It’s early, and the constant hum of human activity set’s his teeth on edge. It’s somewhere between too much and not enough. Too much silence, too much touch, not enough quiet, not enough interaction. A strange, flat in between that he’d never properly adapted to; though it was a wonder to him that anyone had. Two things in a constant tug of war with one another in the most peculiar way. He knows that it’s safe to say not everyone see’s it this way. Most people focus on the sheer bustling quality of the early morning streets, completely missing or ignoring the pockets of absolute silence.
They miss them much in the same way they miss either the scowls or smiles thrown their way, minds occupied by family, friends, the last argument they got into with a coworker. They miss them in the same way they miss the gum they step in or the stray garbage they walk over in the street. These people miss a lot of things.
One thing they never seem to miss, however, is him.
It isn’t that he can blame them. His Anomaly is unappealing. He doesn’t have wings or radiate heat. He doesn't glow or shimmer. There is nothing about him that makes others feel safe or comfotated. That makes them wish to be held and coddled when danger has come and gone.
No. People aren’t attracted to his visual orbit by anything so fluttering or kind as lighthearted curiosity. They are attracted in much the same way someone afraid of the dark is attracted to an open closet door, or the same way someone that knows a Komodo Dragon will bite is still tempted to reach out and touch it. To test the boundaries set by a dangerous appearance and colorful human stupidity.
He doesn’t make eye contact with anyone, opting to instead focus on the raising and falling of his feet. A few curious children try to see past the veil of dark hair obscuring his face. Most of them end up pulled along by their parents, and a few are satisfied with catching the glint of metal at his lip and the studs in his ear. Children mean no harm, they are gullible and wondering by nature. He still hates it though. One manages to see past his hair and catch his eyes. The child is tiny with colorful skin, patches of reds and pinks and lavenders that lead up to green eyes.
“Mommy! Mommy look…!”
He’s walking to fast to hear anything else.
Physical Anomalies are common, varrying from person to person and affecting any area of the body. Other people’s aversion and curiosity of his appearance has little to do with it being an Anomaly. It’s how it makes him look. He doesn’t look like a hero.
He looks like a villain.
The streets get quieter as he moves, passing businesses that have deemed 7:45 far to early to be open. Residential areas are also quiet, save for the stray person walking a pet or going on a run. Even the noise from the cars that pass seems inconsequential. He likes mornings like this, when he’s awake early enough to avoid most of the early morning bustling in this area. The relative quiet is a blessing, a balm on his overworked and constantly panicked mind.
Up until someone slams into his back, arms wrapping around his chest and pulling him off the ground in a fashion that he knows all too well. His spindly arms flail ever so slightly on instinct, legs kicking up for all of a half-minute before he turns himself into dead weight, the entirety of his 160 lb body pulling both himself and the person wrapped around him towards the ground.
The person behind him sighs in a way that he can hear their eyes roll as he’s placed back on his feet. It’s only a few seconds before the person behind him is in front of him, a scowl on their face and a pout to their lips. He’s so focused on this person’s face that he doesn’t notice a hand moving into his line of sight until he’s being flicked, rather sharply, between the eyes; the other’s nail barley missing the barbell pushed through the bridge of his nose.
He reels back, blinking rapidly for a moment before glaring.
“What the hell was that for?” There’s annoyance in his voice, but not enough to be threatening. Coupled with how quiet he is, it’s obvious as to why people are far more nervous around him when he’s silent as opposed to when he speaks.
“You didn’t wait for me you ass! I had to run most of the way here just to catch up to you!” The voice that answers is one he knows well, the only one he’s known for more than a handful of months. This is a voice that he’s known for years. That he’s heard crack with the unfortunance of puberty and deepen into something that doesn’t quite match the slightly gangly nature of the owner’s appearance.
That said, that voice has always matched the ferocity in its owner’s eyes and the near constant ‘ready to fight’ stance the body it belongs to takes.
“You’re right Avin. I just…..wanted some peace this morning.” Avin sighs, weak to his friends’ quiet voice. It’s a total juxtaposition to his overall appearance, they both know it. Regardless of the darkness of his eyes or the sharpness of his teeth, he’s always been weak to the almost miserable look permanently etched into his features.
