Derrick never cared if he lived or died, how strange that he fought so fiercely against the Shroud as if life was worth living. He was twelve when his gift awakened and he lived on a reservation in Nevada. Neither of his parents were Gifted so when he approached his father about his new found ability they didn’t know if they could believe him. An older boy stopped him on the way home from school to relieve Derrick of any money that he might have left. The boy was much bigger, but Derrick didn’t back down from the bully. So when Derrick declined to give the bully any money, the bully decided to punch him in the face. But as the bully punched time seemed to slow down, pressure points lit up all over his body constantly shifting and slightly changing as the bully moved. Derrick stared on in amazement, kill spots, areas that could knock the bully unconscious, or merely slow him down were all to see for him. Kill spots showed up in a red glowing energy, non lethal spots that could subdue the bully showed up in blue energy. Derricks mind instantly fed him the data on how fast or slow, or what angle was needed to properly execute the technique. What was more amazing was once Derrick chose to side step and strike the side of the bully’s neck he did it with amazing speed and control, something he never had before. He easily toppled the bully with one strike rendering him unconscious. Even as he ran home he did it without loosing his breath, his lungs felt filled with limitless amounts of air, his legs felt like mechanical springs pushing him forward with incredible speed. That was ten years ago, and if he was dangerous then he was truly lethal now after his many years of training at a sanctuary. His gift was called the Warrior, it was uncommon only showing up in a small handful of Gifted ones per lifetime. Not only did Derrick have speed and the other mentioned abilities but he also had strength. This made him very formidable, and he knew it. When the word spread that the Shroud had new soldiers that were killing the Gifted Derrick didn’t head to sanctuary he went out in search of the Seekers, to fight them. So far his journey had been fruitless he had yet to cross paths with a Seeker. He had trekked many states by foot hearing tales of the Seekers but could still find none. His travels eventually led him to Colorado, he heard that a large concentration of Seekers had been spotted there. He’d been in Colorado for close to a week now and was disappointed that he found nothing. Walking along the side of a two lane country road his mind was constantly thinking about where he would find the elusive Seeker. He wasn’t a big man but he was tall standing at six foot four inches, and his shoulders were broad for such a thin man, to know what he could do was deceptive to say the least. He looked nothing like a man who knew how to fight. His hair wasn’t very long only about close to his shoulders. His skin was light brown and his face smooth showing no signs that facial hair had even grown there yet. He wore a white tee shirt and a pair of blue jeans and cowboy boots. He had a one strap back pack hanging off the back side of his shoulder. Casually walking down the road he looked up seeing formations of clouds above, he sniffed the air. “It’s gonna rain” He said under his breath. It was a nice warm day but he didn’t feel like walking around in wet clothes until they dried. It was all flat land around him with very little shelter, the forest was many miles back and he wasn’t going to back track just to avoid rainfall. Tarik was driving along the road, up on his right he noticed that someone was walking, he had no concern to stop until he came nearer seeing that Derrick was one of the Gifted. He slowed rolling the passenger side window down. Derrick looked over suspiciously. “You need a ride brother?” Tarik asked.
“No man decides to stop and help someone out unless it a pretty lady, or maybe you’re gay. I don’t have a problem with that but no thanks I’m fine walking”
“I’m not gay, and you’re not pretty enough” Tarik responded. “Was just trying to help out one of my brothers” The rain started to fall, Derrick looked up at the falling rain annoyed then at Tarik, he stared at him a moment then the realization hit him.
“You’re one of the Gifted aren’t you?”
“How many hints did you need? Now get in before I change my mind, I don’t want the seats soaking wet”
Derrick smiled and opened the door then got in the van tossing his back pack onto the floor behind his seat. Tarik sped up as the rain started to fall harder, he couldn’t help thinking about Maria, maybe it was her doing, maybe not. He realized that from now on whenever it rained he could never resist thinking about her.
“You’re headed away from sanctuary?” Derrick said interrupting Tarik’s private moment. “Or was your time there up and the Judge kicked you out?”
Tarik could tell that Derrick had some hostility toward the Judges. “I took a few of our brothers and sisters to sanctuary, I had no plan on staying” Tarik couldn’t mask his own distaste, Derrick picked up on that.
