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[03.09.2019 - 12.02.2020] derry; get out of my head

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get out of my head

https://i.imgur.com/lB7nBTV.gif  https://i.imgur.com/1JGy69T.gif

Spencer Jackett — Max Kepler
03.09.2019 - 12.02.2020 • время разнится • старшая школа Дерри

Спенсер: *чувствует другого сияющего*
Спенсер: it's free real estate

[nick]Max Kepler[/nick][status]shut up and dance[/status][icon]https://i.imgur.com/xYCFceJ.png[/icon][lzname]<lzname><a href="https://nevah.ru/viewtopic.php?id=345#p24262">Макс Кеплер</a>, 18</lzname> <plashka>сияющий, iv</plashka>[/lzname][]Дерри: пока что очередной старшеклассник, но через пару лет будет смотреть с постера на стене какой-нибудь симпатичной девчонки[/]

Отредактировано Alasdair O’Mara (2021-04-29 14:18:46)



September brought really mixed vibes into Spencer's life. First of all, autumn meant school, which in its turn meant new subjects, new academic challenges, more knowledge to gain and more skills to develop; especially now, when Spencer was starting his first year of high school. He was looking forward to it, and, unlike most teens who think of new environment as of a chance to meet people, make friends and improve their social life, Spencer was focused solely on his studies. No social gathering could ever interest him as much as the process of absorbing new information.
Yet the begining of the upcoming school year also meant that the twins had to part. Trisha moved to her boarding school back in Portland, and Spencer had a feeling like he was missing her already... kind of. They surely had their ups and downs, but they were twins, after all.
That day - the day it all began - was no different from any other typical day at school. Spencer woke up early, way early to make sure he had enough time to collect his textbooks, make some breakfast and come in time. High School was located in a separate structure, so it would probably take time to explore the halls and the classrooms. He crept past his dad's room - the father was still sleeping - made himself some eggs, had a cup of black coffee and went outside to greet the fresh September morning face to face.
The weather was nice, and Spencer walked to school in high spirits, listening to his favourite music and thinking of the first class he was going to attend. It was supposed to be Chemistry, which he greatly enjoyed. All more reasons to be happy.
Calculations class followed Chemistry, then Spencer had to run to the other side of the building to locate the History classroom - it was very special, because it was decorated in the exact manner you can expect a high school History classroom to be decorated: USA presidents' faces lined up along the wall, maps of Native tribes' territories hung on the opposite one... All in all, the classroom looked fancy enough to make you question financial opportunities of an average American school. Did they really spend the entire budget on a single classroom?   
Anyways, the classes went great, and Spencer was getting hungry. He headed for the canteen to grab a quick snack. He was going there alone; a few of his new classmates expressed a potential desire to know him better, but Spencer (being Spencer) made it clear he wasn't interested in making friends. He wasn't quite rude, but he sure as hell wasn't friendly, either. School is not a place for parties and gossips. It's a place to progress, to work on your own self-development. Spencer pitied those who thought otherwise. His peers thought he had no life. He thought his peers had no brain. Classic.
And as a true lone wolf Spencer actually loved his time alone. As he entered the canteen, he chose a vacant table in the corner, got a book out of his backpack and started reading while eating his snack. Other teens were arriving in groups, occupying their own tables, chatting and laughing; the canteen was an extremely lively place, but Spencer didn't mind. He had learnt to ignore the noises.
However, there was something Spencer couldn't ignore.
A weird sensation was forming somewhere deep inside of him, slowly becoming brighter and stronger. Just like being exposed to the harsh cold - first you feel a tingle of frost on your naked skin, then it slowly grows more and more violent until you're shaking all over.
It wasn't that negative, though, neither was it unpleasant. It was strange, alright, but not shocking. Spencer put the book down and looked around, rearranging his glasses with an unsteady hand. A few moments later he realised what he was feeling.
He felt the same way around Trish. There was something - radiating - from her, something that told Spencer they were both of the same nature, a very unique nature, mind you. This nature made them different from other kids, gave them a secret to share between the two of them - and now Spencer was feeling it again, only this time Trish was in Portland. No way he could feel her from here. Not like that.
It was... someone else. Entirely.
Spencer listened hard to his senses. Brighter... closer... there. Right there. Frozen on the spot, he stared at the boy who was sitting just a few tables across the hall. Judging by his posture, the boy was taller than Spencer, likely older, too. Spencer watched him carefully.
Was he feeling the same?
Spencer's mind was instantly thinking, creating possible ideas, assumptions and explanations. Of course, he contemplated a chance that he and Trish were not the only special kids in the world. They were perfectly average white American children born into a perfectly average white American family, there was no specific biological reason for their... abilities. The fact they weren't completely unique only made sense.
"Come on, look at me", - Spencer thought, still studying the boy, - "I know you can feel it. Whoever you are".

