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“On planet earth, billions of humans stare into the stars, thinking there must be something out there, something more than just their puny planet.” The child-like, pale-skinned creature brushed back her long, black hair and chuckled.
“But what little they know, my friends, how very little!” She looked out into the sea of precious glass spheres before her, each glinting red in the scarlet moonlight of planet Heck.
Zoe lay back on the rough, cold shingles of her roof and crossed her arms behind her head. She looked up into the stars, wishing she could capture the brightest in her grasp and hold it. “But that’s impossible.” Zoe turned her head, and for a moment, just one small second, she could see her. Zoe could remember that night well…
They easily shot up the branches of the old oak which leaned slightly toward the house to the roof. “Hey Zoe, do you think we could grab one of those stars?” Angel asked Zoe, gesturing towards the heavens.
“I don’t know!!”
“You can, you know,” Angel looked at Zoe. “If you want.”
“But that’s impossible.” Zoe was bright for her five years.
Angel stood and pointed up at the stars. “Which one do you want, Zo?”
Zoe looked up at the star-spangled sky, and looked for the brightest one. She pointed. “That one, Angel, that one!”
“That one?” Angel had to make sure that she had the right one.
“Yes! That one!” Zoe was so excited that she almost slid off of the roof itself.
Angel glanced down and saw a car coming down the driveway. “Zo, Mom’s back.”
Zoe pouted. “Darn it!”
Angel made her way carefully back to the oak tree to climb back down. Zoe took one last look at her star. It winked at her, and turned scarlet for a moment, but then returned to normal. “Angel! Did you see that?!”
Angel whipped around just a bit too fast. She slipped on the slightly damp shingles. The light from their mom’s vehicle outlined her body, illuminating the mortified expression on her face as she fell to the ground below.
Zoe stretched and then wiped burning tears from her face. Her eyes were blood-shot, but her crying wasn’t the reason. She hadn’t slept in a week. It had been twelve years since Angel’s accident, yet the images haunted her to this day, making sleep next to impossible. She’s dead, Zo. Time to move on. She thought to herself. But as she looked up into the sky, she knew that she’d never let go.
True Power Is Of The Mind
In the dimly-lit, late night diner, Zoe chose a booth next to the window. It was darkened, so when she tried to look out at the rain, all she could see was herself. Wet. Don’t you look lovely. She thought.
Just as she was thought this, a waitress came to the table. She looked like she was in her mid-twenties. She had blonde hair, wore entirely too much make-up, and large hoop earrings that made her earlobes droop to the South Pole. Her nametag read: CANDY. Figures. “What can I get for you?” She sized Zoe up, probably wondering how old she was and whether or not she should throw her out.
“Just coffee. Thanks,” Candy shot Zoe a look, and then walked back to get her coffee, probably having passed Zoe off as some teen working nights at the local drive-thru.
About a minute later, she reappeared and placed the coffee before Zoe, her obviously fake, dull red nails standing out against the pure white of the coffee cup. Zoe took the cup thankfully and thanked her politely, watching her walk away before taking a sip. Nothing like a crappy cup of coffee in the middle of the night. I wish I’d have known that was going to happen, I would’ve stopped at the GasN’Go instead…
Suddenly Zoe noticed a bowl of fortune cookies on the table, right in-between the bowl of Splenda and the Heinz Ketchup. She furrowed her brow in concentration as she looked at the bowl, trying to remember if they had been there before. She heard one of the wrappers start to make a crumbling sound, and all of a sudden, the fortune cookie was in the air, hovering just at her eye-level. She heard a “POP!”, and the plastic opened like a bag of potato chips. Zoe was afraid, but at the same time, she wasn’t. She focused on the wrapper, slowly taking it off of the cookie. She forgot about the cookie itself, though, and as proof, it fell into her hand. The noise broke her concentration, and the plastic she’d been eyeing floated to its final resting place on the sticky, peeling table. She looked at the fortune cookie, confused for several moments before jumping in her seat at a voice. “Well, aren’t you going to open it?” Zoe’s thighs stuck to the red leather seat, only allowing to move about an inch. I really shouldn’t wear shorts anymore…
“Well?” The boy’s accent and odd clothing clashed with the red leather.
“Who are you?” Zoe eyed his hat suspiciously. He had to be at least seventeen years old.