“So you helped some of the Gifted to safety? That is commendable! I too am looking to help our brothers by hunting the ones that hunt us!”
“Oh…?” Tarik said with a raised brow, he kept his eyes on the road. Derrick took that as a sign of not believing, or not concerned.
“Yes!” He said it in a way to show Tarik he was serious. “I was inspired by the Shroud Hunter! While others cower and flee he took the fight to them!” Derrick said acting all invigorated by his words.
“So you’re wanting to be the next Shroud Hunter? You could be considered an outcast, or maybe even called a half light!You sure you’re up for that?”
Derrick looked at Tarik with determination. “To be a Shroud Hunter doesn’t mean you have to break spiritual law. They…”
“Are set in place for a reason. Yea I got the memo” Tarik responded. “You just never know what may be required for the task though” He tilted his head looking over at Derrick, he decided to change the subject and shift the energy to something different. “My names Tarik” He said.
“I’m Derrick”
“Derrick? Sounds like a black guys name, you don’t look black though” Tarik said laughing.
“I’m Washoe, my people live in Nevada”
“You sound like a human”. Tarik jested.
“What? How do you mean?”
“I’m Washoe, my people live in Nevada” Tarik mocked. “Your people are of the gifted fold, not humans”
“You are black, don’t you identify with black people?” Derrick asked.
“I live my life as a nomad, that resembles my people the gifted. Some are black, some are white, some are Asians and so on”
“But the world, they view you as a black man” Derrick said with conviction.
“I’m not trying to get caught up in all of that. I mean I used to when I was younger, but a dear friend got my mind on the right track. I’m just too busy surviving to care about human affairs and what they think about the color of my skin!”
Derrick sat back in his seat in contemplation. “I am proud to be Washoe there is nothing wrong with that!” He said firmly. Tarik raised his brow showing that he disagreed but said nothing, but it was enough to get under Derricks skin. “What’s wrong with being proud?” Derrick said.
“When settlers first came to America they were proud. Too proud to do their own work so why not have someone else do it for them, and for free? So slaves from Africa were brought over because of pride. I mean sure it gets much deeper than that but you get my point. Hitler was proud too, look what happened to the Jews. Native Americans lost their land because of New World pride. The humans have Gay pride, black people have Black pride, white people have white pride, well hell they’re all a bunch of proud mother fuckers! But what they don’t get is that pride makes them not see that they’re fucking each other over because well…. They’re so damn proud of their own they tend to look down on the other guy! Everyone wants to talk about getting fucked over, but no one cares when they’re the ones doing the fucking over”
Derrick lowered his head honestly thinking about what Tarik said. “I see what you’re saying, maybe some day I will change my views on this subject”
“If you say maybe it means you won’t, but hey it doesn’t affect me brother” Tarik replied. Again Tarik’s passive aggressive behavior bothered Derrick, but he found that if didn’t anger him, if anything it made him wonder about his own behavior and if Tarik’s subtle hints were justified.
“Were are you headed?” Derrick asked, Tarik took a moment to answer, he wanted to make sure he didn’t give away who he was. He thought for sure Derrick wouldn’t take kindly if he knew he was driving with a half light. Derrick seemed to beat to a different drum, he didn’t seem like most Gifted. Tarik didn’t think Derrick would ever break Spirtual law to get the job done, he acted like it was some code of honor. But he didn’t seem too snobby either. “Don’t know yet, right now I’m just driving. You’re welcome to hang until my path takes me another direction” Tarik answered. Derrick had a look of uncertainty being confused by what Tarik just said.
“So what you’re saying is you don’t know where you’re going, and that you’re just letting things happen and that’s what determines where you go next?” Derrick asked. It was Tarik’s turn to feel unsure. He reached down turning on the radio.
-Let’s take it back to seventy four, with a little Pilot. It’s magic time folks on 103.4 the best of the sixties, seventies, and eighties! Enjoy- said the radio personality. As soon as the song started Tarik knew it all too well, his father would play it on the portable tape player that he had and they would dance around the room singing it. It was a good memory that put Tarik in a good mood.
“Pretty much…” Was his answer to Derricks question. He cranked up the radio tapping his finger on the steering wheel as they drove down the road while he hummed the tune.