In the abyss I’ve seen countless times, there is nothing but peace. This place is the epitome of silence. Being here should, generally speaking, make me eerie. After all, there’s literally no one here. I can’t see anything, I can’t hear anything. It’s like being held prisoner in a dark ‘cage’ and being unable to escape or to even think of escaping.
But this is how it should go based on appearances. This is far from the truth. There has never been a single time when I felt unease for being in the abyss neither have I ever wanted to leave here.
The silence is calming, inability to see and/or hear feels like freedom. This place brings solace to the soul. I have always thought of this place in a positive light. Even before Barry told me what it is, when I noticed it for the first time, I thought of it as somewhere I would definitely want to come again and again.
These thoughts, as they race through my head, feel forced for some reason. I don’t know why but it looks like these thoughts are not my own. But I’m confident I have these thoughts. In fact, they occur to me every other day. Every time I think of ‘The Cage’, I think how it betrays the vibe its appearance gives off. So how can thinking the exact same thing now make me feel unease?
It doesn’t make any sense. Since I’m in ‘The Cage’, it’s pretty obvious that my thoughts are calm and I don’t feel any agitation. But even so, this small feeling of unease is disturbing me. If not mine, whose thoughts could these be? I can’t think of anyone. If they were Barry’s thoughts, I would have felt much more than just unease by that. The only reason I can consider this possibility calmly is because I’m in ‘The Cage’. But because of that, I can assess it definitely isn’t Barry whose thoughts could be in my head.
So, the other candidates could be … anyone I’ve ever met. For the most part of my childhood, I never had any close friends, just a few people I knew and talked to at school. After that incident 12 years ago, I kept myself isolated from others. So, everyone except Barry that I’ve met in my life is pretty much on equal footing for me. None of them particularly look like suspects at this point, but I have to consider the possibility.
Let’s see then. Out of all the people I talked to in my school, could it be anyone of them? It helps that I’m a psychic. An ability called eidetic memory is ingrained in the psyche of a psychic. Unless the person completely gives up on psychic, this ability surely surfaces in their mind. With this, I can never forget things from the point where it first surfaced to today, unless I specifically use psychic to forget them like I did 12 years ago. But aside from the memories of that particular incident, everything else is still in my brain. These memories, like any other person’s brain, are stored in subconscious. So the ability is not to have photographic memory, but the ability to use the vast storage of subconscious mind whenever I need to.
Because of this ability, I can clearly make out the names of those I could call friends at my school. There were five people.
There was a boy who was good at literature but sucked at science. He had goggles on even as a little kid. Many used to tease him as a ‘nerd’. I had checked his thoughts countless times and he never had any idea about supernatural things like psychic abilities. Since I myself can’t have thoughts about something I don’t even know, I think it’s safe to say he is not a candidate here.
Second, there was a boy who was the son of the owner of a major firm in the city. He was a usual rich boy. And by that, I mean he was just a usual boy whose family was rich. He never acted like a delusional brat and never tried to show off his father’s wealth. Whenever someone reads a comic and asks me, ‘do rich kids really act like the world revolves around them’, he will be the best example for me to say ‘no’. I checked his thoughts quiet often too. He can’t be the one either.
Third, there was a girl who lived in the neighborhood. Our fathers were friends – or so Barry had told me. I never really cared that much about my father and so I didn’t care about that connection. But that fact remains that we still met because of it and ended up becoming friends. Come to think of it, I think we only became friends after we started going to the same school. Even though we knew each other beforehand, we never really got around to talking that much. But she can’t be the one either. My thoughts simply don’t feel like they are of a female. Thinking of me as a male while having those thoughts feels natural.
Fourth, there was a boy a little taller than his peers – that is, us. He was the kind of person who would take the leadership of the class. Even though he wasn’t always the head, his presence in the classroom was always undeniable. In fact, everyone in the class liked him; at least I think they did. He never had any such thoughts and never could have either.
Finally, there was another girl. I have a hard time remembering her but she can’t be the one either because I know those weren’t a female’s thoughts. It’s kind of bugging me how I can’t clearly remember her even though I’m using the one tool whose specialty is to help me remember ‘everything’. But I can put that aside for now.
If I move on with the possibilities, there’s my father. He knew about both me and Barry. So he knew that psychics existed. But according to what I know, he was just a normal human. He had never known what ‘The Cage’ is. It’s impossible to become a psychic if you are not born with the talent, so they can’t be his thoughts either.
