My Secret Identity
© by Ryan Bartlett
"Are we there yet?" Spencer complained.
"Just a little further."
Bobby was leading Spencer into the woods. They were off the weather beaten path heading into the deepest part of the forest. Bobby had something to show his best friend and he wanted it to be private.
"If you're gonna rape me you could have saved us the trouble and just done it in my room," Spencer joked.
"You wish," Bobby giggled.
"Every night before bed," Spencer grinned.
"We're almost there," Bobby rolled his eyes.
"Should we be going this far into the woods? What if you have another heart attack?"
"I didn't have a heart attack."
"Oh right, what did the doctor call it? A cardiac event?"
"Yeah, that's what he said but I didn't have one of those either."
"If you say so." Now it was Spencer's turn to roll his eyes. He'd stood there and watched his best friend struggle for breath, clutch his chest and collapse. He'd watched the paramedics listen to his heart as it damn near beat out of his chest and he'd sat vigil over Bobby while he was in the hospital. But despite all the medical evidence, Bobby insisted there was nothing wrong with his heart and Spencer couldn't figure out why he was being so stubborn. The only reason he agreed to follow Bobby into the woods was he'd been promised answers.
Bobby woke the night of his so called cardiac event to find Spencer sleeping by his side. The love his friend carried for him touched him deeply. Bobby already had tender feelings for Spencer but they were so confusing. Society told him he should be dating Kara not having secret thoughts about his best friend. He couldn't help it though. The more he listened to his heart the more it told him he wanted the boy he'd taken baths with when he was a baby, the boy who looked like he was going to cry before he disappeared into the forest, the boy who waited for four years and picked up their friendship right where it left off. Bobby had a lot on his mind that night, he wanted to tell Spencer everything but his dad came back into the room, his mom woke up, and the moment was lost.
The next morning the doctors checked his vitals and they were all back to normal. They couldn't offer any medical explanation for his tachycardia or the almost immediate return to normalcy. Bobby was sure the dream he'd had about Jared Crane was real. Something had to explain the strange things that had been happening around him. Something had to explain where he'd been for four years and why he couldn't remember any of it. There was only one way to know for sure and Bobby was determined to put his…powers to the test as soon as possible. He'd test his abilities and then he'd tell Spencer.
The doctors kept him for a week. He'd been admitted with a life threatening heart condition and the next day he was fine, in the eyes of the medical staff that was not possible and required study. When the week came to an end Bobby was the picture of the healthy All American teenage boy and his parents were eager to bring him home. The doctors wanted to keep him longer but they couldn't justify their reasoning and considering Mr. Fixx had threatened a lawsuit before, they were reluctant to push the issue.
The one thing the doctors did insist on was that Bobby give up baseball for the rest of the season. He tried to explain he'd made a commitment to his team and he couldn't walk away but his mother put her foot down. She told him what it had been like the day he'd collapsed, watching doctors rip his clothes off to get at his chest, watching his whole body vibrate from the hyper-speed beating of his heart. She started to cry when she told him she thought she was watching her little boy die right before her eyes and so he agreed to the doctor's terms, for his mommy's sake. He wasn't happy about it but his coach paid him a visit, told him he'd be able to dress out with the team and sit on the bench at the games. It was enough to appease him. After all, there were only two games left.
When he was released, his parents drove him home and kept a close eye on him. Every time he got up to use the restroom they asked where he was going. It earned them a lot of rolled eyes and contemptuous sighs but deep down Bobby knew they were only worried because they loved him and that made him feel kind of good. The constant supervision required him to adjust his plans and so he snuck out of his room once his parents went to bed.
He found a quiet spot in the woods far from any prying eyes. Once he was there he wasn't sure what to do exactly and then he remembered Jared's words, "your body knows what to do." Every time he thought about Jared a feeling of calm reassurance washed over him and he took it as a sign, "it wasn't just a dream."
