston. I must thank you formally for saving my life earlier. The man said. Using his left hand, he repositioned his glasses via the left frame. Im not sure how anyone could manage building a cannon that can aim and fire electricity like that, but the one thing I do know is that I would be dead right now if it werent for you. Thank you. Prof. Raymond said.
I-It was nothing sir. Zack said, honestly. Im just glad I was able to get you out of the way in time. He added.
So, Zack, how long have you been in Miracle City? Raymond asked.
about a week or so? Zack replied, somewhat unsure himself.
I see. Well then, welcome to Miracle City. Im sorry that you had to get arrested so shortly after your arrival here. I hope you come to like this city regardless. Raymond said. Zack shrugged. Thank you sir. He replied.
Zack? What in the world are you doing here? Dont tell me Luis actually arrested you! Connie said, walking up to the two. Raymond turned to the woman. You know him? he asked.
Yes. Hes the son of a friend of mine. What are you doing here, Professor Thundston? Connie asked. Its not like you to come to a place full of criminals! she laughed.
This child saved my life, so the least I can do is bail him out of jail. Raymond said, positioning his head to the right a little, so that he could look at Connie through his left eye.
Oh that Luis! I cant believe him! Connie said, getting infuriated.
Pardon my interruption, but if you know his parents, perhaps you can call them for me? I really must be going. Raymond said.
Of course. Connie replied, smiling. After that, Professor Raymond began to leave. Thank you again, Zack. He said. I hope we meet again sometime. Raymond said, before exiting the building.
Wow. Connie remarked to herself. To think that he would say that to-- Suddenly, the door burst open and George came running into the police station. He hugged Zack, causing the boy to be somewhat surprised. Zack! What in the world were you thinking? Didnt you hear what your mother said this morning? Think before you act, son! George said. Boy, when your mother finds out you got arrested at the city meeting, were both going to be in trouble! George said, standing up straight.
Perhaps you should tell her that Zack saved a life today. Im not sure of any of the details, but the man he saved was actually one of the citys elite scientists! He just left a moment ago after posting Zacks bail. Connie said, with a smile.
Youre kidding me! George remarked. An elite scientist? And he paid Zacks fines? he asked. Connie nodded.
I wouldnt kid about that. Zack is free to go. Anyhow, you can rest assured that Luis is going to get a nice talking to for this. Connie said.
All right. Lets take you home, Zack. I dont want your mother freaking when she sees what you did today. George said.
Mary was watching the local news as George and Zack entered the house. Honey, were home. George said, his voice a bit wary.
Mary spun around and remarked, Zack! George! What in the world were you thinking? Now everyone will know about your powers! I told you two to be careful, didnt I? The two males said nothing, but the television newscaster spoke for them.
Investigations were started immediately after the strange childs arrest, and investigators were surprised to find a strange machine gun located in the second story of the closed down Summer Bank building. Professor Thundston inspected the mysterious machine gun to find that it was actually a cannon, capable of firing condensed volts of electricity. He then quickly disappeared from the scene,
Our son saved a life today. The person he saved is an elite scientist, who also posted Zacks bail for him, apparently. George said.
I saved two lives. Zack corrected. The mayor would have died too if I hadnt have shoved him out of the way as well! he added. George looked at Mary with a See there? look on his face.
Zack! You must be more careful from now on! Letting these people know of your powers isnt good! Mary said, worriedly. Zack nodded. Yes, maam. He replied.
That night at the dinner table...
Oh, right! I just remembered! he remarked. I met an old friend of mine today! He and I discussed getting together and catching up on the times. We decided tomorrow around noon would be good. Is that time good with you? George asked, turning to his wife.
Mary shook her head. Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow. Ill just have to meet him some other time. She said.
George seemed a little disappointed. Oh, all right. He said. At least Ill get to introduce him to Zack. Im so excited about it that I can hardly stand it!
The Next Day
Zack and George got into Georges car and set off towards his friends house. The two traveled into the area where the wealthy people seemed to live, as mansions with big beautiful yards and gardens were everywhere.
