Prose Laboratories (V. 1, Pt. 9)
“Come on Just, we’re taking you shopping!” 17 sticks her head through the door and interrupts me writing at the computer. Glaring at her, I stand up and sigh. I’ve always hated shopping, but I know I need new clothes. It’s not like I can wear the same thing every day.
17 giggles, “Hehehe, did I interrupt something?” I turn back, write one more sentence, sign off, save, and exit the document. Shutting down the computer, I stand up and turn to her.
“Yes,” I say grumpily, hating to be interrupted. “I was writing a journal entry to chronicle what has been going on so far.” I slide on the brown boots and walk towards 17. She walks happily down the hallway and stairs.
“We get to go shopping in the best shopping district in the whole state! I am so excited!” she says happily, bounding out to door to the elevator.
“Yay. Shopping. Just what I wanted to do.” I walk to the elevator, following 17. She drones, okay maybe not drones, but 17 talks about all of the stores she wants to go to while there.
”..and then we can also stop by that one really nice shoe store ‘cause I need a new pair of stompin’ boots. Oh, do you like boots? You probably do ’cause you’re like me, I think at least, and I like to wear comfy combat boots or some high tops, and I like to wear some jeans with those.” 17 pauses momentarily, then continuing on. “Or leggings. Both are good and comfy. I guess I like comfy things.” I partially listen to her talk, and soon enough we reach the parking garage.
This time we go to a gray Jeep, and 17 takes the driving seat.
“Please tell me that you have your driver’s license,” I say, as I slide into the passenger seat.
“Of course, do you really think I’ve been 17 for five years?” 17 casually responds.
That takes me by surprise. “So you are actually like 20 something?”
“Yep. 22. My power allows me to change the way I look, so I just keep it so I look roughly 17. The city and citizens don’t question it so I just keep it going. YoungWriter will age, but he ages very slowly. His power goes along with being able to rewrite anything, including other people. A, I don’t know. He just is creepy. His has something to do with darkness and horror. SalingerTwain is the one who can write original things, and control other people, though he only does that with villains.”
“Wait-seriously? So you have metamorphagus abilities like Tonks from Harry Potter? And YoungWriter has powers sorta like Levi in Fairy Tail? And A is just straight up manipulating shadows and creating horror like things?” I pause, taking a breath. “And, and, SalingerTwain can control minds? Like control everything you do and say a type of control?”
“Yep, yes, yea-sorta, and no. SalingerTwain can only strongly suggest to people what to do, at least that what he told us. No one that we have found can completely control someone. I have the feeling we will find that person one day, evil or not, but I just don’t know when.” 17 trails off, seeming like she doesn’t want to talk about it, as we pull into another parking lot. “C’mon Just! We’re here! Let’s go shopping!”
We both get out of the car and walk towards the large shopping mall. Once inside, I truly see why 17 was saying that this is the best place to shop. At least four stories tall, large stores line the walls. I see a few of my favorites pop out, Urban Outfitters, Athleta, Converse, and Barnes and Noble. Don’t diss me for liking books. Hell, I’m in a world where (some) people can use words as magic.
17 turns to me and asks, “Where do you want to start?”
“How about Athleta or Urban Outfitters?”
“OH ATHLETA! Their leggings are super soft,” 17 whisper screams as she walks in the direction of Athleta.
A few stores and hours later, 17 and I are carrying about fifteen bags between the two of us and a drink in hand.
“Hey Just, anywhere else you want to go?” 17 asks.
I think and then respond, “Yea, I want to go to Barnes and Noble, but just a quick stop. Can you manage to take the bags to the car and then I’ll meet you there?”
“Yep, I can manage. Meet you at the car in fifteen?” 17 says as she starts to take the bags out of my hands.
“See you then!” I walk to Barnes and Noble and make a beeline to the fantasy section. I pick up Carve the Mark, The Fates Divide, Warcross, and the Harry Potter collection. I check out at the register with the card SalingerTwain gave me. He told me “Buy anything you want to make you feel at home here with us.” And that I did.
Like planned I’m in the car in less than fifteen, and I put my books among my clothes. We pull away as an explosion comes from the mall. We both whip our heads towards the sound. What I see makes my stomach feel empty.
A large yellow dragon is above the mall.
17 stops the car and we both get out. Waves of people stream out of the mall. We run against the current of the people, shoving our way inside. People are looking at us like we are crazy, but they aren’t making any move to stop us. Once inside the doors, the damage is astounding.
The most obvious thing is the large hole in the glass ceiling, and the collapsed walkways are pretty noticeable too. 17 throws her hands out right away, to try to save any people who were on the walkways. Once the few people are out of harm’s way, 17 and I got closer to the dragon.
“Just,” 17 turns to me, “I’ll get people out of the way. The dragon is yours.”
Behind me, I can hear her shout, “Get out of the building! Get out and get as far away from it as you can!” but my focus remains on the monster, my monster, in front of me.
“Why must you be here? Why must you come destroy this world?” I ask it, walking closer and closer to it in the middle of the mall.
Because I can. You humans are killing this planet. It must return to its natural state. Its state before you humans plagued this planet with sickness.
“Yes, we know the planet is dying. We are aware it needs to change. We are trying to fix it before it is too late.”
You are not doing it fast enough. The world is dying. There is no hope.
“What if we worked together? The dragons and the humans, to help fix the world. We could work together to heal this world.”
You humans are stupid. You know not what you do wrong.
“I created you. Why are you doubting me?” I shout at the green-eyed dragon.
You did not create me.
“Yes, I did. I am the Creator, the World-Maker, the Builder, the Destroyer. But to you, dragons, I am only just a person.” The dragon does not respond but instead roars into the sky, lightning crackling with its cry. Yellow bolts flash in the sky, before striking down around me, the hair on the back of my neck standing up. I throw my hands above, as a useless attempt to stop the lightning. I wait for the bolt to strike, but it never does. I timidly look up, seeing the lightning above me, frozen in place. 17’s arms are up, aimed at the lightning, her face scrunching in focus. I make a break for it and walk forwards towards the dragon even more, to the point I was an ant and the dragon was a human, trying to smash the ant.
“Listen to me. What is your name dragon?” I yell over the storm the dragon created from the lightning.
I am Bolt. The thunderstorm, the lightning, the executioner, the electric.
“Listen, Bolt, you cannot hurt these humans, they do not know what they do wrong. Let them learn from their mistakes, and grow. Let them become better without intervention. Leave us here and join your brethren in the mountains. Disappear from here and live in peace. If you stay here you will be hunted until you are no more. Leave while you can!” I scream at the top of my lungs, dropping to the ground from exhaustion.
Alright human. I will leave as I fear my own death though I am an executioner. Farewell and learn from mistakes. The dragon’s large golden wings flap in the air, and it rises in the sky. I watch the dragon, Bolt, rise and disappear into the sky. I hear a thud from an area behind me, and I see 17, passed out, on the floor. Crawling towards her, I try to wake her up.
She smiles and whispers, “You did it, you saved the people and had the dragon leave. Great job Just.” We both struggle to stand up and hold onto each other as we walk to the jeep. Miraculously, the outside is unharmed.
17 turns her head towards me as we reach the jeep, “Let’s go back Just. Let’s go home.”
To Be Continued