Echoes of Power
Parts 31 – 35
When the teenager opened his eyes again he felt a sharp pain in his head and was unable to suppress a groan as he tried to get up. He was lying on the cold ground he realized after a few seconds, his sight was blurry and he felt tears form at the corners of his eyes, the world was spinning all around him. With a heavy breath he once again tried to get up, his arms weak under his weight, but as he managed to get on his knees a searing white light burned its way through his mind and he groaned again as a wave of pain coursed through his body.
The teenager remained like this, breathing heavily and unable to move, his forehead pressed against the cold ground and his elbows keeping him in balance on each side of his body. Slowly he moved again, straightening his back without opening his eyes. He felt the feeling of dizziness slip away as he did so and finally, after standing up, gripping the counter to regain his balance, he opened his eyes. He saw the light of the sun pouring in the room, much weaker than what he remembered, the pans still on the cooktop, fortunately turned off.
Alexandre somehow registered that he had been unconscious for a while and mentally thanked himself for not turning it on, that could have been disastrous, then he saw the spot where the glass should have been on the counter and suddenly remembered. The young man’s head whipped towards the ground where he had last seen it and, indeed, there it was, still in one piece, standing straight on the ground. He took a tentative step towards it, almost as if moving would apply the final force to it and break the glass into pieces, but nothing happened and he bent down, massaging his head with one hand, and grabbed the glass with the other.
What the…? He thought. Did I not imagine it all? Had it been true? Had he really done what he remembered he had? How is it possible…? But despite all his might he couldn’t for the life of him come up with an explanation. He had seen the glass tumble and fall over the edge, he remembered rushing to catch it, feeling as if time had slowed down and- The word! He remembered hearing the voice telling a word to him, him repeating it and then; somehow the glass had landed safely on the ground. He put the glass back on the counter, making sure to place it at the center this time so as not to repeat the same mistake again, and took a step back.
That meant… It was real. The voice was real. That meant he wasn’t crazy. Or did it? Was he crazy for believing he wasn’t crazy when he swore he heard a voice in his head as if someone spoke directly into his brains? He didn’t know. He couldn’t know, all this was so… fucked up, yes, that was the only way he could define this situation after what had just happened. How could it all be true? He thought again, his mind trying to wrap itself around this idea. How could he have done that although everything told him it was impossible?
“I have to try again…” He had said this almost against his will but, as his mind had already realized, it was the only way to be sure, he had to try again and see for himself.
Alexandre looked at the empty glass on the counter, suddenly hesitant. Was it such a good idea?Well, it’s just a glass after all, it’s not that big of a deal… He did check if it wasn’t an important item to either of his parents, he still remembered the last time he had broken something that they liked and he didn’t want to repeat the experience. But it proved to be just a generic piece of furniture which relieved him. He took a deep breath and slowly grabbed it, dragging it towards the edge of the wooden surface. The glass started to tilt as its center of gravity shifted, pulling it down towards the ground.
Then, slowly, it tipped over and fell crashing on the ground and breaking into numerous small pieces. This confirmed the teenager’s thoughts: something had indeed happened; a glass would never reach the ground in one piece after a fall from that height. But how in the world could hehave done something so impossible to believe? And what’s more, just by pronouncing a single word? The teenager couldn’t think of anything from all his knowledge and memories that could remotely explain such a phenomenon. Something incredible had therefore happened a few minutes earlier. That was the only explanation he could come up with at the moment.
Alexandre carefully picked up the sharp transparent shards sprayed on the ground, making sure not to cut himself, before rushing upstairs to get a tennis ball. He wasn’t done with this yet! He had to slow down a bit though as his head was still light and he felt sore all over his body. Once he found what he wanted he rushed back downstairs and started replicating the experience. The tennis ball was a much safer option than the glass, it wouldn’t break which meant it could last longer, and it was less dangerous.
He pushed the ball and watched it roll on the flat surface of the counter before it tipped over and fell to the ground, bouncing back up as it did. His eyes hadn’t left the ball at all but he saw nothing surprising happen this time. Alexandre picked it up and repeated the operation, only this time decided to pronounce the word.
