11. Childhood

I awoke to the sound of my ring tone. My head was swimming and I couldn’t focus on the repetitive sound. I opened my eyes to see that I was back in the comfort of a warm bed, still in my street clothes. A narrow shaft of silver sunlight was peeking through the drawn curtains. The phone continued to ring. I barely managed to answer it. “Hello?”

“Hey, Anthony,” answered a cheerful voice.

“Uh, hey,” I said half awake.

“Did I wake you?” she asked.

“No. Of course not. No.” It was Beverly, my old friend I ran into at the E-Ex back in December. She had left a message on my phone as soon as she heard about what happened at the Misty Canyon, but I hadn’t spoken to her in weeks. “Beverly,” I said. “What’s up?”

“Not much,” she said. “How are you?”

“Oh, I’m all right.” That of course was a lie.

“That’s good to hear,” she continued. “Listen, if you’re not up for tonight I’ll understand?”

Tonight? The reminder almost fully woke me up. I looked at my clock as it read 7:31 am, Wednesday, January 12. The day of the State Finals for the E-Ex. I had spoken to Beverly about meeting her there over the holidays. I had completely forgot about it. “It’s okay, Beverly,” I said. “I’m still good for tonight.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I mean, we could hang out some other time, if you’d like.”

“Nah, the sooner I could get out of this house and start doin’ stuff the better. Do you need a ride?”

“Well that’s great, Anthony. A ride would be nice, If you don’t mind.”

“Cool. What time should I pick you up?”

“Is six any good?”

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s fine.”

“Awesome. I’ll see you tonight. Bye.”

What the hell did I just get myself into? I thought. Being half awake, I was spontaneous in that entire conversation. My mind hadn’t even awoke yet. Luckily, I had no plans for that night. Actually, I didn’t want any, but now I did. I didn’t hold that against Beverly, though. And why should I? This house had become emotionally stifling. Originally, I saw the E-Ex as an opportunity to get closer with Beverly. Now I was going to use it just to get away from this house. Maybe then I could clear my thoughts and feel alive a bit. I didn’t think my dad would mind if I “borrowed” another car, so I didn’t really have anything to worry about.

I laid in my bed for a while, trying to remember and reflect on that dream.

Elicia.

That name echoed in my mind, as if someone was whispering in the back of my head. I wondered if I’d ever see her again. Elicia. Then it killed me to realize that she was dead. But her face was like nothing I’d ever saw before. It was of pure beauty, wisdom, and innocence. Elicia.

And her eyes.

Her eyes were something else. And then she kissed me. The sensation of her lips lingered with me, as if her lips were still locked against mine. Elicia.

I then remembered what followed next: the Old Man and what he told me, and finally, confronting my other side. My…Id. What did all this mean? What were these people? What was I? Based on what I saw last night in my dream, I no longer knew myself. Was I really capable of all those things? Was everything that the Old Man had told me real? If so, then why couldn’t I jump fifteen feet right now, or move through a wall, or paralyze people with a jolt of energy? Why? So many questions. I had to clear my head.

I drove to school that day, the first time in three months. In the short period of time that I wasn’t driving, I had become rusty and clumsy at the wheel. But I bet that was because I couldn’t stay focused on the road, for my mind constantly withdrew back to my dreams. I ran three red lights and missed two turns as other drivers cussed off my BMW. One would think that I got my license from a cereal box. Finally but thankfully, I made it to school.

After class, I drove over to Al’s place on Jane St. on the Floor just on the border of southern Lucicrescens. It was a modest looking townhouse with three floors and a basement. It seemed small and cozy on the outside, but was spacious on the inside. At the time no one was renting out the basement so his family had the whole place to themselves. It was Al, Monique, Al’s six-year old half-sister Chantal, his mother Rosie, and her husband of seven years, Troy Roberts. All except Chantal were working, and they made just about enough to make ends meet.

