Adventure of a Lifetime
Part I: Road Trip
“Caroline, hurry up, it’s time to go!” My mom yelled from downstairs, loud enough for me to understand despite my hearing loss, as I finished braiding my hair. Over the last few years, I’d let it grow out and it now reached my waist.
After nearly a year of begging and arguing, my mom had let me put in an application for Ravenhold, the world’s finest superhero school. Although I think she’d only let me so I would stop, she hadn’t ever expected for me to be accepted.
“Almost done, just a minute.” I yelled back.
I took one last look in the mirror and decided I looked great. I made one last check up on my tuck and found it all secure.
Once that was done, I picked up my personal bag, an old leather messenger bag that had once belong to my mom as a kid — I’d always preferred it over purses — and I went downstairs. I didn’t get two steps on the ground floor that Holly, my very own pygmy goat, decided to lovingly headbutt my hip.
“Hey girl.” I said, rubbing her head with my hand or really she rubbed her head on it.“Listen, I’m going to be gone for a while, so you’re going to have to be a good girl to my mommy, okay?”
In answer, she rubbed her head against my belly and let out a “Naaaa.”
“Caroline?” My mom asked from past the open door.
“Yes mom, I’m just saying goodbye to Holly!”
I wrapped my arms around her tiny body and squeezed her tight before kissing her head. “I’ll miss you girl.”
I got up and went out the door, Holly following me outside. There I found my mom by the car, carrying the last of my stuff into the family SUV. My mom wasn’t too terribly fond of them, but they were the only car big enough for her to be comfortable in as she stood at an impressive eight feet two inches and over three hundred pounds of muscles. Which was a trait I hadn’t inherited from her with my whooping five foot two, weighing barely over a hundred pound when wet.
Although the both of us were mutants, I hadn’t inherited her abilities; super strength and bottomless endurance. She hadn’t slept since she was eight, which came in handy when you were a single mom running a farm with your ageing parents.
Instead a few weeks after my tenth birthday, I’d began feeling and controlling water with my mind. Which was kind of odd, although it might have been something I’d inherited from my father. I’d never met the man and my mom had always been evasive about him. All I knew was that they’d met in college and he was a mutant too.
“Is everything set?” I asked.
“Almost.” She did a check up on the car; oil, fuel and everything. We’d be driving all day so she wanted to make sure everything would go smoothly lest I be late.
“You know, I could have just taken the bus.”
“No way I’m letting go of you like that. I’m keeping you by my side until the last moment possible.” She said, hugging me with one arm.
We hopped into the car but my mom didn’t quite start the engine yet. Holly headbutt the door, but thankfully my grandpa took her and brought her back to the shed with the other animals.
“So, I talked with the Ravenhold administration, they’ve said they would ensure your identity is respected and told me they assigned you to room with another girl.” She said, turning toward me. “Although they didn’t specify if she was like you.”
“That’s good.” I answered.
Being trans, the start of a new school year was always a big source of anxiety. It was almost like a game; Flip a coin; head your teachers are cool, tail they hate you and think you’re somehow the source of all woes in america.
Mom also took the time to mention that the academy had a dedicated cyber mechanic for my leg. Being born without a lower left leg hadn’t been fun. I’d juggled different prosthesis through my life until two years ago, after a year and a half of saving up for it, my mother had paid for me to get chromed.
Cybernetics weren’t all they were hyped up to be; recovery was long and slow, it had taken me the better part of a year to learn how to move it and be able to walk without support. They were also easy to damage and had to be maintained weekly and in the winter it could get so cold it made my whole leg hurt… Still I could walk, I could run and people didn’t stare anymore…
“Are you sure you’re sure about this?” My mom asked.
“Mom, I’m going to be fine.” I answered. “Beside, I’m more worried about you, are you going to be alright without me pestering you all the time?”
“I think I’ll manage.”
She started the car with a heavy heart and our six hour road trip all the way from Massachusetts to Maine began.
As we drove, I took every stop as an opportunity to take pictures of signs, the road and cool places. My mom had bought me a camera for last Christmas and I hadn’t put it down ever since.
My mom even indulged me a few times stopping by the wayside to take a few snapshots. It might have been silly but I had decided to start a blog about my adventure as a superhero; a little photo memoir.
Six hours later, we found ourselves at the spot. Priest island on which Ravenhold was located didn’t have a bridge that lead to it so instead boats, ferry and planes were the only way to get to it. The ferry actually serviced a handful of islands on a round trip and so came back roughly every six hours, making three trips a day.
Thankfully there was a restaurant slash truckstop slash motel right by the ferry station. .
“There’s still an hour until the ferry’s here.” My mom said, getting out of the car. “Want to get something to eat?”
“Heck yeah, I’m starving.”
We went in and got some burgers and fries before sitting down outside to eat. The restaurant had this elevated terrace that overlooked the water and from our spot the view of the bay was amazing; clear blue waters that reflected the pink colored clouds. In the distance we could see the different isles that populated its waters. Priest island was easy to find; it wasn’t huge but Blue mountain and its foggy slopes stood out among the rest of the landscape. I took my camera out and snapped a few shots.
“We’re almost there, uh?” My mom said, sighing. She didn’t look like it, but I knew she was happy for me, even if she was conflicted about losing her baby girl.
“Yeah.” I zoomed in as much as I could but couldn’t find anything of interest beyond the old lighthouse. Ravenhold and Havenport were on the other side of the island and fog covered the ruined monastery on the slopes of blue mountain.
“Caroline?” My she said, her voice weaker than usual. “There’s something you should know…” She continued after a moment of silence. “It’s about your father.”
The words surprised me. I put down my camera and looked at her.
“After a few days short of fourteen years of silence, you’re bringing him up now?”
“There’s a reason that I’ve always avoided speaking of your dad. I didn’t want you to try and seek him out, but now I guess it’s a little too late…”
“It’s kind of a long story; his name was David LaCaille and I met him at a club while I was in college. We never really had a relationship, it was just a streak of casual hookups. He was amazing; smart, handsome, charming and above all he lead an exciting life…”
“Mom, you’re stalling.”
“David was a supervillain and even after all these years, he still is.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“I wish I was… But no, I was young and exceptionally stupid. He caught my attention like moth to a flame and I even considered joining his gang.”
“But you didn’t?”
“I didn’t have to chance to decide; David left town one night, he sent me a postcard explaining why and apologizing. Life went on and a few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant with you. I came home and never saw him outside of the news.”
“I see… What’s his cape name?”
“Chat Noir.” She said. “He’s french.” She then explained. “Now that you’re joining the business, I don’t really see a reason to keep it away from you anymore.”
“Is that why you were so apprehensive about me joining Ravenhold?”
“Part of it, yes. But I don’t want you to get hurt, it’s a dangerous world Caroline and you’ve been my life for the past decade and a half. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to you.”
“Mom, I’ll be alright. I’ll have an entire team to protect me.”
“I know, but I can’t help but be terrified for you. You’re not one of the indestructible type and you’re such a sweet girl, I don’t want this life to break you.”
“I won’t let it.”
I got up and hugged her for several long minutes as she just took in my presence, knowing that for the first time in my life, we’d be miles apart for weeks, if not months, at a time.
A large bell rang, indicating the ferry was taking passengers. Two large long distance busses had parked by the terminal, filled with teens; my future classmates in them.
“I think that’s our cue.” I said.
“Ready for adventure?”