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It was pitched dark in the street of London. Carl Vanshen, care worker from Salford, Manchester couldn’t wait to get out of his car. Getting some fresh air was his biggest aspiration right now. On its passenger sit was Sandra Jones, snoring since two o’clock in the morning. She was a care worker too, both taking Layden to his new “home”. Been an orphan for almost all his life, he’d been moving from foster homes for reasons, that only him could explain.
Staring at the streetlights flashing through the window, Layden couldn’t stop thinking about what the officer told him the day before.
‘ It’s your last chance boy… make the same mistakes again and there’s nothing any of us can do.’ But Layden wished it was that simple. ‘ Everything’s so complicated’ he whispered.
' Did you say something, Lay?' Carl asked without taking his eyes off the road.
'Nothing...' He replied
'Oh...You tired?' He asked.
' Not really, but I'm dying to get out!'
'We should get there in minutes now.'
'Cool.' Layden answered.
He was the first to be out. He couldn't feel his bottom anymore, so gave it a discreet massage. Carl stretched as soon as he was out. A smile wondered on for a few minutes. Sandra, her, was still asleep and seemed to be quite comfortable.
'How can she sleep so well in such a s*** car?' Layden wondered out loud.
' I have no idea, she must be blessed' Carl sighed.' But watch your tong boy, you can't mess this one up.'
Layden nodded. ' Can I wake her up?' He smiled.
'She let us in misery all day, son... You have my green light!'
Layden disappeared in the dark, and came back with a long- slimy thing in his hand.
'Oh oh, this is machiavellian Mr.West.' Carl said with humor.
'Please Mr.Venshen, I made this my job!' Layden played along as he slid the worm inside Ms.Jones's top. It made his way lower down and Sam pressed Sandra's nose to wake her up. She slapped Lay's hand as she woke up and stared at him, unhappy. Sandra stood out of the car and felt something trying to free itself from her top. It was gesticulating under it, dirtying her brand new Primark white top. Sandra saw Lay and Carl hiding their giggles under their hand before she realized what was inside her top.
Mr.Iggins definitely saw the lonely lights of Carl Venshen's car entering the parking lot from his balcony. He took the time to note the time they arrived to West Hotels, the luxurious hotel owned by the Iggins themselves.
'Did they arrive?' A lady stepped on the balcony. She was holding her high hills in her left hand, her husband's jacket in the other.
Tom, the husband simply nodded. He took his jacket and put it on as they left the balcony.
'Excited?' Tom asked. Mme Iggins hold his hand tighter, as her answer.
'Me, Sarah Iggins, is about to have a kid... It still doesn't seem real to me yet...'
' He's not a kid, he's seventeen Sarah.' Tom said a smile on his young face, too young to be real. Tom was one of a kind. He had the beauty of stallion, the mind of a genius and the heart of Ghandi. It was like having the St Graal by your side. It was how Sarah was interpreting it. There was nothing she could hold against him, even though she never wished to. She liked his green eyes, his glowy, curly hair, his tall and comforting body, she loved him to death. But Sarah's a strong women, she couldn't just let him see how deep she was about him. She had to keep her straight and serious face, her 'lawyer' face. That how Tom called her face when she was working on a case. He used to say that you could feel her impartiality in her eyes...
'Talk to my hand, Tom.' She replied, smiling back at him.
They both giggled and stepped inside the elevator.
'You dumb idiots!' Sandra tried to hold herself as they stepped inside the hotel. ' What have I done to you to put a worm in my top! I could have hurt myself!' She nearly shouted at both of the boys. 'And you let him Carl ?! You let him!' She continues. But Layden and Carl stayed silent. Lay was walking his head down, rubbing the back of his head still feeling the print of Miss Jones's handbag. 'Sorry.' They both said as they got to the main reception.
Sat at a table not far from where they were, Layden recognized the Iggins. Sarah looked excited, Tom too.
' There they are!' He tapped Carl's shoulder.
' Let's go and see them.' Sandra said coldly. 'And behave!'
They walked up to their table and Carl tendered his hand for Tom and Sarah.
