I kept my silence, angrily biting my tongue as I pouted inside. I had only taken a few bitter sips of the drink in front of me, but it did nothing to calm my nerves. So I just sat there, staring a whole in the table, and not saying a word.
For the last few hours that I spent with Gyro at the club that night, I doubt that I could have put a decent sentence together anyway. Not with the rage I felt inside at that moment. Not after what he told me. All this time I had been living with the illusion of freedom and acceptance, while they built walls to keep me locked in. Lies...all of them, lies. Should the fact that they were looking out for my 'best interest' make the news any easier to take? I don't know. All I could think about was the fact that every single person in that abandoned lot, the people that I exposed myself to, lived with, laughed with, and even loved...were all in on a giant practical joke that I was obviously not meant to be a part of.
They had been following me...every step I had taken was being monitored and reported back to Bryson on a nightly basis. It was as though I were some kind of troublesome prisoner on probation for a crime I never committed. Everything they said to me was a distraction. Something to keep me from asking them how they found me, what they were doing there, why they always wanted to come with me for even the most simple of tasks? And now I'm supposed to go back to my 'new home' and simply resume our friendship and my trust as though any of it were real to begin with? I didn't know if I could do that. I didn't know if I could open myself enough to believe in them again. And that was what hurt the most.
The club itself was still pounding with loud music, the flashing lights hypnotically dancing around me as the heat from hundreds of moshing bodies beared down on me from all angles. Gyro was right about one thing...no matter how bad I felt, the party never stopped. It burned on just as bright as it always did, if not brighter. Still, I might as well have been sitting in a room alone as far as my thoughts were concerned. I was too busy battling with my own sense of what was real and what wasn't to really pay attention to this magnificent 'adrenaline rush' that Gyro seemed to love so much.
He had excused himself from the table almost twenty minutes ago to converse with some of his acquaintences across the room...as always. He was teaching me to be 'popular' and to talk to everyone that I came in contact with...but if you ask me it seems like an awful lot of work. He's never able to sit still for more than a couple of minutes before he has to jump up and greet somebody, and when he doesn't they're coming over to our table by the hundreds to kiss him on the cheek or engage him in some small talk. I swear, he must talk to every single person in the whole club at LEAST once in the amount of time that we're there. And that is a LOT of people. I often wonder why he makes it his obligation to do so. But knowing his skill at dodging questions, I didn't bother to ask. Besides, it seemed to make him happy. And not just because of the attention, but because he was honestly absorbing every possible personality that could exist in this place, and he was always thirsty for more. He was a boy in a candy store with a million different flavors to choose from, and he was starving to taste them all. I have to admit, there's a wealth of growth and information in knowing so many. I just don't have the energy to keep up with it like he does.
The DJ spun into another high voltage song, and the bodies on the dancefloor, once almost at the point of exhaustion, jumped to life again immediately. The strobelights came on and flickered at a maddening pace around the room as the sea of people transformed into a storm of motion. How can this not distract me from my thoughts? Normally, an evening in this night club, the music, the drinks, the people, would be FUN! It would swing by me so fast that I wouldn't even be able to keep an account of what I did here or what we talked about. But tonight, with so much weighing heavily on my mind...the seconds seemed to tick backwards, making every moment one of labor and impatience. And the joy of other people only seemed to aggravate the situation. I wouldn't have been able to have fun if I tried.
"Are you just gonna SIT here sulking for the rest of the night?" I looked up and saw Gyro standing in front of me, with some miscellaneous girl on his arm. He was faithful to his girlfriend, but a huge flirt if ever I saw one.
"That was the plan." I replied.
"Well, aren't YOU the spice of life tonight?" He kissed the giggling woman on the cheek, possibly twice his age, but charmed by his untamed smile and ability to just about anybody with confidence. "This is Nikki. I just met her over by the DJ booth..."
"Good for her." I said, not even trying to pretend that I care. "Look, can we go now?"
"GO? Dude, I thought you were going to stay here with me until the club closed for the night."
"You'll have to excuse me if I have other things on my mind right now." I turned my eyes away from him when I said it, but he could hear the sarcasm in my voice anyway. I needed to go.
Gyro turned to the girl on his arm and whispered something in her ear, causing her to walk away and give us a minute to talk. "Justin...listen to me, I realize that all of this was dropped on you all at once, and that's my fault for being an idiot, ok? I know that it can be a bit of a shock when you first discover what's going on. But I didn't tell you all of this to make you sit here and pout about it."
Was this kid SERIOUS??? "What?" I said with a look of disgust on my face from his nonchalant treatment of the whole situation.
