EoP – Part 80

Echoes of Power

Part 80

The two teenagers were joined a bit later by the rest of the group which either had gone to a nearby café to get something warm to drink, that had been mostly on Rebecca’s demand, or still had some classes depending on the different classes they had chosen that year. The sun was almost at its peak when Carlos finally was able to join them, to Angeline’s great pleasure. It was then decided of common accord that they would eat their lunch outside because of the great weather that seemed to not want to leave the sky.

“Seems like we’re still in summer huh!” Bryan said to nobody in particular at one point.

Rebecca and Michael, who somehow seemed to have heard that, turned towards him with deadly stares.

“Don’t jinx it you idiot” Exclaimed Rebecca with a scowl. “I’m not ready for autumn to come back!”

“Yeah, me neither…” Agreed Micheal with a grimace.

“Geez! Don’t be so aggressive guys!” Bryan replied with a small smirk as he raised his right arm defensively.

Rebecca huffed and whipped her head to the other side, which made both Michael and Bryan chuckle before the long black-haired teen turned away too, leaving the tanned teen to smile by himself.

“So, how’s your arm?” Asked Alexandre as they cleaned up their spot before going back to class.

“Well, it still hurts a bit, but a lot less than last week. Now I just have to wait a week or so for my shoulder to heal enough to use it again.” Replied Bryan as he flexed his left arm, which was still encased in the white fabric cast, a little. “I have to admit, these are the most annoying weeks of my life, I can’t even practise a little…”

“Oh man, I’m so sorry for you… It must indeed be sooo hard not to be able to spend all your time getting beaten half to death…” Replied Alexandre with a large smirk as he walked besides his best friend.

“Yes, I pity you too…” Added Rebecca as she passed by them to join Eloïse and Caroline at the front of the group.

“Haha. Very funny you two.” Commented Bryan with a faux unnerved look as he rolled his eyes. “You can’t understand the beauty of it, you heretics!” He added, unable to resist a small smirk.

Alexandre had always been fascinated by his friend’s desire to train his martial arts, and that from a very young age. Not that he found it stupid or anything of the sort, the light-haired teenager just didn’t see the use in repeating techniques over and over, tirelessly and pushing oneself to the limit to master something that would probably never come to actual use in real life. It was quite ironic because he himself spent a lot of time, perhaps too much, on Defend the Ruins even if, technically it wouldn’t be of any use later.

But Alexandre was aware of this paradox and he had realised it wasn’t so much the apparent uselessness of the exercise that repulsed him, but more likely the fact that martial arts didn’t appeal to him at all and that spending so much time practising them would impede his gaming time. It was a completely self-centered way to think he had realized over time. However, despite all this, the light-haired teen had always been keen to go watch and support his friend when he participated in competitions, it was somehow very exhilarating.

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EoP – Part 79

Echoes of Power

Part 79

Apparently, Bryan had hit bullseye by advising him to play the historical card, the blonde girl had admitted, afterwards, that she was somewhat of a history nerd. She had been fascinated by old monuments and ancient stories and peoples since her youngest age. Fortunately, the light-haired teenager had some knowledge of his own to share and to discuss with her, he could thank his own historical fanatic of a mother for that. Alexandre remembered she used to bring him to visit monuments almost every week-end since he had been able to walk, sometimes with his father when he had been able to find some free time. Over the years they had managed to visit almost every castle, abbey and other ancient structures in the region and beyond. At least twice…! The teenager had never really found any use to this knowledge which, to him, was sort of unwanted, until that day.

“Well, who would’ve thought that it would be useful one day!” Scoffed the tanned teen.

“Yeah, what a surprise…” Nodded Alexandre with a smirk.

“So, how did the rest go?” Then asked Bryan.

Truthfully, Alexandre thought things had gone quite well over all. They had stopped at the park around one o’clock, after around two hours and a half of walking around and visiting, for a welcomed lunch break. Packing up a variety of food had been a good idea -the light-haired teen had to praise his best friend for that- as, as he had realized at that moment, the blonde girl wasn’t very difficult on food but she had a few peculiar tastes.

“Apparently she loved the sushi and fish food but she didn’t touch the fruit salad nor the lemon cakes.” He explained.

She did look like she enjoyed the chocolate muffins though, she ate almost all of them… He added silently with a discreet smirk. And the face she had made when he had offered some carrot sticks with sauce… He wasn’t about to tell anyone about that, not even his best friend.

“Yeah, bringing a bit of everything was a good idea. In the end we ate almost everything.” Alexandre added, his smirk spreading into a smile.

“Then we spent the rest of the afternoon talking and walking along the hills, it was really cool. Chloe is really… yeah, cool…” He added after a short pause.

Alexandre had trouble finding the words to describe her, she had been as interesting to listen to as she had been interested in what he had been saying. Even after his horrible jokes to which she at least had had the decency to laugh to.

“So, you like her?” Finally asked Bryan, smirking, after Alexandre had finished telling him about their excursion to the lake a few kilometers to the north.

The light-haired teen looked at him for a moment before focusing on the shadows in front on them.

“I…” He began, a bit hesitant. “Yeah, I think so. I don’t know if I could say that I love her yet but, yeah, I really like her. She’s sweet and fun and intelligent-”

“And cute and sexy.” Bryan interrupted him with a mocking grin.

“Hey!” Exclaimed Alexandre with a scowl as he punched his friend lightly on the shoulder. “But yeah, she is kind of beautiful…” He added with a chuckle.

