awoke. She felt good from last night. The guy she had been with was
deep, fortuitous, and unlike the many men she had slept with during
her job, he seemed as if he cared about the greater complexities of
life. That, and he appeared to be somewhat close to her in age. Why
sleep with her? He claimed to be curious, but now it was she who was
curious. Charlene didn't know anything about the boy she had slept
with last night; who he was, where he was from, why he didn't want to
actually have sex like the others, she only knew his name to be
Bobby. She turned to side of the bed. He was gone.
Charlene frantically searched through the sheets as if he could be still hiding in them. "Damn" she thought. Moving the sheets revealed a piece of paper with something written on it.
Thanks for the night. However, it appears some former enemies of mine have found my rough location and I am sorry I must leave you for your own safety. Do not worry about me, DO NOT MENTION ANY AFFLIATION WITH ME TO ANYONE.
-Sincerely in Regret, Bobby."
Charlene wondered what enemies he could have had. Or maybe her impressions were wrong, and he was as shallow as the others. Charlene looked out the window at the sky of Ozkon. The sky was how it seemed always; as dull brown as the sands of the city she inhabited was made of. She got up, dressed, and went to the bar which she worked at.
"Now if your going to be late to work, I wouldn't care if it was from a satisfied customer, but the one you were hooked up with last night called and said you didn't even show!" said Ippotsu, her boss.
"Yeah, last night I had... -a medical issue" said Charlene, trying to come up with an excuse.
"Well unless its stroke, pregnancy or cancer, I don't give a shit." responded Ippotsu.
"It's... pregnancy......" said Charlene nervously, hoping Ippotsu wouldn't actually put her to a test to find out her lie.
"Well well, if the pills failed, I'll be damned, but I'll also need to know. Aaron, get me those little test things for pregnancy."
"No problemo, boss." Aaron responded.
The test was positive. Charlene was more shocked than Ippotsu. How could this have happened? Charlene always used birth-control pills, and even though she remembers having sex with Bobby last night after he fell asleep, she did not expect this.
"Yeah, well, just get it aborted. I'll talk to the pill manufacturer. Here's your client line-up for tonight." said Ippotsu. Charlene knew abortion was illegal on Ozkon, but she couldn't imagine herself raising the child while she was only 16, having barely a place of residence and not nearly enough money for resources. But then again, there was nothing Charlene liked about getting an abortion- the illegal street "doctors" who commanded a high price and did questionable methods Charlene did not trust, and the idea of killing something inside her seemed to bring out an emotion Charlene would describe as "unnaturally haunting". After serving the men Ippotsu lined her up with, Charlene went to a rather dark side of town where she could find someone to do the abortion. She heard a male voice come from behind.
"Hey babe, how much money you got in the purse?"
Charlene stopped. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a gun. "Probably less than you got in that wallet." She felt a hand wrap around her wrist and bend it such that she dropped the gun. The man was closer than she thought.
"No spare change, eh? don't worry, I accept other payments." After she dropped the gun the man used both of his arms to spin her around and pinned her on a wall.
"Might as well be done with it." Charlene figured fighting back was pointless. The man had sex with her and while his emotions were still getting the better of him, Charlene asked him "You know anyone that does street abortions?"
"You work for the government? why'd I tell ya?"
"No, I just need to abort Bobby's chi-"
The man suddenly got up. "Did you say 'Bobby's'?" the man said fearfully. "This guy does abortions" he scrambled up a pencil and paper, wrote an address and name, and ran off as fast as he could.
"Wait, how do you know Bobby?!" Charlene yelled, but it was useless, the man was gone.
Charlene went to the address. She knocked on the door. A woman slightly shorter than Charlene with blonde hair whom Charlene recognized from somewhere answered the door.
"I am Charlene, does this man live here?"
"Yes......" the woman said nervously. She left and a man came to the door.
"What do YOU want?" he said as if Charlene was a source of ruin.
"I heard you do abortions." Charlene said.
"True. Come in." he said in a more friendly tone.
"Zemda, I am going to the basement with our guest, give the signal if any law enforcement comes to the door." Charlene and the man went into the basement where a medical seat was. The place was not ideal for any medical procedure- the seat had blood spots on it, the ground was quite dusty, lighting was not great. "Alright, it looks like the fetus is still quite small for me to mechanically remove it" Charlene looked down at her stomach. It seemed to have gotten larger since she last looked at it. "so I recommend use of this chemical."
"What is the chemical?"
"Its a chemical that took quite a bit to make, but it alters your body's hormones so the placenta is never fully formed, depriving the fetus of nutrition and killing it. You will need to take these pills once every 8 hours for four days, in four days, I can surgically remove the fetus." The man handed Charlene a container with some pills on it.
"At this stage of pregnancy, it usually is." said the man.
"Very well" Charlene said as she took the container with the pills as if the pills themselves were grotesque little bugs.
For four days, every 8 hours, Charlene worked up the self discipline to take a pill. To her, it was like swallowing poison. Despite the pills, the fact that she was pregnant was now quite visible, which Charlene knew to not be normal. The visibility of her pregnancy had cost her her job. She returned to the doctor. "It has been four days."
The doctor looked surprised to see Charlene's stomach. "Come with me downstairs" Charlene and the doctor went to the basement and the doctor instructed her to sit on the chair. Charlene reluctantly sat on the chair and the doctor scanned her with some machine. "Odd. Have you been taking the pills?"
"Yes!!" said Charlene.
"No, you haven't, If you had, that placenta wouldn't be there." The doctor showed her a picture of her own insides.
"No, I took your pills, they don't work." Charlene was getting annoyed. The doctor was turning into another Ippotsu.
"Funny, there's no evidence of the chemical anywhere in your system."
"Is there another treatment available?"