"Crossovers aren't something to be taken lightly, Justin. They require guidance, and training, and discipline. This is Bryson's way...it's not a bad thing. It's for your own good, dude." Gyro said, sitting down across from me at the table. "I know you feel somewhat 'betrayed', and that's fine. But the truth is that it's important for them to bring you into this life as carefully and strategically as possible." He saw me look away and begin to tune him out at this point, just waiting for my opportunity to leave and get to the bottom of this. It was then that Gyro got up out of his seat, and came over to seat right next to me. He put his hand gently on my shoulder, "I'm telling you, kid...the worst thing you could have ever faced would've been to be turned by a group of people who don't care about your development as much as they do. You weren't there dude. You don't know what it was like to see the change that Dennis went through all those years ago. You don't know how helpless we felt once we saw his abilities get stronger and his will get weaker. He changed...for the worse."
"It's not fair for them to think that I'd suddenly lose it. I mean, they don't even KNOW me." I mumbled.
"And you think they expected Dennis to 'lose it'? Do you?" Gyro held my hand as my stubborness gave way JUST enough to pay attention. "There was a time when he was one of us. No different than the rest of us. Caring, thoughtful, sensitive. But he absorbed too much, too fast, and he rapidly fell from grace, Justin. Suddenly he didn't give a shit about anybody at the lot, or very many people outside of it, for that matter. He began turning on his friends, spitting fire in our direction at every given opportunity, ignoring us when we tried to talk to him, judging us, fighting authority in all forms...he just wasn't himself anymore. One day, even though nobody wanted to come right out and say it, not a single one of us liked who he had become. And soon, our love and affection for him just couldn't outweigh the amount of pain that he put us through by just being the hurtful son of a bitch that he was changing into." Gyro finished the last few gulps of his drink all at once, and put the glass down on the table in front of me. "We tried to redeem him somehow. Tried to get him back to the lovable, compassionate person we once knew. But he just didn't care anymore. Dennis was more focused on his own agenda, and whoever led him down that path cared even less for us than he did. He kept saying he'd be stronger without us. That he could walk away from us and be just fine. It hurt."
"And he just...left?" I asked.
"Yep. One night he woke up before the rest of us, took off to find a new tribe of vampires to better suit his newer, stronger abilities...and we never heard from him again."
"You guys didn't try to stop him?"
"How could we? He was well into his crossover, Bryson taught him everything he needed to know to survive and be happy...he was free to go wherever he wanted to go. Besides, the rest of us...we didn't 'fit' his requirements anymore, so that was that. He abandoned us, and shortly after that the rumors started about his whereabouts. Where he had ended up, what he was doing, who he was with...you know, street gossip. It was the only way for us to know if he's even alive." Gyro, for the first time since I had first met him, actually looked a bit hurt. Then he straightened up, and covered it with a mask of total apathy. "As much as I'd like to say that I miss him...I wouldn't want him back. Not if he's still sticking to that militant personality that he had when we last spoke all those years ago."
Gyro's mask looked convincing enough, but the emotional vibe I was reading from him was kind of cold. Like he cared, but didn't want to. It was a difficult mood to decipher. I wonder how long Jenna had to work to classify these emotions and understand them without knowing exactly what was going on in the other person's head. I guess that's what Trevor meant when he said my mind reading ability was the 'other piece of the puzzle'. "So...I guess..."
"You know what? Let's get out of here. This place has gotten played out for tonight." Gyro said, standing up from the table and avoiding any further conversation on the subject. "Feel like taking a walk?"
"Yeah. Whatever." I rose to my feet and released a sigh of relief for being able to get away from this racket for a little while. "What about Nikki?" I asked.
"What about her? I've got a girlfriend." He said it so factually before walking away from the table that I almost had to laugh at the idea of him turning off his flirtatious nature so instantaneously.
We came out the back way and into the alley, the cool night air sending chills through me as it blew threw the damp locks of my hair. It appeared to be so unbelieveably quiet in comparison to the enrgetic rave of the atmosphere inside. To go from one contrast to another so suddenly was disorienting, but comfortably welcome. "So where are we going?"
"I don't know. Here. There. Wherever we want until it's time to go home." Gyro replied.
I looked all around us, at windows, rooftops, trees, wondering if I'd see a familiar shadow or smiling face to greet me. "Do you think...do you think someone is out 'chasing' me tonight?"
"Who knows? Probably." Gyro lit up a cigarette, and kept walking. "Maybe they decided to leave you with me to guard you tonight instead."
"You think so?"
"It's a possibility. But whether or not Bryson trusts me to keep a close eye on you really depends on his mood at the time."
We walked out into Grant Park, the lake not far away, and walked along the winding bike trail in the dark. Even though the traffic was still going strong on Lake Shore Drive, the park was compltely void of any life at all except for us. "Maybe he was in the right mood tonight. We seem to be alone."
"Hehehe, yeah...you'd think so." He grinned. "So listen...from what I hear, you've been growing into your crossover faster than anyone else Bryson's ever worked with. That's usually a sign of of a kick ass extra coming into focus." Gyro smiled.
"Um...yeah. I...I guess so." I was trying to find a way to change the subject myself, but couldn't think of anything to dodge a question as fast as he could.
"A little...I guess..."