So what possibilities remain? After that, I pretty much knew everyone I knew in my life to a very small extent. I isolated myself and so they never got to talk to me much and never knew much about them. Even if one of them was a psychic, they would not know because I was always hiding my abilities from anyone who can sense it. Even as a kid, my ability to mask my psychic energy was absolute. So no matter how powerful of a psychic we are talking about, they just couldn’t have known I’m like them.
I went over several other possibilities, but none of them would have any way of coming true. So what now? Am I going to waste all the time I have in here thinking about some thoughts that don’t feel like my own. I should have better use of this time. That’s what I’d like to say to brush it off, but when a question like this arises, it becomes a really serious issue for a psychic. Having to peek in other’s minds is no big deal for us but if someone if able to peek into our minds and transfer their thoughts over, that’s really dangerous.
So after all this investigation into my memories, if I have to bet on a possibility, I would say these thoughts are really my own but there’s a ‘gap’ somewhere in between which needs to be fulfilled so I can fully comprehend them. This ‘gap’ could be something I don’t remember. They can also be something I just don’t know yet and these thoughts in that case will be a premonition.
I should try to –
As I was about to move forward with my thoughts, I am suddenly forced awake by something. I immediately stand up to counteract any danger that might be on me, but to my surprise, everything seems to be normal.
I see the beach glowing a little by how reflection of the morning sun is pouring into it. I would judge the time right now to be around 4 or 5. In which case, that girl will come here after at least an hour or so. There’s no one else here either. Everything seems absolutely fine.
But my body won’t use a defense mechanism like that for nothing. It’s precisely this ability of my body to immediately pull myself out of sleep that I can go to sleep without much to worry about. It’s nothing special though, most psychics have it. But regardless, I can’t be sure there’s nothing wrong. There’s definitely something here of concern to me.
An ability called Aura Reading allows me to read the structure, nature of and intention of everyone and everything in the radius of the ability. Should I decide to use it, I can detect the entire Aura of this island. Anyone on this island will be under my radius. The only problem in using that ability is that it takes a lot of focus and will give anyone the perfect chance to attack me should they desire to.
So, the question remains; what should I do now? Best bet is to keep to teleport-as-soon-as-danger-approaches strategy, but that means I’ll just have to wait and see if something happens. Seeing how anxious I am, it’s not going to be easy. Isn’t there any other way to deal with this situation? There should be. Come on, think.
I move towards the forest. Since I can teleport in an instant, I am not taking that big of a risk by moving towards a potentially dangerous area. As I come closer to the forest, my anxiety keeps growing. I can hear someone’s footsteps echoing through the forest. It doesn’t sound like that of that girl. It definitely is a human though, at least someone with a human body.
???: “You are too suspicious, you know.”
A familiar voice comes from behind me. I almost end up teleporting myself before realizing who it is.
Girl: “I thought you’ll be less suspicious of me after we talked yesterday.”
Kais: “It’s not you I was so suspicious of right now; at least I don’t think so.”
She tilts her head. This girl managed to appear behind me like she did yesterday. If she really is a mass of energy, then I guess it kind of makes sense there won’t be any noise when she moves. It’s plausible for her to become a top assassin if she tries to use that skill of her to earn money in a normal world.
Girl: “Then did you meet someone else while I was gone?”
Kais: “No, but I thought I heard footsteps coming from the forest and I don’t think they were yours.”
Girl: “That so. But then who’s would it be?”
Kais: “I have no idea, but I know there’s at least one other person than the both of us on this island.”
Girl: “A … Ah … he … he would never come out of the tomb though.”
For the first time, I saw an expression of genuine shock on her face. If a person who remained a shut-in for as long as you know and then you hear they could be walking outdoors, then I guess a person would be shocked. But for some reason, the expression I saw on her face contained a hint of terror.
Girl: “Hmm … definitely, there’s no way he would come out of the tomb.”
Kais: “Can I ask why?”
Girl: “I don’t know.”
That was a quick answer. She didn’t hesitate for even a moment to allow me to doubt her for it. Could it be she was expecting the question and was ready to answer it? It does seem possible and anyone could have guessed that question was going to be asked.
Girl: “Well, anyway, do you want me to take you to the tomb now?”
Kais: “First tell me, what’s the most dangerous creature in this forest?”
