A crack similar to a whip snapped in the heavy, eerie night. I ran through underbrush and tall grass, desperately seeking to get away from my captors. Stealth wasn't my strong suit, I'm not ashamed to admit it, but it would have been an asset to have that night I escaped from the laboratory. The landscape was unfamiliar to me, but that wasn't a problem, since I was a natural compass. All I had to do was look up to the stars and let them guide me. Selecting a rather bright one, I followed in its path, failing to reach it.
Losing breath, I huffed noisily, giving away my position to anyone who could hear me. Fear clutched my soul, keeping me in a dazed form, unable to decide where to go. I knew no one in these parts, and I hadn't the faintest where "these parts" were. All I knew was that I had left a large city, called Metropolis.
Coming upon a vast field of freshly grown corn, I tore into the labyrinth, seeking protection in its confusing rows of stalks. I hoped I came across someone friendly, and soon. There was no telling what the scientists were capable of, or what forces they could bend to their sinister will. All I knew was that I needed to put as much space and time between the two of us as possible. This getaway was all up to serendipity now, and only when I am sure to be safe, can I start a new life. A life to help people.
Glancing up to the stars, I made sure I could still see my star. The moon gave me its malicious Cheshire Cat smile, gazing down on me, mockingly. I never dared to look back, half crazy with the notion that if I did, they would be right behind me riding horses from Hell. Although I heard no hoof-falls, no mischievous cackling, I could swear that someone was following me. However, this was only my imagination getting the better of me. Most likely, those were only the echoes of my own footsteps that pounded across the caked earth.
Tripping on a mound of dirt, I landed in a wet puddle, dirtying the clothes that the laboratory had provided for me. Hastily getting up, I took off again. There was no chance for me to catch my breath, for had I done so, I would have surely been captured. I needed to get to a town, or at least a road.
As luck would have it, proving serendipity to be reliable, the least of miracles was given to me. I walked onto the paved highway, hoping that it would lead me to safety. Now that I had a more reliable source of navigation, I slowed down enough to breath, enabling me with the ability to hear any motors in the distance.
To pass the time, I whistled a little tune that I had made up in those countless hours I had sat waiting in my cell. Music has been my outlet to the atrocities that I had witnessed while suffering my own in the laboratory. Not everyone can easily make up a song, but I'm sure given the opportunity, you would have been able to do anything in that place, except enjoy yourself.
I was able to endure my own experiments because I knew I would be able to run away one day, but what tormented me was the fact that they were doing this to others. I couldn't have that, so I devoted most of my time to escaping and getting help.
As night bled into day, I watched the twinkling stars falsely vanish, and gazed at the sun that rose into the once troubled sky. Blankets of purple fused with blankets of yellow, and blankets of blue melted into blankets of red. Quickly, just as night was here, now it was gone, and Apollo ruled the heavens. After countless times of this majestic vista, I still felt amazed, just like I had when I first saw night turn to day.
Feeling great to have evaded my enemies for this long, I let out a soft whoop of joy, and started running again, praying to find a town.
It wasn't until about an hour after sunrise that I saw the welcome sign, announcing the arrival into Smallville, home to the meteor showers. Fascinated to be here, I ran as fast as I could, unable to believe my good fortune. Off in the distance, I could see buildings blooming from the ground, and I heard the faint rumble of morning life, growing slightly louder as I drew slightly closer and closer.
Finally, with much happiness, I entered the remarkable town, greeted with the simple life of farming. Without knowing why, I suddenly felt more secure than I had an hour ago. Intuition is creepy that way, but when its right, its right. There was an energy here that could battle evil and prevail the victor. Not knowing who or what that force was, I set out to discover its source, believing that when I did, I would have the answer to all of my prayers.
First thing's first, though; food. It has been a good deal of time since my last meal, and with all of my running, I had worked up an appetite that rivaled those of giants. Walking down what I guess you'd call main street, I came across a little coffee shop called The Talon. This seemed like a decent place to grab a quick meal, and maybe learn a thing or two about this town, I strolled in, unaware that my appearance was not in the best of shape.
The inside of this business seemed more apt for a desert, but I liked it. The ancient, most likely false symbols, gave it a good look, especially with all of the colors. Whoever had given this shack a makeover did an excellent job.
Given this was a Monday morning, I didn't expect that many people to be in here, yet it was just under crowded. Many residents sat at the round tables and others filled the booths. They all seemed to be about my age, maybe older. I assumed there was no school that day, although I didn't know why.
