Adam walked in the twilight. He always felt a rather strange sensation around this time of day. There were some ancient myths in his country of Requiem which related to the twilight, such as the famous one about souls having the ability to join together as one, which was always a favorite of Adam’s.
As Adam passed the scenery around him, he could not seem to focus on any of it. It was as though Adam was rooted in his own world. A world where there were no thoughts or feelings, only existence. He only snapped back into reality by a pain surging through his head.
“Gah… this again? Is it the medication I’m taking? No… that wouldn’t make sense. This has been going on for a while, way before I started taking stuff.” The pain seemed to subside as Adam walked into the heart of town. “It’s been happening a lot more recently though…”
The shopping district of the town was centrally located right between Adam’s house and the Roswell house. There was a slight increase in people around, but nothing too drastic that would make Adam uncomfortable. A few miscellaneous stores including a general goods store, a pharmacy, and a gas station were a few things people could go to.
Adam walked into the store, named Ann’s. The store was rather small, with a few aisles filled with your everyday goods.
A girl who was sitting in a chair behind the counter waved to Adam. He knew her as an acquaintance from school, Charlotte Smith, who had just moved to Prelude his senior year of high school. She played around with her black hair while her blue eyes were glued right to a book in her hands.
Deciding to do something out of the ordinary, Adam walked up to her and initiated small talk. “Yo, how’s it going?”
“Fine,” Charlotte responded, eyes still focused on the book. “What are you up to?”
“Just getting some food, nothing too special,” Adam responded.
“Damn, this isn’t good. Maybe the fact that she doesn’t seem so interested in talking is a good thing, I can get out of this quicker.”
Adam turned to the left of him, a wave a relief passing through him as the focus shifted away from the attempted conversation. Walking up the aisle to the register was Winona Collins, Faith’s best friend. Winona smiled at Adam.
“How nice to see you! Are you doing well?” Winona was holding a blue basket filled with various goods from the store. “I heard you had dinner at Faith’s? I wish I could have made it. I’ve been doing work in the garden with my father all day.”
“Yeah, I’m all right.” Adam’s tension from the talk with Charlotte was gone now. “You two love working in that garden, don’t ya?”
“Mhmm!” Winona nodded her head. “I always love having a wide variety of flowers to look at.” She shuffled her hand through her basket. “Now I’m getting some things to help mom cook a late dinner.”
“You enjoy that. I gotta get some things myself.” He waved at both Winona and Charlotte and headed into the aisle nearest to them.
“I’m all set, Charlotte!” Winona put her basket on the counter and took her items out of it.
Charlotte had a smile on her face as she rang up Winona’s items.
As Adam walked down the aisle, he looked back and forth between each side. A sharp pain started to form in his head again, and this time, it was as if he felt dizzy. Almost losing his balance, Adam was able to regain his posture and focus ahead of him.
There stood someone who wasn’t there before. A little girl, about six or seven years old, wearing suspenders and a pink backpack. She had brown eyes and brown hair wrapped up in pigtails using pink braids. Adam was trying his best to analyze her appearance, as something was off about it. Horribly off. Adam swore he could see right through her.
Before Adam could conjure up another thought, the girl had disappeared. It seemed as though time stood still. It wasn’t until he felt and hand on his shoulder that he snapped back to reality.
“Hey, how long are you gonna just stand there?” Charlotte was now behind him, seemingly more weirded out than concerned.
Adam turned toward her. What met her blue eyes were not Adam’s usual gray ones. Instead, his irises were glowing an eerie white. The wide-eyed look he had on his face was copied by Charlotte.
“You… no way. Is it you…?”
“Huh?” Adam had no clue what Charlotte was talking about. His head seemed to calm down now, as the glow slowly left his eyes, returning them to their natural gray color.
“You seem to not know, do you?” Charlotte folded her arms, sighing. “I can feel it though, now that I seriously stop and sense it.” She closed her eyes, seemingly deep in thought.
“You know who I am…? I’m Adam. Adam Grayson? We were in school together?”
Charlotte opened her eyes; tears seeming to fall from them.
“Thank god… finally. After all this time…!”
Adam took a few steps back. “So, uh. I gotta go grab some apple juice. It’s my favorite. So, if you’ll excuse me…” He started to walk toward the back of the store, where the drinks were located.