Отредактировано Spencer Jackett (2021-04-29 19:17:15)



Another September. 

Another school year. 

Welcome back, you are a junior now, which means that you are halfway through it. And, taking into account the fact that you’ve managed to survive fairly well so far, it should be a pretty easy ride until the finish line from now on. 

There was something to be happy about in the new school year, though. Max had an amazing idea over the summer, and now he just needed a way to bring it to life. And preferably soon. For once, he was eager to «actually do something» as his father would say. 

Well, okay, to be fair, it wasn’t just his idea. Max was the first one to think about it, but one person doesn’t make a team, so he needed others. Aaron was the right person for the job. That lucky bastard graduated last year and was still living in Derry, which was probably a disappointment for this family but was a perfect chance for Max to get him into his plan. 

And that plan was simple. Max wanted to start a band. 

Yeah, okay, maybe it wasn’t the best idea he’s ever had, but it was definitely worth a try. Aaron is a great singer. Max has been playing the guitar since he was little. He knows that he probably couldn’t make it on his own, which is why he needed others. And two people - that’s not a band and also not a recipe for success. 

Although The Carpenters probably would not agree. 

Aaron was enthusiastic about this new thing and even brought Max some lyrics at the beginning of the summer. Another reason they can work well together - lyrics were never his strong part, while Keat was great at it. And, on the other hand, his friend had issues coming up with melodies and writing music, which was Kepler’s strong suit. 

And so it was decided. They needed just one more thing - one more person. And Max was lucky enough to have the perfect candidate in mind. 

He’s been texting Ethan nonstop for the past three days. No replay. With any other person, Max would have gotten extremely agitated by now, but Ethan was different. His asshole stepfather probably smashed his phone once again. 

So the only option left for Max was waiting. Wood is going to reappear soon enough, he was sure of that. 

His first two periods were very boring - US History and Stats. Both AP, but unlike lately everybody else in his class, Max wasn’t there to get extra credit for college. If it wasn’t for his parents, he wouldn’t even be in any of the advanced classes. And it wasn’t like he was a star student anyway. 

He had some friends in those classes, which made things easier. Max spent the break catching up with Annie, who spend her whole summer with her grandparents on a ranch in Wyoming. Jake and Steve - his two neighbors whom Max had known since they were five - were in his Starts class too. 

- Hey, - Jake tapped him on the shoulder in the middle of the class, reaching forward and speaking quietly so that Mr. Marrow wouldn’t hear him. - You wanna go out for lunch? - one of the perks of being a junior now - they were allowed to have lunch off-campus. Provided that they were back in time for class. 

- Nah, - shrugged Max. - I want to pick up some books from the library. 

- Books? From the library? - he heard a stifled laugh from his friend. - Who are you and what have you done to the real Max? 

- Oh, shut up, - hissed Max at Jake, somewhat trying to focus on what Mr. Marrow was saying about their final exam. - Miss Fleming said we need some old textbooks for our history essay this term. I want to get one that doesn’t have literal blood, spear, tears and who knows what else on it. 

Max wasn’t the one who tried hard but also didn’t want to fail a class and have to retake it next semester. If his plan about a band were a become a reality, he needed all the free time he could get. 

Making his way down to the library, he managed to catch up with a few other people. One nice thing about being back in school - he had an opportunity to talk to people he actually liked. 

Managing to beat the crowd to the library, he got the textbook Miss Fleming specified and headed to the caf to grab some lunch. The food here wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. One more reason to have lunch off-campus. 

Another friend waved at him from the side of the cafeteria, becoming him closer. Another benefit of being friendly with almost everyone - Max always had company for lunch. 

- Hey Sara, - smile Max, sitting down next to the blonde girl and setting his tray down. - Wow, Em, you look great, - he nodded at a girl across the table from him, who now had bright pink hair.

- That’s Jacob, - Sara nodded at the last member of their lunch group. - He’s new. 

- Hey, - he smiled again, - I’m Max. Well, technically William, but nobody calls me that. 

It was at this very moment that he felt something change

Almost like a lightbulb turning on in a dark room, something inside him changed completely. A cold wave traveled up his back, causing him to stir uncomfortably in his seat. Sara was saying something about the tryouts, but Max couldn’t quite focus on her voice, as if there was something else blocking it, going directly to his head. 

He needed to look around. 