Bobby sat on a large boulder. There was a pinecone hanging off of a tree branch twenty feet away from him. He wanted to test his heat vision by blowing it apart. When he destroyed the baseball he'd been focusing all his concentration on it so he closed his eyes and thought of nothing but the pinecone. Nothing happened but when he opened his eyes and gazed at the pinecone with a raised eyebrow, beams of soft red light shot out and converged on the pinecone's stem. The flash of light instantly vaporized the cone and took out a good chunk of the branch.
"Holy shit!" Bobby stood up excitedly, and then he laughed. He laughed and couldn't stop. It was real! He'd been taken by men from the future. He'd been given phenomenal powers. As convinced as he was the dream was real, he was still overwhelmed by his ability. He had to test it, he had to test everything.
He got off the boulder and picked it up as though it were nothing more than a golf ball. He threw it up in the air a few times; catching it in his right hand just like he did with his baseball when there was no one to play catch with. When he grew bored he threw the boulder so far he lost sight of it as it disappeared among the trees.
If the heat vision worked and the super strength worked then that meant the flying would work. Bobby climbed up on the edge of a hill overlooking a small ravine. Every step he took made him giddy with anticipation. When he reached the small summit he stepped right up to the edge and looked down. The ground wasn't far below him but in the dark it looked like a bottomless pit. He wasn't sure exactly how to make himself fly but in his dream Jared pushed him from the ledge and he pulled out of the dive. He closed his eyes and let his body fall forward into the darkness. His stomach tightened for a moment but when there was no impact, he opened his eyes and found himself floating ten feet above the forest floor. He leaned back and righted himself and with a simple kick off, as if he were underwater and scrambling for the surface, he took off into the night.
"Wahoo!" he cheered as he rose into the sky.
It was the most incredible feeling he'd ever experienced. He rose higher and higher. He could see his neighborhood beyond the trees; he could see the lights of Tacoma in the distance. With another gentle kick at the air he rocketed over the treetops, did a couple of barrel rolls, and turned around. He landed safely in his backyard feeling a sense of euphoria like nothing he'd felt in his whole life. He snuck out every night that week and practiced his new found skills. By Friday, he was ready to tell Spencer.
The conversation started at lunch that day with Spencer remarking on what a good mood Bobby had been in all week. Spencer, like Bobby's doctors, thought it was strange for his friend to be in such good health and high spirits so soon after he damn near died. He pestered Bobby about it almost as much as his mother did. Bobby was tired of all the nagging and he was ready for Spencer to know the truth so after school they headed into the woods.
"Ok, this is far enough," said Bobby.
"Finally," Spencer panted. He bent over and rested his hands on his knees to catch his breath.
"First things first. Spence, I want you to know I love you."
"You do?" Spencer perked up.
"Of course I do. You've been my best friend since we were babies. You waited for me to come home and when I did it's like we were never apart. You were the first person I saw when I woke up in the hospital. It takes a true friend to care about someone so much and I thank God I have you in my life," Bobby explained.
Well, it wasn't the love confession Spencer was hoping for but he'd take it. He did love Bobby, he'd felt strangely empty when he disappeared. To Spencer it felt like they were meant to be together but he guessed Bobby didn't quite see it the same way.
"Thanks Bobby, I'm touched," Spencer replied. "Now, are you going to tell me what's going on or what?"
"I didn't have a heart attack or any "cardiac event."
"So you've said."
"Spence, I know who took me. I know where I was for four years."
"What?" Spencer exclaimed.
"This is going to sound crazy, it sound's crazy to me, but it's true."
"I'm all ears."
"I was taken by a secret society of warriors from the future called the Watchers on the Wall."
"Wow Bobby, I can't believe I lied for you."
"What?" Bobby was confused.
"When you collapsed in the cafeteria, I told those paramedics you didn't do drugs," Spencer snickered.
"Spence, I'm not joking."
"Dude, come on. You were abducted by warriors from the future? That's…"
"Crazy! I know it's crazy but I swear it's true."
