About one year ago, I released my debut novel titled Mystic Man. If you’ve read the book (which you should!) then you know all about Isaac Eckspo and how he became the greatest superhero the world, or universe has ever seen. If not, that’s okay this story today doesn’t spoil a single thing in Mystic Man’s book. He has the power of multiple universes pulsing through his body. But in all his cosmic wonder and greatness, Isaac is just a man from Earth. A man who lives in San Francisco and loves science. That’s it. He loves being a hero, loves helping people. One of the first things he did once he got his powers was focus his efforts on certain communities around Earth. Clean water, renewable energy, jobs, Isaac is a pragmatic man at heart but being Mystic Man allows him to strive towards the idealistic things he’s always wanted to see in the world.
I’ve written four stories in my universe. With another superhero novel on the way. In Sector 43, we saw two seasoned astronauts get stranded in space. In Project Element, a group of eccentric people were rounded up by the government. To do what, you ask? Be superheroes of course. Simon’s War was the longest story yet. A family space drama about a man and his two sisters, and their failing empire. And lastly, The Diamond was a story of magic in my universe. What it is and how it died. Each story is important to the grand scope of my universe, and each character will be featured at some point in the future.
Not today though. Today, a focus on the man responsible for all of this. I’d like to present a short story about Mystic Man. Nothing crazy, nothing complicated, just him going through his day. Enjoy.
Scientists around the world, and most movies, would tell you that there’s no sound in space. And for every human on Earth and most species throughout the galaxy, they’d be right. Empty nothingness in a sea of blackness. A person could conjure up some dreadful existential thoughts staring into it, into the blackness. No sight, no sound, and most importantly, no hope.
There is sound, however. Isaac Eckspo can hear it all. From a young child eating their favorite meal on Earth to the snobby scientists on Magnuss working on their newest invention. It all sounded so clear to him, no matter where he was at. Amplified in space though. But, at the same time…it was quiet. Very quiet, even though he could still hear it all. An oxymoron yeah, that was true, but it brought him peace. He could even hear stars dying as well as galaxies being formed. Sometimes it hurt, made his skin go cold and his stomach empty. But most of the time it filled him up with wonderful energy, causing Isaac to glow a soft, light purple.
This was his morning. Every morning, Isaac would attempt to find the center of all reality. He would sit there, taking in the energy of the multiverse. He wasn’t sure he found it every time but that wasn’t the point. Some people stretched, some drank coffee, Isaac did this. Well, he also drank coffee, but this helped too.
As he came back down to Earth, his earth, he flew slowly around the world, inspecting and observing. Listening. Staying high enough so no one could see him. He lowered as he neared his city and soon enough, he was on the front steps of his home. And as most mornings, the world interrupted him, and began to scream.
Scream might be the wrong word. Isaac didn’t think negatively of the cries for help from people. Didn’t even see it as an inconvenience. It’s just—contrasted with his blissful mornings at the center of everything, these cries hurt, there was anguish in them. He began work right away.
Things started simply enough. Putting out a building fire in Spain. Stopping a bombing in London. Isaac got the chance to travel to Greenland for the first time, as he helped a group of scientists who were stranded. Around noon Isaac was hungry and had just met with Congress about a healthcare bill. Isaac was considered by many to be political but he absolutely abhorred formal meetings. Tried his best to help the country not drag its feet on certain policies. He wanted—needed—to do more today but he was already tired. All the power of a forming galaxy and yet, the mental capacity sometimes of a middle-aged man with a bad back. Oxymoron. It was truly becoming Isaac’s favorite word.
After lunch, he decided to take his mask off, and walk down the streets of his city. As he walked down the street, of course people greeted him, wanted pictures, the usual. Some despised him. Isaac could feel their hatred. It radiated from their eyes and burrowed into his purple suit. Isaac decided to go to his business to see how things were going.
Science Supreme, an educational program he developed nearly eight years ago now. And it had been four years since he became Mystic Man. Science Supreme started innocently enough, most news stations and pundits championed him as a Bill Nye from the hood. He resented that of course. In time though, and with the influence of his Mystic Man persona, Science Supreme was much more than a ghetto educational program. It had become a leader in innovation and development. STEM labs, research facilities of the highest quality, classes for young adults and adults, and tech specialists from around the world came to work at Science Supreme. And of course, there was still the educational program. Isaac didn’t have the time to run it himself nowadays. So he passed it down to a woman named Ashley. A good friend, a talented computer scientist, and someone he met right before he became Mystic Man.
Isaac walked into the Science Supreme building. Still on his street, right across from his home. He was forced to expand so he bought the two buildings next to Science Supreme giving the money to the business owners, enough for them to retire. He looked around the building and saw Ashley doing the show, the kids staring at her with awe.
Their infatuation didn’t last long though. One kid saw him enter the room and screamed at the top of his lungs.
The other children noticed him and the broadcast was cut short. They ran over to him and all began talking at the same time. One girl was pulling on his cape, playing hide and seek. Isaac talked to each and every one of them, then made his way over to Ashley.
“Sorry to ruin your moment,” Isaac said.
“It’s totally fine. What brings you around?” Ashley asked.
