Esper

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


The first actual chapter. The Prologue should be read to better understand the story.

Chapter 2 (v.2) - Echoed

Submitted: September 09, 2017

Reads: 342

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 09, 2017

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Esper Chapter 1: Echoed

 

Part 1

Nicolaus Thompson lackadaisically laid stretched out across his couch. He was barely even paying attention to the television that sat in front of him running the daily news.

“…The amber alert is still in effect…the missing child is 11-year-old Alexis Drummond…she was last seen…”

A smell of bacon and eggs filled the small three-room apartment, along with a slightly offbeat humming. Nicolaus’s eyes glazed over as he slowly entered a state of total apathy toward his surroundings.

“Nick…Nick!”

“Huh?” A shrill voice calling his name pulled him back to reality.

“Breakfast, dude! Come on.”

“…mmm…” The spiky haired, lethargic couch-potato remained motionless. As the television droned on, a slender pair of legs walked into frame obscuring his view.

“You’re going to ignore me?” Frustrated, the voice of a young woman prattled on digging at Nicolaus, just barely catching his attention. “I’m not going to move.”

Nicolaus looked up at the young woman with her black shoulder length hair billowing about as the fan blew down onto her head. He replied curtly. “I really do wish I could ignore you.”

“Rude! Guess what dude, I spent all morning cooking, so someone is going to eat it. Get off your ass, food’s ready.”

“Fine…fine.” Nicolaus got off the sofa and shuffled into the small kitchen. He sat at the kitchen table as the young woman placed a plate of bacon, eggs and sausages in front of him.

“Dig in!” She sat down opposite to Nicolaus as he scowled at her intensely.

“Dani, stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“You’re about to start smoking. You already have a cigarette in your mouth.”

“Oh!? I didn’t even notice.”

“Right…”

“Seriously! I really didn’t notice.”

“That’s called ‘addiction’.”

“Okay, I get it. But I’m an adult; I can smoke if I want.”

“Right, you’re an adult. You know, Mom and Laurence have been worried about you ever since you moved away.”

“Oh my god! Are we really starting this now?”

“We all just want to know why this is the first time we’ve heard from you in nearly 3 years.”

“Can’t a little sister worry about her big brother?”

“Sure; but you should call home occasionally. Mom calls me all the time asking if you’re mad at her or something.”

“Why are you getting so hostile out of nowhere? Look, I came here to check up on you. I was the first person on your emergency contacts list to pick up, remember? That means that I still have the same fucking phone number, which also means if anyone wanted to call me, they could’ve. The people at the hospital tell me that you’re involved in some crazy incident and a bunch of people died! So, I offer to watch you and make sure that you’re comfortable and safe; and this is the thanks I get?!”

“…I’m sorry…you’re right.”

“Wha…?”

“I’m sorry! It’s just…I’m sorry…I’m a little on edge lately.”

“Oh…ok.”

“…”

“Nick, you can talk to me about anything. I am your sister, so…”

“…Don’t worry about it.”

“No, seriously! If you want, vent!”

“Dani, I’m for real. Let’s just leave it at that for now. Plus, don’t you have to meet someone anyway?”

“How do you know about that?”

“I heard you on the phone last night.”

“Don’t eavesdrop; that’s rude. Also, he can wait. He’s always late anyway.” Dani muttered the last part, but Nicolaus still picked it up.

“Just go. It may do me some good to have some alone time.”

“No, I can cancel.”

“Are you kidding me? Now you’re making me feel like a child who needs to be watched. Go!”

“Fine. I should make it back here by three, so…”

“So, I’ll try and mellow out a bit by then.”

“Geez…look at the time. I should get going right now as a matter of fact. Call me if you need anything. I’m not too far, okay? It’s in walking distance so I could get back here super quick!” Dani grabbed a backpack seated near the door and reached for the knob as she called back to her older brother. “Like I said, call me if you need anything at all, okay?”

“Okay, okay! Just go.” Dani closed the door behind her leaving Nicolaus to his food. He took a bite and his expression soured immediately. “…Bleeh…her cooking sucks.”

Part 2

(And…now I’m here, somehow…) It was a bright, sunny and peaceful day at the local park in Trenton. Children ran cheerfully about on the playground equipment as their parents watched them…and Nicolaus, who sat on a bench alone looking out of place. (I had a sudden need to get out and get some fresh air but having nothing to do in the middle of the day is weird. I feel like everyone is staring at me.) Nicolaus let out a pretty heavy sigh attracting the attention of even more adults. The hard looks weighed on him, so he got up with the intention up leaving the park. However, as the young man aimed to make his exit, he noticed a familiar face.

The petite young Indian woman, Amala Singh staggered around near the park’s entrance. She stumbled back and forth looking almost zombie like.

(Is she okay?) Nicolaus attempted to wave to her. She didn’t notice him and just continued to stroll about in a daze. Once Amala had reached the edge of the park she turned around and wandered back in the opposite direction like something was leading her. After a minute or so of pacing, a police officer walked up to her and they began to converse. When he reached out and grabbed her by the arm Amala violently shrugged him off. Despite her small stature the usually stoic, young woman barked something incomprehensible at the officer in such a piercing and vicious tone that everyone in earshot flinched. Nicolaus felt what could only be described as malice exuding from Amala. (Oh, hell!) He ran over to Amala and the officer. “Um…excuse me, what’s going on?”

