This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This story is copyrighted by Parker Sheaffer, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
Simon's life had certainly improved. He was happy, especially when at times he felt the call of the Green Man and knew he was being directed to act. There was no sense of being commanded or forced, he was being given opportunities to do good and he heeded those opportunities gladly.
He didn't know what the words meant or just where they came from. There wasn't a voice in his head, it was more of a feeling. The words felt as if someone else was saying them, using his mouth and the results were so gratifying that he felt rewarded by seeing the happiness he caused in others.
Simon was not afraid of his new powers because he knew that the Green Man would help keep him from doing wrong. He listened more and more to that inner guide and he began to wander the neighborhood sometimes during the day and occasionally in the early evenings. His parents were a little worried by his excursions, but they knew it was a safe neighborhood and he reassured them that he was being careful. The early days of summer were passing and each day Simon enjoyed his new life more and more.
One afternoon as he walked down the sidewalk he stopped to look at how the sun shining through the leaves overhead made beautiful dancing patterns on the concrete and it reminded him of a certain beautiful forest. Then Simon heard a soft whimper, then a sob, coming from behind the hedge beside him. He stopped and listened and heard it again. Without hesitation he pushed through the thick tangle of branches and leaves. Magically they seemed to soften and part so he could pass through. He found a little girl, about five-years-old sitting on the ground and cradling one arm in her lap. Her face was hidden by her long, dark hair.
"Are you alright?" Simon asked. The girl looked at him, obviously in great pain, and began to sob. She was a pretty child with deep brown eyes and long lashes. By the way she cradled her arm he knew instinctively that it was broken. As he knelt and touched her shoulder to reassure her he had a flash of vision, an image in his mind of a tall angry man with a stick raised to strike a woman and small girl who crouched defensively before him. Simon knew then how her arm got broken and it was up to him to make things right.
"What's your name?"
He put his arm tenderly around her and told her it would all be okay and that he would help her. "Where's your mommy, Sara?" he asked.
"She's sick. She's in bed."
"Did he hurt her?"
"Do you want him to go away?"
"Yes. I wish he would go away and leave us alone. He hurts us all the time. I didn't do nothing. Why did he hurt me?"
"It will be okay now. He won't hurt you any more. Okay?"
She looked at him trustingly and nodded.
Simon looked at the house and whispered, "Eundevate! Komnishcrepe! Fala pien omneopus vitt!" Someone in the house behind them suddenly screamed loudly. The front door slammed open and a man came running out crying, "My arm, my arm! Oh God it hurts! Somebody help me." The way he clutched his arm it was plain to see that it was now broken. Simon gave him a grave stare and said, "Quiempo".
The man stopped running and screamed, "I'm blind. I can't see. Help me, somebody help me." He stumbled down the steps and fell to the ground. The impact as he landed on his arm made him scream louder. As people came running to see what was wrong Simon looked down at the girl and said, "How does your arm feel now?"
"It don't hurt no more," she said in amazement as she moved the healed limb. "Did you fix me?"
He nodded and said, "You will be alright now. He'll never hurt you again. Go find your mommy, okay?"
"'Kay, thanks mister."
Simon laughed at being called mister. He was still only seven.
The police investigation uncovered the incidences of abuse and the man was taken away for good. The girl and her mother moved away to live with an aunt who would help them to get back on their feet and help Sara to be happy again.
Several more incidents happened in the neighborhood. One day he discovered three teenaged boys who were trying to set a dog on fire with lighter fluid and matches. One of them held the dog by the collar while another squirted the flammable liquid on it. They were all grinning, eager to see how fast the poor animal could run if it was on fire.
"I'll bet he'll leave a trail of smoke all the way down the street, said one boy.
"I still think we ought to stick a firecracker up its butt like we did that cat", said another one, "Man, did that thing ever jump and squeal when it went off."
The third boy had struck a match and was beginning to hold it up to the dog's saturated fur when the air was split by some loud snarls and barks. Three huge mastiffs came tearing around the corner of a nearby house and ran straight for the teenagers. The boys' faces went white and they turned to run, but they were not fast enough for the big dogs. Suddenly each of them had a ferocious set of fangs ripping at their rear ends, shredding their trousers and sinking into the tender flesh of their buttocks. The boy's frantic screams joined with the dogs snarls as they fled.