There was a pause in our conversation, but I could see him looking over at me. "So...?"
Gyro rolled his eyes, "C'mon dude, his is ME here. Quit playing around, you can tell me. Did you...find anything yet?"
"No...not really." But he could easily tell that I was lying.
"Nothing at all, huh?" I nodded nervously, and although he could see right through me, he decided to let it go. "Alright. Ok...whatever."
"If it comes to me soon though...how do I...you know...learn to control it?"
Gyro simply shrugged his shoulders. "That's up to you."
"What do you mean?"
"Well...it's hard to explain, and yet really easy at the same time." He took another long drag off of his cigarette and blew the smoke out into the air, forcing it to curl back over his head as he walked forward. "Every vampire's extra is given to them at random, you know? But...it's gotta COME from somewhere. It's based on what kind of person you were when you were still living. Your personality traits, your experiences, your memories, your whole outlook on life in general. Like...say you were a angry person, short tempered, the abrasive type. Then your extra usually manifests as some kind of offensive trait. Something that further demonstrates your desire to release that anger. But...if you were more of 'run and hide' type, then the extra becomes more subtle. More of a defense, to help take you out of the situation. The possibilities and combinations are virtually limitless. That's how we all come out different, because we each exist as individuals with an entirely different set of life experiences."
"But aren't some of them similar? I mean we can't ALL be different, right?"
"Similarities do occur here and there, but it's never the same. Never. See, it's 'society' that has this wacky need to make everyone predictable and formulaic by classifying them into certain groups. They categorize and keep track of everybody, because without that system there would be no way to control you. You can't have rules for some people, and not for others, laws for some people, and not for others. Even though every person is different, they just can't treat you that way. So what they do is stereotype and judge and make huge generalizations to make everything easier for them to rule over us all without knowing anything about us as an individual. That unfortunately causes a lot of people to live with, and sometimes even ADOPT, certain characteristics that aren't a part of who we are at all."
"Yeah. They can't say that SOME vampres are bloodthirsty savages, and SOME actually CARE and value human life, despite their need for blood. Nah, it's easier to just assume the absolute most terrible scenario, and say 'all vampires are bloodthirsty savages'. See what I mean? It's easier for THEM to say, but not easy for you to live with. Especially since you have now been lumped together with the worst possible bunch that our species has to offer. Those same people can imagine you as having a limp wrist and a lisp for being homosexual. Or talking with a weird accent because of the part of Chicago you live in. None of it is true about you, but as sad as it is to say...most people don't want to take the time or effort to think that much. They really don't care who you are as an individual, all they care about is what the people you don't know and have never met have done in the past. They pick the most despicable people of your particular category to 'represent' you, and you have to live with it whether you like it or not."
I asked, "So....how are we different?"
"In our particular society, our goal is exactly the opposite. We actually want to find the diffences in each other instead of silencing them to fit into a preselected norm. We value it as an opportunity for growth. To maybe see something that we didn't notice before, about the world, about ourselves. There are so many people who let the majority's decisions of normal and abnormal force them into believing what they're told. Even about themselves. It's kinda twisted if you ask me. But thanks to our extras and abilities after our crossovers, our differences aren't something that we can just hide away and ignore and pretend isn't there anymore. It's almost like it FORCES us to see who we really are inside and once you begin to share it with other people, you begin to see how truly beautiful it really is...to stop blocking out pieces of yourself just to be able to fit in to a society that doesn't know or care abot you anyway." Gyro said, gently kicking a rock out into the lake as the winding road led us closer to it. "None of these ideals neccessarily make our species any better or more civilized than theirs in most cases...I mean, EVERY civilization has its psychos. But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't like this way of thinking a little better. I figure, if other people didn't like who I was inside, it doesn't matter. Because they were never invited inside to begin with."
"Why?" I asked, puzzled. "Why do you like it this way so much better?" After having been the outcast, after being forced to live as somebody who was different, I was amazed that an entire society would want to thrive on such a lonely philosophy.
"It's hard to say, Justin. I guess...it makes me feel special, you know? Unique." Gyro stopped walking, and looked around us as though stopping to absorb every single detail of the area we were standing in. Then stood up on a nearby bench, stretching his arms out to the side. "Just to think...WOW...I'm an original. One of a kind. There isn't a single person on this entire planet that can do what I do, the way that I do it. No one has my memories, no one has my laugh, no one has my looks, no one has my thoughts...and that means if anyone wants what I can give them...whether it be friendship, love, advice, a shoulder to cry on...they HAVE to come to me. ME. Nobody else. I'm the best at what I do, and I'm the best at who I am. There's no comparison for that. If you actually think about it, I mean REALLY let it settle in, you'll realize just how important and incredibly valuable you are. It's amazing." Gyro smiled up at the sky, and grinned as the night air blew through his wisps of hair. "You just keep that in mind, learn it, believe it, and your extra will grow all on its own. That's all you need to know to make it show itself. All of your abilities will rise up to match whatever level of awareness you possess."