“Sir, please step back!”

“Hang on, please. This is…my friend, sir…” When Amala heard that, she glared at Nicolaus as if she were an animal backed into a corner. (For some reason…she’s a bit scary right now…) Nicolaus stood nearly a foot taller than Amala, but with her ferocious gaze and piercing purple eyes she made him feel like she was twenty feet tall.

 “Your friend, sir?”

“She’s been feeling under the weather lately, so we came to the park. You know, get some fresh air. The problem is, she got up and walked off while I was in the restroom.” (Please buy this.)

“Sir…she screamed…something at me. I’m not sure what weird 3rd world language it was, but I have every right to pull her in for questioning.”

“Oh no, don’t do that! Amala, apologize!” She responded by shooting daggers with her eyes at Nicolaus. “S-She’s tired. Hehehe…”

“Whatever, just get her out of here.”

The officer walked away leaving the two alone in an awkward silence.

“Umm…are you hungry?”

Part 3

The odd pair of Amala and Nicolaus ended up at a local café. From wall to wall the establishment was filled with hip, young people sipping coffee and surfing the web on their laptops. Nicolaus was visibly uncomfortable as he sat at one of the tables, looking for a waiter to come around.

“What the hell is going on? Is no one going to come and take our orders?” Nicolaus sat at the table drumming his long fingers.

“…You have to go up and order yourself…” Amala muttered.

“Seriously? Alright, I guess…” Slightly embarrassed, Nicolaus scurried over to the counter to place an order. He returned to the table after a few minutes. “So…I’m guessing you’re not okay.”

“What gave it away? Was it the bags under my eyes, or the lazy gray sweats I’m wearing, or maybe it’s my sunny disposition?”

“I was going to say your crazy looking hair.”

“A real charmer, aren’t you, Mr. Thompson?”

“Wow…”

“Wow, what?”

“Didn’t think you actually knew my last name.”

“That’s awfully impolite. We’ve worked on the same floor for over a year now.”

“And yet, we’ve never had a casual conversation.”

“…I’m not good…with new people.”

“Fair enough. So, what’s with the outfit, anyway? I’ve only ever seen you looking your best since I’ve known you.”

“…I haven’t been sleeping well…if at all in a while…”

“How long is a while?”

“Since the incident.”

“Since then!?”

“Calm down, will you? It’s just…I keep having nightmares.”

“Nightmares, huh? Are these nightmares mostly full of blackness with lots of crying?”

“What!? How did you know!?” Amala shot up out of her chair drawing everyone’s attention. Nicolaus signaled to her to sit back down, which she did, blushing slightly.

“And you told me to calm down.”

“Whatever. Explain!”

“Well, I’ve been having them too; ever since that night.”

“Then how…” The waitress called Nicolaus over to the counter before Amala could finish her question. He got up leaving the young woman distressed. Returning to the table Nicolaus brought a cup of coffee, a sandwich and a bottle of soda.

“I got something for you. You haven’t eaten today, right?”

“No, I haven’t. Thank you.” Amala took a sip of the coffee and continued. “How is it that you’re able to sleep? I really need to know.”

“I would’ve thought your first question would be how we’re having the same dream.”

“Later. Now, answer my question!”

“Okay, okay. I’ve been taking sleeping pills and playing brown noise while I sleep. It helps when everything else is drowned out.”

“What kind of pills, can you give me a few, can you recommend a headset, is there some kind of special brown noise machine or something?”

“Slow down, alright?”

“I really need to sleep at night! You don’t understand.”

“Like I said, slow down. I’ll help you set it up later…relax.”

“Ok…” Amala took another sip of her coffee and a bite of her sandwich then looked at Nicolaus suspiciously. “…How did you know I like caramel macchiato coffee and that I don’t eat white bread…?”

“Huh…oh, you know…I’ve…seen you having that kind of coffee a few times and you always get a sandwich with it, which I also noticed never had white bread.”

“…Creep…”

“Hey now…! It was Carl who really pointed it out to me…”

“Carl…Lincoln?”

“Yeah. Him…” Again the two sat in an awkward silence. “Geez…” Nicolaus ran his fingers through the spiny black hair on his head and groaned.

“Let’s move past that for now, okay?”

“Hmm?” Nicolaus’s attention was drawn to the front of the café, as he noticed another familiar face entering the establishment. “Is that Vernon over there?”

“What!?” Amala covered her head with the hood of her sweatshirt. “Where is he?”

“He’s standing at the door. Aw man, he’s coming over here.”

“Dammit!” Amala scurried off to the bathroom covering her head. When Vernon came over to the table he removed his gloves gesturing for a handshake from Nicolaus. Begrudgingly Nicolaus obliged. His co-worker’s hands were coarse unlike his own, which surprised the young tech, he believed Vernon to be the non-active type.

“How you holding up?” He asked nonchalantly. Nicolaus remembered his decision to try and better their relationship before the incident.