“Sorry Miss, I’d forgotten to introduce myself. Lorne Blake, Miss. Pleasure to meet you.”
“So don’t you want to open it? Those things are just wonderful seeing objects! Good thing, too. There was a time…”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you know?” He gave a genuinely confused look, as if he didn’t know that Zoe was completely clueless.
“Know what? You’ve also forgotten to tell me what you’re talking about… And where did you come from, anyway?” Zoe glanced again at the man’s strange hat that was the tackiest thing she’d ever seen.
“I’m from a planet called Heck, Zoe. There is this woman there, her name is never to be said aloud. She is so evil, that even her heck-spawns quiver when they hear her voice.”
“Okay, you’re freaking me out. And what exactly am I supposed to do about this planet Heck anyway? I’m only fifteen for heaven’s sake!” Zoe shifted uncomfortably in the sticky seat, her thighs once again rubbing on the leather.
“You’ve heard of this man that is super, right?” Lorne looked and sounded like an idiot.
“Yeah, I’ve heard of superman. Why?”
“He has strength, Zoe. And so do you. But you have the power of the mind. You are the seer, Zoe. The Sight is in your eyes.” Lorne’s eyes were completely sincere.
“Okay so you’re telling me that I have some type of ‘power’ like superman? That I can see things? That’s a power?” As far as Zoe was concerned, the only thing she was seeing was this guy and his tacky hat.
“And you’re telling me that lifting up a fortune cookie with only your eyes is normal? That anyone on the street could just walk into some random restaurant and do what you just did?”
Lorne had a point… “Look Zoe. You have the true power. For true power isn’t of the body, it’s of the mind.”
Love Is A Weakness
It had been a week since the night in the diner. Zoe was once again, on her roof, but for the first time since the accident, she wasn’t alone. “You have to concentrate, Zoe! Focus, now.” Lorne was still wearing that hat.
Zoe focused on the branch of the oak tree. She tried hard to make something happen, but the tree stayed still, unmoving, for what seemed like hours. “Are you sure that I should be practicing on living things? I mean, what if I kill it?”
“You won’t kill the tree, Zoe. But the reason why it’s not doing anything is because you don’t know what you want it to do. You’re commanding it to do nothing.” Lorne sounded bored.
“Fine.” Zoe reached out at the tree, at least four feet away from her. The tree stretched out and came to her hand, and she grabbed on. The tree wrapped its vines around her hands and her feet and lifted her off the roof and set her on the ground.
“Aren’t you coming, Lorne?” Zoe teased.
“I’ll be right down.”
Lorne laughed and jumped from the roof, landing squarely on his feet as if he were a cat. He walked over to Zoe and grabbed her arm. “Come on Zoe, I have someplace to show you.”
Ten minutes later, Zoe was in Lorne’s basement. It was decorated with pictures of himself in absolutely crazy outfits. It was cozy in a way, but the pictures of Lorne with all these people kinda freaked Zoe out. “Welcome home, Zoe. This is where you’ll be staying for a while. Don’t worry about your mother, she knows where you are. She raised you to become what you are. Actually, she raised Angel to be a seer, as was the prophecy, but...”
“But she fell.” Zoe’s face fell as she realized what she had done. She had ended Angel’s life and changed the prophecy. I miss you Angel.
“Anyway, Zoe, come over here.” Lorne was facing away from her, in the direction of a huge, walk-in closet.
Zoe’s face scrunched up as she realized what was coming. “Oh no. I don’t think so Lorne. I’m not going to put on some tight spandex so some wacko can look me up on the Internet. Absolutely…”
Lorne pulled out an outfit. “Don’t tell me this isn’t the greatest piece of equipment you’ve ever laid eyes on, Zoe, you obviously have no idea the wonders it holds. It was meant to be Angel’s but now it’s yours.” Lorne handed me the dark wash jeans and purple top.
“Wow Lorne, thanks!” Zoe was busy admiring the jeans that had angel wings embroidered into the pockets when a dress was thrown at her, hitting her in the head.
“Is this for me, or are you planning on wearing this, Lorne?”
“Honestly, I’d never wear that color, Zo. It doesn’t flatter my figure.”