"Yes...... the more physical one....."
"I'll take it." said Charlene. Charlene guessed it was this treatment that was responsible for the blood spots on the chair she was sitting on.
"Alright, I'm going in." The doctor put on some fairly sanitary white rubber gloves and inserted his hand with a some curved scalpel. To Charlene it felt painful. The doctor pulled out his hand. The curved scalpel was gone.
"What the hell....." The doctor said in confusion at the absence of the curved scalpel.
"You mean to tell me you lost a knive in my vagina!!" Charlene exclaimed.
"I don't know what happened to it!!"
"I don't believe this!" Charlene got up off the chair and dressed. "I'm finding someone else!!!"
"Despite what happened, here is your bill. You best pay it. I have friends you don't want to get on the bad side of." Charlene took the bill. It was more than she made in a year, even when she did have a job.
"How dare you!!" Charlene stormed out the door.
"What was that about?" the wife asked her husband after he came up from the basement.
"Maybe that child is just destined to live." said the doctor as he looked out at the sky with a questioning gaze.
Charlene walked to a remote hillside, one of the few places some plants grew, looked up at the sky, and cried. She didn't know whether she wanted what was inside of her or not. She felt worthless, as if her life was pointless, and would succumb into the nothingness that was in the sky. She looked down at the dense club mosses on the hillside. How had they managed to survive? rainfall was a very temporary source of water in the barren sand that they were growing in, Charlene thought it arrogant of her own race to perceive itself as dominant, when here, these little plants only four inches tall, seemed to have formed a colony of their own that seemed to have less problems than where she came from. She wished she had their seemingly impressive will to live. Charlene hoped that other city dwellers would not find this place; they might destroy it. Charlene fell asleep hoping to never wake up.
Chapter 2: Maahes
Charlene awoke. It was still night, and she felt a pain in her stomach that she thought was responsible for her awakening. She felt like the child was going to come out now. At first she thought "How? this is ridiculous, it's only been five days." The increasingly worse pain was more convincing to her. Very quickly she was in too much pain to stand up. "Shit" she thought as she quickly undressed. "where's a real doctor when you need 'em?" The pain intensified further. She felt as if knives were pushing their way out of her and that she was going to explode with them. There was a huge burst of pain, enough to almost make her faint, and then the pain was gone, and she felt something wet touch her leg. Charlene picked her upper body up. What looked like a very furry child sat in front of her. The fur on it rapidly disappeared until the baby looked normal. Charlene did not know why, but there was a great feeling of happiness within her created by the presence of this child.
It seemed happy, the child kicked around the club moss spores, releasing their dust into the air. The child let out a sound that sounded somewhat like the word "Maahes" to Charlene. "I guess that's what I'll name you." The child giggled. "But I have no idea what to do with you." Charlene said. Charlene returned to her town. She knew she would not survive out in the sand; she was not like the club mosses, she was but a 16 year-old girl who had just unintentionally turned her back on her past life. She must admit she did not like her past life- both parents dead, she didn't particularly like her job, tomorrow was her 17th birthday and there would be no celebration.
Charlene returned to her house in town and checked the mail. Another notice threatening foreclosure with a price that Charlene could not pay. Charlene figured she would try to find a job tomorrow. She put Maahes on her bed and slept on the floor. Next morning she awoke to her house door slamming shut. She looked on the bed; Maahes was gone.
Charlene frantically got up and ran out the door. The men were already away in a motor vehicle. Charlene ran after them until her lungs felt like they were going to explode, but it was useless. Charlene, once again looked up at the sky and cried, this time in anger. She felt like she had to get that child back no matter what. She looked at a job flyer on a building. "Nah, be realistic" she thought to herself. She went in, hoping to get a job, however the employer refused to see her. She exited the building. Suddenly there was a huge explosion about a mile away. Three buildings had been destroyed and Charlene heard police sirens. "Fuck realistic." thought Charlene as she picked up a rock and threw it at the business’s window. A police car stopped and another explosion of similar nature occurred
"What do you think you're doin? ma'am?" the cop said.
"I gave up thinking a long time ago" said Charlene as she kicked the officer hard in the groin and took his keys and car. Another explosion happened. They seemed to be getting closer to her. Charlene drove to where the explosions were coming from. She arrived at the location. The remains of 7 to 9 buildings were everywhere, and cops with weapons were hiding in them. Hiding from what? Charlene heard a sharp sound shatter another building. She turned her head, there was Maahes, walking on his two baby legs, crying hard, and emitting some kind of distortion wave that shattered rock as if the rocks were glass.
"Oh my god!" Charlene said her thought aloud. Six officers popped out from their hiding positions to fire at Maahes, Maahes threw one distortion wave and as it hit the cops, the cops were ripped into a mess of blood and innards. The bullets did not seem to reach Maahes. Somehow the distortion wave missed Charlene. Charlene felt like she created a monster.
"Charlene?! What the fuck are you doing here?" It was Ippotsu, her old boss. Charlene then realized his business was likely one of the buildings that had been demolished.
"I don't know!!" Maahes then looked directly at Charlene, the explosions stopped, and the cops looked around to see if it was safe. Charlene looked back at the child, and started to walk towards it. The rest of the cops came out of hiding and aimed their guns at both Charlene and Maahes. The last hing Charlene remembered was being very scared for herself and Maahes as she heard one last huge explosion.
Charlene woke up to Maahes and an endless sea of sand in intense sunlight. She did not recognize this location. On a tall sand dune in the distance, she saw one green sprout of clubmoss. The sand dune was all that remained of the hill where Maahes was born. Charlene looked around her to see nothing but sand. There was no trace of the city that was once there. Maahes lay on her chest, asleep and content.
