12. Adolescence

The drive back to Al’s house was silent. It was just Monique and I, since Beverly and Andrea’s parents came to pick them up immediately after receiving the news. Monique sat fast asleep in the passenger seat, leaving me wide awake as I kept my eyes on the road. I wondered how she could sleep so easily after experiencing a traumatizing event like that. Maybe it was too much of a strain on her mind and rest was the only release. I on the other hand could hardly remember what had happened. Just like all dreams, the ordeal was becoming a blur; another memory to be kept by Id, not me.

We escaped the scene just in time to avoid the tedious questioning of the LPD, and hadn’t we left any sooner we would have been caught by traffic due to the blocked off roads. It was quarter past ten, and if it wasn’t for the thick fog on the streets, the road would otherwise be clear for us. The street lights were nearly invisible, except for their hazy yellow light that permeated through the mist and seemed to hover like UFOs. I wanted to apologize to Monique for bringing her into this. I imagined her family freaking out after hearing about what happened.

“You don’t have to apologize, Anthony,” she said suddenly in a soft voice. “It’s not like you dragged me into this. I came on my own free will. I’ll let them know that when we get home.” Her eyes were still closed. Then she put her earphones in and blared their music. I figured she was trying to drown out her thoughts after what had happened tonight. To me the music sounded as loud and clear as the car’s own sound system. I think I even recognized the old R&B tune. And I was stunned by how she read me like that without even looking or me saying anything. Women do have a sixth sense, I thought. But putting that aside, I found it strange how instead of saying “when we get back,” she said “when we get home,” as if I was part of the family. I didn’t know why that had me thinking.

When we finally reached back, there was an uproar of relief in the house. Of course they were all worried sick and couldn’t be happier that we returned breathing and not in a pair of body bags. For the next two and a half hours we did nothing but answer their questions and retell the whole story. I stuck to my story about being knocked unconscious, however. Monique explained things from her perspective, minus the part about being held hostage, having a gun pressed to her head, or being rescued and carried away by a ghost. I guess she thought it would be best to keep those details a secret.

Before I left, Al’s mom Rosie wouldn’t let me leave without giving me a smothering hug to show her relief and affection. She even offered if she could drive me home instead, as she expected that I would be too shaken up to make the trip back. Respectfully, I turned down the offer and gave my appreciation. She’s always been kind to me.

Soon after I left, I felt a strong reluctance to leave. Something was telling me to stay as I had a dark foreboding about going home. As I drove, the thought of my house disturbed me for some reason. I didn’t know why. All I could say was that home didn’t feel like home anymore.

At about 1:20 a.m. I reached home. All seemed normal except for a powerful sense of depression as I approached the side entrance of the house. I had a bad feeling that couldn’t be described. It just clawed at me. I walked up to the door and unlocked it. As soon as I turned the knob, the voice of a loud whisper called out in my head. “Remember!” it commanded, and suddenly my mind was whisked back to the night when Id broke into the laboratory facility as the Prowler, stole the Knight Suit, and discovered who was behind that terrible accident that took my brother- Apollo Endeavours. My father.

The revelation stabbed me in the heart. I remembered that dream vividly now, down to the last detail. But I couldn’t believe that my dad was the one responsible. I wanted to think that he had nothing to do with it. Perhaps it was corruption within the bureaucracy of the company. Who’s to say he had any knowledge of it? But still, something was urging me to leave this place.

As I stepped into the dim foyer, that dark feeling returned, that familiar feeling that always burned within me before something or someone unpleasant was about to come along. The place was as quiet as a mortuary. There was no longer anything wholesome about this place. That died along with Jonathan. And every fibre of my being was screaming to get out. I decided to comply. Then I heard footsteps coming from upstairs. “Anthony?” called out the baritone voice of my father. “Is that you?” I was frozen. He came running down the stairs. And as soon as his feet hit the floor, my vision once again transcended to that aura state, but this time there was no preceding headache. The transition was quick and painless, almost instant. I watched him as he came around the banister, and what I saw almost turned my stomach. The aura that surrounded him was the same as those who raided the science fair. It was that same deep orange, bright like a hot flame. And this time it was no mere St. Elmo’s fire, it was blazing. I wanted to shield my eyes, for the light was hurting them. He stopped abruptly and stood about three feet in front of me. “Jesus Christ,” he said. “You’re safe.”

Then it hit me. I realized what the relationship was between these mysterious auras and strange sensations, and what they exactly were. It was people’s souls. It was their essence. It was their spiritual energies emanating from their bodies, and in some strange way I was able to perceive it. Each individual I encountered had a different degree of it, and this I received as various colours. It was like the colour-light spectrum that I learnt about in elementary school. There are six main colours starting from the left side of the spectrum to the right: red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet. The people who tried to live honest lives or strove to make good intentions into a reality emitted auras ranging from the right side of the spectrum. Those who intended to cause harm or thrived off the suffering and misery of others emitted auras ranging from the left side of the spectrum. It was at that very moment when I finally realized who my father truly was.

