Sometimes, it's better to not know something than to know it. At least, that's what Cancer thought. Whoever that guy was that said innocence was bliss? Well, he was right! Of course, it'd be nice knowing, but sometimes the lack of information saves lives. She turned to her right, sighing at the boy crouching beneath the bushes. He turned to look at her, while simultaneously repositioning himself so that the foliage wouldn't poke at him as much.
"I still think we should do it." He spoke. "If we don't, we're going to have to go back to that alleyway by the deli."
Cancer shook her head. It wasn't safe. There was no way for them to know whether it would be safe or not. And that was perfectly fine with her. She would be content going back to the alley. The alley was safe. And even though they weren't certain if they would even get any food there, it was still a better alternative than them risking sneaking in here and getting caught by the Bad Men.
The boy turned, and a piece of his inky black hair snagged on a bush. Cancer untangled it, paying close attention to the faces of both her companions. Scorpio and Pisces were not the best companions in the world by far, but Cancer loved both of them ferociously. She would do anything for them, even if it meant risking a capture by the Bad Men.
Life was not always this way. Do not assume that those words meant that life was ever good, because it wasn't. But life didn't used to be this dangerous. Once upon a few years ago, Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces had their own little place. They lived under a little strip mall, in a basement that was so cluttered with each various stores' junk that it was easy to get lost, especially if you weren't looking to be found.
The three turned that basement into their little hideaway, stealing food from the stores in the night, and hiding out in the day. The best part was the exploring, which never ended. There was always a new corner of the basement to explore, filled with all sorts of strange and wonderful things. They were careful and made sure that they were never caught, not by the Bad Men or anyone.
That was the best that life had ever been. Before that, life had always been a game of hide and seek with the bad men, sort of like it was now. The only difference being the fact that their mothers were with them. Cancer's mom had been one of the best people she had ever known, which, to be honest, wasn't saying too much because she hadn't ever known more people than she could count on her fingers. But even if she knew more people than there were hairs on her head, she was sure that her mom would be at the top of her list.
Cancer wished she could say the same about Scorpio's mom, or Pisces's for that matter. Scorpio's mom had been moody, and was never fully there. She was always brooding, living more in her head than in the real world. Pisces's mom was anxious all of the time. She never had any fingernails, and was always talking about ways to get around safer, easier, and faster. Instead of dwelling in the present, she chose to live in the future, always worrying about things that could happen instead of sitting back and letting things go how they were intended to go.
But Cancer's mom had definitely been the best out of the three. All of their moms had met in a soup kitchen that was giving out free meals to the homeless people in the area. They had become best friends for life, never leaving each other, and supporting each other even through the hard times, like when Pisces's mom gave birth to him.
Scorpio and Cancer had already been born, and having to deal with two babies was hard enough, but three? That was just crazy. But they somehow managed to do it, up until the point when all three vanished. No warnings, no suspicions, no Bad Men caught lurking outside of the abandoned house they were staying in. Just gone. And there was nothing that could be done about that.
No one could say why they named their children after constellations. It could have been that Scorpio was named for one reason or another, and the other two moms decided to follow. Or it could have been something planned even before Scorpio was born. None of them knew. But it really didn't matter. All that mattered now was getting something to eat and staying away from the Bad Men.
"Think about it, there are so many other places we could get food." Cancer spoke up. "There's no reason to put ourselves in danger by trying to break into this one place, just because it reminds us of home. It isn't sensible."
"Aww, but it would be so easy." Scorpio whined. "All it would take is one little shadow and-"
"And risk being seen by the Bad Men? Yah, I'm with Cancer on this one." Pisces whispered.
Cancer's lips curved into a small, shy smile. She wordlessly thanked Pisces for helping her, and he gave an affirming nod. It wasn't safe for Scorpio, or any of them, to use their abilities. Especially when they had seen a Bad Man earlier today. Or at least what they thought was a Bad Man.
There was no explanation for how these three had gotten these abilities. Supposedly, they could do what no other person on the planet could do. Some called it magic. Others called it superpowers. But no matter the name, these talents did not exist outside of the fictional world. Sure, they were fun to read about, or see on tv, but they didn't actually exist. It was impossible.
And yet, here the three of them were, each with their own unique abilities. They discovered these abilities only a short while ago, when they lived back at the strip mall. At first, they thought they were dreaming. Then, when they realized that wasn't the case, they impatiently waited for night to come, so they could access a computer in one of the stores.