“Well good for you Alex.” Replied Bryan with a smile.

After all, some time had passed since then and seeing his best friend finally starting to move on a little made him glad.

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EoP – Part 75

Echoes of Power

Part 75

That could be a pain sometimes, Alexandre missed spending time with his remaining parent, the other being hundreds of miles away all year round. But it had its perks which he wouldn’t give up for anything in the world. Like having the house to himself a lot and not being kept an eye on as often. Of course, lately it helped him greatly when he wanted to try his ability. It had perhaps also put him in grave danger a couple fo days before but he had made it alive and almost unharmed hadn’t he?

“And,” Resumed Bryan with a dark smile that almost sent a shiver to his friend. “and two, I will forever make fun of you for it. Plus she seems like a nice girl, just make an effort for once!”

“Yeah, I know Bryan, she is really cool. I swear I’ll be on my best behavior!”

“Yeah, you better!” Bryan paused for a moment as he looked towards the skate park where a few teenagers were practising their moves. “So, just an afternoon in the park? That’s not so bad, all things considered, but didn’t you think of anything more interesting?”

“Like what?” Asked Alexandre. “You want me to take her to the movies now?”

“No. That’s not what I meant. But why not, for example, invite her for a picnic in the park instead of just spending time doing nothing? At least you’ll surprise her a little, she’d love that I’m sure.”

For once Alexandre took his friend’s advice seriously, a picnic seemed like a good idea. He had thought of it of course but too briefly to really consider it.

“It could work.” He agreed with a nod.

“It will work. Alex, she agreed to go to the park a whole afternoon with you! If this doesn’t mean she is giving you a chance, I’ve got it all wrong about women since the beginning!” Exclaimed Bryan with a smirk.

“Okay, a picnic it is then.” Decided the light-haired teen.

“Awesome. Now, not to be annoying, but a few pointers: one, call her to tell her that there’s a change of plans.  Tell her to come meet you earlier but, two, don’t tell her what you’ve got in mind. She’ll like the surprise. And third, make sure to prepare things you are sure she will like, don’t be the guy who brings a meatball gun to a vegan fight. The safest way is asian food I’d say, or something with a bit of everything, just in case she has major distaste.” Explained Bryan, his face completely serious.

“Wow, let me write all this down sensei. Your teachings are so enlightening!” Replied Alexandre with a smirk.

The dark-haired teen had been looking away but he turned towards his friend at this remark and noticed the mocking smile he had on his face.

“Tss, I’m just trying to help you man. You don’t want to lose any chance you have with her do you?” He exclaimed with a scoff.

“No. But I don’t plan to ‘score’, as you might say yourself, Mr Stinson. I just want to spend a good time with her.” Alexandre noticed his best friend rolling his eyes in an exaggerated way at his comment and his smirk widened.

“That is, for once, not what I meant. I just want to help you do things right… When are you two seeing each others anyway?” He then asked.

“Uh, next saturday.” Replied the light-haired teen.

“Well you’ve got work to do then!” Said Bryan as he clapped in his hands before standing up.

“Yup!” Nodded Alexandre with a smile. “So, wanna play?” He asked as he grabbed the basketball he had brought with him.

Edit (15/11/2015): I changed the date of the ‘date’ from “tomorrow” to the “next week end” because of a plot incoherence that has been bugging me since last week.

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EoP – Part 64

Echoes of Power

Part 64

The teenager sighed and straightened his head back up, resting it against the hard tiling behind him. He closed his eyes, letting his painful and tired body relax under the warmth of the water. Had he dreamt it all? No, impossible. I have the scars to prove it. But how is it possible that my wounds have healed so much in such a short time? I’m sure that thing got me quite badly… It should still be wide open or at least bleeding… He slowly passed his fingers on the soft pinkish skin. How can I have already healed that much? No logical answer came to him to solve this mystery. But, considering all that had happened to him in the last few hours, not much of this was in fact logical…

Suddenly he remembered the blinding light he thought he had seen right before going unconscious and the ashes he had noticed as he was getting out of the alley. His memory of the incident wasn’t very clear but he was almost sure the voice had made an appearance just before he had lost consciousness and that it had a role to play in this. Had he been the origin of the flash of light? And where had the creature gone? Had it been reduced to ashes? Hence the dark trace he had seen? He couldn’t say.

The only thing he was sure of was that his body was sore and hurting all over, a bit like when he used his ‘gift’, but that he was somehow in one piece. Where he had expected a few broken bones and a huge gash in his side he only had fresh scars. Plus shouldn’t he have died after being strangled like that and losing so much blood? It seemed like some magical hand had somehow deviated the sword that had been hanging over his head at the time and had protected him. Magical… The word echoed in his mind as he thought it. Was it all connected somehow? The voice, his power, the creature? He was almost sure it was but he couldn’t explain how or why.

None of this was normal, none of it was logical and Alexandre was completely lost, it infuriated him not to not be able to find a clear and logical answer to it all. He felt as if he was younger again and he had to deal with what he had seen that evening all over again. Was he supposed to tell Bryan about this? He had almost lost his life, or at least he believed he had, so it wasn’t something to take lightly. And his best friend would surely have answers to his questions. But also more questions… How would the dark-haired teen react? Alexandre didn’t know. He closed his eyes, letting his body relax under the agreeable feeling of the warm water against his skin.

