Pastor Goode escorted Gina to the front of the church. Light purple shades colored the city skyline. Gina astoundingly watched his robe wildly flap to one side but didn’t feel wind whatsoever. A rushing breeze brushed against her palm when she reached out to touch the ivory white cloth. “Are you controlling the elements?” she asked.
“Those are the angels coming,” Pastor Goode said, looking up at the
sky with his arms held out. “They’re here to witness the first Angelite of this
generation earn her wings.”
“Witness? Am I auditioning for them?”
“Oh, you’ve done that already. This is your first training session.”
“Training? Now? I can’t. I need to get back to my sister and –”
“You’ll have plenty of time to get back to Alexandra. Haven’t you noticed anything peculiar about the neighborhood?”
Gina scanned both sides of the street. No activity. Deserted. “Are we suspended in time?” she asked.
“Yes,” the pastor said. “It may feel like we’ve been talking for hours, but only minutes will have passed by the time you exit this plain. With that said, shall we begin?” Gina was curious as to where they would start. “Power and
skill are already within you. But what you need to learn is how to marry both attributes to work as one guiding force. Your limits will be tested to great feats during combat. You must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever you put your mind to will translate into reality. It’ll take some getting used to, but practice makes progress.”
After that explanation, Gina figured her first test would be something superhuman, like picking up a building or trying to fly to the moon. Instead, the pastor had a simpler task in mind. “You have to get to your sister, right? Run to her.”
“What?!” a bewildered Gina asked.
“I want to see how long it will take for you to run from here to your sister’s home.”
“Wait, hold up,” she stammered. “You want me to run to Manhattan?!” “As fast as you can. Remember to be mindful of your surroundings and
please take a break when you get tired. Forget the rules of the normal world and
let your spirit fly free.”
“Whoa, Pastor – this is not what I had in mind. If I could fly to Manhattan, then cool! But you want me to run in these boots? Maybe we should rethink this strategy.”
“There you go thinking again. Peter walked on water because Jesus merely said to come to him. Then he sank because he thought about not drowning. You’re currently demonstrating the same behavior because you don’t believe in the gifts you’ve been blessed with. Walk on water Gina.”
Gazing at the towering metropolis ahead, Gina dreaded the never-ending miles she had to cross, followed by the intense foot pain from running in her ankle boots. Nevertheless, she sucked up her doubts and got into a sprinter’s position. Ready. Set. Go!
Expecting to race through the city like lightning, she tripped over a pothole just after two steps, splatting onto the pavement. Cradling her ribs while rolling on her back, she bawled in frustration while fighting the harsh words ready to
be expressed. She jumped back on her feet with more questions to ask, but the pastor wasn’t around to answer them.
Gina took a deep breath and jogged down the block, hearing the reverberated pounds of her heels smacking against the pavement. She enjoyed the quietness though. Pleasant air flowed through her reddish locks. Passing a bodega, she decided to grab a few bottles of water for the trip. And then from out of nowhere, a taxicab drove across an intersection several blocks away.
“HEY!!!” she shouted. Was there someone else here? Could this be a test, seeing if she’ll give in to temptation rather than trusting her talents? With the speed of a cheetah, she took off down the street. Seconds later, she found herself standing in front of the cab. Trails of smoke left behind her feet. The church was the size of her thumb. Furthermore, the taxicab was empty.
“So that’s it,” she discovered. “Translate my thoughts to reality. See it first
and then it’ll happen. Got it, Pastor.”
She turned her sights toward the view of Manhattan. “How far is the Harlem River from here?” she wondered. It took only seconds to find out as she flashed through the entire county and skidded in front of Yankee Stadium! Like just hitting the lotto, Gina spread her arms out like wings and joyously shouted, “WOOOOOOO!!!! HOOOOOOOO!!!!”
On pure adrenaline, Gina ran around the Bronx like a kid in the playground, swooshing around buildings, zooming through city parks, leapfrogging over parked cars, and yet she still had energy left to burn. Stopping at the 3rd Avenue Bridge, she gazed at the rippling waters of the Harlem River and thought, “Walk on water, huh?”
She backed up a few feet for a running start. FDR Drive was on the other side. Here goes nothing. She blazed down the street and bulldozed through the guardrail. Water split from under her feet like Moses as she zoomed across the river at a record pace. She leaped over the guardrail on the other side and landed in Harlem River Park.