And though there were hundreds of claims, stories, and videos of supposed magic powers, none of them looked very real, and it seemed that the general public did not believe in them, even though the thought of them was very entertaining. They finally came to the conclusion that this must be the reason that the Bad Men were after them. Their parents had known all along, and were hiding from the world to protect their children from what unknown horrors the Bad Men presented.
So they left. They ran. Away from the place that had been their home for so long. They knew that if they were going to stay out of the hands of the Bad Men, they were going to have to run, and keep running. Forever, if necessary. And along with running, in the darkest of alleys and coldest of nights did they practice, and try to get a grip of these abilities.
Those nights and alleys had been few, and they still felt as though they were grasping at strings. Strings that maybe, if they pulled hard enough, would lead to amazing things. Things that were dangerous. Things that were unique. Things that cannot be pulled by anyone but them.
And for that reason, and that reason alone, they were the sole prize of these Bad Men. The men that followed them everywhere they had been so far. Always on the prowl. That is why they needed to be cautious. And never, under any circumstances, use their powers in the middle of a quaint little town to get into a bakery.
Pisces started to crawl away, back into the better shrouded areas of the park, but Scorpio placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Wait. If we always think like this, we'll die of starvation, not from the bad men. There's no future in a life without risks."
Pisces looked conflicted. Scorpio did have a good point. But it wasn't good enough, in Cancer's opinion. There were other places where they could get food. Safer places. Places that didn't require breaking in in the middle of the night, and possibly attracting attention that they definitely didn't want. He looked back at her, giving a strained look, as if asking for her help to get out of this situation.
"Come on, Scorpio. We'll find food somewhere else."
He made a growling noise, and shoved Pisces down, which did little more than make Pisces irritated. But finally, he started crawling away, without another word. Cancer followed closely behind, not wanting to fall behind and stray from the shadow that Scorpio was putting up over them.
It was a good thing that they had discovered their abilities when they did, because Cancer didn't know where they would be without them. They probably wouldn't have survived this long. Before, they had a home, a place where they were able to hide away. But now, since they had started running, it was almost impossible to go entirely undetected. They had needed their abilities at almost every turn, and still did even now. Even though they were still grasping at strings, they were able to do a few simple things, and the more they did those things, the easier it was getting to do others.
Scorpio was the strongest. He had jet black hair, which fell down almost to his shoulders. He usually had a smile on his face, but you could never tell if it was fake or not. He was able to control shadows, and now, more recently, create them as well. He was also able to control the mind of another person, if he tried hard enough.
When he discovered this, he immediately vowed not to use it on Cancer or Pisces. They had only ever used it once, when a little girl saw them foraging for food in an alley. She started yelling for her mother to come and see, and it was attracting the attention of not just her mother, but of a bunch of people walking nearby.
Scorpio had stepped up to the front, putting himself between his friends and the little girl. Shadows started forming around him, which he later had confessed that he wasn't trying to create, and suddenly, it seemed like the whole alley was darker. The girl's face went from blissful to terrified, and she started backing away.
"Turn around, walk back to your mother, and forget this ever happened." Scorpio said in a voice that was at least two times deeper than his voice normally was, and had a bit of an echo to it as well.
Then, the shadows cleared away, and he turned back to us, a smile on his face.
"Look at what I just did!"
So yes, in the past, his talents had been extremely successful, and Cancer was sure they would continue to be as far as they had to run to get away from the Bad Men.
Then there was Pisces, the youngest of the three. He had just turned fifteen, though he didn't look it. He was very short, no taller than 5'6, but he made up for it by being the loudest of the three. He wasn't very talkative, but he was the one that started whispering and talking when he got nervous, something that neither Cancer nor Scorpio needed to do, so he was deemed the most extroverted of the three.
He had beach blond hair, which fell down over his eyes sometimes, but for the most part, it stayed on his forehead. He was usually smiling, except when he wasn't, which meant that either they were trying to stay hidden, or he was concentrating on something else. He had a very innocent aura around him, but it was kind of deceptive. After all these years of hiding out and living on the run, it was hard for anyone to remain innocent. They had to steal just to eat, unless they wanted to stoop to foraging in trash cans, which, thankfully, they almost never needed to do.
