Patrick Donovan and his friends live average teenage lives. For them, life in Southern California is dull, ordinary, and without adventure. But that won't last for long. They have no way of knowing that their lives will soon take an exciting turn, and that their choices will determine the world's course. Suddenly, in one night, their lives as they know them will inexplicably change forever as a mysterious girl exposes them to an unknown force. Endowed with unimaginable power, Patrick and his companions must evade the clutches of a secret society bent on turning them into living weapons while they also wrestle their inner demons. As they are thrown into this new reality, they adopt a new name - The Young Guardians. Now they must face the sinister realities of the world and bring peace and justice to the city of Los Angeles. With the mysterious power of darkness stalking them from the shadows, Patrick and his friends must struggle to survive in a world that has become plagued with the neverending crime waves that have terrorized Los Angeles for years. However, as The Young Guardians protect the City of Angels, a mysterious enemy lurks among the shadows, an enemy that is purely evil, unimaginably powerful, and seeks to destroy Patrick and his friends. With only The Young Guardians standing between the enemy and the downfall of the world, they must face a terrifying question: Will they survive the upcoming climactic battle and fulfill their quest for world serenity, or will they fail to triumph and watch the world turn to darkness? The powers of light and darkness collide in this tale of destiny, vengeance, and redemption.
THE NEVER-ENDING BATTLE
The atmosphere was consumed with the sounds of exhilarated gossip coming from a tightly packed auditorium filled with excited people. A majority of the audience consisted of children, who were accompanied by their parents or guardians, cheering and chanting five different names: “Patrick!”, “Tinisha!”, “Joshua!”, “Derek!”, and “Gregory!” Each child shouted one of those names over and over again.
Their chanting ended when the lights in front of the audience came on. The lights were shining upon a vast stage that was built like a typical living room, except that there were large gold letters affixed to the back wall that announced, THE TODAY SHOW. Sitting on one chair and sofa on the stage were two men looking at each other. One of the men was definitely the host of the television show and the other was the top-ranking police officer in the city of Los Angeles.
The host of the show was a man in his early forties, with dark brown hair and pale blue eyes. He had an agitated expression on his face, as though he felt uncomfortable with the Police Chief’s presence.
“So Police Chief Adams, what is your opinion of the Young Guardians?” the host of the show asked, with unease emanating from his voice.
Robert Adams was a man in his late fifties, with a strong face that showed vast determination, and for some reason, disappointment at the same time. His red hair was turning gray, and his features were wrinkling, but still maintained their original strength. His eyes were a glassy green and gave a firm stare at anything he gazed upon. He was wearing his police uniform, with a collection of badges on the left side of the chest.
“Well, my officers and I do appreciate their efforts to the community, but I just don’t trust them. I don’t know how they manage to get to the scene before we do. But the real question is: Why do those kids want to do the police’s work?” Adams said, his voice filled with agitation.
“Chief Adams, the Young Guardians may be doing a good public service, but no one thinks about them planning to take your jobs. I mean, they have become the biggest inspiration for kids all across the country,” the host said, apparently taken aback by the Chief’s point of view.
“That’s what concerns me. Kids shouldn’t be encouraged to be vigilantes like the Young Guardians. Those kids are too inexperienced to get themselves into situations that only professionals should be involved in. How would you like it if your kids thought they were as tough as the Young Guardians, and ended up getting themselves killed?” Adams asked, his normally tough voice filled with worry.
“Well, that would pose a problem, but I am confident that the Guardians will show children how not to put themselves in danger, like they do,” the host calmly responded.
“I’m just saying that it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Adams said roughly, as their conversation continued in the same vein.
At length, the host said, “I am sorry Chief Adams, but I’m afraid your time is up,” while shaking hands and guiding him off the stage set.
“Thank you for your time,” Adams said as he disappeared behind the sets.
Once Adams left the area, the host turned his gaze to the audience, as his face changed to a more pleasant expression.
“Now let’s give a nice warm welcome to LA’s newest and hottest celebrities and crime-fighters: the Young Guardians!” the host announced with excitement, while the crowd cheered as five teenagers emerged from the other side of the stage.