Charlene was scared to get up. If the child awoke she feared she'd be dead. On Charlene's other hand was the point of view that if she didn't get up, nothing would happen, either. Charlene got up and Maahes awoke, but the child was quite content. Maahes looked up at her and said "Charlene."
"That's....... my name." said Charlene. Maahes let out a noise that indicated fascination. Charlene remembered that the nearest town was about 11 miles away, about in the west direction. "A journey begins with the first step." thought Charlene as she started carrying Maahes in what she thought was the correct direction.
Quite a few miles later, Charlene was exhausted. She kept hoping for water, food, a city, or any sign of civilization. She was surprised Maahes still seemed cheerful, though Maahes had about suckled Charlene dry. Charlene felt she would die in this endless sea of sand.
Eventually, they came to the city. It was more of a town, but it had running water and food. Charlene entered a restaurant, hoping to get some food or water, but both were expensive and Charlene did not have any money. Charlene collapsed on the floor of the restaurant. When she woke up, it was dark, and she was still on the floor of the restaurant. She was in the same location she fell at, although her legs were in a more spread-out position than she a fallen in. Maahes was tapping her head with a cheeseburger.
Charlene hastily grabbed the cheeseburger; she was very hungry. After inhaling the cheeseburger, Charlene took Maahes outside. There was no one on the streets. Charlene looked around for some form of place to live. A cop pulled up to her and rolled down the window of his car.
"Ma'am, are you new to this town"
"Yes, sir, I am."
"Are you aware that we have a 2am to 6am curfew of no one on the streets?"
"I'm sorry I wasn't...... I was just looking for my house, I seem to be lost."
"What street do you live on, ma'am?"
"I think the name of the street is Arbiter." Charlene said the name of the road she lived on in the past. She briefly thought about what was left of it- nothing.
"Arbiter? There ain't an Arbiter street in this town." said the officer.
"I must really be lost....... "
"There's a hotel just down this street a ways.... best not to be out around this time, these streets get dangerous." the cop said. Maahes instantly snapped his head to look at the officer in response to the sentence.
"I'm a little short on change....." said Charlene.
"Well, you'll be shorter on change before long with the folks 'round here" the cop started.
"Steal from a nothing like me? I think even they would be disappointed at what little I have to offer." thought Charlene.
"And besides, the hotel mails all it's bills out sunday, which is 5 days from now probly enough time to find yer house, eh?"
"Hopefully enough time for me to get a loan or job." thought Charlene. "Maybe I should spend a night there........ you said it was down which street?"
"Just hop in my car ma'am...... As I said the streets aren't safe this time of night." Charlene got in the car and the officer drove her and Maahes to the hotel.
The hotel appeared rather well-maintained to Charlene, and Maahes seemed content. Charlene slept in the hotel for the night.
Chapter 3: A Job
Tomorrow morning when Charlene awoke, Maahes was standing and walking all on his own, and he was examining himself with a mirror. Maahes turned to Charlene. Charlene got up, but before she picked Maahes up to carry him, Maahes stepped backward, and Charlene's interpretation was that he would rather walk himself. She did not mind this; her arms were still sore from carrying him all day yesterday. Charlene went outside to find a job and Maahes followed. Charlene passed many buildings. One was a fashion salon. She entered it and asked a woman working there whether they were hiring.
"Well, our boss did think of hiring a little while ago, but I don't know if he'd hire you. You can fill out one of these applications, I guess." Not having the apparel to even be fashionable herself, Charlene knew the job was a shot in the dark. She passed a fast food joint. Their low-grade cheapest food looked very good to her. She remembered that she had no money. She thought about money and what problems of hers it could solve. Maahes looked at her.
"Munn-eey" he said. Charlene laughed lightly.
"Oh, kid, if only you knew what you were talkin about" Charlene said her thought aloud. Charlene was surprised that Maahes chose to say that word at that time. Charlene leaned against the side of the fast food joint and felt something in her pocket. It was money. Charlene had no idea how it got there, but the food in the joint looked great. She entered and got herself two hot dogs and a milkshake. She was the only one in the joint and looked at the clock- she was between breakfast and lunch. Charlene offered some food to Maahes. Maahes declined the offer. From the back of the restaurant she heard an angry man and woman arguing.
Charlene heard the angry female voice in the back yell "You're fired!" and a rather unhappy man of young age walked out of the restaurant. Charlene saw another employee put up a "help wanted" sign on the window that bordered the street. The employee turned to the man as he left. "Don't take it personally, Squall."
Charlene turned to the employee. "Do you have an application I can fill out?"
"Sure, actually, the boss herself is right back there, although now may not be the best time to apply- Lisa just got news that the small town near here that her parents and sister were stayin in just got blown to kingdom come. I'm Linda. You are?" Maahes snapped his head to look at Linda. Hearing of it made Charlene somewhat sick to her stomach.
"-Charlene" Charlene said.
"Send her back" said Lisa-presumably the employer.
Charlene went back.
Lisa's face was a little red. "You want a job?"
"I really, really need one."
Lisa interviewed Charlene. Charlene did not think she made a good impression; she did not have good job experiences, and all of her references were dead from the city explosion. Suddenly Charlene heard alot of people enter the restaurant "Shit. Consider this as part of your interview." said Lisa. It was lunch time.
Lisa and Charlene approached the front of the restaurant to find a line of at least 20 people. Linda was taking orders while trying to cook. By the time Charlene turned to Lisa, Lisa was already cooking. "Get that customer!" said Linda to Charlene.
Charlene worked through lunch time, but her, Linda, and Lisa fell several orders behind. Maahes watched, and he seemed at least somewhat interested in the customers. To Charlene the work was somewhat tiring, but she felt like she was actually doing something good for a change. The thought felt good. In comparison to the rest of her life, this seemed like one of the easier parts. After lunchtime when the crowd seemed to cease, Lisa approached her.
