Adam awoke, as he usually would. He found that he lied in his exact bed as well. It took him a few seconds before everything flooded into his mind.
Jumping onto the floor beside the bed, pain flowed through Adam’s body. It was strong enough to cause him to fall right back down. He lied there with his feet dangling over the edge. Taking a glance to his left, he noticed Charlotte had been lying there this entire time, eyes shut. She had returned to her original appearance and seemed to be wearing a navy blue sweater and black pants.
“Why… What the hell?” Adam stood up a second time, this time with his weakened body in mind. He still had to hold onto his nightstand next to his bed to keep his balance. “Why are you sleeping in my bed?”
“I must recharge my energy, especially after that act I was doing last night.” Charlotte’s eyes opened, and she rose up from the bed in a robotic-like fashion. “I have to make sure my body doesn’t fade away, so moments of rest are required to stay existing.”
“Uh… whatever. ANYWAY! What was all of that!? What happened last night?” Adam looked down at his hand. “I think… I awakened some kind of Ability? World Mirror… right?” He held his head. “It’s kinda fuzzy… Although I DO remember you attacked me.”
“Correct. I couldn’t be nice, I told you. But now that you have accessed that power, it’s my duty to aid you in the upcoming perils you must face.”
“Your duty, huh?” Adam sighed. “And perils? What perils?”
“I have to apologize...” Charlotte seemed bothered. “I’ve had my memories altered with, it seems. While helping you, I hope to uncover the things that I have forgotten.”
“Of course, your memories were messed with.” Adam had the energy to start walking around his room. “If that’s the case, then how can we be sure this World Mirror stuff is accu—”
Adam stopped walking just in time. Pieces of glass were scattered all over his wooden floor. A glance up revealed that an old, small television that he barely even used was broken. Someone had thrown a remote directly into it. The remote was still where it broke through.
“I have to apologize…” Charlotte began. Adam turned around and noticed she was facing away from him. “I didn’t know how to get the television to work so I could see that news thing…”
“So you threw the remote into it?” Adam seemed more disappointed than angry. He carefully walked along his floor so he could reach behind the television. Picking up a cord, he waved it at Charlotte. “You could have just plugged it in. I’m pretty sure it still works decently enough.”
Charlotte turned slowly back toward Adam, seemingly glaring at the cord to the television. She turned back around a few moments later.
“I have to apologize—”
“Enough apologizing.” Adam sighed. “Now, here’s a question. How did you manage to get all of that information on me if you barely know how to work a simple TV? I assume you would have to look up things on a computer and whatnot.”
Charlotte lied back down on the bed. “Since I’m a spirit, I can do things such as pass through objects, as you saw last night. Or possess people.”
“Possess? You can do that too?” Adam was puzzled. “How did you manage to use that to get info?”
“Well, it’s quite simple really…” Charlotte began an explanation but paused. The next thing Adam noticed, she was fast asleep.
“Uh, hey? Wake up?”
“Must… recharge… energy…” Charlotte was able to mumble those words before the walls started to echo her loud snores.
“What the hell is even happening at this point?” Adam glanced over at his nightstand and noticed his cell phone and the envelope Pam gave to him were there.
“Damn… This envelope is covered in my blood.” Adam looked down at his clothing. It was torn to shreds, covered with dirt and his blood. “I need a shower.”
Adam opened up the envelope to check the damage done inside. There was a note folded up but was miraculously not covered in blood like the outside was.
“I could open it now… I figure almost dying last night was considered a low point. But…” After hesitating for a few moments, Adam put the note back inside the envelope. “Not yet.”
Setting the envelope down, he picked up his cell phone. Cracked, but seemingly still functional. Although it was difficult for Adam to read what was on the screen. He sighed, putting it down as well.
A few minutes later, Adam was in the shower. He had his head lowered, the water flowing through his hair. The dirt and blood on his body were starting to come off, but he figured some extra scrubbing was necessary.
“I don’t feel that pain I felt when I woke up.” Adam looked around on his body. There did not seem to be a scratch on him. “That… World Mirror power. Did it heal me?”