Water dripped from every part of her body as she jumped around and pumped her arms in excitement. The amazement didn’t stop there. She went to take off her jacket and saw her sleeve instantly dried up with just one touch!
She then touched her shirt. Again, water dissolved in seconds. She ran her finger through her wet mop hair and watched silky red locks flow before her eyes.
While drying her pants, she realized her cell phone was in her pocket the whole time. She took a look at it. It must be ruined by now. But, no! Antenna
bars and a full battery icon displayed on a brightly lit screen as if it came fresh out of the box. “It still works!”
Wondering what else she could do, the Angelite sprinted onto the FDR highway. Both lanes were filled with abandoned cars, looking like an outdoor parking lot. Gina squatted down and grabbed the bumper of a Lincoln Continental. She expected to lift the car a few inches off the ground. Instead, she launched it countless feet up in the air. Minutes later, thunderous sounds were heard several miles away.
“OH! MY! GOD!” she shouted. Like a baby with a tantrum, she flung cars like Frisbees across both sides of the highway. At one point she played a solo game of football, throwing a car far ahead and then running over to catch it.
“Maybe I’m telepathic, too,” she guessed, willing to try whatever came to mind. She ran to one of the damaged cars and examined every detail from the wheels to the radio antenna. Her idea was to bend it back to its original shape. “Okay – I can do this,” she repeated while wiggling the nerves out from her limbs.
The Angelite closed her eyes and concentrated on reshaping the metal. Nothing happened. Pushing her body further, concentrating harder, her body temperature began to rise. Unsteadiness commandeered her legs. Blood trickled down her nose. A pop from the metal sounded as a small dent straightened. But the strain was too overwhelming. Gina collapsed to the ground. Her energy was gone, exhausted as if she ran a marathon on soft sand for two days without any water. For the first time since her training started, she gasped for air.
“I told you we’d start simple,” Pastor Goode mentioned as he walked through the vehicular junkyard. “You need to crawl before you can walk, Gina. However, I am impressed that a small dent did unbend. You truly are special.”
Being helped to her feet, Gina leaned on the side of a car for balance. She wiped the blood off her nose with her sleeve. White flashes appeared before her eyes. Her dizzy spell ran faster than a carousel. “Why…why am I –?”
“You moved too soon,” said Pastor Goode. “Although you’ve been
given these divine gifts, your body has yet to adjust to them. Like any athlete, mathematician, or pop quiz champion, you only get better with training.
The more your physicality adjusts to its newfound power, the faster you’ll recuperate. Then one day your powers will peak to the point that you’ll hardly
need to re-energize at all.” “How…how long will it take?”
“Your weakened state will wear off momentarily. But back in the real world, it’ll usually take a few hours. Combat will inevitably be the only way to harmoniously train your mind, body, and soul. Use your power wisely until then, for there won’t be time for a water break.”
“Got it…actually…I’m feeling…better already.” Gina was able to stand and breathe regularly. “One step at a time…did my mother make the same mistake?”
“Sienna was ambitious, but even she knew her limits.” “Could a demon have unlocked my power?”
“With the downward spiral your life was taking, eventually they would’ve sent someone to attempt to manipulate you into joining their side. I doubt they would’ve succeeded. They must’ve thought the same since they never tried it.”
“Have they successfully recruited potential Angelites before?”
“Yes. Most of them were promoted to higher ranks, carrying out their most fatal assignments. Any person who remains unguided can become a Clucifix soldier. Be our eyes for us. Recruit whoever you can, but truly see these people for who they are.”
“Will they come to me?”
“As long as you stay in faith, you’ll see everything you need to see. Your training has ended for now. Continue your investigation, for this is when the key leaders of the Clucifix will reveal themselves. By the way, when Alexandra asks you what happened, tell her everything. Her keen mind is priceless. Farewell Gina”
“Thank you, pastor.” “Now close your eyes.”
Just as her eyelids shut out the evening sky, Gina felt a strong blast of wind strike her cheeks. She then found herself back in front of the church. Street
activity resumed to normal. Pastor Goode was gone. “Goodbye pastor,” she whispered. “Thanks.” She lifted her heels off the ground and rocketed out of sight, leaving a trail behind burning on the concrete.