Deja Vu

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Chapter 2

“Ah, Matt. It’s an awesome thing to meet you finally.” A young boy about fifteen said to me with a wide smile. He tied his long dark brown hair back in a tight and neat ponytail. He looked young, but with a physique that would make high school students jealous. The weird part is that he isn’t disproportioned. He’s the kind of guy that would make any girl want him. He smirked at me. “You don’t think I’m that hot do you?” He asked. I blushed and looked away awkwardly. “No, not to me. But, you’re the kind of guy that I would be jealous over.” I said. He grinned at me. “I don’t mean to be like that. It’s just how I was born. I don’t think I look that good if it makes you feel any better.” He said.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m sure you don’t. Are you going to tell me what I’m doing here and who the heck you are?” I asked him. “I’m Zolem, and you’re dead. I brought you here because this is your purgatory, you could call it. You were brought here because this is the only place where you are considered the living or the dead and where my council and I can pass judgment and see if you are worthy to return to live or not.” He told me. I glared at him. “I don’t want to return to live. I killed myself for a reason!” I snapped at him.

But, he gave me a knowing look. It wasn’t out of anger that I snapped. It was fear and pain. “You don’t have to be afraid. After this point on, you’ll be in better hands. Your…well, let’s just say someone you know is with you now. He’s trying to revive you, and when you come back, he will take you somewhere safe and happy. But, it won’t last forever. You know nothing lasts forever. But, you may end up with some bad memories. In the bigger picture, though, you’ll end up with a lot of good memories and fun times. You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t remain alive. You will miss out on a great destiny and good love.

“You have no idea what you will be giving up. Yes, there will be a lot of pain involved. But, at the end of your journey, you will be the strongest in the entire world. You will have more power than you could imagine and you will be destined for power, wealth, even woman if you want it.” I felt my face flush from the words he spoke. “Or one woman if that is what you desire,” Zolem said. “What are you?” I demanded. “I am what you would call a spirit. A warrior mage that is over twenty-thousand years old and of royal blood. I want to give you your life back.

I want you to be happy, and I want for you to have your destiny of friendship, love and trust.” I didn’t know what to say. “Why do you care what I do and if I die?” I asked. He eyed me carefully. “You can’t yet know what your future holds. And you can’t yet know what your destiny holds for you. I won’t lie. At first, there will be pain and misery. But, if you can get through it, you will find a good and happy life full of strength and one that you want to live.” He told me. I didn’t know if this is what I wanted or not. But, it sounds appealing.

“This sounds too good to be true,” I said. “I know it does. But, I promise I won’t ever lie to you. Look me in the eyes and tell me if I’m lying to you.” I glared at him for the longest time. “I do believe you. I just don’t know why I do.” I told him. He smiled. “I understand. I do. I know it’s going to take some time. But, you can trust me. You can count on me. I’m going to support you, and I’ll look out for you.” He told me. I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. So, what? If something big and nasty waving some weird power comes at me to rip my throat out or fry me alive, you’ll interfere?” I asked.

He gave me a strange look. Did I imagine it or did he have a look of fear in his eyes. “What did you say?” He asked. “Nothing, it’s just that you said you’d watch out for me. No matter what?” He nodded. “You’d look out for me if I get in danger?” He nodded again. “So, you’re going to help me in case what? I get kicked, stabbed, beaten and thrown down basement steps and overdosing after taking pills to kill myself?” He just blinked at me with a blank look.

“What are you implying?” He asked. “You said you wanted to keep me safe. I just thought that would include before you met me. I guess that I assumed that it would mean you’d watch out for me before it came to this point.” He sighed. I couldn’t interfere until you made the first move. The Fates are the biggest bitches on the god damn planet. I could only talk to you under two choices. One is that after you decided to complete your destiny. Or two. You died.”

I didn’t know what to say. “What’s my destiny?” I asked. “I can’t tell you that,” He told me. “Why not?” He just shook his head. “It’s not time yet. Are you willing to go back? Or are you wanting to give up now?” Zolem asked. To give up is something I wanted to do. But, could I now? I felt like I was given another chance. I couldn’t honestly believe that I was meant for a good life. But, what if I was? What if I could become something much more than I am now?

“So, what’s it going to be?” He asked. I sighed. “Send me back to live a life full of pain and misery.” Zolem didn’t respond to that. I just shook my head. “Send me back. I’ll let this play out for now. I still don’t know if this is the best option for me. But, I hate giving up.” I told him. “I know, and this is why I chose you. You will find out soon enough. I promise you that.” He said and before I could say another word, he snapped his fingers, and I was back freaking out. Looking around my room gasping for breath and shaking violently.

I was freaking out and struggling. “Hey, it’s okay. Calm down!” My focus became blurry, and I was trying to get free. “Calm down. You’re okay!” My vision slowly came into focus, and I saw Jaise holding me. “It’s okay. You’re going to be fine.” “Julie, what the hell is taking so long?” He screamed. “Oh, calm your ass down.” She snapped. She kneeled down next to me and rested both her hands gently on my chest. My heart started to race wildly, and I blushed at the look she gave me.

