I must have been a strange sight on the streets. Some teenager with weird hair running down the street with a huge stick in hand, getting chased by a guy who would have passed for a grizzly bear if you looked from far enough away.
Tukson's – because there wasn't much doubt it was him – breath was heavy and ragged, his chest heaving with every intake of air, while his claws – and I mean frickin' CLAWS! – would swipe at me when they thought they were near enough. He didn't seem the least perturbed by the torrential rainfall dominating the land, nor did he seem to slip, slide or stumble whenever he had to turn corners.
So there I was, an innocent man technically framed and definitely betrayed by an actual thief, on the run from a man twice my age, with the sting of betrayal taking a back seat behind the rush of adrenaline and the lousy jerk called fear, who never helped you but could be a pretty good motivator when the time called for it. Or he could unleash his freeze gun on you, setting it to –
Getting back on track, there I was when I saw a couple motorway roads (where could all those even lead?) rising above each other up ahead. Each had weird blue glowing light walls on the side of the road, which seemed to be enough protection because each was covered in cars galore.
That is a useless fact that wasted your time. Sure, it sets the scene, but it's not like I cared too much, and it isn't what caught my attention. It's simply one of those useless facts authors add in that the first person perspective supposedly saw, took note of and described for people they would never meet, even though when people walk into rooms they simply register the presence of these things and move on.
What wasn't a useless fact for the benefit of others was the horde of people dancing underneath them in what must have been some huge event, judging by the pure sound pumping out of some two-metre high speakers and the four-meter high banners saying "PARTY ON!" They certainly chose a good location, because the motorway kept the place dry which in turn kept the atmosphere high, which all good parties must have.
I guess it wasn't a useless fact after all.
There was a stage beaming disco lights across the crowd and some nameless DJ having a good time onstage judging by the literal sweat dropping off him when he swung himself from side to side in rhythm to the music and while there wasn't a singer, the dancers sure put on a show with their twirling moves. Still, once again, this wasn't what I focused on, making it another useless fact.
This is my one chance to get away. Surely he can't catch me in there, right? There would be too many people in the way of me and him. That was the thought that kept my legs pumping, my heart pumping and my arms moving in synchronisation.
I was actually wrong. Well not wrong per say, but not quite on the right track. If I had been paying attention, then I would have realised that Tukson's laboured breath meant I was running him ragged, quite literally. He wouldn't have lasted for another 10 seconds running after me.
But moving on.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me in the direction of the avid partygoers, hoping against all hope I could make it before Winnie the Pooh could latch on to me. Jeez, you'd think he would just call the police!
There was a small temporary fence surrounding the throng of teenagers, with a poorly made foam entrance guarded by a threatening bouncer. The rain dripped off his hat, yet he acted as if this in no way bothered him. An irritated frown adorned his face, while his beard morphed into a moustache and sideburns in a way that made you wonder where one ended and the other began. His red shades gave the impression that he was constantly angry, while his black suit promised he'd be ruthlessly efficient in keeping me, or anyone who got too ahead of themselves, outside the barrier.
I jumped over the fence two metres to his left.
Upon noticing this, at least 50 other teens decided this was the faster way to a good time.
This all left Tukson stuck behind the growing mob of people, hands on his knees while he fought for breath. It also turned the intimidating bouncer into someone who reminded me of the poor supply teachers that desperately try to keep those difficult movie children in line.
That is to say, he had lost the illusion of power.
I didn't dare look behind me; for fear that somehow Tukson would land his claws on me when I slowed down. I kept pushing through the people, ignoring the pained cries of those who I shoved out of the way, or stepped on their tails, or invaded their personal space – like that existed in a place like this, with the overhead strobe lights, pulsating beat and crazy dancers.
It took me five minutes, but I finally made it to the other side with my stick still in hand, against all odds. I glanced around me. No crazy bear man in sight. Good. So, if I can just- hurk!
If you're wondering what that noise was, it was the mental and physical representation of me receiving an elbow to the ribs as someone ran past, not noticing me in their haste.
"Sorry! Come on Ren, this party needs a Nora!" And so the weird guy in the green shirt was dragged away by the girl with the orange hair as she leapt over the- wait.
How does she leap so high while dragging that guy behind her? You know what, forget it. I need to find Cyan and get my stuff back. But how?
I couldn't just go back to the library. That's where Tukson was going, and besides Cyan wouldn't have stuck around there anyway. So where to go? And more importantly, how to get there?
The answer was pretty obvious. I had to move on.
*Sigh*. I guess now would be the best time to search for Jane. But where to start? How to go about it? And what do I do when I find her? What do I do after I've found her?
Life is confusing sometimes.
"Excuse me? Are you here with anyone?" I turned to see a girl who stood at roughly my height, with raven black hair and hazelnut eyes. Her mouth was set in an assured smirk, while her lime green short-cut dress and matching ocean blue high heels screamed confidence. Did that mean she was actually shorter than me?
Yes. Yes it does.
But anyway, I was kind of wondering why she was talking to me. Despite her clothes and confidence, she was still roughly my age. Why was she talking to me like a child?
"Um... no? Not really. Why do you ask?" This seemed to confirm what she had been thinking, for her smirk was threatening to turn into a smile.