"You worked well today and seemed to have an iron resolve. If you don't mind hell every now and then, you've got yourself a job starting today."
"Hell? this job? funny joke." thought Charlene. "I'm in." she said.
"Very well." said Lisa.
"Dontcha think you should give Squall a call?" Linda asked.
"Yeah I probably should. he was mad as hell this morning. I guess I forgot that when I lost a sister, he lost a wife, and we really do need another worker." said Lisa. Lisa went back in her office. About 40 minutes later Squall entered the restaurant He looked as if he had just inhaled alot of alcohol.
"Ready to work." he said.
"Alright. Why don't you and Charlene do up some of those dishes from earlier; I'll keep a watch out for customers." said Linda.
Squall and Charlene went back to do some dishes. "So, you're a new employee?" Squall asked to Charlene.
"From around here?" Squall asked.
"No, from a small city just a little away from here." said Charlene, then she remembered that that city no longer existed.
"So I suppose you've heard of what happened to that one city?"
Maahes looked at Charlene. "Yes...... It was terrible, so many people...."
"Yeah, Terrorist attack? radicals? who knows. I should've known marrying a cop was risky enough. there goes that life." said Squall.
"Sometimes that is all it takes to go from night to day."
Chapter 4: Life?
Charlene had a decent job, found a house, and her and Maahes lived in peace for about two years. Maahes physically looked about elementary-school aged to Charlene. Maahes had learned most of the words in English, and was enrolled in school. Maahes's school performance gave Charlene high hopes for his future. Maahes had learned and acknowledged that he was unlike his classmates.
"Alright, here is your next assignment." said the teacher as she handed out an assignment to each of the students. It was a math assignment.
"Maahes, do you got a pencil I can use?" a student asked Maahes.
"Sure" Maahes made a pencil appear in his pocket which he handed to the student. Another student turned to Maahes.
"Hey Maahes do you know where I left that pencil I had?"
".....try the back pouch in your backpack." Maahes teleported a pencil from the teacher's desk into the student's backpack.
"Could've sworn I already looked there.... wait here is.... a different pencil? How'd this one get here?"
"Who knows?" said Maahes.
"Enough talking, more working, children." the teacher said to Maahes and the other students.
"Here is my assignment, Ms. Reebs" said Maahes as he handed the teacher his assignment with the answers filled in.
"But how..... never mind." Ms. Reebs said as she took the assignment. She looked at the paper closely. "Maahes, give this paper to your parents" Maahes flashed the teacher a mildly puzzled, slightly offended look. "-I mean guardian."
"Alright...." Ms. Reebs gave Maahes a piece of paper. A bell rang and Ms. Reebs announced a recess. All the students, including Maahes, went outside. Maahes was approached by a small group of students.
"Well, if it isn't the 'special' student from Ms. Reebs class!" he announced. "I dunno why they think you're special, but they won't tell me. Maybe you're just special ed!"
"Whatever." said Maahes in response.
"Don't give me this." the student said.
"Maybe it's because he was adopted!" another student suggested.
"Maybe it's none of you're business." said Maahes, a little annoyed.
"I bet he was! I knew it! does little baby Maahes get all this special stuff jus because he was adopted?" Yet another student suggested.
"No. Their treatment of me is different because I am different in some other way, at least that's what they said when I asked them."
"Ooh, go to them for help! wah wah." Another one taunted.
Maahes was now fairly annoyed. "Y'all want so see something special?" said Maahes.
"Sure, wimp, whatcha got?"
Maahes punched the kid in the face and ran. The group of students chased him. Maahes ran behind a tree, and in an instant, appeared in a stall in the boy's restroom. He casually walked to a window where the tree was in view. The group of students were walking around looking for him. Maahes smiled. The bell rang, recess was over. Two of the students from the group were in the same class as he.
"You!" one of them said.
"What happened?" the teacher said nervously.
"Maahes up and punched George for no reason!"
"Maahes, is this true?"
"I was in the building the whole time. Just left to use the bathroom." Maahes heard some voices, or rather foreign thoughts, enter his mind, but they were faint enough for him to ignore.
"That's a lie!" The kid said.
"Both of you, go to the principle's office" said Ms. Reebs.
Maahes and the student looked at each other, and then went to the principle's office.
Maahes and George were both sent home. "That's the third time this week, Maahes! Good god! Can't you behave?" Said Charlene.
"I behave to my own standards...." said Maahes.
"Your standards! I don't care about your standards!"
"Do you want a drink?"
"Don't bribe, me Maahes, I know what you're thinking"
Maahes teleported her a drink.
"I just want to know why, why am I so special?"
"Ya got me beat, kiddo. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I adopted you. But you have got to behave at school if you want to be somebody."
Maahes thought. "Aren't I somebody now?" Maahes thought about the kids at school. They were in the wrong, right? why was it his job to be well around them. It made no sense to Maahes.
The next day the same group harassed Maahes. "Heard yo mama's a WHORE." one of them said.
"You don't know my mother." said Maahes as he thought "I wish I knew my mother."
"Aww trying to be a goody-two-shoes!"
"You don't want me to be mean."
"You aren't strong enough to cause damage"
Maahes was mad. He thought about damage. What it would be like if it was just he and Charlene.
"YOU WANT DAMAGE!?!?!?!?!" Maahes yelled aloud, and suddenly a huge amount of dirt rose out of the ground and destroyed half of the school. In an instant Maahes tried to stop. This time he was going to try and behave. But more uprisings were occurring at irregular intervals all around the school. Now the students seemed very frightened.
"W-What have you done?"