They had been best friend for years now and something like that wasn’t to take lightly. It could potentially destroy their friendship… On the other hand he had come out of it unscathed, almost, so was it really necessary to tell anyone? Yes, it was. But the real question was did he want to tell anyone? No. Not for anything in the world did he want to burden his father or Bryan with he knowledge he had almost died and that he was experimenting with things he didn’t understand. No, he made his decision, he wouldn’t tell them. At least not yet. After a while perhaps, but not yet. He had to think about all this first and try to find answers, he had to understand.

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EoP – Parts 51 – 55

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…

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EoP – Parts 46 – 50

Echoes of Power

Parts 46 – 50

As the bell rang the end of the first half of the day the light-haired young man felt that the day was one of the longest in his life; he had to endure the long class hours without the presence of his best friend. Bryan had sent him a message a few hours before to warn him that he wouldn’t be able to come to school, at least not in the morning, because he had hurt himself the previous day during training and he didn’t feel well enough. Alexandre turned his phone back on as soon as he had left the classroom and sent a message to the dark-haired teenager.

“Well I survived the morning, I hope you’ll be well enough to come this afternoon! But don’t pressure yourself, rest if you need. Is it painful?”

His best friend hadn’t given him all the details but apparently he had hurt his arm and had almost broken a bone, he had been lucky to manage to break his fall. Alexandre knew that his training at the dojo was sometimes intense and that he had already hurt himself quite badly, but that had become rare recently, Bryan had grown into a fine martial artist and he could handle himself quite well. He must have tried to go against much stronger than him as always… Thought Alexandre with a smirk as he walked towards the cafeteria.

He waited for the tan teenager’s reply as he quickly ate and rushed to the library to read a bit before the beginning of classes. He was reading through a book about astronomy when he realized the bell wouldn’t be long to ring again to signal the beginning of afternoon classes. The teenager noticed the pleasant surprise that was awaiting him in his inbox when he checked the time on his phone, Bryan was telling him he would be arriving to the school in a few minutes. This made him smile. Awesome!

And indeed, a few minutes later, as he had already been waiting in front of the classroom he saw his best friend walking towards him. The dark-haired teen had his arm in a sling and a large gash was running across the right side of his face, starting just under his eye and ending just under his lower lip. It was bright red and seemed to have been bleeding until recently. Bryan smiled as he saw his best friend and quickened his step. Alexandre was thankful for them being alone for the moment as he let a concerned look spread on his face.

“Hey!” Exclaimed Bryan as he was a few steps away.

“Hey! Wow! That doesn’t look good! Are you okay man?” He asked as saluted his best friend.

“Uh, yeah, quite painful.” Nodded Bryan. “The arm is okay” He wriggled it a bit as he said that. “Just a sprain, I forced too much against stronger than me…”

“Knew it!” Chuckled Alexandre as he realized he had been right. “You’re always too stubborn, never backing away from a challenge…”

“Yeah…” Agreed the dark-haired teen with a sigh. “I should’ve seen it coming with all these years of training but no, I had to keep trying… Anyways! I also got this beautiful thing when I fell badly from straining my arm and I have to admit it hurts quite a bit. I think I’ll have a large scar when it heals…”

“Uh, yeah, that is to be expected…” Nodded Alexandre. “But it’ll make you more manly eh!” He added with a mocking smile.

“Tch! Whatever!” Replied Bryan, smiling too.

“Well at least I’m happy to see you’re not too beaten up and that you’re okay overall…” Said the light-haired teenager.

“Aw, you were worried about me…” Cooed the dark-haired teen with a smirk. “How sweet!”

“You know, if you hadn’t your arm in a sling I would’ve hit you… Speaking of! What exactly happened to your arm and your face?”

“Well, it’s a bit stupid actually…” Commented the dark-haired teen with a chuckle. “As I told you I was being stupid and tried to force my way out of a lock, but my opponent was much stronger than me and I somehow managed to dislocate my shoulder and to overstretch the ligaments. It’s painful and a bit incapacitating but it’s nothing too serious.. Here, I can move my arm and write almost normally!” He explained as he took his arm out of the sling and moved it around a little.

“Yeah, well don’t hurt yourself even more trying to prove to me that you’re alright.” Smirked Alexandre. “And your face?” He then asked.

“Even more stupid. When my partner realized I was struggling too much he undid the lock, letting me go down. But I somehow managed to stumble and fell badly on the hard floor, I hit the corner of a shelf nearby and almost split my head in two… Luckily, and for once I’m proud to say it, I’m quite hardheaded and I missed my eye. Not by much but it didn’t get hurt. So, yeah, I may look bad but I could’ve been much worse…”

“Wow, talk about luck…” Replied the light-haired teen with a whistle. “Well I hope you get better soon.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about that, I’ll be fine!” Exclaimed Bryan with a large smile. “I just have to be careful not to strain my arm too much, that’s all.”

“Okay.” Nodded Alexandre, returning his friend’s smile. “So, did you have time to read Soul King with all that?” He added, changing the subject.

“Wait, you’re kidding right? As if I’d last any longer before devouring it! I finished it by friday night! How do you want me not to read it with how the story is progressing?!” Asked the dark-haired teen with passion in his voice.

Alexandre felt the same, he hadn’t really enjoyed the story at first, he had felt it was too normal and light-hearted for its genre. Over time though, he had become more and more interested and passionate about it as the plot had thickened and the storyline had become infinitely more interesting. He hadn’t been able to stop reading it since and he knew Bryan was the same.

