Echoes of Power
Parts 51 – 55
The dark-skinned young woman had to call out to them to get their attention.
“Hey! You two imbeciles!” Exclaimed Rebecca with a frown. “We’re waiting on you two boys so are you going to choose or what?!”
“Uh…” Was all Michael replied.
He and Bryan looked at each other and shrugged.
“Well, in the meantime, I’m sure you won’t mind going to order our drinks will you?” She looked at the others for their approval and the whole both nodded at once, most of them with a large mocking smile.
Even Alexandre found it to be too much fun to defend his friend when he saw the pleading look the dark-haired teen shot him.
“But Beckie…” Bryan then began to whine.
Somehow, despite his easiness to socialize and make new friends, the dark-haired teenager hated having to go talk to people, especially when it wasn’t on his own accord. He didn’t manage to add another word as Rebecca interrupted both of them.
“Either you two go order for us or you pay the bill.” She simply stated.
The threat proved to be efficient as both of them scrambled to their feet and rushed to the bar, not wanting to pay for the others.
“Are you sure they will remember what we want?” Asked Eloïse, turning to Rebecca with a slightly doubtful look.
“We’ll see…” The tan young woman shrugged, then a small smirk spread on her lips. “If they don’t they’ll pay for us…”
The brown-haired girl shrugged at the answer, unconvinced. Alexandre, however, was pretty sure his friend would come back with each of their orders, despite his attitude his best friend was always very attentive to his environment. It was almost scary sometimes. And indeed, a few minutes later, the two young men came back, laughing loudly and with two platters with everyone’s order. Alexandre smirked slightly as he saw Rebecca’s surprised look as she realized that they hadn’t made a mistake, she shot a suspicious look at the dark-haired teen, to which he replied with a large smile and a wink.
“Here miss Cruz, a cocktail for you.” He said with exaggerated politeness as he placed her drink on the table in front of her.
She huffed and simply took her glass, sipping the content through the straw and completely ignoring the amused look Bryan was giving her. The discussion, which had been mostly small talk, then shifted to the classes they had already had and which one each of them preferred. As they kept talking small discussion groups formed and Alexandre managed to learn more about the reason Karl, Misha’s brother, had missed the first few school days. He had been bedridden from the Sunday evening to the Tuesday morning due to a serious bellyache, the young man told him he almost had to go to the hospital, it had been quite a scare. Fortunately things had gotten better after Tuesday and he had been able to come back to school.
Alexandre also talked with Caroline who was apparently a huge fan of mangas too, she had also begun reading Soul King, though not long ago as she was already focused on a few other series, but she was very excited by the prospect of story. Eloïse and Misha soon joined them in the conversation to give their points of view on the story and the different series they had also read. The light-haired teenager noticed Misha had very different tastes from his brother, where Karl preferred TV series and mangas, his brother was more passionate about novels, especially science fiction.
Caroline and Eloïse also seemed to have diverging tastes despite being very close friends since pre-school, the light-haired girl enjoyed action movies whereas her auburn counterpart preferred indie flicks and foreign author movies. She also didn’t especially enjoy reading manga or watching japanese anime despite being a huge fan of oriental and asian culture.
“You wouldn’t even imagine the time she could spend talking about Japan or China, sometimes I have to shut her up when it gets too annoying…” Explained Eloïse, laughing as her best friend’s face became completely red.
They kept talking long after the couple of the group decided it was time to take their leave, after wishing a good evening to everyone Carlos and Evangeline walked out of the café hand in hand, earning a loud teasing whistle from Micheal. The teenager only laughed louder when he saw the synchronized middle finger they both gave him without looking back.
Alexandre, Misha en the two girls kept talking about their favorite movie of the moment until the main group’s discussion piqued their interest as Karl asked about the year’s school events. As a longtime member of the student council Rebecca was the first one to explain what projects they had already set up and what they had in mind for later. The latino teen had always been a bit bossy, as long as Alexandre could remember, and despite the fact that it took some time to get used to, she was someone to count in one’s friends.
That not only because she was genuinely friendly but also because she knew everyone and everything there was to know about social life. If one needed answers or help with something, they could go to her and be almost sure to come back with what they wanted, for a price of course.
“Information and favors are not free…” She loved to repeat with a huge smile that she tried to make as innocent as possible when someone asked her a favor.
The teenagers talked about that for the rest of the time, which ended up being much longer than what Alexandre had imagined at first for them to have a single drink. They were having so much fun they didn’t even pay attention to time and by the time they finally walked out of the café the sun was already starting to set behind the horizon.
Alexandre and Bryan had separated a block away from the café a bit more than two hours after they had left school, the dark-haired teen had to get back early for a massage session for his shoulder while Alexandre decided to take the long way back, making a detour by the park. He took out his phone and put on his headphones as he walked through the tall arch symbolizing the entry of the green area where many trees, plants and flowers grew and prospered under the careful care of city employees. The teenager decided to walk around, following the silent paths that led between the vegetation and taking in the restful silence around him.
He remembered coming there often with his parents when he was younger, playing with momentary friends around the playgrounds. He always had had so much fun, he could still remembered laughing out loud for hours as he was running around. As he passed under a tall tree he suddenly looked to his right, trying to spot the source of the movement he thought he had seen, but there was nothing, only the soft rustling of the wind on the leaves. It happened to him from time to time, he would pick up something from the corner of his eye, a subtle movement and yet when he looked there was nothing.