Adam raised his hand, almost touching the shower head. “I guess this is some kind of Ability? How do I even use it?”
Adam peeked outside of the shower at the bathroom door. He had locked it, yet knew that Charlotte could just phase through it if she wanted. Or bust it down solely with her strength.
“I’m not sure if I can trust her. She did send me flying through a tree last night trying to kill me, after all. If I do have some incredible power, I need to figure out how to use it. Just in case…”
Adam closed his eyes and held his hand in front of him.
“World Mirror, ACTIVATE!”
“Well, that’s all I can think of.” Adam was calm on the outside but was dying of embarrassment on the inside at the chance that someone heard him.
Adam turned off the shower and got out. After drying off with a towel, he put on clothes that matched the ones he wore the day prior.
Walking out of the bathroom, he was met with Charlotte standing right in front of him; her eyes seemingly empty.
“Uh, hey. Did you enjoy your nap?”
“I have to apologize…”
Adam sighed. “Not this again.”
“When I woke up, I used my phasing ability to pass through the walls to look for you. I ended up in the restroom for a brief moment…” Charlotte bowed. “Please forgive me, I didn’t mean to look!”
“Huh? That’s it? I don’t care. It’s fine.” Adam lightly patted Charlotte’s shoulder. He realized something was off about her. Charlotte’s “body” was cold rather than warm. He assumed it was due to the fact she was, in fact, a ghost.
“...Well, I’ll also help you figure out how to use the World Mirror. But I can assure you that your attempt was in fact NOT the way to do it.”
Adam was deadpan. “You heard that, huh?”
Adam and Charlotte were outside walking within Prelude. They were heading to the other side of town toward Jerry’s house.
“It’s cooled down a lot since yesterday. You don’t seem as crazy wearing a sweater. Still a bit, but not as bad.” Adam commented.
“I can’t feel temperature, so it doesn’t really matter to me either way.” Charlotte was examining her clothing. “I could always steal something else to wear.”
“Steal…?” Adam asked under his breath. “Anyway, we have to do something about these memories you’ve lost.”
“And you think Jerry would help? I know he was the valedictorian of our class, but I’m not sure if that’s enough.”
“He’ll get us on the right track, at least.” Adam seemed to be pondering something. “The Ouderkirk family. It was for sure in our curriculum, but nothing aside from the basics. I tried to do a report on them once, but there wasn’t enough info to make anything good.”
“Probably more than I know. I genuinely don’t remember much of anything. Aside from knowing about my powers and the World Mirror. Everything else feels like it was lost somehow…”
“You said you’ve been waiting, right? How long? And what have you been doing all of these years?”
“I can’t really give you a precise amount of time… it’s as if I was a newborn. You hardly remember your earlier memories but begin to become more aware of your existence as you grow up. About a hundred and twenty years ago, I’d say I started to notice things around me.”
Charlotte stopped walking. Adam could hear the strain forming in her voice.
“Still… I just stood there. I couldn’t interact with anything around me. It was as if I was frozen in place. Anywhere my body decided to appear. Countless locations all over Requiem. I’ve seen so much.” Charlotte paused and started to look around.
“It was only a few years ago when I was finally able to move on my own… and I’ve been attempting to figure out what I can, with the power I have.”
Adam sighed. “Well, we have a lot to figure out, it seems. Let’s take it one step at a time. We don’t need to wear ourselves out too quickly.”
“You’re right,” Charlotte agreed. “Although it is frustrating.”
“That’s life for you. It’s frustrating.” Adam stated, bluntly.
A few minutes later Adam and Charlotte had arrived at Jerry’s house. They met him in his room, where he was currently sitting at his desk working on his computer. There were five large monitors on the desk, which took up about half the room. The actual computer was massive, lit up in bright blue light, and took residence underneath the desk.
Adam took a seat on Jerry’s bed, which was challenging to do. The rest of the room was cluttered with many electronics devices, bed included. Charlotte remained at the door, unable to figure out how to walk inside in the first place.