“I know. I’ve had the same problem. I managed to last until yesterday morning though, reading it little by little.” He explained with a smile.

“Impressive.” Commented Bryan with a small impressed whistle. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait for the next one much longer though, I need to know what happens after that end man!” He added with an excited voice.

“Same here. The author is evil to have done such a thing… It’s inhuman…” Agreed the young man with short brown hair.

They talked about it for a few minutes before the bell rang again. By that time the other students had already started to arrive and a large crowd was waiting in front of the class room when the teacher finally arrived. Bryan had been forced to explain his story in brief details a few times before everyone finally was up to date, most of the other teenagers were shocked and fascinated by his injuries, especially the ones of the opposite sex. Alexandre noticed a few girls eyes his best friend as if they saw him in a whole new light, they seemed… more than appreciative.

Damn! The attention he’s going to get with that… He chuckled inwardly. And let’s not think about when it’ll be a nicely healed scar…

They tried to keep discussing about the manga during math but even if they were sitting in nearby seats it proved to be much more difficult than what they had imagined at first and they didn’t manage to get much further. Even though, Alexandre felt time pass faster that afternoon and felt it had almost gone in the blink of an eye as Bryan and him seperated on their way home, he still had so much to talk about. They had both walked all the way from school as Bryan had been unable to ride his bike that morning, not bothered in the least by their slow pace, despite that, they would still have to wait to finish their discussion. Both of them were used to it, usually they had enough to talk about for a whole week.

As soon as he got home, Alexandre attempted to use his ‘power’ again. He took advantage of the fact that his father had long hours at work and that he had the house to himself until late in the evening all week to practice everyday and discover his limits. It was still hard and uncertain and exhausting to slow the fall of objects but, as day passed, his motivation did not waver and he saw visible, albeit small, progress. He succeeded in his attempts to prevent a fall almost half the time and felt less exhausted each time he did it.

He had to focus a lot more to compensate the intensity of the motivation to not break the object he was testing his power on, but somehow he managed to clear his head and to will it to slow down. He tested it with multiple objects, varying the size, the mass, colour, shape, material, fragile or not (fortunately for him he was successful when he tried to slow down the fall of a small porcelain figurine his mother had brought back from one of her many trips). Each time it seemed a little bit easier and each time he felt a bit less tired, whether it was the fruit of his ‘training’, as he liked to call it, or something else entirely he couldn’t say. But he was hellbent on continuing his testing.

The only thing that did affect his morale was the fact that he hadn’t heard the voice for a while and that he didn’t know what else he could potentially do, if he was able to do anything else. He had also discovered that saying the word out loud was necessary to make whatever was happening happen. That had discovery had brought questions : could the other words he had heard the voice say do something too? Where did the mysterious voice come from? And why could he hear it? He feared only an extreme stroke of luck would reveal the answer to these questions, having stumbled on one word was already a miracle… Also he still had to find a proper utility for such an ability, but that was secondary, being able to accomplish a miracle was sufficient for now.

When the two teenagers met outside the locker room the next Thursday Alexandre had a slight headache, the voice had decided to make a comeback during the softball training and even though it hadn’t been nearly as intense as before it had still been painful. The brown-haired young man was almost relieved though to notice it was still there and as incomprehensible as ever, its absence during the week had preoccupied him. He had still managed to enjoy the fact that they had had sport instead of biology due to the teacher being on leave. Bryan, on the other hand, had been all the more frustrated not to be able to participate due to his injure and had spent the time sulking on the bench, watching his best friend run around.

“Damn! I’m glad that’s over…” Sighed the dark-haired teen as they walked out of the school building with a sigh, making his best friend smirk.

“I sympathize with your pain man.” He replied mockingly, earning himself a glare from the other teenager.

They walked out of the school grounds and met with a few other students who had decided to go grab a drink before going back home as they had exceptionally  finished early that day, the two boys had accepted gladly. They were almost a dozen to enter the café a few minutes later. The two Abben brothers, Misha and Karl, Rebecca Cruz, that everyone called Miss Cruz in a mocking homage to her constantly getting called out by he teachers, Michael Franklin, a tall quiet boy with shoulder length black-hair, Eloïse Venn and Caroline Armand, two close friends who had gone to the same secondary school as them, Robin David, whom everyone called David because of the confusion in his first name and his surname.

Alexandre wasn’t sure to know the last two, he had heard the boy was called Carlos and the girl Evangeline but only knew them by sight and had never talked to either one. He smiled when he saw the two teens blush as Rebecca called out to them to know if they wanted to drink something. The couple, who had been exchanging sweet words, looked up and blushed as they saw eyes on them. They had been dating since the end of the previous year but their relationship had only been officialized as school had begun again, to the great pleasure of the gossipers but to the dismay of the couple as they prefered to remain discreet.

Alexandre shared his best friend’s opinion of this: he didn’t enjoy toying with people like this even if he couldn’t suppress a smile in these cases. They both disliked being in these kinds of situations and did what they could to avoid it to other people unless it was harmless and very funny. Seeing the two teens like this saddened him slightly though as he thought back to Lydia, it had taken him so long to realize what she was doing to him despite Bryan’s warnings and breaking up with her hadn’t been easy despite what she had done. He still caught himself missing her from time to time. No, not her, just someone by his side.

