“What is this ‘girls’ night’ thing?”
Faith and Winona had arrived at Adam’s house a few minutes before asking Charlotte if she wanted to hang out with them later that night.
“You’ve never had one before, Charlotte?” Faith asked, rather curiously. Brandon had stood up from the couch, which was back in place along with all the other furniture, and walked over to the girls.
“Well, it could be your stereotypical makeup fest and gossip about cute boys. But, with you guys, it’s probably a quest to slay demons or something?”
“Everything you just said has never happened.” Winona sighed. “We usually just chat about random things, eat food, play games. That sorta thing.”
“Hey, that sounds kinda cool!” Brandon turned to Adam, who was leaning up against his kitchen counter, sipping some apple juice. “Hey, we should have a girls’ night!”
“That stuff is literally what we always do,” Adam stated.
“Then let’s mix it up! Let’s do each other’s makeup!” Brandon gave Adam a rather large amount of enthusiasm.
“I don’t care.” Adam yawned. “I’m not shopping for makeup with you, though. That’s on you.”
“Dude, I was joking.” Brandon laughed. “That didn’t phase you at all, huh?”
“Why would it?” Adam sat his drink on the counter.
Faith giggled. “Well, what do you say, Charlotte? You’ve been hanging out with the three of them a lot lately, I’ve heard. Think it’s time you need a break?”
“But she doesn’t want to leave her hot stud muffin Jerry alone!” Brandon said in a mocking tone. Suddenly, Brandon’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He took it out to see who messaged him.
“You’d better watch your back.”
“Jerry!? How did he hear me!? I thought he wasn’t here!?” Brandon looked around, quite panicked.
“It’s fine. This might be good for me.” Charlotte noted.
“Great!” Faith shouted enthusiastically. “It’ll be at my house later. We’ll come to pick you up here in a few hours?”
Charlotte nodded, smiling. Faith and Winona waved goodbye to everyone in the house and left.
“Do you really think it’s okay?” Brandon asked. “What if something happens?”
“Don’t worry, I can sense the entire town pretty well. If those two decide to start something—or anything else for that matter—I should be able to pick up on it. I’ve learned that I can feel Abilities being active from a ways away, such as Faith and Winona when they train.”
“Well, it’s fine then! Adam and I have gotten a lot stronger anyway!” Brandon turned to Adam, giving him a thumbs up.
“I wouldn’t say ‘a lot stronger’, but there’s definitely an improvement. I think the biggest thing is the fact that Adam seems to be able to hold back the World Mirror’s power to a certain degree. That’s key in keeping it a secret.”
“We’ll be okay,” Adam stated. “You’re right, this will be good for you. Just make sure you don’t reveal the whole ghost thing if you can.”
“Right, I’ll be careful,” Charlotte assured. “I’m gonna rest up for now, so I don’t get too drowsy later.”
Charlotte walked over to the couch and lied down. It only took a few seconds for her to pass out. Brandon walked up to Adam, who had opened up the fridge to replenish his cup of apple juice.
“You wanna do anything later?”
“I’m a very introverted person. I’ve been with people for the past few weeks nearly nonstop. Although I’ve enjoyed the company, I really need a night of rest.”
“Yeah, that makes sense. Just let Jerry or I know if anything happens. Oh, how’s that new phone treating ya?”
Adam pulled out his phone from his pocket and showed it to Brandon. It was a silver-colored phone with a large and slick-looking touchscreen.
“It’s fine, I’d say. Not too different from my last one. It was around the same price as well.”
“So, you still have a lot of money left from Charlotte?” Brandon glanced over at the sleeping girl on the couch, then back to his friend. “What do you think you’re gonna use it for?”
“It’s a secret.” Adam raised his finger in front of his mouth. “Not gonna say anything yet.”
“Well, I’m looking forward to buying your best friend Brandon a fancy new car!” Brandon smirked as he began to head toward the front door.
“I don’t have that much.” Adam waved to Brandon, who waved back, shutting the door behind him.
Adam took a look at his phone, going online. He began to search for information regarding hotels in Nexus City. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Charlotte sit up.
“Well, that was a quick nap.”
