Charles Prime, a dear friend of mine,
has decided to let someone else write his book: his best friend.
Hopefully I do not disappoint him too much, and dear reader,
we would appreciate it if you also paid attention to
the first book: The Mind-bender.
Also, this story itself will change over time, as we both
argue over the details. Charles can be very particular.
“A…” reverberated throughout my being.
The region I was flying over; the famous Mount Olympus, was gorgeous. The place was full of flora and greenery, which poked through the thin veil of snow.
My travels gave me a new perception of self. I learned many languages. I witnessed so much history, and not just through people. Over the past few weeks, my mind got sharper and stronger. My physical self became more powerful, and even its appearance varied every time I re-created myself.
The summoning rocketed my consciousness. The white clouds around me darkened. The gentle fresh air tussled savagely. The forces of reality take control and time-space cracked open, a portal sucking me through.
Claire hovered before me. His mother and him had kept their eye on me all this time. Their organization was much bigger than I had previously thought, and there were spies everywhere.
“I'm just checking in with you,” he told me. Claire flew closer and patted me on the back.
“Why must you check on me suddenly? Is something the matter?”
He shook his head.
“We're just keeping an eye on a few things.”
“What kind of things?” I asked.
“A few things...,” he insisted.
Far below, in my mind's eye, the image of a school appeared. The school's grounds was rampant with moving bodies. The echo of thoughts and emotions stuck to my consciousness
“What is going on with my brother?”
“He must have summoned you as I did,” he told me.
Claire, me, and his acolytes made our way to the ground.
“It's supposed to be his last year at this school,” I said.
“I thought he had his mind erased,” Claire said.
“He did,” I responded.
Among the excited teenagers, who talked and socialized with glee. My brother walked out the front entrance. Sebastian saluted someone who was honking at him from a bluish truck. The mass of cars that had congregated at the entrance made it impossible for his friend to drive closer.
“Sebastian! Hurry!!” exclaimed the fellow inside. My brother picked up the pace. He weaved through the students, evaded others, and said hello to a few. Sebastian had lost weight. Unlike me, with my ugly goatee, and my unkempt side-burns, my brother had a well-kept manly-beard.
“What's up dude!” exclaimed the guy at the wheel. Sebastian and him bumped fists.
“Dude!” Sebastian exclaimed in return.
“I know,” I told Claire.
A group of meta-humans had surrounded us. By the state of things, it seemed they were not aware of our presence.
“There following him.”
“Yeah,” he stated.
“Are they yours?” I asked him.
“They once belonged to Yggdrasil's branch. When he was defeated, his group broke up and dispersed worldwide. The few banded together.”
I could sense them prowling the thoughts of others. The men and women made themselves look younger by casting illusions on themselves.
“Want to grab something to eat?” asked the friend. A woman from the group steered toward my brother and his friend.
“Yeah! Wherever and whatever. I'm starving,” Sebastian responded.
As the parents left with their children, the congestion of traffic lessened at the entrance. My brother and his friend didn't miss the chance to wave through traffic, and exit the premises. I flew alongside the car and listened to them both chatter with vigor. The woman followed along. A sinking feeling settled in my stomach as her teammates joined in. Claire descended, and hovered beside the car, to my left.
A man infiltrated Sebastian's friend mind. He prodded ever so gently and then communicated his finding by shaking his head. The woman gently hovered closer toward the car. I was invisible and intangible as she passed right through me.
“You...,” she uttered. The woman had encountered a series of mental barriers within my brother's mind. It seemed suspicious to her.
“You okay?” asked the friend.
“I feel dizzy,” my brother said.
The woman was trying to break through, but the defenses I had instilled were holding.
“You're the one we're looking for, aren't you?” she asked, more so instinctively than fact.
“Adian, don't inter—”
“You?!” the woman exclaimed. She was a brittle and skinny woman, with long and straight hair. Her hazel eyes looked at me with scorn and disdain.
“Yes, me!” I exclaimed as I was visible again. I willed them towards me, and upon contact materialized high in the sky. The world below looked like an ant farm from up here.
Together, and in one glorious symphony the different hues of their powers colored the sky. Their combined might left no scratches, and when they exhausted themselves, they realized too late their place in this battle. I willed the woman towards me; the rest of her crew withered away as I stripped them of their life.
“Let your people know my family is off limits. There will be no more chances,” I told her, my hand around her throat. She blasted me with energy. It did nothing, not even push me back.
“Are you okay Adian?” asked Claire.
“Do you wish us to do something about this woman?”
The woman looked at me and Claire.
“No,” I said.
I let her go. The woman disappeared among the clouds.
“Adian!” exclaimed Marissa. A plump, short girl, with a tomb-boy attitude that fit the stereotype well.
“Marissa!” I exclaimed, a good friend in sight. She left Barlington about a year ago, along with Shareldine. Marissa walked towards me, carrying shampoos to put away.
“What‘s up!” she exclaimed, kneeling beside me as she let go of the bottles.
“I never thought to see you again,” I told her, putting away the last my bottles. I then helped her.