“It seems it hasn’t really awakened yet.” Charlotte wiped her tears away. Adam stopped and started to turn toward her. Something about her tone in that sentence uneased him.
Before he could turn all the way back around, he was met with a chop to the side of his neck. It was light-speed; he did not even know what happened until he saw Charlotte’s hand move away from him. His consciousness started to fade.
Adam fell to the ground. His gaze ended up on the spot where he saw the little girl moments before. With his last second of consciousness, he could have sworn he saw her again.
Adam felt a cool breeze upon his skin. He seemed to instantly focus on the fact that Charlotte knocked him out. Vision returning to his eyes, consciousness was coming back. The next moment Adam was on his feet. It was only then he took in where he was.
It seemed to be a clearing of some kind in the middle of the woods. Knowing the layout of Prelude his entire life, he could tell that he was still near the town based on the nearby pine and apple trees, and how they were lined up in rows. One row was filled with pine, followed by apple in the next, and so on. All Adam had to help him see was the light of the full moon above of him.
“How… long was I out?” Adam looked in each direction, his fists clenched ready to jump into action if need be.
Adam turned toward Charlotte, who was standing behind him. He could have sworn he looked that way and did not see her at all a moment ago.
“I’ve felt that it would show up here. Ever since I forged my way into your school, I was sure it was being narrowed down.” Charlotte looked up at the moon. “Wouldn’t expect a guy with no physical training whatsoever to have it.”
“What… on earth are you talking about?” Adam took a step forward. “Right now you’re really talking like a crazy person, you know that?”
Charlotte sighed. “Not sure if you heard me before, but I am sorry that I can’t be nice about this…” Her attention return to Adam.
“Do you want to know something interesting?” Charlotte smiled softly. “I’ve actually existed for hundreds of years, at this point.”
“Huh?” Adam did not seem convinced. “All right, Charlotte the Kidnapper… think that’s all the time I’ve got for today.” He clenched his fist. “I’m not dealing with this anymore. Sorry, but not sorry.”
Adam dashed forward, planning to knock Charlotte down. Swinging his fist, he was sure that he made contact.
But his entire body went right through her’s.
Falling onto his knees, it felt as though Adam just went through a freezer. In fact, he started to shiver a little.
“You’re…” Adam stood up, teeth chattering. “Y-You’re a…?”
“A ghost, you could call me. Or a spirit, whichever works for you.” Charlotte’s smile, which remained on her face during Adam’s attempted attack, faded. “Someone simply dying and remaining as a spirit though couldn’t do what I’ve been able to do. That secret lies in my blood…”
As Adam was about to ask her what she meant, an azure aura started to form around Charlotte. Starting off calmly, it quickly shifted into a tremendous force that knocked Adam off his feet. He tried standing up, only to be knocked back down once again.
The force diminished a few seconds later, and Adam was able to regain his footing. Focusing his attention back onto Charlotte, he noticed she changed. Instead of the jet black hair she usually possessed, Charlotte now had pure white hair. Her eyes seemed almost sapphire in color now. The clothing she wore was now a set of blue armor.
“That appearance… it reminds me a lot of…”
Charlotte nodded, seeming to know what Adam was thinking. “Yes, I know it’s been taught in your curriculum. My true name is actually Charlotte Ouderkirk, a member of the royal family of Requiem!”
Adam’s head started to hurt, his eyes shifting once again from gray to that glowing white color.
“Agonizing, right? Seems there’s been a lot of emotional strain on you recently, which is causing that to happen.”
Adam held his head, sharp pains erupting from it and seemingly scattering throughout his whole body.
“Oh World Mirror, I’ve waited so long for you!”
“What the hell’s a World Mirror?” Adam continued to hold his head, which actually kept him standing.
“Don’t worry about the details for now. I promise I’ll explain it later.”
“I feel like I won’t live that long…” Adam gulped.
“No, no. You must live! I need to see the World Mirror! I’m so tired of waiting! So stay alive while I beat it out of you!”
The next thing Adam knew, Charlotte had struck him directly in the chest. With a punch? Kick? Adam did not know. It was too fast for him to see. The moment this even registered, he found himself flying into the woods behind him. His body rolled through several bushes and eventually went straight through a tree. He fell onto the ground as the tree fell right beside him.
“How could my body go through a tree?” he thought. “How am I even alive?”
Blood quickly blinded him. He felt searing pain throughout his entire body as much of it was now broken.
