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The Wretched: Ascent of An Anti-Hero The Wretched: Ascent of An Anti-Hero original

The Wretched: Ascent of An Anti-Hero

Author: MattHarris

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: Getting The Boot

School ended in five minutes, and all I could think about was the journey home.

Ever since the school year had begun, I'd been looking forward to the part of Mr Kamoga's History class where we'd start discussing the events surrounding Gold Dawn and the rise of Powered people.

It had finally arrived, and now I couldn't focus at all.

I fidgeted and looked around at the old town hall that had been made into our classroom. Sixty students, all crammed behind crappy wooden desks that some Crafter had thrown together in a couple of seconds.

I fidgeted around. My fingers tapped out discordant beats, I drew random scribbles on the corner of my page. I shifted from side to side.

I wasn't picking up nearly enough of Mr Kamoga's lesson to follow along. I hadn't been throughout the entire lesson, and now there were only five minutes left on the clock.

Mr Kamoaga was animated, and clearly excited about the topic, and by and large the class was actually listening. Mr Kamoga was usually a dour and uninteresting man, much older than most of the adults in the community.

He had actually lived through Gold Dawn and was old enough to remember the world that came before it. Talking about any of that just caused a wistful look to enter his eye. No, he was much more interested in talking about contemporary history, the rise of the heroes and the recession of the villains.

As my eyes were wandering around the room, I caught a glimpse of Michael Cliffe. He sat three rows to my right and one seat forward. The second he caught my eye he smirked, a look that caused my stomach to twist and turn in on itself. I flicked my eyes back down to my notebook and tried my best to go back to doodling.

"Okay, we'll end things there," Mr Kamoga said, "I've got a little bit of homework for you this week. I want you all to write a profile on the Powered person that you think has had the biggest impact on society after Gold Dawn. Next weekend everyone is going to present their profile in front of the class, so make sure you've got something good!"

The room erupted into movement the moment Mr Kamoga stopped talking. Notebooks snapped shut, crappy wooden chairs slid noisily across the stone floor and the increasingly noisy chatter of conversation grew and grew.

I kept my head down, put my books away, and kept as quiet as I could. If I was smart, there was the chance that I could get away without anyone noticing. Make my way home before most of the kids had even left the town hall.

Micheal was deep in conversation with his friends. He was a popular kid, strong and fast. He was the sort of guy that, if you were going to play a game of football or rugby, you'd want on your side because he'd easily be able to push through most of the opposition. In other words, he was a bit of a knucklehead.

That being said, it was rich for me to try to criticize him. He always had a girl on his arm and friends surrounding him, while I was often alone. My frame was wiry and lacked muscles, even though I did try to exercise as much as I could.

We were on totally different sides of the spectrum.

I managed to be the first one out of the door. I didn't run, that would have drawn far too much attention to myself, but I did take two steps at a time to stay ahead of anyone else. I walked with long strides, my heart rate still high even as the commotion of the rest of the class slowly drowned out to nothing.

I exhaled slowly as I rounded the corner. It wasn't really a sigh of relief, because in no way did I feel relieved. I wouldn't feel alright until I was walking through the front door of my house. I just felt somewhat less uneasy.

My route home used to take me down by the river, but I didn't really tend to go down that way anymore. Instead, I'd take the route through the centre of town that took me past the PHA Junior headquarters. The place that housed the younger heroes in the roster, the ones that they didn't really let get close to any of the big and scary fights.

Going through the centre of town was slower than passing down by the river, but in my mind, it was safer. There were fewer chances of getting jumped by someone if I decided to take the route through town, far more people watching.

The universe didn't seem to care about my plan today. I was halfway down an alleyway, one of the few near-deserted paths on my new route home, when I heard the heavy slapping of feet on cracked pavement and mud coming up behind me.

I considered running, but if it was just a group of people running by then I'd look like some sort of a freak. Instead, I kept walking at my normal pace, unwilling to even look behind me.

"Well, well, well," Came the voice of Micheal, accompanied by a slap on my back and a heavy grasp on my shoulder. "If it isn't Tristan, walking through a dark and empty alleyway all by himself!"

I was forced to stop by the heavy hand on my shoulder. My body stiffened up and my mind flashed back to the river, drowning under the water, my mouth filled with that horrid sludge. I barely even noticed when Micheal pushed me up against the wall so hard that the bottle of juice in my bag ruptured, spilling all over my notes.

I noticed when he punched me in the stomach, though.

I crumpled down to the ground, coughing as I went, and looked up with bleary eyes at my assaulter before he brought his boot swinging down into my body.

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