Chapter 1: The Five Miners
One hundred thirty and five ... Alone these numbers are meaningless, but together they spell out a date that we aren't allowed to forget ... a day that changed our history forever.
According to the many that were around at the time, it was the one hundred thirtieth day of the fifth year when a group of five miners struck the treasure of a lifetime.
They had found a bunch of crystals that emitted a beautiful dark purple light. Surely, this is a gift from God, one of the miners said. He was certain something this pretty couldn't possibly bring upon evil. It was sad just how wrong he was. As he and the others began to pick at the gems they felt a bone chilling wind, almost as a warning that there was something supernatural about this. And when one of the miners clenched the gem tightly in his hand it instantly broke into dust.
"This sucks, these jewels are nothing but junk!" The man, known as Ghassan said angrily.
Another man named Caiden, the same one who had claimed the Jewels were from God, carefully plucked another gem from the pile, trying not to break this one. He held it close for him and his wife Ottilia, who was also a miner, to inspect.
"I don't care if these are worthless. I kind of like them." Caiden admitted.
Ottilia nodded as she reached for a gem of her own. "Imagine one of these things on display in our house! Can you picture just how pretty it would look from afar?"
At this Ghassan shrugged. "You can have them all for what I care. To be honest, I don't even want to think about them! They just remind me of wasted time and money!"
Ottilia and Caiden arrived home moments after with a cart of gems. They greeted their caretaker and babysitter Jordan by the door. He was an older, wise, widowed man who had grown really close to Caiden and Ottilia over the years. With no grandkids of his own, he found himself growing attached to Caiden and Ottilia's only child Yuki. So whenever the two were away at work he was always ecstatic about taking care of the kid.
"Welcome home guys. I see your home early, did something happen at work?" Jordan asked, seeming a little concerned.
"No, nothing happened; at least not anything to worry about." Caiden explained, causing the man to feel slightly more at ease.
"We ended up striking a ton of beautiful gems. They're worthless, but we got permission to keep them." Ottilia explained as she wheeled the cart into the house.
Jordan grabbed one of the gems and adjusted his glasses in order to see it better. "Fascinating ..." The man muttered to himself in awe. "And you say it's worthless?"
Caiden remembered that Jordan had done a great deal of mining back in his youth, so if anyone would have known anything about these crystals it would be him.
"Yeah, have you seen anything like this?"
Jordan shook his head. "No, I can't say I have ... But you're right about them being beautiful."
Late in the night Caiden woke up and thought he could hear footsteps coming from outside his bedroom. He turned to his wife; she was still asleep beside him. Jordan had already gone home, and Yuki was too young to walk on his own. Who could have gotten into the house?
Caiden got up and managed to quickly slip on a robe and follow the sound to the living room. He thought he could hear breathing that wasn't his, but wasn't sure, after all, he still couldn't see anyone.
Just out of precaution, Caiden backed up and turned on the living room light. He listened in silence as he heard footsteps creep closer and the sound of breathing grow louder.
"W-who's there?" Caiden asked in a whisper, his voice trembling slightly.
Fear overtook the man as he was instantly pinned to the floor by this invisible force. Caiden couldn't feel anything on top of him, yet he found it impossible to move.
Then Caiden saw it clearly, a ghostly outline of Ghassan's face, looked down on him smiling wide.
"Ghassan?" Caiden questioned.
The man chuckled slightly. "Yes it's me."
"H-how'd you get into my house?"
"Those gems, they're more powerful than you think." Ghassan said. "I don't know how, but I think they gave me superpowers."
"W-what?" Caiden questioned, his face contorting in confusion. "But I touched those jewels too. How come I don't have any powers?"
"I don't know, but everything else that I've done has been normal. Finding those jewels; it's the only thing that makes sense. I just have to know how they work and then I can sell them worldwide!"
"Sell them? But I thought you said they were worthless before." Caiden stated.
"Sure, as normal crystals they're worthless, they wouldn't even make good jewellery without turning into dust, but who wouldn't give up all their riches or even sell their soul for a little taste of the gem's power? Think of some of the kids that grew up wanting to be something above average, the policemen maybe they could use the invisibility to infiltrate hostage situations more effectively, or think about the Canadian Military, the possibilities are endless!"
"...That's true, but power in the wrong hands could cause corruption. If they're really as powerful as you say, we've got to destroy them."
"Oh come on, lighten up Caiden. Neither of us have a ton of cash to begin with. If we do this we could make millions, billions even. Who cares if a couple of losers get hurt in the process? You want to be able to afford taking your son to a good collage when he's older, don't you?"
"I-I do ... bu- ..."
"Then what's stopping us? It's a golden opportunity and even if I'm going to have to kill you, I'm going to take it."
Caiden sighed. He was smart enough to know that picking death now wouldn't accomplish anything. If he really wanted to be a hero his only option would be to show Ghassan the gems in the hope that he can persuade him to avoid selling them.
"Alright, I'll do it." Caiden admitted, reluctantly.
Ghassan let an immoral smile play on his lips. "I knew you'd see things my way."