Adam could not decide on whether to scream in agony or cough up his lungs. He went through a mixture of the two, his body having no way to process this level of pain.
Charlotte was now in front of him, although Adam’s senses were in complete disarray. He had no idea what direction was what at the moment.
Charlotte waved her hands in a motion as if she was beckoning someone. A blue glow formed near her hand, and a long sword of the same blue color appeared. Adam seemed to notice this and had begun to focus back on reality.
“It’s not coming out. It needs to come out!”
Adam was able to hear Charlotte decently enough. He tried to form a response, only to realize that he somehow bit his tongue during the hit. Only blood came out of his mouth. At the same time, tears came out of his eyes, which continued to glow even now.
Charlotte raised her sword but halted after noticing Adam’s tears. She took a deep breath and lowered the blade.
“I looked through the various medical records of all the students. Being a spirit, I can slip by things pretty easily if I want. Getting them was no problem.” There was a rather long pause.
“Six months ago, you tried to kill yourself. Is that correct?”
Adam was able to temporarily handle the pain, as the shock of her knowing that seemed to take over.
“A kid with no real hobbies, no real plans for the future. Friends that have loads of promise, on the contrary. You distanced yourself from them, thinking they no longer needed you. And your home life… heh. Truly, you don’t have much of a family, right?”
Adam’s mind went back a few hours ago to what Pam told him.
“You have a family here, don’t forget that.”
Anger seemed to fill Adam’s body. It was strange, he now seemed to shut off the majority of the pain at this point.
Charlotte pointed the blade toward Adam’s face. “Along with all of that though… something happened to you, didn’t it.”
Adam was slowly standing up. He did not notice the fact that his body started to form a white glow similar to the one his eyes were producing. The injuries he just received were fading away.
“Tell me, Adam Grayson. How do you perceive this world?”
While Charlotte moved the blade up to Adam’s throat, his gaze met the moon above. At that moment, despite the surge of emotions inside of him, he was able to answer calmly.
“I saw it. All of it. Clearly. Despair plaguing the world. Ever since all of those things happened years ago, I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to save… her, and everyone else. Including myself… that feeling combated that despair, and lost.” Adam formed a light smile.
“It’s funny how I lost due to happiness, however. It felt as though she was better off without me. I was so able to see her genuinely smile again. She, and my other friends as well. They have so much going for them. They don’t need me. And that’s all I had… the fact that I could help them through things. I was too scared of the rest of the world to try to find something myself.” Adam fell to his knees, his eyes still locked onto the moon; tears coming out at a faster rate.
“Can’t they see… all of this twisted shit in the world? I know they can, everyone can. And they… they don’t do a damn thing about it! Nobody ever does!
Charlotte lowered her sword. A few seconds later, it faded out of existence. “Let me ask you, why are you upset?”
Adam’s eyes widened, seemingly confused from her question. His eyes would not stop looking upwards, however.
Charlotte answered her own question. “It’s because that feeling actually didn’t lose. That feeling to combat that despair. It’s still there. But it’s struggling. Life makes everything struggle. But it’s not over.” Charlotte walked over to Adam and bent over him, now blocking his gaze at the moon with her own eyes.
“You have a purpose. To continue fighting that despair. And if you think you’re useless, that you have no power, just look.”
Charlotte motioned to the area around him. All the trees around him have now toppled over many meters away from where they originally stood. It was as if the two were standing in a crater where a meteor struck.
“That’s why the World Mirror manifested within you. It knows you want so desperately to fight, regardless of how many times you fall.” Charlotte dropped down onto her knee and bowed to Adam.
“I’ll be by your side while you do so. That’s why I’ve existed for so long. I was meant to wait for the World Mirror to appear again and assist whoever it chose to reside in.” Charlotte smiled. “It’s the least I can do, for being so physically and emotionally harsh to you. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me one day, yet you don’t have to-”
Before Charlotte could finish talking, Adam fell down. The glow the World Mirror created faded away. His body was exhausted, and could hardly handle was what happening anymore.
“Well, that’s fine. I’m exhausted as well. I think to have to act like a villain exhausted me more than using my power.” Charlotte chuckled, holding her head. “Was it acting, though?”
As Adam fell asleep, an apple from a nearby tree that miraculously remained standing fell onto the ground.
Next: Chapter 1.2
Previous: Chapter 1.1 (Part 1)