' Mr. And Mrs. Iggins, it is a pleasure to meet you again." You haven't met Ms Jones, she accompanied us all the way there. She take care of Lay, too.'
They all shook hand before taking attention to Lay. 'Hi !' Sarah said with a emotion in her tone. ' How do you feel?' She said.
'I'm a bit tired from such a travel but other than that, I'm fine.'
' Well, you'll have time to rest as soon as you set up upstair, I hope you'll like it!'
Tom let a comforting smile get to Him, and didn't have to say more to it. Sarah on the lead, they all walked to the elevator. Layden stepped inside the Iggins apartment, if he could call it that way. It looked like an expensive museum, very expensive museum. Golden statues, golden sofas and tables, sapphires stuck on the roof, it was eccentric. But it was beautiful. The rooms were shining like exploding stars, that could even guide you in the darkest darkness. Sam was a bit annoyed though, he knew that loads of rules would be set and that he wouldn't be able to move freely in the house but he wasn't going to complain so minimal. Carl was amazed too. It was his first time, just like Sandra. By taking just the golden lamp they had on the coffee table, they probably could stop working!
'Take a sit, all of you!' Sarah said. 'I'll make some tea, do anyone want some, Layden?' she turned to him. Took by surprise, he jumped out of his trance and nodded with energy. ' I'd love to, please.'
They sat there, waiting for Sarah to come back with the hot drinks. There wasn't an awkward silence in the room and it pleased Lay. They were laughing and discussing freely while waiting. Carl was to give short look at him, to see how he was doing. They caught each other's eyes and smiled at each other. They knew that there was nothing to worry about this time... Carl felt a weight disappear off his shoulder. It was relieving.he smiled to himself before continue his conversation. He knew that he was going to miss this boy. He could remember the day they assigned him to Layden. He was tiny, so tiny he could hold him with one hand. He remembered his innocent smile, his clever brown eyes that used to grab you deep, deep into his heart. He looked like he was one of a kind, and he was. Sam could talk and walk at the young age of two. He could count at the age of three and could resolve problems that secondary schools pupils wouldn't understand at the age of five. He was just like Tom, he was rare, pure. Like Sandra used to say to Lay, " Don't blame yourself boy, you just had a bad start...". She was absolutely right. Sam did have a pretty bad start. She just didn't know why he had a bad start, and even less how he had it. Well Lay, had a secret. Lay wasn't just a clever kid. At the age of ten, he could run faster than any car, at twelve, he could run and jump across the inside of the same car having its windows opened and come out of it without touching anything. And at the age of fifteen, Lay could stop the same car and smash it, rip it open single-handed. Yes, Lay was gifted, but Sam was a bad liar and was quite the rebel-cack-handed type of joy which was a bad, bad combination.
Today is his last chance of happiness, the last chance to find peace with his past demons...
Sarah came back to them. They all cheered up like they knew each other for so long. Lay stood up and took it off her before putting it on the table. He was going to make it work, he had to.
' Thanks, Lay!' Sarah said. Lay just nodded, a smile on his face. There was coffee and tea on the table. Carl was already smiling, he loved coffee. He was even an addict, Lay had his doubt but it was okay for now, it was cool.
Carl's smile ripped itself up as they all felt it. They all stuck themselves to the where they were sit. They watched the coffee shaking, coming out of its recipient, the tea too. It was getting stronger, way stronger. The worse was happening. Floors was shaking like sound cases at full volume. The sofas were moving around. All the joy had vanished to let place to fear. Sandra grabbed Layden's arm and wasn't going to let go. But that wasn't the shaking that was making Sandra panick,no, Sandra was a strong women, real strong women but it just needed the fact for Sarah to levitate off her sit and sliding the really, really pointy diamonds that was stuck to the wall like stalactites. Thanks for fashion, Lay though to himself. He got up his and grabbed her before she hurt herself. He was now stuck between the two girls of the house, not screaming, but visibly panicking like they never did in their life. And Carl and Tom didn't wait either, they levitated up the ceiling practically at the same.
' What's happening!' Carl asked scared.
' Are you okay?' Lay asked back.
' I'm fine! Thank Jesus, I'm fine!' he answered, nearly crying as he watching the stalactite that nearly pierce slowly his heart out.