His mind then went to Chloe, the cute blonde girl he had met a couple of weeks before, he had contacted a few days back and had suggested they meet the following week-end which she had apparently accepted with pleasure. He was still thinking about what they could do that Saturday though, he had a few ideas but he still hadn’t decided himself. The teenager was brought back to reality when he heard Eloïse’s half-exasperated half-amused exclamation.

“Hey! Stop that!”

“What?” Asked Bryan with a shrug and he tried but failed to seem as inconspicuous as possible. “Did I do something wrong?”

Alexandre noticed his best friend had sat extremely close to the brunette with the long braid and that he was leaning towards her with a broad smile. He also could have sworn he had seen the tan teenager wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at her. She laughed and shoved Bryan away a bit.

“Not in a million years, boy.” The girl retorted with a smirk.

This made Alexandre smile, he was used to his best friend’s overly flirty attitude, but he always overdid things when Eloïse or Caroline were around, the dark-haired teen had been like that since they had met. The booth they had taken was un the shape of a U. Bryan was sitting opposite to him, to Eloïse’s left. Then, still to the left, came Misha, Michael, Rebecca and the couple, the last three were sitting on the middle sofa-like seat. Alexandre was sitting between Caroline to his left and Karl to his right, then, further to the right, came Robin who was sitting near the couple.

“So, what do we order then?” Rebecca asked, picking up a menu from the center of the table.

“Ach! Vodka comrade!” Exclaimed Bryan as he hit the table with his fist, smiling widely.

“Da da!” Echoed Alexandre, Michael and Robin as they hit the table in turn.

“Ein wurst fur mich.” Said Misha, raising his hand and shaking his head as he tried to keep his face serious.

“Same.” Karl managed to say between two giggles as he tried to refrain himself from laughing.

“Tsss, idiots…” Muttered Rebecca as she rolled her eyes.

“I’ll have an iced tea, I need to cool down after all the running I did…” Commented Carlos.

“Same for me, but mint flavored if they have.” Added Evangeline almost immediately.

“I’ll have some soda, orange flavored if possible.” Said Karl, still laughing with Bryan and his brother.

“I’ll have the same.” Said Alexandre with a small smile.

“Well I think I’ll have a cocktail…” Said Rebecca as she nodded to them.

Caroline and Eloïse each chose to have some coffee while Robin went for a hot chocolate and Misha finally opted for a simple glass of sparkling water, earning himself one or two mocking comments. Only Bryan and Michael still hadn’t decided but none of them seemed to want to calm down and choose.

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EoP – Part 54

Echoes of Power

Part 54

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!

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EoP – Part 39

Echoes of Power

Part 39

He had time to finish another quest and level his skills up before his father called him for supper. They watched the news while eating. The conflict between the countries of the Eastern Gulf and the ones of northern Africa was now apparently in a critical state and could, from what the anchor was saying, develop into a full-blown war soon if tensions kept rising. Despite what the international control authority had tried to do in the last years, things didn’t look any better and the rebels weren’t helping with their attempts to overthrow the governments.

Alexandre liked to keep himself up to date most of the time and, even if he didn’t actively seek  information he still liked to gain it when it presented itself to him. Once the new report was over he got up and took both his and his father’s plate to wash them in the sink before going to his room to allow his father some time alone to rest. He hesitated to finish the tome of Soul King but instead decided to read the novel he had started weeks before and still hadn’t finished, that way he would be able to eat his breakfast while reading the end of the manga the next morning. He walked back downstairs a bit before midnight to wish his father a good night and found the older man already asleep on the couch, the TV still on.

“Tss, he must be exhausted…” He whispered to himself as he turned it off and went to check that the door was locked.

He drew the curtains and made sure the shutters were drawn before walking back upstairs, leaving only the small light on the coffee table on in case his father woke up later during the night. He changed into his pyjamas and put his headphones on as he lied on his bed, listening to music as he looked at the clear night sky through the window.

The teenager didn’t know how to explain it but listening to music at night provoked some sort of melancholy in him and it helped him think better, he felt more aware and alive in those moments. They were rare and never lasted very long so he tried to enjoy them to the fullest. His thoughts usually went off into many directions as he kept following them and he ended up thinking about something completely different of what had triggered his interest in the beginning.

That evening he was thinking about earlier during the day, he still couldn’t believe that he hadn’t dreamt all of it. He, Alexandre Parson, a completely normal person and nobody had managed to do something that was supposed to be completely impossible simply by thinking it. And he had done it twice in a matter of minutes… He didn’t understand what it meant nor why he was able to manage such a feat -be it magic or something entirely different-, and even less how he could not freak out about it.

Why hadn’t he become completely crazy after such a miracle? Why wasn’t he telling anyone about it? Was he seriously basing himself on all those movies he had seen? Or was he in fact becoming crazy enough to accept this without hesitation? He didn’t know the answer to these questions but if there was an answer he wanted to get, it was to that mysterious voice. Where did it come from? Was it really an invention from his own brain? And why did it come and go like this? This mystery was one he desperately wanted to shed light on since he was a young boy. As he kept thinking about all this he felt his mind slip away and soon he only had the strength to take off his headphones before drifting off to sleep.

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Chapter 1 – School starts pretty well – Part 2


Chapter 1

School year starts pretty well

Part II

Well, see you later!” Exclaimed the dark-haired teen as he walked towards the stairs to go up a floor.

