The bell rang loudly as Ariel sighed. She stood and took her bag, starting towards the door of the classroom. “Ariel, guess what!” a voice called as the girl stepped into the hallway, only to be met by the excited, redheaded school girl, the pigtails hitting Ariel. Instantly the girl embraced Ariel as she jumped up and down, lunch beginning.
“Calm down, Allison! What happened? Did Ryan ask you out?” she asked, and Allison shook her head. “Then what happened?”
“The dance team made it to state! We just found out!” Allison exclaimed happily, as Ariel grinned. Allison was more shapely than Ariel – and also more flexible, she was the dance team's captain. “We get to go to Lansing! I'm so excited!”
“That's awesome, I can't wait to go!” Ariel excitedly hurried down the hall and opened her locker. It was jammed, so she didn't have to put in any combination to get it open.
“You know if this wasn't our tiny school, you'd totally lose everything in that locker by doing that,” Allison scolded and Ariel just rolled her eyes. “Well when you lose your bag during lunch, your loss not mine.”
“Oh, shut up. Let's just go get out of here. I'm thinking some Mickey-D's for lunch would be good,” Ariel responded as she put on a light spring jacket and smiled. “Think we'll meet any cute guys?” The two just giggled as she shut her locker, and walked out the front door of the school.
Some gentle rain sprinkled down on them, as Allison put her umbrella up. The rain splashed from the umbrella as the two teenage girls walked down the street, a few cars driving by and splashing water onto the sidewalks, not hitting the two.
They reached the McDonalds a minute or two later, it was built by their school. They sat down to wait for their order to be ready as a strange man walked in, his black trench coat flapping slightly as he pulled from one of his pockets a watch. His eyes shifted across the fast food restaurant as Allison pointed him out to Ariel, whispering about how he looked like a pedophile.
Ariel couldn't help but laugh as the man ignored them to order, and someone called their order. Allison got up and got it, before the man walked past them into the bathroom, putting his pocket watch back as he walked past, glancing at Ariel.
“That man... he's really weird.” Ariel took her chicken sandwich as Allison set the tray on the table, and she nodded. “Did you see the way he looked at me just then? Like he was watching me...”
“He's just some creep, he's got a trench coat y'know,” Allison nonchalantly said, as she unwrapped her Big Mac and took a bite.
“Now that I think about it... did you see his face?”
“No, not really. Kinda weird, I guess. Maybe we just didn't pay attention,” Allison said as she got up. She walked towards the ketchup dispensers, grabbing a lid for a drink and putting a pile of ketchup on it, before returning and dipping her burger in it. “Does it matter?”
Ariel started to answer but had no real response, as she finished her chicken sandwich and started her fries, taking a few sips of her lemonade. “So... no cuties here today yet,” she said in disappointment, and Allison just shrugged.
“No, but maybe there’ll be in a few. Keep hope!” She took a long drink of her lemonade and returned to finishing her burger with the speed of someone who had been starving for weeks, except she had just ate breakfast that morning. She ate a lot and did a lot, which canceled each other out.
The two finished and left with some coffee for their walk back to school, the rain pouring down, before something happened. A man bumped into them, Allison swore as the man apologized and kept on his way. And then she reached into her purse and let out a yell. “My phone's missing!” she shouted, as she dug through it frantically, and Ariel quickly turned and saw the man bumping into someone else and apologizing.
“Stop, thief!” she yelled, pointing at him, before she started after him. The man looked back and she caught his face, it was youthful, white, and dirtied. His hair was a tangled mess of blond and his eyes green, and then he turned his face again.
She wished she could cover his eyes with shadows, so that the thief couldn't see. She smirked, remembering the man who had told her she had powers over shadows. “If only...” she whispered before suddenly the thief tripped.
“I'm blind! Ho-lee shit I'm blind!” he yelled as he stumbled, a wallet flying from his hands and landing in a puddle, the money in it ruined by the water it suddenly had absorbed. Allison gave chase behind Ariel as she grabbed the man from the ground. He flailed wildly, begging for mercy as Ariel felt a sensation.
The shadows over his eyes vanished and she looked into them coldly. “Give her back your phone now.” He opened his mouth to protest but the shadows moved back over his eyes and he seemed to change his mind as he shut his mouth and nodded fervently, and pulled from his pocket the phone. He handed it to Ariel and she let him go, and smiled, Allison now just catching up with them.