"I'm being Punked, aren't I? Ashton Kutcher's about to jump out of one of these bushes, isn't he?"
"Spence, I'm not lying."
Spencer gave him a long hard stare. Bobby was a terrible liar and he wasn't the type to play a practical joke. In fact, he thought they were mean. But it was such a wild thought, I mean, what would you do if your best buddy told you a story like that?
"I'm not saying you're lying, Bobby, it' just…" Spencer squirmed uncomfortably.
"You were gone a long time. Maybe these dreams you've been having are your way of dealing with the trauma of what happened to you. Maybe whoever took you messed with your head."
It was hard for Spencer to say and hard for Bobby to hear. If his best friend didn't believe him why should anyone else? For Spencer the difficulty came from having to say something that hurt his friend's feelings. Bobby frowned for a moment but then a sly smile crept across his face. He realized he wasn't being entirely fair to Spencer. After all, he didn't take the dreams at face value, he'd come to this very spot in the woods to test his powers. He decided a little demonstration was in order.
"You know what? They did mess with my head. I couldn't do this before," Bobby grabbed Spencer's shirt collar and lifted him three feet in the air as easily as if he were raising his hand in class.
"Holy shit!" Spencer looked down at Bobby slack-jawed. "Ok, so the future guy's took you, then what happened?"
Bobby smiled and put him back on his feet. "So you believe me now?"
"Dude, there's no way your boney ass could have done that without some kind of super powers."
"Thanks," Bobby giggled.
"Tell me everything."
Bobby didn't skip a detail. He told Spencer about the Watchers, how they protected mankind and guarded the secret of time travel. He told him about the…adjustment's made to his body. He told him about Idrid Crow and the mission Jared and the Watcher's had charged him with. Spencer didn't interrupt once. He listened patiently and took it all in.
"So that's everything?" asked Spencer, when the story was finished.
"And you're supposed to use these powers they gave you to fight crime?"
"Dude," Spencer sighed.
"That's so…bad ass!"
"It's pretty amazing, I'll give you that," Bobby agreed.
"So what all can you do? That super strength thing was very cool by the way."
"Well, there's this," said Bobby, as he blasted a branch off a tree with his heat vision. He could do it at will now.
"Sick," Spencer practically whispered. "Wait, you said in the dreams you had the strength and the laser vision thing. Can you…"
"Yeap," Bobby grinned as he rose a few feet in the air. He'd been practicing all week and didn't need to fall from a ledge in order to fly anymore.
"Un-fucking-believable!" Is there other stuff?"
"Jared told me my skin was pretty much indestructible but I haven't figured out a way to test it that isn't to risky," said Bobby, as he touched down.
"We can figure it out later, right now…PIGGYBACK RIDE!" Spencer shouted as he jumped on Bobby's back. He wrapped his arms around Bobby's neck and his legs around Bobby's waist.
"Spence, I don't know if this is a good idea."
"Oh come on Superman, I've never ridden a flying shortstop before," Spencer pleaded
"Well maybe just a quick trip," Bobby giggled and with a gentle kick off, they rose above the trees. Spencer clung tight and seemed to wrap himself around Bobby. It was a good feeling, it made Bobby feel…safe.
"How fast can you go?"
"Watch," Bobby grinned to himself. Spencer was in for the ride of his life.
Bobby oriented himself as if he were lying flat on his stomach and the next thing Spencer knew they were skimming over the tree tops like they'd been fired from a cannon.
"Just like Superman," Spencer shouted in Bobby's ear.
Bobby smiled to himself and kicked his speed up a notch. It was Spencer's turn to shout excitedly, "WAHOO!" Seattle is 30 miles from Tacoma, Bobby touched down on the roof of the Space Needle less than 10 minutes after they'd taken off.
"So, what do you think?"
"Bobby! You're amazing!"