Arigato Vogt sama!” Replied Alexandre with a smile as he stayed on the ground floor, he saluted his best friend before taking a left towards room 004. He was not the first to arrive there as a middle-aged woman who appeared to have Japanese origins was already sitting at the desk reading a leaflet. The teenager also noticed another student was already there, on the second row to the far left side of the room, he noticed she was hiding a few piercings on her ears under her medium length blond hair as she turned her head towards the window. He greeted both of them before settling on a table on the right of the blonde girl and started taking out his stuff before waiting patiently. He almost thought they would only be two to follow the class when a dozen students walked in the room and also sat down.

Not in the back please.” Simply said the woman who was now standing and was looking at them. Two of the students had to relocate to closer tables, one sat on Alexandre’s right.

Thank you.” She said with a nod as she took out a pen from her pocket and turned towards the board. She wrote a few kanji characters before adding her name directly below.

My name if Fumiko Saito, I will be your Japanese teacher this year. I don’t know you well enough yet to know if you are really motivated but this year I will ask consequent efforts from each of you to study and learn Japanese so I do hope that you will prove determined enough to make these efforts. If you don’t feel up to it, I’m telling you now that it is not necessary to come.” She paused and took time to look at each of the students sitting in the room. “It seems you’ve understood, good. I do not view myself as a strict teacher but I do enjoy working with people who are motivated and who show it. Today we are going to start slowly, I would like to first start with each of you introducing themselves, in Japanese of course. Let’s start with you young man.” She added as she turned towards the teenager sitting a Alexandre’s right.

He hesitated for a moment, seemingly searching for his words, then he started by giving his name and got his confidence back, little by little, as the Asian woman nodded positively to his sentences. Alexandre listened carefully in case his turn would come but he was slightly relieved when he saw the teacher was going the other way around, that would give him time to prepare his answer. He was thinking about what he would add when he heard the strange whispering that sometimes came interfere with his daily life, he had managed to keep the voice and its existence locked in a corner of his mind since he had woken up that morning but he knew that it was only time it to disturb him, after all it never appeared in the best situations. He found himself listening intently to try to understand what it was saying but as always, the monotone sound did not reveal anything clear or understandable. He was pulled in a semi-lulled state by the hypnotic rhythm of the voice and did not realize it was his turn to introduce himself until he heard the teacher clear her voice.

Well, Mr. Parson, we are waiting for you.” Declared the dark-haired woman who had very few white strands for her age. Alexandre quickly shot a look around him and noticed they were just waiting for him to speak, looking at him with slightly amused smiles. He must have looked as if he was daydreaming again. Well, at least I’m not doing crazy stuff while I’m not focusing… He thought.

Sumimasen!” He apologized before beginning his introduction.

The remainder of the class went by pretty fast, Ms. Saito gave them small oral test to evaluate their levels a bit more precisely. Alexandre managed to focus the entirety of the lesson after his presentation even if he could still hear the faint sound of the voice in the back of his head. He managed to keep it there until the bell rang the end of classes for the morning. He met with his best friend who was already waiting for him at the cafeteria and they both went in, taking the stairs on the side instead of the ones on the front to go around the usually long line.

I’m so hungry I’m dying…” Exclaimed Bryan as he massaged his belly with a frown.

Yeah, me too. I ate a good breakfast though, but it wasn’t enough apparently…”

They went to sit at one of the smaller tables by the window after taking their platter and filling it with food. From where they were sitting they had the view on a good part of the campus.

It’s really cool here…” Commented the dark-haired teen as he looked outside towards the three other buildings and the large courtyard where many students were now walking.

Yeah, you’re saying that just because of the all the cute girls here, all the potential victims of your deadly charms!” Exclaimed Alexandre with a mocking smile as he took large bites of his plate of boiled eggs and mayonnaise. Bryan looked at his with apparent dismay as he defensively put a hand on his torso.

What?!” He exclaimed, sitting straight. “Are you accusing me of being a heartless Don Juan?”

Yes, I dare my friend.” Replied the brown-haired teen as he pointed at Bryan with his fork which was still holding part of his egg. “I’d even add this: J’accuse!” He exclaimed in a false french accent before gobbling down the rest of the egg on his fork and pointing it once more at his friend.

I can’t even… Why…?” Asked Bryan in a flabbergasted tone as he indignantly placed his hand back on his chest. They stayed like that for a few seconds, taking great care in not paying attention to the stares the other students gave them. Putting on a show was both something they enjoyed doing and something they did naturally when there was a certain number of people around. Bryan had loved doing this since long before they had met and he had slowly convinced his best friend to join him, and although the brown-haired teen had been reluctant at first he now enjoyed acting out with his friend very much. The key to the trick was to do it with as much exaggeration as possible while trying not to give the impression to the public that it was intentional. One had therefore to focus on the scene and not look around to give in to the surprised atmosphere and to drop the act too fast. Bryan often shot discreet looks around to see the results of their little game but never in an obvious way, he had mastered the art of using his peripheral vision.

No but seriously, you can’t deny being attracted by these beautiful young women even a little can you?” Asked Alexandre as they settled back in their spots once they had managed to suppress their giggles.

I must admit that you are not completely mistaken.” Replied his best friend as he ate a large bite of his rib steak. “There are indeed a few girls that I find cute, maybe even beautiful, but know this my dear friend, I am not looking for just any girl who I would find attractive. I am now searching for the One, the girl that will make me realize it is her, the one who will stir something inside my heart. The one whom I’ll immediately know is right. Unfortunately, for the moment, this fine establishment has many possibilities to offer but non that deeply attract me. Though we are still only the first day, who knows…”

Wow. Who are you? What have you done with my best friend?!” Exclaimed Alexandre, not bothering to hide his genuinely surprised look. “Would you suddenly have become a hopeless romantic? You the mass seducer, the James Bond of high school students? What in the heavens changed your mind?”

