The Black Hole
THE SCHOOL EXPLODING WASN'T EXPECTED. They hadn't intended on having the town nearly destroyed by an evil presence. When the three teenagers had complied with their friend's insane experiment idea, they weren't planning to unleash something that the town had believed was gone forever, but that's what happened. In all honesty, all they wanted to do was make their friend shut up about his stupid idea. Well, at least that's all he had wanted.
"C'mon Maxie," the brunet told his friend, trying to persuade him to help him with yet another one of his crazy plans. "One last harmless experiment, for old times' sake?" He was pleading, his brown eyes meeting Max's caramel ones. He looked rather pathetic in all honesty, with his windswept hair- from coming into the gym screaming at the top of his lungs about his newest idea- and his old worn leather jacket, which had gone through one too many fires.
"Leo, your definition of harmless is the Big Bang theory, which, I feel the need to remind you, because I have the strong feeling you've forgotten, was the Earth overheating," Max said, absolutely fed up with his friend's dangerous schemes and experiments. Normally he got Max to do whatever he wanted by saying it was in the name of science, but it was graduation night and Max planned on living to see college, never mind CEJEP.
"Exactly!" Leo exclaimed. "The world didn't exist, so no one could complain about the heat wave!" Max rolled his eyes at his friend's ridiculousness. "Fine, be that way," Leo said, annoyed. "I'll just go off on my merry way and do my experiment but when I'm older, I'll be able to tell my grandchildren about the amazing adventures I went on while you tell your kids how you chickened out and lived like a coward."
"If you do this, whatever the hell it is, it could very well result in you dying and therefore being incapable of telling anyone anything about how 'amazing' your adventures were!" Max said. "And I am not a coward," he added underneath his breath.
Leo rolled his eyes, hearing Max's comment. "Whether you like it or not, I'm going," he declared.
Leo pushed past the crowd of people who were still talking about what their report card marks might be and getting others to sign their yearbook towards the back doors of the gym.
To this day, Max didn't know why he didn't just leave Leo alone. He could've left him in the dust and never tried to help him, never feeling an ounce of guilt for it. Maybe he had forgotten to take his Anti-Help-Leo-With-His-Crazy-Ideas pills, or perhaps he had a momentary lapse of good judgment, but once Leo left and was out of Max's sight, he felt the compelling urge to rush out and help him.
'This is what I wanted isn't it?' Max thought to himself. 'For him to leave me alone? Besides, Leo can handle this.' He tried to nonchalantly shrug off the lingering feeling of doom when he heard a sudden crash.
Someone had knocked over the punch bowl and the red liquid was now all over the floor, quickly spreading. This accident reminded Max too much of Leo. If Leo had been there, that would've been the least destructive thing he did all night.
'Who am I kidding? Leo can't walk in a straight line without falling,' Max thought and with that, he jumped over the large puddle of punch and raced out the back door.
This was crazy.
Leo was a disaster waiting to happen and whenever Max tried to help his friend out of these things, they always ended with close calls with death, meeting the MapleWood Police Department, (sometimes it wasn't even the Supernatural Division) hospital fees that would make even a billionaire cry, or a scarring memory that no case of amnesia could ever make you forget. But Leo was his friend and for the past five years, it had been Max's job to make sure Leo didn't end up in jail. He may as well make sure he made it to the next grade.
Thinking back, Max decided he'd better be upgraded to best friend.
"LEO!" Max screamed as the fresh night air hit his face. It was raining heavily and through the rain, Max could see shapes. Leo's silhouette was quite visible and while Max wasn't eager to get soaking wet while he was wearing his best dress shirt, he knew that by simply screaming his name, nothing would happen.
With a sigh, Max began to run across the lawn, trying not to slip in the damp grass.
Leo turned around when he heard his name and even through the rain, Max could see that mischievous grin that he had come to know so well since his first week as a freshman at school.
Leo simply smiled idiotically as Max silently cursed the day Leo was born. The lightning flashed and Max saw Leo's figure. He discovered he wasn't too far away from him.
Pulling himself together, Max began to run faster, trying to get alongside Leo. If he was going to pull some ridiculous stunt, Max had to be there to pick up the pieces.
Suddenly, Max lost his footing and his head hit the grass.
The impish smile on Leo's face disappeared instantly when he couldn't see Max's silhouette. He saw with a flash of lightning that Max had fallen and was probably knocked out, which made him run as fast as he could towards Max. Shaking the seventeen year old furiously, Leo begged that Max was playing some sort of strange joke, having a sick sense of humour, but he knew better.
