The incessant buzzing in my pockets wasn’t enough to pull me away from my thoughts. Whenever I had the urge, I went up to my spot. A lot of things I had experienced there, a lot of light-bulbs were fixed there, a lot of sweet nothings as well. In my first year, I had discovered a secret passageway that led to the roof of the student center. It went right up to the highest of the three steeples. The window was just large enough for me to crawl through and sit on the black roof. The way it was positioned, no one could see you from the ground, so it provided a sort of comfort for me. I was always an explorer.
I gazed out on the campus, still people scurried around amok in anxiety. Sure I talked to these people, but there were many times, where I didn’t want to. Not so much out of fear, but simply a desire to just keep to myself. It was a strange relationship. Putting myself in the limelight, whilst at the same time not caring for it as much as one would expect. I was willing to do it though if it meant accomplishing my goal.
Clenching my fists, I looked down at the gloves. They were still glowing, the sun bounced off the leathery parts. Thoughts rushed through my head, neither one allowing the prior one to settle in. Gryphon. Helix. Gun Girl. Succubus. Fire. Pain. Language. What was the language I saw? It mirrored something one would encounter in the pyramids or other ancient structures. Before the gloves, the writing was always so blurry and far away. I was allowed only a peak. That would explain the unexpected affects of me altering someone’s code before. There had been times when I intensified their powers, but I would eventually disarm them. This time, however, was different. The writing was clear.
“So this is where you ran off to. I should have figured as much,” a familiar voice said from behind me. I didn’t even turn to see her.
A part of me sighed, “How long have you known of this place?”
“I’ve followed you up here a few times,” Lyn admitted. She was never really discrete. I turned around and ushered her to take a seat next to me.
“So tell me, how many people have you told about this place?” I asked her. She gave a faint smile, as her eyes trailed off in the distance. There was a sort of softness to her bluntness. Though their eyes were similar, Lyn’s appeared more sleepy, sort of falling into her cheeks. She never smiled to wide, but she didn’t need to. She appeared soft, but was very outright with her thoughts. She was certainly a paradox.
“Besides my sister, no one else from what I know. Although, I highly doubt you’re the only one who has found this place,”
I laughed, “I know I’m not. I just like to think I am. Provides solace for me,”
“Alex?” she questioned. Her expression barely changed. “What do you think is going to happen? The Dean seems to be really worried about something,”
“I honestly can’t say,” I began. “All we can do is prepare. We live in a world of uncertainty, so who’s to say what can happen. It’s not like the 20th century. Life was simple back then,”
“Ain’t that the truth,” she replied. Her eyes became lost in the horizon again. We sat there in silence for a while longer, before she spoke. “I think Aleema is still mad at me,”
“Why do you say that? Ya’ll are best friends. No way she is still mad about what happened,” I said, trying to comfort her. She brought her knees into her chest and hugged them.
“Sure you say that, but you have to look at it from our perspective. We are more connected than you know. Everything I feel and see, she does too. It’s not just a twin thing, it’s our powers too,” Lyn explained. I didn’t respond immediately. I liked both of them, but I didn’t know how to deal with them sometimes. It was for this reason that I refuted to having any intimate relationships, at least until I accomplished my goal. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make, or so I fooled myself into believing. I knew that was quickly changing.
“I can talk to her, if you want me to. Hopefully she’ll understand, if you still think she is mad,”
“She is mad,” she said. “I can feel it, literally. The air about her is more heated than usual. Been that way for the past six months,” Lyn heaved a sigh. I didn’t respond initially, just continued to stare out at the landscape of the college. My eyes were out there, but my mind was in the past. If I could go back, if I could, perhaps I would change it. That was a lie though, because there was a part of me that regretted nothing, but if it meant causing a rift between two sisters, then I would have taken the hit. It was delicate situation to say the least. It was at that moment I remembered I was still wearing the gloves.
“Hey, Lyn. Do you think you can help me with something?” I asked. Her sleepy eyes arose a bit from their perpetual slumber.
“Sure, I’ll help you with whatever! That is, if you help me and Aleema with something tonight,” she responded.
I scoffed a bit, “What do you want?” my voice grew less formal.
“No no no. I’ll tell you after I help you, that way you can’t say no!” This girl was deceptive and mischievous, but I would bite her lure anyways.
“Very well then. I just need you to look at these gloves,” I held them up in front of her face.
“Umm, ok. What exactly do you need? My opinion?”
“Sure, let’s go with that. Gun Girl,” I gave the codeword. The rush from before came instantly, running from my feet up through my body and extremities, up to my head. I found myself flying through the rainbow colored vortex, and soon I was dumped into the pit of dark space. There it was before me, the neon green helix. Instead of walking up to it, I felt a strange sensation that sort of brisked against my skin like a gently breeze. Did I just teleport?
