Previous Next


Posted on Wed Dec 20th, 2023 @ 18:55 by Alastair Temple & Phoebe Hunter

Chapter: Winter's Crest Festival
Location: An less used room
Timeline: Late November 1992
1317 words - 2.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Something wasn't right. The lights were on in the room, though they didn't seem to illuminate like they should. The space was dark. It seemed like an unnatural shadow cast over the area, coming from the corner, where two tiny dots of reflected light shimmered, like eyes.

Another night Phoebe could not sleep meant another late-night walk around the castle. She was wrapped up against the chill in the corridor wearing her running clothes considering a run around the castle but something had distracted her about a room with the lights on. She opened the door and peered inside. "Hello?" She wondered.

"Uhm. Hi," resounded a familiar baritone. The shadows bloomed outwards before retreating again, partially. Al stepped forward, looking a bit frazzled, and rather puzzled. "Don't mind me, just trying to figure something out. I am very confused and have no idea what's happening to me."

Phoebe stood in the doorway still unnerved by the vibe in the room. Something felt wrong or at least not how it normally felt. “What’s going on Al?” The woman said recognising the voice. He sounded unnerved which similarly left her unerved.

" ... I'm not sure. Somehow I'm controlling the shadows. Which is new to say the least, never done this before," he spoke. The shadows retreated a bit. "Is that common? For new powers to manifest this late in life?"

Phoebe had seen it but there was normally some underlying event with some type of trauma that had activated a power-up. “It’s been known but not common like this where you develop a whole new ability.” She said admitted.

"Hm," he rumbled, sitting down on a chair. The shadow pulsed outwards a bit before retracting again, as he did. "This is all very confusing. I'm very confused. No idea what - unless," he trailed off, brows furrowed in thought, though that was very difficult to see in the shadows. "I got hurt, very recently. Freya healed me. Could that have unlocked something, you think?"

Phoebe slowly ventured into the room more and sat down on a chair and looked the man over the best she could as the shadows shifted and moved around him. He was quick of mind which was glad to see in a situation that was out of his control. "How bad was the injury?" She had never heard of anything like that but MI-13 was not the be-all and end of everything in the way of weird. There were things out there that they did not know which was why she had been working there. She wanted to know what was out there too.

"Uh - " he paused a moment, the shadows pulsing out as he did. " ... Huh. Interesting," the man commented on that fact as he noticed. All in all he seemed to take it in stride and finding what was happening to him a curiosity and a puzzle rather than frightening or disturbing. "Uh - injured, yes. I was out flying and got attacked by an eagle. I got the wind knocked out of me, my face and eye scratched, as well as my back and chest. Oh - I was in my alternate, raven form, of course. Flying low and slow - eagles have been known to attack then, when desperate enough. I wouldn't say I was very seriously injured, but they weren't 'mere scratches' either," he made air quotes as he spoke.

Phoebe nodded firmly taking it all in to get a proper idea of what was going on with him. It was unusual even by their standards.

"Anyways, I remembered what Freya had told me about her ability to heal people and I remembered what room she was in so I flew to her window and kinda made an awkward landing on the windowsill. She let me in and healed me. It took her a moment to realize it was me instead of just a large raven, but - well, here I am," Alastair mused, sitting back and relaxing, now that he was logically working through the events, the shadows drawing back as he did.

“Here you are.” The precog said back with a small smile as she watched the shadows moving around it was unsettling to say the least. Shaduws were not something she could control.

"I mean, that must've been the trigger, right? After all, what is healing other than finding what's wrong with someone and making that go away?" A shrug from the man. "Maybe what was 'wrong' was holding this back, and she took that block away? I don't know, I'm just making a guess here. But I think it makes sense."

“Perhaps. Just unusual to have a shifting ability to then get something different in nature.” Phoebe admitted before shrugging trying to keep the conversation straightforward and logical. “But what do I know about all of this? I just cannot say there was anything wrong before that was blocking another ability. Would have to be pretty big.”

A shrug from the man. "Look, I don't get it either. To be honest, I'm very confused right now. Trying to figure out what happened, and how to control it - if I can," He glanced at the edges of the shadows as they flared out, then withdrew some more. "I can at least influence them. But I don't know what to do next."

"I would take several deep breaths." She advised she would any mutant who was struggling with an ability. "You are confused but this is an ability that you cannot just go around the castle right this moment without being fully in control." She added moving to sit a little closer and showing him how to breathe in and out in a calming way.

"Yeah, ok. I can do that," He closed his eyes, relaxed his shoulders and took a slow, deep breath, moving his hands up and down with the motion as if to emphasize the effort. "I can do that," he reiterated, quietly, as he repeated the exercise working as well to quiet the torrent of thoughts running through his mind.

"That is better." She congratulated as she watched the shadows disappear and the room became lighter again even though it was just lit by strong fluorescent lights above. Even stark white lighting was better than feeling like you were slowly being sucked into the darkness.

He opened his eyes again, smiling when he saw the shadows had withdrawn to the extent they had, though they flared out slightly again as he did. "Guess I should start zen training. That - ... that worked very well. Thank you. How did you know ... ?"

“I am a teacher who has seen many students struggling with abilities.” It was not as big as a lie as she felt guilty for. She had dealt with teenagers struggling with abilities and they were that unusual but she also knew from experience that focusing on breathing brought the mind back to the here and now which was what someone needed in a moment like that. “Plus I am a lot more than a history teacher.”

"Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense," Al agreed. "It's just that - I wouldn't have thought of it. My other ability doesn't work like - eh, it doesn't matter," he sighed, shaking his head a bit before steeling himself and offering a smile, the edge of the shadows around them wavering a bit. "This - this I can work with. I'm gonna sit here and do just that for a while, if that's alright. Figure out how this works, that it can do. Thanks again."

Phoebe nodded and rose from the chair. “I will leave it to you then Al. But I am very sure what you will be able to figure it all out. I have complete faith.” She assured before disappearing out the door to resume her wanderings and musings about her dreams.


Previous Next


Comments (1)

By Claire Cavendish on Thu Dec 21st, 2023 @ 10:52

Always awesome to see new and exciting developments!