"Hey Zack!" came a voice from behind me just as I was about to leave school.
I turned to see who it was. Avery was running up the hall toward me. He was tall and lanky and his hair was black and very fine. As usual however, it was completely unkempt, Avery was never one to care about his appearance...I liked him anyways however; he was actually my best and pretty much only friend.
"Why don't you stay at my house this weekend?" He asked, pulling to an abrupt stop beside me.
"Hmm, I stayed at yours last week, it's your turn to stay at mine," I replied with a grin.
"Alright, just call your mom and make sure it's alright then," Avery replied, his enthusiasm unaffected.
"Yeah, it's not like I didn't already predict this situation and ask yesterday or anything..." I replied with a half grin, showing that I was really only being sarcastic.
Avery grinned sheepishly, “Sorry, I should have known…”
“That you should have,” I replied with a wink. “Now come on, let’s get going.”
“You got a ride?” Avery asked, looking balefully at the stormy weather outside.
I grinned, “Oh come on Avery, you know that I don’t have one…yet. Let’s go the usual spot and I’ll make us one.”
Avery perked up happily and we both ran out into the rain and behind some buildings. “What kind are we riding in this time?” Avery asked excitedly as we turned into a dead-end street where no one would see us.
“I’m thinking Cadillac this time, maybe one of those new XLR-V’s,” I replied with a grin.
Avery was practically jumping with excitement. “Come one man! Make it now! I want in!”
I smiled and moved over to a wall and made as if to pull. As I pulled back a deep wine-red Cadillac XLR-V materialized out of the wall, seemingly as if I had just pulled it out. In reality I was making it materialize I a pretended to pull. I could have just transmuted it all at once…I just liked being theatrical. “You know the rules,” I said, looking pointedly at Avery.
Avery rolled his eyes. “Yes I know, I know…no telling anyone about your power,” he sighed.
“Hey, even you have heard of those others who have abilities. They always have people asking them for a show…you know how much I hate that. It’s fine when it's for a friend every once in a while, but not everyone knows how to use discretion you know.”
“Yeah I know, it’s just…transmutation is so cool!”
I grinned and motioned to the Cadillac with my head. “Get in then,” I said, pulling a new set of keys out of my pocket and unlocking the car. Avery rushed in and immediately began bouncing in his seat. I couldn’t help but laugh. “You would think you had never been in a luxury car before Avery!” I commented merrily.
“Well, never a Cadillac!” replied Avery, completely unfazed. “Come on let’s go!”
“You have to put on your seat belt first Avery.”
“Oops!” there was a quick click as Avery fastened his seatbelt, which considerably lessened the bouncing.
I pushed down the gas and we were off. Needless to say, I took the very scenic route. Eventually though I arrived home. About four blocks from my house I pulled into an empty lot and we both got out. I skipped the showiness and just turned the car into two umbrellas. I handed one to Avery and opened the other one.
“Why don’t you just tell your mom about your power? That way you could drive right up into the garage,” Avery asked as we walked the rest of the way to my house.
I sighed. “I’m not sure how they would react…and personally I’m not willing to risk a negative reaction from them. What if they told their friends? Or worse, what if they told the news? I just can’t risk it.”
Avery just nodded, though he obviously didn’t think my parents would do that. That was why I loved Avery so much; he never pushed a topic he could see I was already decided on. We got into the house just as mom was leaving. “You two have fun! I’ll be back tomorrow, I have an overnight business meeting,” she said as she passed us at the doorway.
“What do you want to drink?” I asked Avery as he sat down in the living room.
“I’ll have an ice-cold root beer please!” He replied.
I filled two glasses with water—it’s a lot easier for me to transmute stuff with a little more substance than air—and then quickly made them both into half-liter bottles of root beer. I threw one to Avery then went over to the X-box. “Halo?” I asked.
“Sure,” Avery replied, taking a deep swallow.
I switched on the X-box and handed Avery the controller. Just as I sat down however, I got a call. Curiously I took out my phone and looked at the number…who would be calling me? Was it mom? The number was not one that I had on my phone. Some randomer, it was probably just a wrong number. “Hello?” I asked.
“Hello Zack,” replied a smooth, feminine voice. It certainly didn’t sound like anyone I knew.
“Who is this?” I asked, a little creeped out.
“I know who you are Zack.”
“Who are you?” I demanded again.
“I know all about you Zack. I know what you can do, and if you want to keep it a secret any longer, I think you should meet me behind your school building in fifteen minutes.”
“Wait! Who are you!” I demanded yet again, desperation showing in my voice. I was too late though, whoever it was hung-up.
“Who was that?” Avery asked curiously.
“I was just yelling ‘who are you’ because I knew who it was…” I replied, rolling my eyes. “It was some girl, and we need to go now.”
“Well it’s about time you got a girlfriend! You’ve needed one for ages!”
“I don’t need a girlfriend Avery; just because you and everyone else have one doesn’t mean I need one too. Girls are too…weird. Take the one that just called me for example,” I offered as we headed to the empty garage, “she just randomly called me and said that she knows all about me and what I can do and that if I want my secret to remain secret I had to meet her behind the school in fifteen minutes!”
Avery looked at me strangely but shrugged and got in the plain Ford Focus I created. I drove quickly to the school building and parked behind the school. No one was around --yet so I quickly made the Ford disappear. We waited under an awning for about five minutes before a girl; she looked to be about my age—17—dressed in a hooded, black raincoat walked around the corner.
“What is all this about?” I demanded angrily.
She looked up at me, revealing startlingly bright purple eyes. She was wearing contacts? She lifted a hand to point at me. “You have been chosen. Come with me.”
I backed off. “Look, if you are really that desperate to get a guy maybe you should pick someone else and try to be a little less creepy,” I replied holding my hands up infront of me placatingly.
The girl quickly closed the gap between us and grabbed my arm. She began to roll up the sleeve of my shirt and I ripped my arm away. “What are you doing?” I asked, started to cross the border from creeped out to horrified.
The girl rolled her eyes and grabbed my arm again. She yanked up the sleeve to reveal the strange mark on my skin. It was a capital “W” with capital “J” interlacing with it. “That,” the girl stated flatly, “is the mark of the calling, ‘World Justice.’ Now come with me.” She said again, this time she pulled on my arm trying to get me to come follow.
“Look, just because you know about a mark on my arm doesn’t mean I’m going to go wherever it is you are going,” I replied, raising an eyebrow skeptically.
The girl huffed annoyedly. “Look, if you don’t come, then I will tell everyone about your power,” she threatened.
“Where I we going?” I relented.
“California,” she replied.
“How exactly do you plan on getting us there?” I asked.
“Just follow me,” she replied.
“Alright, we’re off on some wild adventure, we can go slay dragons and save damsels in distress…Come on Avery…” I said before turning to follow the girl. But as I did the world around me started to distort and then disappeared completely. For about a second I was walking through what looked like an empty highway tunnel then we emerged into another rainy day…was it raining all over the world?
“Where are we?” I asked the girl. “And where is Avery?” I asked looking around for him but he was nowhere to be seen.
“I told you we are in California…we are here to pick another of the chosen up. Avery wasn’t chosen, so I didn’t bring him.”