Everyone thinks it’s all fun and games when it comes to being a speedster—and it is for the most part. But it does take a lot of control. It took me years to learn how to use my abilities and I still struggle with them to this day. The only reason I think I have a handle on them as much as I do is because I was born with the speed.
As a young kid, I was always full of energy; it was like I had this pent up light inside of me that was always trying to escape. The only way I could release enough energy to be normal was by running around everywhere nonstop, acting like a complete maniac. Mom always said, “I hope someday you find a way to use your gift for something other than making a mess.” It wasn’t until I got older that I began to realize what she meant by gift.
I think I was about nine when I found out that I could run faster than any living thing had a right to. To this day, I don’t really remember what it was that triggered my impulse to run full speed, but something had scared the shit out of me. I took off running and the next thing I knew, I was two towns over and crying my eyes out.
Lucky for me I had done something similar to that when I was still a toddler. That little event caused my mom to put a tracker in me. I know that it sounds messed up but it has saved me on more than one occasion.
That day she had frantically tracked me down in another town. On the way home—after she had calmed down—my mom finally started to tell me about my dad. She didn’t tell everything then. Just that my father had the ability to move at “super speed” as she put it, and how it seemed I had inherited it from him.
This strangely had a calming effect on me. It all suddenly clicked in place. There was an explanation for the way I’d felt all my life up to that point: all the pent up energy, always getting in trouble for not staying still in class, the anxiety I would feel when sitting around not doing anything. It all came from him.
It wasn’t unit I got older that I found out the whole truth about my dad. And I only got that info when I accidentally time-traveled (but that’s a whole other story).
My mom would only let me work on the small stuff at first. Things like keeping the speed at bay during ordinary activities like raking the yard or walking the dog. The latter of which I learned was very important unless I wanted to carry around a smoking ball of fur.
I also wasn’t allowed to play any sports growing up for fear that I might accidentally expose my special talent. But that was alright with me; I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I’ll warn you now, don’t ever challenge me on pop culture trivia. You won’t win. I have watched just about every TV show and movie on fast forward and can read at super speed.
My real training didn’t start until I was almost done with high school. When everyone else was trying to figure out what college they wanted to get into, I knew what I wanted to be and what needed to be done.
I have to admit that at first, the training was pretty fun. It was the first time I really got to cut loose. I still can’t believe that most of the tricks I use now, I came up with in those early days.
It was a few months after graduation when I started to try the hero thing for real. That’s when I found out I’ve should’ve taken things more seriously. See, during training, I never factored in the kinds of damages I could do when using my powers in public.
Whenever I would go on patrol during those early days of being a so-called hero, I often did more damaged to the streets and cars when I ran by then any criminal would have. There were also a couple of accidents I caused until I got used to the flow of traffic. The problem is that everyone around me moves so damn slow. But none of those issues compared to the biggest mistake of my young career.
One day there was this big fire in an abandoned building that a lot of local homeless people called home. I saw it on the news. The firefighters tried their best to get everyone out and extinguish the blaze, but the fire just raged on despite their best efforts. So I figured I could just zip right in, grab everyone, and get out quicker than greased lightning. I was wrong.
I didn’t think about all the wind and oxygen I would bring to the flames. So when I came running in, all I did was make it worst. The fire erupted with a great blast and spread to the other surrounding buildings. Fortunately, they were abandoned as well.
The only good thing that happened was the explosion blew out a wall and the firefighters were able to finish saving everyone while I limped off. I was lucky that my limping off was still fast enough that no one saw that I had been there.
Ever since then I do whatever I can to make sure I keep people safe when using my abilities. Every time I lace up my running shoes, I think of what my mom used to say to me about helping to clean up the messes that I made everywhere. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do now. Clean up as many messes as I can. Only, I’m not the one creating them anymore.
Since you’re already here, check out some of these other great short stories.
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