The park was relatively quiet at night, only the chirp of crickets could be heard in the distance. Alison hadn’t said a word since they left the house.
Aiden nudged her shoulder. “You okay?”
She looked up, startled. “Aiden, this is not a good idea.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’re just practicing.”
“Can we practice tomorrow? You know, when it’s light?”
He sniggered. “We’re not seven anymore, you can’t still be afraid of the dark.”
She looked down. “I’m just getting a bad feeling about this.”
Aiden put his arm around her. “I promise I’ll be careful.”
They walked up to the center of the park, where Damien, Chad and Scarlett were waiting.
“Thank god you two got here.” Damien said. “The small talk was getting worse.”
Scarlett sneered at him. “You’re not exactly Oprah, you know.”
“Aiden.” Chad said. “Still competing, are you?”
Aiden smiled. “Without a doubt. Still ready to lose?”
Chad sighed. “I’m gonna go for a run round the track.” he said, walking away.
“You should go join him.” Scarlett said, smiling at Aiden. “These parks can get lonely at night.”
“I’m only here to practice.” Aiden said. “No racing.”
Scarlett shrugged. “Suit yourself. Want a drink?” she asked, holding out two bottles. “I know you like these sports drinks things, so I got a couple. Chad doesn’t like them, so I guess you can have the other.”
She held out one towards Aiden. “Little token of friendship.”
Alison took it from her. “Nice try. I’ve seen Snow White. You’re not getting your poisoned apple past me.”
Scarlett snatched it back and opened it, taking a gulp herself. She then grabbed her throat, pretending to choke.
Damien sniggered. “And the Oscar goes to…”
Scarlett glared at Alison. “Nobody can be nice around you, can they?” She took the other bottle out of her bag. “Here, take this one. It’s not opened. Hate for you to get my germs. I’m nice like that.”
Aiden took it. “Thanks.” he said, putting it in his pocket.
Scarlett grabbed her bag and stood up. “Well, I gotta run. Have a good practice session.”
As she got up, a packet fell out. She quickly scrambled to the ground and threw it back in.
“What are those?” Alison asked. “Forget to take your psycho meds?”
She held up a white packet. “To help me sleep.” she spat. “Some of us actually have to worry about our future.”
She disappeared down the path and Alison stared at Aiden. “Don’t tell me you’re gonna drink that.”
Aiden shook it up. “It’s just a sports drink, dude. I have them all the time.”
“Well, you wouldn’t mind letting me taste it, would you?”
Damien laughed and took a seat on the bench. “Aww.” he mocked. “You two really do share everything.”
Aiden laughed. “Shut up, dude.” He handed the bottle to Alison. “Okay, if you insist.”
Alison took a sip from it and made a face, sticking out her tongue. “Okay, pretty sure it’s not poisoned, but it tastes vile.”
Aiden took it back. “You never did like the lemon flavor.” he said, taking a gulp himself.
Chad came up from behind them, panting slowly. He stopped in front of Aiden. “Not a bad run. You wanna join me for one?”
“You look like you could use an energy boost.” Aiden said, offering the bottle.
Chad shied it away. “No thanks, I don’t drink that shit. Full of chemicals.”
“Catch your breath.” Aiden teased. He finished the contents of the bottle and cracked his knuckles. “I’m up for a run.”
Chad sat down next to Damien. “Go for a warm up lap yourself. Some of us ain’t as young as we used to be.”
He looked up at Alison and got up. “Sorry, you want this?” he offered. “I know your ankle’s pretty bad.”
She sat down. “Thanks.” she said quietly. “I’m not completely helpless, you know.”
“Damien, time me.” Aiden said. “Wanna see if I can do this in less than thirty seconds.”
“You got it.” Damien replied, taking out his watch. “Okay, go!”
Aiden shot off into the track as fast as he could, forgetting about the world and just enjoying what was in front of him. He passed several illuminated lampposts; the park’s swing set and jumped across a few benches.
“Too easy,” he said. “Let’s spark it up a bit.”
As his hands began to light up, he ran faster, smiling as he did it. The smell of fresh air and freedom filled his lungs. Taking a large leap, he propelled himself around one of the lampposts and launched himself towards a bridge above the park’s lake. He landed perfectly.
“Not so bad.” he said out loud. “But we can do better than that.”
He ran back towards the lampshade and looked straight at the bridge, with any luck, he’d be able to leap over it in a single bound. He could already hear the sounds of victory music in his ears.
His body began to tense up and his hand glowed a fluorescent green, rather than blue. He ignored it however, and kept his eye on the target.
“I can do this.” he said, as he began to jog towards the bench. He sprinted as he got closer and grabbed the lamppost. Swinging around several times, he could feel his grip loosening.
Panicking, he tried to hold on tighter, ramping up his speed. Suddenly, he felt out of breath, like he was just about to pass out. It became harder to breathe, so he let go of the lamppost and closed his eyes, hoping for the best.
His knee got the worst of the wooden bridge, smashing against it. The pain was a lot worse this time, moving all around his body. His joints began to crack.
He couldn’t hold onto the bridge from the pain. The air blasted on him as he fell down into the lake, landing face first.
Footsteps approached him as he struggled to keep his eyes open.