“Nestros!” He exclaimed as the round object tipped over the edge and began falling.
Nothing happened and the ball once again fell to the ground normally. Did I do something wrong?He wondered as he picked it up. He thought back to the exact moment he had seen the glass fall the first time, what had his mind been focused on? What had he been thinking about at that moment? Strangely he only found a blank memory, as if he hadn’t registered anything or they had been erased. Why can’t I remember? He frowned as he formulated the question in his head.
“The only thing I remember…” He muttered, stroking his chin pensively.
Of course! I absolutely did not want it to fall! Is this based off my will power? This was a plausible explanation, he had not only to say the word but also to will the ball not to fall! Wait? What am I thinking? Am I really believing this? He hesitated again, freezing instantly. Am I going crazy for believing in something so extravagant as that? But the answer was obvious to him: he wasn’t crazy, he hadn’t been dreaming, something had really happened… And he wanted to find out what!
Alexandre placed the ball back on the counter, determined to try again. He gave it a little push this time before taking a step back and focusing his gaze on the small and spherical object. The teenager especially focused on the fact that the ball was going to fall and that he wanted not to. I don’t want it to fall down, I don’t want it to fall down… He repeated this sentence in his head a few times, like a mantra, without letting the ball out of his sight, as he tried to concentrate. Slowly the round object got closer to the edge and after what seemed like a long time it finally reached the edge and almost stopped before tumbling over.
“Nestros!” He exclaimed as soon as the bouncing ball had left the counter.
Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall! He repeated in his head, but to no avail. He saw the object getting inexorably closer to the ground before it finally bounced on it and rolled to the left on a few feet. The light-haired young man took the ball in his hand for the third time before placing it on the counter once more. He repeated the process once more but nothing changed, if anything the ball had seemed to fall down faster than before. Two more times he tried stopping it before it touched the ground, each time letting out a frustrated sigh as he caught it after it bounced on the ground.
He had tried to visualize the trajectory in his mind as clearly as he could, to imagine how the ball would slow down so much it would seem it had stopped in mid-air. Unfortunately his focus did not pay off at all and he found himself gazing down at the spherical object and doubting his own sanity. But I could swear I didn’t dream…!
“If it really did happen then why can’t I do it again?”
Suddenly doubt grabbed at him once more: if it had really happened, had he even been the one to make this miracle happen? After all, someone (or something) else could have very easily done something. But why? What was the point of such an act? He couldn’t find an answer no matter how hard he thought about it. That’s when he realized something else: he had been, and still was a bit, exhausted. If he hadn’t done anything, what could explain his exhaustion? No, he was fairly sure he had in fact been at the origin of the strange event.
That’s when a second realization dawned on him. Of course! He thought as he clapped his hand together in excitement. He could remember his determination to not let the glass fall the first time, had it been the catalyst to the reaction? Did he need to be absolutely focused on what he wanted to do to make it happen? If he had learned anything by reading fantasy novels and playing video games, it was that focus was always needed to cast spells. Does it mean I’m some sort of wizard?
No! He couldn’t allow himself any delusions before he had confirmed the incident with the glass wasn’t just a coincidence. He had to be sure first and not let haste cloud his judgement. But he had seen strange things so to him it was a possibility. Sort of…
The image of the small body slowly growing, transforming itself into a large beast with fur as black as night appeared in his mind and he couldn’t help but let a shiver run through his body. No, he wasn’t crazy, something had happened. But what more can I do? He didn’t know what else he could do than to try to focus as best as he could on the object and what he wanted it to do. Focus was an easy concept to understand but a much harder state to reach. Bryan would be so much better at this… Alexandre sighed as he imagined his friend as he had seen him once: completely calm and unmoving, his eyes closed and his hands joined together as he sat on the floor, his back straight.