"What HAVE I done?" Maahes wondered. Students started running everywhere. Winds of an unnatural force were taking trees and buildings right out of the exploding ground which they stood. Maahes teleported to Charlene.
"Mom! I think I did something bad!!"
"Oh, fuck." Charlene grabbed Maahes and they hastily ran to the basement. A part of the cement wall exploded and hit Charlene.
"If only we were somewhere safe" Maahes thought again and again as he looked at Ozkon's moon through a window.
"Whatcha lookin at, kiddo?" Charlene looked at the moon. The moon, Riok, was habitable, but only those of great wealth were able to afford a place to stay there. In an instant, both Maahes and Charlene were on Riok. Charlene was confused. Both her and Maahes looked up at Ozkon. Their glance at Ozkon was just in time to see Ozkon explode into a fiery mess of space debris. Every city, with Ozkon's 2 billion inhabitants, gone.
"My God......" Charlene looked up at the sky where Ozkon was supposed to be.
"Wow, I had no idea what I can do......" Thought Maahes.
Charlene cried. Just when she thought she had had a life, it was all gone again.
Chapter 5: Among the Wealthy
Charlene looked at Maahes. A lone, powerful tear rolled down his face. "Mom, why am I sad?" he asked. "I was in the right, right?"
"We all feel sad when we know we could've done something better. Sometimes being in the right, just isn't what matters" Charlene said on her red, tear-soaked face to Maahes, thinking about every one of her decisions on Ozkon. Maahes was thinking hard. He had some feeling from within that he caused the planet's explosion. But how? He was sure it had to do with what he was thinking at the time. He teleported himself a fruit. He thought about the fruit. Nothing had gone wrong; it was simple. He remembered what he was thinking at the time prior to the explosion. He was thinking about the entire planet disappearing, but he vanquished his own thought. He thought about the fruit disappearing. It disappeared without any dramatic explosions. He teleported himself another fruit. This time he thought about it disappearing, but attempted to interrupt it. The fruit caved in on itself. A fruit, a planet, size didn't seem to matter.
"This..... is all my fault." said Maahes.
"Kid, you're not even three, and you take more responsibility for your actions than..." Charlene stopped.
"....Never mind. Let's see how long we can stand this area." Charlene took Maahes's hand, and found the courage to get up and walk to one of the houses. "Or at least find out how long this area can stand us." Charlene thought.
"How do you want me to look?" Maahes asked Charlene, remembering other times where appearing to be of certain age or build was advantageous.
"No special request this time, make up whatever you want."
"Alright." teenagers seemed to have the most diverse lifestyle to Maahes. Maahes figured diverse situations may equip him better for the future. He imagined himself to be about thirteen, with blue eyes and red hair, and an average-height, thin build. Transformations sometimes allowed Charlene to forget that her son was not yet three and herself only 19. Charlene and Maahes walked in some random direction for close to two miles before they came to a large, well-maintained house. They knocked on the door, a man in a suit-coat answered it.
"Greetings" he said.
"Hello. we are new to the area."
"We don't welcome your kind." he said and closed the door. Charlene looked down the street. The yards were well-maintained; grass was mowed, houses newly painted, but there was no one outside. Charlene wondered if any of the residents even realized that Ozkon was gone.
Charlene hunted around for the local school- she found one and told the people of the school that they were some homeless survivors from the Ozkon explosion.
"We'll give him an entrance exam to make sure he is not.... overwhelmed with our different standards" said the principal. "He will come in that room at precisely 7am tomorrow morning." Maahes looked inside the room and examined it thoroughly before he and Charlene left.
Charlene and Maahes searched until dark and did not find any house, apartment, or condo of any kind. Every patch of land was either a yard, a house, or a street. "Mom, I want to try something." said Maahes.
"Just keep the planet in one piece." said an exhausted Charlene. Maahes looked at a small piece of a large yard. He thought of what a house consisted of, the pipes that led to it, and what it was made of. A house fairly similar to their last house appeared in the yard. Charlene and Maahes slept for the night. Just before 7am, Maahes awoke. He tried to walk, but realized he would be late. He remembered that there was a table inside the room and teleported to directly under it in the case that someone was in the room waiting for him. He appeared, the room was empty with the only door leading in closed. Maahes looked at the time; 6:59, with the second hand only 18 seconds before 7am. Maahes opened the door.
The surprised woman on the other side of the door turned to Maahes and said "Well Hello there" in confusion.
"Hi. I'm supposed to take a test in this room....."
"Of course" said the woman as she pulled out a paper, walked Maahes back into the room and handed the test to him. Maahes took the test and returned home. When he arrived at home there was a crowd of people standing around Charlene. They seemed to be annoyed. Upon seeing Maahes, Charlene seemed relieved.
"This house has got to be removed from my lawn!"
"How was it built so quickly?!" were some of the phrases being said by the people around Charlene.
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, my son and I had no place to stay....." Charlene was trying to explain.
"Tell that to my lawyer!" the landowner threatened.
"We mean no harm." said Maahes loudly. The landowner turned to him. "You will be put in jail for this! remove this house immediately!"
"The house will be removed within one hour." Maahes said calmly.
"You will have to pay property damages!"
"That can be arrang-" Maahes stopped himself. "Actually, I intend to purchase this property." said Maahes.
"But that part of my lawn is worth..... at least 2 million dollars." said the landowner.
Charlene knew that was way overpriced. "Sold" said Maahes as he pulled some stacks of hundred dollar bills out of his pocket.
The man looked surprised, but took the money. "Well then I guess if its your property there can't be a lawsuit." he said with satisfaction as he walked away.
"Glad that is over with." said Charlene. Maahes teleported a fence to set up a perimeter.