“Jaise, I think you’re…” She didn’t finish because his expression was murderous. “…A woman has never touched a friend.” I felt my face inflame with embarrassment. Jaise’s expression became almost psychotic with anger. “What?” She asked. “Babe, you’re embarrassing the kid,” Liam said. She took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’ll just heal you now.” She said and then a warmth feeling spread through me. A white hot flash of pain spread through me, and I could feel the bones mend and stitch together.

Muscles strengthened and the after several excruciating minutes, the pain went away. Something snapped one final time, and I screamed like a banshee, and then everything calmed down with ragged breaths. “Are you okay?” Jaise asked. “I think so,” I mumbled. He helped me up and patted me on the back. I stretched and moved around to figure out I could move without problems. “So, you seem alright,” Liam said. I nod. “Oh, good. You’re alive. Now, I can kill you all because you all know the truth.” I turned white and pale. None of the others didn’t seem to be worried at all.

“Why is it that only one of the four of you seems concerned?” John asked. “To be honest, your skanky ass whipped fool. I can’t understand why he’s scared. It isn’t like you’re going to hurt us or get to him.” I looked at Jaise and John. I couldn’t believe he said that, and if John grew angry, he didn’t act on it. “You think a bunch of teenagers is going to stop me?” Jaise grinned. “Do you know who I am? Or who Matt is for that matter? Do you know anything about his mom’s side of the family?” That gave John pause for a moment.

“Who are you?” He asked. “You don’t recognize me. The last time you saw me, Matt here was what? Five I think.” He said. “And you were what age?” John asked. “Me?” Jaise laughed. “I was nineteen when Matt was five,” He said. I blinked at him. “You’re nineteen now!” I screamed at him. “True, I haven’t aged. But, I am not the same kid I once was.” He said. “You should be in your mid-thirties!” I shouted. “Yes, I’ll explain that later. John walked down the steps and made a move to me.

Jaise blocked his path. “Did you ever think that since I’m not aging, there’s another reason or things different about me? Do you think I don’t have any tricks up my sleeve?” He asked. John didn’t respond. He only tried to push past him giving me this wicked grin. “Oh, I so don’t think so.” He said and grabbed his arm. “Let go of me.” John snarled.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Jaise said with a smile. John went to push through, and this time, I saw Jaise’s grip tighten. “I told you. You’re not going to get to him.” John went to take a swing, but Jaise was faster than I expected and blocked him. He dodged another blow and then with a kick chomping blow, Jaise made John stumble backward. “You. Won’t. Touch. Him.” Jaise said one final time. John glared at him.

“You can’t stop me,” He growled. “I think we can. John went into a blood rage. It was kind of scary how fast and easy he could turn it on and off. But, the others weren’t concerned in the least. They made a wall in front of me. “You can’t stop me,” He said one final time. John went into a blood rage and charged them. Julie was the first one to intercept him. She blocked and countered him. He went to punch her, but she was way faster and grabbed it and twisted behind his back. John growled in rage. He tried to break free, but he couldn’t.

Julie then tossed him across the room, and he hit the wall with enough force to leave a huge dent and crack in the concrete. “Let’s go.” Jaise told me. He was right behind me as I walked up the steps followed by Julie and Liam. John gathered his wits and then attacked Liam with a giant copper bar. The bar bent completely in half and Liam turned around to look at John with a raised eyebrow. “That should have knocked you out,” He said in fear and shock.

“Yes, but as we’ve said. We’re not completely normal. Of course, you know that right?” Liam asked. John didn’t say anything. He just backed off and didn’t say anything. We walked out of the house and out into the lawn. The moon was bright and full in the sky. The stars were shining down brightly. “Where are we going to go?” I asked. “Oh, don’t worry. We have something special for you.” I froze, and I felt the color drain from my face. I slowly turned around to see Liam, Julie, and Jaise looking at me. “What are you going to do to me?” I demanded in a shaky voice.

“We are going to give you the surprise of your life. What do you think?” Liam asked. “I should have just died in there,” I whispered. Someone placed a hand on my shoulder. “Why would you say that?” I slowly turned my head to see Jaise behind me. “The way you said ‘you have something special for me’ got me a little freaked,” I told him. “Well, we do have a surprise for you. But, we think you’ll enjoy it. But, you have to trust us. We are only trying to give you some joy and fun in your life.” He said. “Then why did it sound extra creepy and dark when you said it before?” I demanded.

“I don’t know,” He said simply. “Where are we going?” I asked. “You’ll see. Trust me.” I looked into his eyes, and I saw he wanted to convince me. But, he wasn’t sure if he could. “You doubt your ability to convince me,” I said quietly. He smiled sadly. “I am. But, I want to believe it so badly. You need some joy in your life. Please, let me give you a couple weeks of pure fun.” He told me. “Kid, come on. We are going to take you to paradise on earth.” Liam told me. I rolled my eyes. “There’s no such thing as paradise on earth,” I told him. Jaise smirked.

