“Mom, can I talk to you?”
Faith had visited her mother at Prelude’s police station, which was nearby their house. Members of Unity used the police stations across Requiem for their operations, aside from the actual Unity building in Nexus City.
“Yes, dear. What’s up? You usually don’t visit me at work.” Pam sat at her desk inside of a fancy yet small office. She had a coffee pot off to the side turned on, the aroma filling up the entire building.
“About… the incident in the woods a few weeks ago. There was something I’ve meant to tell you.” Faith took a deep breath. She feared that waiting this long to say something meant trouble.
“Remember when I was little, and I told you over and over again about the person with a strange mask that I thought saved Emma and myself from the fire?”
“I do…?” Pam was initially confused as to what it had to do with the woods. Yet, after a moment, it struck her.
“I saw the same person again. In the woods. Wearing the same mask and everything.”
Pam sighed. “So that’s come up again, huh?”
“See!? You don’t believe me! This is why I was so hesitant—”
“Faith, sweetie. Of course, I believe you. I always have.” Pam sighed as she stood up and walked over to the coffee pot.
“You… You did? Then, why did you always brush it off?”
“Why do you think? They would never let me talk to you about it. Besides, you were too young. I didn’t want you to get mixed up somehow.”
Pam poured two cups of coffee and returned to her desk. She placed a cup on each side, for her and her daughter.
“You’re an adult now, and since you’re entering Unity anyway, they’ve given some leeway as to what I can discuss.”
“So, do you know about this masked person? And why our house somehow went back to normal?”
Pam shook her head. “This masked character so far has only been brought up by you. You’ve seen it again… Which, could mean…”
Faith waited patiently as her mother gathered her thoughts. Pam took a long sip of coffee, drinking the entire cup.
“You’ve seen it on the news. Sometimes, things end up getting destroyed one way or another. A car getting in an accident, terrain getting torn up, and of course, a house catching on fire. Yet, unlike other places in the world, Requiem has something strange occur. People will take a look at something that had been destroyed, and it mysteriously is back to normal.”
Faith nodded. “Yeah, every time I see something like that, I always wonder if it’s related…”
“Well, people think it is. We actually have a name for it now: ‘Rewrite Phenomenon.’ Things will get fixed for no apparent reason at random times and places. For example, I’m not sure if Winona told you, but it seemed their garden got destroyed a few weeks ago when they were sparring. I don’t know the details, but the next morning they were supposed to clean it up without the use of their Abilities as punishment, yet…”
“It was back to normal?” Faith was curious, as Winona did not mention any of this to her.
“It did. People have always theorized that it was an Ability of some sort, and someone was kind to the citizen of Requiem, fixing things that had been ruined. Out of all the reports, nobody has seen a soul do anything. Yet you’ve seen a masked person twice. That’s… interesting, as to how you’re the only person to have seen anyone.”
Faith fidgeted in her chair. “Isn’t… what they’re doing illegal? Using an Ability outside of Unity?”
Pam shrugged. “Yeah, but if they’ve gone this long without being caught, they obviously are quite skilled. And besides, they’re certainly doing something good, in my eyes. I’d rather not bring this up with the higher-ups so they can continue to fix things.”
“But isn’t that dangerous!?” Faith bumped the desk, causing some of her coffee to spill. “You shouldn’t withhold information!”
“Well, do you want me to make a report? I can. With my status, it’ll be looked into rather quickly. Is that what you want?” Pam took a tissue and wiped off the spilled coffee.
“No…” Faith paused. “I don’t want them to get in trouble. They’re doing something good. Although I wish they could have helped Emma back then… They did save us…”
Pam nodded in agreement. “Yeah. Unless they start doing harm, I’d rather them just be free. That’s just… what we with Abilities need. Freedom.”
“Mom…” Faith looked at her mother with a worried gaze. “Do you think we’ll ever be free to do our own thing? To be able to not fight if we want?”
Pam was silent for a moment. She proceeded to take a deep breath.
“I would love that. The things you do in Unity… They can get to you. I’ve told you girls countless times. I always hoped you two wouldn’t gain Abilities, to be honest. That way, you could have joined Unity without the leash on you.”
Pam got up from her seat and walked over to the other side. “You’ve awakened one, however. I’m not sure if Emma ever will, but you have an Ability. You have that leash now. But, you need to realize something…”
Faith was caught off guard as her mother embraced her tightly. The smell of coffee was stronger than ever.
