Chance - Never Talk To Strangers
Terror. It was all I felt. The man effortlessly lifted Jaden up from his feet. I could feel his consciousness was slipping away from the lack of oxygen. And the only weapon I could produce was worthless before my enemy. Then the guy pushed Jaden towards the wall while looking at me.
Then out of some sort of instinct, I clasped my hands together quickly, and bits of my shadow below me shot up into the air and hovered around my body. The small “orbs” of shadows quickly morphed into daggers. And I knew instinctively that the blades would all pierce him simultaneously on my command. The guy suddenly had his eyebrows raised, and he was obviously flattered with the turn of events.
“Very well,” he said. Then the guy gripped Jaden’s neck harder, and the former had his head tilted lower. He had lost his consciousness. I, on the other hand, was filled with a sudden rush of overwhelming anger. The daggers that hovered around me grew bigger, and the edges suddenly had a jagged pattern. I wanted to rip the guy apart, but I was holding back. “Relax, I just had to put him to sleep. There is no need for a fight here. I don’t want anyone eavesdropping either.”
“W-Who are you?”I almost said in a growl. “What do you want from us?”
“Well, this boy I am holding is of no interest to me.” He replied. Then he gently put Jayden down. Once he was on his feet, he fell sideward since he had no consciousness, so I had to catch his body. It was a good thing that he wasn’t all that heavy. Otherwise, he would have fallen over me. I lost control of the hovering daggers, and they fell on the ground. All of them quickly dispersed back into my shadows. “What I came here for is you, Israfil.”
“My name is not Israfil.” I gritted my teeth. My eyes were spitting daggers towards him. And I wasn’t caring anymore if I would be able to kill him.
“True. Your name is Chance Valentine.” He replied coldly. And his eyes were observing me carefully. It was as if he was analyzing what I would do next. I think he knew I was preparing an attack. “But the soul that resides within you is Israfil. And he is my little brother. So, I suggest that you come with me and we can do this peacefully.”
“No. You already hurt my friend, so I don’t care what you want.” I stated. My mind was almost blank. All I wanted was to rip him apart. “There’s no reason for me to trust you. Not a single one.”
“I suppose that’s just fair.” He said almost softly.
I then slammed my hand on the wall, and my shadows extended all over like tentacles on the pavement. Bits of my shadow flew and hovered around me. They quickly turned into daggers and jolted towards him. The man was able to promptly avoid each of the blades. But I was acting on some kind of instinct. I clasped my hands together again, and the tentacles extended to the walls. The alley was relatively small, and my shadows were all over it. Then I commanded the tentacles to morph a spearhead and shot towards him simultaneously.
The man then clasped his hands together as well. Suddenly, my attacks ‘evaded’ him as if there was some sort of force field. It was pretty evident because my shadows warped around him as if it was hitting something. They simply spun around as if the man was inside an untouchable spear. Then he slammed both of his hands to the ground. All of my attacks were dragged downwards in a snap. My shadows dispersed into nothingness. The alley was suddenly clean of my shadows.
“You pretty much fight like Israfil, too.” He smiled, almost saying the statement like a compliment. Then he stood up again as I cradled a helpless Jaden in my arms. I was effortlessly beaten. “You are simply accessing his abilities through instinct. It may be possible that you have the blood of a Vladimir.”
“Sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about.” I replied. Then suddenly, a chill went up to my spine. A different kind of presence suddenly appeared.
“Hmm, I could sense a demon nearby. It’s probably of a higher rank.” The man suddenly stated. “It’s a shame that I have to end this meeting shortly. But I don’t want your small town to be some sort of battlefield. I will come back for you, Chance Valentine. And you better keep this between us. Otherwise, your friend over there would be involved in this.”
For some reason, I trusted those very words. It made sense. And I don’t want to bring Jaden further. The man had the same powers as I am. Instinctively, I knew that he knows more than I do. I felt that was he in control of the situation.
Then shadows erupted from the ground and suddenly consumed him.
“Just at least tell me your name.” I asked.
“Maybe next time.” The man almost said in a chuckle. With that, the shadows dispersed into the ground. And no trace of him could be found.
I was dumbfounded at the encounter. Jaden was unconscious, and I was still frozen in place. There was no way I would be able to comprehend anything at all during the first few seconds. It was crazy, and it was weird, even for the likes of me. But before I could think of what to do next, Jaden started to wake up. From the looks of his face, he obviously wondered why he was sitting at the side of some dark alley.