"Good. I assume you're homeless, then?" I was starting to get worried. What did she mean good?
"Yes... I'm sorry, but who are you?"
"That is currently unimportant. Follow me." She turned on her heel and strutted off. I meanwhile, stood there confused.
I felt as if I had suddenly received an energy boost, starting in my brain before spreading to the rest of my body. It left me feeling reenergised, as if I hadn't just run away from an angry papa bear through the rain, but my mind was where the really weird stuff was happening.
My thoughts were racing at a mile a minute. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't panicked or scared at the time. My brain simply... sped up. As if I had slowed down time (which is impossible because time doesn't exist) and could analyse and understand everything I saw.
What's going on? Why is everything moving so slowly? This is pretty creepy. Okay, think. Everything has a cause and effect. Effect? Time (which doesn't exist) is moving slower. Reason? The most likely possible reason it looks like this would be I am reacting to things faster, which means I am thinking faster. Am I moving faster?
I tried to lift my hand to my face, only to see that while it moved slightly faster than everything else around me (and my surroundings looked pretty weird too. I could see each raindrop as it fell and elongated, before it crashed into the ground, mixing in with the surrounding water), it was still slower than it should be.
It's like I'm in the Matrix. What could have caused this? Was it the portal I fell through? Did it mess with me somehow? Nah, it can't have been that. At least, not directly anyway. It changed my eyes from brown to blue, but that was instantaneous. Was it that girl?
I thought through the conversation we had as the world slowly crept on. I didn't even notice the small drop in her dress that signified a hidden pocket, nor the slight bulge inside that meant something else. I didn't even react as the girl slowly spun around a few paces ahead, and I didn't care to think of why she, or anyone else at the party, brought an umbrella (another useless fact, since when the rain started these people were probably already outside and wouldn't have wanted to leave the party to get one).
So she was acting strange, asking me if I was with someone or if I was homeless. Why would she do that? She seemed happy when I said I was alone... and more so when I said I was homeless. Why? She has something planned for me... something a friend might have stopped, or made harder. And she wanted me homeless. What else was strange?
I still failed to notice the girl in the green dress slowly walk back to me, a confused expression on her face. I was lost in my own little world, figuring out why I was seeing things this way and what the girl wanted with me.
The final thing she said was "Follow me." Then my brain sped up. The connection seems pretty clear. Even her voice sounded strange, as if suddenly another layer was added on top, like adding strawberry sauce to a vanilla ice cream... something that suggested I should agree.
Slowly, the dots aligned in my head as the girl (who I still failed to notice) studied my face, hesitating on the eyes before moving on. Her mouth slowly opened as she began to speak, before I gasped in shock.
"You're trying to kidnap me." The girl raised an eyebrow.
"Come again?" God, it sucks when I'm so much faster than everyone else.
Speaking slowly, as if to an idiot, I said "Why... are... you... trying... to... kidnap... me?"
The girl's eyes widened in shock before quickly resetting to a natural confident gaze.
"What on Remnant could you be talking about? Now I repeat, follow me."
"Sorry, but you're going to have to talk slower. I can't understand a word you're saying."
Jeez, that was getting old fast (eh? Eh?).
"I... said... no. Non. Nein. I... won't... go." Thankfully, the world was slowly returning to its normal speed, though not nearly as fast as I would have liked. I finally took the chance to notice that there was something distinctly... off, about the girl. As if a faint heat was coming off her, like I was a couple meters away from a small fire.
The girl's confident smile turned into an angry snarl within a matter of seconds. "Why isn't it working? You can't disobey me unless... ah." The girl gained a suspicious look as she regarded me in a new light, though why I didn't know. Sure, her voice sounded weird for a second, but what had that meant? Ugh, if my brain wasn't returning to normal speed, I might have had enough time (which doesn't exist) to figure it out.
"You have aura, don't you?" The heck was that supposed to mean?
"You mean that stuff used in anime all the time? You're joking right?" She studied me curiously, as if looking for deceit.
She found none, because it IS true that aura has only been used in anime and never, EVER, in any cartoons, live action film or web-show, except this one show that used "soul-powers," which is what aura is anyway. Chicken Beak is a weird website anyway.
"You... really don't know do you? I suppose I can't be too surprised, not everyone knows despite it being common knowledge. And yet, that would mean you mind is strong anyway... oh you are going to be interesting." I grew worried at the way her smile widened, or the manic gleam her eyes gained. Should I run?
She pulled out a syringe from that hidden compartment I failed to notice earlier. My brain always works faster when under extreme pressure; and what with the thing that just happened...
"Is that guy working with you too?"
"What?" She turned around in confusion, only to hear the splash of my feet hitting the wet tarmac in the other direction.
It's nice to know the many variations of the "look over there" trick. It's surprisingly successful, because it's so blatantly obvious no ever suspects it might actually happen.
I must have been a strange sight on the streets. Some teenager with weird hair running down the street with a huge stick in hand, getting chased by a girl (whose name I still didn't know) in high heels holding a syringe with a crazy smile on her face.
"That's right! Keep running! It will make it the process quicker when I catch you!"
"Leave me the hell alone!*"
*Or insert running meme