CHAPTER SEVEN
IN THE NAME OF A HERO

     “What!? There’s no way!” Matthew opposed with disgust. “Demitri, tell this kid we’re not doing that!” He turned his back to Scott, looking at Demitri, who was setting the training room for the night.
     “It was actually my idea to use the names,” Demitri replied, paying no mind to Matthew’s whining.
     “Why do we even need superhero names in the first place? It’s not like anyone knows we exist!” Matthew pointed out then halted a moment as a thought came to mind. “Well, okay, a few people know. But still, I don’t see the point!”
     “It’s fun,” Demitri replied in a somewhat nonchalant tone.
     “Uh, I’m not sure that’s the most convincing reply there…” Scott commented.
     “Okay, fine, we’ll have hero names!” Matthew yielded and flailed his arms into the air, holding his helmet with one of his hands. “I just don’t see why he gets to pick them,” he griped.
     “Because. The names are fine and Scott already has them written into his comic. Don’t you want to go by the book?” Demitri asked with a glance over his shoulder.
     “Do you really hate the name you got that much?” Scott asked, swinging his arms back and forth.
     “It’s not about how lame the names are, it’s the fact that I apparently don’t get a say in it but the new kid does. Namely, you,” Matthew replied with a glare down at Scott.
     “Hey, Scott’s not ‘the new kid’ anymore. He’s been with us plenty long,” Demitri said in Scott’s defense as he stepped away from the training room’s control panel. “Now stop complaining like a teenager and man up, Force,” Demitri commanded with his arms crossed. “No offense, Scott,” he added in a swift breath.
     “None taken!” Scott said immediately after.
     “Hey, wait! You just called me Force but still called him Scott,” Matthew pointed out.
     Demitri remained standing with his arms crossed. “Force,” he said and Matthew dropped his shoulders down.
     “What!?”
     “Put your helmet on,” Demitri said and Matthew’s attention was turned to the sound of the machines turning on and aiming their lasers towards them.
     “Oh man!” he replied and scrabbled to get his helmet on while Scott and Demitri ran off, Scott going one way while Demitri went the other.
     Shooommhh came the speeding sound of a shot that was immediately blocked by Matthew’s force field.
     Scott slid down to safety, though he knew it would only be a short while before more machines came out from the walls and opened fire on him. They had been stepping up the difficulty a lot lately, but it was evident now that their hard work was paying off. Matthew no longer needed to work up to using his powers at all, he could summon a shield of energy at will, then lower it just as fast. Scott also found it easy to use his powers. He no longer had to get excited, he could just activate them whenever the need arose. His focusing point and control over the size of explosion had also greatly improved.
     Scott hastily crawled between two machines and set his hands on them, his eyes looking ahead while he focused on the inner part of each machine. In only seconds he had them imploding, small streams of smoke rising out from the tiny cracks left by his handiwork. This method of destroying the inside kept the machines from shooting out any metal shards, making it easy for Scott to quickly sneak from one machine to the next, no longer worried about where he stepped.
     Demitri was handling things well, as always, though he was only using his powers when he felt he needed them most rather than just keeping them active the whole time. Scott couldn’t help but watch when he could see him. Demitri would roll and jump, dodging attacks almost like a cartoon superhero as he pulled cords and tricked machines into shooting each other.
     “Valor, watch your back!” Demitri warned Scott just in time for him to catch sight of a machine on the wall firing. Scott ducked down on one knee then charged at it. The machine was just out of his reach, but that didn’t stop him. Placing his hands on the wall just below it, he was able to focus his attack upwards, only destroying the machine. Just as he finished it Demitri and Matthew wiped out the last one, and the battle simulation ended.
     “Great job, guys. Anyone get hit?” Demitri asked as he and Matthew walked to the front of the room where the elevator was.
     “No damage sustained here!” Matthew happily gloated. “How about you, Scott?” he asked then looked back at Demitri. “Battle’s over so I can call him Scott, right?” he inquired.
     “I guess. You should practice the new names while we’re suited up, though,” Demitri commented, then came a moment of silence.
