The Seven – Chapter 2
The blue light grew brighter as I moved closer. Time seemed to be moving in slow motion as I walked toward my sister’s still body. If I could just reach her before—
Beep beep beep
I rolled over and shut off the alarm clock. It had been six weeks since that horrible night. Six weeks of reliving it every time I shut my eyes. There was no escaping it. Groaning, I pulled myself out of bed and went to shower. The warm water rushing over my skin was calming, but it never lasted. After getting dressed, I made my way to the kitchen and popped some bread into the toaster. I had a little bit of time before I needed to leave, so I sat at the table and turned on the telecom.
Every channel had similar stories on a loop. There were warnings to stay inside as much as possible, protests and rallies, and reports about Mekt wreaking havoc throughout the country. Another family was brutally attacked. The news flashed images of the scene, bringing with them a horrible sense of dread. My toast popped up, startling me out of my chair. I grabbed my food and kept watching.
I’ve heard stories of the Mekt and the Strexlar comet my whole life. I thought that’s all they were, though: stories. Tales told to children. Everyone knew Mekt still lived in the world, but I did not know any. They kept to themselves or hid their powers as they went about their daily lives.
I never thought I’d be sitting here watching a news segment on a Mekt who sacrificed their own family to gain more power from the comet. The world had grown so much more violent and dangerous in the last two months. It wasn’t even the seventh month yet, I thought.
After I finished eating, I turned the telecom off, locked up my tiny apartment, and headed to class. The university had been very understanding about everything with my sister and gave me a few weeks off, but their leniency quickly ended. It was hard going to class every day. Then again, it was hard doing anything. At least the semester was almost over. Just a couple more days and I’d be free for the summer, that’s what I told myself.
I wouldn’t really be free. I would be working at the library, but I loved it there. I hoped it wouldn’t be that bad.
The days were finally getting warmer and longer as summer approached. This was a good thing; it meant the nights were shorter. The worst of the crimes happened at night. It was also when my own nightmares haunted me.
They say things get better over time, but I couldn’t imagine the pain of losing my sister ever going away. I woke up from nightmares of that night and feel a horrendous weight on my chest every night. The nightmare was always the same, but I still couldn’t remember everything from that night. I still didn’t know who the figure was or why they went after my sister. Worse though, why didn’t they come after me next.
My dull history class couldn’t hold my attention. I doodled in my notebook when I felt someone’s eyes on me. I looked around and spotted an older man staring at me. He was back one row and down a few seats, but there was no mistaking I was the one he was staring at. People did that a lot—stare. They all knew the story and looked at me with pity in their eyes. The only difference was most people looked away when I noticed them. This guy just continued to watch. Eventually, I broke eye contact and went back to my notebook. I spent the next hour drawing and pretending not to notice the man staring at the side of my head.
When class released, I gathered my books into my bag and left as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be stopped by the stranger. I walked briskly out of the building and headed down the sidewalk. Looking over my shoulder, he was nowhere to be seen. History was my only class that morning, so I walked to the library where I would spend the next three hours until an acceptable time for lunch.
The library was my favorite place in the city. The four-story, brick building looked as if it had been built centuries ago. As one of the few libraries left in the country, it was a rare treasure. Everyone got their information from the telecoms and wristbands. Very few people read books anymore, so the library was more of a museum than anything. I was one of the few who actually enjoyed reading.
I sat down at a table and pulled out my textbook from history. With finals approaching, I really needed to focus and study, especially since it was so hard to pay attention in class the past few weeks.
I had just started reading when someone sat down across from me. With several empty tables around, it surprised me that someone picked a spot so close. When I looked up, I saw why: it was the same man who had been staring at me in class.
“Can I help you?” I asked, looking to see if anyone else was around. That he followed me frightened me.
“Kira, sister of Anna?” he asked.
Well, at least we were getting right to the point… I thought before I replied, “Yes.”
“I am sorry for your loss—“ he started.
“Thank you, really, but I need to study,” I interrupted. I didn’t need another apology from another stranger.
“What happened?” he asked, unrelenting.
Of course, I thought, he’s not here because he’s sorry. He’s here for the details. There had been plenty of those people, too.
“Look, you’re probably a nice guy…”
“Arthur,” he supplied.
“Arthur, but I don’t want to talk about that. Least of all to a complete stranger. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I really need to study,” I said, looking back to my book.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” He began to rise. “Can I ask just one question though?”
I sighed and looked up, knowing he would ask regardless of my answer.
“Has it started?”
“Has what started?” I asked completely confused.
“The nightmares. Have you been able to identify the figure yet?” he asked.
My heart pounded in my chest as I stared at him with a dropped jaw. “How do you…?“
I could not fathom how he knew about that. Scared by what this meant, I stood up, grabbing my books in the process. I felt less vulnerable being up, ready to fight or run if necessary. There were only two possible ways he could know about that.
“I am not the figure. Please sit. Let me explain,” Arthur replied with hands out. Typically, this gesture is to indicate a person is harmless, but with the comet overhead, hands of a stranger were the most dangerous weapons around.
“Right. Well, if you are not the figure then you are a Mekt,” I hissed, backing away. “Please, just let me go.”
“Kira, please, “Arthur lowered his hands to the table before continuing quietly, “I am a Mekt, but I mean you no harm. If you sit, I will explain everything.”
“You can start explaining, but I’m not sitting,” I replied.
“Alright. That’s okay,” he sighed. He sat back down and rubbed a hand across chin, thinking of where to begin. “My name is Arthur. I work here, in the basement. I’ve been watching you for the last two months. I had my suspicions, but I wasn’t sure until…”
“Suspicions of what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” My head started throbbing. I hugged my book to my chest, almost like a shield.
“I suspected, but I wasn’t sure until your sister’s death,” he said, looking down.
“What did you suspect?” I whispered. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer.
“That you are one of us,” Arthur replied. He lifted his eyes to mine. “Kira, you are a Mekt.”