“It’s okay Charlotte, you can come in!” Jerry beckoned her. She slowly nodded, walking carefully around a red toolbox on the ground. Adam moved a laptop-looking device over so she could sit down next to him.
“So, what can I do for you guys? I didn’t know you two were friends?”
Adam rubbed the side of his neck. “Well, let’s see. How to explain this? There were some… events that transpired last night. And, we need to figure some things out.”
There was a prolonged silence; Jerry staring at Adam, completely baffled. He eventually began to move his mouth.
“No, not like that!” Adam sighed. “Look, I don’t know how to explain this that well. So, just… Charlotte, do something to show him?”
“I can do that,” Charlotte responded. She took a look around Jerry’s room, figuring out what to do. After a moment, she looked to the side of Adam’s head. Shrugging, Charlotte put her arm right through it.
Jerry’s eyes lit up immediately. As Adam jumped back from the awkward sensation going through his temple, Jerry stood up and grabbed Charlotte’s arm.
“NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY! DID YOU JUST DO WHAT I THINK YOU JUST DID!?”
Charlotte answered the question by pulling her arm away, phasing right out of Jerry’s hands.
“This… This sensation!” Jerry curled his fingers, putting great focus into the coldness he now felt. “After all these years, I’ve finally met a ghost! And it was you Charlotte!? How? How?”
“Well, she’s not an ordinary ghost, to begin with,” Adam stated.
“Well, obviously! There’s no natural way your average ghost could completely act like how she’s acted.” Jerry raised his finger as if he was a teacher. “Ghosts were confirmed to be entirely possible, but there are limits.”
“What would those limits be?” Charlotte asked.
“Let’s see… When it comes to the phantons within us, they don’t necessarily disappear after one dies.” Jerry pointed toward his window, which Charlotte just took notice of, considering it was hiding behind the computer monitors. “They can do certain things. The event that happens most of the time is that they rise, and head upward toward the sky.”
“To… To heaven?” Charlotte was intrigued that such a thing could have been discovered to exist.
“Well, we’re not sure what it does exactly. We do know that in between the exosphere and thermosphere the phantons form a sort of barrier referred to as Xavier’s Ceiling.”
“Named after the guy who discovered the phanton, Xavier Ouderkirk, in 1959,” Adam added nonchalantly. "I'm gonna guess he's related to you?" He shrugged.
"My family's still around...?" Charlotte asked with a glint of hope in her eyes.
"Well, that was over fifty years ago. Right now, I don't think there are any around..." Jerry pondered. "I'll look into it! Anyway—what happens within this barrier is totally up for debate, however. It does not seem to affect technology at all, as we’ve been able to launch rockets successfully. It’s peculiar, as normally there can certainly be disruptions due to phantonic interference.” He sighed. “Technology also cannot get any specific readings on the dang thing, unfortunately. We can just detect where it is, as we can track the phantons that leave the Earth’s surface.”
Charlotte was entirely focused on Jerry’s explanation, delighted to learn what he was discussing while the thought of her family's fate was overshadowed by his enthusiasm.
“Well, I’m sure that is informative for her. But how about what happens with those phantons that don’t leave?” Adam asked.
“Yeah… Those phantons still need a lot of research. But what we do know is that they like to, well, create ghosts. The phantons have the capability to travel to anywhere the deceased person had been in their lifetime. They then proceed to sort of ‘re-create’ events of that person’s life; that’s the most common thing to happen. It’s referred to as a ‘residual occurrence.'”
Jerry pointed at Charlotte. “Now, with you…” Jerry paused for a moment and let out a sudden squeal. “I can’t believe I’m actually conversing with a ghost, this is the greatest day of my life!”
“Well, I’m glad you are enjoying your first encounter with a ghost,” Adam stated sarcastically. Jerry looked at him in a questioning matter, but he shook his head. “I’ll get to that part soon.”