Heaving Max's arm around his shoulder, Leo hobbled towards the low grey building where they could find shelter.
He had to watch where he was stepping to avoid slipping and falling because passing out during a thunderstorm on graduation night was not on his bucket list. The low grey building had never looked farther away in the five years that Leo had attended school and when he finally reached the doors, he fumbled around in his jeans for his pass.
He began coughing as his hand slipped into his back pocket, searching for his key. When his numb fingers finally grasped the piece of gold, he was already soaked. Leo was the kind of guy who loved rain- being a Water student and all- however right now he'd do anything to be dry. Shaking his head like a dog, he pulled the key out of his pocket and began to try and fit it through the keyhole.
When his trembling hand finally managed to put the key in the lock and turn it, he felt like crying from joy. With Max's arm still around his shoulder, Leo walked in, stumbling.
He walked straight forwards, passing the yellow painted walls towards the assembly room.
When he entered, there were two girls already in there. There was a large black stage and piles of chairs pushed to the corners of the room in the assembly room. On the stage, the two girls: a brunette and a redhead sat swinging their legs, still wearing their formal dresses and high heels. They stopped instantly when Leo finally lost his balance and fell face first onto the cold marble floor.
The redhead jumped off the stage and ran to Leo who was scrambling to sit up straight, looking down at Max. "What happened?" she demanded, worry written all over her face. "What did you do Leonardo?" she asked, poking Leo in the chest with each word. "Was this part of your crazy idea to get Max to join you in this stupid experiment?"
"Yes," Leo said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. "I planned everything. I planned on having Max slip in the wet grass because I made it rain hard enough for him to lose his balance and I planned on picking him up and giving him a piggyback ride. Just for kicks, you know." Leo rolled his eyes. "Are you crazy Charlotte? I barely passed P.E.! What makes you think I wanted to drag his weight across the school? And frankly, I'm scared of what you'd do if I hurt your boyfriend."
The brunette sat still on the stage, watching the scene unfold carefully. She observed as Leo asked Charlotte to go find the first aid kit, which she hastily agreed to. She watched as the shaggy haired seventeen year old walked over to her, after assuring his friend's safety. He jumped onto the stage himself and began to swing his legs.
"So . . . " he said, trying to take away the thick tension in the air. "You okay Rox?" He couldn't help asking, even though he already knew her answer. He knew she wasn't going to be okay until her friend was safe and back on his feet again, but that didn't stop him from asking.
"Leo," Roxanne said slowly, "Do you know how dangerous these stunts are? I mean, sure, Max will be fine today, but you never know for the future. I'm scared for him, for Charlotte. For you. I don't want your curiosity to be the death of you." Roxanne looked at the ground and couldn't help smiling, though it was more bittersweet than happy. "Look at me, trying to fix the troublemaker and turn him around. That only happens in books," she snorted. "Besides, if you did change, I don't think I could be around you. I wouldn't be able to survive without seeing that impish smile of yours. You've got so much potential Leo, but you've gotta learn how to control all these experiments of yours."
"I know," Leo said. "But don't worry. I mean, just give Max a good few minutes and he'll be back on his feet, screaming at me once again." She let out a tense laugh, but it was enough for Leo. 'Mission accomplished.' He gave her a light smile and almost started blushing. He looked at his feet and avoided eye contact with Roxanne. He awkwardly cleared his throat and looked over at Charlotte who was treating Max. "Is he going to be okay?" he asked worriedly. "I didn't mean for him to get hurt. The idiot decided to go out running where it was wet and-"
"You can thank your lucky stars he's okay," Charlotte interrupted, "but if you caused any brain damage, you are going to pay. You got lucky this time Leo, but if this happens again, I won't hesitate to send you to Timbuktu."
"I know Charlotte," said Leo, hopping off the stage. He walked over to his passed out friend and bending down, he watched him. Max's brown eyes slowly cracked open, looking dazed. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," said Max, using his elbows to pull himself into an upright position. He held his head suddenly, having gotten up too fast too soon. Scratching his head, he looked up at Leo. "So, what's the plan?" he asked, his voice sounding absolutely certain of himself, as though he hadn't just asked his friend what they were going to do to help conduct the very experiment he had been so dead set against at the beginning of the night.
"Argh!" Charlotte said. "You've caused brain damage!" She glared at Leo who stood there in shock and confusion. She almost made a move to hit him, but Max held up a hand to hold her back.
"Y-you want to do it?" Leo asked, mystified. "How hard did you hit your head?" Leo held a hand up to Max's forehead, checking his temperature.