"This should stop debates of such nature in the future." said Maahes as an old man and woman dressed in destroyed attire approached Charlene and Maahes. Excuse me ma'am, but do you mind if we stay at your place?" Maahes turned sharply towards them. Charlene remembered when herself and Maahes were in a similar predicament.
"I guess its alright....." said Charlene to the elderly couple.
"We were vacationing around here, when we looked in the sky, Ozkon was gone. We searched but could not find a place to stay. The folks here are....... different." said the woman to Charlene.
"I can begin construction momentarily to accommodate you....." said Maahes.
"Goodness, you must be of great wealth and power to have so much influence at such a young age!" said the woman.
"I have my ways...... Although you'll need to leave for safety reasons until construction is done" said Maahes
"How long will that be?"
"About 20 minut-" Charlene flashed Maahes a look of astonishment. "-I mean about 2 hours" finished Maahes.
The couple left and Maahes teleported some more rooms on the house. "Seriously that did not take even twenty minutes." said Maahes to Charlene.
"Normal house projects often take months, kiddo. I'm still surprised they believe it can be done in 2 hours." said Charlene.
About an hour after Maahes finished building the house adjustments, a large black vehicle pulled up to him and Charlene. The woman and principal from the school stepped out.
"Maahes has passed the entrance exam. Where is Mr. ......"
"Oh, Maahes here was adopted. I'll take care of the paperwork." said Charlene with a little offense.
"Alright......" the woman handed Charlene some paperwork.
"He will report to school at 8am. Have him present the papers." The woman and principal left.
Later the elderly couple from earlier returned, and Maahes showed them to their room. Charlene went out looking for a job. She did not find any areas hiring, and eventually got fed up enough to go to a bar for a drink. She still had some pocket change from before the Ozkon explosion. She was very attentive to conversations around her.
"Did you hear about Ozkon? It's gone!"
"You think it was terrorists?"
"Nah, probably some natural process"
"Yeah, Nature selecting the stupid out."
"Did you see that house on the corner of biswald st and 4th? it's hideous!"
"It must be very recent because it wasn't there yesterday morning"
"I heard the house was occupied by a single mom and son."
"Great, like we need more of them around!"
"But apparently the son tested well at the school. Maybe there's hope yet."
"Nah, best not to invest in the weak."
"We don't need Ozkon."
An old man entered the conversation. "Excuse me, sir, but it was Ozkon that did not need you. Not the other way around. This place literally, and figuratively revolved around Ozkon."
"You drunk, old man?" Charlene realized that the old man was the one that was living in her house.
"I don't need to be drunk to tell you this beer, and most of the resources here, came from Ozkon. What will you do when they are gone? Will you step off your high horse, or have you grown so lazy that you refuse to get off while you sink into the mud?"
"That's enough, old man!" and one of the men he was talking to threw him out of the bar. Charlene left; she had had enough. She met the old man outside.
"Young woman, did you not agree with everything I said back there?"
"I am afraid I don't know much about Ozkon's relation with it's moon."
"Hiding behind the shell of ignorance. Remember this; no matter how incompetent you feel yourself to be, the only way to improve is to try."
"Maybe I should walk you home....."
"I ain't gonna disagree with that." Charlene and the man walked home to Maahes and the old woman, who were playing a card game. Charlene handed Maahes the filled out papers and went to bed.
"So, Maahes, you heard of someone called Bobby?" the man said to him.
"Well, apparently Bobby is some real powerful dude that everyone here's tryin to keep a lookout for. Heard some rumors that he can up n' destroy whole planets if he wants to. There’s some talk that maybe he's the one who blew Ozkon. I guess no one knows for sure."
Maahes was sure that it was none other than he which destroyed Ozkon. But he was curious about this Bobby. Another being that could destroy planets.
"Ain't that food for thought" said Maahes as he and the elderly couple went to sleep. Maahes, however, did not sleep well. It was as if he wasn't tired, and there were voices, or rather thoughts from somewhere else entering his head. The thoughts were very faint, and he guessed that they were likely present during the day, but too faint for him to notice. Tomorrow Charlene continued the hopeless job hunt; Maahes awoke and went to school.
Chapter 6: Friends of this Place and Another
"Class, a new student will be joining us for the rest of the semester; meet Maahes" the teacher in the classroom pointed to Maahes, and Maahes stood up. The students seemed indifferently silent; as if they did not care if Maahes entered their lives or not. A lesson was taught that was way more complex than the lessons at Maahes's previous school. Either the school was tougher, or it precieved Maahes as more intelligent because he appeared older, or both. Maahes did his best to learn the material, some of which was quite challenging to him. At recess he played on the swing sets with some of the kids.
"So Maahes, where are you from?" one of the kids asked him. Maahes thought. He actually did not know of his own origin. But he guessed they wanted to know where he lived last.
"A small city that was on Ozkon." Maahes answered.
"Yeah Ozkon has the adults all worried over what might happen to here. My name is Francis." Maahes knew that the adults here very well should be afraid. But Maahes was curious about school here.
"How old are the kids around here?" Maahes asked Francis.
"I'm 14, but ages vary because when students arrive they are placed in a group based on how well they do on some test. Ages in this group range from Freddy, who is almost 20, to Ashley over there, who is 8." said Francis, motioning to a young man who looked quite depressed and then to a young blonde haired girl coming towards them.
"Interesting...... the last school I went to everyone in the same class was the same age." said Maahes as Ashley joined him and Francis on the swings.
"You pointing to me?" Ashley asked Francis.
"Just helping the new one get acquainted with the place."
"Oh." Ashley gave Maahes a look of emptiness. Maahes shrugged.
"Before long Maahes will see that he can handle this place, I'm sure." said Francis.
"But can this place handle me?" Maahes accidently said aloud.
"Huh?" Ashley gave Maahes a look of confusion.
