Peter Venuti The Precursors 7
By: Peter Venuti
Chapter One: I Get Detention for Being Too Smart
Listen, if you think I'm going to start out with "Once upon a time" or "There once was a place", you must be crazy. I didn't ask to be a Precursor. Take this as a warning. Even you think you maybe be a Precursor, stop reading. Forget this book had ever fallen into your hands. Go back to your normal life while you still have a chance. But, if you're a regular person, then fine; I dare you to read on. You have nothing to lose, right? All I ask is when you get kidnapped by the government and they have you killed, your last words won't be, "This is all because I read that stupid book! Curse you Zachary Adams!"
Who is Zachary Adams? I, the third discovered Precursor, am Zachary Adams. I'm going to tell you right now that this story isn't one of fun journeys, where my comrades and I fly off into the sunset on magical flying unicorns. My adventures were and still are challenging. But I guess, for those of you who are sadistic, you'll enjoy my life.
Well, I should probably start when my fate was unraveled. I was fourteen years old. I went to a public school called Booker T. Washington High School. My home town, or should I say city, was Washington D.C, a beautiful place home to many museums, political document, and memorials. It was a normal day, as most days are here in D.C.
I would miss it.
"NO!" I shouted, as I awoke from my dream. Sweat ran down my clothes, my shirt was twisted and warped. I woke up to the sound of loud, obnoxious Jazz music. I never liked my alarm. I reached for my cell phone, but something weird had happened when I had picked it up. The phone shocked me! I slammed it against the floor.
"What the hell?!" I slowly got up from bed and stretched my arms a bit. I picked up my phone to find a newly born scratch on its face. Perfect, I thought. Just how I wanted to start my day. I looked in my mirror, and stared my own reflection.
I was tall for my age, about five feet, seven inches tall. My body was slender and a bit muscular, although it was an odd combination to see on a teenage boy. It gave off a sort of awkward radiance. My hair, darker than wet soil, was messy but wavy. My eye color changed with the brightness, turning an energetic blue with increasing light, and turning a stormy purple in the growing darkness.
I took a peek at my phone to check the time I had left before the bus came. The clock read 6:35. Ugh I though. I was late. I'd taken a shower the night before, so all I had to do was change my clothes. I hurried on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt simultaneously (how, I will never know), and did the same with my shoes and jeans.
I ran down the steps, half running, half falling. I gathered my school books together as raced across my kitchen. My dog followed along my side, thinking I was playing some sort of "Chase me!" game with him.
"Beau, stop! I need to catch my bus!" Beau wined and froze in his place, seeing that his master didn't wish to play.
Beau had a beautiful coat of hair. His hair was even darker than my own, mixed with some patches of white and gold hair. He was a medium sized dog; what did they call it again? Oh yea, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Why would an idiot give a dog breed such a stupid name?
"I'm sorry boy," I softly apologized, "but I simply just don't have time to play games now. But don't worry, when I come home, we'll take a nice walk!" At this, Beau jumped about two feet in the air and somehow managed to lick my face. Although I didn't know yet, I was lying to my poor friend.
I walked into my kitchen to find my mother making herself breakfast before work.
"Hi honey, how did you sleep," my mother asked.
"Ok, I guess. I had another nightmare."
"Yea. It's always the same, weird dream." I frowned. My mother looked concerned. My mother cared for me more than she cared about her own life.
"Well, do you remember anything about the dream?" I tried to remember what had happened. I always seemed to forget what happened in the dream. All I knew was that every time I dreamt it, it scared the hell out of me. I stared around the Retro kitchen. The walls and counters were painted a peach pink; the cabinets were made from smoothly polished wood. A white refrigerator stood in the far left corner of the room. I focused back on my mother, who still looked concerned. She had chocolate brown hair and matching eyes. She was about five feet and five inches tall. She wore a peach pink robe, matching the kitchen walls.
"Well, there was this really bright white light, so I couldn't see much. But there were these people above me; they kind of looked like surgeons, except they weren't using medicine. There were … um … around twelve different colored liquids in vials. They opened a slit in my skin and poured the purple liquid out. It really burned. Then some jazz music started to play, and I realized it was my alarm." I had only told her what I thought was okay for her to hear. If she heard more, she might have became even more concerned, which was hard to imagine.
