Previously: A Good Idea, Part Two
Every weekday morning, Sky Prince rode in an elevator down from the Eyrie to a white-tiled air-conditioned lobby near the center of the earth. Except for the slightly janky gravity, it could have been any waiting room, anywhere: soothing music, fluorescent lights, a row of thirteen modernist plastic chairs bolted to the concrete floor. But he never had to wait. Across the way, on the opposite wall, another elevator always stood open for him. He was the only one who ever passed through here. His dad had made this place for him.
His dad used to fly him to school. He would ride on his dad’s shoulders. But it became embarrassing for the boy, after a point, to have to explain to his friends that he couldn’t, himself, yet, fly. He had almost none of his dad’s powers. The only power he had was the ability to peer into another person’s soul with his third eye, and that power always got him into trouble. That wasn’t really a power so much as a way to seem rude, he figured.
This morning, Sky Prince found a dead body in the elevator lobby, one of his own past bodies, flat on its face, in a pool of black blood. Just worn out. They do that. He stepped over it. He would have to remember to tell his dad to clean it up. He felt sorry for himself, that he had had to see that.
He arrived early to school. His elevator opened in the basement, to the smell of wet cardboard and cleaning supplies. He went upstairs via the emergency stairwell, taking the steps three at a time. He walked around, looking into the classrooms. He saw a few teachers bent over their lesson plans. Some of them looked up and waved at him. Some of them, pointedly, did not. He enjoyed both responses. They made him feel like a boss. They made him feel he owned the place. As son of Sky Lord, the most powerful and respected Crimebuster who ever lived, as the son of the man who had, after all, designed the school, he figured that he — well, yeah, kind of — did own the place.
He went to the first floor boy’s room. He had markers in his back pants pocket. He wrote on the wall: Sky Prince Sucks. He marked that out, inefficiently, so that it could still be read, then wrote, with a different-colored marker, in bigger, more jagged letters, Sky Prince Rocks beside and across it. He believed in cultivating an air of controversy. It was important, he felt, to make people think about him. To make people think, whenever they thought about him, that other people were thinking about him, too. He had learned this from his dad. He went to the second floor boy’s room. Sky Prince Loves Lady Dogface he wrote. He went to the third floor boy’s room. Desmond Touché was here. He went to the fourth floor boy’s room. Who is Desmond Touché? he wrote.
Crimebuster High had seventy-two floors. Not all of them, though, thankfully, had boy’s rooms.
Next: Who Is Desmond Touché?