"I was talking about the view," Bobby smiled and gestured at the Seattle skyline lighting up like a Christmas tree as the sun began to set.
"Wow," said Spencer, then he sat down Indian style. Bobby joined him.
"Why did you tell me?"
"I had to tell someone," said Bobby. "Who better than my best friend?"
"Thanks," Spencer smiled. "Are you going to do it?"
"You know, fight crime."
"I don't know," Bobby sighed.
"Bobby, I think you kinda have to."
"These abilities, they're incredible but, Spence, I didn't ask for this."
"They didn't give you these powers so you could sit on your ass with them."
"They took me from my parents for four years and experimented on my body. That's the part I'm having trouble with. Jared says I'll feel differently when my memory starts coming back but…I just don't know."
"Regardless of how it happened, Bobby, you've been given a miraculous gift. Think of all the good you could do," Spencer exclaimed.
"I wouldn't really know where to start. I mean, they didn't program me with crime seeking radar or anything."
"Bobby, your dad's a deputy DA."
"So I know you're kind of a goodie-two-shoes and I love that about you. Its' part of your charm. But if you acted like a normal teenager for once and snooped through his briefcase a little, I bet you'd find enough scumbags to keep you busy for months."
"That's a good idea. I hadn't considered that," Bobby admitted.
"Of course you didn't. That's why you need me. Hey, I could be your sidekick!"
"Spence, I don't know…you could get hurt."
"I'm not saying you have to take me into fights with you. I'll be the brains, you be the muscle."
"Gee thanks," Bobby rolled his eyes.
"I didn't mean you don't have any brains, what I mean is you can't be expected to do everything yourself. I can help you organize and track down criminals," Spencer explained.
"Maybe. I still need to think about it."
"Ok but you know I'm going to nag you until you say yes, right?"
"I figured as much," Bobby smiled. "Hey, you wanna have some fun?"
"Yeah because I'm so bored," Spencer rolled his eyes sarcastically.
"Hop on, you'll like this."
Spencer climbed on Bobby's back and they took off. They flew over Puget Sound and then came in low over Bethel. It would be the long way home if you were driving but they were cruising at high speed over southbound Highway 16.
"I've been wanting to do this all week," said Bobby.
Bobby took them down so they were flying at an even height with traffic. He stayed close to the tree line. He and Spencer were both wearing dark clothes and as the sun set it would be pretty tough for anyone to spot them. Bobby scanned the cars and when he found what he was looking for he pulled alongside a teenage boy driving an SUV. The boy didn't notice the two guys flying just outside his window, he was too busy texting. When Bobby knocked on his window, the boy almost pissed himself.
The boy stared at the flying teens with his mouth hanging open. He'd slowed considerably, which was a good thing, because he wasn't watching the road. Bobby knocked on the window again and gestured for the boy to roll it down, which he did.
"Sir, are you aware it's a crime to text and drive in the state of Washington?"
All the driver could do was nod his head.
"Can I see that?" asked Bobby, pointing at the iPhone still clutched in the driver's hand.
The driver handed it over without argument. Bobby crushed the device into fine powder and sprinkled it on the asphalt.
"Alright sir, keep your eyes on the road and have a nice night!"
Bobby rocketed back into the air with Spencer cackling on his back, "That was awesome!"
They heard the texting driver's breaks as he squealed to a halt and pulled off the road.
"There, we fought crime."
"I know, I know, I'm just saying. Bet he'll never text and drive again!"
Both boys laughed hysterically.
"Hey, I just noticed we've been staying close to the treetops, how high can you go?"
"Don't know. I haven't really tested it out yet," Bobby admitted.
They started to rise higher and faster into the night sky. Bobby wasn't sure how many feet up they were but it was high enough you could see the curvature of the earth and they were still climbing. They climbed and climbed until Bobby suddenly felt the weight lifted from his back. He looked over his shoulder and Spencer was gone. He looked down and Spencer was plummeting unconsciously back to Earth.