Bureau of Monster Capture and Rehablitation
Volume 1: Boot Camp
by Wulfric Van Howlietzer
Chapter 5: Grow Up!
Just outside Point Pleasant, in the forests that once contained the Munitions Plant, Daryl toiled in his secret base–one of the abandoned igloos that once contained the stacks of explosives. He was working on a piece that Norma Spaulding had given him the last time she visited.
Norma was a paranormal investigator from Vermont. The two had met as enemies when she tried to capture him and receive worldwide fame. Instead, they became friends. Norma had many unique gadgets that helped her defend against paranormal phenomena. Daryl was updating his cameras to see infrared, on account of another time when a monster tried to take over the city. Those were his most important missions in Point Pleasant.
Since then, however, being a superhero was no more than a title. He did make an appearance every year at the Mothman Festival. He had a deal with the mayor that he could collect 20% of the Festival’s take in taxes. It wasn’t a bad gig–especially since attendance had skyrocketed ever since he started appearing.
“Well Kinder,” said Daryl out loud, “Next time we have a disgusting alien knocking at our door, we’ll be fully prepared to destroy him.
I’ll try to not be offended by that remark, said Kinder, But, I seriously doubt you are going to see any other alien activity around here. Narsus was a fugitive and a fool to come to such a planet for refuge.
“Huh?” said Daryl. “Does that make you a fool too?”
I’m a fool for a different reason… Just as you’re a fool for wanting to stay here. MIT would be the best place for you.
“Kinder, seriously, not this again. We’re busy villain proofing the Moth Cave, trademark pending.”
Kinder sighed. Superhero playsets aside, Daryl, this is reality. Your greatest villain was arrested by galactic bounty hunters after. And your other exploits have been less than necessary. Need I remind you of the teenager you stopped from jay-walking?
“Kinder, what if an invasion happens and I could have been here to prevent it.”
I can’t even tell if you’re serious any more. As an alien consciousness, I can assure you that most extra-terrestrial beings find earth to be nothing more than a fart joke: only children are amused by it.
Daryl grew quiet. He put down his screwdriver and admired his work. It was numb. He didn’t even feel accomplished by it.
Daryl I know how you feel. I have been exactly where you’ve been. It may seem scary to move on from something, but eventually, outside forces will push you in their direction. You have to figure out what you truly want.
“I’m not scared, Kinder,” said Daryl. “I just love it here. I have a responsibility to the people here. If nothing else, I bring people into Point Pleasant for the Festival. I’m promoting the economy!”
…So you’re happy being someone’s mascot? A marketing ploy? You’re shortchanging your natural talents. The Creator would surely be displeased with your selfish intentions.
“Shut up Kinder!”
“You two arguing again?” came a voice at the entrance.
It was Samantha. She came in holding a piece of paper. Daryl dreaded what it was. She was so hyped about her art school… He was going to do his best to be supportive.
“What’s that?” he smiled.
“I got accepted!” she shouted. “You’re looking at the next big tattoo artist!”
That’s not a thing!
‘Of course it is, Kinder,’ thought Daryl.
“I’m so excited! After this year, I’ll be moving to California and I can leave this dump forever!”
Daryl’s heart sunk. “Hey!” he laughed. “This place is home.”
“Come on, Daryl!” she said. “You’re super smart. You can’t stay here.”
You’ll never hear me say this again so listen carefully: follow your insipid hormones! We can go to… Somewhere! Just stop this stupid hero dream.
‘I won’t stop dreaming, Kinder,’ thought Daryl. “I can’t, Samantha. I’m responsible for the well being of the citizens of…”
“Daryl, I know your mom, and probably Kinder, have been begging you to leave and go somewhere to better yourself. You are literally the smartest guy I know, and you just want to throw that away! That’s irresponsible!”
Daryl frowned. “I’m happy for you Sam. But my responsibility is here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have important villain proofing to do in the Moth Cave.”
He gently led her out the door and closed it behind her.
“Not another word, Kinder!”
Daryl spent the rest of the day setting cameras in the nearby bushes and trees. He wanted to get a good vantage point of the TNT zone. Once he’d hung up the last camera, he made his way home.
He opened the front door to his home and stepped inside. The front door led to the kitchen and Daryl could smell something delicious baking in the oven.
“I know you’re not tracking your dirty boots onto my mopped floor!” came a voice from the living room–just beyond the kitchen.
Daryl smiled. He untied his boots, which were filthy with muck. She could probably smell them; they were rather ripe. He took them off and placed them on the front porch.
“What’s cooking mama?”
“Porkchops. I left you some material on your bed.”
Daryl walked into the living room. His mom was on the couch watching TV. She didn’t get up or look at him. He smiled and started up the stairs. “What materials do you have up there?”
“You’ll see…” she said.
‘Not a word, Kinder.’
I’ve been quiet.
Daryl opened his door and walked to his bed. On top of his made bed were several pamphlets for colleges, Dartmouth and MIT on top. Also, marked on his window was his SAT score–his mother was definitely trying to make a point–a large red 1600 spanned across the glass. It was going to take forever to clean that off…
I said I’d be quiet, but if you were looking for a sign, here it is.
Daryl picked up the pamphlets. His hands shaking. He was angry. Everyone was trying to push him out. He was tired of it.
He walked over to his trash can.
Daryl! said Kinder. We all have your best interests. I really want you to think about this. I’m going to be quiet. I’m not going to influence you. I want you to think an make a decision, preferably one where you are going to better your life. I will stick to your decision. I promise. Just please, leave this place.
Daryl threw the pamphlets away. “I’m not ready, Kinder.”