“Adam… Can I tell you something?”
Curious, Adam stepped toward the couch. “Has seeing me shirtless a lot over the last few weeks made you realize your inner desire for me?” He asked, nonchalantly.
“Now, that sounds like something Brandon would ask me.” Charlotte sighed. “No, sorry to disappoint. Although I know you’re joking.”
Adam sat down in the chair nearest to the couch. “Well, what’s up?”
“Well, to be blunt… I’m scared.”
“About tonight? Don’t worry, Faith and the others are kind-hearted people. They’ll make sure you’re comfortable.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s… Well…”
Adam leaned in closer, making sure all of his attention was on Charlotte and her concerns. “It’s what?”
“Am…” Charlotte took a deep breath. “Am I allowed to do things like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Live life. I am dead, after all. Somehow, I can do things just like a human can. Is it wrong for me to do this? What’s going to happen if I keep defying death?”
“Well…” Adam pondered an answer.
“It’s so scary… not knowing my purpose for still being here.”
Adam stood up from his chair and walked over to the window in the living room.
“Thinking about one’s purpose is scary for anybody, alive or dead. Even before I awakened the World Mirror, I feared that my purpose was to simply exist. I was… happy, when I got a chance to do something with this Ability. Yet, it opens up a whole new world of fear. Why is this Ability special, and why me? I fear it may be a big burden… One that may be too much to handle. And I don’t do so well handling things as is.”
“I told you I would be by your side, no matter what it turns out to be,” Charlotte stated. “Initially, I felt as though it was my duty to do so. Now, after getting to know you better, I know that part of me is correct. I do want to help you, no matter what might happen.”
Adam smiled. “You need to know that the feeling is mutual. I’ll help you out with whatever.”
Tears had started to fall from Charlotte’s eyes. “I’m so thankful that I ended up here. I feel like you and your friends can handle anything bad that happens.”
“You know, that could be what the World Mirror is for? I can…” Adam felt pure cringe emerging from his words. “Reflect… the bad things… away?”
Charlotte started to laugh through her tears. “You think that’s what the World Mirror is for?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking of the grand reason as to why I have it. And, well, regardless of that information being revealed or not, I figured I might as well use it for something like that.”
“I think that’s a great reason.” Charlotte gave Adam the warmest smile she had ever shown him, one that he figured could easily defy the cold coming from the rest of her body.
In an alley hidden away in a particular city, a young man was on the hunt. Despite his skinny physique, he gave off a somewhat intimidating aura from the ominous glare he gave.
“Not too far now… Shit. This is annoying.” He took out a piece of butterscotch candy from his pocket, unwrapped it, and popped it in his mouth. At first, it looked as though he merely through the wrapper onto the ground. A second later, however, it seemed to disintegrate due to an eerie pink light that enveloped it.
Taking a few more steps, he stopped and turned to analyze the wall on the right of him. Touching the cold gray brick with his right hand, he scratched his moppy, dirty blond hair with his left.
“Yeah… this is it. Damn, what a piss-ass waste of my time finding this one.”
Pink waves of energy started to emerge from his right hand, causing the wall to seemingly melt. However, something else was occurring. As if space itself had opened up, a large circular portal was created. Blue aura slowly flowed out of it, which the young man breathed in as if it was fresh air.
A sinister grin formed on Alexander Strauss’ face, as he took a step inside.
“Please, entertain me.”
Adam walked into his room, which still lacked a door from previous events. He turned on a light that was on his nightstand and laid on his bed. Charlotte has just left with the other girls a few minutes prior, and for the first time what seemed like forever, he had time to himself.
“Well… What to do?”
He glanced to the left and right of his room, trying to come up with some sort of plan. After a moment, he noticed his eyelids were starting to grow heavy.
“I suppose that works for now…”
Adam drifted off to sleep rather quickly; a peaceful look left on his face.
This did not last long. Adam jolted awake, feeling a strong breeze on his face. He was bewildered to find himself outside with the sun directly above him.
“What in the hell am I doing here!?” Adam stood up. This simple process felt strange to him, as if his body was different somehow. He looked down.