The helix was as large and impressive as it was before, but there was something different. There were multiple strands that weren’t illuminated. Instead, they were dark grey, almost black, while the rest was the neon green. The mystery language appeared again, and I was somehow able to know what it meant, but it too was incomplete. Words weren’t necessary, my thoughts rang loud like a reverberating gong in the infinite black room. What does this mean? What in the world is this language? What the hell Gryphon! My ears perked up to the repeated cries of Lyn from the outside. She was calling my name, for me to come back. I wonder how time is treated in this realm, was the last thought I had before I was sucked back up the colorful vortex and back into the real world. Lyn was literally inches from my face and her loud cries nearly shook my ears off.
“Alex! What’s wrong? Alex!”
“Damn it, Lyn!” I shouted back. “I’m Ok, I can hear you just fine.” There were tears welling up in her eyes, as she clutched onto my arm.
“What the hell happened? You just, z-zoned out like you were in another w-world or something,” she said, tripping over her words.
I shrugged, “That would be accurate actually.” She gave me a perplexed look, so I continued to explain. I told her about my summer at Gryphon Industries and all the amazing people I had met. I told her about all the new inventions they were working on and how I was the first person to try these gloves. I told her how they thought I was the perfect candidate considering my abilities, and that if the test run went well, I could keep the gloves and name them. All throughout the explanation, she just stared at me, like a young child would stare at their favorite program on TV. She was astonished, which wasn’t surprising. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“That’s…amazing. So, what’s the “place” you go to?” she asked.
“Well,” I began. “It’s a little hard to explain. It feels like my mind is flying through a colorful vortex, like a wormhole or something. And then it’s nothing but blackness, which I assume is the lowest space in the human anatomy, because in the space I can see DNA,”
She stared out at the horizon for a moment. A flock of birds flew overhead in a V-shape formation, as the sun nearly reached its peak in the azure canvas. The university was still abuzz, but neither of us could hear it. We were trapped in our own world, atop the student center. It was peaceful indeed, and little did I know that all that had experienced day regarding these gloves, would alter my future forever. But I wasn’t worried about that, only the present moment, which was marked by a silence laced with loud thoughts. Her thoughts. I could hear the many questions racing in her head. I wondered if she could hear mine.
“So, you saw my DNA. What did you see exactly? How does that help you see people’s magical code?”
“Well, in addition to seeing the DNA strand, I see a group of letters and symbols, but I don’t understand what they mean exactly. They are foreign, almost ancient-looking hieroglyphics. The weird thing is, the meaning is downloaded into my brain, so I don’t have to read it necessarily, but I would like to learn how to read it. I think it would give me a better grasp on what is going on exactly,” I began. “As far as what I saw in you, it differed from someone I used it on earlier. Her helix was complete lit up, but yours was “off” in some areas. I’m not completely sure what it means, but if I had to guess, it means there are parts of your magic you haven’t used yet or haven’t learned. I’m willing to bet Aleema is the same way,”
“That’s so crazy,” she said. “You know, I’ve had my powers since birth, and it took me a while to learn how to control it. I used to make everything around me cold at random,”
“Yea, I know. You’ve told me the stories,” I responded.
“I know, and I feel now like I have a grasp on my magic, but there’s more? What separated that girl from me? Wait a minute…who was the other girl?” she became a bit flustered.
“Some random chick, I forgot her name. I just wanted to test them out as soon as possible, so I chose the first person I saw. She was ummm, well, what I saw was-
“What was it? Is it bad? Is she like some psycho monster demon thing?” she exaggerated. It wasn’t far off.
“You could say that,” I remained on the surface. “Anyways, now you know, so what do you need now?”
“Aha! So this where you two have been hiding!” another familiar voice came from behind. We both swiveled around to see Aleema. She had changed her clothes into some tight gray jeans and a black t shirt with blue snowboard goggles in the front. She also had a little bid of makeup on. “So, is he helping us or what?” she asked Lyn, ignoring me.
“Oh yea, he agreed to help us, sis,” Lyn responded.
“Awesome!” the almond-haired twin exclaimed. “This is gonna rock!”
“Yea, I can’t wait,” Lyn smiled back. I was utterly clueless.
“Um, I am here you know. What do you need me for?”
“We’ll tell you later, ok? Let’s go get some food in town. I’m starving!” Aleema clutched onto her stomach.
“I second that motion,” Lyn said climbing through the tiny window. “Are you coming?” they both asked in unison.
I sighed, “I guess I have no choice. Just let me go to my dorm to grab some things.” I glanced out at the campus from above once more, before descending back into the chaos. At least we were leaving campus, but I still hadn’t the faintest idea where we would be going.
Blueport was what you would expect of any college town. There were a ton of restaurants, many apartment complexes, and one large mall everyone went to. It was a decent sized town on the coast of North Carolina. The town was separated into five parts: the docks, Bluewalk, Midtown, the historic district, and college town. Blueport was mostly a fishing spot, and had become famous over the years for the abundance and variety of fish in the area, especially during the month of July, which saw an unusual increase in the numbers of fish. The area surrounding the docks was, unfortunately, the poorest area of Blueport, but it still wasn’t bad compared to some of the ghettos of a larger city. Bluewalk, which was maybe a couple of miles from the docks, was an affluent neighborhood of rich people, from business owners to entertainers, as well as a few Upgraded. The headquarters for on the local legions, The Beckoning, was located there, and they weren’t very inconspicuous. It looked like a large lighthouse, except far more elegant. Midtown was where a majority of the residents lived. This was also where the majority of the restaurants, entertainment places such as the mall, bowling alley, arcade, zoom carts, and movies were located. The historic district just north of Midtown was a small area, but still full of life. Many authentic and unique eateries were here, as well as the fish market, theater, art galleries, and antique stores. This was also where the courts were and the police station. And of course there was Mozley and the close surrounding area, which included maybe six apartment complexes and a large park. Blueport was still a rather lively city, kept alive mostly by the college, considering the slight decline in fishing production. Nonetheless, people still flocked from all over to taste the exquisite seafood produced here, and we were heading to one of those places.