Wait… Why

This thought, even though it was rather local, felt almost foreign inside his head. Not really knowing what we were looking for, Max started to look around, trying to find the source of this weird feeling. Nothing - all around him were just familiar faces of his classmates. Upperclassmen occupied most of the tables in the middle, laughing and eating their lunches. Farther behind, Max saw a few unfamiliar faces. They looked younger, so they were probably just freshmen. The first day of High School must be exciting for them.

And that’s when he saw him.

Another unfamiliar guy sitting pretty far away and looking directly at him. Max tried to remember if he knew him - no recollection. For some reason, when he looked directly at this stranger, it was almost like something inside him shifted. Like they were one and the same, while everybody else was different. 

- Max?.. - Sara snapped her fingers in front of his face, causing him to focus and come back to reality. - What’s wrong? 

- I… - just as fast as it appeared, the feeling was now gone. - Yeah, sorry, I got distracted. Thought I saw someone I knew there, - he nodded towards the part of the cafeteria, where we saw the guy.

- Looks like a bunch of freshmen, - shrugged Em. - Maybe we can get some of them into the audition for the play. Mister Newman really wants to get some of the new kids involved, cause so many of us are graduating this year.

And so everything went back to normal as if nothing ever happened. Max glanced at the table where he saw that kid, but he was gone. 

[nick]Max Kepler[/nick][status]shut up and dance[/status][icon]https://i.imgur.com/xYCFceJ.png[/icon][lzname]<lzname><a href="https://nevah.ru/viewtopic.php?id=345#p24262">Макс Кеплер</a>, 18</lzname> <plashka>сияющий, iv</plashka>[/lzname][]Дерри: пока что очередной старшеклассник, но через пару лет будет смотреть с постера на стене какой-нибудь симпатичной девчонки[/]



He felt it. Spencer was perfectly sure the guy felt it.
He stormed out of the canteen, rushed down the hall, took a few turns to get to the stairs and finally to the library... The Library. The sacred place filled with Knowledge. Spencer had a special spot for libraries in his heart. Some of them were huge indeed - take the City Hall Library, for instance; some of them were smaller, like this one. The school library wasn't too spacious - just one hall, a couple of armchairs, a few desks and long rows of bookcases. Years ago this place must've been thriving with kids, desperately looking for helpful information; nowadays the era of technology stripped actual books of their informative value. One had to be a very hardcore nerd to still roam the library, when all you have to do to complete your paper is to literally click a single link to Wikipedia. Spencer, of course, was one of those nerds.
He enjoyed the silence of the place. Spencer naturally enjoyed his time alone, so the empty reading room didn't seem lonely - in fact, it seemed welcoming. A cozy cocoon to think without any potential distractions.
Spencer did exactly that. He still had enough time till the following class, so he collapsed on the armchair, closed his eyes and recovered the imagine of the stranger from his recent memories.
So, this guy was special just like Spencer himself. How... intriguing. What abilities did he possess? Could he communicate via mental signal exchange, like Spencer and Trish could? Or perhaps... was there something else? If Spencer acknowledged the fact of their sole existance (meaning "special people"), what theories could he come up with? Okay, there were at least two possible options, one: they all developed the same skills, which basically were a part of their nature; two: each unique special person was born with their own set of unique abilities. Spencer couldn't test his theories on Trish, considering the fact they were twins, they shared their powers, which was quite logical, but the stranger... Spencer had no genetic relations to him (none he was aware of, anyway), so...
So the boy turned out to be a perfect test subject.
Relaxing his somewhat tensed shoulders, Spencer wondered whether he would be able to enter the guy's mind the same way he did with Trish. They both felt each other's presense, so the chances looked promising.
Spencer spent the rest of the day fighting the temptation to start his experiments right away. No, science is unforgiving for neglect and carelessness. He had to think it through thoroughly.
Upon returning home Spencer wanted to do some research (it's not cyber-stalking if you do it for scientific purposes), but decided best to put the thought aside. If he wanted to use a stranger, someone he knew nothing about, it had to stay this way. The less he knew about the guy, the better for the experiment. He didn't need his name, age nor academic achievements to enter his mind. The only data Spencer regretted not knowing was the stranger's schedule, but then... Was it really an obstacle? The boy would eventually turn up in the canteen during the lunch break, for sure. Special or not, everyone gets hungry.
The young scientist was ready in a couple of days. When The Stranger entered the canteen, he was waiting for him. The same table in the corner (Spencer tried to get as far away from the crowd as possible; usually he managed to stay invisible to other kids). He saw the guy in the doorway; he wasn't alone, just like that day. He might've been popular around here.
Spencer watched as the group joined the queue; teens were queueing for their food, and the moment was perfect. The Stranger was chatting with his friends, totally oblivious. Spencer focused really hard, closed his eyes and formed a coherent thought.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
An ancient proverb showing wisdom of the Navajo tribe.
Spencer closed his eyes, he didn't have to watch The Stranger anymore because he was feeling him again, feeling his presense. All he had to do now was to feel his mind. Damn, it surely seemed much harder than doing it with Trish. With Trish the exchange came naturally, but The Stranger was making Spencer almost grunt with an enormous effort.
He was hot and cold at the same time, as if he was walking through fire and minus-degrees-frost simultaneously. Which, of course, made Spencer uncomfortable, but also happy: it meant he was on the right track. He was pushing somewhere he didn't understand, surrounded by thick void, the void that kept pushing him away, but Spencer could be extremely resilient and persistent whenever he wanted to.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target"... "Thoughts are like arrows... once released, they hit their target"...
"Thoughts are... like arrows... once released... they hit their target"...
"Thoughts... are... like arrows...
There was a bright flash inside Spencer's mind, so bright he was blinded even though his eyes were closed. He stopped breathing for a moment, like a diver underwater, and then - like a diver emerging on the shore - he started breathing again, gasping for air.
He opened his eyes. His glasses slipped down to the very tip of his nose, so Spencer quickly rearranged them and stared at the target. The victim. The test subject. The Stranger.
The Stranger looked confused, suddenly out of touch with his friends, out of their stupid conversation; Spencer triumphantly smiled to himself. He did it. He actually did it. It was hard, almost painful, but Spencer, being a straght-A student, wasn't afraid of hard work. And look at that - he did it.
Too early to celebrate, though. They were only beginning. Spencer knew that next time he would go further, but for now he was too tired, exhausted even. Entering someone's mental territory turned out to be a demanding task. The Stranger was slowly getting back to his normal senses, becoming more and more aware of his surroundings, and Spencer thought it best to flee before they met each other's gaze. He grabbed his bag and stumbled out of the canteen, dreaming of washing his face with ice-cold water.