“When are we going?” I asked. “Now, if you want,” Julie said. “How do we get there?” I asked her. “Well, I thought we would grab a taxi to the airport, buy some tickets, and fly there. But, if you have another mode of transportation that will just, I don’t know. ‘Pop’ us to where we are going then, please tell us.” Liam commented. I glared at him. Julie rolled her eyes, and Jaise kept a stoic expression. “Uh, yeah sure. Let’s go to the airport.” I said. Liam smiled and jogged around the corner.

He came back after a few minutes in a large customized pickup. It didn’t look normal, though. It had a built in double compartment. Like it had the shape of a truck, but as long as a bus and a half. “How…” I started. “We have our connections at the dealership. We gave them a rough sketch of what we wanted and this way we have our compartments. Matt and I will take the back one.” Jaise said. “Why? We have plenty of rooms still in ours.” Julie said.

“I saw Jaise smiled. “I’ve been bunking with you for long enough. It’s time you two get some privacy. Besides, there is something I need to talk to Matt about.” Liam looked confused for a moment. Julie seemed to get it right away. “I see. Well, we could all use a little privacy.” She said. “We should get going.” Jaise said. Liam nodded, and he got into the driver seat.

“I need to grab a few things from my room before we leave. There’re a lot of important personal effects that I have that I can’t replace. Please. I have everything on three flash drives in my room. It’s on my pillow on my bed.” I told him. He nodded and then ran around the side of the house. He came back in a matter of minutes handing me the three drives. “How did you get them?” I asked. He grinned. “In time, you’ll find out. Just, for now, believe that I have a lot of secrets. One day you’ll be a part of them.” He said smiling.

Julie saw us enter the back seat of the truck and then she climbed into the passenger seat. Liam started up the truck and pulled out into the road. Jaise road in silence with the others and they played the music really loud. I knew some of the songs on the Ipod. “Why don’t you sing along guys? Get us out of the creepy, awkward silent rut we seem to be in.” Liam said. They all started to sing along, but I didn’t. I had too much on my mind.

“Are you alright?” Jaise asked me. I nodded and leaned my head against the window. I didn’t know what to say, and I really couldn’t think of anything to respond to the comment. I sat in silence. I could feel Jaise staring at me with concern. But, I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t. We turned onto the highway and started to pick up speed. “Well, we are now going ninety miles an hour. I hope you aren’t afraid of spending.” Liam said. I just stared out the window. Jaise gently shook my shoulder.

“Hey, seriously. Talk to me.” He said to me. I glanced at him. “I don’t know what to say. I just have a lot going on and lot to think on. Please, just give me some time to think.” I told him. He nodded. “If you need anything, let me know,” He said. “I will.” I don’t know how long we were driving, but a fierce storm crept up on us. The lightning flashed so bright that I had to cover my eyes. The thunder boomed so loud that it shook the truck. The rain pelted everything, and the wind seemed to try and blow us off the road.

“Where did this storm come from?” Julie asked. “I don’t know. It seems a little unnatural.” Liam commented. That perked my interest. “Is there such a thing as unnatural?” I asked. “You have no idea,” Liam commented. I glanced at him, but I didn’t push the issue. He knew something and I would get some answers at some point. I watched the storm grow in strength. “I think we should pull over and try to get some rest.” Jaise suggested. Liam looked back in the mirror and nodded.

We continued for a little while, and he found some small dead end street where there were a few trees that seemed to reach into the sky. Liam parked under a cluster of some, and we ran through the rain into the campers. Jaise flung open the door, and I dashed inside. He followed close behind and closed and locked the door. The wind pelted the side of the vehicle, and it sounded like the rain was going to drown us. “You mentioned that you needed to talk to me a while ago?” I asked. He leaned against the door and looked out into the storm.

“Yes, but it’s a touchy subject,” He said. I looked at him for a moment. “I’m so not going anywhere,” I mumbled. He gave me a quick glance. “I know. But, I don’t know how to breach this subject.” He said. “You already said that.” He rolled his eyes at me. “Look, whatever you have to say just say it. I don’t care how crazy it sounds.” I told him. “You will,” He said. “So, what is it?” I asked. “How much do you remember about your mother?” He asked.

“I know enough about her. She was a kind and caring person. But, I wasn’t worthy enough for her. So, she decided to leave. She ended up having a better life without me.” He glared at me. “I know you can’t mean that.” I shrugged and looked away. “I know for a fact that your mother loved you. She wanted to be around in your life. She just couldn’t be. But, that’s not the point of this conversation. What do you remember about her family?” I didn’t know what to say at first. “I…know she has a brother. He had two daughters and a…son.” I said. I looked at Jaise and fear crept into me.

