Thirty-One Months Before

31 Months Earlier

All I could focus on was the warmth of Tristan’s hand. Another person’s touch was something I was still getting used to. I was in the back of some beefed-out van holding hands with the boy who could turn invisible—the boy I followed into the warehouse despite all the warnings that went off in my head not to. I wondered how I looked to him and hoped I was starting to mean something to him, for he certainly meant the same thing to me. I looked around, not able to be entirely sure if I was dreaming of being in a van full of misfits with just like me. Everything felt surreal.

I had been on my own for so long. It’s hard to feel on the defensive, always. I pushed everyone away when I found myself on the street my relationship with the outside world changed drastically. My motivations centered only around survival, no longer enjoyment. I didn’t care bout what new movie I wanted to watch. I only cared about where I was going to sleep each night. I had hoped that I

wasn’t the only one wit the ability to do something unexplainable. Now, here was evidence all around me. The world is larger and more diverse than I had expected. For the first time in my whole life, I didn’t feel alone and utterly hopeless. After I had studied the sight of my seemly small hand interwind with Tristan’s, I took my eye to his face. He was almost too cute, with high cheekbones and a naturally pouty mouth. His eyes sparkled, with all these possibilities that constantly flickered through his head. There was a point where Tristan believed anything was possible. He his wonderment made me think of Peter Pan. His infinite hope in the incredible and unexplained was how he so instantly convinced me to meet his as he referred to them. They were, in fact, a crew but Tristan defiantly was not the one in charge. A couple—at least they seemed like they were a couple—seemed to be the ones making things happen. They both had black hair and unreadable eyes. The female was a good six years older than me. Her face held sign’s she was getting near the middle of her twenties. Signs of youth was starting to hide behind the signs of experience and stress. She talked in a tone that was always sounding like she was snapping at people. The driver, and her possible boyfriend (though it doesn’t seem right to use such a proper word), Julian stayed mostly silent. He was clearly the muscle of the group. His face didn’t change from the serious expression he made on his face when Tristan introduced earlier in the evening.

The van screeched to a halt. The street was perfectly paved. Well, maintained craftsmen houses stood in orderly lines. Madison brought us to one of the nicer neighborhoods in north Seattle. My stomach churns with uneasy expectations. I wasn’t convinced that I was somewhere I should be. Sitting on the other side of Tristan was his best friend, Brody. The two of them apparently linked up when they were kids, long before meeting up with Madison and whatever this was. We were all some level of thief. Up until now I’d only gone after pockets and purses, never someone’s home.

But, this is how Tristan afforded a place to live in the city–that;s how they all did. I told myself and Tristan I’d give it a try. As we sat in the upscale neighborhood that housed only the successful and the lucky, only doubt swirled in my head.

“Are you ready?” Tristan asked with wide eyes. A smile took up the lower half of his face, reminding me where I’m there.

“I don’t know,” I said honestly.

“Then, maybe you shouldn’t. It will only get easier to do this. If you aren’t sure, don’t,” Brody said, keeping his voice low. Thick black glasses framed his hazel eyes that focused on me. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for being there. But, he was there too—and it wasn’t his first time.

“Leave her be, man.” Tristan said jabbing Brody in the waist with his elbow.

“I’m not being mean. I’m saying what’s real. It’s a choice.” Brody’s raspy voice cracked at the last few words. I was coming to know that Brody’s voice does crazy things when he’s passionate about something. Brody’s lips tightened into a straight line. My knees suddenly felt like a mixture of glass and jelly. I wasn’t sure why Brody was speaking up the way he was. Tristan’s hand around mine tightened, and he shot Brody a look that said drop it.

“Are you chickens ready to make a couple of bucks?” Madison said as she slowly passed a fireball the size of a marble, from hand to hand. Tristan’s skin shimmered, as he slowly faded away altogether. “Yep,” he said. The warmth of his hand was still around mine. The power of invisibility, you can be both present and not simultaneously. Brody’s body faded into the van floor gradually as he said his. Something else I was learning about Brody was he often phased through objects mid conversation. Once he is gone completely, the conversation was over.

The van doors slid open. I waited for a second.

“Come on.” Tristan whispered.

I slowly climbed out of the van the large, fancy houses seemed, even more, massive as I stood on foot. It had been so long since I had been in a true home.

“I’m ready,” I told Tristan.

Brody shook his head. I was annoyed. He barely knew me, and he was judging me for trying something he had been doing for awhile.

Madison was suddenly standing right next to me. I didn’t hear her move, but there she was. A fog of negativity lingered her life overused perfume. Her black hair looked more like a horses mane then someone’s hair. Her eyes showed no warmth. How could someone with the ability to conjure fire seem so cold?