" I 'm moving ! Someone screamed. It was Tom. But he busted out the wall already leaving a bit hole in the apartment.
"TOOOOOM!" Sarah screamed, loosing control of her temper. But she was gone straight after, same speed, same direction. And so did Sandra and Carl, with Lay still holding her. The speed was excruciating, but Lay found the strength to hold on to the wall, crying how painful fighting back was.
" Let go, Layden ! " Sandra cried. " Let to and take care of yourself!"
"Nooo!" Layden said. "Are you crazy?!"
Sandra did not hear what he the. Said because the wall broke out of Lay's hand and they flew away with great speed. Lay tried to hold to something else. But they were too high to grab anything. He'd have to leave her, let her go.
"There's no time to be stubborn! Do it!" she yelled. Sandra was determined. So determine she stuck her nails onto his hand. Layden screamed and let go.
" No!" Layden cried out, careless of the four long nails stuck in his hand. He felt like a dead weight on the ground and broke the cement. Lay took his time, but got back up, because since the age of seventeen, Lay could turn his body from turning into steel to be as light as transparency. He was still learning all about it but found funny to use if he ever needed to sneak up on someone. Lay stared at the sky, there was thousands, if not millions flying over the head, all heading for one direction. Lay could still see her. Sarah, screaming her Husband's name as he just, bursted out of the apartment. He had to try and help them, even If he felt like he couldn't much against that. Was it a gesture of god, to punish the thousands of years that our civilization committed. Or was it someone else, someone like Layden? He did meet people that were special, just like him. But none of them were powerful enough to do...this. Layden sprinted just above of where Carl and the others were, and followed. He had a tear, that Lay was fighting but came out anyway. Layden was raged, raged that he was so close to be happy, Carl saw in his eyes, Layden did in his. It was evident, if he only could stop all of his madness and just take them back home and have this cup of tea, watch Carl devour the poor cup of coffee and change into the big excited fox. Layden always wanted to stay calm, to chill and have nothing to do with trouble. He wasn't a superhero, at least he never wanted to be, "never want to..." he guessed as he was closing up to come out of town. He could see the bodies lowered down in mass, Sarah,Carl, Tom and Sandra were there, Layden could see them watching him. Sarah was fixing into his eyes, he could read how frustrated she was, how terrified. She wanted to reach for Tom but there was too much bodies around, and poor Tom was hurt, bleeding from his forehead. Layden was furious. He walk further in but got pushed away by something. A wall. Only, the wall was not visible. By it was there, it was. Layden backed up and ran into the invisible wall with his body of steel and his super-strength. Nothing could resist to such force. But the barrier did, and Layden flew meters away, destroying half of the street that was there. Layden got back up instantly. He didn't feel a thing. He knew that it was useless after the third time, but how could he abandon, could someone explain him why, why...
The bodies were stacking themselves into what seemed like a hole in the earth. It was bizarrely shining blue, and Layden swore that he could see a silhouette at this right moment. The silhouette of a human. But he was crying, and couldn't see much. It must have been an optical illusion because it disappeared a second later. But nothing stopped, actually, bodies went flying awkwardly, like at fun fair or like the sink, they were just just spinning around, waiting for their turn to get in. Petrified faces of people were shocking, but at least, they couldn't hear a thing. For hours, Layden stayed sit, watching powerless to the events. Layden cried, a lot, but he was soon not alone anymore. Kids and young people started to appear around the place. It seemed that they all had the same idea, but Sam was probably the fastest kid in the whole city, the whole country maybe, who knows... So Layden stop crying and just, waited. He had brief conversation with the new arrivals that though that, he had more info than they do . He wished he did but he did not. He thought he saw the silhouette, but there was no point sending any rumors that could turn out to be wrong.
But then, a new event was happening. Bodies were running out. There was only a few bodies levitating in the air, sliding inside one by one. This was heart-breaking, suspense-holding, to know that something was about to happen, but what? It was confusing, frustrating.
"- Hey, what do you think is about to happen?" said a small boy. He was like, nine years old. He shouldn't be outside on his own and yet he walked all the way here. What was happening? Layden knew the old ones had disappeared. A rumor was spreading around about that. Everyone older than 21 years old. It seemed to be the limit. It seemed... Everything was so blurry, Layden hated to be in such darkness.