Sitting down at an empty table, I waited for service, all the while observing all these students around me. Most were just talking. Some happened to be laughing at some thing or another. There were many groups of teenagers, ranging from cheerleaders to plaid-shirt wearers. I spotted a few jocks goofing around near the corner of the room, tossing a stuffed football over one's head.
A young woman noticed that I needed something, and came over to be of some help.
"Welcome to the Talon! Would you like something to drink?" the lady asked, brushing her long, lustrous hair from her eyes.
"Yes, please. A cup of hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin would be very appreciateble. Thanks, Lana." I said.
Once smiling, the girl named Lana faltered, staring at me with an inquisitive look.
"Have we met?" Lana asked, with a trace of fear.
"Possibly." I responded.
"Okay…?" Lana said, and left to get my order.
I watched her as she floated behind the counter, and pulling a cup from under it, she instantly filled it with steaming coco. Looking up from the muffin basket, she met my stare with worry, trying to decipher my identity.
Deciding not to offend her, I broke our contest and scanned the room for a person of more interest. Failing to do so, I just gazed into the distance.
Coming back with my whole-wheat muffin and glass of chocolate, Lana kept looking at me.
"There you go." Lana presented me with my breakfast.
Scrounging up what little money I had in my pocket, I paid Lana the total amount, telling her to keep the change. I knew I wasn't going to need money for a while.
As I sat there, eating my delectable muffin, and sipping my drink, I tuned my senses on that persistent force, trying to locate it. It seemed to be moving around at high speeds. One moment it's in the east, next it moves to the north, all within seconds. Curious, I contemplated how I could approach this wonder.
The door opened, letting a blast of sunlight shine in, lighting up the room with natural brightness. Another student strolled in, carrying a couple folders and books, with a pencil wedged between her left ear. Her golden hair was all chaos, yet it seemed to be ordered that way. The lady's smile illuminated her face, giving her a cheery aura.
I studied her, intrigued with her persona, seeming like a once in a lifetime human. She walked up to the counter and engaged in small talk with Lana. I guessed they were friends, seeing as Lana laughed at something the girl had said.
Taking another long swig from my glass, I gazed over the rim of my cup. Catching my eyes, Lana looked at me with a little disgust and fright. Building up an air of defiance, she instructed her friend to wait there for a moment. Walking around the counter, Lana came up to me.
"What is with you?" Lana asked, sounding defensive.
"What do you mean?" I asked, nonchalantly.
"First you knew my name without even knowing me. And now, you're constantly watching me!" Lana accused.
Smiling, I gave my counter-argument. "One, your name is on your tag. Two, I wasn't just watching you now. I was watching your friend."
Face flushing heavily, Lana apologized. "I am so sorry, sir! I was just having a rough week, and all."
"It's no problem." I consoled.
"Okay. Again, I'm sorry." Lana said, and then she walked off to another table where some guys were waiting.
Taking the opportunity to find out who this enchanting woman was, I got up from my seat and crossed the room with briskness. Standing next to her, I offered my hand.
"Who might you be?" I asked, trying to give her a romantic smile, although probably failing. Romance was never my sharpest sword.
Briefly hesitating to accept my invitation, the lady took my hand in hers and firmly shook.
"Hey! I'm Chloe! And you?" Chloe greeted me with gusto.
"I am not from around here." I said.
"I can tell. Do you have a name?" Chloe asked amusedly.
"Yeah." I said, avoiding the question.
"Well, what is it?" Chloe asked, enjoying this little game.
Trying to press my luck, I replied, "Would you believe me if I said I was Elvis?"
"Hmm. You certainly don't look like him, but you could pass his voice, given the proper tutoring." Chloe played along.
"I seem to get that a lot. People always ask me, 'Don't I know you from somewhere?'" I laughed.
"What do you say to that?" Chloe wondered.
"Usually I just say that we could have met in another lifetime. I don't though, it's usually cheesy." I said, admitting the truth.
"So who are you, really?" Chloe asked, dropping this charade.
"I am who I am. Is there anything you want me to be otherwise?" I said, dodging the question again.
"Why all these circles, Mr. Shy?" Chloe inquired, being patient.
"I don't know. I was always a triangular person." I responded.
Laughing, Chloe gave me a quizzical look. Just then, Lana finally came back to the two of us giggling amongst ourselves.