Al and I hung out in the basement shooting some pool. I told him I was supposed to meet someone at the State Finals, which was being held downtown. I asked him if he could make it, but he said that Jaurel had gotten himself into trouble again and needed Al to bail him out at his hearing, seeing how no one else was willing to do so. Reluctantly, Al had decided to do his old buddy a favour. Al and I have only known each other since ninth grade, but he’s known Jaurel since third. So that left one person who was willing to join me.

“I’ll come,” Monique said.

“You sure?” I replied. “I mean, it’s a science fair.”

“I know,” she said, “but I have nothing else to do tonight. Plus, I need to get rid of the after taste of that New Years Eve party.” I was surprised that she’d decide to come, nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone else tag along. After all, it wasn’t as if I was going on a date.

In light of this, however, Al called me aside. “Eh Anthony,” he said under his voice. “I’ve seen this Beverly girl, and she’s pretty cute. So why are you attaching a third wheel to this bicycle?”

“There is no bicycle,” I replied. “It’s not even built yet. It’s just random pieces scattered all over the floor. And right now I gotta figure stuff out, sort out the pieces before I could put ‘em together.” Al simply nodded his head in understanding.

Soon after we were on our way to meet Beverly. As I was driving with Monique, I found it easier to relax and focus. No longer was I driving like I was in some Grand Theft Auto game, I felt more secure at the wheel. The road was clearer than usual that evening, and the moister from the fog on the streets made the asphalt seem like a mirror. I glanced at her as she went through the car stereo’s memory for a track she’d enjoy listening to. Finally she said, “So how’s your dad’s campaign going?”

That was the last thing I wanted to talk about, especially with her. “He hasn’t given up,” I responded, keeping my eyes on the road. “What happened to my brother hasn’t seemed to faze him one bit.”

“Why do you say that,” she asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“Not once have I seen him shed a tear. On the outside he’s the same dull, busy man. But on the inside…God knows. All I know is that he’s going ahead with my uncle’s campaign.”

“I see. Seems like you’re not too happy about that,” she interpreted.

“I never much cared for the idea to begin with,” I admitted.

“Have you spoken to him about it?” she asked. “Let him know how you feel?”

“Nah. There’s nothing to talk about.”

Afterwards, we finally made it to Beverly’s apartment just east of Al’s house. It was quite tall, much like all the other buildings in Lucicrescens; its forty-six stories shooting strait up past the Under Story. There it was met by Lincoln Ave. which ran strait into Action Square five miles north.

I pulled into the driveway that curved toward the building and back onto the street. Beverly was already waiting outside, sitting on the ledge of an archway at the entrance. She instantly saw us and before I knew it, she was already in the back seat. “Hey, Anthony. Who’s your girlfriend?” she asked with teenage cheer as she chewed a wad of bubble gum, its cherry scent already filling the car.

“Well my friend is Monique,” I answered smiling. “She just moved down here from New York.”

“Cool,” she said as she shook Monique’s hand in a feminine way. Her long dark hair was now highlighted with a streak of red as she wore it tied up, giving her a punk sort of look. “Oh, and Anthony,” she continued, “don’t worry about giving me a ride back cuz I already got that taken care of.”

“No problem,” I said as I was pulling out of the driveway.

As we drove on, rain clouds began to manifest, blanketing the sky into an even deeper shade of grey. We connected onto the Under Story where it was a little brighter, and headed for the Metro Convention Centre where the State Finals were being held. The street sign read Prince St. It wasn’t long of a drive, considering that there wasn’t much traffic and we were already downtown. Soon enough we made it there, and of course, finding parking was a bitch.

The Convention Centre was a massive complex the size of two city blocks. It was eight stories high complete with four underground levels. It included a shopping mall, food courts, a daycare centre, four ball rooms, two concert halls, an extravagant opera house, and an intricate system of tunnels that led into the Sub Floor city. Throughout its illustrious history, it has seen the likes of many affluent people, including the U.S. President, world leaders, famous actors and various musical artists, the Pope, and all the way to Michael Apollo. It was some place indeed.