"So you're telling me that appreciating myself as an individual is somehow going to help me learn how to use my extra when it comes into focus?"
"Absolutely. You just dig deep inside you, and seek out all of the bits and pieces of yourself that make you who you are. Don't hide them and deny them and pretend that they don't exist, because if you do THAT then you'll never get any stronger or any wiser than you are right now. You've got to be honest about who you are and what you feel. Then...Voila! The abilities will intensify with each new discovery that you have concering your life. Essentially, your extra gets stronger and more acute as you get closer to yourself. You'll be able to use it more freely as you practice, and it will become more potent every time. I'm really surprised you haven't noticed anything yet." Gyro scanned me, hoping that the comment would be enough to get me to confess. But I pretended not to even notice, and he left it alone. "Anyway, once you find it, you'll realize that it wasn't something that was 'given' to you during your crossover...but something that you possessed all along. Whoever created us, certainly had a philosophical sense of humor, huh?"
"I suppose so." The closer the time came for me to really be expected to use the talents I was given, the more frightening the idea of it became. I wouldn't be able to hide it much longer. They'd know in time. Or at least know that I was hiding something.
"You wanna know mine?" Gyro grinned, a bit of that boyish 13 year old coming back into his face in full bloom.
"You...you'd tell me?"
"I can do better than that, I'll 'show' you. Besides, I haven't neccessarily been the keeper of secrets this evening, so if I'm gonna break ONE rule, I might as well break ten."
I was a bit nervous, considering Bryson had forbidden anyone to show me much of anything since I had been there at the lot. But extremely anxious to see what little quirks Gyro was hiding behind his 'party all the time' exterior. "Um...sure. Ok!" I answered him and tried not to smile from my excitement, but it didn't work too well and the smile burst out across my face anyway.
Gyro stopped me from walking, and turned me to look at him. "It's not really all that specal, but I'm learning new stuff all the time. Better stuff. I'm really starting to figure out how it works. I think it's starting to figure out how I work too." Gyro stepped a bit closer to me and said, "Here...gimme your arm."
I extended one of my arms, and he held me by the wrist, my palm facing up. Then, he smiled at me as he used his other hand to gently trace his finger across my skin from the inside of my elbow all the way down to my palm. I can't explain what it felt like. It was like a small electrical charge, a sensation of complete warmth and pleasure. It was a long trail of super sensitive tingling sensations, left behind the path of his finger. The only thing I could do was giggle a bit. "Hehehe...it...it tickles."
"Yeah? Well that's nothing." Gyro started again at the inside of my elbow, and raced a different path on my arm this time, a swirling curve back and forth. It made my whole arm become numb to everything except for the feelings he was giving me. "You see, there are pleasure centers in the brain that tell you when something feels good. I've found a way to trigger every single one of those centers through the nerve endings in the skin." Gyro now placed his hand on my chest, and the feeling was almost orgasmic! I gasped as an amazing amount of energy seemed to pour out of his hand and into me, stimulating my whole body with a simple touch. "Or...if I wanted to command your body to rlease a small dose of adrenaline here and there..." With a thought and a gentle wave of his hand accross my skin, I felt the adrenaline flood into my system. I began to breathe heavily, my heart was racing, beads of sweat formed on forhead...this was incredible. "You cannot IMAGINE how cool sex is when you've got something like this working for you." It felt sooo good. I couldn't move, I was lost in a euphoric daze. "Bryson says that my extra comes from me always looking for a hot party or some kind of action around town, that's why I got ths particular extra..." He took his hands away from me, and I felt 'disconnected' all at once, the cool air wisping around me and my focus slamming right back into reality. "...but if you ask me...I think it's because I was just finding out about masturbation right before I was turned. Hehehe, can't get a more pleasurable sense of touch than a boy playing with his fiddle stick three times a day."
I leaned up against a tree, catching my breath and trying to shake off the last few sensations of my 'experience'. My body felt loose, rubbery, my skin felt so alive. "Wow..." I whispered.
"Hehehe, you ok dude? I was trying to take it easy."
"Uh...yeah. I'm fine. I guess." It felt as though I had been having mindblowing sex all day long. And he was taking it easy?
"It can be kind of addictive for some people. VERY addictve for others. So I've got to be really careful with who gets a hold of that kinda knowledge. But it's fun nonetheless."
"How long did it take you to learn how to do that?" I asked.
"Not long at all, really. The extras grow all by themselves, the trick is just knowing enough about yourself to figure out how to make them work for you. I practiced a bit on myself for a while, hehehe...if you know what I mean. Then...I tried applying it to other people, and the knowledge of what it was just kinda grew into me somehow." Gyro seemed so proud of himself. He might have been only 13 when he crossed over, but despite his accumulated knowledge and abilities, he just couldn't have been much older than fifteen or sixteen, tops. He still had a little kid in him that refused to leave his presence whenever you talked to him. It was great. "Like, did you know that I can actually use this as a weapon? I mean a DANGEROUS one too! The pleasure centers can actually be overloaded! Is that NOT the coolest thing you ever heard in your life. I mean...at the very least you can put somebody in a coma if not worse!"