"Oh, my poor baby!" My mother tried to smother me with hugs and kisses.
"MOM! Jeez," I exclaimed, "I'll be fine! It was just a dream! I'm not a baby anymore." We both laughed.
"Ok, ok, I'm sorry Zack. Hey, shouldn't you be at your bus stop by now? It's 6:50." Holy crap, the bus would be coming to my stop in two minutes, and it took me at least five minutes to get there.
"You're right. I gotta get going. I'll see you later!"
"Wait," my mother handed me a piece of toast. I took the toast, holding it in my mouth.
"Thanks," I said, the words jumbling together because of the toast, "Love you!"
"Love you too babe."
I ran down my street, toast in mouth and a crazed look in my eye. The city of D.C. was bustling; busy business people, coffees in hand, were talking into their Bluetooths. Construction men worked on buildings. As I was running down the street, I just dodged a wooden pole before it slapped me in the face. A hobo was in an alleyway. When I turned away from him, he tried to steal my lunch money and my toast, but I swatted him away. When I turned the last corner before my stop, the bus was in sight, picking up the first of the students. I sprinted to the stop yelling, "Stop," but I think the only people that heard me heard something like, "MPPPPHHHH!" The bus was picking up the last of the students, and I was only half way there.
With the last of my breath, I jumped for the bus. I flew through the air, expecting to hit the first step of the bus with grace and peace. Boy was I wrong. I landed face first on the cement of the sidewalk, the toast flying out of my mouth. The bus skidded away, as if to avoid me. I cursed, gaining myself some attention from strangers (which was hard to believe after my fall). I saw the bus slowly crawling away.
"STOP!" I shouted, and I threw my hands out. That was the first time I had noticed something weird that day...
The bus had halted, screeching its rubber tires. The bus's motor has shut off. Some students looked back at me in shock, others protesting to the driver asking why they had stopped, and a few didn't even seem to notice that they had stopped because they were too absorbed in their cell phones or iPods. I smoothly jogged over to the bus and pried open the foggy glass door (As I looked back, I saw the hobo picking the piece of toast off the ground and running away). The driver looked at me in awe.
"Um...," I said awkwardly, "I think you forgot me?" The bus driver nodded nervously, and I found myself a seat. A fellow freshman looked at me, bugging his eyes while studying me. He wore a blue button down shirt with black dress pants, pen in pocket-protector. He wore a huge set of glasses with tape in the middle. What a geek, I thought. It's people like this that get us freshmen thrown in trashcans. Then my best friend came up from behind to sit next to me.
"Yo Zack! How you doing my man?!" Angel was a kind, black teenaged boy. He stood at about five feet, eight inches. Angel wore camo pants and a black shirt. He had short brown hair with golden yellow eyes, a very interesting and rare color that I had never seen before, at least, until I met Angel. He was the only person in my school who didn't hate me. No one had ever liked me at any of my schools because everyone thought I was bad luck. Whenever something bad happened, I always seemed to be there.
"Hey there Angel! How did you sleep?"
"Pretty good man, pretty good." Angel looked into my eyes. He grimaced. "Uh oh. Your eyes are bright purple and it's a sunny day today. That must mean something bad is gonna happen dog." Whenever my eyes didn't coordinate with the lighting, Angel thought it was a giant billboard that said: Look out! Something bad is coming this way! The strange thing was, he was right.
"I'm sure everything will be ok Angel. Are you sure you're not just being a bit too superstitious?"
"Nah dude. Haven't you noticed by now? Remember what happened a freshmen orientation last summer? Your eyes were blue when it was raining, and the cafeteria had caught fire when you went near the Snapple machine." I remembered that day a bit too well.
I had a sudden flashback. The freshmen had piled into the cafeteria to have snacks and make spirit braids (Which nearly made me throw up. I'm not really one for "Rah, Rah," and, "Go Team!"). I went to go get a drink at one of the Snapple machines. When I inserted my dollar and pressed the button for ice tea, the machine had exploded into sparks and flames. I had almost gotten expelled from the school, and I hadn't even been there for a day of school yet.