And so everything went back to normal as if nothing ever happened.

It was just a flash, an inkling of a feeling, nothing more than a light touch, almost accidental.

Max was great at compartmentalizing things he couldn’t understand. Actually, if you think about it, it’s not really that hard, just takes some practice to master. Kepler was unlucky enough to have had enough of that over the last few years with his parents' ugly divorce and even uglier fallout after it. Being able to shove things he couldn’t understand to the deep, dark part of this brain hidden from even Max himself was the only thing that kept him sane over that weird and confusing time.

Sometimes though, during those moments when his mind would wander off to distant places, he would come across some of the thoughts that he decided to hide away. One of them would come up more often than others. A short memory from a long time ago, it was something from his childhood and Max wasn’t one hundred percent sure if it was true or something he once saw in a dream.

His grandmother.

He didn’t know her well at all. She died when Max was six and even before that when his family still lived in Boston, he would only see her once or twice a year and mostly during the holidays. As far as Kepler knew, his dad had a big falling out with his mother a few years before Max was born. His older sisters would sometimes talk about her, but father didn’t like that and would always get annoyed by that.

There was one day that Max remembered well though. It was Christmas Eve, he was probably around five years old. For some reason, his grandmother was invited over for family dinner. Maybe his dad had a short period of a good relationship with his mother. Max didn’t care then and couldn’t really care less now.

She was strange. Everything about her was odd, different from everybody else as if she was a piece of a puzzle from a different box that accidentally got into the wrong set. Max remembered being in their living room, playing with a new toy guitar that his parents got him for Christmas. He was sitting down on the floor close by their Christmas tree playing with his gift and wondering why his father couldn’t give him one of those guitars that he had in his office. They sounded so much better than this plastic parody of a musical instrument.

She entered the room and everything changed. Max looked up at her and his grandmother smiled warmly and then suddenly looked at him with a curious expression on her face. She came closer and pulled up a chair from a table to sit down next to the boy.

- I thought I was the only one in this family, - her voice was warm and soft like honey.

Max, being a five-year-old child, couldn’t understand what she was talking about.

- Daddy plays the guitar too, - he said thinking that this warm woman was talking about his new toy. - But his are better. I don’t like this one, - Max frowned and then looked up at the woman.

This was the moment. The exact moment something happened, something odd and unexplainable, and even as a small child Max understood that he needed to keep quiet about it. He looked into the eyes of his grandmother - they were the same shade of light blue just like his, this sheer colour which was almost transparent - and felt as if she was holding his hand even though he was not touching him.