“Jeez Malikai, quit with the face. You know I can’t stand that face.” Avin’s voice is just shy of a whine, and Malikai raises a pierced brow at him. So far as he knew, his face was just that; his face. He hadn’t changed its expression since the other had lifted him off the ground. A pout broke across the other boys face, and the taller of the two sighed; unable to resist the impulse to wrap his sweater clad arm around the others shoulder and pull him into his side; having to stretch up to press a non-kiss against the other’s hair.
“Let’s go you whiner, or we’ll be late.” A grin breaks across Avin's face, brighter than the small; almost bleak one that is on Malikai's.
They talk for a long stretch about school, where they'll be applying once they graduate. What type of Hero program they are looking to join. Avin wants to go to Hillfire, join the Hero program there; Malikai's just hoping to get accepted somewhere, the program doesn't matter.
The one thing they agree on is that wherever they go, they want to go together.
They're an interesting pair, they've been told. Not directly, the shorter of the two make other's far too nervous for anyone to tell them directly. It's the whispers they hear, the low spoken commentary in hallways or in the cafeteria.
The same low spoken commentary they hear now as they pass the school gates and trapise into the courtyard.
Malikai had removed his arm from around the other just as the tall white of the painted iron had come into view, putting a slightly more respectable distance between himself and his friend of almost twelve years. He shoves his gloved hands into his pockets, noting the way the other students flinch as soon as his fingers move.
There's a hollow kind of satisfaction that comes with knowing they fear him effortlessly.
It's just after 8:25 when he and Avin take their seats in homeroom. It's the last two seats in the back, as far from others and the windows as they can manage without actually being out of the classroom altogether. Their teacher had tried to move them once before, but everyone in their homeroom had been in classes with Malikai. None of them wanted him near them, and after almost twenty minutes of frustration their teacher had given up.
The classroom is, strangely, quiet. It's unusual in a way that set's every nerve in Malikai's body on edge and had his teeth grinding together. This room had never been this quiet at this time of the morning. It's like a needle could drop, and the sound would echo through the room. Avin notices too, head turning to look at the black haired teen beside him. Malikai leans forward in his seat, pressing his hands into the desk to push up enough to speak to the person two seats infront of him.
It's the blood that he sees first.
It's sliding out of the girl's ear, thick and sluggish and almost black. There's a thinner trail down he side of her throat, slick-red and shiny in some places; crusted maroon in others. It's soaked into the collar of her shirt, and she's shaking so hard it makes her desk tremble. Malikai slowly looks around the rest of the room, taking count of the other students exactly like the one before him.
All of them. Of all the students that are in this classroom, it's all of them.
He moves slowly, all of the hair on his body standing on end; skin pimpling with goosebumps as he pushes away from his desk and looks to Avin. His friend had noticed too, he must have because his fingers are sparking against his thighs and his body is a ridged, tense line of muscle and skin.
He doesn't have time to think after that. Not about where their teacher is, or how he's only now realized that the rest of the school is just as painfully silent as the classroom is. All he can do is take note of the high, thrumming noise that is growing in volume. One of the students near the front of the room is affected first, his hands flying up to cover his ears before he's screaming. The noise isn't loud yet, but Malikai remembers this kid. His Anomoly amplifies sound a hundred fold. Theres a loud, squelching noise before the kid stops, slumps, and falls from his seat.
"Tsk, tsk. Ain't that a shame?" Both Malikai and Avin's heads snap towards the door. The sound is almost unbearable now, a screaming hiss that makes their ears ache and their heads spin. Everything feels like it's moving, like vertigo is setting in, like the floor is waving.
There's a man in the doorway. Thin, older, mouth broken in a bleeding smile. Malikai thinks he recognizes him, but he can't be sure. The man's eyes flit around the room, mouth moving with silent words as that smile gets bigger. He stops when his eyes find what they can see of Malikais.
"I. Found. You." The word are almost sung, and the mans eyes flash dangerously. It should scare him, this strangers hyper-fixation. It doesn't. Everyone else in the room is shaking, focused on their dead classmate at the front of the classroom. The sound from before picks up, completely unbearable in it's pitch. There's more screaming, more squelching. His classmates start dropping like fly's. Anyone with enhanced senses goes first, blood pouring from every orifice he can see. Everyone else starts to follow in no particular order. There's screaming in the halls, resonating from other classrooms.