The two finally came upon 89 Lightning Lane. Thick, iron bars protruded 9 feet into the air around the property. There were horizontal iron bars as well: three of them, positioned exactly three feet apart. One was near the ground, one was in the middle, and one was near the top. The horizontal bars were lined with livewires. The vertical bars were hardly 6 inches apart from each other. There was no doubt that this fence was built to keep something--or someone---out.
The gate that gave passage to the beautiful yard was made exactly the same way, only the top bar horizontal bar was positioned like an arc. What seemed to be a control device was made into the side of the gate. Luckily, the gate was already open, so George drove right through.
After parking the car atop the hill, George and Zack got out and approached the mansions door. The door opened before George and Zack could get to it to knock. Youre late. The man at the door stated, calmly.
You didnt tell me you lived in a prison yard! George remarked, bluntly. The other man just laughed, then allowed George and Zack to enter the mansion.
Zack and Raymond were quite surprised when they recognized each-other. The moment of silence was followed up with Raymonds laughter. Youre kidding me! Hes your son? he asked.
Yes. Why do you ask? George asked, somewhat puzzled.
Raymond laughed. I would have never guessed that the child who saved my life was your son! he remarked.
you were the one he saved? You were the elite scientist that paid his fines? George remarked, rather shocked. Raymond didnt seem too pleased as he replied, Yes, that was me.
George slapped his forehead. Boy do I feel stupid! he remarked. Zack laughed.
I must say that Im terribly sorry I didnt do more for you yesterday, Zack. After almost being a murder victim, I really wanted to get away from the public as quickly as possible. Raymond said, turning to Zack. While he was speaking, he pushed his glasses further up on his nose. They seemed to be a bit too loose on him.
Zack shook his head. You have NO idea how happy I was to get out of there! he remarked. Raymond thought a moment. Then I suppose were even. He remarked, smiling.
Zack began to look around the living room curiously as the two adults spoke. So
this is your son? Raymond asked. He looks nothing like you. He added.
hes actually our adopted son. George replied. We try not to talk about it too much because Mary still doesnt know that I told Zack the truth. He said.
Something caught Zacks attention. It was a curio cabinet, and it was full of strange rocks and gemstones. Zack walked up to the cabinet and intently looked at the objects within.
Zack glanced at the man with golden-yellow hair. Professor Raymond really didnt seem like the kind who enjoyed collecting rocks. In fact, the professors pale, unhealthy-looking skin gave him the appearance of somebody who spent far too much time indoors.
Something on a lower shelf caught Zacks attention. It was a beautiful leaf-shaped emerald, which had a naturally smoothed surface, as if the gemstone itself was naturally shaped like a leaf. The special light that had been fixed over it empathized the gems beauty by revealing that it was semi-translucent. The top surface of the gemstone had the details of a real leaf carved into it.
Your son is the most well-behaved child I have ever seen. Professor Raymond said. Zack glanced back at the two adults to find that they had been watching him.
we taught him to behave in other peoples houses, but hes always well-mannered anyways. George stated. Zack began to unintentionally block out the two adults conversations as he took off his necklace and held the Lightning Stone up to the side of the curio cabinet.
The special light within the curio cabinet made the Lightning Stone glisten with light. Zack took note of how the golden topaz seemed empty. He felt that was strange, because at times, the inside was alive with electricity.
That necklace of yours is quite unusual, Zack. Its beautiful as well. Prof. Raymond remarked. Zack quickly responded by backing away from the professor, holding his necklace away from the man.
Im sorry about that, Raymond. George remarked. That necklace is a security blanket to him. Hes very paranoid about other people taking it away. He added.
Surprisingly, Professor Raymond seemed to understand. I dont blame him. he remarked. There is something I would like to ask you about, Zack. He added, smiling kindly.
Zack stood up and put his necklace on.
Yes? he asked, warily. The yellow-haired boy expected Professor Raymond to ask him how he survived getting struck by so much electricity.
Would you by chance have some kind of special electrical powers? Professor Raymond asked. Zack and George responded in pure shock. How did you know? they both asked in union.
Professor Raymond put his hands in his lab coat pockets as he began to speak. I researched Diantion powers quite some time ago. Though the knowledge intrigued me, I found it very hard to believe that such powers could exist. However
what happened yesterday changed my mind. The only thing that could possibly explain your immunity to electricity was if you had electrical powers.
