The Color of Transformation

Chapter Two

The girl with purple hair and bright green eyes was not an easy one to track. One moment John was sure they were headed toward her and then something flickered, clicked and he sensed her elsewhere.

He stopped the car.

"Don't tell me you lost her," Lorna chuckled, watching his face intently.

He didn't dignify her jab with a response, instead he stepped out of the car, barely registering cold rain streaming down his arms. Physical discomforts stopped bothering him a long time ago. The beating of that second heart inside Lorna was far more distracting; John was going to have to get used to it.

Should he tell her about it? Or should he leave it to her to find out in a... natural way. He wondered briefly, then shook his head to get rid of this unnecessary thought. At least his headache abated somewhat once he was out in the open and breathing fresh air. Sitting coped up over the papers, inside a dusty building – that didn't agree with him at all.

He crouched and touched the pavement. He had to focus; they'd been driving around town for almost an hour now and he could almost see the petite fugitive, almost all the time. Hiding, running, scared and cold in the rain. But directions were in complete disarray. North, then East, then North again. She was jumping from one location to another.

Perhaps it was because of that unusual method she used to escape from Detention Center. If it was the case, he had to adjust his way of tracking to her way of transportation. Speed didn't matter, neither did assumed bearing. Only intent.

Again he experienced a glimpse of that eerie sensation the girl was giving him and with it came profound longing. To meet her, to see her with his own eyes, not just through a vision.

He would die for a second of contact, of being able to touch her and see what this vibrant force would do to him.

This was not normal.

John squeezed his eyes shut. Damn, this was not about him and his freakish urges; this was about the Underground. About them finding out if she was in any way connected to the mutants who caused the friction between their kind and humans. And if not, they maybe needed her unique power for the good of the organization. If she would agree to work with them, in the first place. This was why they were chasing her, not some vague – or very inense as it were – spark that might or might not have struck him. It only felt that way because he was overworked and overstressed. Must have.

Focus. Purple Girl, where are you? Where will you be? Only the intent matters. John zeroed in on what his foresight was telling him and... There! He saw in his mind a place where she would soon find herself. It was nowhere near her current location, but considering her odd ways of getting around, it was possible she'd be right there, and soon. A warehouse in Chosewood Park.

"Get in!" John was behind the wheel right away, Lorna and Marcos didn't waste any time either.

John's clairvoyance wasn't particularly strong and didn't allow him to see far into the future. They needed to hurry; their target might arrive at the site and escape it before they even got there by traditional means of driving a car – even if he drove it very fast. He pitched it into a park in the back alley and jumped out. Where to now? Was she here already?

He crouched and tried to calm his breathing. Concentrated on the rough texture of asphalt under his fingertips. He let it uncover another image. Running shoes, splashing water. Wavy pattern of strange energy and momentary relief. He exhaled from the bottom of his lungs and looked around.

"Getting anything?" Marcos came up behind him.

"Working on it."

Marcos and Lorna tried to distract John with some mild teasing, but that was easy to ignore. He was used to it and they were friends – making fun of one another came with the territory. He found his focus. He knew now, with absolute certainty, that the fugitive was near.

"Look!" Marcos noticed something. "There."

"Well, that's interesting." Lorna agreed and the tiny hairs at John's nape tingled with excited anticipation.

"Told'ya," he beamed despite himself.

Those were debris of a police lightbar and when John touched a piece, his fingers prickled with remnants of that strange energy that accompanied the purple-green woman. He focused on listening closer and... caught her rapid breathing coming from inside the building.

"She's there." He stood up and pointed at iron door secured with a padlock on a solid chan. "Inside." His heart lurched inside his chest, like expecting some important exam, but he forced himself to stay calm. He'd found his focus. He needed to hold onto it.

Breaking the chain and opening the door was not a piece of cake, but wasn't very hard either. Now that he knew what he was looking for, John was aware where exactly the fugitive was hiding – in the back office – and part of him wanted to go there immediately. He didn't. His rational mind and tactical instinct, honed over the years, took over. They were still in danger and he was much more useful on the lookout. He sent Marcos and Lorna to greet her first and turned in the opposite direction.

Standing face-to-face with a potentially life-altering entity had to wait.

They were in an abandoned store. Empty shelves colected dust for weeks or maybe months, some furniture lay scattered on the floor. Windows weren't broken at least and double glass door opened with only a minor squeak. John directed his attention to the distant sounds once more.

His mind stubborly returned to the girl, though, first taking in what was happening in the backroom. She threw something at Marcos. Of course, she was frightened, she had no idea they came to help her. At least he didn't spring himself on her, with a burden of some wild, unreasonable expectations.

"Are you with the police," she asked. "I can't go back." Her voice quivered.

Right, police. John was supposed to be on the lookout – he berated himself. Took a moment to relax, closed his eyes, inhaled, exhaled and immersed himself in the sounds of the city night.

Police sirens were still at a distance, but they stood out against the lowered hum of traffic, sparse human voices and dogs barking. They were coming closer. At least ten cars approaching from West and South. They'd be here in just a couple of minutes.

John left the night outside, closed the door and hurried back to the office.

"Guys," he called out to Lorna and Marcos and was brought to a stop in the entrance.

He met her eyes.

They were green just like in his vision, hardened by experiences and vulnerable at the same time, distrusting and hopeful. This connection between them he had only assumed about – now hit him with full force.

"Trouble," he uttered to all of them, but wasn't entirely sure if he meant the police cars coming, or whatever was going to happen to him, because of this woman.


Thank you for reading.