"I hope I'll be able to learn mine that easily."
"Don't sweat it, dude. Like I told you, as long as you're not hiding from yourself, your extra won't hide from you. You'll understand in time."
"So...once I perfect it and get it down just right, then I have to teach it to everybody at the lot, right?"
"Well....you don't HAVE TO do anything. That's the whole point. The important thing is that YOU know how to use it to benefit who you are as a vampire. Once you've done that, it's up to you whether or not you want to share it with the rest of us. Not everybody is willing, and that can be frustrating at times, but a vampire's extra is possibly the most personal and revealing part of their existence. We have to treat that with a certain level of respect." Gyro said with a smirk. "So are you gonna tell me now?"
"Hehehe...no." I giggled.
"BASTARD!" I can't blame him for making one last attempt.
We were walking along when a jogger passed us up on the walkway. He was about 30 years old, I guessed, and simply moved around us to continue his nightly run. But before he got more than 20 feet away from us, we saw the bushes rumble next to him, and snatch him effortlessly off of the sidewalk! It caught me by surprise, and my eyes widened as I saw the bushes come to life with a horrific frenzy of tussling and broken branches. "WHOAH!!! DAMN good catch!" Gyro shouted, and took me by the arm. "C'mon! Let's go see!"
Go SEE? Was he nuts? I didn't want to see that! No WAY! I pulled back slightly, and then harder and harder until he got the idea. "I don't think so." I said.
"What's the matter? It's just one of us, it's not like the boogie man is behind the bushes."
"That makes it better?" I didn't want to look, I didn't want to see more death than I had to.
Gyro waved his hand, "Blah. Fine, I'll go by myself then." And he let go of me to go watch this random vampire devour some innocent jogger. I doubt I'll ever get used to the murder that exists in our world, I'm CERTAINLY not about to turn it into a spectator sport.
It must have been some show from the faces that Gyro was making. Even from some distance, I could hear the sickening rip of the flesh, the piercing of muscle tissue, the wet slurping suction coming from the mouth of a hungry vampire. The commotion coming from the bushes was calming more and more by the second. The man was dying. I could sense it. I turned my back on the whole situation, mentally blocking out as much as I could. But my imagination filled in the horrific images of what was going on, and deep down, I was crying for that man.
I waited until most of the noises had stopped, and then I heard the sounds of footsteps running away into the dark. "Is it over?" I asked in a low voice.
"It's over for SOMEBODY! Hehehe, dude, come here, you've gotta take a look at this!" Ugh...how can he find any kind of pleasure in this whatsoever? I turned around, and walked to where Gyro was standing. Then, without looking at what must have been a terrible mess in the bushes, I walked right passed him and kept going. "Awwww...c'mon Justin. You're going to have to get used to this eventually, you know?" But I just kept walking without saying a word. "Suit yourself, but this is one piece of work, I'll tell ya that!"
He trotted over to catch up to me and put his arm on my shoulder, "Knock it off..." I muttered.
"Ok, ok...geez you're moody."
"I'm NOT moody! Somebody just died, have some respect."
Gyro was quiet for a few seconds, then he walked in front of me to look me in the eye. "You're still getting used to all this. I understand that. But this isn't something you can turn your back on, Justin. Honestly...you're going to have to learn to disconnect. The only determining factor between them being a human being and them being our food, is the moment. It's just something you've got to accept. Sorry." And he began walking with me again.
I wanted to pout it out, I wanted to disagree...but the bottom line was...he's right. If I'm going to be this way and live this life, I'm going to have to throw away the self righteous routine and stop pretending that I'm better than the rest somehow. As mch as it hurt to admit, I was just as much of a killer as they were expecting me to be. And I truly dread the night when I'd have to do it again.
"I guess you'll be wanting to run on ahead and go meet Taryn up at the Pier, huh?" Gyro asked. But at that point, I honestly wasn't sure.
"No...not tonight. I want to think about some things first, and I don't want my feelings getting in the way."
"You're still mad about the whole 'chaser' thing, aren't you?"
I got a bad taste in my mouth from the thought of it. "I can't believe they lied to me. I can't believe that they would follow me around like some little boy with no common sense at all."
"It's NOT you, Justin. When are you gonna get that through your head? It's the STANDARD procedure for a newblood like yourself. Dude, you've got to break into this life SLOWLY. There's a lot to learn, a lot to absorb, and instincts that you have develop naturally. You'll grow into it, trust me. Until then, you've got to play by the rules."
"But why couldn't thy just tell me?"
"Do you honestly think any vampire, you included, would stand for being monitored and watched over if they actually KNEW about it?" Gyro moved closer to comfort me. "Don't make this out to be some big betrayal dude. They were going to tell you withint the next couple of weeks anyway, I'm sure. Meanwhile, you needed to focus on your own growth and acceptance."