“Don’t get in the way,” she said to me, only further supporting my opinion.

“I plan on helping,” I responded without giving it much thought. “Tristan told me my power would be helpful.”

“Caring too much about someone I worked with was one of the worse things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of terrible things.” Her voice slid out in a tone that left me sure of where she was coming from.

“Stay here and wait for the signal. Brody andI are the first to go in,” Tristan whispered in my ear, then released my hand. Without being able to feel his touch, I had no concept of where he was in reference to me.Now-

A sharp breeze grabbed ahold of my hair, forcing it to dance in circles around my head. My thoughts hug my body, allowing me to fall as slowly as I could manage. The second my feet hit the rain soaked cement, I break out in a run. I take the alleyway on the left without hesitation. A perk from watching them from watching them from rooftops. My heart smacks against my ribs as I run. The absence of everything I knew was all around me. Two slots lingered outside a door. The rain was coming down at a good clip and the alleyways are so barely lit but I knew I had found them.

“Stop!” I yelled. Anger was with me since I woke up that morning. Brody was long gone by the time I pulled myself out of the strange bed in place that he meant for us to share. Guilt and disappointed have clawing at my shoulders since. Brody hadn’t even been gone for a full twenty-four hours I had already felt completely lost.

The figures in the alley stop talking in response to my outcry. The larger of the two see me first. I can handle this. I keep walking toward them. I fan out my fingers as my mind twists around both of the strangers, no longer permitting, them to move around freely. I didn’t care about who saw me use my powers. All I care about is finding Madison and stopping her as well as stop people from turning into chemical powerhouses. A flash of Tristan slamming his fists into a table, his disorder eyes held me for a minute. Then I picture his body burning. The same tears that have been on edge all day burn at my eyelids.

“Who in the hell are you?” A gruff voice yells back.

The details of their faces become clear to me now. I had a guy around my age, and a rainbow haired girl closer to Darcy’s age in my control. I narrow in on their eyes and general expressions. Madison’s super strength inducing drug felt like it was all over the city. Misery seems have the ability of spreading quicker than anything else. The guys pupils were almost invisible under a cloudy film that stretched across them. He was definitely a Rift-X victim. Did he know his strength yet, though was the question. At this thought I tighten mental grasp around their bodies. The girl held no signs of the drug. Her skin was flush and healthy. Her pure gray blue eyes studied me carefully.

“I’m looking for Madison,” I bark, “The one with the fire,” I add.

The girl shakes her head, “I don’t know that is,” she says, her voice completely and unnaturally calm. I don’t why but I believe.

“You?” I say looking at the guy. His dark hung stuck out widely on top his head. His chapped lips slid into a smirk.

“I don’t know where anybody is.” He wasn’t yelling anymore, but I knew he’d go after me in second if my thoughts release him.

“I call your bullshit,” I say. My heart flickered in my chest in way that was warning me that my emotions were trying to get the better of the situation. My mind releases his rainbow-haired companion, and tightens around his body. “Who are you buying from?” I demand.

The girl doesn’t run or speak up. She stands there as if I’m still holding on to her.

“What are you cop?”

“Do I look like one?”

Without thinking my fist tightens and my mind responds by squeezing the guy’s body even tighter.

“Now do you remember?” I yell, twisting my thoughts around his throat.

He chokes out. “Lot’s of people,” he manages to push out.

I let back on my mental grip. “Do you remember what they look like?”

He shook his head, smiling at me. I tossed him against the wall.

Suddenly, two hands were on my shoulders. I spun around, losing track of the junkie with super strength. I no longer felt his heart pumping in the center of my mind.

It’s Darcy. She is standing there with a worried looked drawn across her face.

“What are you doing?” Darcy asks as she eyes up the girl who’s stood still as a shadow, and the guy is making a run for it. Before I could stop him, Darcy grabs my arm. “What will this accomplish?”

Darcy seems so much wiser than she did to me yesterday.

Everything was different yesterday.

“I need to find Madison,” is all I’m able to muster up. I’ve been grabbing a hold of every junkie with cloudy eyes I could find. I wasn’t getting any closer to Madison.

“I’m not sure why you are assuming she’s hiding,’ Darcy’s smiles, then her attention turns to the girl still not moving.

“You are free to go,” I say. Her hair is pin straight and hangs to the center of her back—about as long as mine. There several shades of blue, red, green, and purple layer in her locks. She was average height, but very slight. It was clear she wasn’t under the influence any drug that Madison’s had her hands on, but there was something off, something different about her compared to the rest of the street kids I’ve been going through. Not killing anyone, just searching.

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