"Now I'd crack a joke that here will always be here, but with what happened to Ozkon that'd be bad timing. So out of curiosity how old are you?" said Francis.
Maahes did not think it was a good idea to reveal that he'd be three in two days. He made up an age. "11" he said.
The students continued on the swings for another 15 minutes before the bell rang. The next class subject was astronomy. In it the teacher discussed predictions of where Riok may drift to, now that it is no longer in Ozkon's orbit. The class continued until students were dismissed. Francis and Ashley chose to accompany Maahes back. While walking back, Maahes purposely blocked out the people around him, to see if the voices and thoughts were there. They were. This time he thought back at them; Maahes asked them what they were. They responded "You mean these thoughts you are intercepting?"
"Yes" Maahes thought back.
"We're the Archive. Who are you?"
"I am Maahes."
"No, Maahes is only a name. who are you; what do you do? what are your intentions and motivations? what created you?"
"I do not know what created me. My intentions are....... I am curious; about myself, the foreign world, you guys, why I am different from others."
The Archive talked to itself about quite a few things before asking Maahes "Different from who?"
"The people around me."Maahes responded.
"Hey, Maahes!" Francis was speaking rather loudly.
"Huh?" Maahes replied back to Francis.
"I was wonderin if you wanted to come n' study with Ashley, me and George at about 7pm tonight, we can meet out here."
"I figured I should ask soon cause that looks like your house. Your mind seemed to be elsewhere." Ashley blushed a little.
Maahes look at the house; it was his. "Yeah, that is my house. Do you guys ........hear voices?"
"Nope" Francis responded quickly.
"It's not good to be hearin voices...... it's not normal." Ashley said to Maahes.
"See you at 7." said Maahes as he entered his house.
After he entered Francis turned to Ashley and asked "You said that house was built in less than a day?"
"Yeah. Dad was super-mad cause he had a bad day at work; his business was tied to Ozkon. Having a house appear on his lawn was not expected. But they purchased the land from us." said Ashley.
"Weird." said Francis. "Oh well, he seems friendly enough, although there is definitely something way different about him."
"Yeah. But hey, science is the essence of curiosity!" said Ashley with a smile.
"Right" said Francis.
"Well I'm off." said Ashley as she ran up the driveway to her house.
Maahes entered to the elderly couple playing a different card game from last night. Maahes asked them "You know where Charlene is?"
"Not a clue." said the woman.
Maahes went to his room to try and communicate to the "Archive".
"I'm back." Maahes thought.
"We're always here."
"Here as in where?"
"Everywhere you or another teleporter are."
"You're aware you can teleport. How old are you?"
"You'd have to be pretty stupid for it to take 11 years for you to find us."
"Okay, about 3."
"Still a little on the old side, but reasonable. you seem very young."
"I am young."
"Odd. most teleporters are mature by their 2nd year. Maybe you're a hybrid? no, no the only teleporter in your area is Apothos, and he is of a male form and would not likely create a hybrid."
"Age you measure in maturity?"
"We really don't give a shit about a year number since it cannot be used to predict actions without other knowledge."
"So I'm a teleporter?"
"Yes and no. You are, for some reason, not mature yet, or you would be able to communicate with us in a manner far faster than thought conversation. But you must be at least some teleporter."
"What does that mean?"
"It means you will try to teleport what you think. But be careful, all teleporters are somewhat different, and hybrids are usually more unpredictable."
"So what can I do?"
"You will need to find that out for yourself."
"I see." thought Maahes. He then stopped thinking about the Archive, it seemed to be his choice whether the Archive could communicate with him. But the idea of teleporting what is thought made a great deal of sense to Maahes. Maahes heard Charlene come in the door and walked to greet her. She seemed happy, but sad at the fact that she was happy.
"I got a job. Pickings were slim, though."
"Where at?" the old man asked.
"That place we were at last night."
"Folks there could give you a rough time." the woman said.
"Don't remind me. But its not like I haven't faced a rough time before." said Charlene, looking at Maahes.
"Mom, what if you didn't have to?"
"Didn't have to face a rough time? I don't know, kiddo. Hardship beats me into who I am. Hard to imagine life without it." Charlene said.
Maahes teleported some money into his pocket. "Cause I can make as much of this as you want......" said Maahes, showing some of the money.
"No thanks, I sold my soul to pig-headed assholes a long time ago for less, and they couldn't stand my soul either."
"You're more wise than you give yourself credit for." said the old man.
"Perhaps, perhaps not." said Charlene.
"I made some dinner for y'all" said the old woman as she opened up the oven to reveal some casserole.
"Thanks!" said Charlene, who almost grabbed it and burned herself, but remembered at the last minute to put on some oven mitts. Charlene, Maahes, and the elderly couple ate, even if Maahes had no desire to eat, he decided to do so anyway. At 7pm Maahes went to study with Francis, George, and Ashley.
Math was the first subject they chose to study; Francis had a book with information on the polar equations they were learning in class.
"So, Francis, where's the girlfriend?" George asked.
"Eh, She's still not back from the game in Ashton."
"Where?" Maahes asked
"The city about 12 miles north of here. My girlfriend did not want to miss the game since she is of an important position to the team."
"What about you, Maahes, you got anyone for ya?" Ashley asked.
"No...... my life has been to turbulent to acquire relationships of the sort." Maahes responded
"Hey, you guys know how to do this division by imaginary numbers?" George asked.
"Yeah, you multiply by the conjugate as if the square root of negative one was any other variable, and then after the multiplication is done you put the value back in." Ashley said.
The four studied for about an hour before they returned to their homes.