Ghassan's form slowly edged into visibility, like a fog clearing; he sat at Caiden's kitchen table and began routing through the cardboard box that Caiden had placed there. It was full of gems in different sizes, shapes, and colours; Ghassan gleefully dug into the box picking a gem here and there and examining in more detail than he did in the mine. Caiden had picked up a blue spherical gem while Ghassan was examining a large jagged cube in a deep ruby colour. Both seem hypnotised by the gems, intent to figure out how they worked. Ghassan shook his gem in frustration.
"I don't feel any more powerful," He growled, "Do you feel anything?"
"No." Caiden confessed limply. Maybe now Ghassan would be satisfied that the gems were worth nothing and be content to go home; but something nagged at Caiden, where and what could have caused the powers that Ghassan exhibited?
Ghassan sighed. "What was I thinking? This is ridiculous!" He dropped the gem the red cube onto the table.
Caiden was pleased at this news, but out of courtesy to his friend and worker he tried not to show his happiness. If Ghassan was giving up on trying to find the source of power then that meant Caiden could put this whole selling power gems problem behind him, at least for now. After all if they didn't cause the power, at least not to Caiden's or Ghassan's knowledge, then maybe Ghassan would accept the verdict that they were truly worthless. The atmosphere seemed to tighten, Caiden didn't realise how tightly he was holding onto the mineral before it crushed in his hands.
"Whoops, I'll have to sweep that up later." Caiden apologised.
Ghassan spared him an indifferent glance before gesturing towards the box "Don't worry man; there are many more gems to spare!"
Caiden gave a nervous smile before dropping his hands to rest on the table. Ghassan's eyes widened as he watched the table turn to ice, freezing the cardboard box in place. He stood up and smirked at his co-worker, the realisation dawning on his face.
"So that's how you get the power!" Ghassan stated, while continuing to gawk at the frozen table.
"What?" Caiden asked, still shaken by what he had just witnessed.
"You need to break the crystals in order to take their power," Ghassan said pointedly while breaking the ice off of the box so he could take it. "Pleasure doing business with you, Caiden. I won't charge you for your powers, call them a parting gift."
"What are you talking about? I thought we were partners!" Caiden jumped up, he shot a look of hurt and indignation towards his former friend.
Ghassan's eyes widened in fake surprise as a devious smile spread across the man's face. "Oh yeah? You don't say?" He clicked his fingers, before shoving the box of gems on the floor and out of the way. "I knew I was forgetting something ..."
Ghassan's body began to fade as if the fog had descended over him. Caiden felt himself grow cold while shivers escaped down his back and rippled through his body. His intuition told him that Ghassan was stalking him like prey, ready to strike. If he didn't act fast, then he was sure Ghassan would kill him soon enough.
Caiden shut his eyes and tried his best to channel his power to his hands. He felt ice shoot out of his palms in every direction. His effects of self-preservation seemed fruitless as Ghassan struck him with a blow that landed with his back on the floor. He could feel Ghassan's hands around his neck as he struggled for breath. Caiden continued worming his way out from under Ghassan, before he felt the grip lessen.
Ghassan had a pen knife concealed in his left boot and had retrieved it before stabbing Caiden in the shoulder. Caiden let out a painful curse and pushed Ghassan off him with all the strength he could muster. He ripped the knife out of his shoulder with a grunt before whirling around in an attempt to locate Ghassan.
"What are you doing? Do you seriously plan on killing me after all that I've done for you?" Caiden shouted. "Does the money really mean this much?"
"It does." Ghassan said from the far corner of the room. "Money is the way of life. Everything runs on it. Ever since a kid I wanted to be rich and famous. Now thanks to these powers, fame is at last in my potential and I will never settle for less!"
"That's sick." Caiden said with a disgusted face. "But if you truly want wealth that much, then come out and face me, be a man. Let's sort this out between me and you, no one else gets hurt."
Ghassan snickered. "Why would I be man when I can be so much more than that?"
Caiden felt like arguing, but before he could find the right words Ghassan charged behind him and pinned him to the wall. He ripped the knife from Caiden's grip before using it to slice through his throat like a knife through butter; his strength forcing the blade deeper into Caiden's flesh to eradicate all chances of survival.
Caiden's lifeless body dropped to the ground while a flicker of humanity flitted across Ghassan's face. He had never murdered someone before, especially not a friend as close as Caiden; he didn't even think he had the evil inside him to kill a fellow man. Yet he was in his friend's white kitchen which has been sprayed with Caiden's blood. He killed his best friend for what; gems, money, power, loneliness?
"What have I done?" He muttered to himself, before dropping his head in his hands.
After sobbing over his dead friend, he looked over to him. His Caiden's body had frozen to a thin veil of ice. Ghassan's features twisted into confusion. Caiden was dead, how could he still use his powers? Surely, he couldn't manipulate ice from the afterlife.
Ghassan reached a hand out to his friend and realized that it released a blizzard of ice. He smirked out this sight. Somehow Caiden had transferred his powers to him. Surely this might be a sign from his friend.
'Yes', Ghassan thought with a smile forming across his face. 'This has to be where the power is coming from. Caiden has given me his power to wield while he is in the afterlife.'
-phantom130 5 (October 2012)