Afflictions: Part Forty

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Jude meandered around the farm with Zoey following closely behind him. It was their second day here, and he was starting to get a little bit bored already. He’d hoped the house’s ‘aesthetic’ would grow on him, but it had not. It was a nice day at least. The sun warmed his neck, but the gentle breeze cooled him off at exactly the perfect rate. As a matter of fact, there had been perfect weather for the whole time they’d been here, even at night. There were a few large puffy clouds dotting the horizon, partially obscuring the sun and rendering its bright light more bearable, and giving the sky enough variety to not be monotonous.

Perhaps he had grown a little paranoid, but the conjunction of the cracker barrel interior, absolutely perfect exterior, and John’s actions yesterday gave Jude a little bit of an uneasy feeling. He’d been thinking about voicing this for a little while, but decided against trying to ruin the vacation that he was a guest on. John had been nothing but hospitable, if occasionally a little intense, so there shouldn’t really be anything to worry about.

“So has Jessica answered you yet?” He turned to Zoey to get his mind off things.

“Nope.” She sighed. “Like you said though, I think I’m just going to try not to worry about it. I doubt anything’s wrong, at least nothing that can’t be fixed later. Knowing her she might’ve just broken her phone.”

“That is true. It’s probably something silly like that.” Jude nodded. He was slightly surprised at how well Zoey seemed to be shrugging off this worry. He could easily see this eating away at the average teenager, but she effectively rationalized it away. Truly a power to be admired.

They came around to an old weathered barn, and approached the doorway. The barn itself was unpainted, or at least the paint had faded away, but it didn’t appear to be structurally rotted. Jude peaked his head inside. It was partially illuminated by the sun peaking through the cracks of the other side of the barn. Inside was an accumulation of hay with a few tractors of varying ages.

“Wow…” Zoey muttered as she stepped past Jude into the barn.

“Pretty interesting, huh.” Jude nodded, walking in after her.

“Hope he doesn’t mind us being in here…” Zoey said as she examined a surprisingly clean tractor.

“Probably should be fine if we don’t touch anything.” Jude paced along the wall, looking at some of the things hung on it.

It looked like this barn was actively used for storing tools and tractors, but he also used it to store some older things. A lot of it was probably trash really. Jude eyed a particularly filthy looking oil lantern, and jumped back as he saw a spider the size of his thumb crawl past it.

“You alright?” Zoey turned to him.

“Yeah I’m fine…” He turned to her and smiled a falsely reassuring smile. He wasn’t a big fan of big bugs. Small bugs were no problem, but when they got to the size of a thumb, it creeped him out.

Jude was about to make a comment about the tractor Zoey was looking at, but suddenly John appeared in front of them.

Jude blinked to verify what had just happened, and the man was still standing there, in the middle of the barn, where nobody had been standing.

“Oh, howdy there…” John looked between Jude and Zoey, who were staring in awe.

“Did you just teleport?” Jude asked. He’d seen a lot of powers, but not teleportation. Paul had said the monks in Turkey could teleport, but that was all he’d heard of anything like this.

“Yup…” He nodded and sighed. “I suppose you’ve got a couple of questions for me.”

“Are you a super?” Zoey started to walk towards him but Jude held her back a few steps.

“Hold on, we don’t know for sure what’s up with this guy.” Jude stepped in front of Zoey.

“Yeah, I suppose that’s fair enough.” John nodded. “I wasn’t exactly honest, so a degree of caution is warranted.”

“So what exactly is your power? Teleportation?” Jude asked.

“Right to the big question, huh.” John chuckled. “Not exactly teleportation, but that’s one of them. I’d counter that by asking what exactly your power is. It’s kind of a nebulous question. You only know what you’ve tested.”

“Fair enough…” His answer made Jude more uneasy, but he had a point. “How much do you know about us?”

“I’d say it’s safe to say that I know nearly everything about you Jude.” John nodded. “I also know why you’re here.”

“So why am I here then?” Jude was interested to see how much he knew, considering Jude only knew that Paul said he should go.

“You’re here to train.” He looked past Jude to Zoey. “You too kid. That’s why I called up your dad, and that’s why Paul said you should come. I’ve already taught you one thing about you.” He looked back at Jude now. “You’re stronger than you thought.”

“How do you know Paul?” Zoey stepped out from behind Jude.

“I’d say that’s enough questions for now. I might answer a couple more later on.” He stepped forwards. “I’ve not once lied to you, your dad, or Paul, so my question to you is, do you trust me? I can teach you a couple of things I think you need to know about your power.”

Jude hesitated for a moment. He was reluctant to trust someone who had been this begrudging to give him important information, but Paul did trust him, and Paul hadn’t steered him wrong before. He may have his issues, but his visions always led Jude right where he needed to be.

Zoey pulled Jude in and whispered to him. “I say we trust him.”

Jude sighed, remembering moments ago when he had a bad feeling and rationalized it away. “Yeah, I guess we should.”

John held out his hand and Jude shook it.

“I think you’ll be happy with your decision.” John nodded.


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