I also remembered later that day. Upper classmen were touring freshmen around the school. My tour guides decided to ditch my group. The school is pretty darn big if you don't know your way around, so a few other kids and I got lost. The three other kids decided to go try to pickpocket some teachers, so I was all alone. About four or five seniors came down the hallway, fresh from football practice. They saw me down the hall and decided to mess with me.
One had locked my arms behind my back, the other punched at my gut. The rest of the guys had sat there and laughed. That's when Angel came out of nowhere and took on every guy right there! That was the day I met Angel, and the day we had become best friends. I think if Angel had never come, they probably would have literally punched me until I bled and died.
I flashed back to present day. The bus was about five minutes away from school.
"I think I remember that day a bit too well. Let's just hope nothing bad happens today, okay?"
"Ok. I'll try." Angel still wore a grim face.
The bus reached the school and pulled over on the curb. Everyone rose from their seats so they could get of the hot bus and meet their friends. Angel and I exited the bus and walked toward the school. The school yard seemed flooded with people. Everyone's shoulders were always bumping into others, and there were always a few jocks that would grab nerds and use them as battering rams to get through the crowd.
"So," Angel tried to make conversation, "did you read Chapters Eleven and Twelve of the Odyssey?"
"Yea, right Angel. That book is way too confusing. Plus, you know I have a hard time reading epic poetry, much less a book." Throughout my whole life, I had had trouble reading. The words always became blurry and they would sometimes turn around when I tried to read something. Signs, books, poetry, anything. My mom took me to an eye doctor a few years back, and he told me I had needed glasses. I refused to wear them, because glasses reminded me of nerds, and I certainly didn't want to look like one
"Ok, I'll admit, it's a hard read, especially for someone who needs-"
"Angel! I don't need glasses! You know that!"
"Ok dude, I'm sorry. Anyway, you're in luck. I read the story version of the book, so I know what happened. Want me to fill you in?"
"Ok, explain." Angel tried to explain to me what happened as best as he could, but I became bored within five seconds. My attention left him and wondered around the front of the school. The school was a one story building, but the building was very long as well as very wide. The sides of the school were littered with windows. There was a flagpole in the courtyard in front of the school. Standing right below it was my Government teacher, Mr. Tyson. He seemed to be staring back at me. I saw his lip curl, and it looked as if he was growling at me. "Zack? ZACK!"
"Oh, sorry Angel. I was just a bit distracted. I saw something … unusual. You were saying?" As we made our way through the courtyard (past Mr. Tyson, who still seemed to be glaring and growling at me) and through the front door of the school, Angel explained to me how Odysseus sailed through the river Styx and how his men killed the cattle of the Sun God Helios. Even though he had simplified the information, it still made no sense! "Oh ok. I think I get it now. Thanks Angel." I smiled; trying to reassure Angel he had done a good job.
We walked through the crowded halls as the bell rang.
"Well, we should get to Government class," Angel said, "I don't want to be late for Mr. Tyson's class. You know how Tyson can be when he gets angry."Great, just the place I wanted to go. Not only did I get poor grades in his class, but, as I said before, he was pretty creepy. I always got the feeling from him that he was up to no good.
"Yeah," I said, "Not too cool." People were now hurrying off to their first period class. We passed two seniors fighting in a hallway. A little bit further down the hallway, some guy was making out with his girlfriend. This school was really a mess. Angel and I walked side by side through the hallways, dodging all of the craziness that surrounded us.
"Hey Angel," I quietly asked, "Do you think you can help me with a problem? It's kind of personal."
"Sure Zack. What's up?"
"Well, I keep having these bizarre dreams." I explained the reoccurring dream while we turned a corner. Angel made a concern face again, exactly like the one he had made on the bus.
"Hmm … I don't know what that could mean Zack." I could tell he was lying. Angel was never good at lying.
"Angel, what aren't you telling me?"
"What? No! I seriously don't know anything. I promise." He gave me a half hearted smile, though I still wasn't convinced.