The poor animal they were mistreating came to Simon and licked his hand. Simon knelt and petted him for awhile and sent him home. Maybe his owner would give him a bath. Meanwhile, the other boys were far away but Simon could still hear them crying. The big dogs vanished as mysteriously as they had appeared and no one else had seen them so the only evidence that they were there was the deeps gashes on the boy's butts. They all required stitches and were not able to sit comfortably for more than a week. The worst thing for them was that, because the dogs could not be found, all three boys had to endure a full course of rabies shots, just to be certain.
A man moved into one of the older houses a couple of streets over from Simon's. Something about him didn't feel right to Simon so he began watching him whenever he could. At seven, Simon didn't know much about drugs, only what he had heard from other kids and from watching television, but he suspected that this man was involved with them.
Charles Lyndon lived down the block from Simon's family and Charles' family was not very well off. Their father had lost his job and they were having even more financial trouble lately. Ten-year-old Charles asked Simon one day if he wanted to try a pill that would make him feel really good. It only cost five dollars and he promised that Simon would love it. Simon turned him down and asked him why he was selling stuff like that. Charles said he needed the money and as he turned to leave Simon caught an image of the man who had given Charles the pills. It was the man he had been watching.
Simon went back to the man's house and waited for a bit. He soon saw the man drive away so he went to the back door and tried the knob. It wouldn't turn but a quick word was all it took to unlock it. The inside of the house was so filthy it reminded Simon of his former apartment. Just for a moment he felt a little sick as the memory washed over him. A touch of the amulet dispelled the dark feeling and he continued inside. Dirty dishes filled the sink and covered the counters in the kitchen. There was a general stink to the place.
The floors hadn't been cleaned in a long time and there was trash everywhere.
Entering a bedroom, Simon went unerringly to the closet where he lifted a loose board in the floor. There was a hiding place under it filled with little bags of pills and powders. There was also a lot of cash. Simon took everything from the hiding place and put the drugs on the coffee table in the living room. The cash he kept.
Before he left the house Simon placed a call to 911 from the man's phone.
"Help. A man is trying to make me take drugs. He's hurting me. Come quickly, please", he told the operator and hung up the phone. He was almost home when he heard the sirens and knew what would happen. The police would break down the door and find the drugs. The man would be arrested and sent to prison.
At home, Simon went to his bedroom and sat at his computer where he typed out a note that simply said, "Your neighbors have taken up a donation for you and your family. We hope this will help you." He printed out the anonymous message and wrapped it around the drug money. That evening he left the bundle on the front porch of the Lyndon home and rang the doorbell. He didn't have to stick around to see what happened.
It was dark one evening when Simon climbed out his bedroom window. Filled with the familiar sense that he was needed somewhere he slipped out into the darkness. Soon, patrolling a few blocks over, he heard the sound of glass breaking. He walked up the driveway of the house where the sound had come from and saw someone climbing through the window of the darkened home. A light came on upstairs and shortly he heard loud voices from inside.
More lights came on and Simon went to the porch and looked through the window. Sometimes he could visualize what was happening inside a house even from dozens of feet away, but sometimes he had to actually see it himself. Through the window he watched as two men with ski masks over their heads were pointing guns at a man and woman and three small kids who were all huddled on the floor by the wall. One of the men shouted, "Just give us the money. Now. Give it to us and nobody will get hurt."
The trembling man pleaded with the invader, "What money. I don't know what you mean. You've got the wrong house or something. There's no money here."
The nervous men pointed their guns at one of the children and threatened, "If you don't give it over now I'll shoot this damn kid, I swear it."
The children and the woman all began to cry and clutch at each other.
That was all Simon could take. He narrowed his eyes and in a contemptuous whisper said, "Insaledabiente formiolucus. Konsende!"
The hooded men froze for a moment and then all at once they both began to scream loudly. They dropped their guns and tore off their masks, their eyes wide with panic, and ran for the door. Still screaming in terror they raced down the street into the night.
Slipping back into the darkness Simon went home and heard on the news later that a couple of gang members had been found screaming hysterically about demons chasing them. They were sedated and taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The police had received the 911 call from the man and his wife so now they had a lot of things to charge the bad guys with and could put them away. They both would see some serious prison time if they ever got out of the mental hospital.
And so it went for Simon that summer and into the fall. He became a junior crime fighter and even gave himself a secret name like the guys in the comic books. He called himself Captain Justice and sought to protect those who needed it most, the kids.