George and Zack exchanged confused glances. Diantion
powers? George asked. Are you sure youre not confused? Its the Darkians who have powers. Not us. He remarked.
Professor Raymond repositioned his glasses by the left frame, using his left hand. This appeared to be a habit that occurred while he was thinking. I suppose neither of you truly understand Zacks powers then? he remarked. Zack and George shook their heads.
Very well. Professor Raymond said. We all know that Darkians are born with strange, dark powers, correct? That is why they came to be known as Darkians. Yet we Diantions have powers just as Darkians do; every one of us has them. Our powers are quite different from theirs, however. Ours are element-based; such as water, fire, and electricity. The reason nobody seems to know about them would be because our powers are latent. We dont have access to them on our own. In order to activate ones powers, you need a particular key. Zack here has found that key, and hes wearing it right now.
that topaz? George asked, somewhat dumbfounded.
That is not an ordinary topaz. Raymond replied. That is what I call a Diantion stone. There are many kinds of them, all of them are entirely different from the others. Zacks Diantion stone is of the electric element.
my powers are actually normal? Zack asked. Professor Raymond nodded. Zack couldnt believe it. He just stood there in shocked silence.
The silence was quickly broken by the front door bursting open and slamming into the wall. A second later, the door slammed. Raymond was badly startled by the noise; jerking upright in such a quick motion that his glasses almost fell off.
An amber-haired woman came out of the foyer and stopped momentarily to scowl at the two guests. R-Raye! Y-Youre home early! Raymond remarked, skittishly repositioning his glasses with both hands. He then quickly got out of the way as the infuriated woman started heading his direction. She walked into the dining room and then ascended the staircase. A moment of shocked silence passed.
I-I must apologize for that. Raymond remarked, still sounding skittish. That was my wife, whose name is Raye. Shes a lawyer and sometimes she comes home very upset
You married a woman with the same name as you? Zack asked, curiously. Professor Raymond laughed before remarking, Actually, her name is R-A-Y-E.
I cant believe youre married to her. She was scarier than those two thugs I was locked in with back at the police department! Zack said.
K-Keep your voice down, please! Raye is not pleasant when shes in a bad mood and I really wouldnt want you three to start off on a worse note than you already are! Raymond remarked, glancing at the staircase.
George and Zack exchanged glances. So, do you still want to argue with me that you dont have a thing for strong women? George asked, in a flat tone. Raymonds response seemed to be a mix of bitter emotions, and his expressions made Zack laugh.
George and Raymond spoke for about an hour about everything that had happened since they last saw each-other. Although it was George who did most of the talking. It was then that Raye came downstairs and began to clean the dining room. Zack noted how polished the surface of the table looked. Why was she cleaning it?
would you come in here a moment? Raymond asked, turning towards his wife. The amber-haired woman put her rag down and walked into the living room. She was also in her mid-thirties, and she had green eyes. Yes? she asked, in a calm voice.
This is my old school friend: George. Raymond said, motioning towards George. And this here is his son, Zack. He added.
Its a pleasure to meet both of you. Raye said, in an emotionless tone. She then turned to Zack. Youre awfully cute. She remarked. Zack smiled out of flattery.
Raye then turned to her gold-haired husband. Im surprised at you, Raymond. I thought you said you hated children! You dont seem to mind this one. She remarked, her voice sounding a bit bitter.
Raymond lowered his head a little, then pushed his glasses back up to the top of his nose. His expressions showed the stress that Rayes statement put on him. I-its not that! Raymond replied, his voice sounding a bit stressed. This is the child who saved my life yesterday! he remarked.
Raye cocked her left eyebrow at Raymond, then glanced at Zack. And that makes all the difference? she remarked. Raymond lowered his head and closed his eyes, holding his glasses on his face with his left hand.
You know, Zack and I should probably head home now. George remarked.
If thats the case, then go ahead. Zack, I would like the opportunity to meet up with you again sometime. Im very interested in your powers, as Ive never met anyone with their powers active before. Raymond said. Zack nodded. After that, George and Zack left.