Chapter 22: Charging Heart
After consuming the raw meat he had purchased from the convenience store, Gary’s Energy bar quickly started to fill up and by the time he snuck back home he already felt as good as he had before leaving for this nightly adventure.
Waking up nearly five hours later, Gary’s body felt completely fine. The teenager was unsure whether this meant that he could use the raw protein as an energy drink substitute to keep on going for as long as he needed, but at least his need for sleep appeared to have lessened.
‘I feel so alive!’ Gary thought, as he moved his body about and got ready to school before anyone else. His mother and sister were not even awake yet. There was one thing he was thankful for though, the fact that his sister was keeping everything a secret for him.
Gary was sure that she didn’t know what he was doing, but since the two of them had to share a room, it had been impossible to hide the fact that he had disappeared from her. ‘Damn, I bet she’s going to ask for some big favour later on.’ Gary lamented internally, as he scribbled a note for Amy to make sure she knew he had in fact returned and hadn’t gone missing.
Waking up before everyone else proved to be a blessing in disguise, especially since his acquired taste had changed. During his nightly trip to the convenience store, Gary had not only purchased meat for himself to consume. Right now the Dem family fridge was fuller than it had been for weeks.
‘If Mum asks where I got it from, I’ll just say it was a gift from one of the local stores.’ Gary decided. He had already done this a few times during his work as a transporter, so it shouldn’t stand out too much.
Anything to lighten the load and stress of his mother. With all this newfound energy, Gary didn’t waste time leaving before everyone else, yet on the way out he noticed all the letters that had piled up on the kitchen counter.
‘A dozen more nights like yesterday and it should help us get out of this mess. The only question is how can I help us without having to explain where I got all this money from.’ Gary wondered.
No normal sixteen year old should be able to get a job that would pay this well, at least not legally and Gary wasn’t exactly proficient in coming up with excuses. The fact that he was a miserable liar and his mother could instantly tell when he lied wasn’t exactly in his favor. In fact, even his excuse about the convenience stores gifting them those products has been met with skepticism by her, the first few times he had brought it up.
‘I guess I’ll just have to ask Kai, I’m sure he will know a way.’ Gary bemoaned the fact that he was relying more and more on his upperclassman, but at least so far he had been keeping his promise and it was undeniable that he knew how to make money.
This early in the morning, barely anyone was out and about, but Gary still kept his hood up on the way to school. He was afraid that any moment now Damion and the Underdogs could pop up. He was sure that they had not given up their manhunt on him and he was already dreading opening up his phone. In fact, he was planning to purchase a new one after school, and throw this into the river or perhaps bury it somewhere in the forest.
Just as Gary was daydreaming how he could get rid of it without leaving a trail leading back to him, he suddenly spotted a particular girl up ahead.
‘She looks familiar… hang on, isn’t she the same girl who got in trouble with that colour gang from before?’ Gary soon enough had an epiphany about who it was.
They were quite the distance away, but Gary was convinced. It was impossible for him not to recognise someone who indirectly forced him into playing the part of a hero. Despite the school crest on her uniform telling him that they were both visiting the same school, he had never actually seen her before he had rescued her, nor afterwards for that matter. Admittedly, he had completely forgotten all about her due to the plethora of other problems in his life right now, but seeing her again made him wonder what exactly she had done to get into trouble with a colour gang.
‘Didn’t she learn her lesson last time? How can she walk this way while being on her own again? At this point, she is just asking for trouble.’ Gary shook his head in disbelief. He would have loved to just mind his business, but seeing as the two of them were using the same route, he couldn’t just not look out for her.
Eventually, Gary decided to catch up to her since there was no real reason for him to hide. He had followed her from a distance for a while and had been happy that there had been no encounters, however a few moments ago the girl had abruptly quickened her pace. The teenage boy had yet to realise that the girl had done so because she had felt that someone had been following her…
‘Let’s see what I can do, and how close I can get.’ Gary thought.
Activating the skill, he could feel his chest in great pain almost instantly, to the point he nearly fell over. His heart was beating as if he was sprinting even though he was just standing still. After the initial shock of impact was over though, he now was filled with energy. Ten points from his energy stat had been consumed, and his heart was now above 150 BPM. With this new energy, Gary started walking faster, but he knew he couldn’t just get straight up behind her, so he thought maybe there would be a better way.
Going down one of the alleys behind a small apartment block, he looked at all the pipes and ledges from the windowsills.
‘This is crazy, right? Am I really going to try this?’