Chapter 13

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Fall found Kyra, Brandon, and Crash in the library of FSU. Brandon had been admitted on a provisional basis. He'd been tasked with maintaining a three point oh GPA. So far, it was October and he passed all of his midterms. To anyone else walking by their study room, they appeared to be studying. They had notebooks, journals, laptops, and an assortment of writing utensils spread out on the table.
They were studying, but it was more ancestral than academic. Ever since Crash had told them about his meeting with his grandmother, they'd decided to dedicate one day a week to researching and figuring out who the other three could be.
Kyra looked around the study room. She stood and walked to the white board they'd pulled in with them She uncapped a dry erase marker. "Here's what we know," she started drawing as she talked.
"We know that Ms. Florence said that Crash had to lead six people, meaning he has a tribe of seven, counting him."
Brandon nodded. "Yeah."
She drew an outline of a body. "Crash is the head. He's purple. I'm the third eye, I'm blue. Brandon, you're the throat, a turquoise color."
Crash slapped the table in triumph. "We're the seven chakras. Seven pieces, one body."
Brandon was confused. Crash and Kyra took turns explaining it to him. When they were finished, he pulled at his beard thoughtfully. "So we need a heart, solar plexus, sacral or sacrum, and  a root?"
Kyra nodded. "I think that once we're all together, all aligned, we'll be able to..." She trailed off as a lightbulb in the study room blew. "Sorry."
Brandon calmed the room with his energy. "Fear?" He questioned her.
She nodded.
Crash flipped through the pages of the journal his grandmother had left him. He scanned each page. "Okay, it says here that the heart is usually citrine."
Brandon looked around the study room with his eyes squinted. It was as if he had x-ray vision and was peering through the walls. "It smells like corruption in here." He gagged and held his fist to his mouth as bile rose in his throat. "I have to step out."
He didn't wait for a response as he stumbled out into the main area of the library. The stench only grew as he searched for the closest exit. He decided to forgo the elevator. He took the stairs at top speed. Outside, the sunlight did little to help his mood. The stench of corruption had followed him outside. He looked around.
College students walked around, talking on their phones, huddled in groups as the fall air whipped all around them, they were oblivious to the power around them. He pulled on the hem of his blue hoodie and forced himself to calm down. "Corruption is everywhere. It will be okay." He felt his heart rate slow as he calmed. Since returning to school, he'd reverted to researching gentrification and its effects on his people. Many times Yonna would join him. He enjoyed conversing with her. His professors were impressed by his fevre and dedication. As was typical of HBCUs, they encouraged him to do more, be more. He did it all in moderation though. He could risk falling into the same rabbit hole he'd fallen into before. Cabo always reminded him that he could only control what he could control. With that in mind, the stench dissipated.
"You okay?" Yonna said as she approached him. She'd seen Brandon as she was heading toward the shuttle stop. Sensing his distress, she'd made her way over to him.
Brandon greeted her. "Hey, Yonna."
"Hey, Brandon. Are you okay?" She repeated.
"Yeah, I'm just...I was inside studying. I think it got to me. How are you?"
Yonna eyed him suspiciously. She knew he wasn't being truthful, but it wasn't her place to question him. "You just saw me this morning."
"I know. And that's why I'm asking you now. A lot could have changed in the last seven, eight hours."
"No, I'm good." She sighed.
Brandon recognized the dampening of her aura. A new proxy had been found. It wasn't anyone at the shop because they'd checked and Kyra had placed a protection spell on the docile. It had to be someone at the school, but the campus was too big and she and Brandon had different classes. They were at a stop-loss.
"Want to come back in with me? Kyra and Crash here, too." Brandon told her.
Yonna looked at the leaves as the fell from the trees. She'd missed the shuttle. It had pulled up just as she'd turned and headed for Brandon. She shrugged. "Okay." She always enjoyed being around Crash and Kyra was growing on her.
The were headed up the steps when someone bumped into them.
"Shit, sorry. My bad," the man grumbled as he rushed to pick up his flyers that had fallen from his hand.
Brandon looked over at Yonna. She was fine. He bent down and helped the brother pick up the last of his cards. "Here you go."
"Thanks, man. I'm just trying to turn these in before the--"
Brandon cut him off. "It's good." He recognized the brother. His name was Chance. He was always in the cafe, the quad, by the clock towers, never in class, but always out, talking. Crash couldn't stand him. When Brandon had asked why, Crash had told him to drop the matter.
Chance straightened the cards up. He recognized Brandon, too. "Yeah, alright, Blue. My bad, pretty lady," he said with a wink to Yonna.
Brandon waited until Chance walked through the doors before he and Yonna continued their ascent.
"How do you know Chance?" Yonna asked.
"I don't. I just see him around campus all the time. I think he knows Crash. You know him?"
Yonna thought back to the handsome, but cynical Chance. He rocked a bald head which only added to the asshole appeal most girls seemed to be attracted to. It was clear to see that he worked out. He flexed without trying. He wasn't confident, he was arrogant and cocky. She found it an instant turnoff and kept their interactions limited. He was almost as tall as Brandon, but his peanut-butter colored skin was unblemished. He always wore letterman jackets or members only jackets. Even in the dead of summer, he would have on a jacket and slides. He was a contradiction.
"I just see him around campus. He's always on the go."
"We're in here," Brandon said pointing to their study room.

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