The group of teenagers were a team of peculiar characters. Each of them wore form-hugging black and blue suits. One of them was a boy with long crimson hair, and lime-yellow eyes. The second was a tall, slender girl, with snow-white hair, and glistening blue eyes. The third was a relatively short boy with dark skin, with a pair of bronze-colored, eagle-like wings on his back, wearing a silvery metal helmet. The fourth was a tall boy with well-defined muscles, curly brown hair, and a green goggle-like visor covering his eyes and ears. The final boy had dark skin, and was wearing a long dark blue cape that draped to his knees.
The Young Guardians waved to the crowd of people that stared at them with admiring faces. The boys seemed exhilarated to be a part of the show, but the girl looked a little uneasy with all the people looking at her, and focused her attention on the devices the cameramen were using to film the show. Once the Young Guardians reached the center of the stage, they made themselves comfortable on the couch that was placed next to the host’s chair. Once they had themselves situated, the Guardians listened intently to what the host and the audience had to say.
“So, Young Guardians, the five of you have dramatically reduced crime in LA, to a degree that has never been recorded in the city’s history. How did you manage to start crime-fighting, and develop such an impressive reputation at such a young age? Everyone is wondering where you came from when you were first sighted. Do you care to share . . . Patrick Donovan?” the host said to the boy with the scarlet hair.
“Sorry?” Patrick asked, surprised that the host decided to ask him first.
“You are the leader of the Young Guardians, are you not?” the host asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t say I’m the leader, because I would not consider my friends to be my underlings,” Patrick said, as the rest of the Young Guardians looked at him with beaming expressions.
“Well, can you at least answer the question, please,” the host asked.
“Basically, our families were murdered and we were determined to bring their killer to justice,” Patrick answered.
“In any case, will you be the first to tell us your origins as superheroes?” the host asked intently.
“To be honest, it’s a very long story. I don’t think there will be enough time to tell you the whole thing in just one episode,” Patrick said.
“You don’t have to worry about that. The next four hours are dedicated to you, so, you are free to tell us as much as you like,” the host said and leaned closer to the Young Guardians.
“Well, the reason we are sitting in front of all the viewers out there started with Tinisha. Would you like to tell your side of the story Tinisha?” Patrick asked, gesturing to her.
Tinisha looked relatively uneasy, but soon her expression became gentler. She turned her gaze to the crowd of people that were watching and eager to hear the tale of the Young Guardians’ origin.
“Since the dawn of time, the universe and its numerous realities have been haunted by the ghosts of its two sides. For those who are righteous and benevolent, they follow the warm influence of light, willing to make their world a better place. For those who are malevolent and unforgiving, they are tainted by the seductive power of darkness, hoping to amass as much power for themselves as possible. It is an endless battle that takes place in the universe. Every second, each side struggles to acquire the most followers. This is a story in which the powers of light and darkness converge . . .” Tinisha said gently as her tale began to travel deep into the recent past.
* * * * *
Somewhere among the universe’s realities . . .
Eight months earlier . . .
The sky was blackened by an unimaginable darkness. Lightning as red as blood, and fireballs as black as midnight, rocketed from the sky and demolished anything they collided with. A fierce battle was taking place along the rim of an active volcano. Lava boiled in the crater of the volcano, creating a repulsive sulfurous stench in the air. The sound of swords clashing echoed throughout the unforgiving wasteland. Along the crater's rim, two figures were locked in a merciless fight to the death.
One of the figures was that of a young girl of incredible beauty, who looked as though she were seventeen. She had long snow-white hair and shimmering turquoise eyes. She wore shining silver armor and silvery clothing that appeared to be far more advanced than any ordinary fabric. In her hands was a long, thin, curved, silver sword. She moved with inhuman speed and wielded the strength of ten men.
The other figure was a being of unspeakable darkness. He was hooded and cloaked in midnight black. A pair of blood red eyes glowed from under his hood. Long locks of bone-white hair hung from the sides of his hood. His torso was protected by a black chest-plate. His scaly hands were midnight black and his long fingers were tipped with steel-gray curved talons. In his demonic hands was a black sword that was as long, thin, and curved, as was the girl’s sword and looked as though it were forged by evil itself.