"Whatever." I answered, still holding on to the anger that was boiling up insde of me.
"Seriously. Now...you just fed not long ago, and that's a huge bridge towards your life from here on out. Things are going to come into focus now more than ever. If you were on your own, you would have been sloppy and dangerous with your slag like the vampire back there in the bushes. You see how he left him? Out in the open, drained, the bite was all wrong...you've got to be careful about stuff like that."
"So we're calling our victims 'slag' instead of 'donors' now?" I asked with a roll of my eyes.
"Slag is just the body left behind, wise ass. And what I'm tryng to tell you is that if you want to keep away from cops and the like, you have to be careful. If the police find the body before the slaghunters do, we're going to be in a load of trouble. It's a hassle we don't want."
"Whatever." I repeated.
"Whatever, whatever, whatever....you're not listening."
"Fine, alright. Do what you want to do. But if the cops get a hold of you, they don't neccessarily have special jail cells with 'night hours only'. You'll burn to a crisp the second the dawn hits you, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it." No sooner than the words left his mouth did we catch a glimpse of a squad car rolling along the path we were walking on. It was almost to the point where it was passing the bushes where the horrific act had taken place, and I saw the car slow down to shine a spotlite on that specific area. "Shit...Chi-Town's finest are actually doing what they're supposed to do tonight. Who would have thought?" Gyro whispered.
I tensed up. "What do we do??? The other guy ran away! They're going to think it was US!!!" I shouted in a loud whisper back to him.
"Shhhhh! C'mon, just walk with me. Stay right by my side and walk calmly, but quickly, to the next turn off. We can walk back into the city there and lose them in the alleys. Ok?" Even Gyro seemed a bit worried, and that only worked to intensify the nervousness shooting through me at that moment. As I saw the police officers get out of their car and go to investigate the mess in the bushes, I began to tremble with fear. This wasn't going to go well at all.
Gyro and I continued walking, my legs feeling weak as I looked back to see if the cops had caught onto the fact that there was a corpse in the bushes, and two teenage boys walking away from it. They were kneeling down to examine it, checking for a pulse, and the second one of them looked up to see who was around the area...I panicked. "SHIT!!! I think he saw me!!!" I said.
"Shhhhhhhhhhh! For Christ's sake, are you trying to give us away?"
"We're ALREADY given away! They're going to come get us!"
"They're NOT coming to GET anybody! Alright? Just relax!" Gyro was walking a bit faster, and I was about ready to just break out into a swift run and get away. But he told me to not draw attention to myself. So I kept up a hurried pace without looking too suspicious.
Then....came the voice from behind us. "HEY...!" The cops were calling after us, but we kept walking. I was almost in tears at this point. MURDER....this was MURDER I was dealing with here!
"Keep walking." Gyro whispered, and we did just that, speeding up our footsteps a little bit.
"HEY! You kids come back here!" They shouted, and I heard them hurrying back to their car to run us down like criminals.
"FUCK!!!! What are we gonna do???" I whined.
"Ok....don't freak out on me now! Listen...when they start the car and come after us, we're going to run for the overpass in front of us, dodge left, and split up as soon as we get back to Michigan Avenue, got it? I'll meet you back at the lot. They can't chase us both, right?"
"What if we get caught, Gyro?"
"We WON'T get caught! Alright? Say it with me...we won't get caught..."
"SAY IT! C'mon....we WON'T get caught!"
I gave in, and finally uttered the words, "We won't get caught." As though saying it was doing me any good at all.
"Good. Now when I say 'break'....you BREAK! Got it?" I had already began steadying myself for the fastest run of my life by the time the words had even left his mouth.
"Yeah....." I whispered.
We heard the police car start the engine, and it began to move forward. Then, the siren lights came on, causing Gyro to give the signal. "BREAK!!!"
The words had barely left his mouth when my feet dug deep into the ground and pushed me forward at high speed! The both of us kicked up dust as we made a mad dash for the street ahead of us, and turned left into the city. The siren blared almost instantly, and the car screamed through the concrete and gravel as it started to chase us down, the officers shouting out for us to stop through the bullhorn on the roof. Gyro and I had kept up a pretty even pace for the first city block or two, but there was no way that he could run as fast as I could. Not after my run ins with Chad. And this was no time to 'play possum'. I blazed ahead of him easily, much to his surprise, and I was a full block ahead of him before he even knew what was going on.
The police, however, must have called ahead of us already! Another car darted out from a crossing street between Gyro and me, and I saw him stop to avoid running smack into the side of it. The first squad was catching up fast, and they were herding him into a trap! Not only that, but I could hear a third siren off in the distance, probably with more to follow. "Ahhh SHIT!!!!" I said, and stopped running. I can't just run off and let them catch Gyro. If they capture him it's an instant death sentence. It might have seemed like an eternity, the amount of time that it took to wrestle with myself as to hat to do, but in reality it was only a second or two before I was turning around and speeding back in his direction. Let's hope that I don't end up regretting this!