     “Scott?” Matthew repeated and saw Scott still standing by the wall, looking at his hands. Demitri and Matthew both walked over toward him. “Yo, kid. You there?”
     “…Did you guys see that?” Scott asked, then clenched his hands into fists.
     “See wha?” Matthew muttered in his puzzlement.
     Scott whipped around to look at his comrades, pulling off his helmet to show a smile that glowed with confidence. “I blew that thing up without actually touching it! I was able to run my power through the wall just like it was an extension of my arm! It’s like when I make things implode, but at more of a distance, it was awesome!!” Scott cheered excitedly.
     “Big whoop,” Matthew said and began walking to activate the elevator.
     “Hey! I’d like to see you do something like that!” Scott shouted back at him, feeling ever-so-slightly angered.
     “You did good, Scott,” Demitri assured him.
     “Thanks! I didn’t really think about what I would do when I charged at it, it just came so naturally,” Scott remarked.
     “Well, we don’t do this training for nothing. We’re all getting stronger, and the more you use your powers, the stronger you’ll become. Just like with any exercise, really,” Demitri said. “And just think, once April joins we’ll be even stronger,” he added and Scott lost focus on his surroundings as he reflected on the thought.
     “Hey, you two coming?” Matthew questioned, his arms crossed as he stood next to the opening doors of the elevator. He tapped his foot a couple times against the cool metal floor.
     “We’re coming!” Demitri shouted back to him and Scott snapped out of his thought. He hurried into the elevator behind the others, feeling excited about his growing strength and even more so about the growing team. Then, another thought came to Scott’s mind.
     “Hey Demitri, just how far can your powers go?” he asked as they rose upward.
     “Hm? That depends. What do you mean?”
     “I mean, you can basically turn invisible, camouflaging yourself and what you’re wearing, but you can also focus it on just one thing like you did that time we ate out. You know, with your C-Cuff. So what I was wondering is, can you turn other people invisible?” Scott asked.
     “Hmmmm…” Demitri pondered. “Let me think,” he said as he rested his arm on Matthew’s shoulder and they both disappeared before Scott’s eyes for a moment before Matthew shook Demitri off.
     “Why don’t you just answer the kid inste-”
     “Whooooa!”Scott interrupted Matthew as he gaped in awe. The elevator door then opened, allowing the three to walk back onto the main floor.
     Matthew went on ahead to take off his armor, while Demitri and Scott only stepped out from the elevator and continued their conversation.
     “It’s not quite as great as you might think. I have to be close to the other person, I have to have a grasp on their overall size, they have to stay still, and I have to stay focused on keeping us both invisible. It’s really not practical in most situations,” Demitri explained.
     “But that’s so cool! How many people can you hide at once?” Scott inquired.
     “It’s more a question of how much I can handle at once. So besides myself, I’d say two on average?” he supposed.
     “Can you do it to me? I wanna know what it feels like,” Scott requested.
     “I can, but you may be disappointed,” Demitri replied, then caused them both to vanish. “Feel any different?”
     “No, not at all, but it’s so weird! Like, I know my hand’s in front of my face, but I can’t see-” Scott began to describe but Demitri ceased concealing him. “Hey!” he shouted and Demitri laughed.
     That night came and went just as quickly as nights prior. The team had grown not only in strength, but in bond. Soon it would be growing in numbers, too. Demitri continued his regular visits to the café and also had more chats with April, to the point that he’d walk in and she’d greet him by name, though she still seemed a bit shy toward him at times. Of course, on her side she was a nervous wreck, always worried she may have said the wrong thing and always over thinking their conversations.
     On a Saturday of overcast skies Demitri entered the café, planning to make the visit rather brief this time around.
     “Hi, Demitri!” April greeted with a warm smile.
     “Hello. And how are you this afternoon?” he greeted back as he went up to the counter to visit with her.
     “Okay. Weather’s kind of got me down, but at least it’s not too hot now… So how about you?” she asked in return.
     “I’m good. I just thought I’d stop in for a quick coffee.”
     “Oh, let me get that for you!” she said, then hurried into the back. It wasn’t long before she brought a coffee out made just the way he liked it.