Angel and I hurried into Mr. Tyson's classroom. Other freshmen lined the desks, some listening to music, others chatting with one another. Angel and I sat as far away from Mr. Tyson's desk as possible. I unpacked my government book and my notebook, which had barely any notes in it. The late bell rang, and some late students ran into the classroom, followed by Mr. Tyson.
Now, let me just pop an image into your head about how exactly Mr. Tyson looks. Mr. Tyson was a big chubby guy, who usually wore a button down shirt that was tight around his belly, a creepy, random tie, and slacks that didn't seem to fit him more than his shirt did (Today he was wearing a green shirt with black slacks and moose tie). One of his eyes was black, and the other was light blue. He had gray balding hair. To put it simply: Big, scary, creepy, and gross.
"Hello, brats," Mr. Tyson said, emphasizing the word brats, "I don't expect that anyone even attempt to complete their homework. So I guess I should just mark that you all have incompletes and fail each and every one of you." A brave fresh rose to protest,
"Um, sir, I did the assign-"
"OF COURSE YOU DID! NOW SIT YOUR ASS DOWN MR. BARKLEY!" The terrified student sat down, sobbing in fear. A friend of his patted him on his back. I think he might have crapped his pants, because a smell of fear was now in the room.
"Dang," Angel whispered to me, "Mr. Tyson must have a wedgie or something crawling up his butt." Mr. Tyson cocked his head toward us. He had heard Angel, but I couldn't understand how. I could barely hear Angel, and he was right next to me.
"IS THERE A PROBLEM, MR. D'ARCANGELO?!" Angel stumbled over his words, trying to answer Mr. Tyson, who, at the moment, looked like a furious hermit.
"Uh … n-no sir. I was … uh… just telling Zack how he should … um … start doing his homework more! He has been slacking a lot lately." Great. Real nice job Angel! I could tell that Mr. Tyson didn't believe the load of crap Angel just tried to give him, but he continued.
"Today, we will be learning about the Greek Gods. The Greeks-"
"Um, sir," I questioned, "this is government class. Why are we-"
"SILENCE!" Mr. Tyson huffed and puffed. His face was red, and he looked pretty deranged; kind of like an ape with rabies. "The principal has asked me to briefly discuss Greek Mythology with you, you selfish urchins! Now, as I was saying: There were twelve main Olympian gods, with the exception of Hades." Mr. Tyson babbled on, spewing information onto the students in the room. I had a love for Mythology, and I knew almost everything there is to know, so I didn't have to pay attention.
Mr. Tyson's room was oddly decorated with newspapers and government magazines hanging on the walls like wanted posters. The walls were a plain, boring white. The tiles on the floor were crap brown, and I felt like they belonged more in a retirement home rather than in a classroom. The chalk board was maroon, not black like most chalk boards were. The board was filled with notes, and on the left side of the board I saw something like "Children a big pain in the-," well … you know what. Our desks were sand brown, and most of them were carved with multiple pictures of Mr. Tyson in an assortment of dying scenarios that bored students had inscribed.
I looked back to Mr. Tyson. He was staring at me with a gaze so agitated and red that I thought maybe his head would fly off his body and streamers would come out.
"SO, Mr. Adams, can YOU tell the class what God ruled Mount Olympus and also ruled over the skies?"
"Oh please," I said arrogantly, "Zeus did. Any bumbling idiot would know that." At this, Mr. Tyson only got angrier, and his face became a dark purple.
"'Oh please'?! THAT'S IT MR. ADAMS! I WILL NOT TOLERATE SUCH DISRESPECT FROM A BOY WHO DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THE ABILITY TO READ DR. SUESS BOOK! DETENTION!" Angel looked at me in empathy. It looked like his gaze said something, like Did you catch that, so I won't have so much explaining to do?
"Yes sir," I said, my voice quivering a bit because of the difficulty of trying to act respectful to such a monster, "When will I serve it?"
"TOMORROW AFTERNOON!" The bell rung. Mr. Tyson cleared his throat, and turned back to his normal shade of red. "Expect a test sometime very soon. Class dismissed."