“Dude, I know,” she responded.
“What have you been up to all this time?” I asked, both of us struggling to fit the bottles on the over-crowded shelf.
“Just going to school, and work. I had been working over at the new Barlington, but I came back here. There was a whole political thing going on over there,” she said.
“And Shareldine?” I asked, curious. Both her and Shareldine were two sides of the same coin, and the only thing that deferred between them was marriage.
“Dude, she loved Oklahoma,” she told me.
“I am glad she is doing good,” I responded.
“Yeah, she is even having another baby,” said Marissa.
“Really?!” I exclaimed. “Congrats!”
“Yup,” she responded, and shoved the last shampoo bottle into the over-crowded shelf. We both stood and made our way back to the grey carts.
“Ya?” said Mrs. Vega, a tall thin woman in her late forties to early five-tees. She had curly blonde hair and green eyes. Marissa and I nodded. To our left, a group of associates were busy unwrapping the merchandise, processing the material, and then putting it to rest on the grey carts. Marissa quickly got hair-curlers and made her way back down the isle. I got soaps and creams. We could hear Mrs. Vega reminding the group of guys to separate the merchandise properly by color.
“Finally!” exclaimed Marissa, as we both met up at the grey cart, empty again. The group of guys had just finished and were wrapping up.
The past few months saw to it many changes. Co-workers who had been here before me and my group, had quit or transferred to the new Barlington around the corner. They promoted Mr. Flores to manager of the new store, and they also promoted John to a manager in another store.
“Ya, vamanos,” said Stine. He was a short fellow and had his hair as short as someone could have it without being bald.
“Yeah,” I responded. Stine took with him the table and all the boxes strewn throughout. Robert, Marion, Merium, and Rodolfo followed Stine, each of them carrying something so they did not look unproductive.
“Adian, when you come back from your break, help me with the two boxes here,” she said. They had filled the two gigantic boxes to the brim with oils, creams, shampoos, and conditioners.
I strove to catch up to the rest, mindful to not be rude to customers. My way into the break-room, Beto was sitting next to Stine, as Mrs. Merium prepared their breakfast. The room smelled of egg with bacon, and re-fried beans. Beto got up to take out the tortillas from the microwave and put them to rest on the center of the table. Everyone welcomed themselves to a taco or two. I sat to Beto's right. A sense of déjà vu washed over me at the break-room’s T.V., and the rising gossip from everyone.
“Que paso wey,” exclaimed Beto as he grappled me by the shoulder in comfort.
“Nothing Beto,” I said. I took the last spoonful of yogurt. Beto was a tad shorter than I was, but his masculine and hard-headed character came from a good place. He could be such an ass though.
Robert and Merion were sitting at the table next to ours. Both were on the heavy side, but unlike Beto's and Stine's crude character, the men were la bit more flexible and accommodating.
“Ya vamanos. Ya nos pasamos de los 15 minutos,” said Mrs. Merium.
Her pony tail swayed side to side as she quickly put away the utensils and plates back into her large pink lunch bag. Beto, Stine, and Robert tucked in their chair as they made their way out. I turned off the T.V. when they had gone, once again reveling in the quiet. My phone-alarm startled me. I threw away the yogurt cartridge, the napkin, and put away my water bottle in the fridge. I returned to the accessory department, but someone had recovered the boxes of oils, shampoos, creams, and conditioners.
“Yo los procese Adian,” said Mrs. Vega as she passed by.
“Oh…,” I uttered, pleased at the fact I would not have to do it.
“Pero, tumevas a comodar las cajas de calcetinesquemequedan,” she told me, and pointed toward neatly stacked boxes.
“Sip,” I responded, pleased. I got to work, careful not to disturb any of the customers coming and going.
Mrs. Vega sudden appearance left me speechless for a moment.
“Si,” I responded, and pointed to the box.
“Bueno, cuando termines, ya puedesirte,” she told me, and walked off. I quickly merchandised all the socks, and took the empty boxes to the dock, mindful of the coming and going customers. Then, I punched out and made my way towards the exit. Some people still working said their goodbye's and good-luck's, and courteously I responded to them. I had to be mindful of the cars as I walked across the parking lot; the people; and the occasional abandoned cart. Until I was sure no one would see me, I willed my power to rise and teleported to the plaza's roof.
“How are you today?” asked Claire.
“Good, I suppose. As good as it can get after being gone for so long,” I said.
“It was not as long as you think. What, a few weeks?”
“This was all I knew, and compared to most of my friends and acquaintances, was even less that what I thought I knew. This past few months have spiraled beyond anything I could ever conceive.”
“David has been asking about you,” he told me.
“I have been getting the impression that there should be something to worry about,” I said. “Does it have anything to do with the group of meta-humans the other day?”
“I didn't come here today to discuss matters you left in our hands. We are just saying hello.”
“We?” I asked.
Out of Claire's shadow, David appeared.
“We know of what is happening. Things are moving along to neutralize the situation,” she told me. The elegant-dressed woman came closer and grabbed my shoulder. “Welcome back Adian.”