The three of us walked into the main atrium which complemented the beautiful architecture from the outside. The place rose the entire eight stories to a glass dome. Hanging all around the edge of the dome were lanterns that lit the ceiling, as avocado-marble columns rose from the parquet floor to support it. We were greeted by two women who directed us toward the location. The place was quite busy that evening. Not for the Science Fair, but for a very prestigious ball that was happening that same night at that very centre. However, it was being held on a different floor in a different wing, so it had nothing to do with us.

We walked down a long, busy hallway that led to four escalators leading up. On the way, I accidentally bumped into someone. He appeared to be a staff member and seemed to be in a hurry to leave. I quickly apologized. However, he continued on his way without saying anything. Odd, I thought to myself. I remembered his pale, bony face.

Beverly walked in front as she briskly led the way. There were additional signs pointing up, indicating that the Finals were on the second floor. Monique and I quickly followed as Beverly continued walking and strode right up the escalator. As she did so, I quickly stole a glance at her butt. And you know what, it wasn’t bad.

When we made it to the top, there were two large, wide open doors in front of us. The exhibition room was on the other side. The sheer size of the place seemed to swallow us. It was twice the size of the atrium, but lacked its beauty. The entire floor was covered with a dark green carpet, and the walls were covered with tan coloured, sound absorbing panels. Several meek but impressive chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Stands were set up throughout the room. There were countless exhibits, organized in the same fashion as the City Finals- by topic. But here, there were twice as many participants, and three times as many visitors. We stood near the entrance, studying our next move. “Now it’s just a matter of finding my spot,” said Beverly. She scanned the area as if looking for where to go. There was a multitude of people walking and jostling by. Some people were leaving while many more where just walking in.

“Do you know where you’re supposed to be?” I asked.

“She told me it was somewhere… over there!” she said pointing to a girl waving to us from afar. “Andrea!” she called out. She gestured for us to follow as she ran over to meet her friend. As we did so, Monique was jostled and bumped around as she pushed her way through the crowd of people. As for me, I was weaving my way through with liquid fluidity, not touching one person. And I was doing it with such ease, as if it came naturally. I didn’t pay much attention to this, however.

“You got here sooner than I thought,” expressed Andrea. She wasn’t a tall girl, about five-five. She seemed to be of Brazilian decent, and wasn’t exactly slim but not husky either. A curvaceous young woman. Her hair was long and black, almost twice the length of Beverly’s. And she was wearing a long black armless-dress to mach it, more formal than that of Beverly’s attire.

“Well, the traffic was kind to us,” said Beverly. “Plus Anthony here couldn’t care less for the speed limit. He’s an old friend of mine by the way.”

“What’s up,” I greeted.

“Hey,” Andrea saluted, displaying a porcelain-white smile. “Beverly tells me that you would have been a great guinea pig for our project. She told me that you knew what happened to me at the last Fair.”

I had forgotten about that moment. “Oh yeah,” I recalled. “But it was just a lucky guess, probably. You know, these things happen.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” she said before acknowledging Monique. “And who’s this?”

“Oh, she’s a friend of Anthony’s,” answered Beverly, “she was interested in coming.”

“Cool,” expressed Andrea, “glad you could make it.”

“It was nothing,” shrugged Monique.

Of course, having three females together, girl talk became inevitable. The three began yapping away about things that made no sense to me. I’m trapped, I thought. Luckily Monique realized that we were blocking the way of people passing by, and suggested that we move. We went over to their exhibit which was located somewhere near the stage area of the room. About ten minutes later the Fair officially began. Monique and I walked around and checked out some of the other exhibits for about an hour or two before we got ready to leave. They weren’t going to announce the winner until 10:00 p.m. We went back to Beverly and Andrea, and noticed that the judges seemed very intrigued about their studies. They’re gonna win for sure, I thought to myself.