“I’m fine. Are you okay?” Nicolaus replied. As Vernon removed his jacket the man slightly reddened skin showed around the collar of his sweater.

“Actually, I just got back from the gym, myself. What are you doing here?”

“Just getting some food with a friend; they’re in the bathroom.” (I guess Amala didn’t want to be seen by Vernon.)

“Good for you! I was sitting around all day, until I just got too bored. The job is forcing us to take off for the time being, leaving me with nothing to do. Who wants to sit in the house all day, am I right?”

“That’s true. I ended up coming here with a friend on a whim. Do you come here often?”

“Nope. Never been here before as a matter of fact. Seen this place a few times, but never stopped in.”

“…Huh…”

“…”

(Dang…ran out of things to say already.)

“I’m actually glad I bumped into you, I need your help.”

(Talk about cutting to the chase.) “With what?”

“The incident, I need help researching it.”

“Researching the incident? You know the police are already doing that.”

“Oh, please! Those two-bit beat cops and third rate investigators? They’re less likely to catch a criminal than a group of meddling kids and their dog. We need to figure this out ourselves.”

“I think you’re exaggerating a bit.”

“No, I’m sure. All the crap that happens in this city; it surprises me that we aren’t living in a bunker. My point is, I want you to help me.”

“I don’t know, man. Isn’t that illegal?”

“It won’t be anything big. Newspapers, videos, reports and whatnot. That should be fine, right?”

“I guess so.”

“It’s not like you’re doing anything anyway, why not give me a hand?”

“I mean…”

“Come on don’t make me pull rank on you.”

“Huh…”

“Just kidding. Well?”

“Even if I say ‘no’ you’ll keep asking, won’t you?”

“Absolutely!”

“Fine, whatever. We’re not going to find anything; I want to go on record and say that now. But guess I’ll help.” Nicolaus gave in to Vernon’s coercion.

“Excellent, grab Amala and we’ll start doing some research.” Vernon said getting up from his seat.

“Okay…wait! You saw Amala?”

“Yeah. She was the one dashing off to the bathroom, right? She’s always like that.”

“…I’ll let her know once she gets back here.”

“Alright. I’m heading out.”

“Hang on! Don’t you need my phone number or e-mail?”

“Don’t worry, I got it from the job’s address book already. I’ll text you where we’re going to meet. See ya!”

Nicolaus sat back in his chair and watched Vernon leave the café. (He already had my number? Guess I just played into his hands then.) Amala crouch walked her way back to the table. Upon reaching her seat, Nicolaus explained Vernon’s plan while Amala kept an eye out to make sure that he wasn’t coming back.

“Are you for real? He’s treating this just like work, always calling those damn meetings. I’ve got to go and change, get cleaned up and…ugh! I can’t have anyone important from work see me like this.” Using her petite hands, Amala covered her face and groaned loudly.

(Important, huh?) Ignoring what he felt was an insult, Nicolaus suggested a solution. “He said he’d let me know where to meet him. You’d better leave now if you want to change and stuff…”

“That’ll take forever! Drive me home!”

“What?”

“Drive…Me…Home!”

“Can’t.”

“Why?”

“No car.”

“How do you not have a car?”

“I just don’t, okay? Plus, I don’t see why I should drive you.”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes! You’re not telling me why I should drive you home yet.”

“Because…”

“Yeah…”

“You should!”

“That’s not a reason!”

“Still…come on.”

“Ugh…Look…where do you live?”

“On the other side of the city.”

“*Sigh*…I’ll ask my sister if I can borrow her car.”

“Thanks! You’re so nice!” Amala said as she gave a winning, model-like smile.

“Anyone ever tell you, that you’re kind of a brat?”

“…” Amala visibly flinched, then started to giggle to herself. “Hehehe…nope! Never!”

Part 4

Nicolaus waited for Amala outside of her luxurious, fifteen story apartment complex. Despite his sister’s car being visibly clean inside, the smell of cigarettes was overpowering. Nicolaus leaned back into the seat and pulled out his phone. There were various stories on the internet about the incident. The article titles ranged from ‘Mysterious incident claims many lives’ and ‘Possible terrorist attack in Arizona’. People on different internet boards were coming up with conspiracy theories left and right.

(This whole research nonsense is going to devolve into the same exact crap as these boards. Maybe if we were to actually…) Nicolaus started fussing with his own hair until a sudden knock at the window made him jump in his seat. It was Amala. She’d changed into a blue dress, white strap heels and black leggings. She clearly put on makeup too, as well as perfume, which mixed with the smoke in the car caused Nicolaus to gag audibly.

“Alright, let’s go!”

“…” Amala was silently sneered at by Nicolaus.

“What?”

“We’re going to do research, not to a mixer, so…”

“Haha…very funny. So, where are we going?”

“Don’t know yet. He hasn’t gotten back to me with the details.”

“*Sigh*…great. Now what?”

“We wait…isn’t that obvious?”

“*Sigh*…”

“…*Cough*”

“…it smells in here.”

“Yeah…I know.”

“You know, I was wondering…”

Nicolaus’s phone began to buzz. He picked it up as fast as possible to get away from the awkwardness in the car. “He says to meet at his place, which is on the other side of town…*sigh*…I’m going to need some gas soon.”

