After the meeting Ava returned to her old place in the cafe. She had not expected anything big or grand, but returning to this old place with this new and exciting knowledge… Well, it seemed somewhat of a letdown. And it was hard to keep to herself.
Looking at Akira, working hard as usual, did he know about the missing mind-manipulator? No, there he was, making drinks, cracking jokes, talking loud with regulars. And her?
“You’re oddly quiet today, Ava,” Akira commented as he reached over her head for another box of sugars.
“How did that talk with your friend go?”
“It went well.”
She wanted to say something more, perhaps, “How was your weekend?” but by the time she thought of it, he had already turned away to take another customer’s order. Perhaps this was for the best. Akira was simply a coworker. Nothing more. Not someone she could confide in.
When the bustling had somewhat died down and both of them could relax for a bit, there came a strange thump.
At first Ava wasn’t sure if she had heard right. And then it came again, so she looked up and asked, “Did you hear that?”
“Do you see that?” Akira replied slowly. He had stopped eating his sandwich.
Ava followed his gaze. There, at the window…
Someone was slowly pounding on it.
It looked like a woman, but the way she held herself seemed more like a zombie. Her eyes were wide and lifeless and glowing purple, and as she raised her hand again to slam upon the glass, there seemed to be a rumbling throughout the whole building.
“What’s going on?” The customers started to jump up, as more of the purple-eyed people appeared behind the woman. They, too, also began pounding on the large window, the glass beginning to crack.
“Can’t they use the front door?” Akira muttered, jumping up. “Everybody stay calm! I’m sure that this is just someone’s ability that’s run amok!”
People did not listen. Customers screamed and some tried to make a run for it. After it became clear that the people were not going to hurt the customers, more of them ran, leaving Ava and Akira alone in the shop.
“We’re both ability users, right?” Akira asked under his breath.
“What, you too?”
“You didn’t know?” Akira seemed slightly offended. “Well, forget it now. They must be after us, right?”
“Yeah…” Ava looked around for a weapon that she could use. “Yeah, probably. They left the rest of them alone.”
If the people were being, say, mind-controlled… Mind control… That kid. The one that Luona wanted to find. He must be nearby…
It was just then that the mass of people pressing at the window succeeded, and the glass shattered. Ava let out a small scream as the horde of them began to come towards them, ignoring the glass shards on the floor.
“Do something!” Akira yelled, pulling the fire extinguisher from its place and opening it. “There’s knives in that drawer over there, aren’t there?”
“I don’t want to hurt them!”
“Well, they’re gonna hurt you! Self-defense, c’mon!” He began spraying the white foam or whatever it was in fire extinguishers at the mass of people, but when they didn’t stop after the extinguisher was empty, he gave up and began swinging the heavy cylinder around like a hammer.
It was just then that birds began descending from the sky, all sorts, pigeons, sparrows, ravens, ducks, even a swan or two. Akira stopped swinging and the two of them could only stare in amazement as the birds drove the people away from the cafe with their wings and beaks.
“Talk about the power of avian animals!” A woman stood on the sidewalk, grinning, feathers floating around her. Her hair was dyed quite colorfully, and her coat was patched just the same. “Are you folks okay?”
“You talk to birds, ma’am?” Akira asked, brushing feathers from his cap.
“In a way, I guess. Man, that sure was terrifying, wasn’t it?” The woman looked down the street where the mass of people were. “I sure hope they get better soon. Anyways, I’m Lonny! Pleasure to meet you!”
They introduced themselves, surveyed the mess, then Ava asked if she would like to come in for a cup of tea or coffee.
“I sure would! Looks like you’ve got quite a mess here, however.”
They ended up making the drink and bringing it out to her on a nearby bench. At this point the people had all completely disappeared, only weird footprints and feathers scattered around. Akira began sweeping up the glass, and Ava called the owner of the cafe. As she waited for him to pick up, Lonny said:
“It’s really interesting, you know. Second time in a week that I’ve used my ability. And I don’t use it often.”
“You encounter trouble often?”
“Only recently. Makes me wonder, you know?” She turned and grinned at Ava from over her large glasses. “Well, thanks for the coffee. Looks like I have to go. Good luck cleaning up!”
Just then the call went through, and Ava didn’t get a chance to ask her anything else. But Lonny seemed to understand, because she smiled and handed her a business card.
“In case you need my help again.”
And then she continued pushing her flower cart down the street, as if nothing had ever happened.