Adam wore a white button-down shirt, which was something he would usually never wear, along with black pants. Moving his arms and legs for a moment, he came to the conclusion that this was, in fact, his body. However, it seemed to be built a lot stronger than he was used to.
He looked around. The area he ended up was not familiar to him. It was a field filled with an absurd amount of sunflowers, filling up his vision all the way to the horizon. The breeze that had awoken Adam calmed his body, yet it was more than that. He could not describe this strange feeling that had taken shape within him.
There was a rustle in the plants off to the right of him. He assumed it was some sort of tiny animal—such as a squirrel—causing the ruckus. Yet, Adam had a strange feeling. He had to check and see what it was.
Walking over, Adam felt as though something should have been there, visible to him. The plants were tall, but not too tall, so he assumed it would be difficult to hide.
As if forming out of nowhere, a small silhouette appeared. It seemed to be a young child, only a few years in age. They had their back turned to Adam, so he could not tell if he knew who it was.
“Hey… kid, who are—”
Adam reached out his hand, which was halted immediately. As if time itself froze, Adam was unable to move his body.
He then felt a strong force pulling him from behind. The vision before him vanished, and the world faded to black.
Adam’s eyes shot wide open. The rebound from being pulled transferred into the real world, as he bounced off his bed onto the floor. He started coughing violently, realizing that he had not been breathing.
“What… What in the hell was… that!?” Adam sat up, leaning against his bed. He took a few deep breaths to help himself calm down.
Looking up, he realized something was off. His right eye could not see anything. Figuring it was a lot of rheum buildup from his nap, he tried to rub it out. Yet the blindness remained.
“All right, seriously. What the hell is going on!?”
Adam felt a sensation in his eye that could still see; one that, although strange, he was beginning to get used to.
“The World Mirror’s acting up?”
Adam stood, focusing what vision he had toward the doorway. A shadow had moved off to the right, out of sight, which Adam had just barely noticed.
He did not hesitate. Adam dashed out of his room, making a hard turn to the right.
Nobody was there.
Adam rushed into the living room. He was not going to let whatever the shadow was get away. Already feeling the World Mirror rearing to go, he breathed in slowly, making sure to keep it under control. At the same time, he checked everywhere he could.
There was a knock on the door, which put Adam on guard immediately. At this point, his vision was beginning to return to his right eye, which started to glow alongside the other.
He tiptoed forward, taking care to be as silent as possible. There was a tiny peephole in the door, which Adam used to glance outside. He was able to calm to World Mirror to the point where his eyes stopped glowing, which could have potentially been seen on the opposite side.
Adam could not see anyone. He was pondering what had been occurring in the last few seconds.
“I wake up from a bizarre dream, my right eye is temporarily blinded, I see a shadow outside my bedroom, and now I heard knocking at the front door with no source… I thought I could get a break tonight?”
Another knock at the door, this time much louder. Adam controlled his Ability as best he could, and took a second look through the peephole. This time, he noticed a strange small mass laying on the ground near the door.
“Some kind of… something? Damn, I need to fix the light out there.”
Adam gulped. He had a choice to make. Under normal circumstances, he would barricade his front door and hide. But his life is not exactly normal anymore. He had awakened an Ability, and an apparent special one at that. Charlotte had said something terrible was going to happen soon, and the World Mirror was the key to solving whatever it was.
“I can’t hide. If I hide from this, then what the hell would I do when something big happens?”
Adam held onto his power like a trigger. He was ready to unleash it if he met hostility on the other side of the door. Yet, if it wasn’t hostile, he had to hide it. Adam had a hunch, however, that it was in fact hostility.
Adam swung his front door wide open, ready to fight. His hunch turned out to be correct.
What laid on the ground in front of him was a macabre scene. A small, white rabbit was mutilated; blood soaking the soil, guts tugged out of its stomach placed beside it, and one eye missing.
Speechless, Adam inched forward. He was shocked to the point where he did not care that his bare feet had stepped into some of the blood. Adam would not have the opportunity to view the horror for much longer.
Before he could react, a blue rope fell from above, gripping Adam by the neck. He flailed his body in vain as it pulled him upward.