“Yo-you are one hell of a girl!” Allison laughed, Ariel simply shrugged as she handed over the phone. Ariel gave a smirk as the man's vision returned, and he just sprinted off afraid of whatever had made him go blind, shadows still clouding his vision.
“Yeah, well, I'm just hardcore, you know that,” Ariel joked, as the two walked down the street back to their school. The rain sprinkled as Micheal walked out of behind a tree and watched, smiling. He knew that he'd convinced her of something just there – even if the girl hadn't brought it up at all.
Kyosu was grinning ear-to-ear as the first portal opened in the wall ahead of him, and slowly he saw the other end opening in a spiral-out aperture. It showed him the inside of his old school, Morrowind High. He smiled, seeing the classroom of the aging Mr. Abernathy silent in fear of the old teacher's outbursts. He grabbed a paper airplane, and from the safety of his apartment he threw it.
“Wha? Who threw that?” the teacher roared as he stood up and glared around the room, the kid's flinching as the glider landed on a desk. “I demand an answer!” Kyosu snickered as the portal closed, and he leaned back into a chair, some dirty clothes on the floor around him. He sighed and opened a portal in his armrest, grabbing a glass from the kitchen through it and taking a drink.
“I love portals,” he said to no one in particular as he leaned back. And then, in the moment he blinked, there was a woman standing in front of him. “Dammit, Bellona, what are you doing here? How did you get in without me noticing?”
“I can freeze time, dumbass,” Bellona responded and rolled her eyes. “I'm here because you need to start taking this whole thing seriously.” Bellona sighed as she twisted her head a bit, cracking her neck.
“Yeah, like how? I doubt you've done anything with your power that's useful,” Kyosu responded, and she raised an eyebrow in irritation.
“I have been, for your information.”
“Yeah, like what? Getting extra time to sleep?”
“None of your business,” Bellona retorted, and put up a hand as Kyosu began to respond. “Point being is that you can't just mess around with it. I've had mine for almost a year now, and I've learned to use mine responsibly because there are those who want us dead.”
“Now, now you've got my attention,” Kyosu said, his voice turning serious and sober. “People want us dead?”
“Not us in specific – well, me they do, you not yet – but people like us. Other angels with grudges against ours will use us to get to the angels,” Bellona paused and sighed. “I really don't know that much about it, but I know I've been attacked by a few people because of Gabriel.”
Kyosu nodded slowly and stood up now, walking towards the apartment's kitchen. “So you're saying... I'm at risk?”
Bellona didn't say anything as Kyosu looked out at the street below from the kitchen window, and sighed. “Okay. How do I start? How do I keep myself and those around me safe?”
“You train. I do it every day, I learn about my powers, bond closer with Gabriel. You and Celestia have to have a partnership, she can shut your connection to powers off at any time.” Bellona paused and looked out the window. “This city always is gorgeous at night. Pity it isn't night yet,” she said, and Kyosu nodded, looking at her oddly.
“Where did that come fr-”
“But that's not important. The point is, you have to communicate with your angel, you have to learn how to work alongside her.”
Kyosu nodded, and Bellona started away, her hair gliding along her back. “Just call out to her, she'll appear,” she added before turning the hourglasses she had, and then she was gone the next moment.
“Celestia?” Kyosu asked quietly, not sure how it would work at all. In front of him, a brilliant light appeared, slowly taking form until there before him stood his angel, a smile on her face as she met him there.
“Hey, Kyosu,” Celestia said softly, the angel stepping into his apartment. “I... I suppose we should start practicing our partnership?” she asked softly, and Kyosu nodded.
“Yeah,” he said, something about the female angel faintly recognizable to him somehow, in some way he couldn't put his finger on. It was as if he had seen her before.
“Well... where to begin?” she asked, as a portal began to form on a wall, swirling as it tried to find an opening on the other side. Kyosu pictured in his mind the last place his family had been to on a vacation.
He smiled as he heard through the portal some gentle rain, and through it now he could see some people walking by ignorant of the portal opening on a wall. The stone face looked like tears rolling down them as the patter of rain grew louder, him approaching the portal.
“I haven't seen Mount Rushmore in so long,” he said with a smile, as he stuck a hand through, Celestia right behind him.