Afterwards, Beverly and Monique decided that they would get some coffee and refreshments before we headed out, leaving me and Andrea to engage in idle chat. We spoke for a while as we got to know each other. Being the impressionable guy I was, I was hypnotized by her full lips forming the words as she spoke. But as we continued, the worst thing started to happen. A sudden pain began shooting through my head, and my skull started pounding. Nausea soon followed, as my condition became apparent to Andrea. “Are you okay,” she asked.

“Uh, I’m fine,” I said, rubbing my temple as I stared at my feet, “I just have a headache, that’s all.”

“Maybe you should have a seat,” Andrea suggested.

“Nah, I’ll be okay,” I reassured. But then I looked up and stared at her, and discovered that there was a greenish aura emanating from her. My heart began pounding. I looked around and the air in the room had once again shifted to a cyan hue, and as people strode by, they too were glowing this green. It’s happening again! I thought to myself.

“You sure you’re all right?” asked Andrea. I looked at her and saw that she appeared even more beautiful within this gleam, as if there was an emerald halo around her.

Her eyes…they’re so dark. “Is there like a washroom anywhere?” I asked.

“Yeah, they’re on the other side of the room,” she said.

“I’ll be right back,” I said as I was on my way. I slowly made my way over to the washrooms, almost stumbling as I walked. But soon enough, the pain began to disappear and the headache stopped. But my vision remained the same though, and I could feel everyone around me. It was just like Jaurel’s party, or the street by the hospital. And I was able to pin point where Monique and Beverly were, without even looking for them. I felt like I was walking through a sea of blue with ghostly green beings floating around. And as the pain subsided, I began hearing that low continuous hum. It reverberated throughout my head as I began to hear every sound and every frequency in the room. My hearing was amplifying again, just like that day at school. I could hear each individual voice, their breathing, their heartbeat. I was hearing the ventilation, the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the silent pages in an open book- everything. Why is this happening to me? I thought to myself. What’s going on? When I finally made it to the washroom entrance, I paused, for I realized that I was not only hearing what was going on around me, but I could hear what was happening in a completely different part of the building. It was the ball that was currently taking place. First I heard the music, the regal sound of cellos and violins. But then the music abruptly stopped. And the music was replaced by what sounded like gunshots and firing. Then all I could hear was screaming and cries ringing out in the air. A dark feeling draped over me, that familiar sense that something bad is about to happen. I then heard the sound of many footsteps leaving the ball room and tearing their way down the halls. The footsteps were getting louder as if they were getting closer, and along the way I could hear the sound of guns cocking and reloading. Whatever it was, it was heading for this room.

I stood there helpless with my eyes on the main entrance waiting to see what was about to ensue. And without warning, a host of nine some-odd armed men came storming into the place from all entrances. They were brandishing A-K 47s and M16s. Their faces were covered with masks and their bodies were covered with heavy bullet-proof vests. A few of them fired into the air to signal chaos as the rest of the horde ransacked the room. People began screaming and scrambling about as this event was turned into a horrible nightmare. Immediately, my instincts told me to run into the washroom and lock the door, and without hesitation, I heeded.

Inside the empty washroom, I could still hear the ruckus going on outside. I heard banging on the door but was too afraid to open it. I ran inside a stall and locked the door (as if that would have helped). I knew that the washroom door outside wouldn’t hold for long, and all I could do was await the inevitable. My thoughts immediately went to Monique, Beverly and Andrea. They were still out there. God knows what was happening to them. And here I was hiding in a men’s room stall like a coward.

It didn’t take a quantum physicist to figure out what was going on. These men, whoever they were, seemed to be urban pirates: a coterie of thieves with the latest in weaponry on the black market who went from city to city robbing and pillaging major events like modern day Vikings. Lucicrescens had seen its fair share of this, but I never would have imagined that I’d be caught in the middle of one. Most likely they were here for that gallant ball and had decided to raid the Science Fair at the same time, making off with as much as they could, killing two birds with one stone.

