".....as you can see, this is the remains of what once used to be the Central Park. It's been 12 days since the attack of the terrorist at the psychic parade, advertising the new and first Broadway Show that has an esper as the starring role. Police are suspecting that it was the work of an anti-esper terrorist group. The show was also decided to be postponed....."
"2 weeks and they haven't stop repeating the same news, and to think they are still terrorist who rejects esper, don't they have a life to live with instead a life to kill."
"Dear, your doing your bad habit again"
Mother covered her mouth knowing she was turning on her Reporter Switch. Whenever she watches or read a news, it doesn't matter who's listening or not, she would talk(mostly critics) like there's no tomorrow about it and began to get mad at the TV. It's one of her habits to point out every details that are stupid or too conspicuous. In my honest opinion, with that personality she could be a great politician. Too bad she's only a housewife now.
"I'm sorry Claudia, even though today is supposed to be special day for you"
"It's alright mother, I think stopping you would be the same as telling you not to breath."
"Oh you know me so well"
After having our late breakfast together, we were cleaning up the living room from all the scraps of confetti and decoration leftover.
"It's too bad Eric and Loranne couldn't come here, I'm sure they regret it as well" said mother. Since they already texted me, it doesn't matter if they didn't come because I know it would be asking too much. Even so, I can't help but wanting to meet them.
"When will you leave to meet your friends?"
I look at the time that showed it's now 11:25 A.M and Foax asked me to come by the school at 3 P.M. "There's still time, so we can go out together if you want to."
"Shouldn't it be us asking where you want to go?"
"Even if you say that, I don't have anywhere particular in mind." When I realized what I said, I tried stopping myself and raise my hand on my mouth, but it was too late. My parents eye were shining and they immediately took out their phone, browsing places they themselves wanted to go. This will always happen if they ask where we want to go and didn't know where, they ended up dragging us to boring places.
"Now look what you've done Claudia, are you repeating that Christmas memory!" Beth whispered.
"Sorry, my mouth slip."
"I thought this might happen so I already made plans with some friends, so have fun the two of you" Karen made a smug look as she took her bag and coat and left. TRAITOR! is what me and Beth both thought as we saw her back leaving.
Before she completely left, she came back and pointed out there was a guest for me. I wasn't expecting any guest so I wondered who it might be. When I went into the front door, a boy I should've known know what today is to me came with a box wrapped in color paper and a ribbon attached.
"Hey Claudia, happy birthday!"
"……I never expected that you'd come Dale"
"You should at least be happy you have a friend coming over to congrats you, here!"
I smiled at him and expressed my gratitude as I say thank you. He gave me his present, and accept it. An idea struck me and had Dale wait for me outside. "Mom, dad, a friend is going to take me out so go have fun with Beth without me." Without letting them have the last word, I took my bag and went off with Dale as fast as I could.
"That's such a shame, I've been wanting to look at that computer convention which has all the newest state of the art technology. Did you know there is a tool that could instantly grow your bald hair, and I'm not exaggerating when I say instantly."
"Honey, we should go to place where they want to go, you really lack understanding with kids, we should go somewhere like the Art Statue Museum"
Claudia....Karen……you'll pay for this. Whispered Beth secretly in her heart.
"Rick didn't come with you?"
"No, he said he had somewhere to go, but he said congrats by the way."
I feel dejected that he didn't come. Even though I wasn't expecting him but I ended up hoping when I met Dale. "Don't feel so down, there's always next year. Also, you had something to ask to me right?"
True, I didn't just drag him to help me escape from my parent's grasp. "Can you tell me more about Foax? And maybe about his relationship with Rick as well"
"I could, but don't you think they wouldn't like it if you poke your nose in this?"
Says the person who pokes at everyone's business, "But you're still going to tell me right, you're not good at keeping quiet"
Dale smile as usual, "you know me well." Without meaning to, out feet had drag us to a near park. I witness the trees began to wither and the cold wind of autumn blew on my face. "It should be obvious from yesterday conversation that Rick was part of the S Class once" without letting Dale realized I had my eyes widen fin surprise, I thought back about yesterday and remembered the part where Rick and Foax was said to be in the same class despite being different year. I mentally scold myself that I didn't notice it sooner. The only class that could let that happen would be the S Class.
"If I recall, Rick has the hypnosis ability, was his really that strong?" Dale began to look away and was mumbling about something when I asked. "Yeah that's right hahaha, Rick is really special after all" I was confused at his weird response, but he succeed on continuing the main subject. "Rick and Foax abilities were exception even in S Class so many expect a lot from them, I'm guessing they feel each other as comrade from being pressured by their perrs. Foax doesn't have a family so Rick also acted like a brother to him and that's why they were close enough that I would even think there's nothing that could separate them."
"What changed them?"
"You're a curious little girl today, what makes you want to know them that much"
I stop my feet as I thought about my answer. When I found out that Foax was Merlin, my heart was overwhelmed with guilt and feared I would make the same mistake for him as he did for himself. If I had try to learn more of him, to understood him, then I might be able to change him. If I think about it carefully, all this has nothing to do with Foax, this is just me trying to make amends in someway with Merlin.
A selfish amend.
"I don't know myself, I feel if I get to know him then I'll know what's on his mind most of the time."
"True, despite him being able to read people's mind, he doesn't show much of what he's thinking. Probably Rick is the only one who could tell that."
Is that so? In the past life, I only knew that they are aware of each other but never seemed to cross path with each other. "For various reason I can't really tell you what happened, but what I can tell is that Foax doesn't trust the institution, to the point that he hates it. Events like few days before aren't always that bad, but he does cause a few problems. Back then it was worse because Rick would join in as well"
"Rick....getting in trouble......I can imagine somehow."
