Adam was sitting at a booth inside a diner, known as Mona’s Quality Burgers. Being close to his house, he usually frequented the place. He shuffled through the songs that were listed on the tabletop jukebox, yet all of the ones listed were too old for his tastes.
Taking a sip of apple soda, Adam stared inside his wallet. After cashing the check Charlotte gave him, he could not believe how fat it had become. He had left the majority of the money at his house, yet he kept a few hundred dollars on his person.
Adam noticed that Brandon had walked in. He was walking over to Adam’s table at a slow pace, seemingly exhausted.
“Oh, I forgot. You had practice today, didn’t you?”
Brandon sat opposite of Adam, head hitting the table. “Yeah, after my freaking dad kept me up half the night making me help him on some car.” Brandon let out a tremendous sigh, echoing off the table. “Honestly, kicking that stupid black and white ball around is therapeutic.”
“Therapeutic, huh?” Adam paused. “Oh, wait! That reminds me, I think I have an appointment in a few days.” He took out his phone to check the date, only to be reminded that his screen was cracked.
“Dude, what happened to your phone?” Brandon asked. Adam looked at him, nervously. He wanted to tell his friend what had happened the night before, yet a public setting was not the place to do this.
“I, uh… dropped it. On the…” Adam looked to his side toward the floor. “On the floor!”
“Did you drop it off a freaking skyscraper? I didn’t think that kind of phone you have would break that easily!”
“It was… a very powerful floor.” Adam put his damaged phone back in his pocket. “Anyway, I have to go get another one. Probably going to head to Nexus City, seeing as though no stores in town really sell them.”
“You could always get one at Ann’s?” Brandon suggested.
“Why would I want a cheap phone from there? Besides-” Adam pulled out his wallet, showing Brandon the cash inside. “I think I can afford a nice one with this much.”
“Woah! Where did you get that much cash out of the blue!?”
“Well, you see…” Adam pondered what excuse he could say to Brandon for the time being. He figured out that, in a way, he could be truthful here. But more importantly, he could mess with Brandon.
“I got it from a girl I slept with last night.”
Brandon did not say a thing. His face was frozen, with no ounce of emotion able to rise to the surface. Adam waited, slowly taking a sip of his soda. Several moments passed before words were finally able to escape from Brandon’s mouth.
“You. Tell. Me. All. The. Details. Now.”
Adam sat his glass down on the table. “Obviously I was joking. Sort of. Eh, anyway-”
“Sort of!? What the hell is that supposed to mean!?”
Adam raised his hand in front of Brandon’s face, trying to get him to calm down. Brandon did, noticing that Adam’s expression grew serious.
“We can’t talk about it here, but… a lot happened last night. I went to Jerry’s earlier to talk to him about it. And I want to tell you too, of course.”
Brandon let out a sigh. “Well, it’s absolutely out of character for you to do something like that in the first place. Now, something you went to Jerry to talk about… something with a girl… and money… hmm…” He was trying his best to connect the dots in his head, but there was no way he would be able to do it.
“Look, let’s leave so I can talk to you about it. I’ll tell you everything.”
“Well, all right then.”
The two stood up from the booth; Adam placing money for his soda on the table. As they were walking toward the exit, Brandon’s phone buzzed. He took it out to examine the message he had received.
“Are we serious!? My dad needs help again!?” Brandon put his phone away, frustrated. “I don’t want the dumbass to hurt himself, but if it’s something that serious, let’s talk about it before I go.”
Adam shook his head. “I mean, it is serious. But it’ll take some time to explain it. Plus, I don’t want your dad to get hurt either.”
Outside, Brandon began to run south toward his house. He pointed back at Adam.
“Fine, as soon as I’m done I’m coming over to your house! You better tell me everything, Adam!”
Adam smiled, giving Brandon a thumbs up as a response.
Adam stood in front of his home a few minutes later. He could smoothly go inside a take a nap. That’s not what he felt like needed to be done, however. Adam paced back and forth, deep in thought.
“I was stupid and promised Brandon I’d meet him here when he’s done helping his dad. That means I definitely don’t have time to go to Nexus City for a phone. What can I do in the meantime?”
He walked over to the side of his house and peered into the woods that were behind it. A thought suddenly went through his head; the aftermath of the previous night. He recalled that upon awakening the World Mirror, the energy unleashed had caused a vast crater to form, blowing the surrounding trees away.
Looking left to right, he examined the trees in front of him. The only wooded area in town would be to the north, which is what stood before Adam. He concluded that Charlotte must have dragged him in there.
“How was something like that not heard by anyone? If someone discovered a huge freaking crater in the woods, there would surely be activity right now. Has nobody noticed it yet?” Adam looked down at his hands. “The World Mirror… I need to understand this power and figure out how to use it.”
Looking back up, he decided on what he should do. He was going to head into the woods to search for the area where he had his confrontation with Charlotte. There was no real need to do this, yet he figured if he wanted to learn more about the World Mirror, he might as well start where it all began.
As he walked into the shadows that the trees cast, he thought about the time limit he had before Brandon returned. He had walked through these woods countless times, so he was aware of how long it would typically take. Pondering it for a moment, Adam concluded that the clearing that Charlotte took him to was the one in the northwest corner of the woods. His house was located next to the southeast section.
“Those bushes she sent me through… no other area in here with that much open space has bushes except for that one.”
Not wanting to waste time, Adam started sprinting toward his destination. He wasn’t that great of a runner, yet he figured he might as well try.
A few moments later, he expected to feel the burning sensation that came with exercise. Instead, he noted a strange surge of energy flowing within him.