“Anthony, are you all right?” he continued, “Did they hurt you…” He continued to speak and vent out his relief, but his words seemed to fade away into the distance as a powerful torrent of emotions began raging through me. You’re responsible for Jonathan’s death, I thought. You killed him, and you know it. Monster! I strained desperately to fight back the tears. My throat sank into my stomach. I couldn’t even pay attention to what my father was saying as my mind was so overwhelmed with disbelief, anger, and hate. I could hardly hear his voice. He placed his hand on my shoulder. Get your fucking hand off me! I wanted to say. But I couldn’t speak through those trembling lips of mine, and he dismissed this as the post traumatic stress from the attack. Finally I could hear him say, “Speak to me, Anthony. Say something.” His voice was a whisper.

“I’m fine… dad,” I forced that last word out. “I just want to go to bed.”

“You can’t imagine how glad I am to see you here- in front of me, alive,” he said. “Everyone in my life is gone. You’re all I have left. I don’t know what I’ll do if I lost you.”

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. I felt like a computer being fed too much conflicting information. I didn’t know if I could trust him anymore. The vibe that I sensed from him was so dark. His eyes were drenched in shadow, and through them I tried to use this new found aura state ability to look into his soul, but I couldn’t see anything. I knew there was something there, there had to be. But I wasn’t powerful enough to dive that deep into his being. All I could see was this fire blazing from him, and it stained the air from its cyan hue to a contaminated yellow.

“Well, you must be tired,” he said. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow. I just hope we could put this behind us. If you need anything, Anthony, just tell me.” Slowly he turned and walked away.

When I reached my room I unleashed my heart. My eyes became fountains and I cried so much that dehydration seemed imminent. My body felt limp with grief. I leaned up against the wall for support. I placed a hand on the wall, and summoning all my rage I curled my hand into a fist and struck the wall with such force that I left a hole in it. My hand went right through to the elbow and stuck out from the other side.

I’ve become a freak, I thought to myself.

I checked the air, it was still its pale blue. I motioned over to the mirror on my dresser. Wondering how I would see myself, I looked and saw that I had no aura what so ever, except that I seemed to be in black and white, or grey. I wasn’t able to see into my own soul, as if I was a mystery to myself. Why?

I knew what I was: this dark spirit of the night, but I didn’t know who I was. I took off my sweater and saw the Knight Suit comfortably fitting on my body, even though I couldn’t feel it. Figuring out how to take the suit off was tricky, but as if the answer began faxing into my head, I noticed the braided silver belt that lined my waist. Instinctively, I pulled at the sides of the belt and the seal opened, separating the top from the bottom. I removed my clothing along with the suit and striped down to my boxers. At that moment I discovered that I had underwent a great loss of body fat, but at the same time I had gained an equal amount of lean muscle.

I had another look at that suit and studied it closely, not knowing how it was made or what to think of it. All I knew was that it was as light as a feather, but tougher than the Samurai armour displayed in our dining room. Its material felt so fine in my hand that it seemed as if it would be absorbed into my very skin, and it shimmered a soft navy blue reflection from its onyx black fabric. It was mesmerizing, yet horrifying.

There were a few weights and a bar that I kept by my bed. Usually, I curled about fifty pounds, fifty-five max, but now I was curious to see if that was still the case. It seemed much easier as I started curling, like I wasn’t lifting enough. I then remembered that heavy door at the top of the staircase at my school, and how easy it was to open, including when I lifted that huge slab of concrete off of me after the incident at the Misty Canyon, and how I pulled Jonathan out from underneath the car. I put more weight on the bar until it was sixty pounds and sampled it out. But strangely enough that seemed inadequately light as well. So I put all I had on the bar until it read eighty-five pounds and gave it a shot. And to my amazement, I was able to complete twenty reps with it. I didn’t know what was stranger: the fact that I still had enough strength left to do a couple more sets, or that I was curling the bar with only one hand. I even had a hunch that I could curl a bit more. Then taking into account what happened that night at the Convention Centre, I stared at the wall for a moment. A sneaking suspicion aroused my thoughts. I began to hear Id’s voice in my head. Following his instructions, I cleared my thoughts, raised my hand, and concentrated. He told me to let go of the idea of being physical. He told me to breath out and focus on my hand and know that it is no longer tangible. And slowly I moved my hand to the wall, and as it moved closer it lost its form and seemed to become a mist of air and shadow. The wall didn’t hinder its motion as my hand moved right through the dry wall and out the other end. I pulled it back as it materialized back into a palm with four digits and a thumb. I stood there dumbfounded as I stared at my hand. I was evolving, I knew that, and the process would soon be over and the Anthony Apollo that I knew would be gone. I also knew that if I wanted to see the full maturity of this new person, to know who I truly was, I would have to leave this mansion, this prison of luxury, this place where evil sleeps.

I went to my phone and called Al’s cell, despite the hour. “Yo,” he answered.

“Hey, Al. It’s me.”

“Eh, man. What’s poppin’?”

“A lot,” I answered. “Hey, I was wonderin’… can you still rent out your basement?”

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