The Rusty Anvil was located near the Docks, and as it name suggested it, the outside looked rusty. It appeared like a shack, with wooden walls and a creaky door. Two giant anvils sat on either side of entrance. If you were able to get past the exterior, you would be greatly thankful to what you would discover inside. While it still maintained the wooden walls and floorboards, the interior was immaculate, with nifty trinkets and old photos all over the place. There was a large fish tank directly head, that housed a multitude of colorful fish, including one of my favorites, the Scorpion Fish. Not to eat, I just thought it was a beautiful creature. The host desk stood just in front of the fish tank in the lobby area. On either side of her were openings to the upstairs dining area. The upstairs was a large room, which could sit up to two hundred people easily. The kitchen was also on this floor to the left. There was a large square opening in the middle of the dining room that looked down on the lower level. The stairs, however, were immediately on to the right upon entering the room, leading to the lower level. The area down here was where mostly regulars would attend. It was also where they held special events and meetings. It was also where the most fun was, considering there was a large bar, equipped with the most extensive array of booze you’d ever seen. Though I wasn’t into alcohol that much, I never passed on any while I was there.
By the time we had arrived there it was nighttime. Naturally, the twins wanted to do a host of other things before going to eat. This only prolonged my anxiety for whatever they had in store. We sat at a small round table on the far side of the lower level. Light emitted from the lantern centerpiece danced on our glasses. I took a gulp of the Firecracker, a local favorite of two shots on cinnamon whiskey in the locally brewed, Gorgon’s Hard Cider. The liquid burned the back of my throat and slid down into my stomach, leaving behind a tingling sweet sensation. It was a local favorite, because you could barely taste the alcohol. Our food would soon arrive, as three large colorful palettes of food were placed in front of us. I had the Spicy Atlantic Salmon, which was perched on a bed of mixed vegetables and glazed with a spicy, basil sauce, with a side of homemade, garlic mashed potatoes. The aroma of the food overcame us, as we dug in. We were quiet, for the first few minutes. Lyn finally spoke.
“This place is just too good. How they don’t get more business is beyond me,”
“They get plenty of business, what are you talking about?” her sister replied.
“Yea, but I bet they could open up multiple locations. It would be a hit!” she exclaimed, tearing into some gator tail.
“I don’t think they want to expand,” I responded. It was an unusually slow night for a Friday. Only a couple of mid-age men sat at the bar talking to the bartender. One other group of five or so people sat in a large circular booth. Even the upstairs wasn’t packed like it normally was. It might of had something to deal with the opening of the new seafood eatery, Blueport Station, that had opened up a mile or so from the Rusty Anvil. That place was sponsored and owned by Max Rosenberg, a hotshot business owner that owned a line of superhero apparel. His partner was Flashbang, one of the members of The Beckoning. They probably had something to do with the lack of customers this evening.
“We have enough time, right sis?” Aleema asked Lyn.
“Yea, they’ve already started, but they’ll be going for a while, so we’re ok,”
“Ok,” I became frustrated. “What in the world do you two want from me, tonight?” I talked to chews of food. “You’ve led me on this wild goose chase, and still I haven’t the faintest idea of what we’re doing,”
The twins looked at each other and smiled a mischievous smile. This can’t be good.
“We overheard some students talking about this event going on tonight, near the north end of the docks. Some sort of competition thingy. We thought it wold be cool to check it out!” Aleema’s face lit up.
“Yea, we just wanted you to tag along with us really, in case something sketchy happens,” Lyn continued.
“So, I’m your bodyguard? Where are we going that is sketchy?” I asked.
“We don’t really know, we’re just going to follow the crowd. We overheard that you needed a password to get in and well…we were hoping you could use your talents of persuasion to get it for us,” Lyn said.
“What sort of nefarious scheme are you two planning? You don’t even know what you’re getting into, and now you involve me?”
“Oh come on,” Aleema pleaded. “Have some sense of adventure and fun. This will be cool. Plus, we’re already out here, so you might as well,”
“Pleeeease?” Lyn begged, placing her hand on top of mine. I sighed, and pulled it back. I took another gulp of my drink before responding.
“Fine, I’ll do it,” The two of them nearly jumped out of their seats in excitement. I merely shook my head and continued eating. I still did not know what was going to happen, and I didn’t really like that. Still, it would be interesting to see where the night would go. We were unaware, however, that we would discover something rather incredible, something that would forever alter our perception on the world. Hopefully, we would be ready.