“Hang on! You said his house? Ugh! I need to change again, wait here!”

“Oh no you don’t! If you get out of this car, I’m leaving you here!”

“Come on!”

“No! We’re going, now! Buckle up!” Nicolaus flipped the car into gear and drove off.

Part 5

Nicolaus and Amala followed a long and slightly forested road up past a running creek just outside of the city. They arrived at a beautifully designed house situated on a pristine mountain ridge, secluded in the woods. The home looked almost too picturesque.

“Wow!” Amala’s eyes widened in surprise at the splendor of the small offset dwelling. The residence, for a project manager at Vernon’s level was unbelievable. It looked closer to that of a young heir’s.

“This guy…” Nicolaus said under his breath.

“Guess I didn’t over dress.” Gleefully walking up to the door Amala called back to Nicolaus. “Hey, you are coming, right?”

“I’m coming.”

Nicolaus walked over to Amala as she rang the doorbell. Vernon answered with a smile.

“Amala, Nick! Hey, you two, come on in.” Vernon walked Nicolaus and Amala inside. Slick hardwood floors, new age architecture, huge flat screen television and fine leather couches; the inside looked as glamorous as the outside. Nicolaus tried to not look impressed until he noticed the koi pond in the backyard with a bright red sports car parked alongside it. “Go ahead and sit wherever. Oh, right! Yo, they’re here!”

“Huh? What’d you say?” The red-haired waitress from the night of the incident, Katie Vang appeared atop the spiral staircase. Clearly surprised by the sight of her two other acquaintances, Katie shot a nasty look directed toward Vernon. She came down the stairs forcing a half-cracked smile across her pale, slightly freckled face. “H-hey…been a bit.”

“Guys, you know Katie from the bar; and Katie you already know Nick’o, and this is Amala! I’ll be right back got to fo get the stuff I dug up. You guys go on, sit…sit!” Vernon ran upstairs as the others sat in the front room on the expensive looking furniture.

The room fell into a dead silence. Everyone seemed to be deliberately avoiding eye contact. After a few minutes Katie broke the stillness with a sigh. “How are you guys pulling through?”

“…” Amala remained quiet while staring at Katie.

“Umm…something on my face?”

“Huh? No!” Amala quickly turned to look out the window.

“Uhh…” Nicolaus interjected. “I-I uh…have been doing fine, personally.” Amala finally stopped staring at Katie and turned to look out the window.

“What’s her problem?” Katie said in a hushed tone to Nicolaus.

“I think her, and Vernon may have something going on.” Nicolaus replied also in a hushed tone.

“Oooohhhh…” The perky waitress smiled at her acquaintance. “I’m glad you’re alright, Spike.”

“Same to you, Red.”

“Alright, people! Here’s what I’ve dug up with minimal research, I’d like to add.” Vernon said carrying a laptop and two huge binders filled with files.

(Minimal…he says…) The others thought.

“Check out this thread.” Vernon brought up a forum on the Internet.

“Come on, man...” Nicolaus said throwing his head back in an exaggerated fashion.

“Hang on, Nick. Just give it a look.” A few people on the forum talked back and forth repeating profanities and racial slurs, except for the few that attempted to have a serious conversation. A few theories that were thrown around questioned the likelihood of a gas pocket from underneath the mountain or a chemical spill.

“Chemical spill…gas pocket? You guys do remember the lights and crap, right? There’s no way all the stuff we saw was anything like that.”

“I thought so too! But the more I dig, the more common answers like this seem to be circulated.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s suspicious. This has been happening for a bit now, at least a month. These lights and stuff, but we’re the first people that it affected in this manner. Also, I don’t know if you guys have been keeping up with it, but the lights haven’t appeared since we were up there. Also, I can’t find any actual witness accounts. There’s something being covered up. You agree with me, right Amala?”

The silent girl turned her head with a small glance at the others, then turned back to look out the backdoor. “Maybe…” She responded somewhat dismissively.

“Do you have anything else you dug up?” Katie said pushing her back further into the couch cushion.

“Sure, sure. Here’s some stuff people have written on the subject, and some videos.” Vernon brought up more and more articles for the next hour and a half. The group debated the ideas as most of them were ludicrously inane. Many internet threads were filled with people yelling vapid obscenities at each other and claiming it was either aliens or terrorists. Everything came up as a possible catalyst, even an ancient evil reawakening, but that was said in jest by Nicolaus; Katie was the only one to chuckle. After a while the sun set and the night sky was beginning to fill up with stars. Vernon decided it was time to order food, and then departed for the store which was close by leaving the others alone in his house.

Amala turned on the television and with a small yawn her eyes began to flutter. She was clearly very tired. Katie got up from the couch and walked over to the kitchen.

“Hey, Spike! Can you help me with something?” Katie shouted to the front room.

“Yeah! Hang on I’ll be right there.” Nicolaus walked over to meet Katie.

“Hey, sorry. I just wanted to talk to you alone for a second.”

“Oh? What about?”

“I know it looked bad when you guys came in and just saw me here. I just wanted to clear that up before things got anymore awkward between us…I doubt at this point me and the little Indian girl are going to be friends.”