Pisces had the most abilities of them all so far, which meant that either her and Scorpio had more abilities to discover, or that Pisces was more powerful than the both of them. He was able to control water slightly, definitely more so than a couple of months ago, which meant progress. He was also able to teleport to a place that he could see in his direct vision. Only once had he teleported without being able to see where he was landing, and he didn't particularly want to do it again until he was sure it was safe.
And finally, he was also able to heal wounds, which was definitely the ability he used the most. Whenever anyone got a scrape, or felt sore, he was always offering to heal them. It was by far his favorite out of the three, because it made him feel useful, he said. Cancer wished she could make him feel useful without his talents, but, in truth, Pisces was the least vital to their team. The least helpful. That didn't mean that she didn't adore him with all of her heart, it was just harder for him to help because he wasn't as cautious as Cancer, or as physically powerful as Scorpio.
Cancer didn't like to brag, but she did admit to herself that she did have some pretty amazing abilities. She was also the best at what she did, even though she probably had used her abilities the least out of all of them. Scorpio had said that he thought it was because she had an easier time learning things, so she didn't need to practice as much, but it was just a speculation.
She had the ability to ethereally separate her consciousness from her body and float around, bordering omnipresence in the mile or so wide area around her body. It was very useful for when they needed to find places to hide, and people to avoid, but she hadn't used it very much, because she had only recently been able to recognize that it was there. That she could do it.
Her other ability was to be able to tell how people were feeling. It was something that she had always been able to do, as it was a normal human thing to be able to read, in a way, people's emotions. But now, it was a superhuman ability, for her at least. She was able to see and feel the auras around people, and those auras would give the emotions of the people, and sometimes, other things, like if the person was in a relationship, or if they were guilty, what they had done. It was borderline telepathy, but more focused on the emotions, so the three named it telempathy, a clever mixture of words that conveyed the message and rolled easily off the tongue.
Cancer bumped into Scorpio, who had stopped in front of her, making both of them tumble over a bit. She looked over his shoulder to see what they were stopping for, and saw nothing. And then, a car zoomed by, with no care in the world for the three hiding beneath the bushes. Pisces tumbled backwards, the car startling him, and Cancer helped him get back to his feet.
"Be careful guys, we're crossing the road," Scorpio whispered.
It was nearing evening, so the shadows were getting bigger, and, Cancer supposed, easier to handle, because Scorpio was able to make a straight path covered in shade across the whole road. They crept across quickly and quietly, running into a small alley that led to a parking lot behind the buildings, where they took a left, and heading down the line of buildings to the small forest bordering that side. Scorpio paused and turned back to let Cancer and Pisces pass him, and then scampered after them into the thick brush.
The forest wasn't very large, or very deep, and if you looked hard enough through it, you could see from one side to the other, but it was knotted and hard to walk through. Vines and thorns climbed up the trees like writhing snakes, and bushes reached hands out of the earth, hoping to catch a foot in their jaws.
Yesterday, they had beaten down just a bit of a path through the stretch, so that if they needed it they could get through relatively fast, and it had proven a lot more useful than they had thought. They reached the end of the path, and the end of the forest, which led to the center of the suburb, where the buildings were the highest.
There before them was the goldmine of tonight. Two disgusting looking trash cans sitting in the alley by the bakery.
"It's the best we've got," Pisces reminded himself quietly.
Cancer nodded her head in agreement silently, then began to stalk quietly toward the trash cans, careful not to step on any of the rubbish on the ground. Scorpio was last to the trash cans, still very evidently unhappy about having to come here.
Sitting at the very top of the trash pile, about a dozen or so uneaten bagels lay, unaware that they were sitting in a garbage can and not in the bakery window. They tore into the bagels, which were gone in nearly three minutes, then scampered across the road to the small community park to drink from a water fountain. All in all, it was a good night, considering what they had been through the past few weeks.
A good night indeed, Cancer thought to herself, laying in the grass with her two best friends. They could conquer anything. They were unbeatable. But that didn't mean that they could be careless. The reason they were so unbeatable was not because of their talents, though those definitely did help boost her confidence; it was because of their amazing ability to hide and to run away.
Before they drifted off entirely to sleep, they crawled under a couple bushes, knowing that they would have to wake up bright and early in the morning to get out of the park before anyone arrived. They huddled around each other grateful to at least have company on this rollercoaster ride of a life. Cancer's final thought before dozing off was a wish. Just a small one, to anyone who was out there. A wish that maybe someday, they would be able to stop running from the Bad Men.