Summary: Depressed and disillusioned with the world, Cloy prefers his solitude. One day on his way home from work he rescues a strange girl who turns out to be a goddess. She rewards him with the gift of healing, but a special ability like that doesn't go unnoticed. It won't take long until a professor bent on proving her paranormal theories and other less benevolent gods get interested in the new favorite. It seems that they all have an agenda of their own... and what's that about the Titans?
CHAPTER 1 THE GIRL AND THE VAN
"See you later!" Mesa shouted after me with a cheerful smile.
I only waved my hand at her absent-mindedly as I left the restaurant I worked in.
Fresh autumn air greeted me as I opened the door into the darkening night, it ran its cold fingers through my hair and slid under my clothes, giving me goosebumps. I pulled my tweed jacket tighter around me as I stepped into the street. It seemed like jeans and t-shirts weren't quite enough anymore.
In the air the scent of soil and leaves and on-coming frost. Wind frolicked in piles of discarded foliage and ran through treetops blowing loose more of those brightly colored leaves. They floated down softly, dancing in the air. A few cars passed me, their bright headlights smarted in my eyes. It was only October but days seemed so short, nights grew longer and deeper and darker. Only the warm glow of streetlights kept the darkness at bay. Buildings on both sides of the street stood silently, light spilling out from a few windows. That part of town had lots of beautiful old buildings, built back in the beginning of the 20th century when the city had still had money and a sense of beauty. But although their architecture was pleasing to the eye, they were still cold, heartless piles of stone.
A few leaves perched on my hair, I shook them off. Of all the seasons I felt most comfortable in autumn. I wanted to blame my depression on it, but it would've been a lie. I had been disillusioned with the world for years. I had tried to embrace it with the keenness and inspiration of youth but with each failure I had gradually succumbed ever deeper into the abyss of cynicism. I had learned that no one was special. In the end I was just a waiter, an average guy with average intelligence and incredible contempt for the world. I even looked average. My hair had once been short and bleached, but it had overgrown and my dark roots were clearly visible. I hated my angry eyebrows. Mesa had once said that I looked good when I didn't care, that my messy hair fit my rude turquoise eyes. Did I care any less because of that? Maybe.
I didn't use to be like this. I once had hopes and dreams. But I guess dreamers are useless. I was.
I had once wanted all kinds of things, far-fetched an illogical. I had dreamt of being successful and popular but I'd never been good at making friends. I usually ended up offending others with my bluntness and crude wording. As I got older it turned into sarcasm and cynicism and I was avoided even more. Thus I never had any real friends. When it had mattered, when it had been the time to realize my dreams no one had told me to go for it, to reach for the stars, to take a leap into the unknown. Having no one to support me I had finally ended up failing university entrance exams and finding a job at the restaurant I worked in. Year by year cynicism has been eating me up inside and gnawing away my confidence, replacing it with self-loathing, hatred and detestation for others. Don't take me wrong, I try enjoy my work as much as it can be enjoyed... more I enjoy my coworker, Mesa. I guess she's the closest to a friend I have ever had.
I felt a little easier when thinking about Mesa. She's a radiant redhead with dark green eyes, a love for the color orange and a tendency to smile. Not as smart as me, and sometimes a little frank but also apologetic by nature. At first she had annoyed me out of my mind by querying into my life and I had tried to make her leave me alone, but she had been unable to understand my sarcasm. I guess I had just grown accustomed to her face little by little. Always asking me how I am. It's not much, but it's still more than anyone has ever tried before. By those simple words she made me feel slightly less insignificant.
I think Mesa might even like me enough to go out with me if I only asked her, but I don't think I'd make a very good date. I'm too cynical to trust anyone enough to let them see the real me: how despicable, how insecure, how weak I really am. Even with Mesa I'm always on my best behavior, afraid that she might not like what's hidden underneath. This fear of honesty and surrendering to someone has devoided me of having any real relationships. I'd only rub my cynicism on my dates and they'd end up drinking too much.
A gust of wind made me shiver, it was getting colder. Leaves weren't bothered by the weather, they continued their own whirling dance up and down. Store signs across the street were glowing brightly. Streetlight after streetlight I was closer to home, closer to my kingdom of solitude, my sanctuary. I passed a row of advertisements, in one of them a woman in skimpy underwear winked. Her smile was empty and false.