“Well, as far as I go, none of it’s my business.”

“I know that, but still…”

“Still…?” Nicolaus averted his eyes as Katie attempted to make eye contact.

“I was up here jogging when I came across this place, and then Vernon came out of nowhere. He said that everyone was coming over, so I just waited with him for a bit. That’s it, oh wait, he also showed me all his vinyl records. That’s everything.”

“Like I said…it’s none of my business.” (I’ve got no reason not to trust her.)

“Since it seems like we’re going to be hanging out together for a while, I thought it would be best to be honest with you and avoid any weird situations. I didn’t want you thinking I rejected you for him or anything…”

“…” As if the conversation wasn’t already awkward, Katie’s last statement brought about a sudden roadblock to the exchange.

“Wait…No, I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s cool. I know what you meant.” Nicolaus noted what seemed to be Katie’s genuine slip of the tongue. He hadn’t paid any attention to it before, but in collaboration with her story, the young waitress wore clothes for working out. Black shorts with a green streak running up the side and matching jacket. He also took notice of her long, toned legs to which the young spiny haired young man turned his head to avoid gawking. (Better keep my eyes upward or I’ll end up staring at those all night.) “That’s what you wanted to talk about, right? You know, if we spend too much time in here Amala will probably think we’re conspiring against her. She’s pretty paranoid after all.”

“Also, a little scary.”

“Yeah, but she seems…okay; if not a little spoiled.”

The two returned to the front room finding Amala fast asleep on the couch. The television continued to drone on for a while as Nicolaus and Katie continued their conversation.

“So, what exactly do you do again? I mean your job.” Taking a sip of her water Katie inquired.

“Computer security. I’m just a tech really, and lately it’s been sitting around mostly. The presidential conventions that came through a while ago were the biggest projects I’d ever worked on.” Nicolaus took pride in his work and being able to gloat about said work made him happy, despite his typical pessimism.

“Get to see the president?”

“Well…no, we all just kind of sat in the office all day.”

“Heh!” A smug smile came across Katie’s face. “I got to see the president. Even shook his hand.”

“Seriously?”

“He came by the tavern. Apparently, he loves that place, since it’s around where he grew up.”

“I didn’t know he lived down town.”

“Yeah. Cool, right?” Katie said puffing out her chest in a prideful manner, both metaphorically and literally. Having noticed this Nicolaus averted his eyes as once again he’d taken notice of Katie’s pronounce chest.

“Sure is taking Vernon a while to make it back. I wonder what’s taking him…” An odd feeling suddenly overwhelmed Nicolaus. His thoughts became muddied as if they were being forcedly overwritten.

“He-hey Spike…” Katie called out. “I don’t…feel too good.” She slid down onto the floor with her hand covering her face.

“S-Same…”  Voices began echoing in their minds. They were the voices of a little girl and a bunch of indistinguishable adults. Laughing, singing, crying, screaming, pleading, they echoed louder and louder until they became unbearable. “Ugh…shit…!” Nicolaus held his head in-between his hands. His grip tightening until his finger nails dug into his scalp.

“Spike, are you hearing this too?” On the floor, lay Katie clutching her head as the sound grew so intense it became painful.

“I can’t even…what the hell is this!?” Then suddenly, it stopped. “What?” Amala shot up from her slumber startling the two as they tried to recover from their previous episode. She scanned the room for a minute and then turned to face Nicolaus and Katie.

“…I…uh…” Amala was attempting to look composed, but the tears in her eyes, and heavy breathing proved to thoroughly undermine that. “…” She just looked away and covered her face.

Nicolaus winced slightly as he pulled himself to his feet. “Are you two okay?” Katie nodded.

“W-What happened to you two?” Amala asked, clearly distraught.

“I’ve got no idea. It was like …a headache, maybe. I think we both felt it, right?” Another nod from Katie gave Nicolaus the confirmation he needed. “Whatever it was, was just like the dream we talked about before, but…this time there was screaming, crying and other stuff.”

“And some little girl, too!” Katie added.

“…What was the girl…screaming and crying about?”

“I couldn’t make anything out. What about you, Katie?”

“I heard something about dancing, I think.” Katie sat back on the couch.

“…” Amala went completely silent.

“Amala, what’s the matter?”

The door to the house opened. Vernon walked in flanked by two young men. It was the other two young men who’d survived the incident. Vergil Trask, a thin, young white man; rather tall and lanky with snow white hair, adding to his semi-ghost like look. And Harper Wolf, a shorter Asian boy with thick glasses, thin hair gelled up into a point and a rather portly exterior.

“Yo…” Vernon stumbled over and plopped down on the couch next to Amala, nearly bouncing her up off her seat. “…oh, right…sorry. The food’s over there in the bags the kids are carrying.” Vernon covered his face with his hands and groaned loudly. “I just had the weirdest stuff happen to me. It was after I bumped into these two at the store. Harper, you tell ‘em. You guys felt it too, yah? Oh, by the way this is Vergil and Harper, pretty sure you guys remember them from the incident…”

“Yeah, I don’t even, like…it just…” Harper attempted to put his words together until Amala interrupted him.