Chapter 7: Epilogue
For almost three years, Charlene and Maahes had lived in peace, and the elderly couple had moved into a nursing home. Francis, Ashley, and Maahes continued through school. Maahes learned alot more by thinking with the Archive, and he was testing his powers on a daily basis. He kept his powers a secret to everyone, even Charlene. The Archive informed Maahes that there was entire race that teleports. Maahes also learned not to think chaotic thoughts, since teleportations are completely done from a state of mind. Maahes had decided to pursue a relationship with Ashley, to the disgression of Ashley's parents, who still remembered Maahes making the house on their property.
One day while Maahes was at school, Charlene was kidnapped and taken hostage. Charlene awoke from being knocked out in the gang's whereabouts. "Where am I?" said Charlene angrily.
"You don't need to know that. What you do need to know, is that if Maahes does not comply with our demands, you will be dead."
"We know what happened with Bobby. This is the only way to stop him."
"What are your demands?"
"That Maahes kill Bobby."
Charlene laughed as if she was losing her sanity. "He won't even know I'm gone until he gets home from school, he doesn't even know who Bobby is. Why does this always happen?!"
"You dumb bitch. You just don't know what you made. Bobby has destroyed so much. We cannot miss this opportunity while Maahes is still not strong enough to free you."
"You piece of shit! Maahes destroyed all of Ozkon on something more minor than this."
"Well, I'm sure he'll get the message we left for him."
"We're all dead" Charlene said hopelessly.
Maahes arrived home from school. He did not know who the kidnappers were, but he felt so mad. Anything he thought about, would seem to explode. He set out to find Charlene, trying not to think about anything as much as possible. The letter had an address on it. An address was useless for teleportation. Maahes walked there and found the building.
"I refuse your terms" he said to the first member he met. The gang member tried to shoot him; he teleported the bullets away as they were coming out of the gun. Maahes teleported anvils, explosives, and other dangerous objects to kill the gang members, but he had to be precise; any doubt in thought, and some chaotic matter ripple would occur that shattered all matter like glass. Maahes eventually made his way to where Charlene was being held. Maahes teleported all of the oxygen out of the air near the one patrolling Charlene until he was unconscious, then teleported the chains holding Charlene away.
"Bravo! Got the job done with the planet intact." said Charlene.
“We need to get out of here” said Maahes. As Charlene and Maahes walked back to their house, the degree of destruction in the path awestruck Charlene. Entire buildings reduced to rubble. Many, many wounded people that needed medical attention. So much destruction. Police sirens were closing in. Maahes said to Charlene “Its only a matter of time before they come after me. I'll be right back.” Maahes teleported to the house. There were no officers around it. Maahes teleported back to Charlene “Go back to the house. I must leave, but I'll be at school tomorrow.” said Maahes with a look of determination. “I got to set things right.”
“Maahes.......” Charlene said with much worry. Maahes disappeared.
Tomorrow morning on the news was the mansion full of corpses that Maahes left. The ones Maahes left alive pointed to him as the murderer. At 8 am, Maahes walked into school. The entire class appeared dead silent.
“Maahes, is it true? what they are saying about you?” said Francis with concern.
“Yes.” Maahes stated. The students grew fearful.
“But.... how?” Ashley asked.
The teacher and several police officers entered the room. “That's him....” said the teacher nervously.
“You are under arrest! resistence will only further your punishment!” an officer readied a pair of handcuffs.
“It is time.” said Maahes as he teleported the ceiling , walls, and desks away from the classroom. He floated to be about 7 feet above ground. People grew more scared. “You want me off the streets. To you I am dangerous. Perhaps I remind you of Bobby. You have reason to be frightened. You have a right to be afraid. I am aware that I can do terrible things. Everywhere I go. TODAY THAT ENDS!” Maahes said loudly. “You are right to want me off the streets. And I shall leave. Mastering myself shall take place where errors have no consequence. I must begone from your planet.” Maahes recognized that Charlene was in the crowd. “But, it is not enough for me to just leave. No. I have caused too much suffering, too much destruction. I destroyed Ozkon, and my suffering cannot bring back the lives lost. In repayment, I give you.....” Maahes thought as hard as he could, and, in the sky appeared a barren planet. “I will find this Bobby, and I will make him repay the destruction he has caused. This is why I must go!” said Maahes as he disappeared. An envelope fell to the ground where Maahes formerly floated.
“Does this mean he won't be taking him to prison” one dumbfounded officer asked another.
“I don't think we ever could.” said the officer as he picked up the envelope. “Is there a “Charlene Higgins” in the crowd?”
“I am” said Charlene through her tears. She was sure Maahes would not be returning. The officer handed her the envelope. The crowd dispersed, and Charlene went home. She opened the envelope. Inside it was a device with one button. Puzzeled, Charlene clicked the button.
“I guess one last goodbye is in order” Maahes said. Charlene turned to see Maahes directly to her left.
“Oh, Maahes!” Charlene hugged Maahes.
The door of the house was knocked open. “Make that three more goodbyes!” said Francis as he and Ashley entered.
“I'm glad for all of you, and wish you the best. I must leave, and I don't know when I'll be returning.”
Charlene, Francis, and Ashley all bid Maahes farewell as he vanished. Francis and Ashley exited Charlene's house. A moment later, Bobby appeared.
“Y-You!” Charlene said with the greatest surprise.
“You're the surprised one? thanks for telling me that I'm a dad.” Bobby said with little empathy.
“How....” Charlene questioned.
“That device alerts teleporters. I teleported photons away to appear invisible. Seems that Maahes was actually a success. Usually this kind of situation would end in disaster” Bobby said.
“Don't you think you should be with Maahes? I dunno, be a father?” Charlene asked. She had so many questions for Bobby.
“Nah. Not the right time for me to enter his life yet. But the time will come. Until then.” Bobby grinned as he disappeared.