by Dexter Joseph
On the streets of Abagwa, Vistamyl, men and women walked back and forth, in and out of various places of choice. Working hours were over for those doing so. The moon was crescent. The weather stood mild and the wind faint over the darkened night. The lights on each street kept everywhere visible and glamorous. This way at least the governor’s good works were made visible to the eyes even if clothed with sunglasses.
The streetlights were beautiful and each lined every thirty yards from the other. The light devices were wired from underneath the city, each of the solar receptors locked to the ground and the convertible emitters floating thirty feet above them, that high yet very bright. Its function was unique, as was the design. The Receptors during the day absorbed and converted solar energy, and a perfected electromagnetic field which kept the Emitters afloat, transferred these energy to the emitters in form of light. Once it clocked six by evening, the Receptors came alive and the Emitters levitated above them and did their job: radiate.
In an average house of average people, Akamike had eyes fixed on the corpses which were over the couch. His thoughts were shared with the other two with him. This was gruesome, irrespective of the fact the deaths weren’t morbid. The bodies were pale, like people who’d had their lives sucked out of them. The older body rested on the couch, mouth and eyes wide in what looked like shock. Even with the placidity of his skin, his black veins were visible, same with the woman’s, and the younger boy by her side. This wasn’t the first time he was seeing something as this, but it didn’t stop him feeling uneasy.
“To believe I just ate a minute ago,” Dike, one of the two boys, said, disgust written all over his face. Had he had his way, he would not be here facing what stood before them. But as Akamike had made it necessary, and his presence even more, he had to be. He held his stomach as though he’d puke.
Turning to face him – still chewing his gum, Vincent sighed, “I am still eating.”
“You can’t seriously classify chewing gum as eating, Vincent,” Dike said dismissively, then moved his attention back at the bodies before them.
“Nellie, we’re here. Keep us updated,” Akamike said through the bug, a voice transmitter device too tiny to be seen as anything but a dot by the eyes, and worn on the ear. He had designed this device in such a way it shrank to smaller undetectable sizes by command, and more visible if desired to be removed after use. Irrespective, he appeared void of concern for the petty talk between his two protégés.
“Well, ‘might as well let you guys know that you’ve got a minute and ten seconds to check that stuff out and return before the police shows up.” Nella, the girl at the other end of the bug said. “Some good Samaritan of a neighbour has already notified them of the bodies.”
Akamike turned to Dike, hands tucked into his pockets. This was why he’d brought him. “You heard her. Quit the chatter and get to work.”
Dike took a squat to the ground and reached over for the dead bodies. He inhaled and let his senses run wild.
“Odynokinesis, my guess. Explains why they couldn’t do a thing as they were torn apart from the inside out. All died from mentally imposed rush of pain, and an eventual brain and nerve implosion. Whoever did this was messing with their brains,” he exhaled. “Their auras are rapidly fading. This roughly is over ten minutes old.”
“How you do that scares the crap out of me.” Vincent shook his head. His eyes filled with awe, faked awe.
“Oh shut up,” Dike drawled, rising to his feet.
“I’m just saying,” Vincent enounced nonchalantly, shrugging. ” Your powers of perception are frightening.”
“And you think jumping in and through space is less weird?” Dike threw in a scoff, shook his head.
“Way cooler if you just call it teleportation or better yet, Spatio-Chronokinesis, yes. Less weirder, also yes.” Vincent was sniggering.
“Daemon was here,” Akamike watched the room. Seemingly disturbed and letting the sense of that surface in his voice.
“One moment he’s all dangerous and proactive, the next moment he’s nowhere to be found. What is wrong with that guy and his band of deplorables anyway?” Vincent suspired, looking over the ceiling and shaking his head.
“He’d never attack people for no reason. If he was here, it’s either for information or an Abnormal,” Vincent said, stating the obvious.
“I think this solves the ‘what’ puzzle.” Dike pointed at the portrait hung on the wall, a family portrait. “Notice anything odd?”
Four people sat for the picture in the portrait. Four seemingly happy and cheerful looking people which made up this family. The older boy looked a lot like the woman, and the little girl who looked something across the age of ten looked more like the father. Akamike sighed, not at all surprised at the deductions birthed by his mind. “The little girl’s missing. That’s the Abnormal. What he came for.”
“Great. That’s the second this month. Wonder why he’s suddenly amassing recruits all over again, after what’s been almost a decade,” Dike said. He tried not to even solve his own puzzle.
“What if he’s trying to build an army or something?” Vincent thought out. “I mean last month alone he took two new abnormals.”
“The whys don’t matter,” Akamike said. He walked into the next room, followed by the others. “The consequence of letting him do it is what should keep us all awake at night.”
“Actually,” Vincent shook his head in apparent but humble disagreement, “The whys do matter. We need to build our own strength and group size. And the only way to do that is to recruit Abnormals too, new and old. Why you do not want to recruit any is what I don’t understand. There are just nine of us, to which just Aeon and N’ael are the only super battle trained ones. This guy on the other hand has dozens. All above average.”
“Wait, did you skip Little Pete and the old men on intent?” Dike said.
Vincent nodded, “As a matter of fact I did.”
“What my foundation, The Castle, and principles stand for is hope. Giving hope to those abnormals who need it. I want to help change humanity for good. But to fix the outside, you need to first fix your home. And that is why places like The Oasis exists. To—”
“Send lost and weak abnormals back to places where they could feel more independent and learn to protect themselves, without losing an ounce of their basic abnormal rights,” Vincent drawled, taking the words out of Akamike’s mouth. And the expression on his face implied it was boring. “You’ve said that like a thousand times. Still doesn’t make it sound any more sensible than the idea of actually making a league out of us.”