My phone beeped. I checked it. One new message.
It was dad. I typed an answer and put my phone back into my pocket.
I thought of him with a heavy heart. Lately he had tried to keep in touch. When I'd been a child he and my mother had both been busy with work and thus had never had time for me. Out of guilt of neglecting me they had usually bought me expensive gifts as apologies. Neither of them had understood that I had yearned for something else, their presents had ended up collecting dust as I had cried on my bed for someone to notice me and caress me and kiss my bandages. Someone who wouldn't have ignored me, but it was to no avail. Gradually I learned to stand on my own without anyone else, embracing my loneliness rather than pitying myself for it. It chaged a few years ago my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer due to decades of smoking. Ever since he has tried to at least send me an SMS every week and I give him mundane replies. I'd hoped he would've at least quit but instead he had smoked twice as much, my mother had turned to Jack Daniels for comfort and I... at first I had visited seldom, after a while I'd stopped visiting altogether. Keeping a distance would make it easier to stand by his coffin one day.
Understanding this much about me you can probably understand why I don't expect much from people. I prefer my solitude. I'm not saying I want to be alone forever, only until I find a reason not to. I know I can do things. Amazing things. All I need is to break free from the weight of this world and find a spark of inspiration in this mess that we call life. If I only could strip these chains of hopelessness and insignificance.
Suddenly I felt a change in my heartbeat. Curious, I looked up to see a girl on the other side of the road. I don't know why but she had drawn me to look at her. Her beauty was breath-taking, an aura of light radiated from her. Her long pale limbs moved almost unnaturally as she walked. She brushed her long hair off her face, revealing high cheekbones and pale blue, icy eyes. I gawked. Despite my awe I found her outfit odd for a cold October evening: a colorful scarf around her neck, a white t-shirt and jeans. No jacket whatsoever. She didn't seem cold without one. A car drove past us but I couldn't stop watching her, I was captivated by how disjointed she was of this world. I flinched as her pale blue eyes fixed on mine and with a determined expression she suddenly stepped into the street, wind pulling on her hair.
A white van approached way too fast. All I saw was a streak of red.
In one second she was stepping into the street, in the next there was a thud and blood stained the white van that hit her. Tires screeched as the driver hit the breaks. I stared at the mess on the street with my eyes wide open. To see something that horrifying was going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I took a step back and covered my mouth with my hands. I had never seen how fragile life really was. Like a butterfly she had just been squashed. Her body lay on the road, sad, mangled and twisted. A pulp. Her white hair was stained with red, her clothes were in shreds, her skin covered with blood. In one second she had transformed from vivid and beautiful to dismal and unrecognizable. I gasped for air, feeling nauseous. I was probably as white as a sheet.
A few people gathered around her, shouting and screaming each other to call 911. I stared at her frozen with fear, having come face to face with mortality. Some day, someplace we would all die. I had never even thought about it before. My insides were twisting and turning and I wanted to vomit. Yet I couldn't look away, I was forced to watch. Her body was broken but her eyes were aflame, pleading for salvation. She tried to mouth something; nothing came out. With a lot of effort she reached out her broken, blood-covered hand towards me, staring me down. Those pale blue eyes they drilled deep into the core of me. I could almost hear her inside my head crying for help. My heart was breaking for her sake. Still I couldn't look away from those eyes the color of ice.
Mixing into the scent of leaves and soil was the raw, barbaric smell of blood.
The presence of death was palpable. My stomach hurt, my head span. My fear oozed out of my body as drops of cold sweat. Yet still I took a hesitant step on the street. The asphalt seemed to swallow my feet so heavy they felt. The closer I walked to her the stranger my body felt. Only the headlights of cars and a few dim streetlights kept the darkness at bay. Muffled voices. I stared into her desperate eyes as I picked up her mangled body. She looked so thankful. I could feel her blood trickling down my arms as I carried her towards the sidewalk. The warm liquid soaked my clothes. I didn't care. I was carrying her home. Someone shouted to wait for an ambulance, but their voices were muddled, unreal, so far away. Everything seemed distant. I felt disjointed from the world. Her presence was all I could feel.
I have no recollection of the journey home. It had felt as if I had been guided by a higher force. My body that had been petrified by fear had been animated to serve this purpose: to bring her home safely.
To be her hero.
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