Max had to words to describe it then. He still didn’t have the words to do so now. Up to this point, he thought that it was just a fragment of his imagination. Kids always imagine things. It’s normal. Their free and endless imagination is probably the best part of being a kid. With it, you can turn a boring backyard of your parents' house into a fantastical landscape filled with mythical creatures.

It was probably just a coincidence.

Yeah, sure, nothing more.

Just an odd coincidence…


Max went on with his life. Everything was normal. Ethan texted him a few days later from his sister's phone saying that his was broken. Classic. Max called him an asshole for making him worried and then pitched his idea about the band. Ethan agreed. Of course, he agreed.

And so the life went on. Nothing else strange to report, thank you very much.

Until it happened again. Again. In the same place. Again. Just like the last time. Again. Even stronger this time. Again. Cutting right into him like a blade. Again. Separating him from everybody else around.


- Thoughts are like arrows, - his lips moved as if by themselves. - Once released, they hit their target.

He had no idea where this came from. No freaking clue.

- What? - asked Jacob, raising one eyebrow. He was just talking about this new bar in downtown Derry suggesting it as a possible spot to perform. - Are you okay?

Max didn’t hear that. He couldn’t hear that. It was as if the whole world was suddenly filled with static and the only thing that could make it thorough was that thought.

- Thoughts are like arrows, - he whispered with just his lips, barely audible. - Like arrows.

What was that saying?

Once is happenstance.
Twice is a coincidence.
Three times is enemy action.

Will there be a third time?

Max jumped up from his seat looking around the cafeteria. What was he looking for? He had no clue. He was just looking for something. Something odd, something out of place, something different.

Like his grandmother. Like her eyes. Like her warmth. Like her voice that sounded inside his head when he was a child playing with a new toy. Like her presence which made everybody look at her in awe. Like her soft touch on top of his head when she was trying to tame his hair.

Something. There had to be something!

- Well, I guess we lost Max, - said Jake laughing. - I was wondering when this one is gonna lose this mind.

Max didn’t want to wait for the third time. He tried to avoid the cafeteria as much as possible, using his benefit of being a junior to have lunch off-campus. Jake had a car which his parents got him just at the end of summer, so they had no problem getting places. Max kept saying something about the fact that the food they served them at school sucked, which was partly true but not the only reason he didn’t want to spend time in the cafeteria.

During class, he kept looking around trying to find the source of his distress. Nothing. Another try. Still nothing. One more. Nothing.

September come and went and it was October now. Leaves started to turn yellow, but the weather was still pretty good outside. Slowly, things went back to normal. Not being able to find any more evidence, Max did what he does best. He shoved it to the back of his mind and moved on.

October meant homecoming. It wasn’t a big deal here, but they still had to attend a school-wide assembly. The dance was scheduled for later that week. Max, of course, was going. Not because he had a date he wanted to impress but because his friends were going.

Assembly was first though. In other schools, they had proper pep rallies, which were actually fun, but at Derry High they had to stuff themselves into a gym with no proper ventilation and listen to the principal talk about the same bullshit every year.

- Do not wake me up if I fall asleep, - he said to Sara, who was sitting next to him, leaning back to the wall. They were sitting at the very back of one of the sections. - Another year with an hour of the most boring shit you can ever imagine. Yay, - he imitated being excited and, while leaning back, closed his eyes.

And here was the third time.

Once again.

[nick]Max Kepler[/nick][status]shut up and dance[/status][icon]https://i.imgur.com/xYCFceJ.png[/icon][lzname]<lzname><a href="https://nevah.ru/viewtopic.php?id=345#p24262">Макс Кеплер</a>, 18</lzname> <plashka>сияющий, iv</plashka>[/lzname][]Дерри: пока что очередной старшеклассник, но через пару лет будет смотреть с постера на стене какой-нибудь симпатичной девчонки[/]