"Not too hard, I think," said Max, swatting away Leo's hand. "Doesn't matter what I would've said anyway, you'd have done it. You know what they say: 'If you can't beat em; join em.'" Max shrugged. "So want to at least tell me what we're doing?"
"Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Leo, concern in his brown eyes. Max nodded and Leo broke out into a big grin. "Alright then. So what we're going to do is create a 'black hole' of sorts. I heard this Conversus kid talking about it; I think his name was Samuels? Anyway, he was talking about how boring Professor Trike was and he mentioned that, while he was uptight and annoying, he was also hiding something.
"Samuels found out about this sort of ritual you could perform to rip through time and space. The problem is he can't do it because he's Conversus and doesn't know how to do Magyck, but I thought, 'Hey, I've got three friends who can do Earth, Air and Fire and I can do Water, why not give it a go?'' So now if you'll listen to me, we can see what that ritual does exactly."
"Sounds interesting," Max said. "However, I do have one question." Leo nodded for him to continue. "The Conversus classroom is on the left side of the building. You're in Water Magyck. The Magyck part of the building is down the right hallway. How did you screw it up? You've been going here for five years; you wouldn't have ended up there unless- LEO! What did we tell you about eavesdropping?"
"Not to," Leo said sheepishly, "but I wasn't eavesdropping, I was just listening to people without their knowledge. It's totally different."
"No it's not!"
"Okay, so I eavesdropped, I'll stop. It's not my fault I wanted to check out Stewart Lane's whip," Leo defended himself, "but can we get going with this thing? The teachers aren't geniuses, but I think they'll notice that we've been missing for nearly an hour," Leo said. "So here's what we're gonna do . . ."
The arrangement resulted in Max being in the middle of the assembly room, Roxanne was a few feet away from him to the right, Charlotte standing where the stage ended on the right and Leo was centre stage. They formed a square and stood in silence. Leo, taking a deep breath, told Max to hit the lights.
The whole room fell into darkness as Leo heard everyone's steady breathing. After a few seconds of darkness and audible breathing, Max's face was visible; a small flame in the palm of his right hand, the fire casting a golden glow on his blond hair. After waiting a little, the sound of rocks crushing met everyone's ears, telling Leo Roxanne had done her part. Charlotte began to create a slight breeze, which spun around the room; flashes of red visible in Max's firelight told Leo Charlotte had finished her job. It was now his turn to finish the sequence.
Taking a deep breath, Leo let the calming sound of waves wash over him. Normally, he wasn't scared to perform Magyck. He had a lot of confidence in his abilities, but this was something new he hadn't done professionally, hadn't been taught by anyone and had to teach himself. Making a Water Orb was easy, but making the right kind for this was harder. He had snuck into the Conversus Room a couple of months ago and read the entire passageway from that old book and memorized it just to create the proper Water Orb for this.
Carefully, his eyes closed, Leo retraced the pattern he had practiced so many times before in the air with his left hand. Clear, glowing liquid sprouted from his fingertips as he traced a zigzag in the air. The pattern began to spark and taking one of the sparks that had flown astray from the pattern, Leo closed his fist around it. Placing his still closed fist over his right hand, he slowly let go, his breath catching in his throat at this tricky part. The spark fell into his hand and he slammed his palms together, trapping it. Then, the back of his right hand facing the ground, he slowly retracted his left hand, watching in concentration as a liquid ball began to form. He pulled the spark into a form, which looked very much like an enlarged raindrop and once it hovered over his right hand he rotated it to his left. The stress left his body immediately.
The only light in the room coming from the Fire Ball Max had made and the slight blue glow of Leo's Orb, the only sounds in the room besides the four teens breathing being the crackling of the fire and the rush of wind. Breaking the silence, Leo spoke in the most neutral voice he could manage, trying to calm himself down before he screwed up and dropped the Water Orb.
Leo closed his fingers around the Orb and turned his fist outwards, then he let go and watched as the Orb, Max's fire, Charlotte's miniature tornado and Roxanne's pebbles zoomed towards the centre of the square. When all the elements collided, Leo saw a bright white light and he hurriedly covered his eyes with his arm.
The whole room fell silent. Nothing happened. Was it over? That was what he had been waiting for all this time?
A blast of air blew Leo off his feet and he flew over the stage, landing in a tangled mess near the curtains. His lip was bleeding from his face contacting with the black surface. With a groan, he rolled onto his back.