As Adam dashed ahead, he glanced down at his body, wondering what was happening. Although he could not see a glow, which he questioned, he assumed this had something to do with the World Mirror. Thinking for a moment, it hit him, just as he hit the tree that he did not notice in his path.
On his back, Adam held his face in agony, assuming his nose was broken. The white aura appeared, and the pain he felt quickly dissipated.
“Exactly. It makes sense to see the glow when I take exterior damage. Interior, on the other hand, such as my muscles wearing down from running a lot…” Adam sighed. He stood up, even going as far as hopping a few times to prepare himself.
“I’ve never had this much energy in my life. It feels like I could run a marathon right now and have the energy to spare… is this the World Mirror as well?” Adam pondered the possibilities as he continued his run.
Adam, now paying attention, maneuvered his way around each tree that came into sight. He felt the air attempt to hold his body back, yet he kept on picking up the pace. There was no doubt in his mind that Adam was reaching inhuman speeds at this rate. In his opinion, he assumed that the more his body was torn apart, the more energy was unleashed in an attempt to heal it. That raw energy seemed to give him a boost in physical prowess at the same time.
“The more damage my body takes, the more powerful I become?”
That thought caused Adam to trip, tumbling onto the ground for a moment before coming to a halt. He lied there motionless, noting the white glow appearing, which was seemingly fixing up the injuries he just got from falling.
Adam’s memory took him back six months, to the same area he was currently in. At the time, he was also on the ground; snow slowly covering his body. The numbing cold he felt was taken over by the warmth his own blood gave him, as it soaked the earth beneath him. He wondered how long it would be before that numbness returned; the heat within him fading for good.
“That’s not how it is anymore.”
Adam stood up, basking in the summer light that fell from the trees above. All that happened to him six months prior did not matter now; things were different. He wanted to ask himself “how” they were, but he didn’t have time for that. Adam bolted ahead, hoping he would not have any more interruptions.
A few minutes passed, and Adam could see the light from the trees in front of him. He was confident that he had finally reached the clearing he was looking for. Bending his knees, he put tremendous energy into a jump, catapulting himself out into the opening.
He used his hands to attempt to stop himself, grass flying into his face, as he slid to a halt. As he healed from the landing, Adam took a look around. It didn’t take him long to confirm that this was, in fact, the field Charlotte took him to last night. The reason he realized this, however, left him overwhelmingly puzzled.
“That’s definitely the tree she sent me through last night… it has those damn bushes in front of it after all. Why is that tree, along with every other tree still standing!?”
Adam analyzed the area around him multiple times, making sure he wasn’t wrong with his assumption.
“Can… can Charlotte restore things to their original state? She never mentioned it. If she can, she'd better use that power on my TV.”
Adam wanted to assume his theory was accurate, yet could not shake the feeling that something was off about all of this. He started to turn around to head back toward his house, figuring there wasn’t much he can inspect here if things were back to normal.
A yellow spark flew in his direction. Reacting just in time, Adam ducked his head to avoid the attack. It flew into a nearby tree, causing a massive explosion. The force was strong enough to knock Adam onto the ground.
“Ah, damn. I missed.”
Adam looked up to see two men walking in his direction. The one on the left was glancing down at a tablet in his hand, while the other was smirking at Adam. He adjusted the goggles he was wearing, which were a part of what looked to be an old pilot hat.
With a snap of his fingers, the man on the right unleashed another yellow spark, flying at Adam. He rolled to the side, evading this additional attack just like the first.
As the second explosion rattled the area, Adam was able to withstand the force. Standing up, he was unaware that his eyes were glowing, perfectly visible to these strangers.
“That’s enough, Chris.” The man on the left put his hand on the other man’s shoulder. “We need to be careful.”
“Derek, Derek, Derek. That radar is showing it’s obviously him. And look at those eyes! He’s gotta have some kind of Ability! One that can actually weaken the seal-”
“That’s enough!” Derek held Chris’ ear, causing him to quiet down. “And put out those flames before they spread!”
“Right, right. We don’t need anyone noticing, huh?” With a snap of his fingers, the flames created by Chris’ attacks weakened and disappeared.
Derek took a step forward. “Before my idiot partner here tries to attack you again, we’d like to have a chat with you. Regarding this Ability, you seem to have.”
“I was a freaking idiot! I was using my power too freely, without the thought of repercussions! And… these eyes. I’m not sure how to control them. Even if my body’s not trying to heal, if the World Mirror’s active, it’ll show with these damned eyes.” Adam let out a huge sigh. He noticed that his body was shaking.
“You seem to have an Ability as well. Do you work for the government? What about this seal you mentioned? I’d also like to chat with you.”
“Hah! This kid thinks we’ll tell him shit! That’s rich!” Chris positioned his fingers as if he was about to snap them again. “I’d be careful who you’re talking to-”
“That’s enough, Chris!” Derek’s face was stern. “I always tell you never to be violent and look what you go and do. Your Ability is too flashy and loud, as well.”
Chris sighed. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Just get him to come with us, before someone notices.”
“Nobody would notice if you-” Derek paused. “Never mind, forget it. Listen, kid. We noticed last night that the seal, which my friend so lovingly mentioned, was starting to loosen. It hasn’t been able to do that up until now. We were sent here to investigate, and lo and behold we find the source quite easily.” Derek reached out his hand.
“Can you just come with us, please? I hate having to get violent.”
Adam was silent. The surge of power the World Mirror gave off was still flowing within him. He truly never felt anything like this. For the first time, it crossed Adam’s mind.
“This is power.”
Adam started to chuckle, cracking his knuckles. He glared at the two who stood before him with his chilling white eyes.
“Get violent, then.”