Usually it was a leaf or a shadow that had moved but sometimes he really couldn’t say what he thought he had seen. Lately he felt as if someone had been watching him, as if there were eyes on him sometimes. He knew that was just his imagination playing with him but still, since he had discovered his power he couldn’t help it, it made him nervous and he was more tense than usual. I will not let that stupid thing make me paranoid! He thought as he willed himself to relax, letting go a breath he didn’t know he had been holding.
The brown-haired teenager kept walking, listening to his favorite songs as he observed the small animals and the insects that lived all around. He let his thoughts roam free in his mind, reflecting on anything that he could think about at the exception of the strange ability he had, he didn’t want to think about that now. he had been obsessing over it during the last few days and he knew he had to clear his mind a bit. He kept walking, passing by the south entrance of the park and continuing towards the east, his pace deliberately slow and calm.
Once he passed through the eastern arch and left the park, Alexandre headed towards the residential district instead of the commercial center, preferring to take the longer route as it was less crowded and far less noisy. Plus the teenager still wanted to walk, it felt good to do some exercise outside after all those evenings holed up inside to test his strange newfound abilities. Not only on a physical level but on a psychological one too, it felt nice to be able to completely clear one’s mind, or at least almost completely, he still had trouble refraining himself from thinking at all.
The young man unconsciously decided to go through a small alley between two large apartment buildings, he was so used to walking through this path when going back home that he could let his legs guide him without thinking. He passed through the barriers blocking the way to non residents and found himself on the other side, a few streets aways from his house. He heard a small crashing sound behind him and was surprised, jumping back slightly. Alexandre turned around and saw one of the lids of the trash cans on the side rolling to the ground. He thought about going back to see what could have caused this but decided to keep going instead, it was probably only a rodent looking for food plus nothing else was moving.
Finally after a moment he found himself in the street directly perpendicular to his own, it was another back alley with houses on one side and a high wall on the other, delimiting a newly bought property which was about to be constructed. He was changing the song when he heard some noise once again behind him, he turned around to look behind him but saw nothing, the alley was completely still and silent. Strange, he thought as he motioned to walk away. He was about to start walking again when he noticed a small shadow near one of the plastic containers a few meters away. He couldn’t see what it was from that distance but it could’ve been a cat or any other small animal of the type.
“Hey there!” he exclaimed with a smile before starting to walk away again.
The animal seemed to be occupied, it looked like it was eating out of one of the trash bags. He looked at it again as he took a slow step towards it and saw the animal motion to its paw, he guessed it was licking it clean, before it resumed its search for food. Alexandre chuckled lightly, he knew these wild rodents could often be dangerous, not because they were necessarily aggressive bt because of the diseases they carried with them, but he still found its attitude cute and he wanted to look more closely. It had a surprisingly dark fur which seemed to undulate with the light wind. The teenager understood later that this small detail was probably what had made him tick and what had in fact helped him avoid the worst.
As he got closer to the spot the animal was eating in he noticed more clearly the undulation of its dark fur in the wind. He squinted his eyes and could almost swear it was somewhat like smoke, it seemed to move in one direction for a second and then change to follow another the next second, he blinked and looked again. No, his eyes weren’t betraying him, he wasn’t imagining things, there seemed to be dark smoke, as dark as night, coming out of the body of the creature. No, even darker than that… It seemed to come from the small animal’s paw and evaporate into thin air, almost as if the paw was itself made of smoke!
Alexandre took another tentative step, a strange feeling creeping up in his mind, and stepped to the side to look at the animal to which the paw belonged. He took a quick step back, almost falling as the sight surprised him, a pair of pure white orbs was looking at him as he finally saw its head. The creature looked somewhat like a cat, its body was that of a feline, but the smoke that surrounded it made the sight seem unreal. The teenager thought for a moment that he was hallucinating. But when it moved, slowly getting up on its four legs, he realized he was awake and that his eyes weren’t betraying him.
He couldn’t see any pupils but somehow he knew the two white spheres were following his every move with attention. The creature, because he couldn’t call it anything else at this point, cocked its head to the side, staring at him intently for a couple of seconds more before suddenly disappearing into thin air, leaving only a small trail of black smoke where it had been standing.What the…?! Alexandre took a step back in surprise, he quickly looked around but saw nothing, the thing had instantly and completely disappeared.
He hesitated a short moment before taking another step but forward this time, getting closer to the place the creature had been standing to look for any trace of its presence but he found nothing. The dark smoke had completely evaporated, as if it had never been there and he had imagine the whole scene. He couldn’t have dreamt that however, he was sure to have seen it in front of him just as he was sure to be awake! The teenager had never experienced anything of the sort, simple mirages or sometimes a few auditive hallucinations, like the voice for example, had been the strangest thing he had experienced so far.
“Weird…” He muttered as he stood back up.
What was that thing? He had never seen any animal of the sort before, no living being had eyes like this did they? And the smoke around the body? Or was it the body itself that was made of smoke? No, he definitely hadn’t seen anything like it before… Except perhaps in his wildest dreams… Another person would have perhaps thought he or she had been dreaming or hallucinating but Alexandre was more ready to explore another type of answer. After all he had seen strange things himself, especially during the course of the last weeks with his little experiments on his ability. And not even talking about his best friend.
He knew he should have felt scared or at least a bit shocked but the teenager realized the only thing that he could think up was a pile of questions. What was it? How had it disappeared? Where had it gone? What the hell was that? Well, perhaps he was panicking a little bit. But he managed to remain quite calm, at least calmer than anybody else would have been in his situation, and to think about it logically. If his best friend was half wolf and he could do some kind of magic, why wouldn’t there be other strange things out there? The world is big after all…