“You have the power to do something about that leash, along with all the other leashes wrapped around our necks. I believe someone can finally free us. I’ve seen some great potential in your generation.” Pam snuggled her face into Faith’s hair.
“Back in the day… Adam’s mom was probably the only one who had a chance of overthrowing Rizzo and his administration. But then she…” Pam paused, showing palpable grief to what she was thinking about. “…And ever since, nobody has been near that level.”
Faith let out a muffled giggle. “When I first awakened my Ability, you were convinced that I was a reincarnation of her. She had a similar one, right? That’s pretty awesome and everything, but… I’m not sure how I feel about being her reincarnation… considering… she’s Adam’s…” Faith backed away from her mother, seemingly flustered.
Pam grinned. “You know, you’re pretty easy to read. If you’re referring to that then… Yeah, I certainly would be strange.” Faith’s mother started laughing.
Faith stood up, looking away from her mother. “I don’t want to show weakness. Not anymore. I can’t have that… I need to be strong.”
With a flick of her hand, Faith formed a large, scorching flame in front of her. Pam was shocked; this was the first time she saw her daughter create a fire that large.
“My flame will shine brighter than any flame before it! I’m not gonna let fear stop me anymore!”
Pam was ecstatic. She stood up and cheered for her daughter’s newfound strength. “Hell yeah! Passion over fear!”
“Passion…?” Faith looked at her flame; the heat emanating a toasty warmth on her body. “I was using comfort… but, I guess fire can represent multiple things, can’t it?”
Adam’s living room had been a dojo for over two weeks. Charlotte had remained in her standard form, using knives from Adam’s kitchen during Adam and Brandon’s training.
Brandon had passed out on the floor, exhausted from trying to keep up with the other two. Charlotte pointed a bloody knife at Adam, who remained standing. Shirtless, scratches were visible on Adam’s body, which Charlotte carved into him. The World Mirror was already active; the marks slowly fading away as the light enveloped them.
“Breathe. Remember: You can’t ride a horse without taming it first. The same goes for the World Mirror. Accept it as a part of yourself. Once you can hold the power in, you’ll start figuring out how to use it properly.”
Adam nodded, understanding what Charlotte was saying. It took him a while, but he finally developed an image inside his head. Adam felt as though his body was crumbling away as if glass was shattering. The shards, to him, seemed to represent the power of the World Mirror emerging from his body.
Being inside his mind, Adam was not restricted to the normal laws of physics. With a mere thought, Adam had multiple hands emerge from his body. Each was swift enough to capture numerous shards in an instant. The hands then proceeded to return to Adam and fade into his body. It dawned on him that this could potentially be the key to controlling an Ability.
“You really need a sound mind to use an Ability to its full potential, huh?” Adam tumbled onto the floor, staring at the ceiling, deep in thought.
Brandon opened his eyes and rolled over near where Adam was. “You think that’s why I can only get electricity to form around my body? And why I can’t shoot electric beams of energy? Actually… Now that I think about it… I hit that Derek guy pretty quickly. Like I was literally as fast as lightning. I don’t know how I did that!”
“If it was right as you awakened your Ability, then it makes sense.” Charlotte got down and lied in between Adam and Brandon. “It’s like a bomb exploding; you would get quite the boost within that moment.”
“Like a bomb exploding, huh?” Adam’s eyes focused on Charlotte’s. “Charlotte, can I ask you something?”
Charlotte nodded, sitting up. Adam did the same, his gaze not leaving her own.
“Over the past two weeks, you’ve done really well in helping Brandon and I understand our Abilities better. You seem to be used to using modern terms, like ‘Ability’ itself. I know you said you most likely picked up those terms when you possessed people, but…”
“You’re worried I may be lying about my memory loss?” Charlotte asked without hesitation.
“Right now, I believe you. After all, the tears you shed when I said we were friends, they felt genuine. But I just feel… like, it’s hard to trust people in this world.”
“Well, let me ask something as well. It’s a fear I’ve honestly been having as we train.” Charlotte paused. “What if… my memories do come back, and I’m actually someone bad? What if this stuff with the World Mirror was just so I could get closer to you… so I could stab you in the back?”
“I’ve played a game like that once!” Brandon chimed in. “The main character had amnesia, and as they went through the story, they feared the person they were before.”