"Simply put, after he stops doing whatever he wants and focus getting his power in track, he was able to choose to stay on S Class or to the Class 5 at out middle school. Foax might have felt betrayed that he let himself do as the adults wants him to do."
"So he's mad that he grew up and got left behind, is that it?"
"That's a harsh way to put it, but yes."
"Then why does Foax hate the institution so much?"
"Sadly even I don't know, probably the only one who does are Rick and Prof. Dalton. He is the only teacher here who never felt Foax's wrath, they probably have a history together."
"Got it, thank you for telling me all this"
"My pleasure, in exchange can I have my share of question?"
Again, we both stop our tracks as Dale looks at me with a change of expression. What scared me though was the fact he wasn't smiling. "Why do you hide your ability?"
What ability are you talking about? You must be mistaken, you know my ability is unknown and the adults have been researching it ever since but to no avail.
It was what I wanted to say, but looking at him who was gazing with a serious look that seem to see through me, I didn't know if lying was the right choice. "Oh, I hope you don't answer with a question" he added.
There's really no way to bluff it off now. He knows something. I doubt he knows about my magic because it's not something one would believe, but he is certain I have some sort of ability. Dale waited patiently for my answer, his bearing pressured me for an answer and I had to think of an answer.
"My ability…is not something that could explain by science, so I'm reluctant on people knowing."
"What kind of ability is it?"
"It's…it's a…a…" my words were stuttering and I couldn't get hold of an answer I could answer. So dare I say I did not think when I spontaneously said what I said.
"I COULD SEE THE DEAD!"
Because of the height difference, I was looking straight at his brown coat. I was much too nervous looking up to his face when I still hear nothing of his response. Which such an obvious lie, of course he'd be speechless. My mouth was kept shut as cold sweat flowed down my face. Please, don't just stand there, say something!
"I see, so that's how it is."
"With that kind of ability, there's no reason not to hide it"
"Don't worry I won't tell anyone about this, I do like to blab but I'm pretty good at keeping secret."
"What's not to believe?" He answered as he gave off a suspiciously suspicious smile he would always wear. At least it became suspicious to me. Does he believe me, does he not? Damn it, I can't tell at all from his expression!
"Sorry if I made you nervous Claudia, but it's not like I was trying to push you into a corner"
"Then why did you?"
The smile on his face changed slightly, it was still hard for me to read his face. Was it pity or sadness? I think it's between the two. "Claudia, you're an interesting girl that's why I really like you and hanging out with you is fun. However, because of my position there may be times I couldn't help you when needed or I may have to betray your expectation"
"Dale, why are you telling me all this?"
He looks up at the blue fall sky, his smile was still the same and all though the wind was blowing harder against us, I could hear the sad words he said softly. "I did something wrong to Rick, to someone he cares once and he forgives me for it, he gave me the chance to forgive myself. Sadly, I don't care if I do it again if someone brings harm to him." I blinked a few times when hearing his words. "Why would you think I'll hurt him? My feelings might not be the same as you but I do care about him and I don't want to hurt him."
"You yourself might not, but when someone is different, they'd bring trouble with them whether they like it or not. According to your ability, one day you'll definitely bring trouble. If you ever do, I'm asking you…no, I'm begging you, don't involve Rick in it."
Once again, the smile he had was gone and his tone was colder than what I could have imagine. My heart was stung deeply and yet I wasn't able to cry despite my chest getting crushed in pain. It was because I knew what he meant more than I could imagine. How at that time in the past, being different meant death will chase after you. How what you aren't became what you should be. How I ran from my fate to live as I want but without realizing I drag those precious to me and let them got engulf in misfortune instead.
In the end nothing changes.
I was never meant to live as myself.
I took a deep breath as I got myself to school. It felt strange to go to school on weekends. It's the same feeling when you're being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Foax specifically told me to the rooftop at this time so there's no need to feel out of place.
"Ah, you finally came!"
The sudden voice startled me for a moment, but when I turned, I saw Carol at the side of the gate with a stray gray cat at her arms. "You made us wait…is what I'd like to say, but you came right on time." She held my hand without letting me respond and drag me to school. I really like to ask what was going on and why Carol of all people pick me up. I thought Foax wanted to talk privately, but clearly that's not the case.
She drag me into the building and through the stairs in a hurry and even after passing through the 4th floor, she hadn't loose her breath. Out of all days, the elevator had to break today. Seeing her swiftly moving, without thinking I asked her, "Are you really blind?"
She stopped her track at the 6th floor, I covered my mouth when I noticed I may said something out of line. "Sorry, forget I said that."
"What are you being sorry for, this is just one part of my ability. When words came to my ears, I interpreted it with image in my head, that's usually how I was able to understand animals. It's kind of similar to telepathy but the difference is I could do it when hearing words, why do you think I have this fellow dangling in my arms?" She said while showing off her cat. I see, so that's how it is. I thought she was surrounded by animals because she likes them, but it looks like it was because she needed them to see. We continued where we left off and finally got to the stairs toward the rooftop.
"You should be the one to open it"
I gulped nervously, thinking what might lies behind it. However, no matter how wild my imagination is, I can't think off a single thing. "What are you waiting for?" She said irritatingly. Because there was no reason for me to put this on hold. I dared myself opening the door and the first thing that greeted me was the sound of popping, my sight covered with different colors that were floating around. Well isn't this a familiar sight.