“What on earth happened?” He asked, scratching his head. “Why on earth am I sitting on the ground? The last time I remembered, we were talking about the movie we just watched.”
“Oh, about that, Jaden, you suddenly lost consciousness.”I lied. It was the first excuse I could think of. And it was kind of a lousy one. “Then you woke up before I could even get help. It was a good thing I caught you before you fell on the floor. Otherwise, you would have had a nasty bump somewhere. You can thank me later.”
“Yeah, right.” He scoffed with a frown on his face. Jaden wasn’t sure whether he could trust what I said or not. I know that he trusted me, but I can’t help the feeling that he knew my excuse was too stupid to believe. “As if I was going to fall on my own. I know that I’m careful. Duh. Don’t forget, we still have to attend your uncle’s party next month.”
“Well, while we were walking, I already noticed you were weirdly looking at me. Maybe, you were already dizzy before you even noticed it yourself.” I tried to justify what I have said. It wasn’t much help, really. But if he knew what actually happened, then it is bound to have some sort of consequence. Just as the man had said. There was no way I was going to involve Jaden with such. He shrugged as I helped him back on his feet. Then we started walking towards home. “Do you feel okay?”
“I’m fine to begin with, Chance.” He grumbled.
“Suit yourself. Just don’t fall over me again. Because I won’t try to catch you this time.” I warned him. He jabbed my shoulder lightly and smiled. “Just kidding. You think I am going to let something bad happen to you?”
“Maybe.” He quipped. “I feel too fine. Are you sure I fainted?”
“Wow, I can’t believe you still doubt me over that.” I rolled my eyes, and he seemed to take the bait. He just shook his head in disbelief. “Are you really sure you are still going to call me your best and weirdest friend despite doubting me by that much?”
“Fine. I fainted. But I feel fine.” Jaden was quite the stubborn guy. But it was also a strength of his. “If I did faint, then I would have felt something weird, right?”
“You’re weird all the time that it’s normal. There’s no way you would be able to feel if your body is acting out weird.” I laughed at him. “Plus, I was able to catch you, so I was pretty sure you didn’t hit your head. Anyway, we both better go home and take a rest, especially you.”
“Okay.” He replied. “I don’t think I need to go to the hospital, do I?”
“Well, we can do that.” I said. “But your mom is going to be worried. You said it yourself that you feel fine. And I trust you with that. Maybe you just got yourself too tired or something. Just tell me, are you sure that you’re fine?”
“Yeah.” He responded with almost a gasp. I can’t believe my plan to use reverse-psychology on him worked. And I can’t think I would actually make up a big fat lie to one of the people I trusted the most. “Here’s my stop. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“See you.” I answered back. “Any plans for tomorrow?”
“I don’t know.” He said. “We can figure something out.”
“Surely, you will.” I chuckled. “You are always full of weird and crazy ideas, so I know you can think of something. I know you don’t like letting your Saturday be wasted by just moping around. Goodnight, Jaden.”
He just snickered at my comment. “See you later.”
With that, he went inside his home, and I went on my way. Telling myself that I just had a strange day was a big understatement. I couldn’t even put it into words. It went way beyond that. It was supernatural.
“Hey, you want some dinner?” My mom offered and greeted me when I passed by the kitchen with her usual and enthusiastic smile. “I left some for you.”
“Sorry.” I declined. “I think I had too much popcorn a while ago.”
“You’re spoiling your stomach, dear.” She said, shaking her head. Well, it almost sounded like a rant. But she made sure it also sounded gentle. “Are you sure you don’t want some?”
“I know, sorry. And no thanks, I’m fine. I’ll just go eat a big breakfast tomorrow morning.” I hugged her, and she hugged back. “Well, the movie was great, though. I’ll surely look forward to the sequel next year.”
“That’s great.” She chirped. “How is Jaden, by the way? You know, I just can’t say no to that kid for some reason. Even his voice had some sort of puppy-dog-eyes effect on me!”
“Well, Jaden is being Jaden.” I replied. “And I guess we should call that the Jaden effect. I am not even sure why he is so irresistible. Everyone is just drawn towards him, no matter how weird he can get.”
“I’m sure he will encounter at least one person in his life that can resist his boyish charms.” Mom smiled. “Most likely, that person can be a potential partner for life.”
