Coming of Age
A young man in a hoodie eyes a necklace at a kiosk.
He holds the necklace up to the sun. Its pendant casts a triangular shadow on his face.
He puts the necklace in his pocket and walks away.
*To feel everyone’s emotions.
He gets back home.
*Now that I think about it, will it be breaching people’s privacy?
He rummages through his bag and takes out his grimoire.
*But the ones who need help the most are the ones who hide their pain.
He opens it up to a page where there’s a triangular rune drawn on it.
*But I also won’t know whose emotions I’m feeling so I guess it’s okay.
He sits down and starts to etch the pattern on the pendant.
He picks up his chair and opens the door that leads to the balcony. He places the chair there and sits on it. He takes out the pendant, holds on to it and then looks around. His house overlooks a road and beyond that, there are some tenant blocks. He lives on the fifth floor so he has an expansive view of the city environs.
*So many people, so many emotions.
*I only want your pain, but can I handle all of it?
“Moment of truth.”
He turns on his spirit runes and the writing on the pendant starts glowing.
HELP ME... COME BACK...I LOVE YOU… GOOD-BYE… HOW ARE YOU... NO... Please... Tomorrow…
He holds his head and covers his ears trying to block it.
Kiss, slap, smile, yawn, punch, scream, hug, point, cry …
He falls from his chair, the glowing pendant falls in front of his face.
I do... why?... I miss you... Don’t... thanks... sorry... me too... you’re beautiful …
*Turn it off!
The runes on the pendant turn off. He sits up with his back against the wall, panting.
*So much input, it felt like my head was going to explode.
* I don’t know if I could get used to that but it was worth it.
He holds up the pendant to look at it.
*I already got something.
Several people are busy packing tools and other hardware equipment from a hardware store into a pickup. A man is lying on the floor, out cold.
A young man in a black and red hoodie, pants and shoes, brakes to a halt at a corner, gasping and panting for breath.
*I just got here but I’m already tired.
*I guess it’s because of using the cheetah for such a long distance.
He looks around the corner.
*But I still have to beat up those idiots.
A slight green colour envelopes him and he disappears.
One of the men carrying the tools gets punched in the face, dropping his tools and then he gets a kick to the legs making him kneel and then gets hit on the face knocking him out.
“Again?!” One of the robbers says as he pulls out his gun.
The hand holding his gun gets pushed upwards by an unseen force and is hit in the back of the elbow breaking it. The screaming man is pushed backwards until he collides with another making him fall onto his back. Something grabs his face and smashes the back of his head into the ground. One of the robbers who has an AK-47, lifts it to shoot. Matthew perceives this and his invisibility drops off in favour of the shield. He turns around and charges the man with the gun with the shield. Just as soon as his back is turned the pickup is started and starts to drive away. He summons the porcupine and shoots a quill at one of the back wheels. It misses.
He summons the cheetah and runs after the pick-up.
“It’s after us, go!”
“Hold on!” the driver says as he floors the accelerator.
As Matthew approaches it, it slowly separates into two identical vehicles... no, he starts seeing double.
*What the …
Everything gets washed in a red tint and then darkens to pitch black.
He suddenly wakes up.
*What just happened
He looks at his hand.
*Am I losing my powers?
He turns on his spirit runes and turns his hand to its back to see if the animal rune glows.
*Doesn’t seem like it, I guess I fainted due to fatigue.
He mops the inside of his mouth with his tongue and spits out the dust that turned into mud in his mouth.
*I should watch more animal shows, I need to get better. If this keeps happening, I’ll keep on losing them.
He sits up.
*I have to find a better way to travel.
He gets up and shuffles back to the scene of the crime. He sees the man still lying on the ground.
*Did they kill him?
He closes his eyes and sees that his spirit is still inside his body.
*He’s still alive, but I should’ve gotten here sooner.
He goes closer to him and sees that he is bleeding from his head, the blood making a maroon paste with the dust on the ground.
His wounds, his age, it reminds him of...
He shakes his head out of it.
He puts his hand on him.
The green glow envelopes him and spreads to the man he is touching. The wounds stretch thin fibres of flesh across their chasms which pull the two sides together to close the wound. The seam on the skin that forms after the wound closes zips up from each side and disappears leaving smooth continuous brown skin.
The man starts to wake up. Matthew disappears.
*I can’t keep wearing myself out like this every time.
He trudges to the side of the shop and sits there on the bare ground with his back against the wall, still invisible. He turns his head to the side and witnesses the birth of a small dust twister. It shakingly picks itself up from the ground and starts moving around as if doing a little dance. It wobbles and stretches and picks up some dust moving more gracefully the bigger it grows. It drifts around, mindlessly or not is hard to say, tracing a swirling path of its exploits on the ground. But as abruptly as it was born, it dies. A gust of wind sweeps over and murders it. Its path is swept clean, its collection of dust carried off and dismembered. What was the value of its existence if in the end it left no trace of ever being there? What is the value of life if after death everything returns to what it was before? The young man who just watched it live and die blinks indifferently.
*What if …