The sun was high in mid-July. Reginald Sohoren, a young man of 15 years, walked down the street alone, his brown eyes watching his feet as he walked. His hair was medium length, a darker golden color, and he had dyed the last quarter-inch a light green. He was medium height and had an athletic build, even though he had never had the will to participate in any sports.
“Rex!” came a voice from behind him “Hey, Rex, wait up!”
“What do you want, Elliot?” He asked as he slowed his pace so the dark-haired boy could catch up.
Elliot, who was also 15, was an inch or two taller than Rex, but he was not athletic in any definition of the word. He stopped and put his hands on his knees. Breathing heavily, he took a few seconds to recover from the run, as his blue eyes scanned over his friend’s bandage-wrapped right arm for the umpteenth time. ‘What is under there?’ Elliot wondered to himself once again. Rex had never shown anyone what was under the white wraps that covered from his elbow all the way down to his knuckles. Not even his adoptive parents, who he had been with for over nine years, knew what he was hiding. Even from his early childhood, it had always been his most protected secret.
“Elliot?” Rex’s voice shook his overweight friend out of his thoughts and back into reality.
“Huh? Wha- What?” Elliot looked around, almost forgetting where he was.
“Did you want me for something?” Rex asked, starting to get irritated.
“Oh. Yeah” Elliot stood up straight “You know that Tyson kid you took out around the end of school for breaking Becky‘s science project?”
Becky was the third member of their group of friends. She had shoulder-length hair that was naturally a pinkish color and brown eyes. She was a year younger then the other two, but since she had skipped the second grade, had known Rex and Elliot for almost 7 years. As well as being smaller than the rest of the people in their grade because of her age, she was also naturally small, and barely made it to 5’ 1” and 85 lbs. Her size, as well as her brainiac appearance; which included huge glasses, pigtails, and goofy sweaters, which were often a strange rendition of plaid, made her an ideal target for the local jerks to pick on.
The incident that Elliot was referring to happened 3 weeks before the end of school. Becky had stayed up all night finishing her landscaping model for science class. Rex knew this because he had stayed at her house that night and helped her with it, as much as she would let him. Becky was always proud of her projects and would often take them out of her backpack before they were due to show them off to some of her classmates. She had done so on that day, and that’s when Tyson, the school’s #1 jerk had struck. Rex was a few hundred yards away, but when he heard Becky yelling, he ran to see what was wrong. When he arrived, he found a laughing Tyson standing over a shattered landscaping project and a crying Becky. Rex had always been taught to never start a fight, so after a few minutes of coaxing, the bully took the first swing, and he paid for it with a broken nose and numerous bruises.
“I remember” Rex told Elliot “So what?”
“Well” Elliot continued “It turns out he has a brother that just got back from college and would now like to ‘have a word with you’ ”
“I see” Rex turned back around and continued walking and Elliot followed
“He said to meet him by the scrap yard at 4 o‘clock” Elliot glanced at his watch “That gives you 10 minutes to decide what to do”
“Well, I don’t see why not” Rex said as he changed his course towards the scrap yard
“I don’t know, Rex” Elliot warned “I’ve seen this guy. He’s pretty big”
“I’ll deal with it” the golden-haired boy waived off the warning as they arrived at the meeting place.
To both Rex and Elliot’s surprise, it wasn’t just Tyson and his brother meeting them at the entrance to the scrap yard, it was half the kids from school, including Becky, who ran out from the crowd of people to meet them a few dozen yards away.
“Rex, Please don’t do this” Becky pleaded “Look at him! He’ll kill you!”
“Yeah. He’s pretty big” Rex once again waived off the warning
“Rex” Becky whined “You don’t have to do this”
“I know” Rex adjusted the bandages on his arm, so they wouldn’t fall off during the fight “But it might be fun”
Becky’s head dropped, as she knew her argument was defeated. She turned to clear the fighting area. “Be careful”
“I always am” Rex said as he stepped toward the large college student.
“Are you ready to take a beating?” The large man threatened, only to be ignored by Rex, who took a stance that appeared to be of purpose to protect his right arm. But as the man started to charge, Rex unshielded his arm and extended it for a strike, which connected to the man’s stomach with an explosive force, so unrealistically strong, it knocked the him onto his back, gasping for air.
“That was quick” a shocked Elliot stood watching Rex make his way back to his friends “How did you do that?”
“Don‘t really know” Rex answered as he readjusted his bandages
“Is that why you’ve never used your right arm in a fight before?” Elliot quizzed “And, why did you use it now?”
“He irritated me” Rex answered before grabbing his head and cringing in pain.
“Are you alright?” Becky started to approach the hurting blonde but was stopped as he extended his arm towards her
“I’m fine” He flashed a weakened smile and walked away “I just need some rest. I’ll see you tomorrow”
Later that night, Rex was laying on his bed, staring at his bare right arm. The hideously swelled mass of red and blue looked like some sort of allergic reaction to a tattoo, but was the reason he kept his arm wrapped. It had been there for as long as he could remember, but he didn’t recall how it had come to be. All he knew was during the day’s fight, something called out to him; begging him to use his right arm, something he had never done before, for fear that he might injure it. When he did use it, it was like all his energy had been released through that one strike.
As he continued to study the usually wrapped limb, one question kept running through his mind; “What did you do to me?”