“You heard a little girl screaming and crying about having to dance Swan Lake, while her father told her ‘it would make her a proper young lady to learn how to dance’…” A sour explanation came from Amala as the room fell into a deathly silence.

“…………” The stillness of the room was ludicrous.

“…Well, somebody say something…!” Nicolaus was the first to break the silence.

“What’s there to say!?” Vernon got up from his seat. “If you needed any proof that something weird is happening to us…there you go!”

“W-what do you mean, man?” Vergil finally being able to join the conversation almost joyously made that statement until everyone turned to look at him. “Sorry…”

“I mean, this whole day has been one constant string of weird coincidences.”

“You mean like, us all meeting up across the city even though most of us never hung out beforehand.” Nicolaus remarked. “Okay…so there’s a ton of really crazy shit happening and we’re all involved. Everyone…who survived the incident.”

“Yeah! I’ve…got nothing else to add. Aside from, ‘wow’ and I told you so!”

“Is this really the time for that? Anyway…I’ve got an idea. How about we go and take a look?” Everyone’s attention was drawn to Nicolaus. “I mean, if we need answers, then it’s best to go to the source, right?” Again, silence. “Uh…is that a ‘no’?”

Part 6

Two cars drove along one of the numerous dirt roads on the outskirts of Newtonville. The destination of these vehicles, the large monolithic stone like structure known as Newtonville rock. Vernon’s bright red sports car was trailed by Nicolaus’s sister’s old and reliable car. In the red sports car sat Amala and Katie, the awkward silence between the two choking Vernon making him wish he’d opted to ride with the two young men, who sat in the car with Nicolaus. The two school boys kept texting back and forth despite being in the same car.

“Dude, did you see what Lefty just said to Pete?” Harper called to Vergil who sat in the back seat.

“Y-Yeah…crazy.” Was said in response. Nicolaus groaned loudly.

“What’s wrong, Nick?”

“Yeah…you feeling sick?”

“Oh, I get it! He’s upset ‘cause he’s riding in the car with us, and not the girls.” Harper let out a hefty belly laugh. “That redhead is hot. You see the chest on her? Damn!”

“S-She is really pretty.”

“Now that I think about it though, she’s not what you normally go for. The short one’s more your type. She’s got that whole ‘better than you’ look down. Pretty face and probably big money, she looks too young, for me. I guess some guys would probably be into that, but I’m all about those curvaceous spitfire type women.”

(Oh, God…I pray I never sounded like these guys when I was a kid. Even though I’m pretty sure I did.) Thoughts of jumping out of the car and running back to the city ran through Nicolaus’s mind. “*Sigh*…Give me a break.”

“Hey, it’s okay. Me and Vergil aren’t really that popular with the ladies either.”

“W-what do you mean? Weren't you and L-Laura going out for like half a year?”

“Pfft! I don't want to hear this from you pussy-slayer! Maggie Prince has been eyeing you like a hawk the past few weeks.”

“She thinks I'm actually g-good at schoolwork.”

“Hah, no way, man! Then she’d think I was good at school too, no one thinks that! Even my parents don’t think that.”

As the conversation droned on Nicolaus seriously considered jumping from the car. “Isn’t that the ridge?” Vergil pointed out. They’d finally reached Newtonville rock. Vernon stopped his car suddenly, almost making Nicolaus crash into the back of him.

“Hey!” Vernon shouted to Nicolaus’s group from the open car window. “You see that?” He pointed out a line of police tape blocking the main path up to the ridge. He waved over to the side of the road signaling that he wanted to talk.

Nicolaus pulled the car over to speak with Vernon. “Now what?”

“Depends…you want to actually break the law?”

Nicolaus scratched his head for a second, and then recoiled in pain. (Oh right. I dug my nails into my scalp.) He sat there looking at his hand for a second. There was a very slight amount of blood underneath his nails. It wasn’t often that Nicolaus made decisions that he didn’t have any idea of what the fallout may be, but this was important to him. (This is probably a bad idea…but) “Nothing ventured, nothing gained…Let’s go.”

Vernon smiled. “Glad to hear that! That’s an executive decision if I’ve ever heard one.” Vernon and Nicolaus gathered their passengers and informed them that they’d be heading up the ridge. As everyone walked up to the police tape, they began to feel hesitant. The yellow police tape felt like a stream of lava than more than a thin strip of cautionary plastic.

“I’m actually hoping we don’t find anything…” Katie said under her breath, but it was loud enough for everyone to hear. “I mean…”

“We came all this way! It’d be pretty boring if nothing happened though.” Harper laughed nervously while brushing his hair with his hand.

“Now’s the time to bail, if anyone wants to. No matter what…I’m going.” Nicolaus said as he pulled up the police tape and climbed underneath. He held it up so that anyone wanted, they could follow him.

Everyone gave each other a quick look to see if anyone else was going to join him. Amala was the first to walk underneath and join Nicolaus much to everyone’s surprise. Vernon and Katie followed suit. Vergil and Harper still waited hesitantly.

“Listen…guys. If you want to stay here, then go ahead and wait in the car. Like Nick said, now’s the time to bail if you want. This is a crime, you know?” Vernon spoke to the boys sympathetically. Harper earnestly pulled the tape up by himself and joined the group. Everyone looked towards Vergil who was the last one on the opposite side of the cautionary tape.

