I Should've Known
“You have landed yourself in quite a mess, Father,” Lord Brahma said to Him. They were sitting in God the Father’s private chamber, discussing Ryan.
“I know, my Lord,” God the Father said with a sigh. “I had never imagined that things would get so out of hand. I had St. Peter make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that nothing of this sort happened, and yet, here we are, in this situation.”
“What do you intend to do now?”
“I have absolutely no clue. I think that the latest arrangements should suffice, thanks to You. But I ask of You one last thing.”
“What is it, Father?”
“Could you please ‘handle’ the Council? I mean, they were never in agreement of giving me Pondera Custodis’ care. You overrode their decision; and now I think that their apprehension has grown.”
“Father, I have full faith in you, and as far as the Council is concerned, I assure you it won’t be a problem.”
“Thank you, dear Lord.”
* * *
“Mark?” Scott asked him, a day after the conversation in the rec-area.
“What do you think about Ryan’s situation?”
Mark turned around from where he was standing and looked across the room to his boyfriend. Scott was on his bed, his Biology notebook lying facedown on his bare chest.
“What about that situation?” Mark sighed.
“Well, doesn’t it bother you that he has so much in him?” Scott asked hesitantly.
Mark’s face clouded for a few seconds, as though in deep thought. “You’re right, babe; it does worry me. But what concerns me is the responsibility of those powers and not the amount of power.”
Mark rolled his eyes. “Scott, he is just a teenager, like us. Having such a weight on your shoulders is bound to catch up on you sooner or later. Nobody can, or should, blame Ryan if he screws up something. It is in his nature to make a bad judgment call; it is in us as well. Just think how much more taxing it would be on him. He hasn’t had a great childhood and then when he found love, it was almost taken away from him. Do you think he is in a position to be whatever he is?”
Scott gaped at the boy in front of him. Mark burst out laughing. “What? Just because I act like a jerk in front of everyone doesn’t mean that I do not understand anything.”
Scott still had a stunned expression on his face. He had never seen this side of Mark. The level of understanding and maturity Mark had just shown, could have never been gauged by his mannerisms. It was rather in Scott’s nature to show such depth in his talk.
While Scott was mulling over this, Mark had slowly and quietly reached the foot of Scott’s bed. Reaching down, he sensually ran the tip of his fingers over Scott’s leg, eliciting a moan from the boy.
Mark removed his flip-flops and climbed into the bed, covering Scott like a blanket. He removed the Biology notebook from between them and tossed it aside. Leaning down to kiss Scott’s neck, he said, “Let’s forget about Ryan for now. I can think of a thousand other things that I’d rather do with you right now than talk about him.”
* * *
“Did that pestering bitch talk to you again?”
“No Josh, she didn’t. And she’s not a bitch, what has gotten into you?”
“Nothing, she just pisses me off with her trying to mother you.”
“It is fine, really. You should cool down.”
The door to their room flung open and Jessica came inside. She gave a contemptuous look towards Josh and turned towards Ryan. “Did you try contacting Father again?”
Ryan shook his head and it infuriated Jessica even more. “God Dammit, Ryan, for a person who calls himself a God, you’re doing one helluva job showing it. Do you even carry an ounce of sense in that pea brain of yours?”
“That’s enough, Jessica,” Josh hissed. “I have had it with you trying to smother Ryan. Why don’t you just back off a little?”
“You pretty much know why I can’t, Josh, so don’t try to act as if you don’t,” she retorted and then turned back to Ryan. Speaking in a more controlled tone she continued, “Ryan, try again, hon, if not for my sake, try for the sake of those millions of people out there.”
Ryan nodded and closed his eyes. He concentrated on trying to contact anyone from Heaven, but received no response. “I’m still not getting any answer, Jess.”
“He’ll tell you once he hears anything, Jessica. Till then, please leave us in peace,” Josh muttered.
“Fine, and Ryan, you keep trying until you get a response.” She walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
“Josh, I know you are not comfortable with the way Jess is acting right now, but can you at least try and be a little more civil with my best friend?”
“Comfortable? That is putting it a bit mildly! If I had it my way, I would never let her come near you.”
“What is wrong with you? I mean, you were closer to her than I was. Ever since you got back from the hospital, you have been a bit standoffish with her. And her attitude towards you has also changed.” Ryan paused for a breath and continued, “Are you both hiding something here?”
“Absolutely not,” Josh said, a little forcefully. “Why would I hide anything from you? I just don’t like the way she hassles you; it grates on my nerves.”
“Whatever,” Ryan said, not convinced.
* * *
The next day at school was a living hell for Ryan. He was not able to concentrate in any of his classes and attracted a lot of ire from his teachers. Josh was not a lot of help either as most of the classes they shared were after lunch. For the ones before lunch, Josh had fallen asleep in History, and in English Lit, he was unusually quiet.
The class before lunch, Chemistry, seemed to drag on forever for Ryan. Scott was in this class with him, but was busy taking notes. Ryan, though, was lost in his thoughts, trying in vain to contact Heaven. He didn’t even hear the bell ring, and when Scott nudged him, the class was almost empty.
“What’s the matter, dude? You look like something’s eating you from inside.”
“Huh? Nothing’s wrong. Why do you think there is?” Ryan asked.
“Well, for one, your face is all scrunched up as if you’re about to, you know…” Scott trailed off. “Second, you have been staring into nothing the entire class and last, you’re not rushing out of the classroom to meet your man for lunch. Still say nothing’s bothering you?”
Ryan sighed. It was really hard to keep anything from either Scott or Mark. While the latter would get secrets out in the open through his goofy attitude, the former would get people around him to open up through his perceptiveness.