Malikai feels rooted, anger raising dangerous and black beneath his skin. It occurs to him, almost as shockingly as being shot, that neither he nor Avin are bleeding yet. Avin's Anomoly is sparking across his knuckles, but he isn't bleeding out on the floor. The darker of the two teens looks back at the man slowly moving to where they are at the back of the room.
"Otorrhea....." The name comes out like a whisper, even softer than his usual voice and the man perks at the sound; face twisting cruelly. It's only a second, just a moment long enough for Malikai to blink, before the man in question is at the back of the classroom; hand wrapped dangerously around Avin's throat from behind, mouth next to the others ear.
"I was hoping you'd remember! WONDERFUL!" Avins knees buckle, eardrums exploding with the word. Blood falls to his shirt, the scream he releases almost drown out by Malikais uncharacteristic shout of his name. He goes limp for a moment, body shaking with the shock; the world around him terrifyingly silent.
"Oh! Sorry about that friend!" Otorrhea laughs his way through the words, raising a hand to place atop Avins head, his other adjusting to rest beneath his chin; face twisting into something sticky sweet before he goes back to fixating on Malikai.
"Daddy says hello."
There's a sharp twist, a loud crack, and then Avin is dropped to the floor.
The world stops.
Malikai doesn't register anything.
Not the manic laughter.
Not the fact that the ear splitting sound has stopped.
Not the fact that his gloves disintegrate against his fingers, floating away like ash.
All he see's is death in it's purest form. Drying eyes and loose jaw and still chest.
And then everything, himself included, moves at once. The world comes rushing together as he screams, launching himself forward, arm out as he latches his bare hand against the madman's mouth and lower jaw.
They drop to the floor, Malikai atop the other; the hand that isn't clasped against the others face keeping him leveraged up by being firmly planted next to Otorrhea's head. Despite the frenzy in his eyes, the way his irises glow neon blue against their black backgrounds; Malikai's voice is flat and low.
"I'll kill you." There's a crunching sound when he presses down, the flesh beneath his palm being rapidly eaten away as seconds pass; bone becoming brittle to the touch. He doesn't notice the way his Anomoly flutters off of him in black spore, starts rotting the corpses of his classmates. He doesn't notice his fingers have long turned black and that the violent, inky color had spread past his wrist.
He does notice that the man beneath him has done nothing but laugh since this started, even as his teeth rot away and his tongue starts to follow. The look in the others eyes changes, grotesque mirth, and it has Malikai retching back, fingers belatedly brushing against the ruin of flesh to stop the rots spread; heart hammering violently in his chest as he forces breath out.
"Disthapontng." Blood bubbles up against the slurred words, the mans eyes rolling around in his skull to pointedly look at the damaging, devastating nature of the teen's power. All Malikai can do is the same.
There's blood everywhere, laid over the surfaces of the room like flung paint. It reeks, something spoiled and rotten already setting in. Black spores spread across the room like wildfire, eating away at whatever organic material they find before suddenly disappearing. Their damage in minimal, a few bodies missing skin or an eye. He should be sick at the sight, but he feels terrifyingly indifferent.
The man beneath him has long ago lost consciousness, the trauma to his face too much for his body to cope with. All the teen can do is pull off of him and drag himself over to his friend, turning the body over and yanking it into his lap with his elbows and knees.
"Avin....." He won't get an answer, he knows. He stares down into lifeless eyes, a decade of memories passing in the span of seconds before sirens snap him back to awareness. There are boots in the hall, and he can hear them slide and move through what can only be blood and brain matter.
"POLICE! ST.....!!" Whoever enters the room can't continue, words cut off by violent retching and the acrid smell of bile and vomit are added to the already sick scent in the air. More footsteps, more voices.
Someone drops a hand to his shoulder.
They aren't frightened, or startled, or disgusted. They're sad, almost wet with the emotion, and it breaks whatever resolve Malikai's anger had given him. His vision blurs agressivly, tears cutting lines through the blood that's splattered across his face.
Everything else seems arbitrary in the moment.
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