Zoe looked closely at the dress. It was a purpley-black color with sparkles. The outside was lined with silver, and on the back, there were silver wings. She was blown away by the beauty of it. “Can I wear this?”
“Yes,” Lorne whizzed around, making a whirlwind of color as he spun. All of a sudden, he was wearing an attractive black tux and strangely, no hat. “We’re going out.”
Zoe completely melted. She was falling for Lorne, and she knew it. But she had a job to do: Save the world.
Evil Is Staring You In The Face
Zoe’s dress sparkled in the dimmed party lighting. “Lorne, I don’t think I fit in here…” She looked around nervously and pulled down her dress a little bit farther.
Lorne leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Don’t worry, you look fine. You fit in perfectly. Just smile. “ He demonstrated by flashing his white teeth at a woman in her mid-thirties and shaking her hand.
Who exactly am I supposed to look for? Lorne said I’d know who she was when I saw her… Is she ugly, like all the bad guys in the Superman comics?
Zoe had a piercing feeling in the back of her head, as if someone was staring straight into her mind. She started having flashbacks of her childhood, all the things she wanted to foget were flashing before her eyes. BLACKOUT.
She didn’t feel herself fall, or feel Lorne’s arms catch her before she hit the ground. “Zoe! Zoe! Are you alright?”
She could hear Lorne’s voice while she came to. But wait… There’s another voice there too… Who is that?
Zoe opened her eyes and was staring into the face of the most beautiful, delicate woman she had ever seen. The care in her silver eyes almost seemed genuine. But the feeling in Zoe’s gut told her otherwise.
As soon as Zoe said her name in her mind, she saw pictures of scarlet spheres in her head. An ocean of simple, red spheres of glass. They exploded into tiny rubies of chrystals, each of which morphed into a miniature figure of Agrona. There were millions of her, marching around in Zoe’s head. They all chanted one thing in their beautifully evil miniature voices. “Destroy Earth!”
Zoe opened her eyes and was in a daze. Sweat was pouring from her forehead, and her head was throbbing with pain. “Oh my god, Zoe, you’re awake!” Lorne’s voice hovered above her, and his face slowly came into focus.
“How long have I been out?”
“About five minutes. Are you okay? What did you see?” Lorne’s concern made Zoe’s heart beat faster.
“Okay woah, Lorne, slow down a bit. I just got mind blasted by a billion little mind balls.”
“Okay. Can you stand, Zo?”
“ I think so…” Zoe stood slowly, and brushed off the particles of dust off of her dress.
Lorne had hastily moved Zoe to a side room after her fall, so as not to make too big of a scene. Zoe quickly gained her balance and forgot about the fall. She had a job to do. She had to knock out Agrona. If she’s going to play games, then so am I…
Lorne understood without speaking what he had to do. He had to distract Agrona so Zoe could send her a little present of her own. He straightened out his tux and smoothed back his hair, making Zoe forget for only a moment the great danger that lie ahead.
Zoe watched as Lorne walked casually up to Agrona and the slew of equally perfect-looking people. She focused on Agrona, using all of the mind power she had. Agrona whipped around quickly and looked straight at her without having to search for the source of the pain sprouting in her body. Zoe kept staring at her as she walked closer and closer. The little red spheres from the vision Zoe had began to pour from Agrona’s mouth, turning to clones of her when they touched the ground. Agrona’s pale skin started to turn red, and soon she was standing right in front of Zoe.
You don’t scare me Agrona. Zoe knew Agrona could hear her.
You are a foolish girl, Zoe. You know what happened the last time you said my name. You know what I can do.
A searing pain flashed through Zoe’s mind, but her eyes remained locked on Agrona.
I said I’M NOT AFRAID. You want to take over Earth? You’re going to have to get through me first. Zoe raised her arms and as she did so, roots and vines shot up from the earth, up through the cement, through the carpet, the walls, everything. They grabbed hold of all the clones and Agrona herself. The clones popped like bubbles and left behind a similar sticky residue, but Agrona remained.
You’ve killed my army.
Yes, Agrona, and now I will kill you.
With the last of her strength, Zoe reached into Agrona’s mind and twisted it, pulling it out of her head. Agrona screamed and fell to the ground, never to harm Earth again.
That was for you, Angel. She thought. And she collapsed to the floor.