The next thing he knew, someone was grabbing his hand. He flew through the portal and let out a yelp before a cloth covered his face.
“We got 'im, boys,” a voice said, Celestia letting out a scream of shock as her vision went black. “And the angel, too. The King'll love that shit,” the gruff man's voice said solidly as the portal closed, the large man holding Kyosu gave a toothy grin as the scrawny white-robbed man held Celestia's eyes and mouth shut.
“He will, without a doubt,” the scrawny man said as he smiled. “I know how much he's been wanting one.”
Kyosu struggled but when the large man put a rag over his mouth, the chloroform on it slowly making him fall limp.
“Excuse me? Sir?” a waitress asked at the diner as Nihilium sat at the table, looking at a menu, zoned out somewhat. It was dark, almost eight o' clock now. Nihilium has stumbled upon the diner, and was unsure on what to do or where to go, and Delirium hadn't helped him much in any event.
“Oh, sorry. Yeah?” he asked, and the waitress just tilted her head as she put a hand on her hips in irritation.
“What do you want to order?”
“The cheeseburger and fries, make sure they aren't greasy,” he said as he pulled out of a pocket a pack of cigarettes. “Oh, and a chocolate shake too, babe.” He smirked as the waitress rolled her eyes and left, lighting a cigarette and starting to smoke peacefully.
The doors to the diner opened and in came a police man in uniform, another following him. “Just got off the shift, Delilah, get us the usual,” the officer said, and when Nihilium looked across the table, he found Delirium standing there with a smile on his face.
“So, Nihilium, what's your plan? Stumble around and find something to do? Or is that more structured than your plan?” Delirium asked, and Nihilium rose an eyebrow at him.
“No plan. Getting a meal, then letting things happen. It won't matter much.” Nihilium leaned back and pulled out his cigarette to blow out a puff of smoke, as Delirium just shrugged.
“You really don't remember anything do you?”
“So what if I don't? Maybe none of it happened, maybe all of it did, I don't though,” he responded as the waitress brought out his order. He thanked her without an ounce of sincerity, and sighed as he looked at it. “I hate grease.”
He patted the greasy fries and burger with a napkin as Delirium stole a small handful, Nihilium hardly noticing that he dipped them into the milkshake.
“So, if I told you you're in some big plot involving us angels, would that make you any less nonchalant?” Delirium smiled as he put the french fry with chocolate milkshake on it in his mouth, and Nihilium took a bite from the cheap cheeseburger, now with around twenty percent less grease.
“Not especially,” Nihilium said as he took a bite from one of the fries. “Gah, still way too greasy. I hate fast food diners sometimes,” he muttered as he almost seemed to choke down the fries. “Why can't they just bake them?”
“Are you really more concerned with whining about the food?” Delirium asked, and Nihilium just laughed.
“Right now, yeah. It's in front of me, I'm not liking it.”
The doors opened and a girl with a brilliantly purple outfit came in, her hourglass figure punctuating her hips as her amethyst-colored pigtails swayed in the light wind. Her short dress revealed a little leg before her thigh-high stockings covered the rest. She pulled her long, purple gloves off and sat down near Nihilium, who paid no mind to her.
And then, in his one good eye he was met by a blinding light, Delirium sending him a forced vision of the future.
The girl who had just entered stood in front of him, her arms turning to metal, her screaming, Nihilium saw another figure – no, he saw himself – rushing to her aide. “Raelyn!” he shouted, as she fell to the ground, screaming in agonizing pain as the metal encroached more of her body. Behind her, an angel smirked as Nihilium saw himself, sometime in the future, glaring up at him.
The vision vanished and he was back in the diner, Delirium raising an eyebrow.
“What do you want?” Nihilium asked, his voice cold now. “How are you showing me these things...?”
“You see the future, when I want or let you. That is my gift to you, as your angel,” Delirium said, standing up. “Talk to her. She knows you already.”
“She knows me...?
“Well, at any rate, she will. Time is a bit of an illusion to me, it doesn't flow the same for me as it does for you,” Delirium responded, and walked to the bathroom, looking back at Nihilium just for a second before he passed through the doorway.
Nihilium got up and took with him the basket of fries and what was left of his burger, grabbing the shake last as he walked to the table the girl was at.
