He turned his head to Alison, looking down at the rocky path beneath his feet, kicking stones as he took each strode. He mumbled to her incoherently.
Alison nudged him. “Are you okay? You don’t seem like yourself.”
Aiden sighed heavily as a sinking feeling rested in his stomach. “I don’t know, been feeling kind of weird this weekend.”
Alison shrugged and patted him on the shoulder. “You know, Chad seemed like he felt bad when he came back without you.”
“Do you mind if we don’t get into that now?” Aiden turned away from her and continued kicking rocks.
“I never got a chance to thank you for sticking up for me that night.”
Aiden turned back to her, shrugging. “That’s what best friends do, silly.”
Alison stopped for a second and looked at Aiden with a teary eyed face, without knowing what to do next, she just gave him the biggest hug imaginable, which Aiden returned. He felt too tired to resist it. Feeling a bit of moisture on his shoulder, he pulled his head away; when Alison looked up, her eyes looked puffy and red. Her beaming smile distracted him.
“You’ll never know how much that means to me Aiden, thanks. Your arm is looking a lot better by the way.”
Aiden’s eyes snapped to his arm, pretending to study it. “Yeah, I guess I heal fast?”
“Does that mean I can punch it again?” She smiled and jokingly raised her fist.
Aiden raised his hand in defence and sniggered. “I’d rather you didn’t, but yes, you can”
Without a second going by, Alison started punching his arm, giggling as she did it. Aiden simply rubbed his arm and shrugged it off. “You enjoy that way too much, you know.”
More tingles shot down Aiden’s arm, but no sparks came out this time. He tapped Alison on the shoulder, prompting her to turn to him. “There is something I want to tell you actually.” He put both of his hands on her shoulder. “You just need to keep it to yourself, okay?”
Alison’s eyes darted from side to side. “Okay, what is it?”
Before Aiden could open his mouth to speak, they heard a click and a voice behind them.
“Hey, kid, what are you doing out here?”
In front of them stood a man with greasy brown hair, dark eyes and grubby facial hair. He also had a gun.
Aiden froze. “Hey man, no need to cause any trouble, okay?”
“Both of you, behind the bins, now.” he said, gesturing his gun towards the skip.
Alison threw both her hands up in defence. Aiden kept his in front of him in case the man tried anything. He pointed them both against the wall.
“Okay, wallets now, whatever you have on you.”
Alison got her purse out from her bag and handed it over to the mugger, and then he pointed at Aiden. “You next” he said.
Aiden looked down as his heart started beating violently in his chest. “I don’t have anything”
“Shut up and empty your pockets!” he demanded, waving the gun in Aiden’s face.
“Aiden, just do what he says.”
“But I actually don’t have anything, my wallet’s in my locker.”
“Turn your pockets out now!” the mugger yelled.
“Okay, okay, you don’t believe me, here.” Aiden quickly turned out his pockets, revealing nothing.
The mugger took a look at him, inspecting him with his gun like a detective with an agenda. “Okay, fine, I’ll just take double” He snatched Alison’s bag from her, knocking her to the pavement.
“Don’t try follow me!” he yelled as he jogged off.
Aiden went to Alison and helped her up; she grabbed hold of her ankle and closed her eyes, clenching her cheekbones.
Aiden held Alison’s head in his arms, letting her rest on his shoulder. Tears filled her eyes. “Are you okay?”
She sniffled. “No. He’s got my ID, my money, everything in there, we’ve gotta find a phone and call the police.”
Aiden clenched his fists as an adrenaline rush sieged through him. He looked in the other direction. “No we don’t.”
“Stay right here” After a quick check to see what direction the mugger went in, he took off in the same way. He could hear Alison’s voice fading as he ran faster. He couldn’t feel any shortness of breath as he kept on running. The adrenaline running through his veins pumped faster as he ran up behind the mugger.
They both came to an abandoned park area. The mugger stood with his head staring at the ground, as if he was stopping to catch his breath. Aiden walked up closer to him.
“Hey, that’s my friends bag you’ve got there.”
The mugger turned around and took his gun out of his pocket, still panting trying to catch his breath. “And what do you want…with it? Doesn’t go with your outfit”
Aiden took a few steps closer to the mugger, his fists clenched and eyes focused on the bag. “Just give it back, and we’ll be done here.”
The mugger smiled. “I’m warning you, just turn around and walk away.”
Aiden ignored his requests and kept on walking closer. He could feel his legs shaking with each step he took, and soon his hands began to shake too, as if they were vibrating. The mugger lifted his gun and pointed it in Aiden’s direction.
“Don’t try playing the hero, kid.”
Aiden kept a straight face and kept walking. He closed his eyes as a gunshot rang out. As the ringing in his ears banged against his skull, he moved his hands around vigorously expecting to feel blood trickling down his chest, but all he felt was immense heat and a small metal ball in his hand. Opening his eyes, he looked down, seeing what looked like a crushed bullet.
Before he had time to fathom this miracle, the mugger took a swing at him with the knife. Aiden jumped from side to side, dodging it successfully. He reached out and grabbed the mugger by the elbow, trying to get a hold of the silver blade reflecting in his eyes.
The mugger kicked Aiden in the shins, trying to break free of his grip and then took another swing of his knife, striking him in the face. This time, he could taste blood trickling down from his forehead. The mugger laughed at him. “Looks like you’re not as tough as you look, now after this, you’re gonna wish you had stayed back with your little girlfriend.”
Aiden clutched his forehead, expecting to be in unbearable pain, but it felt more like a graze than a deep cut. Wiping away as much blood as he could from the wound, he looked up and stared down the mugger, who was smiling pathetically at him. “One last time, give me my friend’s bag back.”
A violent vibration vigorously shook Aiden’s hand, and the mugger dropped his knife as a crimson red glow shone in his eyes. Aiden looked down and his jaw dropped. The glow was coming from his hand; this time generating red sparks instead of blue ones. Within a few seconds, his entire vision turned bright red, blinding him and causing him to fall to the ground. As he took several deep breaths, his vision slowly returned to normal.
Rubbing his eyes, he opened them to see the mugger had vanished, leaving the bag behind. He crawled towards it and picked it up. Checking inside, he saw everything was there. Alison’s phone, her wallet, her ID, everything. He heard footsteps behind him, and was relieved to see Alison rushing towards him.
She knelt down and gave him one of the tightest hugs he’d ever felt. “You got it back! You…you stopped him.”
Aiden patted his hand on Alison’s back. “Yeah…I guess I did.”
She helped him up and brushed some dust off his shoulder. “Just tell me one thing, okay?”
Aiden looked in her direction. “What’s that?”
She took a deep breath. “Why is your hand glowing?”