“You’re him. You are my cousin?” I asked. “Yes, I’m your cousin. I used to come over to your house or holidays and celebrations when you were younger. I wanted to watch out for you. But, I didn’t know how. I tried to come over after your mom left. But, I didn’t know how. John wouldn’t let me come over because he feared what I would say to you. My dad was named sole guardian over you if anything happened to your mom. But, John faked a will and made a lawyer friend of his file it, making him the guardian of you.” I didn’t speak. I didn’t know what to say.

“So, you’re not kidnapping me?” I asked with a smile. He smirked at me. “I think this would be the only case where the kidnapped victim welcomes it.” I smiled. “Probably. I think I might. I’ve already been the most relaxed in the past couple hours than I have in years.” I told hm. “Well, I’m glad we could make it a happy few hours for you.” The storm shook the truck, and the lights flickered. “I am having a hard time believing this. I do believe it. But, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it all.”

“I know. It’s lot to take in. But, trust me. In the end, it will be all worthwhile.” He told me. I nodded. “So, what now?” I asked. He looked at me in shock. “You seem to be taking this all very well.” Jaise said. I shrugged. “I don’t think I have a choice. I have to handle this a certain way or go mental right?” I asked. He frowned at me. “I guess you’re right,” He said. I looked at the digital clock on the counter and saw that it read four in the morning. “Wow, it’s late,” I said. “Yeah. Get some sleep man. We will head out mid morning.” He said. I nodded and then I climbed onto a top bed. I faced the doorway and Jaise watched me with concern.

“Why do you seem so withdrawn and on guard?” Jaise asked. “I always feel like I have to be,” I told him. He smiled sadly at me. “I understand. But, I hope you come to trust us.” Jaise told me. “I do. It is taking a lot to get me to trust you. But, I feel like I can. And I’m putting a lot of faith in you.” I told him. He smiled at me and said, “I know. Get some sleep.” He went and leaned against the door, and I tried to get some sleep by rolling over and pulling the blankets tightly around me.

I woke up a bit later to hear the wind howling and whistling outside. Jaise was still leaning against the door, and I didn’t know why. He dimmed the lights, though. I guess to keep them from waking me up. I slowly sat up. I rubbed my eyes and started to speak, but Jaise beat me to the punch. “You’re awake. How’d you sleep?” I yawned before trying to speak. “I feel like I could sleep another two weeks,” I admitted. He laughed. “Well, you’ve been sleeping for twenty hours,” He told me. I jumped out of bed. “Say what?!” I demanded. He smirked.

“Twenty hours kid. We are about six hours out from the airport. You hungry? I could ask Liam to pull over somewhere to get something to eat.” He told me. I shook my head. “I’m not hungry. But-” I pointed my thumb to the bathroom. He grinned. “Of course. By all means.” He said, and I walked stiff-legged into the bathroom. I finished what I needed to and then splashed water on my face. I looked myself over into the mirror and realized that I have changed in the past few days. I felt weaker than I use to. I felt like I was fading away.

A knock came on the door. “Hey, you alright?” He asked. “I’m fine. I just need a minute.” I told him. “Okay. I’m asking Liam to pull over at the next diner or restaurant. You haven’t eaten in a couple of days. You need to get your strength back.” He told me. “I’m not hungry,” I said as my stomach rumbled and growled like an angry bear. “Yeah, I’m sorry to tell you. But, you’re not convincing me. I can tell that you are starving. So, we are going to stop somewhere. He said he found a good place that has good food.” I walked out of the bathroom, and Jaise studied me carefully.

“You look like you’re going to collapse,” He commented. “Oh gee thanks,” I said rolling my eyes. He sighed and shook my head. “I don’t mean anything bad about it. I’m only saying that you are not at full strength.” He said. “Is it still storming outside?” I asked. “No, you just hear the wind against the truck. Liam likes to drive at supersonic speed.” His phone rang at that time, and he smirked when he saw who was calling. He clicked the speaker button. “I heard what you said, man. I do not drive at supersonic speed.” He said.

“How did he hear you?” I demanded. “Liam, you’re such a moron. I doubt Jaise is willing to tell him all the secrets yet.” I heard Julia say. “You both need to keep your bloody mouths shut,” I swear I heard the sound of rocks scraping in his voice when he spoke next. “I don’t like being called an idiot man.” Jaise sighed. “I didn’t mean that. I just don’t think this is the time to reveal everything.” There was a pause on the line. “Yeah, I know. It’s just been long couple weeks.” Liam said. “I understand. It’s been a long couple weeks for us all.” Then he hung up and looked at me questioningly. “So, I bet you have some questions now.” I looked at him and said,

“I have a lot of questions. But, I doubt I will receive any answers until you’re ready to give them. So, I don’t think pressing the issue is going to help.” I said. He gave me a strange look. “I don’t understand you. Most people would either be freaking out or demanding answers. You take everything in stride and don’t question or complain. Why?” I thought about it for a second. “Well, I guess I’ve learned that questioning people always and only gets me hurt.” He gave me a sympathetic look.