The third police car was turning around the corner, ready to join the chase, and the other two had Gyro boxed in, he was almost out of places to run to. I saw two of the officers jump out of their car to run him down on foot and that's when I got close enough to help him out. At top speed, I cleared the hood of the squad car in front of me in a single leap and landed between Gyro and the two policemen. I think the surprise of what I had just done had caught them off guard, and I grabbed Gyro by the hand to get him the hell out of there. "GO!!!" I shouted.
"What??? What the hell do you MEAN go?!?!?! Bryson will KILL me! Taryn will CRUCIFY me!!!"
"Just GO! Trust me on this! I'll be fine!" One of the officers grabbed me by the shoulder harshly. Did the idea of hitting an officer run through my mind? Of COURSE it did! Something about it seemed almost blasphemous! But like I said before, even with Gyro standing right there watching me...this was no time to 'play possum'. Secret or no secret, this is an emergency. I gave into my instincts, and wiggled my way out of his grasp easily, and delivered a hard punch to the center of his chest, causing him to fly back and land on his knees, gasping for air. "Shit...if this doesn't get me a one way ticket to hell someday, I don't know what will." I said to myself.
The third car was fast approaching, and I looked over to see Gyro looking at me like I had suddenly grown a second head! I was about to shout at him again to start running when a second officer tackled me from behind. But I never touched the ground. The instant that he made contact with me, my body twisted, spinning around and throwing him to the ground before he could catch enough balance to stop himself. Two more officer got out of the car to tussle it out with me, but the fact that I was only 14 years old must have caused them to take it easy on me. Hehehe, they had NO idea! Both of them attempted to calm me down as I backed away slowly to keep them in my vision. Then I heard someone approaching from behind, and I moved out of the way before they could get their hands on me. The three of them went at me all at once, and I always figured that trying to fight with the police would be like a two year old fighting a heavyweight boxer, but it was...EASY! SO easy! I had been sparring with Dion, going toe to toe with Chad, and battling it out with Comicality...all with some level of effort. But humans...it was no contest at all. A walk in the park in comparison. It was almost as if they were moving in slow motion, as though their every thought was read and countered before they even had a chance to move. As I spun around to connect a harsh kick to one of the officers' faces, I turned to see Gyro standing there with his mouth hanging open. "Um, HELOOOOOOO! Aren't you supposed to be running???"
"Aren't you supposed to be a ROOKIE???" He replied, wide eyed in shock.
"GO ALREADY!!!" The third squad car had reached us, and even more sirens were heard off in the distance. I had to make this fast. Somehow I don't think even I could box it out with the entire police force! One of them swung at me with a night stick, an attack that I anticipated almost as fast as he had thought it up. I was able to grab it in mid air and twist it around to hit him right between the legs. Then, as he fell to his knees grabbing a hold of his good-n-plenties, I rolled over his back to kick another cop in the chest. A well placed footsweep took another one down to the hard cement below, and a kick lashed out from my side to send another flying up on the hood of his car! Like I said...easy.
"Stay STILL you little fucker!" One of them shouted, and grabbed me from behind. But it only took a few elbows and a hip toss to get him off of me. As a second officer rushed me, I felt myself leave the ground and jump up in a spin kick that would have made most martial artists proud. He spun 360 degrees and I think I landed on the ground before he did. That's when I felt a cold sensation on one of my wrists, and heard it click! SHIT! Handcuffs!
I had been too busy admiring my own handiwork to stay focused on the cops behind me. I attempted to spin away, the handcuffs hanging off of just one of my wrists, but another officer was able to grab the hand and lock them up behind me. I think it was at that point that the fear of what might happen to me started to seep into my brain, and I regretted getting involved in all this. They roughly shuffles me over to the car to put me in. But just as I thought that my efforts were all in vain and that the game was over...my instincts told me to thrust my head backwards, almost breaking the nose of the officer standing behind me! He cried out, and I kicked the car door shut on one of the officers' hands! With my hands still locked behind my back, I began using my legs to keep them at bay as long as I could, delivering quick kicks in every direction. Then...as soon as I got some distance between myself and the now extremely aggravated policemen...I jumped up and slid my arms down low enough to be wearing the handcuffs in front of me. And much to my surprise...with just a simple twist and not much muscle at all, I broke the chain binding my hands together! I looked down to see what I had done, and whispered..."Whoah...sweet!"
"More sirens!" Gyro shouted out, and I knew they'd be there any second. And as the 'enemy' came at me again, I did what I could to quickly get them on the ground and make it hard for them to chase us right away. I aimed for their breadbasket to knock the wind out of them and keep them wheezing long enough to get away from there. Then I slid over the hood of the car to meet Gyro on the other side.
"You know, you could have been MILES away from here by now?" I said.
