I woke a few hours later with a throbbing head and a sore neck. I guess Caitlin really did a number on me, and I knew it was going to take a few more hours of sleep to fully recover from it.
It was when I finally sat up I noticed I was not at home anymore.
I wasn’t really surprised to see my stuff sitting in the corner by the door, but everything seemed all – I don’t know – wrong in a sense. The walls were the colour of water on a clear day instead of sunshine yellow, whereas the roof was a sky blue compared to the snow white of the one back at home.
The lights were on, which was an annoyance. I can’t sleep with lights on, especially at three in the morning (which is what the clock on the nightstand said). I looked at the roof a little more closely, and noticed the only decoration in the room was the moon and stars beside the skylight, organized to look suspiciously like the Big and Little Dipper. A full moon shone brightly through the skylight, despite the light pollution.
Looking around the actual room, now that I was half awake, I started noticing details: like how the blankets surrounding me matched the only piece of carpet on the floor, and that there was an open book on the desk a few feet away from the bed and a picture of a guy and a girl was propped up. Curious to see what the open book said, I got out of bed, and walked over to it.
I noticed more things as I walked, like a bookshelf sat on the opposite wall of the desk, and how it was cluttered with random artifacts – like scrolls and Grecian vases. The room was a mess, but it was cozy.
I stopped in front of a mirror, which was beside the desk. I was in totally different clothes than what I was in before. They definitely belonged to a guy (as I was almost drowning in them), but the grey sweats fit me if I tied the string tight enough. The white T-shirt was too big for me, since the shoulder seams were almost at my elbows. I was barefooted.
I tripped over something, because I wasn’t paying attention as I walked. I’m easily distracted, and I guess I was shallow enough that my reflection in the glass served as one. I hissed at the sudden pain in my foot, got back up, muttered about someone not cleaning their room, and continued to the desk.
I pulled out the chair, reading the hand-written notes in the notebook. One entry said,
I guess I’m not the only one who sees things the way I do. Theresa says it’s because of stress, but I think it’s because I spent a little time at Camp Half-Blood. Percy says it’s because of battling Cronus, I can see things.
I’ve been noticing things I shouldn’t have since I was a little boy. I was only two years old when I said, “Look, Mommy, the sky’s been ripped open!” She wouldn’t believe me, but years later, watching that one episode of Digimon, I saw the same thing happening on screen. Tai and the others just beat VenomMyotismon. The sky was ripped open. I remembered how Mom assured me it wasn’t ripped that day I saw the sky torn. I knew I wasn’t crazy. I knew I saw the Digiworld that day.
I think I wasn’t supposed to be a member of the international community of Digidestined, but instead, myth-vanquishers. I almost wished I was in the Digiworld. Even though Cronus’s attacks aren’t that frequent, I still see him destroy another innocent life behind my eyelids. Percy says I’m seeing the same dreams demigods get. But I’m only mortal.
I don’t think anyone has any answers. Even Persephone seems baffled. How should I be getting demigod dreams instead of the regular PTSD nightmares? After school on Monday, I’m heading to the Underworld to see if Morpheus knows a thing or two about what I’m experiencing.
Now, Colbie’s here, and I think she’s going to be pissed off when she wakes. She didn’t think I was real, that any of us chosen ones were real. I can’t say I blame her. I didn’t think mythology was real until I saw Agnon for the first time. Hermes rescued me.
She knew, though. She’s been going to Camp Half-Blood every summer since the sixth grade. She’s besties with several demigods. Her brother can see the future. If I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t find it hard to believe I was real.
Judging by the scuffle outside, I’d say things are getting heated between Archie and Neil. Better break up the fight between them before someone gets hurt.
“Find it strange that a guy keeps a diary in a notebook?” a guy’s voice called. Startled from my thoughts, I whirled around and whacked the same injured foot against the desk chair’s wheel axles.
And I forgot why I was about to curse in the first place.
It was the same guy I saw on the chess board that bartered with Cronus shrewdly. Instead of the ancient armor, he was dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt, and sock feet. He watched me with an almost tired expression on his face.
“Let alone keep it open,” I replied. “Why are you standing on your balcony, anyway?”
“Nice night,” he offered. He was gorgeous against the night sky, and with open patio doors frame by white curtains so thin I could see through them.
I walked over to join him on the balcony. The slight October wind nipped at my exposed skin, and it made me shiver.
“You cold? I would think spending most of your life in North Dakota would make you nearly invincible to the cold,” he joked. He smiled slightly, a delicate curl of the mouth. Despite his obviousness, he seemed to be really shy.
“No. The whole summer was too warm for me. Do you think you could handle a hundred degree weather from May to September?” I snapped tiredly. I yawned right after.
“So, how are you feeling?” he asked. He was all serious again.
“Sore, tired, ticked off,” I answered. “Other than that, the usual.”
“You want to elaborate by that?” he asked. He met my gaze. His dark brown eyes were sad, yet very tired. They looked almost ancient.
“No. I don’t think I can put into words about how I ended up this way,” I said. “Besides that, I want a couple questions answered.”
“You’re not the first one to demand answers.” He smiled again, but it was sad more than anything. He put his hand on my shoulder, his fingers just resting where the obvious scar would be. “I still want answers for everything.”
“I want to know your name, and whether or not you can explain why Cronus is stalking me,” I pushed, shrugging off his hand as well as ignoring what he said.
He shook his head as his smile faded. He walked me back into the room, and shut the patio doors. “I’m Jay. You thought I wasn’t real, remember?” he said after a defeated sigh.
I almost went into shock. Caitlin was right after all. Jay was real. He was standing right in front of me.
Something deep down inside moved, like it recognized Jay. A blurry, bright memory started surfacing. Before I could place his face in it, it avoided me entirely.
After a minute of wondering what that was all about, I decided to keep asking him.
“Like I said before, I want to know if you can explain anything about Cronus stalking me,” I continued. “Can you?”
Jay shrugged. “Prophecy, as far as I know. Either that, or he’s going to try to use you against us.”
“Prophecy? What’s that all ab–”
“Not tonight. Please? You said only a couple things.” Jay shoved his pointer finger in my face, looking completely exhausted.
“Maybe you should stay here,” I suggested, complying with what he wanted. “I could mo–”
“I want you to stay here,” he said. “It’s my room. You should be safe.”
“What about y–”
“Don’t worry about me. You should probably go back to bed. You might feel better in the morning.” Jay’s eyes were pleading with me.
“No buts, now, get going.” He sounded sad as he spun me around and guided me back to where I woke up, like he already lost someone.
I know for a fact, it wasn’t me. He wouldn’t lose me.
Why? To put it lightly, I knew we were going to get along in some weird way the minute I laid eyes on him.
Actually, the moment Jay shut the lights for me, I figured we were meant to be.