“I don’t say it often because it doesn’t come off often from him but right now, Akamike , you got to admit he does have a point,” Dike said.
“Though you’ve completely insulted me, thanks for concurring.” Vincent threw a thumb at Dike.
Akamike turned away from them, headed towards the rooms for quick overview. They both dawdled behind him. “He does have a point. He just has failed to understand mine.” Akamike shook his head. “Look around you. Different groups are springing out. With different views and ideologies on how they want the world to be. Each amassing followers, yet not at all for the general purpose of making this filth of a globe a better place. Even Daemon, is recruiting for reasons still unknown. That is, if what happens when one decides to do what you two are suggesting I do. It’s inevitable. Besides, you all are family, not recruits. Never will be.”
“You know one annoying thing I hate about you?” Vincent mumbled annoyingly, albeit playfully, squeezing his face and looking straight and annoyingly at Akamike . “You make a lot of sense even when you shouldn’t.”
“You do know that in itself is a compliment, right?” Akamike smiled, though the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“From me it isn’t,” Vincent snorted, shaking his head.
“Are you guys done talking? Because the MOAC says the odds are against you now,” Nellie cut them off their chatter.
The entrance door squeaked, and following it were subtle but audible footsteps. Akamike turned to the others. Vincent raised his shoulders in indifference. Apparently the police had arrived.
“Alright, jumper boy, do your thing,” Dike said to Vincent, with a bit of a smug seated up his face. He walked up close to he and Akamike.
Rubbing palms together, a smirk up his face, Vincent huffed. “Of course, It’s—” he held both colleagues as everything turned into a gust of dark reddish hue, with the smoky hue vanishing a second later as they got back at the old Castle, their home and their base, “—my thing.”
“Welcome back home, you three.” Nella had a wide smile up her face. She twirled her hovering seat around to face the three, backing the four large floating holographic screens, all a single display interface called the MOAC’s Mirror. Her skin gleamed light caramel, lips thin and brown. The boys would usually tease her, that for a nineteen her old, she was dead gorgeous and didn’t need her technopathic abnormalities to win any fight, her looks already did all those, a flattery she didn’t believe but flushed to. On her ear was the MOAC, the device which made her one of the most powerful and nigh-omnipresent Abnormals in the building, and the city at large.
She was weak and had just woken from what seemed like a daylong sleep. She was sad and for a moment could not tell why she desired to cry. Just for a second though, because after that, the memories emerged in flashes. They hurt. She felt thorn, broken, scared. She sniffed, sitting up and rested her back against the cold walls of the small, silent and empty room.
The room had no windows, everywhere was nothing but a heap of overwhelming blackness. Yet it felt warm, and she felt she was somehow being watched, by something she could not even conceive. The tears couldn’t stop coming up as much as the last memories she could remember of home. With both eyes she had witnessed the demise of her father, mother and brother.
The door slid open, without manual creaky sounds. She looked up and across the gloomy room. At the door stood two people, same height, same physique, same stance, staring at her in the same way. Even in the dark, she could feel not nothing but the stare. They made no move, just stood at the door, staring.
“I can smell fear all over you, sweetheart. But you don’t need to be afraid,” a feminine voice from beyond the entrance of the room said. From it a female figure emerged. The lights came on and the walls of the room brightened with a white colour, then dropped to nothing but a faint dim. The woman looked like one in her twenties, on a black suite which hung tight to her skin. She had a smile on her face, and her eyes were as beautiful as a cat’s, yet nothing about it made her appear vaguely friendly.
“Who are you?” She began to cry. She could recall seeing this person at her home, when they had barged in. This was the one who knocked her out.
“My name is Kosi. People however prefer to call me Venom.”
“Where am I? Where’s my dad?”
“Your parents? They have gone to a far, far away place. Doesn’t matter anyway,” she said, before squatting next to the little girl. She grinned. Her face partly encased by the darkness that was in the room. “What matters right now is what my friends and I have in store for you. Such great things, I promise.”
“She is right, my dear. I am here to do something special for you. Something no one has ever done. Something you’d forever thank me for.” A voice echoed through the room. Out from a side out of the darkness came another figure, quickly taking shape of a man as he was exposed to the faint light. The little girl could swear he never walked in through the door. But there he was. Though faintly visible through the room’s darkness, she could see the colour of his eyes, blood red. He had a long jacket on, and as scary as he sounded, something about him was likable. She felt a sudden sense of safety and calm. For a moment her pain seemed distant. He looked friendly. A lot more friendlier than the lady squatted next to her.
“What do you want from me? Where are my parents?” She cried out again, not out of fear but sadness.
“I believe you’ve been having nightmares for the past few days or so, right? Constant headaches, difficulty reading through books?” the man asked, walking up closer. He squatted before the girl as the lady, Venom, arose and moved away from them both.
The little girl’s eyes lit wide in shock. How could he have known all those? For the past few days she had been having dreams she couldn’t make sense of, yet they terrified her; dreams of windstorms and her being swallowed by it. Her constant headaches were much that she stopped going to school for a couple of days. Also was her difficulty reading words in books or billboards containing words. It was like the man before her was inside her very mind.
“Those, my dearest, are signs of great things to come: gifts beyond the imaginations of anyone beneath us. Something I want to help you nurture and perfect,” he smiled then said “Tell me, what is your name?”
“Yenrowo Ujo,” she said, almost immediately, sniffing, a lot calmer than earlier. “Who are you?”
Letting out a low huff, he raised his shoulders. “I go by many names. I am Ajii. But many take fondness in calling me Daemon.”