The downpour had soaked me to the bone and it was ineffably cold. Unsure of how long I’d been trudging through this relentless rain, I checked my watch. Three hours. Wiping my running nose on the sleeve of my cloak, I stared into the distance, watching the lights of Central come into view. I was close. The night was eerily quiet save for the mechanical buzz of the electric gates in my view and the steady patter of rain.
Pausing in front of the gates, I focused on the place I wanted to be inside of them. Closing my eyes, I felt the familiar sting of electricity racing throughout my body as I passed through the gates, teleporting for the second time in my life. I took a few steps forward but found that I couldn’t go on any longer. Slowly, I crumpled to the ground, rain beating down on my back. My arms shook violently as I tried to push myself back up. Finally my body had reached its limits and refused to go on enduring such treatment. Tired and starving, I allowed the protest from my joints and laid my head on the concrete.
I was staring at the ceiling of a place I did not know. Sitting up, I quickly scanned my surroundings. Where was I? The lackluster, immaculate white walls gave no indication of whose home I was in.
“You’re awake,” someone said, walking in with a medical kit.
“Where am I?” I demanded.
“Where am I?” I repeated.
I couldn’t help but notice he avoided telling me where I was. Giving him a quick once over, I analyzed him. He didn’t seem like a threat. In fact, he seemed pretty harmless with his innocent hazel eyes and slightly spiked black hair. He couldn’t have been older than me. Maybe younger even.
“My name is Ira.”
“Kai,” I replied.
“I found you passed out in the street. You slept for three days. Now, I don’t like to brag but I’m pretty sure I saved your life,” Ira commented, rifling around in the medical kit. “Now lay back so I can take your temperature.” I did as he said and he waved a temperature wand above my head before bringing it back to eye level. “98.6. You’re good.” He replaced it back and handed me a vitamin. “Take this. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind, but your clothes were filthy so I threw them away, okay?”
Ultimately, I looked down and realized I wasn’t wearing my own clothes. “You changed me?”
“I wasn’t going to let you lay on my bed in wet clothes.” I feel violated. “Don’t be such a drama queen. We’re both guys.” But still… “It’s not like there was anything to see.”
“I just mean I didn’t have any other intentions than to clean you up and change your clothes.”
“Wait, how do you keep responding to things I haven’t said out loud?”
Ira smiled and waved a ring at me. Etched on the white stone was a triangle with an eye inside of it. “I see all.” I raised a questioning eyebrow at this weirdo boy staring at me as if I was stupid. “Don’t you go to school?”
“No. I’ve never been.”
“Oh…” He trailed off. “Well, I’m a Force.”
“Is everybody on this planet crazy?” I practically shouted. “Why does everyone suddenly think they’re a Force?”
“I can read minds. I can see the words forming in your head without you having to say it out loud.”
“You really like to curse,” Ira murmured.
“I’m sorry but can you point me to the nearest exit? I fear I’ve fallen into Crazy Town!”
“You’re so narcissistic.”
We glared at one another for a minute. What else can you do? I asked mentally. Depends on what you can handle. I jumped at the sound of a voice loud and clear in my head. I stared at Ira, wide-eyed. This was like a recurring nightmare. Nothing I knew was true. Nothing made sense anymore. You’ll understand soon enough. He stood and nodded towards the door. You’re so skinny. Let’s go get you something to eat before you die on me.
Ira led me to a grand dining hall with a magnificent old chandelier hanging from the center of the ceiling. What do you want? I jumped again. I still wasn’t used to him probing my thoughts like that. Anything is fine, I answered nervously. I still had no idea where I was and whether this Ira was friend or foe. Sure he looked harmless but he had far more power than I could ever imagine. He turned towards me, and raised an eyebrow, his angular face worried.
“What?” I asked.
“Troubling,” he said cryptically. “Very troubling.”
“You’re not from here.”
“Stop picking at my brain! You don’t have my permission to do that.”
“It’s involuntary,” he sighed.
About ten cloaked figures entered the dining area carrying covered platters. The smell emanating from them was heavenly and my stomach growled fiercely at the thought of food. As quickly as they appeared, they were gone. I hadn’t even seen their faces. Ira sat in an ivory seat covered in gold swirls with a snow white cushion. Motioning for me to sit beside him, he turned his attention to the platters and uncovered each one.
“Foie gras?” he offered.
“Not at all.”
He nodded. “Wagyu beef?”
“What’s a wagyu?”
“I’m not sure. It’s good, I promise.”
I shrugged and stabbed a fork into the beef fillet. Biting off a chunk, I chewed thoughtfully. Not bad. We continued eating like this: Ira offering me something I’d never heard of, me questioning its origin, him shrugging, and me ultimately stuffing my face. After I was filled to my heart’s content with various beefs, cheeses, and white truffle, I grinned and thanked Ira for the food.
“I should be going now.”
“Back to where?”
“I’m looking for someone.”
“Who? I can help.”
Tired of me doubting him, Ira sighed and motioned for me to follow him. We ventured down a hallway with a checkered gray and white floor. The lights were embedded into the ceiling in the shape of circles. There were old wall lights attached to the walls but none of them were lit; I assumed they were just for decoration. We came to a stop in front of a giant picture frame containing what seemed to be a stiff looking family photo. A man in a dark navy suit with a light blue tie bore a striking resemblance to Ira. Next to him, a petite, red-haired woman with outstanding amber eyes grinned in her navy dress. Finally, a child of about six stood between them. I immediately identified him as Ira. His naïve yet all-knowing hazel eyes and dark hair stood out and he wasn’t smiling.
Ira pointed to the man in the picture. “Do you know who that is?” I shook my head no. “That’s my father. He’s the King.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“I wish I was.”