Somewhat of an illumination I might say.”

An illumination…?”

Yes, exactly, an illumination.” Said Alexandre’s tanned friend, repeating himself on purpose.

Will you explain yourself or not?!” Exclaimed Alexandre, getting slightly irritated by the provocation.



I said no. You can whistle for it, I won’t tell you.

Ugh… Very well then…” Sighed Alexandre. “As you wish.”

As I wish indeed if you please!” Exclaimed Bryan with a small provoking smile before changing the subject. Alexandre did not insist, he knew how stubborn his friend could be and that he wouldn’t make his talk by insisting. He preferred to drop the matter and to wait for the right moment, eventually he would find a crack in that tanned, well-built muscle shell that was his best friend. For the moment he would be patient and keep his questions to himself. But still, he thought, what could have made him change like that? It wasn’t a bluff, his friend seemed serious under his carefree appearance and it piqued his curiosity.

They finished their lunch more quietly and as they walked out of the cafeteria after checking that their meal had been counted it wasn’t even past noon. The two teenagers then proceeded to spend the rest of their free time to study their timetables more closely, only to notice they varied very little, only the foreign language classes and some sport classes diverged -depending on the choice of options for the later-. They then decided to tour around the school a little to see where their classes would take place and to make sure nothing big had changed since the previous year. Finally they checked in to get their school books, having finished their meal so early they were among the first students of their level to come retrieve them in the main hall. When the bell finally rang the beginning of the afternoon classes they had already been standing in front of their classroom for five minutes and only had to wait for their comrades and teacher to arrive. Alexandre felt as if time flew during the afternoon classes, the two hours of math followed by an hour of philosophy and an hour of English passed so fast he barely noticed them. Part of the reason was that he and Bryan managed to quietly talk through almost the entirety of the three classes, which helped greatly. They usually were more attentive and focused during classes, but this being the first day they felt that they could slack off a bit without suffering too large consequences.

The brown-haired teenager didn’t have any other interruption of his focus by the “little voice in his head” as Bryan called it and managed to spend a normal few hours, which was surprising due to the events of the morning. The duo soon found themselves on the way back home as the sun was still high in the sky and the air was still warm. Bryan walked beside his bike so that they had time to discuss some more before having to each go his way, they also made sure they took the long way around, by the riverbanks. Finally, when he wasn’t thinking about it anymore, Alexandre’s strategy of not appearing too curious seemed to pay off and Bryan finally decided to bring the subject back up on his own.

So, you probably wondering what I meant during lunch about me repenting from my seducer life?” He was walking just a bit ahead of him, looking at something towards the horizon, Alexandre couldn’t see his face but he knew his tanned friend had a large smile on his face.

Well of course I do, what do you expect you idiot?!” He exclaimed, Bryan laughed.

Well, you might find me stupid but…” The taller of the two teenagers stopped and turned towards his brown-haired friend, looking directly at him. “Alex, I…”

Yes, you…?” Tensions was almost tangible around them and Alexandre had trouble restraining from struggling his friend for making him wait so long.

I… Well, ok here I go, I love you Alex. Since I met you my life has completely changed and I- I think about you all the time, day and night, when it rains, when it’s windy, you are always in my mind and in my heart and I-” But the dark-haired teen was interrupted by his friend who suddenly had put a finger on his lips to make him stop talking.

Yes, I know. I know. But don’t be sad or afraid anymore Bryan, your senpai has noticed you now…” He replied in the most suave tone he could manage, then he took a step back and punched his friend in the shoulder.

Now you imbecile, stop screwing around and tell me what’s going on! Or else, you’ll get more from where that came from!” He exclaimed as he struggled to keep his serious face, it wasn’t easy now that Bryan’s face had split in two.

Hahaha! I must admit that your improv is not bad, ‘your senpai has noticed you now’?! That was awesome! Your best performance in years my dear Alexandre!” Exclaimed the dark-haired teenager as he burst out laughing. His outburst didn’t last long though as he saw his friend walk off towards without him. He was still holding his ribs and still displayed a large smile as he caught up with him.

Okay okay, grumpy. I’ll tell ya what’s going on, but smile a little, it was funny… Wasn’t it?”

Meh, a bit…” Admitted Alexandre with a small smile of his own.

See?! Anyways, about me. Well, as I said earlier, you might think I’m stupid but the reason I’m thinking about my life as a mass seducer is because of, uh, a dream…” Started Bryan, a bit hesitant.

Huh?” Simply replied Alexandre, surprised.

Yeah. I had this dream not long ago, I think it was during the holidays, second or third week of August. I think I fell in love with a girl… in my dreams…”

What? Really?” Scoffed Alexandre, looking genuinely take aback at his friend’s revelation. But what surprised the brown-haired teen the most was that Bryan seemed serious about what he said.

Yeah, I know it’s weird but hear me out. Have you ever had this kind of dream where you really have the feeling that it’s real, like you dream it happens to you and once you wake up you don’t immediately realize it’s not real? Well I got one of these during the holidays and it seemed so real I tell you… It had never happened to me before… I”

So, you’re really not making fun of me with this?”