     “Well that was fast!” he remarked, then began reaching back for his wallet.
     “This one’s on the house!” she said, then tried to hand it to him over the counter.
     Meanwhile, outside of the little café, Lance was just coming up to the glass windows. He looked inside to make sure April was there before he would go in, as she only worked Saturdays on occasion. He was delighted when he saw she was there.
     Demitri paused a moment before accepting April’s offer. “Are you sure? Not even a tip?” he asked and she began to nod.
     “You are a regular, after all! You’ve given us so much business, the least we can do is give you a freebie! Of course, I’m also the only one working right now…so…” she commented and he began to laugh as he took the drink from her hand. April blushed just a hint but then hid it away with a grin in shared merriment. Lance looked in at the two and decided not to go inside.
     They looked so happy together, there in the otherwise empty café. Lance felt more and more out of place as he peered in, so he pulled back from the glass and backed up onto the sidewalk. He always saw April as a dear friend, but the way she acted around Demitri was so different from the way she was around him. His heart began to feel a bit heavy, and his usual headache began to kick in. He stumbled as he tried to walk away from the building, then he slowed down and tried to focus his breathing, but his lungs felt like they were being constricted. His heart beat faster. He pushed himself to move forward, walking a good distance, but he was quickly beginning to realize something wasn’t right.
     Lance began sprinting for home, knowing he couldn’t run the whole way, but now he was feeling afraid to stop. He was thinking that he might not be able to push on if he did. As his head felt light and his heart was beating harder, he started to wish he had just gone inside the café, but it was much too late now.
     Demitri and April remained blissfully unaware of the peril Lance felt. Demitri casually asked April what time she would be getting off work, and she told him around eight.
     “Have you got any plans for the evening?” he asked and April’s brown eyes quickly focused on his, widening in wonder.
     “No…” she cautiously replied, turning her head slightly to the right while her eyes stayed focused on his.
     “Okay, well I’m getting together with a few friends of mine tonight to go bowling, and if you’d like, we’d love to have you along,” he invited.
     “Um, s-sure. I mean, I’m not very good at it,” she commented.
     “I’m sure you’ll do fine. And it’s just for fun, so don’t worry about it,” he assured her and she smiled.
     “Okay. Well which alley are you going to? …You know actually I’m not even sure where one is around here…” she asked, then pondered.
     “Oh, I’ll just drive over here and meet you after work. Would you like to carpool or follow behind me?” Demitri asked, though already having something else in mind.
     “Um, I’ll follow. My car is actually parked back that way, though,” April said as she pointed over her right shoulder. “There weren’t any good parking spots here when I came in for work, so I’m over by the church on that corner. I should be the only car there, so you won’t have any problem finding me.”
     “Okay, good. I’ll see you tonight at eight then,” he said, then gave a wave farewell, which caught April somewhat off-guard.
     “Uhm, bye!” she said as he proceeded to make his way out from the building. He made his way to a good hiding spot for teleporting away, then went to plan out a course of action. April was sitting there inside the café looking rather gloomy as Lucas arrived with much-needed ingredients. Lucas asked if the weather had her down, unaware Demitri had stepped in and her gloominess was mostly due to her over thinking things again. She was worrying far too much about what Demitri thought of their light chat, daydreaming about other routes it could have taken.
     Demitri instructed Matthew and Scott to be at Mainframe ten sharp that evening. Demitri stood at Mainframe, mapping out a plan from the buildings around the café. He needed a plan to get April without them being seen. He had no vehicle there to lead her away with, he felt he was going to have to catch her outside of her car.
     “Unless…” he thought to himself as he considered a new idea that came to mind.
