Red Racer barely made it out of the hospital before he started heaving.
He’d never run on an empty stomach. The pulses of his power echoed inside of him, and churned the empty space. The costume his sister had neatly placed into the closet of his hospital room was tight across his chest and made it hard to breathe. He stumbled, but he refused to fall. Red grabbed a hold of his power and forced it to keep him moving.
The air swirled around him and spots began to dance on the side of his vision. There were gunshots echoing in the back of his head. His heart thundered in his ears, but he just ran faster. Dust and trash started trailing behind him, lifting into the air and swirling in the vortex of his wake.
The city blurred past him, but he saw everything.
Almost everyone was staring at their phones or standing outside of bars with their eyes glued to a TV. Some were talking, some were shouting, some were frozen in place. Everyone looked scared.
Most people on the street this time of day were old enough to remember Jaeger thirteen years ago. It wasn’t something they could forget. Red had only read about him online, but the thought of a runner who spent his entire career going after heroes struck a chord in the pit of his stomach.
His parents had gone against Jaeger half a dozen times before they captured him, but they had only sought him out once. Jaeger had come after them time and time again; he’d never been paid and he didn’t hold a grudge, but he kept coming.
Now he was after Red’s sister, he was after Red’s friends, and Red wouldn’t sit on the sidelines. The faceless thing that had been haunting him wouldn’t stop him.
It was a straight shot to the battlefield. Red’s eyes stopped dancing and focused on the figures in front of him. Jaeger was dragging Burnout towards the others. Right now, he was moving at a crawl, but if he sped up, he could kill all three of the long before Red got close.
The steady, slow clacking of a machine gun echoed in his brain. His breath grew ragged and his eyes could only focus on Jaeger’s slowly stalking form. His heart sped up, but the blood in his veins felt like syrup.
Red grabbed his power. It was in him and all around him and there wasn’t enough. Red reached further and tore his power free. The trash in his wake fell to the ground and his ears popped.
Red’s power slammed into Jaeger and for an instant, they both froze mid-air. Red’s hearing returned and he and Jaeger flew apart a loud clap. The wind tore free form their meeting point, picking up the unconscious heroes and carrying the away from the center of the destroyed block.
This wasn’t like Frankenstein, Red was ready to catch himself. He slid backwards, nearly to the edge of the battlefield.
Jaeger clenched his fists and stopped without touching the ground before dropping to his feet.
Jaeger looked straight into Red’s visor, and they both ran.
Jaeger reached for the gravity in the area and pushed himself forward. Across the battlefield, his son did the same.
His smile threatened to split his face in two. The predator had kept his promise. His son had gained the strength that had awakened Jaeger, and now he was standing before him, free to bask in the glory of the hunt.
But first he would have to be tested. And then he would have to be discipline; all children needed to be taught to respect their parents. It was the only way they could learn how to reach the potential their parents saw within them.
Jaeger started out slow; slower than his son had hit him before. First, he had to give the boy some confidence. It was only when he tore that down that he could teach him his first lesson.
Red grabbed everything he could. It wouldn’t be as much as he had used to hit Jaeger with, but it was enough to meet Jaeger halfway across the battlefield.
A drumbeat of rushing air reverberated throughout the battlefield. Each time the two of them met, their wakes would force the air and debris to clash around them. Each time they separated, their wakes would mix and clatter until finally separating into two distinct trails.
Their powers never let them touch. They’d clashed a dozen times in the seconds they’d been fighting, and neither of them were scratched.
Jaeger was moving at the same speed as Red. That wasn’t right. Jaeger was one of the fastest men alive. He should have been at least three times faster than Red.
Red desperately grasped for more speed. His legs pumped tirelessly, carrying his power with them and launching him farther with every step.
Jaeger matched him perfectly.
The fight hadn’t even lasted a minute, but Red could feel a fire spreading through his legs. He hadn’t asked anything of them for over a week, and they couldn’t give him what they used to.
Red grabbed even more speed, pulling the power to his legs so that even if they slowed down, he could keep his speed up for just a little longer.
At their next clash, Jaeger swung at him a little too early, and Red slammed into hi. Their wakes collided again, but more debris was following Red.
Jaeger reached for more gravity. He had moed too soon and let the boy get a hit in. It wasn’t a mistake he could repeat if he wanted to teach his son just how much stronger he would become under proper guidance.
The gravity didn’t respond. Jaeger reached again, but there was nothing there to grab.
The boy was coming at him again. Jaeger turned to meet him, but half of his mind was elsewhere.
Stone and metal slammed into each other as their wakes met. Jaeger grabbed for the boy’s collar, but he missed. His son’s tiny fist bruised Jaeger’s forearm.
They separated and Jaeger felt it. The boy had sped up again. He was pulling out more speed than Jaeger had ever expected, and the new bruise would be a constant reminder.
It wouldn’t happen again. Jaeger reached deeper and pulled out enough gravity to match the boy’s new speed.
Red kept reaching for more power, but he couldn’t force himself to go any faster. He had gone faster than this before, but the power wasn’t there for him to grab.
Red reached desperately for it, constantly reaching for more speed.
He clashed with Jaeger again. The grin on his enemy’s face made Red’s frown deepen. He wanted nothing more than to run as far from Jaeger as he could, but he forced himself to keep going. Their wakes slammed into each other and Red felt more power, just barely out of reach. He stretched his powers towards it, grabbing a small handful and adding it to his own speed.
A few ticks of the clock later, and they clashed again. It was impossible, but Jaeger’s grin had grown even wider. He came elbow first for Red’s face. Red flinched away from the blow, and had to slide around Jaeger to keep from being hit.
In that instance where their wakes crashed, Red felt his powers being ripped away from him. He grasped desperate for more speed, but it had vanished
And now Jaeger was moving faster, and his wake had grown larger.
He had stolen some of Red’s speed.