Ω Ω Ω
The rest of my day was insanely boring. English class was difficult, but thanks to Angel's "simplified" explanation, I wasn't as bad with conversation about the Odyssey as I normally was. Algebra class was a pain. In fact, our lesson was so dumb, I don't even remember what we learned. Then came Lunch, may favorite part of the day. This was the second and last time I got to see Angel before school ended.
I walked into the cafeteria to find Angel. When I finally found him from a distance, he was sitting next to some girl. I had seen her around school, but I never actually talked to her. The back of her hair ruffled with dark brown, and I could have sworn I saw a leaf or two in it. She turned, swaying her soft, curly hair through the air. It extended a bit past her shoulders. Her eyes met mine, and for a second my eyes were lost in a sea of sage green. She was short compared to Angel, maybe somewhere around five feet five inches? She tapped Angel on the shoulder, and he looked over. When he spotted me, he flailed his arms through the air, signaling me to come toward them.
I strolled toward them, taking my brown bag lunch out of my backpack. When I sat down at the table, Angel looked thrilled, as if he'd been waiting for this moment for a long time. The girl next to him looked pissed, almost as if she wasn't sure about me.
"Hey Zack! How has your day been going," Angel exclaimed.
"Horribly boring. But let's not get into that right now," I pointed to the girl next to him, "Who's she?"
"Zack! I'd like you to meet Diana!" Diana glared at me, and Angel nudged her nonchalantly with his elbow.
"Hello Zachary Adams." She had said it with such toxicity, I thought I had just been bitten by a snake. She stared me down, showing me that, for whatever reason, I had already gotten on her bad side.
"Hey. What crawled up your butt and died?" Diana's face glowed a shade of … green? Who's face turned green when they were angry? While I was trying to figure out whether what I saw was real or not, she picked up a dying yellow apple. Immediately, it turned a bright crimson red. What was going on with this girl?
"What color do you want your face to be after I rearrange it," Diana asked, "Rotting Yellow, or Blood Red?" I rose from the table. Angel and Diana followed my move, Diana connected to my eyes again. I saw Angel look around the cafeteria, and his eyes grew.
"Guys, calm down before Mr. Tyson sees you guys!" Angel pulled both of us down to the table. I looked back on my decent, and I saw Mr. Tyson glaring at our table. "Jeez," Angel said once we had sat down and were more calm, "You guys just met. Don't hate each other already! I though you guys were really alike, and maybe you guys would be great friends. Could you guys at least try to like each other?! Who knows, maybe things will work out."
"Yeah, right," Diana and I said at the same time. In unison, we rose from our table, and we headed opposite ways
Ω Ω Ω
I never paid attention in Spanish Class because we never learned anything. It was always just our poor teacher trying to calm our class down so she could finally teacher her first lesson of the school year (by the way, that day was May 18). In science, we learned about the Periodic Table, and how each element is unique. In any element, you could change the number of neutrons (isotopes) and electrons (ions). However, if you changed the number of protons, the element would change.
The end bell finally sounded, and I ran out of Science class to meet Angel at the front doors of the school. When I caught sight of him, I found him with … DIANA?!
"What is SHE doing here Angel," I said, ignoring the fact that she was glaring at me.
"She was assigned to a new bus. And I invited her to come hang out with us after school."
"YOU WHAT?!" I was so furious at Angel, I wanted to kill him right there and then.
"Well, I figured this could be a chance for you guys to get to know each other."
"Angel. SHUT YOUR FACE! I don't like her! What do you get about that?!"
"I'm sorry Zack! I just need you guys to get along. Please. Do it for me."
"NO! Why do you need me to like this weirdo? Her face turns green when she's angry! She can make dead apple live again! Something's wrong with her!"
"Zack please. Trust me. We need to talk about something extremely important." He gave me a pleading look. He really did needed to talk to me.
"Yea? Well I guess you can talk about with your new best friend."
"Zack," Angel screamed as I sprinted away. I paid no attention to him. I walked across the courtyard, headed for the street. I had decided to walk home, because I didn't want to sit with Angel on the bus. I caught a glimpse of him over my shoulder trying to come after me, but soon I was lost in the crowd of people, and I disappeared out of Angel's sight.