No, I swear I’m not telling you complete crap this time, scout’s honor!” Exclaimed Bryan as he made Hunger Games’ rebellion sign with his hand.

Okay… So, you fell in love… with a dream? I knew you were weird but still…”

Well yeah and no. In my dream I did yes, I was madly in love with this girl that I had met. But I’m not really in love with her, I don’t even remember what she looked like, it’s more that I miss the feeling that I felt during the dream. I was sleeping but I swear it was so real… And I genuinely felt depressed after waking up and realizing it wasn’t real… Plus, I don’t care what you think, I wouldn’t be the first one to fall in love with something not real.”

And so, this has what to do with your lack of motivation to seduce every cute girl in sight?” Asked Alexandre, knowing he had stricken a sensitive subject, and letting his curiosity take over his skepticism. Bryan gave him a knowing look and a mocking smile, making sure his friend knew he had picked up on his thoughts, before continuing.

Well, it’s not that I don’t want to seduce cute girls anymore, it’s just that -ugh, you’re going to think I turned into one of these hopeless romantics- I somehow want to feel what I felt in that dream again… I feel like I want to find not just a girl but the girl.” He paused. “I know it may just be some melancholic phase I’m going through, perhaps you’ll even find me eating ice cream while I watch the Twilight movies on my couch in a few days. It really bothers me, not in a bad sense thought, but it’s really strange…”

Alexandre noticed that his friend was being serious, he hadn’t seemed to be kidding at all during his explanation and that was rare. It was a sign what he had just talked about was important to him. Was the great lady-killer of the Bartholomée Santana high school really turning into a faithful romantic? He couldn’t be sure but he was somehow happy to see his friend at least thinking about his seduction habits, he had seduced and broken so many hearts during these last years that he seemed not to care at all about it anymore.

I don’t know man. I can’t tell you if you’re going to find her soon or if it’ll take time, perhaps she’s already at our school or perhaps you’ll have to wait a bit more. But if it’s really what you’re looking for, I’m happy for you and I’m sure you’ll find her someday! Meanwhile, don’t forget you have me!” Exclaimed Alexandre with a mocking smile.

Ha! Yeah, how could I forget that! If you find someone to love one day, remind me to come ruin some of your dates, it’ll teach you to mess with me!” Replied the dark-haired teenager before taking a right towards his family’s dojo.

Yeah, as if you didn’t mess with me at all!” Yelled Alexandre, continuing straight forward as his best friend crossed the street. “See you later, ex Don Juan!” He added before running off toward his house.

As he walked along the long row of buildings built in red bricks leading to the peaceful neighborhood where his house was located, Alexandre felt the strange but familiar sensation that foreshadowed an acute episode of the voice coursing through his back. He stopped and leaned against one of the building, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths to try to calm down. But it didn’t help, he felt the buzzing in his temples increase and heard the whispering get louder. The voice always whispered, no matter how loud he could hear it, it was never anything else than a whisper. That was the only constant in his strange case. It didn’t change the fact that it could go from barely audible to a deafening, almost maddening, volume, on the brink of blowing his head off.

The brown-haired teen felt it, this time it was going to be really loud. So much for a quiet day, I guess this morning wasn’t enough after all! He cursed as he crouched against the wall in a corner and grabbed his head in his hands. He hadn’t had an episode like that for some time now. Alexandre pressed his hand on his ears, trying to reduce the sound he could hear louder and louder, but he knew it wouldn’t help, it never did, it was bad no matter what he did. The voice steadily got louder, ending up covering every other sound that he could have heard before and drowning the sound of life around him. He could only hear the incomprehensible whispering now, nothing else existed but that at that moment. He winced and groaned in pain as an eternity seemed to pass. He thought he was going to die as the voice got to its strongest yet volume yet.

He struggled a lot just to keep himself from not yelling and forced himself to hold his breath to keep the pain at bay. It didn’t work one bit but as he thought he was not able to handle any more he heard it speak three words more distinctly than ever. As he felt like he would never be able to utter another sane thought in his life he heard the distinct syllables of the word coming from the whispering voice. Six distinct syllables that he willed himself to remember after this just before the voice completely went silent and disappeared. Noctar ares lot’to. Three words… He thought, opening his eyes as the searing pain started to fade away. He took in a deep breath. I heard three words… This thought almost made a smile appear on his lips. Finally, he had something new! He was still catching his breath and struggling to see as his eyes still re-adjusted to the bright light but he fumbled through his bag and took out a small notepad and a pen from his pencil case. He proceeded to write the phonetics of the words he had just heard, or at least that he thought he had heard, as he didn’t know the correct spelling. Once that was done he tucked the pen and the notepad in a pocket of his jacket and closed his bag before taking in a few deep breaths and slowly standing up. He looked around to see if anyone had seen him like that but fortunately he had managed to partially hide himself in a corner.

Alexandre started walking towards his house again, slowly massaging his temples as he felt a headache coming. He thought about talking about this incident to his father this time but quickly decided against it, he didn’t want to go back to that time when he was barely living for anything else than the exams and tests. That period of his life was over and he didn’t want to go back to it. But why am I hearing this voice then? Is there a reason behind this or am I just crazy? That was the million dollar question that he couldn’t answer, was he schizophrenic like some had thought, or was it something else? It had eluded him since he had started noticing it and he felt he wouldn’t find out about it very soon… He had made some progress though, three new words in one episode, that was a good number. It raised the list to eleven now.

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