“We aren’t going to hurt you for asking questions. We may not be able to answer them right away. But, we will in time. How about you ask me some questions and I’ll either answer them completely, to the best of my ability, or I’ll pass the question at a later date. No, arguments, no questioning my choice. Deal?” He asked. I nodded. “Okay, first question,” He said. “How was Liam able to hear us from the truck?” I asked. He thought about it for a moment.

“Well, I could pass the question. But, I won’t. He Julie and I can hear each other right now. They know I’m talking about this. But, I can’t fully answer the question. I will tell you that we aren’t one hundred percent human. We have heightened senses and reflexes. We are also, lot stronger than humans. I’m not just modest when I say that. Our reflexes are way too sharp sometimes for our good. But, that’s all I’m saying on that.” He told me. “Well, you just answered like three questions for the price of one,” I told him. He grinned.

“So, any other questions?” He asked. “Who are you?” I asked. “Your cousin, Jaise?” He said. “No, I mean what are you?” He gained a pained look on his face. “Pass.” I glared at him. “You know the rules.” He reminded me. I nodded glumly. He laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get all the answers soon enough.” Jaise cocked his head like he was listening to someone or something. Then he smiled. “Well, it looks like we are pulling into a small diner now. “You are going to get something to eat and please o me a favor will you?” He asked. “What’s that?” I asked.

“Don’t be stingy. Eat whatever you want and however much you’d like. Money isn’t a problem. So, again. Please order you as much as you want.” He told me. I smiled. “I don’t know. I have never liked taking from others. Or having others help me.” He gave me a strange look. “You know it isn’t a death sentence if you ask for help right?” He asked. I flinched and backed away. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “I…I had a flashback from what I did. I don’t like looking that weak.”

“You don’t have to be embarrassed for having a moment of weakness. It isn’t like you were able to come to grips with everything. I mean come on! You were dealing with a lot all at once. So, give yourself some credit and learn to forgive yourself, please?” He begged. “Why do you need me to forgive myself for trying to end my life? I tried to take the easy way out.” I told him. He glared at me with what seemed to be a fire in his eyes.

“We all have a moment of weakness. It isn’t your fault. Learn from your second chance. Grow stronger because of it and embrace a second life.” He then opened the door and climbed out. Before he vanished, he said, “There’s a fresh pair of clothes in the small dresser. Wash up and get changed man.” I smiled and nodded. He vanished, and I closed the door. I took a quick shower. I tried to use as little of the water as I could. I brushed the snarls out of my hair, and I dressed quickly. Then I joined them in the diner. They sat in a corner booth, and they all looked up when I came towards them.

“Am I interrupting something? Should I leave?” I asked. Julie smiled at me. “No, of course not. We brought you here because you’re the one who needs food. Besides, we can’t have you starve.” Liam said to me. I smiled at him. “I don’t want to take money away from you, though,” I told them. Jaise rolled his eyes. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re not taking our money” Liam said. “We go to a special school. They teach you everything you learn in regular school, plus. And they teach some survival skills.” Jaise cleared his throat. “Yeah, yeah,” Liam said.

“So, hi guys. How may I help you?” A waitress came up to us. She was middle aged with long curly blond hair in a sloppy ponytail. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days. “Hi, may I get the jumbo shrimp basket with garlic bread and a glass of chocolate milk?” Julie asked. “Sure.” The waitress said coldly. “I would like a double burger with provolone cheese and a slice of apple pie with a giant glass of water,” Liam said. “I just want a big slice of banana cream pie, a giant stake of pancakes and a large plate of bacon?” Jaise suggested.

“And for you kid?” The waitress asked. “Um…” I said. “I’ll come back,” She said with ice in her tone. I felt bad and embarrassed for not knowing what I wanted. “Matt, it isn’t your fault for her having a temper. She probably just had a long shift and were tired, sore and irritated.” Jaise said. “But, her attitude isn’t appreciated.” Liam snapped. “No, it’s fine. I should just order something. I shouldn’t be wasting her time.” I said and looked deep into the menu. A hand covered the menu, and I was forced to look into my cousin’s face. “Stop this!” He said fiercely.

“What?” I asked. “You’re always blaming yourself. Sometimes you just don’t know what you want in life. Sometimes you have to think about things, and it isn’t your fault if you don’t know what you want right away. Take a look at the menu and think about what you want. Stop blaming yourself.” He looked so pissed off. I choked back my fear and looked away from him. “Okay, Jaise. Yelling at him isn’t going to help him. You have said it yourself. He’s had a real bad break. Yelling at him isn’t going to help him.” Liam told him.

I didn’t look at either of them. I couldn’t. I got up after a moment and found the waitress. “I want to say that I’m sorry for not knowing what I wanted.” She gave me a cold hard glare. “It doesn’t matter. Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll take your order.” She said with no emotion. “I’m sorry.” I turned to walk back to the table. “Kid.” She called, and I turned around. “You should know something. Apologies don’t mean a damn thing.

