Cadell picked up the photo, unsure of his feelings. Maybe it was a mix of grief and nostalgia.
"Before our team went out to retrieve you, I told them to take every photo," Elijah said. "I know I once told you your old life was over but that doesn't mean you should forget the happy memories of the past, even if they're bittersweet. The other photos are in that drawer."
"Thank you," Cadell said, hastily wiping his eyes with a sleeve before pocketing the photo. There was no time for tears. They had work to do. "How long did all this take you to make?"
"About two hours," Elijah said. "This place once was my 'secret' hideout but now it's our base of operations. Don't forget the floor number by the way. It's 11.2."
"Jeeeez! This place is amazing. Supercomputer holograms aren't even out yet. Can you email me a summarised version of your secret life in the Dome?"
Elijah smiled. "Okay, but there's nothing much to say."
Cadell knew that was a big fat lie, but he turned a blind eye. "Alright, let's get to the main task at hand: superpowers. Again, I apologise for the radio silence in the past two weeks but I think I've figured out what I'm capable of."
"Huh?" Elijah looked at Cadell as if he'd been slapped. "But there's more to behold, Cadell Shamar Walker! You underestimate me! Did you honestly think this was the only room in the mighty Psycho's arsenal?"
"That's not my middle name," Cadell said.
The boys stood on floor 0 which was the closest level to the surface. According to Elijah, this was Mr Shin's private training quarters, a personalised MMA gym for the heavyweight champion himself. Pre-incident Cadell may have freaked out typical fanboy style, but now an obsession thrived in his brain. Cleansing was all that mattered.
The gym reeked of sweat. Black, leather punch bags hung from beams and in the centre of the room was a crimson floored MMA octagon cage.
"This is nice," Cadell said. "But are we even allowed to be here? I can practice my superpowers anywhere you know."
"We're allowed," Elijah said. "In fact, my dad's going to teach you various martial arts and improve your physical condition. Those noodle arms aren't saving anyone."
Cadell's left eye twitched as he tried to ignore the roast. "Your dad agreed to help me? He hates my guts."
"Yeah he does but you're still what's left of his sister. He doesn't want you to die."
"Okay..." Cadell said, his right eye twitching. "Look, I don't have noodle arms and you're one to talk!"
Elijah grinned. "I'm not the one planning to fight crime in a city rampant with gang crime. If you want to cleanse optimally, you must improve your overall fitness. Why do you think every vigilante in comics and films are ripped?"
"For fan service?"
Elijah cackled. "True, true but that's beside the point. Stamina will prove vital for lasting long nights cleansing and you can't punch hard enough to save your own life let alone others"
Cadell winced. "Can I show you my superpowers now?"
"Hell yeah." Elijah rushed to a backpack nearby and rummaged around to pick out a bag of sweet flavoured popcorn. "Let's enter the cage, my friend."
They walked across the padded floor past various gym equipment and entered the cage.
Cadell ripped a page out of his journal and handed it to Elijah. "Take this. All of my superpowers are explained on here."
"Sweeeet!" Elijah said, dropping into a crouch. "I'll hold onto the journal for you too"
"Cool. First of all, I'll reiterate what we already know. I have fast reflexes and enhanced accuracy. At first, I thought that dodgeball game was a fluke, but I am seriously good at throwing stuff-"
"You can create any object out of thin air?!" Elijah shouted incredulously. Show me!"
Cadell took a few steps back towards the middle of the cage. "If you say so. It's still a work in progress though." The boy flexed a hand into the shape of a claw and a small object slowly began to form in his hand. It was a perfect mini sculpture of Elijah himself. Afro and all.
Cadell smirked. "See?"
"See what? I don't see anything."
"I made a mini sculpture of you. It's in my hand."
Elijah held out a hand, clearly sceptical. "Throw it then."
Cadell threw the small object which landed perfectly into Elijah's hand.
"I can feel it!" Elijah said, squeezing the hard-invisible material. "This is awesome!"
"I know. It deteriorates over a certain duration. The smaller the object the longer the duration. That sculpture will last just under a minute, and I can make larger objects too. I made a couch once but it crumbled into nothing after a few seconds. The material is hard as steel- I call it delirium."
"Nice name! This is perfect ammunition for a guy good at throwing stuff."
"Exactly," Cadell said. "Okay, next up are my visual hallucinations. Real or not, they allow me to detect a variety of emotions by colours. I can't control this power yet and it only seems to be triggered by external stimuli. I've figured out some of the colour code."
"Red is anger or murderous intent," Elijah began to read aloud. "Blue is sadness or depression. Orange and yellow is excitement. And you've put a question mark for purple?"
"Yeah," Cadell said, thinking about the hallucination of Sara on the train. "I'm still not sure about that. I think it symbolizes ambition or something. I haven't seen it enough times to spot a clear trend. Also, large crowds and intense emotions seem to be triggers for the hallucinations but this rule isn't clear cut. They occur whenever and wherever."
"Wow, these notes are detailed," Elijah mumbled, stuffing his face with a handful of popcorn. "I'm impressed."
"Thanks," Cadell said. "Something tells me I've only scratched the surface of the colour code. On the day of the incident when I was on the train with Sara, I saw this woman in a trench coat cry blood with her eyes. Plus, everyone in the carriage were painted in a multitude of colours."
"Yes, I remember you saying that in the interrogation room," Elijah said. "Maybe they were specific hallucinations which determine temperament or behaviour. Or they could be nothing. Don't forget that this is still a symptom of a mental illness so I wouldn't be surprised if they were just normal hallucinations."
"Fair point," Cadell said. "Now, for the portal."
"Let me guess. You need my help to use it because if you could use it, you certainly wouldn't be here right now?"
"What? No! What? No! That's ridiculous! That's absolutely— yeah, you're right."
Thanks for reading :)
Theme song 3: The Eccentric Genius (Don't Cha Hear Me Callin' to Ya by Junior Mance)
YOU ARE READING
As a child, Cadell Walker once told himself that having superpowers would be the best day of his life. He couldn't have been more wrong. In a near-future London, eighteen-year-old Cadell suffers from a super-powered schizophrenia which torments hi...