I couldn’t stay huddled on that toilet with those girls on my mind. I had an urge to do something. I then remembered that name, Elicia, and everything that it meant. The dream came flooding back to me and all its revelations, but I still wasn’t sure of what to think of it. Then suddenly, like a madman, I began to hear voices- whispering that seemed to be coming from all directions, yet at the same time was coming from my head. The voices gradually unified into one, and strangely enough, it seemed as if I was hearing a voice that sounded disturbingly alike to mine, and it was calling to me, calling my name.

I slowly opened the door and crept out into the washroom. The place was still empty as chaos outside was still raging on. I continued to hear this voice as it called my name, but I was not at first able to pin point where it was coming from. Then I knew it. I saw my reflection in the mirror, and yet, it wasn’t my reflection. I was silent, not speaking at all, but the image in the mirror was. He was calling to me. “Anthony, it is time,” he said.

“Id?” I identified, “Is it really you?”

“In the flesh, so to speak,” he said.

“I’m dreaming again aren’t I,” I said. “This all isn’t real.”

“Oh, my friend, this is very real,” said Id from the mirror, “as real as reality can get. It is 9:28 p.m. You’ve been awake for the past fourteen hours and fifty-nine minutes, and everything that you have experienced within that time has actually happened. Trust me, Anthony, this is horribly real.”

“Then what the hell is going on?” I cried, “Who are those guys, why are they here, how the hell are you talking to me through a fucking mirror!” This was all happening so fast I could barley hold on to myself.

“I am with you always, my friend,” said Id. “And you’ve already figured out who those men are and why they’re here. What you need to do now is figure out how to stop them.”

“Me? Stop them?” I wondered if this guy was serious.

“There is more to you then you think, Anthony,” said Id. There was a pause then he continued. “Do you remember changing clothes this morning?”

A puzzled look came across my face. I thought that the question had no relevance to the situation, but on closer inspection, I realized that I was wearing the same thing that I fell asleep in the night before. Like an idiot, I forgot to change my cloths, I didn’t even shower. But the way in which he asked the question hinted that there was a reason for this. He then asked me to take off my brown hooded sweat-shirt. I was unsure about this at first, seeing that I was speaking to a talking reflection, but I did as I was told. And what I saw almost knocked me off my feet. I stared bewildered at myself for five seconds. Sitting perfectly on my body was the outfit I had actually stole from the facility. The Knight Suit, as I now knew it was called. It perfectly matched the contours of my body with not even a single wrinkle. I was amazed by how each speck of light that it caught was reflected in a cryptic blue, but other than that, it was completely black with a chain like collar around the base of the neck and wrists that was moon bright. Id must have somehow made me put it on while I was dreaming, but why? I was about to find out.

“It is time, Anthony,” interrupted Id, “You know what you have to do.”

“I know you’re not serious,” I doubted.

“Dead serious,” said Id. “Until now, me and you have been separate minds struggling against each other, using the same body for different affairs. But now the time calls upon us to work together. I will reveal everything to you, Anthony. Everything I could do, you could do as well, and to a greater extreme. You will move like I do, fight like I do, hear like I do, see like I do, and more. All of this will take place from tonight. Now, Anthony, it is time for us to become one.”

It was like the same instant when I caught Justin Thomas’s fist during that fight: the complete loss of self-control. My eyes suddenly closed, and I felt a sudden rush of blood to the head. I felt as if my mind was moving away from my body and deeper into it at the same time. There was a moment of displacement, where I felt weightless and that I was being pulled into a dark abyss. And then my eyes opened. My pupils where completely dilated, my hazel irises could not be seen. And from within my eyes came a brilliant white light that shone like burning magnesium. Then two gloved hands pulled a black mask over my face, and those two sun bright eyes become burning red.