     When evening’s shadow cast over the town, April closed things down and removed her work apron from over her pink t-shirt before leaving the café. She walked toward her car, spotting it in the wash of the single light that stood in the church’s parking lot. Once it was in sight she began digging through her purse to find her keys while steadily walking forward. There wasn’t a soul in sight, but the darkness hid many things. Despite the many times she had now walked through that place at night, this particular time she felt an uneasiness, as if being watched. She got her keys out and sighed from weariness as she leaned forward and began to put the key into the door to unlock it. Suddenly she had the sensation of something reaching for her, though nothing appeared to be anywhere around. She hesitated only a moment to glance to her right as the key went into the door’s lock, but in that instant Demitri took it as an opportunity to grab her, putting one hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming while activating his C-Cuff with the other hand. April’s heart leapt and she tried rolling a scream out through her throat since her mouth was covered, but it was all to no avail. She found her surroundings suddenly change from a dark parking lot to a bright white room. She was disoriented from the sudden change of light and had her eyes closed while she felt a release from her mouth and what felt like hands now on both her arms, trying to steady her.
     “It’s okay, it’s just me,” Demitri said from behind to comfort her. April spun around to look but saw no one, and she was unable to recognize his voice through his helmet and her own disorientation.
     “W-where are you!? Where am I!?” she stuttered out and stumbled back a bit, while looking around the room for a trace of her abductor.
     “I’m right here,” Demitri answered as he made himself visible. This answer brought no comfort to her when she turned to see him standing high above her in height, despite being considered very tall herself. His mass and his dark clothing and armor, everything about him seemed too overwhelming to April who stood frozen before him, eyes widened and body quaking, her legs unable to move at that moment. “It’s okay. I just brought you h-” he began, but April gave out a shriek. “No, it’s okay!” he tried to assure her with his hands gesturing to calm down, but she began moving backwards, keeping Demitri in sight while trying to get some distance. Demitri cautiously followed. “I only want to talk!” he tried yelling over her screams and squeals, still holding his hands in front of himself and trying to motion her to stay calm.
     “Ju-stay back!!” she screamed, then found she was against the wall.
     “Please, I’m not going to hurt you!” he said, but she was now glancing back and forth at the things mounted on the wall behind her. She grabbed handcuffs off the wall since they were closest and threw them at him.
     “I said STAY BACK!” she warned, grabbing another pair and holding them above her head.
     “April, it’s okay!” he shouted and she suddenly lost her grip and dropped them. She glanced down at the handcuffs, then back up at him, putting her hands back against the wall and breathing heavily.
     “H-how do y-you know my name?” she stammered, actually talking, not screeching.
     “I’m a friend,” he said in a clear, calm voice, lifting his hands slowly from in front of himself to his helmet. “Now I need you…” he began to say then lifted his helmet off. “…to stay calm,” he said as his face was now revealed.
     April’s glossy eyes widened further and her arms slowly lowered as she pressed her back against the wall.“Whhh…whaaat…?” was all that seemed to come out as she stared up at him.
     Demitri gave an awkward smile. “I guess I really should have skipped the armor and cape today, huh? Sorry I scared you like that,” he said as he rested his helmet under his right arm.
     April rubbed a hand over her face and tried to stand up straight. “What’s going on? I mean, wh-what kind of trick is this?”
     “It’s no trick,” Demitri replied as he looked behind one shoulder, then the other, glancing around the room. “I have a lot to explain, so bear with me,” he said, then took a step to the side so April would have a clear view of things.
     “Okay, I have no idea what’s going on. Where’s my car?” she asked, trying to steady her heartbeat and calm herself, but feeling anxious for answers.
     “It’s still in the parking lot, but we’re elsewhere,” Demitri answered as he bent over to pick up the handcuffs April had thrown at him. April watched, then held her arms together and hunched her shoulders just a bit.
     “Sorry…about that,” she said quietly as he stood up. He then smiled as though he wanted to laugh.
     “No problem. I’m just glad you didn’t reach for a weapon. We have a few knives up there,” he said as he hung the cuffs back on the wall. “Anyway, your car isn’t here, but your keys are on the floor over there. You dropped them when we arrived,” he said as he pointed to them, lying just outside the teleport area.
     “Where are we, exactly?” she asked, then slowly walked over to pick up her keys.
     “This is Mainframe. It’s headquarters for people like us.”