Their blades continued to clash with maroon sparks. Neither could find openings in each other's defense. Their blades rattled as they collided with each other from the force of each blow. Shockwaves erupted from their bodies as they used the extent of their supernatural strength. The girl used spiraling sword techniques that demonstrated flawless speed and grace. The dark figure was not as fast as the girl, but he relied on sheer power and sharpness to perfectly block most of her attacks.
"You are weak, my dear. Soon the world will belong to the power of darkness. The skies shall darken, every soul will be devoured by fire, and the power of light shall be eclipsed, never to shine again,” said the dark one in an accent that had a serpent-like tone to it.
"No! You will never take control of this land. I will find a way to defeat the darkness, and restore peace to this world. The darkness shall fall, as you will," the girl said, in an alien accent that would easily charm any mortal.
"Your optimism is admirable, but futile. You are nothing more than a mere flicker of light in a fog of shadows. Now it is time to extinguish you, along with your hope," the dark figure said.
Suddenly, an explosion of black lightning shot from the figure's left hand and electrified the girl, causing her skeleton to briefly appear from underneath her skin and shredding her fabric. She screamed in pain. Then the dark figure swung his left arm to the side, throwing the girl into the crater. She stabbed her sword into the wall of the crater and held onto the hilt for dear life. The lava boiled at her feet, singeing the soles of her boots. The dark figure looked down at her and held out his left hand again, which was ignited with black electricity.
"Die!" the dark figure hissed.
Suddenly, the girl pulled on the hilt of her sword, leapt out of the crater, and jumped over the dark figure's head. As she went over the figure's head, there was a sharp whistling sound. When the girl gracefully landed behind the figure, the whistling sound faded and there was silence. The dark figure stood perfectly still.
With one swift motion, the figure's hood fell off his shoulders. When the hood fell off, there was no head on the figure's shoulders, and a geyser of black blood erupted from the figure’s severed neck.
Suddenly, the headless figure spun around, swinging its blade in an attempt to decapitate the girl, but the girl reacted by unleashing a sphere of white, silvery energy from her left palm. The energy sphere collided with the figure’s torso, forcing the figure to fall into the crater. Suddenly, an explosion of black flames erupted from the crater.
The girl looked into the crater with an expression of pride on her face. Then she slowly turned on her heel and started to leave the volcano. As she walked down the volcano, the girl stopped in her tracks as she heard a sinister laugh.
"HA! So you thought you killed me. No. You may have destroyed my body, but my spirit will make sure that you will never leave this volcano alive," said the dark figure's serpent like voice.
"Impossible! I killed you!" the girl shouted.
"HA!!! You thought wrong. Now it is time for you to pay the ultimate price," the voice hissed.
Streams of black energy began to rise out of the volcano's crater and started to combine together into a shape in front of the girl. After a while, the black energy formed into the head of a horrendously monstrous creature that hovered in front of the girl. The creature had a long snout and a maw full of large cone-shaped fangs. It had a nose that looked like the skeletal nose of a wolf's skull. It had empty eye sockets that glowed in a dark red light. The creature slowly stuck its demonic face in front of the girl's face.
"Behold my spirit. When I’m in this form, I am truly immortal. Now I hereby banish thee from this world, and send thee into a world full of beings whose hearts decay with avarice and murder. Dwelling in that world will be a living nightmare for you, and I will enjoy watching you squirm and live in anguish. Now, be gone. HA, HA, HA!" the creature cackled in the dark figure’s serpent-like voice.
The creature then began to fly in the air, and swiftly circle around the girl's head. It moved so quickly, it became a spinning red ring over her head. The ring formed a cylinder of black flames that surrounded the girl. She screamed in unimaginable pain. As she screamed, her clothes and armor began to rip to shreds.
"NNOOOO!!!" the girl screamed.
As suddenly as the cylinder appeared, it vanished without a trace. Along with the cylinder, the mysterious girl disappeared into the unknown. Now the endless struggle between light and darkness continues . . .
About Grady P. Brown
Grady P. Brown, a longtime science fiction devotee, is a young man who envisions a world very different from our own. He is a college student in Southern California, and a lifelong writer. In his writing, he creates a place where young men and women are empowered superheroes responsible for changing the course of history. Grady hopes you enjoy his story and welcomes you to his world …