“Yeah, probably so.” I said. “Anyway, I think I’ll go hit the sack early. It was kind of an exhausting day. Goodnight, mom.”
“Okay, sleep tight.” She piped. “Goodnight, dear.”
As soon as I got on my bed, I fell asleep from the exhaustion. What happened that day and the discoveries I have made took a toll on my body physically. Mentally and emotionally.
Suddenly, I was in front of the mirror. And when I looked at the silhouette that should have reflected me, I saw another boy who had his back on me. Based on his body, he was about my age. He had the same dark hair as I do and almost the same height. And he had some sort of weird clothes.
“Who are you?” I asked. But the boy didn’t reply. He didn’t even flinch. The person in the mirror was seemingly frozen in place. “I know you could hear me.”
Again, there was no response. Suddenly, I was back in my bed and woke up in the middle of the night. I pulled my blanket over me to get a warm and cozy feeling. It was a Saturday, and every kid would want to stay in bed a little longer.
When I woke up the next day, I felt so refreshed. The first thing I did was to take a shower because my body felt warmer than usual. It was as if I was going to explode from some sort of force within me. My breath felt lighter, and my senses felt a lot sharper. And the first person that entered my mind was none other than Peter Jenkins.
“So, this is what having a spider-sense feels like.” I mumbled by myself.
I went down to the kitchen and ate the breakfast mom probably had left for me. It was beside a note stating that she went off to buy some groceries. Then there was another note from dad saying that he was meeting some business partners in another town. He had left even before mom. I texted Celine asking where she was. A few minutes later, she replied that she had to babysit someone a few blocks away.
When I checked the time, it was an hour before noon. I figured that I had slept for more than 12 hours. Which was weird because I don’t usually sleep that long. I texted Jaden if he had already thought of something to do. A few seconds later, my phone started ringing.
[Hey.] Jaden spoke. His voice was kind of husky over the phone, and it really sounded different. It caught me off guard, and I didn’t respond to his first word. [Let’s just go to the park or something. I’m sure one of the gang would be there. Or, if not, I’ll go ask them out. If they won’t say yes, then I will force them to say yes.]
[Fine.] I replied. And he didn’t say a word either. It was awkward, so I had to say at least something. [No one is home anyway, so it would really be best if I don’t die of boredom here.]
[Sure, just go here as soon as you can.] Then Jaden hung up. He seemed to be in a hurry, so I shrugged it off. As soon as I put down the phone, I decided to dress up. Otherwise, he would be calling me again and would start whining about how slow I get ready to go out of the house.
When I passed by the mirror with my shirt off, I noticed something a bit different. I wasn’t entirely sure, but it seemed that my body was more slightly toned than before. The curve on my triceps and my chest were a bit firmer than when I saw it yesterday.
And it made me question how much exercise do I get. Sure, I play soccer every once in a while, but not so much that it would start to tone my upper body. With that in mind, I went on and ignored it altogether. I just assumed that I might be getting thin, which is why I looked a bit more toned. With that checked out, I left the house.
Since Jaden lives only a few blocks away, it wasn’t really much of a hassle to go there whenever I want to. And that is also a factor why we have been close since we were kids. Mom wouldn’t worry much if I went out for a couple of hours. She was pretty sure that I was with Jaden.
But when I passed by the house next door, I felt something weird. A soft whisper of air danced on my skin, and it slowly crawled up my arm. When I looked at the house, there was a black car right in front of it. Next to the car was a huge truck. Based on what I could see, it was indeed some sort of moving truck. The first thing I could think of was that we would have a new set of neighbors. I felt a thump in my chest when the thought came to mind. Typically, new people don’t excite me. In fact, I feel a bit nervous if ever I had to talk to them. Usually, Jaden did all the talking whenever we had to talk to people we don’t know.
Anyway, I simply shrugged it off and went on my way. When I knocked at Jaden’s door, I was greeted by Trish. Her blonde hair draped over her shoulders as if she just took a warm bath. She smiled at me with the same mischief you could sense in Jaden. For me, it wasn’t much of a surprise because she is his mother. It’s probably something he inherited–the weird magical charm that can mind-control anyone.
“Hey.” She chirped. Then she put her hands on her waist as if she was taunting me to say something stupid. “He’s upstairs. I think he’s almost done taking a shower. You know, boys normally don’t take long showers.”