You think by saying sorry and looking respectful is something in this world. But, generosity and kindness and politeness are just the weak fearing the strong. Save your petty apologies. I don’t give a rat’s ass about them.” She turned and went to the counter. I turned around and almost collided with Jaise. I caught a glimpse of pure hatred and anger in his eyes. “You heard what she said,” I commented.

“Of course. I didn’t like anything I just heard, and I’m trying to keep my anger in check.” He said. I blinked and then I saw something that caught my eye. “Hey, when did you get a red streak in your hair? It’s bright. I don’t know how I missed that.” I said. He smiled. “There’s a lot of things that you may not have noticed. We have our ways of hiding things.” He said. His smile was real, but it seemed more or less forced. “Jaise, just let it go.” I said and walked back to the table where Liam was the only one there.

A waitress came by, and I asked her if she had a piece of paper and a pen. She gave me a curious look and then wiped a strand of dark hair from her forehead. I saw a bright yellow streak in her hair. “Hey, nice streak,” I commented. She looked scared and confused. “Uh, yeah. Let me know if there’s anything you need.” She said. She handed me the pen and paper and walked away. I wrote in small letters. “Let me know what Jaise tells her.” I slipped it to Liam, and he gave me a shocked look.

He started to speak, and I silenced him with a look. He smiled and nodded. He didn’t say anything just started to scribble a bunch of words down and never once said a word. After a good number of minutes, he quickly slipped the paper back to me, and I stashed it in my pocket when Jaise and Julie appeared. “What’s going on?” She asked. “Oh, we’re just waiting for the food that we ordered, so you want to join? Or do you have somewhere else to be?” Liam said. “I’ll just see if you wouldn’t mind stopping at McDonalds or something,” I said.

“That won’t be necessary. I took the liberty of ordering for you. I hope you don’t mind.” Jaise said. “So, I have a feeling you talked to the waitress,” I said. He didn’t say anything, but he looked me straight in the eyes. “And if I did?” He asked. “I would hope you didn’t say anything to her about or based on me,” I replied. He smiled. “Well, I can say I didn’t mention names. But, maybe we had a little chat about her attitude.” He said secretively. I looked at him and then I faced the table. The yellow streaked girl was back with a giant plate of food. A man in his early twenties came and opened a small stand that the girl placed the food to rest.

“How come he wasn’t the one carrying the food?” I asked Jaise quietly. He smirked, and the girl looked at me strangely. The young man seemed to blush because he seemed to sense what I said. “I don’t mean any disrespect,” I told them. “No, it’s fine.” The young man said. “No, he wanted to. But, I like to prove that I can do anything that a male can do. I don’t have any shame about equaling or besting a man.” The girl said. I grinned, and the others seemed not to know what to say. They placed the food that the others ordered, and when it came to my turn, I couldn’t believe what she placed in front of me.

A giant supreme pizza, a triple stacked hamburger, a giant stack of pancakes with strawberry jam, and a huge waffle with grape jelly on it. Then she placed a giant slab of bacon and a plate of sausage down next to the waffles, and my eyes got so huge at what I was seeing. The girl laughed. “I take it that he doesn’t eat much?” I felt my face heat up, and I looked away. “Matt, relax. Just eat up. How long has it been since you’ve had a decent meal?” Liam asked. “Um… I think when I was four during Thanksgiving, I had a giant plate of turkey and mashed potatoes with some baked beans and a giant slice of pumpkin pie.” I said.

They all looked at me with wide eyes. “What?” I asked feeling self-conscience. “You never really had a complete meal?” Julie asked. “Does Peanut butter and jelly count?” I asked. Their eyes grew large. “That’s all you have been eating?” Jaise asked. “Well, every once in a while they throw me a French fry or an onion ring. Usually stale. But, still. It’s a change of pace.” They all stared at me dumbfounded, and I felt my cheeks burn. “Seriously kid. You…” “Yes! I didn’t have real meals. I ate the same thing every fucking day! So, can we just drop this?”

I snapped and felt the tears escape. “Matt, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push.” He went to rest a hand on my shoulder, and I pulled away. He didn’t seem mad, or even mad. He seemed resigned. They ate quickly and walked out leaving me alone staring at a bunch of plates full of food. “Hey, you don’t have to feel so guilty about how you reacted. I could tell that it was bothering you lot. I’m sorry.” The girl said. “It’s fine,” I said not looking at her. “I shouldn’t have acted that way.”

“You have got to stop this pity party! You don’t always have to apologize for everything. Sometimes it’s the other person’s fault and not yours. So stop taking the blame for everything.” She said and started to walk away. “Hey, um…” She turned, “Yes?” She asked. “What are you going to do with all this food?” I don’t feel hungry at the moment.” She smiled. “You’re going to take it with you,” She said. “I can’t take this much food. I couldn’t even eat this much in a week if I tried.” She smiled. “Well, you better take it and try to eat it. Otherwise, it’s just going to go to waste.” She said. “True, but I don’t want them to see me bring all this food into the truck.”

