Chapter 6

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Brandon didn't know why, but he wasn't shocked. Some of the books he'd breezed through had focused on that subject. "So, we're born of the universe and that makes us brothers, okay. I can dig it. What about the demons?"
Crash fell silent as he felt Yonna approaching. Her energy was off. Not a bad off just different than what he'd grown accustomed to for her. He turned to her. "You good, Queen?"
Yonna smiled at the greeting and placed his drink, fruit bowl, and napkins on the table before him. "I'm good. How are you?"
"Vibrating higher every second," Crash told her.
"Your brother beat you here today. I thought y'all were racing, the way he ran in here," she laughed
Crash chuckled. "Maybe I wasn't the one he was in a hurry to see."
Yonna made a quick exit.
"You a vegan or something?" Brandon asked as he looked over Crash's breakfast. He'd chosen to ignore his remark to Yonna.
"Or something." Crash tossed a grape in his mouth.
"Demons?" Brandon reiterated.
"The universe has to maintain balance. For all the good it puts out, it has to put some bad out as well. Gods, angels, devils, demons. You catch my drift. Our people, being the original people, the mother and father of mankind, are more sensitive to the otherworldly happenings. Always have been. It's one of the reasons the colonizers had to create a religion and force it on us. They were scared of our power once they witnessed it. This stone," he held it between his fingers. "Is a symbol of my power, my destiny."
"And apparently, I was destined for something, too. That's why I was cursed, right? So, where's my stone?"
"That's a good question," Crash admitted. He had no clue what Brandon's sacred stone could be. He only knew what his was because it had been left to him by his grandmother. Once he'd been released from the hospital, they'd given him his inheritance. All he had left of his grandmother was a brown paper bag with the moonstone inside of it and an old ratty journal. All of her love, comfort, and safety had been reduced to a brown paper bag. In his anger and grief, he'd tossed the bag in a corner of his closet and that's where it sat for months...until. He shook his head in an effort to reorient himself.
"You don't know? So, we were supposed to do what, the other day, go on a hunt for the stones? Like some black avengers?"
Crash chewed on a strawberry as he processed Brandon's question. He swallowed. "You let them take your history, fictionalize it, monetize it, and turn it into a joke. All fiction has some basis in fact. All science fiction was first born of science. There is always so truth in a lie. Always."
"Can you tell me more?"
Crash nodded. He reached into his pocket and pulled out two folded twenty dollar bills. He placed them on the table. "Let's go."
The two of them stood. Brandon grabbed the paper as he slid out of his chair. "Thanks, Queen," Crash called out to Yonna.
Brandon waved.
Yonna gifted them both with a smile.
"Where we going?" Brandon asked when they were outside.
"For a walk."
"Do you have a car?" Brandon recalled that Crash had been walking when he'd first encountered him.
"Yeah, but I don't drive much. Walking is better for the soul."
"I'm starting to believe that, too. I walk to the clinic every morning. I mean, I don't have a car, but I like the walk. I think it's a good two-three miles."
"The sun has healing properties, but I'm more partial to the moon and the night myself."
Brandon noticed Crash kept himself an arm's length away and still avoided contact with others. "You feel people's energy or something? I remember you said that you didn't shake hands because of that."
"I think we all feel energy. We just call it a vibe. You ever meet somebody and right off the rip be like 'It's something about them. I don't like 'em.' That's their energy you're feeling."
"Like ol' girl at the juice bar. Not Yonna."
"Yeah, her coworker. She ain't never sat right with me. It's something about her. Ever since that first meeting. Soon as she walked up on me, I backed up. Her energy was so negative. My vibrations went into overtime trying to repel her and protect me."
"I ain't feel anything when she came by, but when she spoke. I got like a little chill. It was weird. I thought it was because I was going through withdrawals, but today, I felt the same thing. I was walking around the shop and she was talking on her phone, it was like I was trapped in a blizzard."
"What you feel when I talk?"
Brandon shook his cup before taking a sip. "Not cold. Not hot. Just regular wind. Like, no homo, springtime wind. Like when you were little and would go flying kites."
"You ain't have to say no homo. If you're not gay, you're not gay. That's like the fourth or fifth time you done said something like that. What's up?"
"Street life, man. You get tried all the time out here when you're down bad. I have nothing against gay people, but these predators out here that see us struggling and proposition us, that's sick to me. Their predatory nature, not their sexuality."
"That's not sexuality. That's power seeking. Those type of beings, I don't even want to say men, operate on the need to feel powerful. I doubt they even identify as gay."
"True. But that's what I feel when you talk."
"What about when you were on the street?"
Crash asked the question like Brandon had been sober for five years instead of five days.
"I honestly ain't feel nothing. I tried not to talk to them. But when I was panhandling, I picked and chose who I asked. Sometimes, I would try and talk my partners out of getting into those cars, but you know, anything for a hit. They would just brush me off. That's why I snapped earlier. I don't like it when I feel like people don't listen."
The demons had suppressed Brandon's ability to discern between people and their intentions. They had also prevented him from reaching his greatest potential and unlocking the universe within himself.
"How you feeling?" Crash asked.
"I feel better than I have in a long time," Brandon admitted. 'Even when I was in rehab, by day five, I was deep into DTs and pain. I scratched my arms raw one time. Screamed myself raw. Cracked my tooth so bad they had to remove it. Now, it just feels like I slept a long time and all my limbs fell asleep. That pins and needles, tingling feeling. I feel like I got it beat this time."
"Speak it and it will manifest," Crash told him as they turned the corner.
"I feel nothing, but staleness at the clinic. Them white folks don't be stuntin' me. Shit they talking feel like stale bread. Emptiness."
"That's not surprising. They barely give out vibrations. Except for a select few that I've met. And those people were true allies, in action, not just in words."

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