“Nothing, just wanted some fresh air.”
“Wanna do me a favor?” she asked.
Ashley pointed to a little boy over in the corner of the room. He was clearly upset and wasn’t having a good time. That rarely happened here. All of the other children were running around the lab, playing with the inventions, having the time of their lives. While the boy just sat there.
“He’s been getting picked on,” Ashley said. “Don’t really know why. And his parents don’t come around much either. Just drop him off. Don’t take any interest in what’s going on here.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
It didn’t matter where Isaac was, or what he was doing, the world screamed. Some days were louder than others, and sometimes it was faint. But without fail, he could hear it. Other worlds too. One in particularly was in his mind as he approached that boy. And Isaac had to get it out of his mind. Had to focus. This is what he needed to do right now. This was important.
As he approached the boy and smiled, the boy just looked up at him. No joy, no excitement, nothing. Isaac sat down slowly.
“How’s it going, little man?”
“Heard you aren’t having a good time today. What’s wrong?”
Isaac stood up, stared at the boy for a moment before talking again.
“Where’s your parents?” Isaac asked.
That got the boy’s attention. He couldn’t have been older than six, maybe seven. He was black and had a cute afro that reminded Isaac of himself as a child. Still though, the boy didn’t respond.
“I see,” Isaac said sitting back down. “Do you know when they’re coming back?”
The little boy shook his head no. Isaac noticed that he’d been crying. That he was about to start again. Isaac put his hand on the boy’s chin.
“Hey, hey. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. What’s your name?”
“J—Jalen,” the boy struggled to say.
“That’s a pretty cool name. Tell me Jalen, do you like it here?”
The boy looked up at the kids running around the lab. Isaac followed his gaze. He saw the ones that had been giving young Jalen problems. They were messing with other kids too.
“I’m not talking about them,” Isaac said. “Do you like it here?”
“Yes. My school doesn’t have anything like this.”
“Most don’t. And most don’t have this.”
Isaac took a pen from one of his pouches. It was dark purple and see through. The purple ink glistened a bit whenever it hit the light. Jalen looked at it, fascinated every time Isaac turned it any direction.
“See, you won’t find this in here. All the stuff they’re playing with, anyone can play with. But this, this is a special pen. It’s my pen.”
“Yup. You can have it if you want.”
That prompted a smile from Jalen. The wide smile of a child, mind filled with imagination and endless possibilities. Isaac handed him the pen.
“Why are those boys bothering you?” Isaac asked.
Jalen put his head down.
“You can tell me, son. I promise.”
“They’re just mean,” Jalen said. “They mess with everybody.”
“I see. Well, you tell them that the next time they mess with you, that they can’t. Because you’re Mystic Man’s friend.”
Isaac gestured for Jalen to click the pen. Jalen did and a small amount of purple smoke came from the pen. Followed by a floating image of Mystic Man flying through the sky and punching villains. The program was designed to adapt to Isaac’s brain so he focused again and it changed to not Isaac, but Jalen this time in the air, striking villains. Jalen yelped with joy as he saw himself coming out of the pen.
“This pen,” Isaac said. “It connects us. I’ll always be with you, son. And if anyone takes it, I’ll know.”
Jalen was crying again, but he was smiling too. He ran into Isaac’s stomach with all of his might, hugging him, squeezing him. Isaac bent down on one knee.
“Never let other people get you down. Life’s all about fun and being who you are. I hope this pen helps you remember that. Can you remember that for me, Jalen?”
“Yes, sir.” Jalen said with pride.
“Good. Now go over there and show it off. And we’re remember, be yourself.”
Jalen skipped off to join the other kids. They envied the pen and Jalen let some of them even touch it. When the two bullies approached Jalen, Isaac noticed that Jalen spoke with confidence, with pride. And he pointed to Isaac after he finished talking. Isaac simply waved at the bullies, and they went on their way.
“You’re really good with kids,” Ashley said behind him.
“I love ‘em,” Isaac said. “They’re the reason for all of this.”
“Maybe you should come back to do the show,” she said.
“You know I can’t.”
“I know. It was nice seeing you though.”
Isaac teleported to where he assumed was the center of everything. He didn’t like coming here in the middle of the day, but this was a special occasion.
Throughout his time as Mystic Man, Isaac had made many friends, given gifts to children, adults, and elders all over the world. From school children in San Francisco to construction workers in New Zealand. Everyone needed a little help sometimes, a pep talk of sorts, and Isaac didn’t have anything else to do but help people, so that’s what he did. And every time, every single time he made a new friend he traveled back here, to the center.
He traveled here to test himself. To see if he could feel the new presence in his heart. The new friend he just made. Isaac didn’t know what it would mean if he couldn’t. But as he sat there, listening to the galaxies being birthed, the worlds struggling for power, the leaders of the universe in constant turmoil, he heard it. Laughter. And as he listened closer, he realized it Jalen’s laughter. At home, with his parents, showing them the pen. Isaac smiled before teleporting above New York where a plane needed an emergency landing. He flew up to where the plane was. He could see the pilots and they could see him. He projected his thoughts, so they could hear every word.
“My name’s Mystic Man. Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay.”