She grinned at me. “I know you don’t know me, but if you’ll trust me this one time. I can put the food in the fridge for you. I don’t know if they’ll notice or not, but I think you could play dumb.” She said. “There’s two fridges in the back camper. I guess the empty one would be for me?” I said in a questioning tone. “So, you’re not sure?” She asked. “I don’t know anything about what’s going on.” She frowned. “You don’t want to be with them?” I looked out the window and sighed. “I do, but I don’t know them. But, I found out that one is my cousin, and I have to trust him to don’t I?”

She looked me up and down. “You do, and you don’t. Don’t until you know him, and then if you find that he’s worth it, then trust him.” She told me. I gave her a shy smile. “Why don’t you head out and I’ll have the food in the fridge before you all drive away, We all work together to help each other. Don’t worry. The food will be there. They won’t know. But, answer me one question first.” I gave her a skeptical look. “It’s just a simple question. When was the last time you ate anything. No matter how small. How long has it been?” She asked.

“To be honest with you? Five days.” She froze. “You haven’t eaten in five days? Why didn’t you scarf this shit down?” She wondered. “I don’t know. I guess it’s because I didn’t buy it. I didn’t earn it. And I’m not good with owing people.” I said. “Haven’t you ever had anyone do anything nice for you just because they could?” She asked. I shook my head. She sighed. “Well, here’s your chance. You have three people who have helped, protected and provided for you. Help them succeed.” She told me. I nodded and said, “I know. But, I can’t eat if I don’t feel hungry, and I am trying to make the change. I just need some help.” I said to her.

“Well, I’m sure they will help you. But, here’s something you need to do. You need to allow them to help you. You need to allow it.” She said. I nodded. “So, is there anything else you need to know?” I asked. “Nope. Just that I would like you to try and be happy.” She said and then shooed me out the door. I walked over to the others. They gave me a strangely reserved look. “I want to say that I’m sorry.” Jaise raised a hand. “You don’t have to say sorry. We shouldn’t have pushed you on the questions.” He told me.

“No, in this case, it’s my doing. I shouldn’t have snapped like I did. I know it’s hard to believe my income of foods to eat. But, I shouldn’t have reacted that way.” I said. They all smiled, and we climbed into the truck. Liam pulled out of the diner parking lot and back onto the highway. A couple of hours down the road and we came to a traffic jam. “There shouldn’t be traffic this backed up here,” Liam said.

I didn’t know what to make of it. Liam couldn’t back out either. Cars on both sides started piling up, and we were now blocked in. “Damn it. I can’t get out.” Liam swore. “It’s okay. It was almost night by the time traffic started to move. It moved a little forward and then it stopped. We were there until the sun began to set and that’s when things took a turn for the worst. “Hey, what’s that?” I asked. They all looked out toward where I pointed. Another storm seems to be trying to creep up on us. But, it didn’t look right. The storm clouds looked a sickening lime green, and the lightning flashed a golden pink light across the sky. The others tensed up and even paled.

But, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Just a freak light show in the sky. “Why are you guys freaking out?” I asked. “You ever see lights like that in the sky before?” Julie asked me. I nodded, “Once.” I replied. “Let me guess. You just thought it was just some freak light show?” I nodded again. “Well, let me tell you it isn’t what you think. These unique storms and colorful lightning isn’t from normal weather conditions. But, from people from our world. Our kind with special gifts. You just don’t know what kind of skills and powers we have yet.” I looked back at the sky and asked, “Is it dangerous?”

No one answered right away. “You have no idea,” Julie mumbled. After another hour, traffic started to clear up, and we moved on. By the time we made it to the airport, I was feeling groggy, and I wished I would have eaten something. But, I couldn’t say anything. They would know, and they would probably be angry with me. I couldn’t let them see disappointment and anger on their face. So, I pretended like I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t tired and I did what they were doing. “You okay?” Jaise asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little groggy I guess. But, I’m okay.” I told him. He nodded and looked back at his friends. “So, now what?” I asked. “Now, we are going to take this plane to a small airport and port and then take a ship over to our destination. There’s only one way to get there, and we have to sail.” Jaise said. “Wow, I get to take a plane and boat all in one shot. I’ve never been on one before.” I told them. Liam smiled. “Well, now all your wishes can come true.” I glared at him. “Was that necessary?” I asked.

He grinned and said, “Well, I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. But, you’re going to be able to do both. Isn’t it something you’ve always dreamed of doing?” He asked me. “Yes, but I wouldn’t feel like my life was unfulfilled if I didn’t.” They all rolled their eyes. “Oh please be happy once in your life kid,” Liam said. “Alright, leave him alone. It’s going to take some time. Now, are we going to fly or just stand here looking at each other uncomfortably?” Jaise asked. “Nope, let’s go,” Julie said. We started to head for the doors when a group of people blocked our path. “So, what is it you want?” Jaise asked.