Spencer was unbelievably excited. An ambitious young mind, he enjoyed achieving his set goals - naturally - but this one felt different. He managed to get it working twice; he should surely manage to keep going, to send more focused signals, slowly starting with words like he just did, but later he could potentially practice with images, sensations, feelings, emotions... anythinig a human brain can produce, really. The successful experience opened an entirely new area of studies. The area Spencer was eager to explore.
However, it turned out to be more difficult than he expected. Not because of possible scientific failures; no. His primary failure was The Stranger. How greatly he'd underestimated him. Come to think of it, lab rats are good test subjects because they possess no self-awareness, no self-consciousness, they never struggle. They're animals. The Stranger was a human being, a creature with his own mind and personality. Of course he had to struggle... what an idiot! Spencer never meant any harm. All for the sake of science. Progress requires sacrifices. Best medical innovations were once tested on someone. Everything our humankind enjoys nowadays had gone through a lot of cruel tests and experiments. Is it cynical? Yes. Is it also necessary? Yes. Spencer felt sorry for those whose mind couldn't comprehend the absolutely obvious idea.
Anyways, The Stranger could be as well renamed into The Coward, because he disappeared. The frustration boiling in Spencer's veins seemed overwhelming. He was so close! So close - and, of course, the guy got scared of unrequested (and likely unwelcomed) thoughts in his head, so he ran away! At first Spencer didn't worry too much; he kept patiently waiting in the canteen, days after days. The Stranger could be sick at home. He could be late for lunch. He could...
Finally Spencer had to admit his experiment had ceased before he'd even properly started. He scolded himself now for being too eager, for he only scared the boy away with such a violent intrusion. He should've taken more time, perhaps... Occasionally he still met The Stranger at school, randomly, very quickly, while they both were on their ways to classrooms, for example, but these accidental meetings weren't enough to continue the experiment; too little time, too much haste. No good.
Spencer got almost desperate. He wanted to stalk the boy a bit, find out where he lived, maybe, but these radical measures sounded like a lot of trouble. Invading private property could be far more dangerous than invading someone's mind.
So Spencer did the only rational thing he could: he waited. The right moment would come, he just needed to wait. And he was correct in his strategy; he knew it when he learned about an upcoming school assembly. The assembly promised to be the perfect place. Everyone was gathering in the same location; The Stranger was supposed to come, too. The huge crowd would create a few obstacles, though, yet the young scientist felt optimistic. His optimism made poor Trish worried; they shared a dream like they'd done dozens of times before, and she immediately realized there was something going on with her twin brother. Something was occupying his mind, and after some bugging Spencer gave up and told her the truth. Trish thought he was insane; maybe, rightfully so, but Spencer ignored her. So many great people were called all sorts of names by their contemporaries, it couldn't bother him at all.
The assembly day came, and Spencer was more ready than ever. He made sure to drink enough coffee to give himself a decent energy boost. He knew he would need it; finding one specific person in a sea of people wouldn't be simple, but difficulties would never stop him from doing what he had to. He put on comfortable clothes, took a couple of extra books out of his bag to make it lighter. When he joined long lines of students slowly taking seats, he was prepared.
He closed his eyes and focused, trying to locate the person he required. It took a lot of concentration; the noise, the voices - everything was distracting, but he beat the challenge: a spark after a spark, he began to feel the same familiar sensation, a glow coming from another being. The Stranger tried to get lost among his peers, but nothing could shut down the impulse he was radiating. He was unique. Finding him was just a matter of time.
Now Spencer had to focus harder. The Navajo phrasing, identical to the one he'd previously used:
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
Though the general commotion around made it harder to form an isolated signal, The Stranger's mind was luckily relaxed. He wasn't talking to anyone, in fact, he was almost asleep, vulnerable and exposed, and Spencer used the full force of his abilities to hit his target with a mighty blow.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
Spencer's body started to slightly shake, almost vibrate, as if his very mind was making physical efforts. Fingers automatically clenched into fists, lips pressed together.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
His head was spinning and aching at the same time, a horrible mix of pain and fatigue, yet he didn't even hesitate. It felt like a roller-coaster ride, like he was about to throw up, like running a fever.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
His muscles went into small jerking convulsions.
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target".
And then Spencer knew something.
The boy wasn't a stranger anymore. His name was Max. He was seventeen and was going to turn eighteen next autumn. And there was music, a lot of music.
Spencer learned it the same way one learns information by reading a passage from a book, only he didn't see any texts nor did he see images or hear sounds; he just knew it all, stated common facts, along with facts like "the sky is blue" and "we need to breathe to survive".
Speaking of. Spencer's lungs suddenly ran out of oxygen. He choked and opened his eyes, gasping for air. Tears formed on his eyelashes, and he did his best to get himself together, get control over his body again. The last thing he wanted now was to make a fuss.
- Gosh, are you okay? - a female voice came from his left side. Spencer turned his head; he was still coughing, but quickly calmed his breathing. There was a girl with long black hair and an extremely worried look on her round face.
- Yeah, - he hurriedly responded, - I'm fine.
- Are you sure? Your nose is bleeding... 
"What?" - Spencer looked down and realized the girl was right. He had a few red spots on his T-shirt. Raising his hand, Spencer touched his nose; it didn't hurt, but he felt something liquid under his fingertips. Blood.
- Hold on, I'll - I'll give you a tissue...
- No need, - Spencer shook his head and regretted it straight away; his head was still spinning, - I'm really okay. You shouldn't worry.
The girl's face told him she worried anyway, but he ignored her. He had no interest in this girl whatsoever. But the boy... Max... Spencer stared in the direction of the glowing feeling and saw a few panicking teens. The Stranger had blood on his face, too.
It probably looked creepy, but Spencer couldn't care less; he smiled at the sight.
He did it. He touched his mind, he touched his very core.
The girl was trying to draw his attention, but Spencer kept staring at Max and his worried friends, and for a second he looked back right at him. A short moment, but it lasted forever.
Spencer stood up, grabbed his bag and walked out of the hall. He was feeling much better now, a slight headache was inevitably there, but his legs were firm and he walked in a steady pace. Apparently, entering someone's mind came at a price, which made sense: they were like two space rocks flying towards each other at the speed of light, and when they touched - bang. An explosion. That's what it felt like. An explosion similar to the one that had created the Universe.
Spencer walked into the bathroom and washed the blood away. Despite the discomfort, he couldn't stop smiling. He was nailing it.