Kais: “I see – the bear, huh?”
Girl: “I have heard others call him that. I don’t know what it means, but I would prefer if you call him Hans.”
Kais: “And why’s that?”
Girl: “Because I named him Hans?”
Kais: “You did?”
She nods cheerfully. The smile is back on her face. But still, I thought she didn’t understand the value of names because she never bothers to remember her own. But if she names others, then she must understand it, in some incomplete way that is.
Girl: “So now?”
Kais: “Yeah, I’m ready.”
I straightened my back and looked at her. This was to show that I’m sincere though I doubt she would get that. I will leave aside thinking about other issues, the tomb is the most pressing matter right now. It is the key to answering what exactly happens when a psychic meets that dragon and what’s the exact reason for psychics being brought here. At this point, I’m almost certain in that theory of mine. The final confirmation should come from the tomb itself.
Girl: “Okay then, follow me.”
She starts walking into the forest. I notice that Jack and Jill are back, but they aren’t stopping me anymore. I guess I can finally go in.
I put a foot into the forest territory and see that neither Jack, Jill nor any other creature here is trying to stop me. This means I should stop hesitating and go in.
And finally, I take another step into the forest.
Girl: “If you’re that slow, I’m going to leave you behind, mister.”
Kais: “Well, you won’t be able to. But come to think of it, I never told you my name, did I?
The same smile, the same tone and the same out-of-place feeling repeats itself.
Kais: “I’m Kais.”
Girl: “Okay. I’m … I’m … nope, I forgot.”
She looked like she was pondering on what to answer. It almost seemed like she was going to name herself on a whim.
Kais: “Yeah, we went over that part.”
If she does find significance in naming others but not herself then she is probably the one who named Jack and Jill too. If that’s the case, then there is also the fact that the names ‘Jack’ and ‘Jill’ are too much of a coincidence. I should ask her why she named these creatures the way she did after I am done with the tomb.
Girl: “I already warned you once but I’m going to leave you behind if you’re that slow.”
While I have been thinking, my pace has been quite slow. She, on the other hand, looks really energetic, though that’s kinda obvious if she is made of energy herself. But anyway, I should catch up to her.
Kais: “Fine, I’m coming.”
I sprinted a few steps to catch up to her when suddenly,
Kais: “What’s wrong?”
Girl: “It’s … it’s … the … no way … I …”
I find an expression of shock alongside fear I had seen only once before. What’s she freaking out about? I look at what her face seems to be looking at and … it’s a rabbit.
Kais: “You afraid of rabbits or something?”
Girl: “That … that thing is …”
I hear footsteps again. Someone is coming this way. There definitely is someone coming this way. But who is it?
Girl: “That’s a … monster.”
That’s quite a word to use. All I can see is an ordinary red-eyed rabbit. The only thing odd about him is golden fur but that seems to be a characteristic for every animal on the island. Considering all that, it looks pretty ordinary. I do have my guard up though. Who knows? Maybe even rabbits here are dangerous.
Girl: “Why … why … why is it … here?”
She keeps moving backwards as her shoulders start to tremble in fear. From her question, it looks like it shouldn’t be here.
Kais: “If it lives on this island, it should be able to go anywhere, right?”
She didn’t respond. I am keeping my eyes on the rabbit, so I don’t know if she nodded or something.
Kais: “Or you perhaps telling me … it shouldn’t be on this island?”
I take a peek at her and see her nodding. And with that, another mystery opens up. And this time, I can’t think of any theories for it.
Girl: “That monster … was … cast off … this island. He … did it.”
I assume she’s taking about The Dragon. This rabbit, or rabbit-like creature, is considered a monster and cast off the island. Yet, it manages to come back.
Kais: “So what exactly did it do to earn the title of ‘monster’?”
Girl: “It … it …”
???: “Don’t be so quick in judging it?”
A voice comes from other side of the forest. The footsteps are coming from the same direction. It sounds like a female’s voice.
Girl: “She … she’s here.”
Kais: “So you know whose voice that was?”
Girl: “It’s … whoever … controls this … monster.”
Girl: “Yes, controlling him … is the only way … to bring him back.”
A silhouette of a woman emerges from the forest trees. She is about 10 meters away from us.
Woman: “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Sona Pectus.”
This woman, Sona Pectus, looks to be around my age and her height is barely less than mine. She has blonde hair and looks like a normal, pretty woman.