“Oh, I think you know. Someone in your party is human. This person is also destined to inherit a power more powerful than someone regular like us. So, we all know who this person is.” A man in his early thirties said. He looked right at me. I didn’t understand any of what they were saying. “He has nothing to do with this.” Jaise said. They all grinned. The young woman who barely looked old enough to drink. And two men behind me, twins, both looked in their late teens. Both were muscular and good looking. Short spiked light brown hair. Shiny green eyes and a wicked smile.

“What do you want?” Julie asked. ’Oh, you should know. We want the kid, and we need you dead. See, we know you won’t stop from coming after us, so no hard feelings right? You just need to die.” The woman said. I gave her a death glare. “I like this kid. He has balls.” The woman said with a smirk. “Jen, are you fancying the boy?” The man next to her asked. She laughed coldly. “I may as a toy and nothing else.” I felt my face flush. Jaise stepped in front of me.

“You don’t think I’m going to let that happen do you?” He snapped. “I don’t see how you’re going to stop us. We out number you. Also, we are stronger.” Jaise smiled. “We will see.” Julie charged the girl, Liam the man next to her and my cousin took the twins behind us. I’ve never seen anyone move so fast in my life. Several minutes passed and Julie ended up getting pinned to the ground, Liam had the man up against the side of the building, and Jaise had a pointed stick up against one of the twin’s heart. The other gave him a look like he wanted to rip his heart out. “You don’t think you are going to be able to beat us do you?” Jen asked. I looked around, and my group didn’t seem to be faring well.

“I can see that you all need some help.” I heard a familiar voice said. I looked over to see the girl from the diner kick Jen across the parking lot. How did she have the strength to do that?! I wondered. The man struggled to break free of Liam. “No, I don’t think so.” He snarled. Julie and the girl faced off against Jen. “Julie, help Jaise.” Julie looked at her and then she turned to face me. “Got it. “Oh, tramp. You can’t beat me.” Jen said with venom in her tone. “We shall see,” She said. Julie tackled the one who faced against Jaise and the man he held the stick to slap it away.

“You won’t kill me that easily.” Jaise glared at him. “I don’t want to kill anyone.” With the girl on their side, things changed. I just stood there feeling helpless and not sure what I could do. I watched everything happen in what appeared to be slow motion and then time sped up again. “I don’t think you will all make it out of here unscathed.” One of the twins said. “No, but I know that he’ll get out of here alive, and he won’t be alone.” My cousin said. The man smirked. “You’re right. He won’t be alone.” Jaise ended up getting kicked away, and the girl ended up pinned to the ground. The pointed stick rolled towards me and the one twin who held Jaise held his stake?! I just realized what it was. He aimed it at Jaise’s chest and before he could strike him, I rushed for the one Jaise dropped, picked it up and jammed it into the boy’s chest.

He screamed in pain and fell to the ground. “You killed my brother! You fucking son of a bitch!” The other screamed. I couldn’t even move or breathe at what I’ve done. The others went into a rage and attacked in a fury. I couldn’t even believe what how fast they were moving and how they knew to fight like that. I’ve seen black belts. I knew someone who had three black belts in three different forms of martial arts. But, they put them all to shame. I couldn’t even keep with the low ducks and the flips. The kicks and punches.

The counters and blocks. They had them all beaten, and they vanished into thin air. “We should go before more come back,” Liam said. We entered the airport and security were running towards the entrance. “Hey, we saw a bunch of kids and a middle-aged man fight. What’s going on?” A guard asked us. “We were coming to board a plane when we ended up getting attacked. I don’t know what happened, though. We fought them off and then they ran off.” Julie explained. “Hey, someone is losing skin!” I whipped around.

Luckily no one was paying attention to me. “What?” A guard asked completely stunned. “Do you have any knowledge about that?” We all shook our heads. He seemed to buy it and then ran outside shouting. “Go to your fight.” Jaise snickered. “What?” I asked. “He just mumbled something about going to demand security cameras get installed.” Everyone laughed. “I don’t get it,” I said. “Matt, you just staked someone, and now they are dying and their skin is falling off. Do you think a camera is a good thing?” Jaise asked. I paled and said, “I see. Dang. Good thing too. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again.”

They all smiled and then we went to the counter, got our tickets and climbed onto a small plane where we flew to the port and found a boat. “Hey, Liam. What about your car?” I asked. “Oh, don’t worry. We have a ‘friend’ who promised to take it to the vehicle storage. It will be safe there.” He told me. “Do I know him?” I asked. “No, you don’t. But, you’ll recognize her when the time comes.” Her? Well, there’s no point in worrying about it. We arrived at the small boat. It was just big enough for the four of us to be comfortable while we went to our destination. But, I hoped it didn’t take too long. I didn’t want to be sitting in one place too long.

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