The science hall was now silent with despair and fear, as the group of bandits finished gathering up the last of the spoils from the hostages. The sound of sirens could already be heard off in the distance, but by the time the cops arrive, these men would be long gone. Murmuring and whimpering could be heard amongst the people who were ordered to sit on the floor while these men went to work. Several bodies laid unconscious, while the security guards laid there dead. Before they departed, the ring-leader gave the people these last few words, “That about wraps up our time here folks; it was great ruining your lives. And just a word of advice, if you ever find yourself in this situation again, please don’t try and be a hero. You wouldn’t wanna end up like those fuckers on the ground. Thanks.” His voice was loud and pompous, like an obnoxious radio host. “All right, boys,” he shouted, “Lets move out.” Just then the lights went out, and the entire place was immersed in darkness. Several of the bandits shouted out obscenities in response. Obviously they weren’t expecting this.

The ring-leader ordered two of his men to check the area to see what was going on. The two men left the room and went out into the halls, splitting up to cover more ground. The police sirens were getting louder as they drew near, and the bandits were getting anxious. As one of the men crept down the hall, he suddenly saw something swiftly cross his path. He couldn’t tell what it was, which only made him all the more cautious. Then once again, he felt a swift wind rush behind him. He immediately tuned. Nothing. Only the shadowy hall laid before him. But now he was even more mindful. He began to walk backwards down the hall, when all of a sudden he bumped into somebody. This person felt hard and rigid, and didn’t even faultier. The man then slowly turned around fearfully, and was then looking strait into two blazing red eyes.

It was Id who was staring right back at him through those eyes.

Id was able to see and feel everything from him; his fear, his hate, his cowardice, his greed. His aura was aflame with a dark orange, and Id could feel his heart beating. The man was frozen though, he couldn’t move. So Id encouraged him. “Boo!” he said. And the man jumped with fear as he pointed his gun at him, about to pull the trigger. In the blink of an eye, Id’s hand shot up, grabbed the assault riffle, and with a twist of his wrist, disarmed him. Id’s other hand then gave the man a strong blow to the chest, sending him flying.

Somewhere deep within the mind behind those fiery red eyes, I was still conscious. For a moment I wasn’t sure if it was me who was doing this. I knew I willed myself to strike that man, but it wasn’t my will that carried it out. It was like Id was operating my body along with me, helping me out, turning my will into reality.

At the other end of the hall the second man was scouring the vicinity. Id could see him clearly, despite the darkness. It was pitch black to this one, but to Id it seemed as bright as day. He imagined himself at that very spot were the other stood, and in an instant Id shifted into that ghostly form, and in a stream of mist and shadow, he shot across the hall, went right through the man’s torso, and appeared before him. Before the man knew it, Id followed through with an uppercut to his chin. He went flying back and landed unconscious. Id’s amplified hearing told him that the cops were just blocks away. He needed to finish this fast. Without thinking he shifted through the walls and came through to the exhibition room. The pirates waited there for the two to return, disoriented by the darkness. After Id filtered through the wall, he stooped down in a corner, watching the crooks as he anticipated his next move. He was right beside a young Indian girl, shaking underneath her exhibit. She was completely oblivious to his presence. He was able to single out the pirates by their deep orange glow that stood out amongst the other green auras in the cyan atmosphere. And like a supercomputer playing chess, he was able to calculate a strategy in a heartbeat.

“That’s it, we’re leavin’ without em’,” said the leader. “Let’s move!” But before he could even take a step, Id popped up in front of him and knocked him off his feet. As he was about to get up, Id’s hand shot out a current of electricity from two pointed fingers, stunning him back down. The other men hardly saw a thing. Id quickly motioned over to the closest pirate who stood a few paces away from him. He suddenly did a full dive toward him, taking him down and paralyzing him with a shock of energy. It was then when I realized what those mysterious jolts were that I had experienced a while back; they were the developing stages of this electrokinetic ability.