     “People like us?” she asked as she bent down to get her keys then stood up and slipped them into her pocket. “What’s that supposed to mean? …And can I ask why you’re dressed like that?” she asked, eyeing over his costume, then looking away with a glance to the white tiled floor.
     “Well…you and I, as well as a couple friends of mine, we all have unique abilities,” he began to explain. “We’ve chosen to use those abilities to help mankind, although right now we’re not able to do much,” he said, crossing his arms and taking a few slow steps around the room, walking closer to April. “But with your help, that can change.”
     “…What kind of unique abilities?” she asked, watching him doubtfully.
     “You may have been too confused to notice, but I already used mine when I brought you here,” he replied. April looked at him with uncertainty expressed on her face. “Okay, watch,” he said, pausing a moment to make sure he had her full attention.
     “Okay…?” she said as she watched him then she felt her heart leap in her chest when he vanished before her. “Demitri!?”
     “Right here,” he replied as he reappeared.
     She put a hand over her mouth and started shaking her head. “No, no, no. I cah-h-” she started to say but was at a loss for words and kept her mouth covered.
     “That’s my power,” Demitri said seriously.
     “There’s a trick, there’s got to be a trick,” she stated, lowering her hand from her mouth, clenching it to a fist over her chest as she forced a smile and shook her head slightly.
     “I told you, there are no tricks here,” Demitri replied. “I am able to vanish at will. That is my ability. You also have an ability.”
     “No, I can’t do anything like that, okay? I-I can’t even do a lot of the things my other friends can, I’m not a-er I can’t do that, okay!?” she scrambled to say and backed up a little.
     “You’re right in that you can’t dictate what others perceive, but you do have powers. Superpowers, if you will. I can help show them to you,” Demitri told her and uncrossed his arms.
     April shook her head and squeezed her tear-filled eyes shut. “No. No. No. This—this is all just some crazy fantasy!” she insisted, then stared up at him with a resolute look. “For all I know, I’ve fainted in the parking lot because something scared me. In a few minutes someone’s going to find me, wake me up, and this will all be over. Because you know what? I don’t have any kind of super weird or unnatural powers, I’m just a regular person who has been under way too much stress and now it’s getting to me! I’m hallucinating. This is all just too surreal to actually BE real. So yeah. Disappear! Disperse! Go away and let me just wake up now!” she demanded, trying to hold herself together, but she looked about ready to cry.
     Demitri dropped his shoulders and sighed. “If you really want me to I can, but you’re not going to wake up. I know this is a lot to take in, but you’re fine. You’re going to be okay, and I’m going to help you through this,” he assured her but she continued to shake her head.
     “Nooo, you’re going to take me home and we’re just going to pretend none of this happened. I’m ready to go now, so just make the parking lot appear again,” she said, pulling her keys out from her pocket while looking up at him the whole time.
     “April, I really don’t think now is the best time for you to go driving. You need to calm down-”
     “I am calm!” she shouted and Demitri held his hands forward defensively, gesturing for to her to calm herself. She blinked a few times and glanced downward. “I am calm,” she said again with much more composure. “I’d just like some time alone,” she told him with a deep breath, then exhaled slowly.
     “I understand,” he said as he walked closer and put his hands on her shoulders. “But listen, I need your help. You have a unique gift, unlike any other.”
     “I can’t do what you just did,” she told him.
     “No, but you can help me do it better. Your gift empowers people like me. Just being around you helps, but if you learn to focus this power you’ll be able to pick and choose those you want to give it to,” he explained softly, focusing down at her eyes though she tried not to make contact.
     “There has to be some kind of mistake,” she disagreed.
     “Listen,” he gently requested, bending his head in closer.“You also hold in you the power to rejuvenate yourself. You’re meant for greater things than serving coffee,” he said and she looked up at him.“Not to say your service there isn’t appreciated,” he added with a smile and she inadvertently began to smile herself.
     “If you…really think so… then I guess I could-”
     “Whoooa! Okay, what’s goin’ on?” Matthew suddenly interrupted from behind her as a quick flash of the teleport faded out. April jumped back as she turned, skidding her side into Demitri’s chest as he unexpectedly released her shoulders. He had a sudden reflex to catch her but stopped himself when she quickly caught her own balance, though she had lost grip of her car keys.
