“Attention! This is a Code Yellow alert! Please return to your homes until the situation has been resolved! Attention! This is a Code Yellow alert! Please return to your homes until the situation has been resolved!”
A veil of red and blue had been cast across the city on that chilly autumn night. Police roadblocks could be seen along every major avenue, a last-ditch effort to apprehend the elusive Durham Anthony. It didn’t take long for his mercenaries to crawl out from the shadows, prompting an all out war of attrition. We, the Faulkner ASB suddenly found ourselves caught in the middle, targets in a dangerous game to which the conduit shards had become the spoils.
This had all started back on Wednesday afternoon when a mysterious message was sent to the metropolitan police department. Normally, such a bizarre gesture would be disregarded; this one, however, had been addressed by Durham himself, and it foretold of a weapon capable of targeting every ESPer in the city.
Perhaps more cryptic were the conditions surrounding his threat. For reasons unknown, he had demanded that police keep a respectable distance from our little ASB group, and that failure to do so would result in a swift and immediate execution of the weapon’s go-code. We were interrogated and had no choice but to reveal the circumstances of the conduit shards to local authorities. They sympathized with our plight and offered to help in any way they could, but we knew damn well that during the heat of the moment, the six of us would be on our own.
Ding-Dong! The sound of the doorbell echoed throughout the house, alerting its occupants to the presence of a delivery man. Rachel was the first to answer, having spent the better half of her day lounging around on the living room couch. When she saw the size of the package in question, she couldn’t help but to raise an eyebrow.
“Brother! I think it’s for you!” She politely held the door open while waiting for her younger brother Isaac to come out of his room. Isaac quickly signed the proper forms, thanked the man, and lifted the box to his chest. Whatever it was, it must have been heavy. Rachel then shut the door, watching as Isaac haphazardly sidestepped across the living room en route to his humble quarters. Curiosity getting the better of her, she decided to follow him.
Whether or not they were willing to admit it, the two had always been rather close. Rachel was pushing twenty-four; Isaac recently had turned twenty-two. Both still lived at home, rooms looking opposite each other through a small hallway, doors normally shut for privacy. Even so, the two would spend time together every so often, playing games or watching movies. They didn’t always like each other, but they were still family nonetheless.
Rachel sat on Isaac’s bed, tapping her foot against the floor as she watched Isaac wrestle open the top of the box with a sharp house key. “So… What is it?”
It is no exaggeration to say that I personally am addicted to smartphones. Much of my free time is spent researching new models or customizing the ones that I own. I tend to buy a new one every six to twelve months, which allows me to try out all sorts of hardware and software combinations. When a phone is no longer my “daily driver,” I will either repurpose it, give it to a family member, or have it destroyed for security reasons. Needless to say, I now know quite a bit about how they work.
I’ve always wanted to do a “What’s on Your Phone?” post, though I wasn’t sure how well it would mesh with the fundamental nature of this blog (most of you would rather have more fap material, I’m sure). The reason I’m deciding to do one now is because I feel I can make it educational, and that would put it in line with some of the other posts I’ve done (such as the “How to Hypnotize” post I made last year).
I was released from the infirmary late Saturday night, and I spent all of Sunday struggling to catch up on some unfinished coursework. With the new week at hand and people returning their attention to the more typical rigors permeating higher education, it was clear that the fallout from our incident had been rather minimal, and thankfully so. Those stragglers who were accosted by the armed men during the rushed evacuation appeared to have put the incident behind them; even Megan was unusually chipper as she waved to me on her way to class. Nevertheless, Rebekah’s insistence on barring the ASB secretary from administrative activities would remain in effect – a sign that the administration was still very much on edge and would be for some time.
Of course, a large part of that unease could easily be attributed to the sudden disappearance of our mystery scientist. He slipped through the police barricade, took off into the city proper, and vanished without so much as a trace. In spite of a sweeping search spanning the entire weekend, not one person claimed to know a man by the name Durham Anthony, nor could they identify his face. The armed men who were detained after the incident would offer no information which might incriminate their boss, as was to be expected. They would likely be held on misdemeanor charges anyway, forced into community service or something similar. Thus, with no further leads and no history to draw from, it was decided that the the case be put on hold for the time being. Considering how nothing too serious had transpired, many among the general masses considered it a best-case scenario.
Psh… Best-case, my lily white ass… I may have been a tad biased, but I knew in my heart that this story was far from over. Durham Anthony would return sooner or later; it was only a matter of when the most opportune moment would present itself to him. Not to mention that there was still a possibility of further ESPer attacks, so I couldn’t understand how a correlation this blatant could so easily be overlooked. To my credit, I wasn’t the only one.
Leaning against the inside of Cass’s mirror, I let out another sigh as I watched her finish putting on makeup. “Remind me one more time why we agreed to this stupid game of hers?”
“What was that? My hand wasn’t on the mirror.”
“What do you think I asked!?”
“Give it a rest already, will you?” she snapped. “This was the only way I could think to bargain with her. Plus who knows? Maybe if I rock her world tonight, she’ll ask to become my apprentice! How cool would that be?”
“Pardon my brashness, Cass, but are you getting some kind of a sick thrill out of this?”
“What in the hell is going on here?!” As I stepped forward to confront Astertis, I had to deny myself the urge to gag. All I could think about was how I had screwed up royally, and that if I didn’t do something quickly, my friend would be forced to give up the vessel she called her body.
Astertis appeared completely relaxed as she turned her gaze toward me. She even had a cheerful grin on her face as she clapped her hands together. “It would appear that your intuition is developing at a faster rate than I give you credit for! Before long, you’ll have the makings of a true master of the arts, my beloved Audrey!”
“What are you doing to her!? I thought I could trust you, though I see now that I was mistaken for ever doing so!” Need to act quickly…! Have to… save Cass…!
“I can assure you that your little girlfriend is in no real danger; now be a good girl and allow me to get what I came here for.”
What about… that might work, but… can I do it…? There’s no time…! Closing my eyes, I began to chant in an ancient language. The moment Astertis heard the words, her smile promptly faded.
“Madame President, can I ask you something?”
“Go ahead, Lana,” answered the woman’s voice through my wireless headset.
“I know that I said I was fine with sacrificing my night for the cause, but was this dress code really necessary? I mean, we aren’t the Men in Black!” Rebekah had insisted that members of the administration dress in what she deemed to be the proper security attire, and while I lacked any official standing, my role as Navigator meant I hadn’t much choice in the matter.
Standing along the far wall of the student union event hall, I concluded to myself that the inside temperature must have been approaching ninety degrees. I was dressed in black slacks and a matching suit jacket, and I found myself continuously having to shift against the thick fabric just to cool off. Our guests had all been smart enough to wear as little as possible, but even so, I could vaguely make out the beads of sweat dripping across their bodies as they rubbed up against each other.
Back in high school, school dances had always been something of a formality to me. I only ever participated in order to save face with my peers, and I thought that once I entered university, I’d be done with them forever. All I wanted was for the evening to go as smoothly as possible so I could return to my room and spend the rest of my weekend doing sweet F-A.