Chapter 2 - Heading out
On a Monday morning, Ashe woke up a little bit earlier than usual. It was still an hour before he would usually leave for school but the sound of arguing woke him up. It was his parents which was unusual for them so Ashe decided to get up and out of his room carefully, trying not to wake up his little brother, and see what was happening. After he got out of his room his parents quickly noticed him and stopped speaking as if to pretend like nothing ever happened.
”Good morning Ashe ” his mother quickly blurted out with a forced smile on her face ”why are you up this early ? ”
”What were you talking about ” Ashe replied instead of answering his moms question.
” oh did we wake you up kid, sorry its just that I got an assignment so I had to leave early, ” his dad told him apologetically.
Ashes father was a mutant meaning he had unique abilities because of a mutation. He also worked for a firm called MAT which hired mutants and used them for whatever a client desired.
”Whats the case this time, ” Ashe asked with excitement.
”They want us to investigate something in the Wilds I think it was somewhere in the forest ” his father explained with a slight bit of sadness in his voice.
This is because of his ability to commune with the dead, which combined with the fact that the wilds are the areas where mutated beasts run wild meant that this was not going to be a safe expedition.
Now Ashe understood why Mom was so mad but there wasn anything they could do they relied on dads job to be able to live so close to the city center so all he could do at that moment was to tell his dad to stay safe with a sad expression.
”don worry about me ok, ill be fine, ” his dad said while holding on to Ashes shoulder.
somehow that small action made Ashe not worry as much. And after having an early breakfast they said their goodbyes and Ashe quickly got ready for school and left shortly after.
Ever since the mutations appeared citys got a lot more crowded as everyone wanted to feel safer under its protection. This meant that even early in the morning Ashe still bearly got on the cramped subway.
After standing in a crowded cart for 15 minutes he arrived at his station and left in a hurry cause he never liked cramped spaces. Now that he was a bit farther from the city center there were a lot fewer people walking about.
While walking he could see a lot fewer police than usual Maybe there was a report on the other side of the city he thought
thats because police would very often be at almost every corner ready for some mutation-related problem to occur however today there was only a single police officer on every street.
After about 4 more minutes of walking, he finally reached his school. When he got to class he could see one of his friends Emily was also here early.
Ashe had known Emily for 3 years now when they met in one of the shelters during a mutated beast attack. They among others at the time were playing cards and enjoyed each others company.
”Hey Emi ” Ashe said while walking towards his desk.
”Hey Ashe, what are you doing here so early ? ” she asked while doing the homework that she should have done yesterday not sparing a glance at Ashe.
”No reason just felt like it ” Ashe responded while putting the needed textbooks for the next lesson his eyes were also completely occupied with his current task.
”oh really ? ” Emily said skeptically.
”yes, absolutely, there is no real reason, ” Ashe said so seriously some would think he was swearing on his life. Because technically he wasn lying.
”However …. ” Ashe started after a short pause.
”No, not again, ” Emily said as soon as she heard Ashe. Now glaring at him
”Oh come on, its not that big of a deal, ” Ashe said jokingly ”this time I only need the math homework. ” now Ashe sounded like he was pleading.
”Okay okay, fine, you can have the math answers ” she replied while taking out a notebook and then handing it to him.
Ashe immediately started copying her homework and after he finished it was almost time for the lessons to start. He didn even realize his other friends had arrived. While he was hard at work Dan and Harry were talking with Emily.
Since he was already done he walked over to the group with Emilys notebook.
”Morning, ” said Ashe as he joined the rest of his friends.
”Hey Ashe, ” said Harry ”did you hear the news about Jessica? ” Harry quickly added.
”No, what happened ? ” Ashe said with curiosity. He didn know Jessica too well as he only ever saw her in the corridors during break time.
”She fully mutated ” Harry replied while trying to add a bit of drama to his voice.
”Lucky her, I wish I could fully mutate, ” Ashe said already half dreaming of his hypothetical mutation.
”Well you are halfway there ” Dan quickly added with a smirk on his face.
”you know damn well that stage one mutation is basically nothing ” Ashe responded irritated by Dans snarky remark.
”Well its better than nothing, ” said Emily as she took her notebook out of Ashes hand.
Just as she grabbed the notebook the bell rang and the group went away. Ashe sat down in his seat next to Harry and got ready to zone out for the rest of the school day. Ashe didn care much for school. The only lessons that he had any interest in were PE and Social studies, as the ladder often talked about mutations which interested almost everybody these days.
Mutations are unexplained events that started to appear about 12 years ago. First appearing in wild animals which are now called beasts and then humans shortly after. Mutations are divided into stages 1 and 2. Stage 1 mutations are more common and only alter the hosts appearance. Stage 2 mutations are the rarer and more sought after as they give the host their unique ability. These abilities are often unexplainable by science and only around 2% of the population reach stage 2 mutations.
Ashe woke up from his nap because of the ringing bell and the sound of everyone leaving their seats. He looked around with his groggy eyes then quickly asked ”Hey Harry what lesson do we have next? ”
”Did you actually fall asleep? I thought you were just laying down. ” Harry was snickering at the fact that Ashe just fell asleep in the middle of the lesson even more so that he got away with it.
”Just answer please, ” Ashe said lazily as if still half asleep and not up for his friends banter.
”Okay sleepy, its PE after the lunch break ” Harry replied defensively while still taunting his friend.
After a moment of thought, Ashe got up while mumbling ”thanks ” under his breath and went towards the cafeteria. He ordered the plainest-looking meal and sat down eating mindlessly.
Ashe was lost in thought Its almost PE and after that, it would be time for me to go to the scavengers. He gulped at the thought even though it wasn his first scavage run it still made his stomach turn every time.
After Beasts started mutating lots of small cities and villages evacuated to larger cities often leaving behind what they couldn take at the time. Thats when scavengers go out into the wilds to take their fill of left behind belongings.
It was a risky job but it could pay nicely and you didn need any qualifications. Thats why Ashe chose to do it before he knew the real dangers of going to the wilds. But once you got in it wasn easy to get out it was almost like a small gang.
With stress eating him from the inside he went to an uneventful PE class. Leaving the locker room he just wanted to get it over with after quickly getting packed he left school towards his most dreaded moment of every week.
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