“Anyway, continuing on. Charlotte, in your case, you would, for sure, be at least considered something known as an ‘intelligent occurrence.’ This is when the phantons have the capability to create an entity that can do whatever it wants. There is also a massive increase in phantonic power compared to a residual occurrence.”
“She’s plenty powerful, that’s for sure.” Adam held his chest. “That freaking hurt a lot.”
“What? Did she attack you or something?” Jerry seemed concerned.
“Yep, right after she kidnapped me,” Adam stated, rather bluntly.
Jerry stared at his friend. “What the hell happened last night!?”
Charlotte stood up, stretching her body. “He’s right, regarding the power thing. I think it would be simpler to show you.”
Realizing what Charlotte was about to do, Adam grabbed a pillow off of Jerry’s bed and held it up for protection. The azure aura lit up around her body, although nowhere near as powerful as the night prior. Jerry was staring in complete awe as Charlotte revealed her true form to him.
He fell to his knees, taking hold of Charlotte’s hands. She looked down at him in confusion while Adam lowered the pillow he was holding up.
“My god, you’re an Ouderkirk!? Absolutely amazing! This day…” Tears had begun to fall down Jerry’s face.
“All right, buddy. Easy now.” Adam stood up and got Jerry back on his feet. He turned around and looked at his desk. All of the monitors were glitching out; the images unrecognizable.
Wiping his tears, Jerry picked up a device that looked like a tablet. He tapped it furiously, wanting to get something to work.
“Thank goodness this is still operational… Here we go!” Jerry analyzed the tablet in silence; his mouth slowly opening. “My god… These readings! Adam, if Charlotte has this much power and she attacked you, how did—”
Jerry looked up at Adam and stopped talking when he noticed his friend’s eyes. They were glowing exactly as they did the night prior.
“Adam? What… What is that?” Jerry pointed at Adam’s face.
“What are you talking about?” Adam was confused. Jerry tapped the tablet a few more times and showed the screen to him. It was a camera, pointed in his direction. Adam was able to see his own eyes glowing for the very first time.
“What the… hell? Is-is this the—”
“That is a sign that the World Mirror is active, yes,” Charlotte answered Adam’s question before he could finish it.
“What’s a ‘World Mirror’?” Jerry asked.
“It’s why she freaking attacked me last night…” Adam responded, still staring at his eyes. “Apparently, I have an Ability now.” He loud out a loud sigh. “And this kidnapper right here has been waiting around to find it.”
Charlotte nodded. “Yes. Most of my memories seem to be missing. All I’m aware of is my Ouderkirk heritage and the fact that I need to find the World Mirror.”
“Adam’s ability… is this World Mirror thing?” Jerry seemed to be rooted in thought. “Your memories missing… Something doesn’t seem right.”
“Yeah, it’s freaking stupid. That’s why I wanted to come to you for help with it. You’ve got the brains after all.” Adam finally looked up from the tablet.
“I mean, you’re not wrong.” Jerry turned to Charlotte. “Are you able to get out of that form for me? I need to use the computer.”
“Sure.” Charlotte breathed in slowly. In a flash, her body reverted back to her previous state. Almost immediately, Jerry’s computers were back to normal. He sat down and began typing away.
Adam’s eyes returned to normal. He noted that he seemed to feel a strange sensation. Looking at the tablet, he realized the change. Charlotte took note of this as well.
“You noticed that, huh? That should the first sign that you feel the World Mirror’s power. And the fact that it’s not causing you severe headaches anymore is great as well.”
Adam held his head. “You may not know what the World Mirror is for, but you do seem to know some details surrounding its power?”
Charlotte pondered for a moment. “Yes… I-I can really understand why I know certain things, yet I am in the complete dark about the rest.” Charlotte sat back down on the bed. “I knew how to get the World Mirror to work. I’m also aware of the great power it holds, along with the fact that the power seems capable of healing wounds you receive.”
Jerry chimed in. “It seems that the memories you do have hold importance. Not substantial importance, but enough to get you on the right track.” Jerry turned around. “I’ve got a lot to think about and research. Also…” Jerry pondered something.