"What's so funny?" Lana asked.
"I'm trying to get this guy's name, yet he refuses to hand over the information. He's a real comic, though." Chloe explained.
"So, why are so many students out of school today?" I interrogated, trying to get my own answers.
"Oh no you don't! I won't answer your questions until you answer mine!" Chloe commanded.
"Fine… My name's Steve, you happy now? So, what's up?" I said hurriedly, making up a name.
Seeing through this transparent fabrication, Chloe smiled again and said, "I'm not telling. You need to be honest first."
Giving her a look of pseudo-loathing, I finally let my guard down.
"It's Justin." I admitted.
Knowing truth for what it is, Chloe gave me the answer that I had been seeking.
"All right. We don't have school today because it's a teacher's convention." Chloe said.
"Oh? Well, like I said, I'm not from around here, so would you mind showing me around?" I asked.
Chloe gave Lana one of those looks that girls seem to always give when they don't want to say something aloud.
"Sure! Though, there isn't a whole lot to see." Chloe said through one of her glorious smiles.
Giving her a smile of my own, I exclaimed, "Great! So, I'm into really weird stuff, like aliens and telekinesis. Is there anything like that around here?"
Lana looked at Chloe and said, "I think you two were meant to find each other. Of course she knows a place for weird stuff. She has a whole wall committed to it!"
"Awesome! May I see it, please?" I begged Chloe. Although I did wish to see this wall, I also wished to spend more time with Chloe. She was a fantastic woman. She could even possibly the woman of my dreams.
"Well…. Since you asked so nicely, why not?" Chloe teased.
"Cool! Shall we?" I suggested.
"We shall!" Chloe said effervescently.
With that, Chloe and I walked outside where the sunlight poured down from the heavens, having raised high into the firmament. Country clouds littered the sky, big and fluffy, yet unable to cast a dark enough shadow to cool the sun. Cars and farm trucks vroomed by with gusts of exhaust. Surprisingly, I noticed little numbers of people on the streets as Chloe led me to our destination of which I knew nothing. I found it odd that with school out; there would be more people about than what I saw.
Down one street, across another, and up one more, Chloe and I enjoyed the silence we had to offer for in the time to come, we would talk ceaselessly.
Finally, we came to a road with a school on its property. Not as grand in size, this building faired far better than the one I had gone to in the north. At least there were friends here. And Chloe.
Chloe escorted me to the front door and allowed the two of us inside. Through a maze of unlit hallways, we walked to a room that belonged to the school newspaper faculty, as I soon learned.
Desks hampered by masses of articles and feature stories, editorials and nonsense filled the room. You couldn't breathe in there, let alone walk without suffering multiple assaults of claustrophobia. Yet, I somehow managed to follow Chloe through the stacks of paper and step over the coils of cords to a wall where news clippings hung from its face.
Gawking at the pictures of humans with above human powers, I was awed into silence. Stories about events happening in local, national, and international affairs flowed down the wall like a waterfall, one sheet overlapping the other.
Chloe watched me for a reaction, proud of her work. I flipped through a few of the pages she had pinned to the wall, scanning through the stories. Only a few caught my interest, but I was too excited to see what others there were, so I had to sadly leave them.
Noting that a lot of the stories were from around here, I decided that I'd like to engage in conversations about them instead of the other ones.
I questioned Chloe about lots of them. Some were in detail, depending if I wanted to know more about them. Others seemed interesting enough, but I knew that there were better ones. I gained knowledge of the meteor shower that made this place so famous and about the mysterious green rocks that change people in horrible ways. We talked for what seemed like hours about the rocks and what they could be.
All of the sudden, in the middle of me explaining my theory on the meteor rocks, a beeper went off.
"Oh, dang it! I forgot. I was supposed to catch up with Clark." Chloe complained.
For some reason, the name Clark caught my attention.
"Who's Clark?" I asked.
"He's a friend. Yeah, we were supposed to get some last minute homework done. You can tag along if you want, but I'm sure you'd rather do other stuff…" Chloe trailed off, sounding depressed for the first time I knew her.
"That'd be great! I have nothing else I can do around here, and you seem like a good person. I'll bet Clark is too." I said, trying to cheer Chloe up. It killed my heart to see her smile leave.
"Good! It's a date! Clark is into the rocks as well. I'm sure he would love to hear your complex idea." Chloe said, walking towards the door.
Without delay nor question, I followed her. Just like I'd follow her to the death.