And here was the third time.

Once again.

Even though it felt very different this time, Max was absolutely sure that it had been just a continuation of whatever weirdness had been happening to him before. For a few long seconds, he chocked up as if all oxygen was suddenly sucked out from the room. It came on as a massive wave - crashing everything in its path, so sudden and intense, but also fast, letting him go, leaving behind a nasty aftertaste on his lips and a single thought in his head.

Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they hit their target.

Wasn’t it the same phrase as before?

There was something else new this time - Max was sure he was not the only one who felt this sudden apparition. He felt someone else in it too, he was sure he was not alone in it. Someone, another person experienced the same and maybe even stronger. Kepler felt as if there was a rope stretched in between him and this stranger and the other person was pulling on it much stronger than Max himself.

Running out of the assembly hall, Max was struggling to calm down his mind. It is this place, this building, this land that was doing it to him? How was it possible that it had waited until his senior year to present itself to him? And the other person, that other guy at the other end of the rope… Why was he affected as well? Did he do something to get himself into it or was he just like Max - an innocent bystander who just so happened to get dragged into whatever this was?

There were so many questions and absolutely zero answers.

For a few days after that eventful assembly, Max wrestled with a desire to tell someone, one of his friends perhaps, just someone, anyone really, but he was faced with another realization. This could only go two ways. The first option - someone can actually believe him and get dragged into it as well, another helpless victim. Second - he could end up being labelled a lunatic. Kepler wasn’t sure which option he liked less. He really didn’t want to find himself in the middle of something much bigger than him. He’d seen enough movies to know that it was a bad idea, which can only lead him down a path of even more bad ideas.

And so he kept quiet. Avoided crowds as much as possible and tried to persuade his friends to hand out more outside of school saying that he just couldn’t wait to get out of this place. In mid-November, he came down with a nasty case of the flu and had to stay home for almost two weeks until his doctor gave him an all-clear to go back to classes. It was a much-needed break.

Days went on as he did his best to avoid spending too much time in crowds and before they all knew it, the winter break arrived.

Only when he was at home, Kepler managed to get rid of this feeling of someone staring at him, breathing down his neck, invading his personal space and just being around all the time. How he was certain - whatever this was, it was connected to the school. Was this place cursed and he was the only person who could feel it? Was it because something terrible happened there once and the echoes of a tragedy now lingered, stayed behind to influence him? Or was it all just inside his head?

With no clear course of action in front of him, Max just kept going. What else was there to do? After all, he only had a few months of his senior year left and there was no point starting something he knew he would not be able to finish.

Winter break was done soon enough. Max had spent most of it with Aaron and Ethan, mostly trying to make sure these two didn’t kill each other while he had his back turned. It was getting clearer and clearer that his bandmates were not the best match. Max automatically took up an all too well-known role of a mediator and since it was now occupying most of his mental capacity, any thought about previously experienced weirdness went away.

Until the end of their break of course.

«It» didn’t make him wait for too long. «It» was back as soon as he walked through the front door. «It» had been waiting for him to return with an unnatural amount of patience.

«It» went right through him as soon as he felt it. Like an arrow.

Now Max was certain. He was losing his mind.

He was lost in a crowd in the hallway after the end of his classes, trying to make way to the door, trying to escape «it» when he bumped into someone.

- Oh, sorry, - he said automatically and then looked at the person standing next to him.

It took him a couple of seconds to realize that it was the same kid again. Another victim of this place, a hint of recognition flashed across his pale eyes. Max couldn’t explain how, but he knew that they were thinking about the same thing. He felt it with his skin. The same rope was now again stretched between them, pulling them closer.

