His heart pounded as he stood in front of the class to give his dreaded book report. Louis Steel was a scrawny kid of 10 years old that seemed more like 8 than 10. He was an avid reader, so reading a book wasn’t scary, it was having to talk in front of a crowd that made him shake in this worn out boots. As he got up the courage to speak, his voice cracked causing his classmates to laugh and make fun of him. His teacher had lost patience with his stalling, and told him, “It’s now or never, Louis. It’s pretty clear that you are unprepared today.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. Louis had spent more time than he cared to admit putting his thoughts together for this report. He lost his courage and took his seat. Only to find that one of his classmates had placed a wad of gum to his chair and now his only pair of jeans were stuck tight when he sat down. As the bell rang, Louis stood up only to hear more laughter about the gum he couldn’t see stuck to the back of his pants. He was sure that someone had put a kick me sign on his back with the way people were pointing and staring at his back side, but he couldn’t see anything when he looked over his shoulder again and again.
It wasn’t until he got home from school and sat down on his grandmother’s couch that he realized what all the laughter was about. The gum stuck to his grandma’s velvet couch and would not come off. His grandmother had been his guardian every since he was abandoned by his father after his mother died in child birth with him. His grandmother was stern and always blamed Louis for her daughter’s death. “Louis, you are more trouble than you are worth,” she said while taking a wooden spoon out of the utensil drawer. She proceeded to swat his gum covered backside until the wooden spoon broke. “Well, you better see about getting a job so you can pay to have the couch repaired.” And with that, his grandmother pushed him out the front door and locked it behind him.
His grandmother’s home wasn’t exactly in a safe part of town and he feared his neighborhood more than his grandmother’s temper. He didn’t know where he would find a job as a 10 year old, so he set out to collect discarded cans for recycling. He took off his hoodie to collect the cans and was making good progress until he felt like he was being followed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw an ominous figure in the shadows. He started walking faster, cans falling from his sweatshirt making it hard for him to go unnoticed and to disappear. Before he knew it, someone grabbed his hoodie and slammed him to the ground.
Standing above him was what only could have been described as an Epic, snarling and staring him down. Louis felt his heart beating out of his chest. If it was possible to die from fright, Louis was sure he was a goner. He made himself a promise then and there that if he were to survive this moment, that no one would ever push him around again. That one day people would fear him like he feared the world around him. So he got up his courage and did the one thing he had never done before, he fought back. The Epic, was interested in this tiny boy and his will to survive. He decided to take Louis Steel and his fears under wing…