"- I honestly don't know, man... I think we're about to be in deep trouble."
" We already are! " someone said just arriving. " All adults are gone,mate!"
Layden didn't bother to answer. The man was obviously too pissed and scared to think straight. He would create trouble. He moved away from the man. Unfortunately, he made the wrong decision.
" Do you think you're tough to turn away from me?" the man said firmly. He was tough, he knew that. He saw him with his gang friends in the streets of London. But Layden was more than tough, right now, he was dangerous.
" We lost people today. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone."
"Well, you should have answered me, innit ? "
The man took out a knife and the crowd let place. Layden sighed heavily.
The fight didn't last long. The guy made his move, Lay dodged and kicked him to sleep. The guy lied down unconscious. You suddenly the crowd cheering and laughing of such a fight. Layden didn't care. He didn't being in places like this, and he was in a really bad mood too. That explains why he didn't target the temples but wen straight for the neck. It needs more strength to put someone down by the neck.
"Wow, you f*ed him up! " the boy said. " Do you do karate, too?"
" No boy, I don't. Don't you have brothers or sisters?" he asked bothered.
The boy shook his head. The boy did everything on his own, and was about to do all the rest, probably on his own...
But there's now something else to worry about. All the bodies were now inside this hole and, nothing seems to happen. Layden and all the other stayed watching. Some were leaving, way to scared to stay there...
"Hi. I heard you were the first to be here? Do you live nearby?" a tall black man asked Layden.
" No, I live quite far, The West hotel in Central London."
Layden realised his mistake. Why did he tell him, why? His body straightened. But the man didn't ask anymore. Layden gave him a quick look. He was looking at him, smiling with serenity. He found it odd for such a time.
"I guess we've got something in commun, then..." A voice other than Lay's said in his head. "It'll stay between us, don't worry." He heard it again. Layden looked at him this time, and saw no lips moving. He was just smiling at him. Layden guessed that he was some kind of telepathe. He turned around and said, his hand waiting to be shook.
" I'm Layden West. What's your name?" He said.
" I'm Calvin. " He said simply " nice to meet you, but I think we should move."
"I know" Layden said. " I can't help to stay there, though...it would feel like I'm letting them down..."
" I don't think they are here anymore..." He said in a darkened tone.
" What makes you say that?" Lay asks.
" Because I can't hear their thoughts anymore, it's blanc..." He whispered inside his head.
Layden sighed, devastated. Layden threw a punch on the barrier that blasted everyone like a massive wind blow.
"NOOOO! NO,NO, NO and NOOO!" Layden lost temper. He dropped on his knees, not caring anymore of the people around him. Calvin walked to him and put his hand on his shoulder as his only comfort. Layden sobbed loud for a second. Almost everyone could hear him, but none would show attention. The young were too busy staring at this blue light, raising silently up to the sky. And then, well, it was blur. The blue turned red, and this red turned into creatures... Yes, creatures. Some were flying, others looked like spiders but deadlier. Others were like enormous worms digging through the ground, and other creatures were too fast to be seen. Dragons, giant scorpions, zombies and titans was all the ones that had a name already assigned, but what were they doing here.
Calvin tighten his grip on Lay's shoulder and force to get up. They ran away last, everyone had dashed off. Layden grabbed Calvin by the waist and flashed up a roof far away from the actual place. They could see everything from here. The barrier just broke down, like it was made to be broken from the inside. Calvin pushed Lay away.
" What are you doing?!" He yelled.
"I'm saving your life!" He said
" I don't need saving, THEY do!" Calvin said pointing at the crowd."
"Oh great!" Layden said, between laughing and getting angry. " We're not made to be their private baby-sit! What's happening here is bigger than any of us! We have no experience!"
" They need us! And thinking that people don't need saving, it's being someone that needs saving himself, because it's in those time, those things bigger than us that we will need each other. The more we are, the better... How are we suppossed to do that if they are all dead! Hun? "
Layden felt like he's just been put down. He was right. Or was he?