- Do you?.. - he started quietly before quickly shutting his mouth. No. He shouldn’t invite even more of it now. - Never mind, sorry, - he said again quickly and continued to make his way to the exit, desperately trying to ignore an all too familiar feeling of a burning hole through the back of his head.

It was particularly strong right now.

[nick]Max Kepler[/nick][status]shut up and dance[/status][icon]https://i.imgur.com/xYCFceJ.png[/icon][lzname]<lzname><a href="https://nevah.ru/viewtopic.php?id=345#p24262">Макс Кеплер</a>, 18</lzname> <plashka>сияющий, iv</plashka>[/lzname][]Дерри: пока что очередной старшеклассник, но через пару лет будет смотреть с постера на стене какой-нибудь симпатичной девчонки[/]



Spencer felt amazing. He felt victorious. He felt like he was capable of anything, everything; he was finally getting aware of the powers he possessed and learning to use it.
It didn't bother him that no one else knew about his fascinating discovery; Spencer was selfish, that's right, but he wasn't vain. He never asked for recognition or appreciation. He literally couldn't care less. He didn't believe in the power of glory but he truly believed in the power of science.
Max, on the contrary, hardly believed in any of that, judging by the way he did his best to avoid spending time at school. Spencer deeply regretted they weren't in the same class; this way he would follow Max like a shadow, but their age difference became an obstacle here. Anyway, after their last connection Spencer felt more relaxed - or, better said, he felt more confident and enjoyed this calm confidence, which was clearly a sign he was doing everything correctly. He knew Max would never get away from him, however hard he tried - and oh, did this poor boy try!..
The fool.
Why on earth would you run from something you can embrace, control and use at your own volition? Why are people so scared of exploring the unknown? Spencer noticed it a long time ago: people weren't really eager to learn new things. School, work, life experiences... it seemed like all people wanted was to sit tight in their little cramped worlds, ignoring whatever didn't fit in their perfect realities they had created for themselves. Fear blocked their curiosity. They were afraid of pain. Afraid of stress. Fools, all of them! There is no gain if there is no pain! It's a natural law of evolution!
As if they cared, really.
So, Spencer obviously disapproved of Max's reluctance. Regardless of his struggles, Max was so inevitably drawn to him, drawn to Spencer the same way Spencer was drawn to him. There was no denying that.
When one day they almost bumped into each other in the hallway, Spencer saw it in Max's eyes. Heard it in his trembling voice. He didn't have the time to think over a proper response - the confused boy ran away so fast Spencer could only watch him disappear in the crowd. The occurance confirmed his idea: yes, from now on they were somehow connected. Their next step would be to realise how exactly this connection could work to their mutual benefit.
But first damned Max had to stop freaking out this much.
Spencer started thinking about that, too. Was there a way to maybe show Max that the power he came across was... benevolent? He spent the rest of the day absorbed by these thoughts and when he finally retired to bed, the dream he saw turned into a surprise.
The school. The place so familiar to him Spencer was actually glad to be there. During the day school was always occupied by other students, noisy, constantly laughing and chatting, but here, inside the dream, the hallways were completely empty, deserted. The perfect silence remained, disturbed only by Spencer's footsteps. Surreally calm atmosphere, which could only happen in a dream.
He started aimlessly walking towards the stairs, when a sudden acute flash made him shiver. Spencer immediately knew he wasn't alone there.
Which was also fine. He hadn't seen Trish for a while and could use some company. Strange though... Why school? Trish had no particular connection to this place. She was still in Portland, studying at her all-girls gymnasium.
Spencer spotted another person's figure at the far end of the hall and sped up his approch.
- Trish? What are you doing here? - he called for his sister and froze, looking at the confused face which didn't belong to Patricia. - Oh no, you're not Trish, - Spencer grinned, - you're Max.
It all made sense: the school, the hallway... How strong must their connection be to allow this? Did he finally enter someone's mind for real? Fully, breaking all the barriers in between?
How great must this power shine... His power. Their power. No - their powers combined.
- Well, hello, - Spencer leaned against the wall staring right at Max. - I find it actually convenient that we met here. Here we can talk without risks of being interrupted.
He sighed and braced for whatever was coming next. He had to be patient - patience is a virtue. In scientific circles it definitely is. Max was probably going to throw a thousand questions at him - and he had to give him some understanding of whatever was going on if he wanted to continue the experiment. He needed Max on his side, so being hostile surely wouldn't help.
- Ask away, - Spencer gestured, a waving motion with his hand, - but be quick, I still have plans for you and we might not have a lot of time. Deep sleep phase lasts only for up to two hours.


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