“I am afraid,” Charlotte stated bluntly. “I’m… afraid that I’ll hurt you, and your friends. You’re all strange, but I couldn’t find it in my heart… at least, this current heart, to hurt you guys.”
“Well, it’s a little too late for that,” Adam smirked, pointing at his body. “We’ve easily lost count with how many times you’ve cut me up.”
“You know what I mean…” Charlotte spoke in a soft, worried tone.
“If it turned out that you were lying to us, or that you get your memories back and you ended up being a bad person…” Adam hesitated but quickly regained determination in his eyes.
“I’ll fight for the Charlotte that’s here and now. Yes, the whole package of ‘sappy, narcoleptic kidnapper.’”
Brandon started to chuckle. “Wow, that first part. That’s the kinda thing you would say way back in the day!”
Charlotte did not react at first. Eventually, a smile formed on her face. “Well, that’s quite a heroic line, I’d say.”
“Heroic…?” Adam recalled the conversation he and Faith had a few weeks back. Her words echoed in his head.
“The hero. You’ve always been like one…”
“I’m not sure about that…”
“You know, dude—” Brandon stood up, stretching out his body. “Ya really gotta learn to trust a little more. And I’m not just saying with other people. Ya gotta learn to trust yourself better!”
“Yeah?” Adam looked at his body, his gaze falling onto his wrist.
A loud, beeping noise suddenly rang through the room. Its origin was a tiny monitor that was placed near the door.
“The camera! It picked up someone!” Charlotte leaped all the way to the door and held her knife, ready to strike.
“Relax, it’s just Jerry.” Brandon walked over and pointed at the monitor. “How many times are we going to have to go through this?”
Jerry opened the door, almost walking directly into Charlotte’s knife, which was still pointed in his direction.
“This is going to be a common thing in this fake relationship, isn’t it? I want a fake divorce.”
“But, you two are only supposed to be a fake boyfriend and fake girlfriend.” Brandon let out a gasp. “Did you two have a fake wedding in secret!?”
“Nah, I just want the break up to be extra powerful. Might as well go all the way with the divorce.” Jerry sighed, taking his shoes off.
“Yeah, a divorce worked quite well for my dad. He hasn’t heard a peep from my mom in years.” Brandon nodded.
“You don’t have a mother?” Charlotte asked. “Just like Adam…?”
“Well, mine’s still alive. At least I think. Who knows?” Brandon shrugged. “Actually, when it comes to straight up not having moms that are alive, these two have that in common.” He pointed at Adam and Jerry simultaneously.
“Jerry? Your mom’s dead? I’m sorry if that’s personal—”
“Oh, it’s fine. No need to worry.” Jerry walked over next to Adam, taking a seat on the floor. “She got sick a decade or so ago and unfortunately passed away.”
“I’m sorry…” Charlotte took a seat as well. Brandon remained standing, doing various stretches as he conversed with the others.
Adam sighed. “My mom died right after I was born. Brandon’s mom left after the divorce. And Jerry’s mom died to sickness. Maybe that’s what drew us together? Just a bunch of kids without mothers to take care of them, and fathers that are too occupied elsewhere…”
“Well, my dad slowly desired to do things with me around middle school,” Brandon commented. “It’s what led me to do sports. Gave us something to bond over.”
“And my dad eventually started doing projects with me as I learned more things about Phantonics,” Jerry added.
“My dad still…” Adam sighed. “Well, it makes me think. Sometimes, I wanna be the opposite of him. I think I want to have a family of my own and be there all the time for my kids.” He chuckled. “Then I go into a store and hear little kids screaming, and I wonder if I want to deal with that.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Brandon grinned, walking over to his friend and placing his arm around him. “You’ve got us, no matter what happens in the future.”
“I guess that’s true…” Adam smiled gently.
“Oh, right. You had some mail, Adam.” Jerry handed Adam a single envelope.
“A letter?” Adam curiously turned the envelope over to see who it was from.
“Well… speak of the freaking devil.”
Without another word, Adam walked into the hallway tearing the envelope open, dropping it onto the floor. He walked into his room as he began to read the paper that was inside, shutting the door behind him.
His friends waited in anticipation to see what the letter was about, although they would be all right if it were something personal that Adam did not want to share with them.
After a few minutes, the three in the living room heard an enormous explosion come from down the hall.
Next: Chapter 1.10
Previous: Chapter 1.8