“Well, you know he always tries to woo people.” I just replied simply with a smile. “Of course, he would always want to smell in his best. Putting off people is not Jaden’s thing.”
“You’re right.” She admitted and scratched her head. “Get in. And tell him to put his dirty clothes where they should. I am tired of picking up dirty underwear all over his room. He needs to grow up!”
“Sure, Trish.” I went inside the house. It wasn’t really spacious since there were only two of them. His home was a simple bungalow house since it was what they could only afford. Plus, they don’t really need abundant space. Trish had always wanted to keep things simple for both of them. “Thank you for always being there.”
“Woah there. Where did that drama come from? You sounded like you are not yet really awake.” She said with a bit of a mocking tone. Then she ruffled my hair like she would always do as I walked past her. “Just kidding. You’re almost my son, Chance. Of course, you are welcome here anytime.”
That statement simply made me smile. There was a warm feeling in my chest after she acknowledged me that way. I was blessed with my own family, of course, don’t get me wrong. And I loved them very dearly. But for someone that I don’t have blood ties with considered me to be family, that had hit me differently.
When I got into the room, Jaden was nowhere to be found. Most likely, he was still taking a shower. I sat by his bed and took out my phone to send a text message to Caitlyn and the others. If we were going out of the house, we might as well invite the whole gang along. Although it’s not really dull if you were stuck with Jaden. He almost always had something to say.
Suddenly, Jaden went inside his room with a towel around his waist. He just looked at me and stared at me for a few seconds. His eyes narrowed as if he was trying to convey some sort of secret message. I just frowned at him, trying to guess what was in his mind.
“You know, you could turn your back on me anytime now.” He started, then crossed his arms. Then he walked by the drawer and pulled out some clothes. “You may be my best friend, but I am not about to drop down my towel and show you my jewels.”
“Oh, sorry. I was thinking of something else, my bad.” I apologized. Then I turned my back on him. I could hear Jaden putting on his shirt. “We have new neighbors, by the way. I’m sure you want to meet them later. But I can’t tell if they have someone from our age group, though.”
“I don’t know, Chance.” Jaden replied. His voice was awfully unsure and frail. “I don’t feel like meeting them right now. It’s too early for that. Let them get out of the house first before we barge in their lives. That would be too rude of us.”
“Wow, I can’t believe I would hear something like that from you!” I admonished. He laughed at my comment because we both knew that wasn’t like him at all. Jaden was a people person, and everyone knows that. “Anyway, if you have nothing else to do, we might as well go to the park.”
“Yeah, Caitlyn sent me a text message.” Jaden informed me. He held up his phone to make a point. “She said she is already on her way here. And she’s with a new friend.”
“Really now?” I gawked at him. “That’s something unusual.”
“I was going to ask her for a few more details, but she didn’t reply.” He stated. “It’s something she’s doesn’t often do. I guess we can go ask her once she gets here.”
I was about to make a remark, but the doorbell suddenly rang. “Well, speaking of the devil, huh?”
“Yeah.” Jaden agreed with a sly smile. From the looks of it, he’s going to have fun picking on this new kid. “Looks like they’re here. Come on, let’s go meet this new friend of hers.”
The two of us went down the stairs and saw Trish busy doing something in the kitchen. She looked at us playfully as if she was daring us to do something stupid. But of course, it would most likely be Jaden he would do such.
“Well, surely that has got to be one of your friends.” Trish remarked.
“Yeah.” I nodded. Then I flashed her my usual grin. “Caitlyn was coming over. Last-minute change of plans, Trish. I am very sorry if there was no warning. But don’t worry, we won’t last more than a few minutes!”
“Sure, no worries!” She joyfully chirped. “Wait, you mean, Caitlyn? Jaden, isn’t that the girl you have liked since you were in elementary school?”
“Mom!” Jaden almost shrieked. I tried not to laugh because Jaden almost cracked his voice. I guess puberty is going to hit us whether we like it or not. “You better shut it! I don’t think that’s fair. Plus, that was years ago!”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” Trish snickered. But Jaden was blushing all over.
With that, we went to the front door. After opening it, Caitlyn was in front just as how we were expecting her. Behind the girl was another boy our age who had golden blonde hair and blue eyes as deep as the sea.
“Hey, guys!” Caitlyn greeted us. “I’d like you to meet our new friend, Trevor.”