The light-haired teen had once been able to witness part of his friend’s martial arts training and he had been impressed if not fascinated by the level of concentration his best friend was able to put in such an exercise. Alexandre knew that he would never be able to do anything similar, even in a million years, so instead he decided to do the next best thing: trying to genuinely reproduce he earlier state of mind. The simplest way to do that was obvious, he simply had to use something much more valuable and fragile than that little ball. He had to genuinely want not to break the object with all his heart, or rather, his mind in this case.
The food was cooking steadily as he took out another glass from the cupboard and placed it on the counter. Damn it, I hope I know what I’m doing… He shook his head in disbelief at his own actions. The glass wasn’t precious, it was the exact replica of the first one he had broken, but he knew he did NOT want to break a second one enough to succeed if ever he was right. Or at least he thought so… Damn it! Please be right, please be right! The teenager implored himself, his face contorted into a wince. If Bryan had been there he would’ve surely laughed his ass off at the sight.
The thought, coming out of seemingly nowhere, helped his calm down a little. Alexandre took a deep breath and, ever so slowly, he pushed the transparent container towards the edge of the counter, his hand shaking slightly as he did. Don’t fall. Don’t fall. He started repeating the words like a mantra once more, over and over as he saw the glass slowly tip over and start to fall towards the ground. And an unescapable doom… No! Shut up, you can do this! Don’t fall! You are not crazy! Oh god don’t fall please!
The teenager’s face was now distorted into a grimace as he feared the worst was about to happen but at the same time wished for his intuition to be right. He had to be right!
“Nestros!” He heard himself yell, throwing his arms forward in an effort to canalized whatever was about to happen towards the glass.
The world seemed to slow down, the glass had started a spin and had already reached half the distance to the ground. Come on! He thought, yelling in his head for the event to happen again. The glass was reaching the three-quarters of its fall. Alexandre was about to surrender to his despair and to admit what a fool he had been when he felt it.
A warm feeling spread throughout his whole body, starting in his chest and slowly expanding towards his arms and his legs before finally reaching his extremities. Alexandre saw himself rise his left hand and thought he saw something shine brightly for a second before he noticed the glass slowing its fall towards the ground and landing on the hard and cold tilling, upright and completely unharmed. His eyes had followed it all along its descent and they remained fixed on it after it had stopped moving.
Another eternity seemed to pass with him standing there, staring into nothingness, his gaze seemed to pass directly through the glass and to look at something far beyond, before the teenager started breathing again and finally registered what had happened. His gaze focused on the small transparent container standing on the ground, still in one piece. He looked at it for a long moment before extending his arm again to try to grab it. A sudden weakness caught him off guard unfortunately.
His sight blurred and he felt all strength leave his legs. The teenager fell forward and only managed to break his fall at the last moment, barely putting his arms up as he touched the ground. He thanked his quick reflex as he looked at the ground, barely a few inches from his face. He was unable to move and struggling to catch his breath. A few long seconds, or minutes, he was unable to tell, passed before he felt as if he was coming back to his own body. His strength came back sufficiently for him to turn his head and look at the glass.
Intact. It was intact. It had… it had worked! He let out a small chuckle at the sight and let a small smile spread on his lips before falling to the side. Alexandre remained like this, unmoving, his chest heaving as took in heavy breaths and his eyes still glazed. He felt as if he was about to throw up, a sour taste in his mouth, but fortunately the urge passed quickly, giving him back his sight as it left his body.
When he finally managed to get back up in a sitting position he didn’t know how much time had passed. His whole body was aching, all his muscles were sore and his mind was still a bit hazy.What the fuck happened? He managed to formulate the thought as he turned towards the empty glass on the ground once more.
“I did it…” He whispered with a small chuckle as he grabbed for the glass to confirm it was still in one piece.
I did it… A deep sigh escaped from his lips, a laugh following not long after. He then tried to get back up, a sharp headache made him winced as he slowly got to his feet.
“Damn it…” He cursed, massaging his temples as taking in deep breaths to try to diminish the pain. “That seriously hurts…”
He poured water into the glass he was still holding and slowly drank the clear liquid. The fact that it was fresh helped ease the pain a little and clear his mind from the dizziness.