     “WHERE DID HE COME FROM!?” she cried in a high-pitched shriek, causing both Demitri and Matthew to tense up their shoulders briefly.
     “Freaking out at me is not the solution!” Matthew yelled back.
     “What?” Demitri asked and Matthew put his hands up as though surrendering.
     “I don’t know! I didn’t see anything! I’ll just turn around and come back at ten!” he said as he turned around just in time to see the teleport flash again and reveal Scott.
     “Hi th-”
     “Come on! We’re going back!” Matthew told Scott before he could even finish his greeting.
     “What? Why?” Scott asked then noticed April. “AW, man! What’s she doing here!? Why didn’t you guys tell me she was gonna come? I didn’t even bring my suit!” he wailed as he spread his arms out and looked down at his casual clothing.
     Demitri looked at April, who was once again distraught, then he quickly looked back at Matthew and Scott. “What are you guys doing here so early? I said ten sharp, not eight thirty!”
     Matthew turned back around. “Whoa, hey, I just sent Scott a text and asked if he wanted to hang here early, I didn’t know you’d be up here with your girlfriend,” he said defensively and April suddenly froze up and stared down at the floor.
     Demitri gave a sigh. “You mean April. I was showing her Mainframe. Anyway, now that you’re all here, we might as well do the introductions. April, this is Matthew and Scott,” he said, gesturing first to Matthew and then to Scott. “Guys, this is April, the newest member of our team,” he told them and motioned his hand back to April, who stood at his left and quickly glanced back up.
     “Nice to meet you!” Scott greeted.
     “Could’ve told us ahead of time. Might’ve actually shaved this morning,” Matthew mumbled to Demitri beneath Scott’s greeting to April, stroking the stubble on his chin all the while.
     “Wait, wait, wait! I didn’t agree to join anything, okay?” April stated, looking frazzled and upset.
     “Why not? It’s so cool!” Scott said in disbelief to her claim.
     Matthew then inserted himself into the discussion with a fake cough. “It doesn’t pay and it’s a lot of work, get out now.”
     “Guys,” Demitri scolded them. He then turned his attention back to April. “You don’t have to make any decisions right away. It’s your choice as far as whether or not you’ll stay, but I do ask you join us for a week at least before coming to a final conclusion,” Demitri insisted.
     Now feeling an urge to leave but pressure to stay, April agreed to his terms but then requested to be taken back to her car as she once again picked her keys off the floor.
     “But you just got here! We’re gonna go bowling, you should stay!” Scott whimpered.
     “Who says we need her for bowling? Matthew said carelessly as he stretched his arms into the air, clamping his hands together then resting them behind his head as he paced forward.
     “April, you can go ahead and rest for the night if you really want to. I know this is a bit overwhelming at first, but it gets better,” Demitri assured her in a calm and gentle manner. “We can always reschedule bowling. I actually figured we might,” he added.
     “…Kay…I just need time for this to all soak in,” April quietly replied.
     Scott only watched, looking disappointed by her lack of enthusiasm.
     “Just one thing,” Demitri said, standing up straight and tall. “You can’t tell anyone of the things you’ve seen or heard here tonight. This place and our identities must remain a secret. I trust that you can keep them safe,” he said, then cracked a smile while April nervously nodded her head. “All right, I’ll go set the portal for home.”
     “Portal… right,” April said quietly to herself as he headed to do so and she turned away from him.
     “…So Matt, what were you two planning to do exactly?” Demitri asked Matthew as he slowly and carelessly walked behind him while he was setting the teleport.
     “Meh, nothing really. I was just hanging out in my apartment and got bored. Thought Scott and I could maybe do a little training round,” Matthew shrugged.
     Scott looked at April, who was still having a lot of trouble grasping it all. “You okay?” he asked, looking up at her. She nodded her head but her face gave a different impression. “Don’t worry, in no time this’ll all seem normal. I remember when I first joined. I was pretty freaked but then I saw this place,” he said as he looked around the room in awe then looked back at April. “It was like walking into one of my comic books! And the best part is when we do the missions!”
