The Chosen: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Ten Years Ago…

The line for entrance into L was so far down the street that Brayden Van Pelt couldn’t quite see where it ended anymore. Not that it mattered to him; most of the wannabes in line for the opening night of Miami’s newest hot spot were never going to get anywhere near inside. They could stand out there all night in the new clothes they probably took out a loan for. L was for the elite of the city’s nightlife. It was owned by Percival, the decade’s biggest dance and pop star. Simply put, L wasn’t for everyone.

Fortunately, Brayden knew he wasn’t everyone. His name had been getting him into clubs since he was 17. He wasn’t one of these people out here who just showed up and hoped he would be let in out of the goodness of someone’s heart. He belonged here. The people inside the club, they were his kind. They were the ones he’d been partying with his whole life. He couldn’t wait to get inside and get some selfies showing off how much better than his followers he was.

He looked at the object on his arm. She was wearing a glittery red number for the occasion. What was her name again? He couldn’t remember; he got her number from his Russian History tutor. She was the tutor’s sister or cousin or something like that. Maybe niece? Whatever. Getting together with her was an easy enough text: “Hey its Brayden Van Pelt I work with Danny. He said u wanted to check out L this wknd wanna go?”. The answer was yes. The answer was always yes. Who turns stuff like that down?

She slipped her vape back into her clutch as they approached the entrance, and she noticed him looking her up and down and gave him a smile. Nice white teeth, he noticed; clearly she used those strip things. He liked girls who took care of themselves like that. He nodded at her and flexed his lower lip a bit, then turned his eyes back to the front of the line. Another group of losers sent packing by the doorman; why did people like that even bother showing up? Two of them were laughing about it, but the third buddy was shaking his head at the bouncer. Pathetic. What was that gonna do? Just fucking go home or to someplace for your own kind, Brayden thought with a snort. The three dorks walked back past the line with others laughing and shouting at them as they went.

 Coming up on their turn with the doorman, Brayden saw him checking the IDs of the next people up and then scrolling through his tablet to match the names. He checked their IDs a second time, then went back to his device. The girl withBrayden said something, but he barely registered it. “Yeah, we’re good,” he responded. Whatever she said, that was probably enough. In front of them, after all the ID checking, the couple were let in. 

Brayden stepped up to the bouncer and positioned himself so that half of his body was already across the Check ID sign.

“All right my man, who we got? Hey, lookin’ good, little lady!”

She responded with a thanks, then Brayden smiled with just the right side—the better side—of his mouth. “Brayden Van Pelt.” He shrugged a bit and added for good measure,” Of the Dade County Van Pelts”. 

“Oh shit! Brayden Van Pelt Of The Dade County Van Pelts,” the doorman laughed. “Let’s see if you also Brayden Van Pelt Of The L Admission List”. 

He started moving his finger across the screen of his device before Brayden had to reach out to stop him. “No, I’m sorry. I mean… my dad is Ashley Van Pelt.” 

“You mean your mom?”

Brayden clenched his left first, causing his girl to drop his arm. “No, my dad, that’s his… look, do you have a boss or anything here? This is crazy. I’ve never had to explain this to one of you before.”

“One of…?” The bouncer stood up from his stool and pushed himself between the sign and Brayden, edging Brayden back just a bit. “One of who now?”

Brayden pulled out his wallet and put up his hands as a sign of respect. “Hey hey, I just mean… I guess you are new around here is all, my guy. My dad owns half the real estate in Miami—”

“He own L?”

Brayden’s mouth made a clicking noise as the man between him and the club cut off his thought. “I’m pretty sure he owns the ground this place is sitting—”

“So he don’t own L is what you’re telling me? Cause I’m pretty sure Percival owns L, and you don’t look like Percival’s kid.”

“Like I said… do you have a boss or—”

“If you are not getting in, get the hell out of line,” someone yelled from behind Brayden.

He winced at someone not knowing their place. “I’m getting in, just shut—”

“Oh, are you?” The bouncer demanded as he took another step towards Brayden, forcing him to surrender even more space near the door. “Look Bradley Van Snot or whatever, you don’t talk to a boss. I’m all the boss you got. I’m the boss of who gets into L tonight. And you’re not getting in if you’re not on the list.”

“I’m on the list. I’m on every list. I’m Brayden—”

Before he could finish his name that time, he heard a round of booing come from behind him in the line. He spun to tell them shut up, but right as he came around to facing them, something smacked him in the forehead. He watched the empty gum packet fall the sidewalk; the idiots previously booing suddenly let out a cheer.

“Will someone let me finish a fucking sentence, God damn!” he shouted, still staring at the trash that had pelted him. This brought the jeers back.

“That was your sentence. You done now? You’re done now. Get the hell out of my line.”

The bouncer had taken what seemed to be several steps forward, and he pushed his body against Brayden’s, boxing him out of the line to L. Brayden muttered several unkind words under his breath, but if the man heard them, he gave no sign of it. Brayden threw up his hands.

“All right, man, all right! I’m going! Quit shoving me back already!”

“Baby, I’m sorry he put you through all that. There’s always room inside for a fine woman like yourself.”


Brayden noticed the doorman stepping aside to give his date room to enter the club if she wanted. This, too, prodded a cheer from the rest of the line. Brayden heard one guy in line call out to her that he’d buy her first drink in a minute after he got in. 

She looked at the doorman and then back to Brayden before giving him a half-hearted shrug. She didn’t even have the decency to say anything else before she walked through the doors. The bouncer shot Brayden a proud look, then called up the next group in line as he settled back onto his stool. Brayden stood there but couldn’t even come up with something to say. None of it felt real. The people who had been behind him in line moved up and pulled out their IDs. 

A group of haters from in the line started singing at him, that annoying “Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye” piece of shit song. Brayden flipped them off but had little left in him besides that gesture. He’d never—not once, not ever in his life—been told he couldn’t get into a club. For years before was legal, he was getting into any place he wanted! Then all of the sudden one uppity bouncer who didn’t know shit about Miami royalty decided to treat him like that. For what? A stupid list? 

Brayden decided to take the long way around Humboldt Street back to the valet station so he didn’t have to walk past any more of the jerks in the line who were treating him like he was one of… one of them! His entire body felt like a furnace. He could feel warm moisture gathering under his armpits. He wondered if that was what humiliation felt like.

He tried to think of what he could do when he got home. Well first, he would tell Danny that his sister or whatever was a slut. He couldn’t believe she went in without him. Fucking whore. Then he’d see if his dad actually did own the property they built L on. Maybe he could get it condemned or something…?

He had never had to consider such measures before, and the pumping music from inside L made it hard for him to concentrate. Each time the music pounded, it felt like that bouncer with the giant gut bodying him out away from the door. His heart started pumping in rhythm with the beat; it felt like it was struggling against his own rib cage.

Brayden lashed out at that moment; the music, the heat building inside of him, the thoughts of those assholes in line mocking him. He pushed it all down into his fist and slammed that into the side of the building. There was no intent to it all; he just had no other way to vent what was eating him up inside.

The resulting explosion of the club and much of the surrounding city blocks left hundreds dead and dominated the news cycle for months. It would thereafter be forever known as the first occurrence of a Genetically Altered Person using his powers.

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