“I think it’s worth it to finally do that.”
Adam and Charlotte looked at Jerry questionably. He raised his fists up into the air, getting himself pumped up.
“I’m going to hack into the Requiem government’s servers!”
“Woah woah woah, cool it.” Adam went up and held Jerry’s shoulders. “I don’t want you getting in trouble and throwing your life away over some simple information!”
“Relax, you know who you’re talking to, right?” Jerry smirked. “Besides, I’ve always wanted to do this. Not necessarily for information on the Ouderkirk’s, but for other things.” Jerry sat back down at his computer.
“As I’ve studied Phantonics growing up, there have been quite a few holes I’ve noticed in certain areas. We’ll be here for another five hours if I were to explain it to you guys, but… just…” He paused.
“It’s important we find breakthroughs in the field. I want to help others, and I don’t want anything or anyone getting in the way of that.”
Adam smiled softly. “Right, that makes sense. Just be careful, all right?”
“Don’t worry about it. It takes some time anyway. You two look into what you can in the meantime, and let me know if you figure anything out.”
“Will do—” Adam pulled out his phone, remembering the screen is busted. “Ah, crap. Can’t really do much with this in its current state.”
Charlotte reached into her pocket and pulled out a slip of paper. “Here, I think you should have this.”
She gave the paper to Adam. He looked at it, his eyes opening wide. “Wh-wh-what is this!?”
Jerry stood up and looked as well, instantly forming the exact same expression. “Why are you giving Adam a check for six thousand requid!?”
“I’m a ghost. I don’t need a home or anything that people living really need. I figured I owe it to Adam anyway, after last night.”
“S-so you really only had that job for surveillance purposes, I’m guessing?” Adam asked. “And… you don’t have a home?”
“I still have that job, actually. I can’t really disappear out of the blue, especially after the manager has been so kind to me.” Charlotte looked down at the floor. “Even though I used such means to obtain the job in the first place…”
Jerry sighed. “You both really need to work on how you word things. Or I’ve just been hanging around Brandon so long that his influence has rubbed off on me. Gah, even saying rubbed off is sounding… whatever!” Jerry continued work on his computer.
“And Adam… what are you going to do about that? Since you have an Ability now… I know how you are with that whole thing.”
Adam seemed melancholic. “I’m honestly, not sure. I think I have to see how things go before I come to a decision for it.”
Jerry nodded. “I know you’ll come up with something.”
Adam and Charlotte left Jerry’s house, now standing outside.
“I think it’s about time for me to go to work,” Charlotte stated. “Don’t worry, though, I plan on putting in my two weeks notice today. We’ll have more time to investigate things then.”
“I really don’t think this job is as important as figuring all of this stuff out, but—”
“You said it yourself earlier,” Charlotte interrupted. “We should take this one step at a time and not wear ourselves out, remember?”
Adam sighed. “Yeah, you’re right.”
Charlotte pointed at the check, which was still in Adam’s hand. “For now, you can go cash that and buy yourself a fancy new phone. And anything else you think we might need.”
“I guess I’ll do that.” Adam put the check in his pocket. “Also, you’re free to stay at my house if you’d like. My dad’s never freaking home anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“You’re… You’re inviting me to live with you…?”
Adam smirked. “Well, you’re a ghost, so it’s more along the lines of ‘I’m inviting you to be dead with me.’” Adam chuckled quietly. “Although, I’m still alive… at least on the outside—”
Charlotte’s tears interrupted Adam. “I-I’m so… happy…” She wiped her tears away. “Although, I’m not sure I feel that way about you.”
“Huh? What way? What do—” Adam groaned. “No, it’s not like that. Honestly, can’t a guy and girl just be friends without—”
Charlotte was sobbing now. “F-Friends!? I’ve never had a friend before! A-At least not that I can remember!”
Adam walked up to Charlotte, patting her on the shoulder to calm her down, his hand freezing in the process.
“Yes, you sappy, narcoleptic kidnapper. We’re friends.”