When he opened his eyes, Leo nearly screamed. He saw a dark figure looming over him, fear coursing through his veins. He sat up abruptly and rubbed his eyes, trying not to panic. He was seeing things, right? Looking towards the centre of the assembly room where the bright white light had been, there was a spinning hole of red, purple and black instead.
Leo's head frantically spun; trying to wrap his mind around what was going on through all this chaos. He kept looking between the strange shape and the hole.
The shape then disappeared before he could blink once more and the sounds of screams were heard. 'What happened to my friends?'
Standing up wobbly, Leo looked around the room. Charlotte had been blown towards the back wall and that's where she lay, dazed and confused. Max had been thrown into the wall behind him, collapsing with many chairs on top of him and Roxanne . . . where was Roxanne?
Leo jumped off the stage, ignoring the taste of blood in his mouth and the throbbing pain in his head. He searched frantically around and finally, his eyes landed on Roxanne who was right underneath one of the windows of the building. He raced over to her, his shoes sliding across the floor making him collide with the wall. 'How many times am I going to bang into things tonight?' His head hit the wall so hard, he could've sworn he saw stars. Roxanne sat up to see Leo holding his head, on his knees.
"Leo?" she asked him. He immediately looked up, relief written all over his face. He crawled over to her and laid his head against the wall. Because of his height, his head ended up resting on the side of the windowsill. "Leo, what happened?"
"Well," Leo said, trying not to sound panicked. "I think," he shut his eyes as he said this, "I think," then his eyes popped open, showing a myriad of emotions; pure confusion, worry and fear in them. "I may have just unleashed a strange three dimensional figure on the town." Leo groaned and hit his head against the windowsill repetitively. "Idiot. Idiot," he muttered to himself continuously.
"Okay, Leo, relax," said Roxanne, grabbing his shoulders tightly and forcing him to look at her. "You've have to calm down and tell me: what exactly did you see?"
The sound of screams of terror met Leo's ears and he grimaced. "I saw something black," he managed to say, his voice hoarse. "Something black and-" He shook his head. "I'm about to sound totally crazy to you, but I swear, it felt- it felt evil." The sound of something hurtling towards them met Leo's ears and quickly, he grabbed Roxanne and shoved her closer to the window.
Glass erupted, the window broken. Leo now had a long scar along his left hand from the glass piercing it. It was probably permanent. His breathing became ragged as he tried to calm down. He needed to think this through before he caused any more problems.
"You think he's gonna stop doing this sort of thing?" Charlotte asked her boyfriend as she watched Leo's pacing figure, running his hands through his hair worriedly, a frown on his face.
"Knowing Leo?" Max asked, observing his best friend he couldn't help but crack a ghost of a smile. "Never."
Leo turned around and saw Max and Charlotte who both looked worried. He let out a sigh of relief, happy everyone - in this room at the very least- was safe and okay. There was a scream from outside and Leo began to rethink his previous assumption. 'Everyone is okay, not necessarily safe. One out of two, that's a fail, right?' He looked out the newly broken window at the havoc that was going on. He shut his eyes tightly and tried to breathe calmly.
"Dude, Principal Anderson is going to kill you," Max said, looking at the broken window, the crushed pebbles which had come in through the broken window and the front lawn which was now on fire, the flames spreading quickly, the grass becoming scorched, even with all the rain, which was still falling rapidly.
"Forget about Anderson, I'm going to hell!" Leo winced. He grabbed his hair in large chunks, practically pulling out each strand. "I've gotta think." He continued pacing the room, trying to clear his mind. Normally, he'd go for a walk, but seeing as the whole place was in utter chaos, he wouldn't be surprised if he were burned alive outside.
"What exactly did you do Leonardo?" Charlotte asked, her voice high with terror and her face full of fear.
"I don't want to know," Leo muttered to himself.
The sudden sound of a piercing scream that rose above the rest made all four of them rush out of the building, all looking like a mess.
What the quartet saw made them stop in their tracks. Leo didn't even think about the numbness, which was taking over his body, or how he was drenched once more just as he was starting to dry.
The grass was ablaze, smoke clouding everything, but there wasn't enough to hide the horror in front of them. People were running around, screaming at the top of their lungs as black shapes followed and chased them around, attempting to injure them. The high school building was slowly tearing apart, bricks missing. The sprinklers sprang to life and still, the fire wouldn't go out.
The screams, cries and chaos made Leo freeze. He had caused all this. Why was he so stupid? He could've stopped this had he not tried to do that stupid experiment!
In a raspy, barely audible voice, Leo said, "Permission to swear?"
Roxanne's voice was dry with no humour in it, a grimace on her face. She choked out the words, "Permission granted."