Girl: “You are … why … are … here?”
Sona: “Well, I came to take what’s mine.”
As she says that, Sona points at the girl and in a flash, the right hand of the girl is detached from her shoulder. It takes me a while to realize that in this flash second, the rabbit had jumped on it, grabbed it with its mouth and tore it off before jumping away.
Girl: “Ah … you … monster.”
The blood flows out. It was enough to make me take a step back. But the girl doesn’t cry. She is just terrified of the rabbit and the woman. Pain isn’t present on her face. For some reason, this sight does not shock me enough to panic and get terrified of the rabbit or this woman, Sona.
Sona: “So then, do you know why you’re here?”
She looks at me as she asks this question. Her face tells me how serious she is and that it would be best to not try to dodge the question.
Kais: “I have a few theories, but I can’t say for certain.”
Sona: “I see.”
She exasperatedly sighs. My alertness is at its peak right now. Even with that fast of a speed, the rabbit would be able to do nothing if I try to teleport away now. But that won’t solve anything.
Kais: “Is she going to be okay?”
Sona: “Why even ask? Judging from how you are not that shocked or worried about her, you must already have stumbled upon the realization that she is made of energy.”
Kais: “I wouldn’t call it realization, but yeah, I did think of that.”
Sona: “Then you should know that she will be fine. Energy can’t be destroyed or created, so I can’t kill her even if I try to.”
Kais: “Well, in that case, would you tell me why you made the rabbit attack her.”
Sona: “Well, for starters, it’s not a rabbit. It may look like one, but it’s not.”
Kais: “I kinda know that but don’t know any other name to call it by.”
Sona smirks. That expression is her looking down on me. Well, I can’t help it. I don’t know what these creatures are. Even if she looks down on me, I won’t suddenly know their species’ name.
Sona: “Well, let’s just say – it’s a spirit.”
Kais: “Ah …”
Did she say ‘spirit’? She did, didn’t she? She definitely said ‘spirit’. But what’s that supposed to mean?
Sona: “What? Have you never heard of ‘spirits’? ”
Kais: “I have.”
From what I know about them, they are sentient life-forms who exist as energy and can’t interfere with anything in the world unless someone provides a medium for them too. This medium is generally a ‘contract’ of sorts with humans.
Sona: “Then why are you so surprised about it?”
Kais: “Well, from what I know about the spirits, they need a contract with someone to interfere with anything in the world.”
She looks at me like I’m an idiot. That’s somewhat getting on my nerves but I have to control my emotions for now.
Kais: “If you’re trying to act like it has a contract with you, then don’t bother. The ruse is not going to work on me.”
Her eyes widen at my words.
Sona: “I see. So you could tell?”
Kais: “Contracts form a very thin thread of energy tying the spirit to the one they are contracted too. This doesn’t exist between you two.”
When the rabbit first appeared, it was in front of my previous position. Sona was perpendicular to it. So when the rabbit when past me to tore that girl’s arm off and landed further away from me, that thread would have passed my body and I would have felt its presence. But, that didn’t happen.
Sona: “Well, I guess you do know some things. Glad you are not a moron.”
Kais: “I have a hard time taking that as a compliment.”
Sona: “Who said anything about it being a compliment?”
We look at each other with dumbfounded expressions. While we were talking, the girl passed out and her body was leaning against a tree trunk. Her arm is starting to grow back. Though the better way to describe it would be – her arm’s portion of energy is coming back to its initial state.
Sona: “See? Didn’t I say she’ll we fine?”
Kais: “Yeah, more or less.”
Both our gazes had turned to her for a moment. This is an awkward situation. I was just walking with this girl while casually talking to her. Then she got attacked. And now I am casually talking with the attacker. My mind just doesn’t seem to act like it normally would.
Sona: “You are really weird for being so indifferent about this whole situation, you know?”
Kais: “Well, glad to know that we’re thinking the same thing.”
I can’t justify not being shocked by what happened to her. True enough, it might have helped me hold a conversation with Sona, but that doesn’t change the fact that I saw someone so human-like get their arm chopped off and I didn’t panic even a little. There’s something not right with my emotions.
Sona: “Well, if you are self-aware of it, it shouldn’t present that big of a problem.”
Kais: “Okay then. Can you now tell me what it is that you’re here for?”
I looked at her while asking this. This way, it won’t be easy for her to avoid the question if she wants to.