Four down, five more to go, I counted. Id moved like a fluid ghost as he engaged the rest of the group. Not once did he touch any of the hostages. All they could hear in the dark was the sound of men getting the wind knocked out of them and bones breaking. They couldn’t see him, he was too quick for them. As for me, it was like watching a movie from all angles. Time seemed to slow down, as if I was perceiving at bullet-time speed. Id gave another man a strong kick across the face, five down. He knocked two other guys down at the same time, seven down. He then finished off the last two, nine down. The entire time Id was hardly in a physical form, only taking shape to strike. He had become the Phantom that haunts the opera house.

All the while the whole experience seemed so surreal, as if I was tripping out on acid, or having a vivid dream that had the thrill of a roller coaster. My mind was in that same dream-like state that we’re all familiar with, except the dream was real.

The police had already arrived and were trying to bust through the sealed doors. Suddenly Id felt another near by. Had we miscounted? Was there another assailant who Id overlooked? My answer soon came. A brusque, heavy voice spoke out in the dark. “All right!” he shouted. “Who ever’s fucking with us better think twice. I ain’t walkin’ out here in no handcuffs. I got me a hostage, bitch!”

Id turned and looked at him. He was roughly thirty feet away from us, and he wasn’t joking; he did have a hostage, and he held her in front of him as he pressed a desert eagle against her skull. No doubt he could see Id, not his body- mind you, but his eyes- two red beacons in the night. Id studied him for a second, buying his time. The man was a heavy set fellow, about three hundred pounds, and well over six feet tall. He’ll make a great quarter back in the NFL. Too bad his gifts are going to waste, Id humoured to me. He then studied the hostage who shared a shocking resemblance to- “Shit!” Id said as he realized who the hostage was. “Monique!” Could this night get any worse? Id took no more time to stall. He could hear the police banging on the bullet proof doors at the entrance. Eventually the doors would give way. He had to think fast before this dream became a nightmare. But without warning, a sudden micro-expression of anger flashed on Monique’s face, and with the heel of her shoe she struck the shin of the brutish thug. Pain went rippling through his leg as he lost his grip, allowing Monique to break free. As the thug hunched over with his hand on his throbbing shin, he whipped the gun back out in Monique’s direction, ready to fire. Id had to make a move. Acting on nothing but instinct, time suddenly appeared to slow down again, and Id heard the man’s drum-like heart beat and his heavy breathing. It was almost in sync with Monique’s as she ran for cover. And between the interval of two seconds Id aimed his fingers between the brute’s eyes and gave him an intense jolt to the head. He fell to the ground immediately after, dropping the gun. His heart beat then got weaker until Id could only hear Monique’s.

It was then when he heard the cops bust through the doors and steam into the atrium. Id leapt over to Monique, grabbed her, and made a vertical leap strait through the roof, revealing to me that he could shift other people as well. On the rooftop, Id lifted her up and sped across the roof. He could hear her screaming as they neared the edge, the wind blowing through her hair. I didn’t know what Id was doing. Pure instinct perhaps. But the adrenaline rush was too much to fight. He leapt over the street to the adjacent building and set her down. Immediately she broke lose of his grip and ran off. But he just stood there. She stopped a few paces away, paused, then turned back to him. Again, he simply stood there watching her. Her high heels had fallen off, leaving her barefoot. The moon was out, and the wind was chilly.

Like I said before, I didn’t know what Id was doing. Pure instinct. Was it some deep down feeling that was compelling me– us to do this? After all, that’s what Id was, a deep dark personification of some unknown character of myself. Was this what I really wanted, to be alone with her?

She looked at him with a her head tilted to one side, a puzzled look on her face. She slowly began to walk towards me, or should I say Id. I was, in some way, dormant as I observed this as a dream. It was Id who was in control for the most part.

