Adam walked in the twilight. He always felt a rather strange sensation around this time of day. There were some ancient myths in his country of Requiem which related to the twilight, such as the famous one about souls having the ability to join together as one—a favorite of Adam’s.
“I should look into that stuff… I wonder how those stories came to be? Heh—” Adam chuckled. “Geez, I really could go to school for history. I certainly have the desire to learn more about it. But…” His expression turned somber.
“Just what do I do right now…?”
As Adam passed the scenery around him, he began to space out—the troubles slowly leaving his mind. It was as though Adam was rooted in his own world. A world where there were no thoughts or feelings, only existence. He only snapped back into reality by a pain suddenly surging through his head.
“What the f—” He shook his head rather violently. “Where the hell did this come from!?”
Glancing around, Adam was glad to see nobody was currently nearby. He was relieved, as he made quite the scene. The headache subsided as swiftly as it had appeared.
“Should I get home and sleep it off?” Adam pondered for a moment. “...Could be the fact that I haven’t really eaten. Yeah—I should still go get something at the store.”
The shopping district of the town was centrally located right between Adam’s house and the Roswell house. There was a slight increase in people around, but nothing too drastic that would make Adam uncomfortable. A few miscellaneous stores, including a general goods store, a pharmacy, and a gas station, were a few things people could go to.
Adam walked into the store, named Ann’s. The store was rather small, with a few aisles filled with your everyday goods.
A girl who was sitting in a chair behind the counter waved to Adam. He knew her as an acquaintance from school, Charlotte Smith, who had just moved to Prelude his senior year of high school. She played around with her black hair while her blue eyes were glued right to a book in her hands.
Deciding to do something out of the ordinary, Adam walked up to her and initiated small talk. “Yo, how’s it going?”
“Fine,” Charlotte responded, eyes still focused on the book. “What are you up to?”
“Just getting some food, nothing too special,” Adam responded.
“Damn, this isn’t good. Maybe the fact that she doesn’t seem so interested in talking is a good thing, I can get out of this quicker.”
Adam turned to the left of him, a wave a relief passing through him as the focus shifted away from the attempted conversation. Walking up the aisle to the register was Winona Collins, Faith’s best friend. She smiled at Adam, fidgeting with one of the pins in her lengthy, curly black hair. They were like jewels—Adam noting the red, orange, and yellow pins on her right side while green, blue, and violet ones were on her left.
“How nice to see you! Are you doing well?” Winona was holding a blue basket filled with various goods from the store. “I heard you and Brandon hung out at Faith’s? I wish I could have made it. I’ve been doing work in the garden with my father all day.”
“Yeah, I’m all right.” Adam’s tension from the talk with Charlotte was gone now. “You two love working in that garden, don’t ya?”
“Mhmm!” Winona nodded her head. “I always love having a wide variety of flowers to look at.” She shuffled her hand through her basket. “Now, I’m getting some things to help Mom cook a late dinner.”
“You enjoy that. I gotta get some things myself.” He waved at both Winona and Charlotte and headed into the aisle nearest to them.
“I’m all set, Charlotte!” Winona put her basket on the counter and took her items out of it.
Charlotte had a smile on her face as she rang up Winona’s items.
As Adam walked down the aisle, he looked back and forth between each side. A sharp pain started to form in his head again, and this time it was as if he felt dizzy.
“I… I’ve eaten recently, right…? This has happened before… but I swore I at least ate an apple this morning. I always remember eating those!”
Almost losing his balance, Adam was able to regain his posture and focus ahead of him.
There stood someone who was not there a moment prior.
A little girl, about six or seven years old, wearing suspenders and a pink backpack. She had brown eyes and brown hair wrapped up in pigtails using pink braids. Adam was trying his best to analyze her appearance, as something was off about it. Horribly off.
Adam swore he could see right through her.
Before Adam could conjure up another thought, the girl had disappeared. It seemed as though time stood still. It wasn’t until he felt a hand on his shoulder that he snapped back to reality.
“Hey, how long are you gonna just stand there?” Charlotte was now behind him, seemingly more weirded out than concerned.
Adam turned toward her. What met her blue eyes were not Adam’s usual gray ones.
His irises now glowed an eerie white.
The wide-eyed look he had on his face was copied by Charlotte.
“I was right…”
“Huh?” Adam had no clue what Charlotte was talking about. His head seemed to calm down now, as the glow slowly left his eyes, returning them to their natural gray color.
“Just when I thought I could relax here at work after a long day of investigating… Oh well. This is good.”
“You seem to not know, do you? Well, it makes sense, after all the testing you’ve done.”
Charlotte leaned in, placing her hands on Adam’s face. As she got closer, the young man tried processing the situation, coming to a conclusion, and accepting his fate.
“Well, I never assumed my first kiss would occur in the unfortunate non-romantic location of a grocery store. But… sure, why not? Let’s go, Adam Grayson.”
The girl’s forehead touched his own, confusing Adam even more.
“W-What are you—”
Eyes now glowing a vibrant azure stared into Adam’s. Once again, the white glow returned to his eyes in response to this phenomenon.
“...Who the hell are you, Charlotte?”
“It seems like nobody’s here in the store. Boss has the night off, no customers… and I can always erase the surveillance footage.”
“...Huh!?” Adam was astounded at what Charlotte was saying, making him forget about the mystical eyes glaring right into his soul for a moment. He then noticed something odd about the young woman holding him.
“Well, I think it’s safer if we move locations. This could get messy.”
Adam nonchalantly placed his hands on Charlotte’s shoulders, moving her slowly away from him. “...Okay. You need to choose your words better. And—seriously—tell me what’s going on. Do you have some sort of Concept? Is this where this power’s coming from?”
“Concept…” Charlotte lowered her head. “That’s what people nowadays call it. No matter how hard I try, I can’t remember what it used to be referred to.”
“It’s… been a thing long before we were born? It was a term coined in the sixties around the time when phantons were discovered. Why... are you talking like you’ve been around longer?”
Charlotte looked back up. What appeared to be an innocent smile sent shivers down Adam’s spine, akin to how she physically felt to him. The words that then exited her mouth completely froze him in place.
“Because I have been.”
The inside of Adam’s head was screaming in agony—quite literally—as if someone was shrieking in horror in between his ears. Before being able to completely process the existence of the specter before him, his consciousness faded, unable to withstand the pain.