As we passed through the Force's vandalized gate, I gawked at how thick it really was. Being this close to it, passing through its gates, I never realized just how thick the Force was. My eyes caught sight of Raven City. Its sterile-white, clean buildings shone under the sun. The buildings towered above us. Their structures were so angular. They had a sort of futuristic look to them. The people who walked the streets stopped when they saw us. They all scrambled to the sidewalks, staring at me. Some of them looked on in horror, others in anger. Either they know what's been going on in Drayton or they really don't like outsiders. I quickly remembered that my veins could still be seen. That must be what they're looking at. I kept that resolve in the front of my mind to keep out the nervousness I felt.
"Don't worry. They won't try anything, not with Mr. Corey around," Audrey explained.
"What if Mr. Corey wasn't around?" I whispered.
"Watch your back."
Great. I knew this was a bad idea. A shadow flew out of the corner of my eye. I looked towards it, beside a small store-looking building, but nothing was there. I was becoming very uncomfortable. It wasn't just the stares from the citizens. It felt like the buildings themselves were watching me. A raven looking down at its prey. Now I know how Raven City got its name.
"You'll get used to it."
"What, are you reading my mind or something?"
"...No. I can tell by your body language."
Audrey's green eyes glowed softly—a bright green.
"Are you, you know?"
"Yeah. For most people here, you can tell because their eyes glow when they use their ability. Those people are born with that ability. For people like you, who aren't born with it, it shows in a different way. I'm guessing your veins turn a dark blue when yours is turned on."
"Does that mean that you were born this way? Your senses were heightened from birth?"
"Yeah. It's very rare for anyone to be born without any kind of ability. Those kind of people come from all over. They—"
"Wait, all over? Outside of Drayton and Raven City?"
"They come from all over the world. What, did you think that Drayton and this place were the only cities in the world?"
"I never really thought about it. I've just always focused on surviving. I never really thought about anything past Drayton and Raven City....To be honest, I can't believe I'm even here."
Audrey must have noticed how uncomfortable I felt.
"It's not as bad as you think," she said.
She looked at me with that sad look in her eyes. Does she even realize that she's looking at me like that?
"It's not just the city. I'm alone here. I don't know anyone. I don't even know what to do next. I know nothing's going to be the same now. I can feel it."
"You have me. I'll help you. Things can be how they were before, if you really want them to."
I didn't understand what she meant. I gave her a slightly confused look. She looked ahead, as if trying to avoid clarifying what she meant.
I looked ahead too and had to tilt my head back as I noticed the building we were in front of. It was covered in glass panes and stood above even the tallest buildings in the city.
"This is our headquarters, C.O.R.E.," Audrey said.
"It stands for the Center for the Operatives of Reflex Enhancement," Robert Corey explained.
"Most of the people here can't do what you and I can. They have abilities of their own but most of them are minor, such as being able to cut off any electronics in a room with their mind. It's not all that useful. That's a better example. Some people can only sense what other people are feeling by touch. It doesn't help with what we do," Audrey continued.
"We regulate the citizens within Raven City, ensuring that people who seek to use their abilities in a negative way are taken down before they can do so. Mainly, we help enforce peace among the neighboring cities around the world."
"How many cities are there?"
"Too many to count. They're all different. They all have different governments that run them. Some are like Drayton, others are like Raven City."
"Does every city have people with abilities like mine?"
"Yes, even Drayton. Those particular people reside underground. We have reason to believe that they created a formula to give the people of Drayton your, and Audrey's, enhanced abilities. We managed to intercept one of their shipments. In order to test our theory and inform all of Drayton's citizens of the possible threat, we injected volunteers with the serum. As you now know, none of the volunteers survived. I struck a deal with Mr. Stitch to bring me those who were considered on the wrong side of the 'law,' according to his standards. He brought me you and here you are," Corey announced as we stood in the elevator.
"You used Stitch. You made him bring you test subjects so that you wouldn't be suspected. You were trying not to get on anyone's radar," I offered.
Audrey seemed impressed. Corey smiled.
"Precisely. It seems, Audrey, that you may have an easier time with his training."
"You want me to train him, sir?"
"I will explain my reasoning later but yes, I want you to train him."
"I'm sure you'll be a great teacher," I said honestly.
She gave me an annoyed look. Cute. She turned away from me.
"When would you like me to begin his training, sir?"
I grinned. I'm not going to deny that her annoyance at having to train me filled me with an intense satisfaction.
"Today. Give him an hour or two to get acquainted with the equipment."
My grin vanished.
"Woah, hold on. I just got here. I just had some freaky experiment performed on me. You want me to start training now?"
This time, Audrey gave me a satisfied smirk.
"The quicker you catch on, the sooner training is over. What's wrong? Scared?"
"Alright, that's quite enough. Audrey, come with me. We will discuss his training regime. Nick, follow those men. They will take you to the equipment room were you will await Audrey. Once she has finished today's training, which I will observe, you may eat and rest. Do you understand?" Corey asked as he exited the elevator.
I stared at the white walls of the hallway, which were lined with aerial pictures of Raven City and sketches of the city's layout.
"Mr. Nick?" Corey repeated.
"Yeah. Got it. Follow the guys to the training room. Wait for Audrey. Train. Eat. Sleep. I got it," I answered, inspecting one of the sketches.
Robert Corey and Audrey walked away from us. I watched her. Her black hair swayed and her jeans fit her figure firmly.
"You know, you have a nice butt. I bet you have all the guys drooling!" I yelled after her.
She flicked me off as she continued walking. Second base, here I come. I can't wait for training. One of the guys I was supposed to be following stopped and cleared his throat. I caught up to him as he and another guy in a lab coat led me down the halls.
"I wouldn't try to come on to her. She's tougher than you think. She won't stand for it," one of the guys said.
I didn't see his face but I could tell he thought my attempt at hitting on Audrey was amusing.
"Yeah well, back in Drayton, I'm irresistible. Is she taken?" I countered.
"No, but this isn't Drayton, kid. The people here are very different."
"Ten bucks says I can pick up the next girl we meet."
"Suit yourself but you're going to be ten dollars in debt on your first day here."
I chuckled. I wasn't nervous anymore. I was feeling particularly daring.