11.1 || T E S T I N G

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Cadell was compulsively scribbling the cleansing mantra in his journal when Elijah entered his room dressed like a complete idiot. After Cadell told him about his crazy ordeal outside of the Dome, they had decided to create a "super" meeting in the evening and clearly, Elijah was a little too excited.

You-need-to-calm-down excited.

The boy was wearing a purple suit agonizingly mismatched with blue jeans. His large afro, which Cadell had always thought was the coolest thing about him, was disgraced by a purple fedora that had obviously been forced onto his head to fit.

"I know this is ironic," Cadell said, standing up from his desk chair for further inspection. "But what is wrong with you?"

"It's the superhero, Psycho's first official meeting," Elijah said. "How can I not dress the part? What do you treat me as you fool?"

Cadell nearly chuckled impulsively which was a close one. That's what the voice wanted. "Let's stick with the term vigilante instead of superhero. This isn't a comic book."

"What are you talking about? We're living the comic book! We're actually going to be fighting crime! Don't try and downplay what this is. You're going to be the first real-life superhero."

"I haven't done shit yet, and stop overhyping everything. I'm a criminal. We will refer to all this as vigilante work, got it?"

Elijah sighed. "Whatever you say, Caddy boy."

"What did you just call me?"

"Let's go!" Elijah cried, randomly dashing out of the room. "To Psycho's Asylum!"

"Huh? Wait!"

Almost forgetting his journal, Cadell muttered a curse and sprinted after Elijah down a wide corridor. An unwarranted surge of excitement washed over him.

This better be what I think it is.

They hastily turned multiple corners until they were in a sickly, yellow glowing elevator. Elijah pressed a button among many on a wall. "Listen to this," he said.

A woman's voice calmly spoke inside the elevator. "Floor twenty-three: Psycho's Asylum has been chosen. Assessing... Psycho verified! And... Elijah Shin verified!"

The elevator plummeted downwards. "Thoughts?" Elijah asked.

"Not bad at all," Cadell said. "Psycho's Asylum sounds pretty sweet, but I think you need a nickname too or else it sounds awkward."

"I couldn't think of anything."

"Erm, how about Weirdo? It goes well with Psycho and let's face it..." Cadell slapped Elijah's fedora off his head. "...you're a really big one."

"I can't tell if you're being serious or not but I kind of like it. Are you sure you want to go with Psycho though? What about Psychosis?"

"Are you kidding me? No, that sounds like a magic spell. I'm not a wizard. The name must be Psycho. It strikes fear into my enemies and revolves around the theme of insanity. Just like you said."

"I said that?"

"Yes."

Facing the closed doors, they stood in silence for a few seconds. Elijah picked up his fedora. "There are some things I need to tell you," he said. "This probably won't come as a surprise but I'm basically Batman."

"You're a funny guy," Cadell said, sarcastically.

"Okay, I'm basically Batman without the extreme martial arts proficiency or the best detective in the world status. I have over 11 sciences degrees and have been studying in this place since I was seven years old. I also helped finalize the drug that's stopping you from ripping everyone's head off."

Cadell nodded. "Well, that does explain why you've aced every test known to man. You're a doctor, aren't you?"

"Yeah, but not the medical kind. The PHD kind."

"Woah."

After more silence, Elijah continued, "I know you have more questions"

"Just one. Can I trust any of you?" Cadell asked. "None of you told me you believed the voice didn't exist."

"The voice doesn't exist."

"It does!" Cadell hissed. "I can hear it!"

"Maybe I would believe you if you could give a logical explanation."

"Yesterday, you squealed like a pig when I told you I could transport between two locations using portals. What's the logical explanation behind that?"

"Firstly, that wasn't a squeal, it was a triumphant cry and secondly, we have camera footage of you literally disappearing out of thin air. That's irrefutable evidence. I'm sorry but a lot of what you say is unreliable because of your schizophrenia. And besides, everyone knows the crazed heard imaginary voices in their heads. The reason why we were cautious in telling you the truth was because of what happened to our last two patients. I'm sure Dr Lunetta told you."

"But..." Cadell's voice trailed off. He wished Elijah could understand him. He remembered that life-changing Chemistry lesson, where the voice had commenced war on his mind. How could it not be real?

As if he could sense Cadell's confusion, Elijah rested a hand on his shoulder. "Listen, there's no way I can even begin to comprehend what you're going through. I can't relate but that doesn't mean I'm not here for you. We'll get through this."

The elevator came to a halt with a metallic clunk, its doors sliding open. Elijah folded his arms. "Plus, you now have your own subterranean headquarters so you're kinda obligated to trust me."

While the faint aroma of pizza tickled his nose, Cadell's eyes widened in amazement at a large room illuminated in dark purple.

Directly ahead of them, a wall was masked by anime and superhero posters and on another, shelves were stacked with countless comic books, manga and scientific journals. Supercomputer hologram screens that could suck up enough energy to power 50,000 homes hovered in the air, all of them currently showing an episode of the anime, Death Note. The tinted floor was tarnished with a gigantic sentence chaotically painted in white. It was a sentence he knew all too well.

I must cleanse this city.

Cadell walked into the room and bent down to touch the words, shaking his head in disbelief. "Fine, I trust you."

"There's more. Look at the table." Elijah said.

Cadell looked at a wide desk just in front of the hologram displays. For a moment, there was nothing he found particularly surprise worthy—there only appeared to be two purple chairs and an alien-looking keyboard — but then tears flowed down his cheeks without warning.

Lying flat on a corner of the desk was a small framed photo of a family. A small, laughing boy seemed to be flying in the air and two laughing adults looked upwards in wonder. 








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