She stepped right up to him and stood in wonder before asking, “Who are you?”

I felt that I should show her who was behind the mask. But if I did, there was no telling what she would think. But this was someone who I had known for years, why shouldn’t I show her? But then again, the shock would be unbearable. The fact that she knew me was the reason to not show her. All these things I considered in a second. I was afraid that if I spoke she might recognize the voice. But involuntarily I said, “The City,” to answer her question. The voice was like a whisper, yet hard and clear. It was Id’s voice.

“H- how did you do all that?” she asked.

“Do what?” asked Id.

“Well, what you did back there,” she said gesturing to the Convention Centre, “And after seeing what you did… something’s telling me you killed those two rapists, the one’s who killed that girl.” Her hair continued to blow in the wind.

I wondered the same thing, but I unwittingly gave her an answer. “It’s who I am.”

“Who you are?” she asked.

“Think of me as the phantom of this city,” said Id. “The streets, the buildings, the alleys. I am this city.”

“How do I know you’re not with those guys, or just another criminal trying to run this place?”

“Because I already run this city. It belongs to me.” With that, Id leaped off the building and disappeared into the shadows. After that, all I could remember was blackness.

I awoke in the men’s room stall, leaning against the divider almost falling off the toilette. My head was a carousel at first then soon regained its composure. Had the whole thing been a dream? I thought. I stepped out of the stall and looked at myself in the mirror. No talking reflection, no black jumpsuit, just my brown Polo sweater and khakis. I guess it was a dream, I thought, until I stepped outside the washroom to a place full of police and investigators, yellow tape, civilians being escorted out, and the pirates being handcuffed, still paralyzed and unable to move. I almost collapsed on the ground. I immediately ran back into washroom and threw up. I then heard a faint whisper in the back of my head, “Nice work, Anthony.” Then he was gone. Id had left me- for now.

I ran outside the building into the cool night air looking for my friends. I then saw Beverly and Andrea sitting at the back of an ambulance, covered in a blanket. “Are you guys all right? Did they hurt you?” I asked rapidly.

“I’m fine, Anthony, I’ll be okay,” said Beverly in a comforting voice. “Andrea’s all right too. But she fainted during the whole episode so she can’t remember anything.” They both looked at me with tears in their eyes, struggling to hold their emotions back. “I’m sorry I brought you into this, Anthony,” she continued as she began to cry. “I’m so sorry.”

“This is not your fault, Beverly,” I said as I sat next to her. “So don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you’re both okay.” I paused for a minute as the three of us reflected on the event. “Did you see what happened,” I asked her.

“Hardly,” she responded. “You were there, weren’t you?”

The reminder hit me like a sledge hammer. As far as she knew, I was one of the hostages. “I don’t know. I think I got knocked out or something,” I improvised.

“Well, these assholes just stormed in,” she explained, “and started holding everybody up. They shot all the guards and officials, and destroyed all the exhibits! How could this happen!” She gave up and let the tears out. Then she continued. “Then all of a sudden the place went black, and the gunmen just started getting knocked this way and that. Then all of a sudden they were like, frozen. There wasn’t much that I saw, but it seemed like there was someone else in the room. Whatever it was…it saved us.”

I didn’t blink during her entire story. I just stared at the pavement and let the account sink in. “Monique!” I exploded. “Have you seen her?”

“Yeah, she was looking for you. She’s really worried.”

“Is she okay, where is she,” I panicked.

“I don’t know,” said Beverly, “she went looking for you. She’s fine, though. Go look for her.”

“I’ll call you.” I said as I ran off. I ran about the scene like a mad man before I saw her. She was scurrying around as well.

“Anthony!” she cried. She ran strait into me and closed her arms around me so tightly it hurt. “Oh, thank God!”

“Everything’s gonna be okay, Monique,” I reassured. “It’s over now. Come on, let’s get you home.”

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