Tom wanted to disappear, be forgotten by the mystic world and live out comfortably. Hong Kong seemed like the right place and it nearly was until Austin found him, begging for his help.
Now, it's a race to see who will get him as everyone wants him on their side. Faced with ancient conspiracies, secret societies and alien gods, he's got no choice but to play the game once more...
The blistering summer heat seemed to sap the energy out of everything, July was bad, July in Hong Kong was unlivable, the scorching heat and suffocating humidity was enough to make you appreciate Arizona. Feeling heavy, Austin walked the market, his shirt tightly clinging to his form. In his hand he grasped the worn sketchbook, glancing back and forth from the crude drawing to the shop signs.
He couldn't read the language, which made things so much harder, he only could follow what he'd seen in one of his episode.
The smell of food from the carts made his stomach rumble, he was dying of thirst and hunger but his money was running out. He continued his way for a moment avoiding glancing at the stalls.
It was then that he saw what he looked for, a few dozen stalls were lined up in a somewhat open area standing in the shade of a handful of cherry tree. Sitting at one, was a caucasian man, his hair a mess of bleached white spikes. Tattoos ran across his arms and disappeared under the purple tank top that the man wore.
Austin couldn't help but feel a mix of relief and terror. His visions had been right, but how would he approach him? Swallowing his excitement, he walked forward, sitting on the uncomfortable metal stool next to the man.
He searched for a moment what to say, his eyes losing themselves on the man's tattoos. His left hand, the one he could see, had the fingers covered in small sigils, some pentacle drawn over the back of the hand, the fore arm displayed a short inscription wrapped around a tribal that swirled back up to the shoulder, losing itself behind the fabric on his back at the center of which was another of the odd talismans.
"Did you come here to eat the food or to eat me, mate? I think you're drooling." The man said, his voiced laced with the slight hint of an irish accent.
"Wha?" Was all Austin managed to say, reddening in embarrassment.
The tattooed guy, nodded with his head at the man speaking in Cantonese at him.
"Oh yes... Do you speak english?" He asked to the stall owner. His confused expression told him no.
That's when the Irish man said something to the stall owner in the same language. Who then nodded and yelled something in his own language.
"You speak Chinese?" Austin asked.
"Cantonese actually, Mandarin too. Among other languages." He answered.
"Wow... that's impressive." He baffled back.
"I'm Thomas." Tattooed guy said, turning sideways as to face him. He exhibited a grin at him. "What's an american boy doing out of his element?"
"I'm Austin. And I'm just eh... Visiting."
"You're far from touristville." His interlocutor remarked.
He considered for a moment how to tell him that he's seen him in a vision but his meditation was interrupted with the merchant placing a bowl of Wonton noodles in front of him along with a cup of milk tea.
"It's on me." Thomas said.
"Thanks..." Austin answered timidly. "So, what'd are you doing around here? Visiting, Studying?"
"Nope." The Irish one said, between two mouthful of noodles. "I do odd jobs around and enjoy the place."
They ate for a moment, Austin still trying to find a way to explain his reason to come without sounding insane.
"Alright, was fun meeting you, Aus." Tom said, getting up, setting the strap of a small duffel bag over his shoulder, he threw a handful of bills on the table and took his first step away. "Maybe I'll see you again."
"Damn it..." He muttered under his breath. "He wait I--" He got up as he spoke and felt dizzy all of a sudden, a warm liquid rolling over his face, he brought his finger up and saw the scarlet that poured out of his eyes and nose. He stumbled down and hit his shoulder on the pavement as his vision clouded.
He saw a gigantic figure over the city, wrapped in chains that anchored themselves to the ground, grand and terrible the figure watched, spiteful at the city. A second form emerged from the sky, an infinite maelstrom that spun the heavens, soon the two figure clashed and the city caught ablaze.
As he saw those vision, pain blossomed in his arm and he felt someone pick him up, and walking him to away. His feet moved automatically and soon he felt himself under the shade of something, his back against an irregular form.
His vision returned, and he saw Tom leaning over him, a set of tissue paper in hand and hold the blood flow at bay. Austin's head burst in pain, the migraine that always followed the vision.
"I'm alright." Austin babbled, a few drop of coppery tasting blood dribbling into his mouth.
In front of him, Tom sighed. "Just my luck, a stigmatic prophet."
"Wha?" He said, still in the aftershock of the vision "You mean you--"
"I figured you'd seen me in a vision telling you to come here." Aus' eyes wandered and saw that he was flipping through his sketchbook. "You know, you really suck at this."
"Hey, I'm not an artist."
"I figured as much." He said with an insolent grin. "Why did you come here? To find me?"
"Wait, back up, you believe me?"
"Yes." He answered flatly.
"Nobody ever believes I have vision."
"Well they don't believe in magic." He said, handing another set of tissues to Austin. "So, what do you want?"
He took them before answering. "I need your help, something's coming and the visions tell me you're important to this whole mess."
"Of course they do." He sighed. "Look, I'm going to make it clear right away, I'm not interested. I'm done getting involved in this stuff."
"I don't trust visions, half of the time they are realized when you try to prevent them and the other half, they're so cryptic you only get it once you're already neck deep in the shite."
"But I travelled half-way across the world for this..."
"Tough luck. Go home kid, ignore the visions, and live a normal life, you don't want to get involved."
With that, the tattooed man stood and walked away, getting mixed in the crowd.