“No pressure, Vergil.” Nicolaus stated, seeing that the young man was more hesitant than his friend.

“Come on, man! Don’t be a pussy!” Harper shouted at Vergil.

“I-I’m not a pussy!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah…” Vergil reluctantly crawled underneath the police tape. With that done everyone started toward the top of the ridge. Nicolaus noticed Amala lagging behind and slowed down himself to check on her.

“What’s up?” The barely audible grumbling coming from Amala set Nicolaus off as to her increasingly bad disposition.

“Nothing.”

“You’re lying.”

“How would you know?”

“Pretty obvious. Almost one hundred percent sure of it.”

“…I’m nervous, okay?”

“Then why’d you come along?”

“I don’t know, dude - er, Nicolaus.”

“Dude is fine; and thanks for before. I think you being the first to nut up gave the others the push they needed.”

“Right…”

“Speaking of which, why’d you do it?”

“…Don’t worry about the ‘why’. Actually, you want to pay me back? Those pills you mentioned; I want some.”

“Alright, alright. Doesn’t really give me an answer though, but you got it.” Amala smiled at her small victory.

The bone chilling breeze began to howl as Nicolaus and company finally reached the top of the ridge. Stars filled the night sky over Trenton that sat off in the distance showcasing a strong glow.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen…enough gawking. Let’s fan out and see if we can find anything - anything at all!” The commanding tone of Vernon’s voice shook everyone, but they all did as instructed and started to search the area.

“Damn, I guess he’s the alpha in this group. Right, Verg?” Harper and Vergil walked off into the more wooded area together.

“I-I guess…”

“*Sigh*…” Nicolaus audibly sighed while palming his face.

“Hey, Vernon! Nicolaus and I are going to search over here, okay?” Katie called out to Vernon who gave an ‘OK’ signal. “Come on, Spike.”

“Alright.”

Branches snapped beneath Katie and Nicolaus’s feet as they wandered through the nearby wooded area, aimlessly searching for anything that seemed out of the norm.

“I’ve got no idea what to even look for.”

“Me neither. Spike, I’ve got a question. What’s up with Vernon? I get that you’re not really friendly, but don’t you think you’re being a bit over the top.”

“You’re probably right; it’s his draining personality that gets to me.”

“True. Thing is…you’re kind of a downer too though…oh no, I mean -”

“I know. My mother used to tell me that too. I guess I’m letting past experiences with that kind of person sway my opinion of Vernon. But seriously, you really don’t pull your punches.”

“It’s completely by mistake, I promise.”

“Don’t worry; having a friend who’ll kick you in the pants when you act like an idiot is important for someone like me. Carl, despite his rampant sarcasm, used to do that for me. He’d come up with dumb ideas all the time, so in those cases I’d be the one playing the voice of reason.”

“You guys were close?”

“A little - we were kind of, I guess. I’d known him since we’d first started working for the department. He was sort of my boss at first, but things changed pretty quick as I got promoted and he got demoted.”

“How’d that happen?”

“Every once in a while…he’d take some jokes too far.”

“Like?”

“Jokes…about women we worked with.”

“Ah.”

“Things about their bodies…within ear shot of some people who didn’t really-”

“I get it, I get it.”

“See, thing is, I don’t like keeping a large circle of friends. Probably a remnant leftover from the high school days.”

“Then, you were a loner back in high school! I was right.”

“Not really by choice…”

“Huh?”

“Nothing.”

“Well, Antonio and I usually just chill at home. So, we don’t spend too much time with our friends, either.”

“Antonio? That - uh, his name?”

“Yeah. That’s my boyfriend. He’s way larger than Vernon, which is why if you meet him you can’t tell him about me hanging out over Vernon’s place alone. He’d probably eat him alive.”

“Doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me.”

“Haha…”

“May as well head back. I don’t see anything.”

“To be fair, we have been talking almost this entire time and not really looking.”

“Good point.”

The two searched the area leaving no rock unturned. After a few minutes, they finally gave up and went back to the meetup spot. Along the way they heard talking coming from ahead. The voices consisted of Amala and Vernon, but also some voices they were unfamiliar with.

“Hang on, Katie.” Nicolaus peered out from behind a tree. He saw a tall, skeevy looking police officer. He was talking to Amala and Vernon. “Crap…I should’ve guessed.”

“What’s going on?”

“The police are…” Then it hit Nicolaus. (That’s the same officer from this morning…the one from the park. This can’t be a coincidence.)

“Spike…what’s up? ‘The police are’ what?”

Amala took notice of Nicolaus as she looked off to the side. She didn’t want to make a scene, so she began mouthing words to him. [From…this…morning] Nicolaus, not being a master of lip reading was just barely able to understand what was being conveyed. Her face was very clearly distressed, but she didn’t want to draw attention to her hiding accomplices.

 “Found ‘em!” A sudden call from deeper in the woods startled Nicolaus and Katie, but they remained where they were. Another officer, this one much shorter and stockier came along dragging Vergil and Harper by the collars of their shirts.