Sona: “Well, there’s only one reason to be completely honest.”
Kais: “And that is?”
Sona: “To kill the dragon.”
Ro stops at a public telephone booth. He had to wait a little while because someone was already in there. He has decided to call for back-up since he was given the permission to take as many as he wants with him. Calling from a public booth insures that no one will be able to tell the reason why this call was made. Even if, by some chance, someone is watching him, they won’t know who he is calling unless they eavesdrop on him. If they try to do that, they will be falling right in Ro’s trap.
Ro was born as a normal human, but with a single exceptional ability. It was the ability to detect anyone and everyone who would use any kind of psychic in a radius of 10 kilometers. It was somewhat similar to the ability of reading aura that psychics have. People like him were called half-psychics. They can’t learn any new ability, and they are born with just one. Mohammed, who was also born with just the one ability of Invisible Water, met him when Ro joined the group. They quickly became friends and also teamed up for many missions. There were many people like these two; in fact, there might be more half-psychics than there are psychics. No one knows what the logic is behind the birth of half-psychics. Among the limited number of people in the world who do know about supernatural, there are not many who care about it though.
Ro, having finished his call, steps out of the booth. He quickly glances in all directions, but he can’t find anybody acting suspiciously and can’t sense anyone using psychic either. Assuring himself that everything will be fine as long as he keeps his ability active, he starts walking again. He is travelling in the same path he had followed before stopping at the booth. He has just called for back-up. They will be arriving at a shed house further down the path he is on.
Ro: “But it sure is a surprise. This Ethan Kales, if nothing, he has guts.”
Ro keeps walking down the side-walk as a black safari stops near the same telephone booth he had stopped at before. Ethan steps out and takes a glance at Ro. His facial expression hides the inner excitement he feels right now. The aspect of fighting head-to-head with a psychic, even a half-psychic, is exciting for him. A human like him fighting with psychics and half-psychics head-to-head – who could have believed such a thing, would happen? He himself never could.
Ethan: “Guess I should check now.”
Ethan steps in the booth. The moment he enters he sees the phone. He smiles as if he can no longer hold in his excitement.
Ethan: “Man, I need to calm down. I can’t make a stupid move now because I was too excited to think it through.”
He moves his hands under the pay phone and put his finger in a keyhole. After making sure where it is, he takes a small shiny ball much like the object Kais had mysteriously found in his wallet, and inserts it in the keyhole. The ball disappears and the box opens. He then moves his hands over the bottom surface until he feels something rectangular touching his fingers. It was a rectangular disc-like object which he tears off from the bottom. Making sure he doesn’t look strange to anyone if they pass by, he puts the disc in his jacket’s pocket and steps out of the booth.
Ethan: “Well, now that we have that taken care of, let’s move to the next stage.”
He gets back-in inside the Safari and relaxes his shoulders. The disc he has just removed from the booth was to rig the telephone. Any call made using the telephone would be redirected to Ethan’s mobile. The person monopolizing the booth before Ro had put it in and he had taken it out. In this interval, only Ro had made the call. No one else was inconvenienced by it so no glitch would occur in the plan.
Ethan: “Poor guy though, didn’t even realize who he was talking to was me. He was asking me for back-up in killing me. Ha! … Ha! … HA! HA! HA!!!”
As the man laughs at the irony of the situation, Ro keeps walking towards his destination. He would go and meet the people he called for and then tell them how they would ambush Ethan. His plan is simple, but it would work. There would be no problem. He has this confidence in his mind. There’s no way he would be tricked in some way.
And yet, he holds onto his phone messaging an ‘SOS!’ to a friend. There’s no need for alarm. There’s no reason for him to send such a message. But he does. On the off-chance something goes wrong, he sends a message asking his friend for help. If everything goes according to his plan, then he will have caused problems for this friend without any reason. Even so, he can’t take the risk. That’s just the curse of an ordinary man living alongside extraordinary people, and that’s exactly what a half-psychic like him is in front of people like Kais or Garfield. No matter how much he trusts himself, he will remain vigilant.
Ro looks up at the sky. It’s night. It’s a night without any stars in the sky but there is a half-moon. Even though he is more powerful than a human like Ethan Kales, even though he is a weakling in front of someone like Kais, he sees the sky they see when they look up. Seeing this,
Ro: “I wonder – when will I be free?”