“E-excuse me, miss, can I sit here?” he asked, and she looked at Nihilium, somewhat surprised by the man's sudden approach.
“Ah... yeah, sure, I suppose you can,” she said calmly after a second, and Nihilium took a seat. “My name's Raelyn – Raelyn Kasumi. What would be your name?”
“I... I don't know, to be honest. I go by Nihilium then. I can't remember what my name is,” Nihilium said, and Raelyn nodded slowly, as her waitress now brought her a salad and glass of ice tea. The waitress looked a Nihilium oddly, but didn't say anything.
“Amnesia then?” she asked, as she opened the straw wrapper that the waitress had left with the iced tea, and put her straw in.
“Yeah. I woke up in a field last night, not sure who I am or anything. Been trying to just figure out who I am for now,” Nihilium said, and Raelyn nodded slowly.
“There's not much I know of that I can do to help you, I'm afraid, but... I can look into it, I've got some medical text books but I'm sure I can find something online,” Raelyn said, and realized that Nihilium obviously didn't know who she was. “I'm a doctor of sorts – more of a apothecary, I suppose, since I didn't go through any actual training. But I'm good at what I do.”
“You are? Well, if you could help that'd be appreciated,” Nihilium said, and Raelyn smiled. Nihilium took a bite of his cheeseburger, nearly finishing it now.
“How about I take you to my clinic? I don't imagine you have much money or a place to stay.”
Nihilium thanked her for her kindness, and paused. “You have an odd name...”
“I was in Japan for some time, my grandmother is Japanese. I'm only a quarter Japanese, but... well that's not important,” she answered, her response somewhat rigid and stiff. “Nihilium is an odd name too.”
“Yeah, well, it's not my real name I don't think.”
Raelyn just gave him a smile and the two talked while they ate, the two police officers leaving the diner a while before they did. As the two left to Raelyn's small, two-door car, Nihilium wondered where Delirium was, but shrugged it off. He got in and she started the car, the dinging signaling his seat belt not being on simply irritating him until he buckled up to make it stop. Raelyn gave a smirk but said nothing.
The radio played some jazz, and Nihilium looked out at the countryside. The small diner was out in the country, and Raelyn explained that this had been the town she was originally from before being taken to her grandmother in Japan. It had just vanished over the course of time, and the diner was all that remained from it.
“That's kinda sad,” Nihilium muttered to himself, too quiet for her to hear. But the town – had it existed? It didn't sound familiar to him, and he seemed to remember events in the news, just nothing relating to his life before... before whatever had happened to him.
“Yeah... oh well, not that many good memories.”
Nihilium glanced at her before looking ahead at the small town coming up on the road. “This is the town I live in now, welcome to Milford, Indiana,” Raelyn said as they passed by a small sign with the name of the town and the population posted below, a measly thousand residents.
“Looks... really not that interesting,” Nihilium said as he saw above him something interesting.
“Oh, a shooting star,” Raelyn said as she saw it. “Make a wish,” she said jokingly, and Nihilium had a brief memory, of a shooting star.
“It's yours,” he said without even realizing it, as the star flickered out. Raelyn shrugged and saw the same star, its dim red, falling still, ever closer.
All Nihilium knew was that something interesting was going on with the star, but what he didn't know. “Thanks again for giving me a place. I mean, you had no reason to, we're total strangers...”
“You seem alright, y'know? Besides, I could kill you in a heartbeat if you tried anything,” Raelyn said, and turned her car onto a side-street. The small house at the end of it looked cozy, almost like a hamlet.
“So... where's your clinic?”
“Oh, I operate from home sometimes. The clinic itself is closed anyways so I think I'll just take you there tomorrow.”
Nihilium nodded, and as the two got out of their cars he looked at the sky again.
“It's beautiful isn't it?” Raelyn asked and Nihilium nodded. “Makes me wonder what Earth's for kinda...”
“Yeah... well, maybe it isn't for anything.” Nihilium followed her into her house, Raelyn not really seeming too put-off by the idea of Earth having no purpose.
“I'll show you around the house, then. That way you can get to sleep. Maybe that'll help you get your memory back, I've read cases of amnesia ging away overnight.”
Nihilium nodded, as Raelyn began to show him around the small house, starting with the living room where he'd be sleeping that night.