"And miss the show? Are you fucking kidding me, ninja man?"
The sirens were getting closer. "Move! Move!" I shouted, and Gyro and me took off again towards Michigan Avenue. But we had been seen by the time we got there, and two more cars were hot on our trail! The engine of the cars was pushing itself so hard that it was almost as loud as the siren itself. We ran straight ahead, hoping that we could make it far enough West to hide out in the alleys. I made sure to keep Gyro in sight this time, slowing myself down just enough to make sure he was keeping up. But there was no way that he'd be able to avoid them at this speed. They outnumbered us, and I was sure that they'd be cutting us off again within the next few blocks or so. If we were going to pull this off...I was going to have to hide him somewhere and take the heat myself. "Here! Turn off over here!"
We turned into a well lit alley, much too bright for us to really hide in, but it was better than nothing. Gyro was huffing and puffing, holding his chest as fatigue set in. "We can't hide here, dude...they'll see us for sure."
"Not us, just you."
He looked at me as the realization of what I was going to do crossed his mind. "No...no Justin, this isn't going to happen!"
"NO! I'm not going to let you run off on your own..."
"I can outrun them, Gyro! I can...trust me on this." He didn't want to believe, he didn't want to admit. But with a lack of a better idea, he just gave me a tight hug.
"You...you take CARE of yourself, dammit! Do you hear me?"
"Don't worry. I didn't come this far to go down like this." I smiled a little to set him at ease, and then opened a dumpster for him to hide in.
There was already a bum inside of it! He looked up at us as the light of the alley pured in and woke him up. Gyro and I looked at each other, and almost laughed. Then Gyro shrugged his shoulders and said, quite plainly, "This is your lucky night buddy. Feel like company?"
"Well I..." But before he could finish, Gyro was already hopping in.
"Great. Let's get acquainted, shall we?" And he closed the lid. Alright Justin...this is it. Lets put these abilities to the test.
First things first...draw the attention away from the alley. I walked out into the street, hoping to maybe get lucky and do this the easy way. No such luck. The second one of the cars caught a glimpse of me, the siren was squealing and the chase was on! Ok, let's see if they can keep up. I started running, each step increasing my speed by leaps and bounds. I pushed myself harder than I ever have before, and I could feel my body going numb of all control as my instincts took over and made me even faster. The sidewalk scrolled beneath my feet in a blur, and wind coming from my speed was blowing up dust and litter behind me. The police car was straining to keep up, even though he was faster, there was no way in hell that he'd be able to manuever as well as I could. I began to turn around corners and take some more side streets, forcing him to slow down to keep from turning over. But as he became more determined, he started taking the turns at a greater speed. Something I could use to my advantage. I sped down a long street, allowing him to reach full speed, and then took a sharp turn to the right. The police car did its best to make the turn, but it was moving way too fast. The car spun out and slid right into a Dunkin' Donuts across the street! Seemed fitting somehow.
I took a quick moment to admire my handiwork. Afterall, for a first time outrunning the Chicago Police Department...I was doing a pretty damn good job! But my 'glory' was short lived as I heard two more cars come around the corner and race in my direction! This was getting to be a bit dangerous now, and the LAST thing I wanted was to be caught! I had been lucky so far, let's hope that it doesn't run out. Where's a 'chaser' when you need one?
I took off down a side street, one too small for both cars to get through side by side, and ran towards Dearborn Station. They followed in hot pursuit, both cars coming at me, one after the other. And I was sure that I'd be able to get far enough away to lose them, but I didn't count on yet another police car screeching to a halt in front of me! It took me by surprise, but my extra saw it coming a mile away. My feet left the concrete, sending me up into the air and spinning over the car in front of me and THEN some! I landed on the street again without even breaking a stride, and listened as the other two squad cars went crashing into the third! HARD! I only glanced behind me momentarily as the wreckage pretty much guaranteed that their involvement in my capture was pretty much over. But I didn't stop running, I just kept blazing a trail west, and on my way back to the lot. Hopefully, Gyro won't have any problem finding an easy way back home.
These abilities of mine were frightening to say the least when I first began to experience the effects they had on me. But I have to admit...
I'm beginning to LIKE this!
The thought of it kept me smiling until I was almost back at the lot. Hardly even out of breath, and still with a lot of energy left surging around inside of me. That's when I heard a voice shout down to me from above. "Hey there, Blond Dragon!" I looked up and saw Gyro leaning over the edge of the old abandoned rooftop. He had the biggest grin on his face that I had ever seen.
"What are you doing up there?" I shouted back.
"Waiting on you, what else?" He said. "Do you have any IDEA what they'd do to me if I dared to step a foot back in that lot without you right there beside me?"
"Point taken." I replied. "How did you get here so fast?"
"Well I didn't take the especially violent DETOUR that you did, cop killer!" He giggled. "Come on up here before somebody sees you."
"On my way." I said, and went in to meet Gyro on the roof.