“Alright, now where are the other two? Kevin, you go ahead and take these kids down the ridge. I’m going to find the others.” The skeevy officer said as he pointed down the ridge. Amala sucked her teeth, which caught the officer’s attention. “Excuse me!?” He shouted in response.

“…” Amala went silent while holding a sickened glare at the officer.

“You got a problem with me, sand rat!?”

“Yeah, I do! You’ve been following me all day, haven’t you?” Amala snapped back with no fear in her posture. Despite being smaller than this one officer she still had no reservations when it came to someone insulting her.

“Heh! I’ve been following you all day for a damn good reason - don’t go thinking that you’re special or something!”

“Niles, stop! Remember…?”

“…Fine…you’re right, but…” The officer named Niles said as he grabbed Amala up by the arm.

“Let go! Do not fucking touch me!”

Officer Niles turned and pulled his gun and pointed it right in the face of the rambunctious young woman. The color instantly drained from Amala’s face.

“Niles!!” The other officer shouted.

“Don’t worry, just reminding this little brat who’s in charge?”

“…” Tears formed in the corners of Amala’s eyes as her knees buckled.

“Whoa, whoa…let’s just stay calm.” Vernon raised his hands and approached the officer. Niles, now turned his gun on Vernon.

“Get the fuck back, you freak!” He then turned his attention back to Amala. “Now, tell me where your friends are?”

“This is completely against protocol, Niles!” The other officer known as Kevin stated.

“Wait here…” Nicolaus said quietly to Katie. “Excuse me…” He stepped out from behind the trees with his hands held up.

“Oh! There’s the other one right there.” Officer Niles said as he pointed to Nicolaus. “We’re only missing one now.”

“We won’t put up a fight. Just what…you said before, what did you mean?” Probing for information in clever ways wasn’t Nicolaus’s forte, so he just flat out asked.

“What…? Just get over here!”

“No…I mean…I’ll come, but I want to know what you meant…when…” Nicolaus’s eyes widened in awe, as behind the officers, part of the sky began changing colors. A slightly purple tint crept across the dark night sky as if something was on fire and the smoke wafted upward. “Uh…” The already frightened spiky haired young man couldn’t muster any words as he simply backed away. All he could do to make the others aware of what he was seeing was to point. Everyone turned to see the sky changing colors, but then they noticed it was only a small part of the sky. It was the air overtop of Amala that this ominous purple haze was stemming from. Now, with her eyes red from just barely holding back tears she stared holes through the officer named Niles.

Niles backed up with his gun trained on Amala. “T-They said something was weird about them! Should I sho-” Before he could finish his sentence, the purple mist like substance formed a large ghastly hand. It smacked both of his arms, jackknifing them downward, with a gruesomely thick and loud cracking sound, breaking them with ease. “U…AGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!” The man shrieked in agony. The other officer in response drew his weapon and was about to open fire on Amala, but…

“Wait!!!” Nicolaus said as he reached out his hand to stop the officer. As he did this a large blue mist not dissimilar to the one that emanated from Amala, aside from the colors, flew towards the Officer named Kevin. The mist wrapped itself around Kevin and catapulted him clear off the ridge at a breakneck speed.

The last sounds that came from Kevin as he was thrown out of sight was his scream and then a loud meaty thud. Everyone went silent at this inhuman spectacle.

“AGGhh…y-you fucking…monsters…” The smaller of the officers screamed out in pain. He pulled himself to his feet and started towards Amala. She fell back onto her rear attempting to distance herself from him. “You…fucking sand rat, cunt…do you know…what the…AGgghh…what you did!?”

“St…” Tears now streaming down her cheeks. “Please…I don’t…stay away…”

“Get away from her!!” Katie yelled out as she ran towards the officer attempting to intervene in the situation.

“You little…bitch…I’ll fucking wring your neck! I’ll…fucking kill you!!!”

Amala screamed and covered her head. When she did, the purple mist once again appeared and blew towards the enraged officer and pushed into his chest, making his entire torso explode outward. Blood and guts blew backwards completely covering Katie. Nothing was left of the man, but legs, both broken arms, clothes, and his head which rolled over toward Amala. The twisted and pain filled expression stared pitifully into Amala’s eyes, until she could no longer take it, and passed out onto the ground. Katie on the other hand looked down at herself…she was covered from head to toe in another person’s blood and guts. She took a few seconds to register what had transpired, but when she did, Katie vomited.

“Ugh…ugh…wh—what the fuck!! Oh god!! What the fuck!!” Katie cried at the top of her lungs. Nicolaus was still stunned at the fact that whatever blue mist came from him had just killed a man, while Vernon and the other boys were horrified at what they’d just witnessed.

“Um…” Vernon tried to compose himself at least to just get out some words. “Y…you…um…hang on…I…no…” It wasn’t going very well. The wind began to pick up. That cold winter’s night wouldn’t be forgotten anytime soon, by anyone who’d came to the small mountain’s ridge. From then onwards it would become a driving point of both ambition and guilt; constantly pushing all those involved past their breaking points, destroying them and remaking them into something new, some great and others…vile.

 

End of Chapter 1


© Copyright 2019 Angelo Kingston. All rights reserved.

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