“It’s just that I feel weighed down by everything,” Ryan said carefully, trying not to say too much. “Everyone expects something from me and I don’t know if I can keep up with it or not.”
“Ry, mate, you’re just seventeen. If someone expects you to do wonders at this age, he is off of his rockers. We are just not meant to save the world at this age, and if we are expected to do that, we’ll just end up fucking it up and nothing else.”
Ryan looked up at Scott. Somehow, what he had just said made him feel as if Scott knew about his gift. Had he slipped and said something? Ryan put that thought aside, thinking that it was impossible. He had been careful about it all along. Only two other people knew about his powers and none of them would tell anyone else.
“There you go again. Earth to Ryan. Come in. Earth to Ryan. Is anybody there?”
“C’mon you jerk, let’s go and get some lunch,” Ryan said, laughing at Scott’s antics.
They left the classroom and made their way towards the cafeteria. The school’s cafeteria was huge and had a variety of items on the menu. Unlike other schools, Newford High paid great attention to what it was feeding its students and hence, it had the best cooking staff at its service. The students were quite happy with the food the school provided and actually praised it, much to the surprise of their parents.
Josh joined them on the way and with a gesture that was visible only to Scott, asked for some privacy with Ryan. Nodding, Scott made some excuse about forgetting a notebook in the classroom and left the couple alone. Ryan gave Scott’s retreating form a puzzled look but Josh pulled him towards himself.
“Ryan, how is your day going till now?” he asked him, continuing to walk towards the cafeteria.
“Pathetic…I was unable to concentrate in any of my classes and got crap from the teachers because of that. Add that to the fact that I can’t contact Heaven and that the shit the world is in at the moment is all because of me, I’m a big mess right now.”
“I know you really feel bad about the fiasco in Asia. If I were you, I’d think about using the Force of Balance.”
“How in the living daylights do you know about The Libramen? I never told anyone about it, not even you or Jess!” Ryan exclaimed, astonished at this revelation.
“I was about to tell you in English Lit, but Jessica was there so I couldn’t. When I fell asleep in History, St. Peter contacted me…”
“Wait a minute. I was there right next to you. Why would St. Peter contact you and not me?” Ryan asked.
“That is because Heaven’s Communication Centre has been hacked and all links with you have been snapped. It is for the same reason that you weren’t able to reach anyone for the past two days. Somehow they were able to establish a link and since I was the nearest to you at that instant, he contacted me.”
“Oh okay, so what did he tell you?” Ryan asked.
“He told me to tell you that you shouldn’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong. The situation in Asia can be solved if you use The Libramen to balance the good you did and the bad that is happening.”
“Are you sure he said that?” Ryan was hesitant. He knew that using the Force was something that had to be done with a lot of thought. The Libramen was the supreme force in the universe and if he used it recklessly, it could result in a devastation that would be nothing in comparison to what the atom bombs did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“Absolutely, if you use the Force of Balance, everything would return to normal…”
“Don’t even think about it, Ryan,” Jessica said from behind them. She had just exited the girl’s washroom, and was en route to the cafeteria and had overheard the entire conversation. “Haven’t you learnt already that if you use your powers before you have a better understanding of them it would result in a catastrophe?”
“Jessica, St. Peter contacted me himself,” Josh countered.
“Ryan,” Jessica continued, ignoring Josh. “Has Father contacted you since then?”
“No, He hasn’t,” Ryan replied.
“Then you have no reason to use any of your powers until He contacts you to do so. And as far as St. Peter is concerned, I think if he wants you to use your powers, he should contact you personally.”
“But he has contacted Josh…” Ryan stated but Jessica cut him off.
“Yes, but I would prefer if he contacted you. Now, promise me that you won’t use your powers anymore until you hear from Father.”
“I promise,” Ryan said after a few minutes of silence, during which they had reached the cafeteria.
* * *
“Great, I’ll see you later!” Jessica shouted back. The Drama Club’s meeting had just ended and she was returning to her dorm. These meetings were held after school and usually continued till late in the evening. It was almost approaching dinnertime and Jessica hurried towards her dorm’s dining hall.
Stepping out of the deserted school building, she wrapped her sweater around her, trying to ward off the chilly wind. It was still early for winter to be setting in, but the recent rains had caused the temperature to drop.
Jessica never liked to roam in the school grounds after dark and it was her misfortune that Stacy, the Drama Club’s President had to choose this hour for the meeting. The bitch was the president of two other clubs and gave precedence to them and hence, she scheduled the timing for the club’s meeting at this ungodly hour.
Cursing under her breath, for it could have been her sitting on the president’s chair, she increased her pace. She had also been running for the president’s position, but as luck would have it, there was a tie in the final votes. The teacher selected to cast the tie-breaking vote had never been in Jessica’s list of favorite teachers and that teacher knew that fact. In the end, it had been that vote that had made all the difference.
The hair on the back of Jessica’s neck stood up and goose bumps appeared on her skin. She felt someone following her and stopped just in time to hear a figure duck behind a tree. Her legs shaking, she waited for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and calming herself.
“You can come out, now. I know you’re there, so there’s no point in hiding,” she said, her back still towards the tree behind which the unknown figure was hiding.
“You were always an insightful whore, you know that?” a voice said from behind her.
Jessica laughed. “I know, but I failed to notice your true intentions until it was too late. I should’ve known that it was you the whole time.”
“Well, as you just said, it is too late now.”
“I still stopped your plans, didn’t I?” Jessica retorted. “And I will continue to do so…”
“Not for long, babe, not for long.” The figure raised his hands and a bright red light streaked from its tip and struck Jessica in the square of her back. In the still of the night, Jessica’s scream pierced the silence like a sharp double-edged sword.