He knew it was over as he cradled Jack's lifeless body in his arms. He could no longer be a superhero. He had slain the villain before his daughter's life was claimed, but he was too late to save his son. There could be no more Redline, not while he still had one child left to protect.
Tears streamed down his face as he ripped the black mask from his face, the red lines running down his arms standing out in the bright lights of his home. All of his secrecy, all of his strength, all of his gadgets, it had all been useless in keeping this criminal from finding out who he was and protecting his son. He screamed into the air as the sound of sirens began wailing in the distance.
He lowered his head, briefly looking at the charred corpse of a villain he hadn't recognized. He turned his head and saw his daughter huddled in the corner, shivering and crying. It was too late to save his son, but he would do everything in his power to protect his daughter.
He stood up, lowering his son to the floor, and shed his costume, revealing his sleeping clothes underneath. He then opened a secret compartment in the room, tossing the costume inside and quickly closing it. There was no Redline now, only Michael Gladstone and his daughter, Karen. Michael went over to his daughter and held her close as they waited for the cops to arrive.
Three Years Later
The news reports had gotten progressively worse as the criminal element grew more powerful in Dayspring. The police did little to curb the crime, as most of the few remaining were on the payroll of one overlord or another. That situation worsened when a former supervillain was voted as mayor after running a campaign of change, control, and an end to the gang wars. Former criminals now had positions of power in the city.
The mayor had ended the gang wars, mostly through bringing the gangs together and giving them common purposes. This strengthened the gangs, as they no longer had to worry about attacks from the others. They could also operate more openly, since the police wouldn't dare to oppose them. The streets weren't safe to walk alone during the day, much less the night.
The bridges out of Dayspring were destroyed during the gang wars, causing the deaths of people who were trying to leave Dayspring as the city grew more dangerous. The airport and the docks were shut down, effectively cutting the city off from the rest of the world. There were whispered rumors that the mayor was behind that, but none dared to try to prove it.
Many parts of the city were in great disrepair due to the gang wars. Buildings threatened to collapse throughout Dayspring. People were crowded into the structurally sound buildings, some apartments holding three or more families.
Many people tried to continue to live life as normal, though the fear of the city was so strong that it could be felt. Some had tried to become heroes after Redline disappeared, but most were killed quickly. One hero, Maverick, had some moderate success, but he had disappeared and was presumed dead.
Cries for Redline to return had diminished, partially because it now seemed obvious that he had abandoned them, and partially because there was now a law making Redline's name and likeness illegal. More people were jailed for saying Redline's name or dressing like him than for all other crimes combined. The mayor had laughed as he signed it into law.
The military discussed trying to impose martial law, and even sent advance troops in order to prepare for such. When the advance troops were crushed quickly by the large superhuman population, the plans for military occupation were quickly scrapped. Other than supply drops from some organizations, the rest of the country avoided having anything to do with Dayspring.
Michael Gladstone watched all of this unfold through news reports, as neither he nor his daughter left the fortess they lived in since it had been built. Michael had made sure that it was stocked with enough supplies for fifty years and had a garden to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. Karen had not said a single word since her brother's death.
That's the end of the first section. Now it is time for you, the reader to tell me where the next section is going. I will accept your suggestions for the plot of the next section on this blog, through Facebook, through Google+, through email, or any other way you have of letting me know. I will choose a plot to write on Thursday, and will have the next section written on Saturday. I look forward to seeing what I will be writing! Challenge me!
Until next time,
Your Fearless Writer,
C. R. Hopkins