     “Missions?” she questioned.
     “Yeah! Demitri’s our leader, if you haven’t guessed. He picks out jobs for us late in the night, then we teleport someplace where there’s trouble and help people! Just like superheroes!” Scott explained with enthusiasm.
     “You ready to go?” Demitri called over.
     “Y-yeah,” April said hesitantly.
     “See you later!” Scott said, already bouncing back into a good mood. April gave a tentative wave goodbye as she joined Demitri to teleport back to her car.
     “Just press this and you’ll be right back where you were before we left,” He said, then left the portal before she pressed it. She glanced out at them just before she pressed the button down, then in an instant the glowing blue light shone brighter and she suddenly found herself in the parking lot. She looked around and saw she was alone. Her heart strangely began to race again as she hurried into the front seat of her car. She gripped the steering wheel then gave a sigh of relief. She took a moment to sit still with her hands on the wheel before she felt ready to start the car, then she did her best to stay focused on driving as she pulled out from the parking lot and made her way home. Her mind kept trying to go back to recent events, but she fought it continually until she was pulling into her driveway. She hurried in the house, not wanting even a second extra spent outside.
     “Oh, you’re home already? How was bowling? Did you go?” April’s mother asked as she came in.
     “No, we rescheduled,” April hurried a reply sounding almost out of breath.
     “Why’s that? You okay?”
     “I’m fine. Hard day at work is all. I’m going to bed early, so don’t make me anything to eat,” she replied as she hurried up the stairs to her room, not once looking at her mother.“Wh-your dad’s going to be home any minute! Don’t you want to see him?” her mother called up to her, but only heard the banging sound of a closing door in reply.
     “No, no, no, no, nooo, this isn’t real!” April said to herself as she threw herself down onto her bed, curling up on her side. “I’m not. He can’t be,” she whispered to herself in an exasperated gasp as her thoughts spiraled through her head. She grabbed her pillow and pulled it over her face as she let out a squealing hum, then she pushed it back and tucked it under her head. He’s like some sort of freaky, inhuman, thing! she thought then gave a moan. I don’t even know what to think. He’s so nice and…no, no! she thought as she shook her head violently. Totally creepy! Why would I even think that!? What if he’s not even human? And what kind of weirdo dresses like that? And if he’s so nice why’d he have to grab me and cover my mouth? It’s like he wanted to scare me! Her thoughts continued spinning down, almost out of her control, as her focus wavered and she exhausted herself with over thinking. She then glanced around her room from her bed and noticed her window open. Her mother liked to keep the house aired out, and it had slipped April’s mind to shut it when she came in.
     She sat up from her bed, looking out the window as she pulled the hair band out from her ponytail, dropping her hair down past her shoulders. She scooted off her bed and went to close the window, but heard a rustling outside that caused her heart to skip a beat then rush until she saw it was only her black cat, Chocolate. April sighed then closed the window and the blinds. For a second I almost thought it was Demitri she thought to herself as she went back to her bedside and got her nightgown. She began to undo the button on her jeans then suddenly stopped and made sure the button was done up. Oh my gosh… she thought to herself then looked around her room. “If you’re in here right now you are in so much trouble,” she warned out loud in her paranoia. “I’m telling you right now, if you’re in my room, get out or I will report you to the authorities. Or worse, maybe I’ll tell your little secret!” she threatened, though no one was actually present in the room aside from her. “That’s it! I’m just going to sleep in this!” she said out loud once again as though Demitri were there. She tossed her nightgown into the floor, put her pillow in its place then huddled under the covers of her bed, even though it was rather warm. She spent the rest of her night waking continually and looking around the room from her bed in her paranoid state. Her hips felt a bit uncomfortable from rubbing against her jeans and her arms were feeling restricted even though the sleeves on her pink shirt were short. It was overall a miserable and restless night for April, while Demitri, Matthew, and especially Scott, all had a wonderful sleep that evening.

Copyright© 2020 - Beyond Remnants - All rights reserved