THE SLATE OF VALE PART 22

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CHAPTER 22

LEX

Jeff rolled uncomfortably on the bed but this time taking his face away from the walls to face the entrance. The spring on the poorly constructed bed had exceeded its elastic limit making his weight to sink inside. The bitter taste of the medicine had long turned sour and was still somewhere in his taste bud, but it had done a great job in calming his headache and painful muscles.

Lying down with his thoughts, it was difficult to keep track of time.

How long has it been since they came to the academy? How long since he left? What will happen to Ema and who the hell were those people who had kidnapped her?

Jeff closed his eyes and heaved a deep breath. He couldn’t sleep again, how could he? Even if he wanted to his eyes would object, for fear of drifting into an unknown world.

The image of his mother and that vague shadow still haunted his vision. This was the first time such things had happened to him. The stories in the book had it that the people of Anadan while they sleep find themselves in a wonder world called the ‘dream land’. To some, these stories were myth, while to others, those who had lived long enough, the stories they say are true. They believe that the dream world had been destroyed when darkness had plague mankind with suffering.

I don’t even know what to believe anymore.

Jeff opened his eyes and sat up slowly when he had noise at the entrance of the stony door. A blond haired boy, about nine or ten of age walked into the room and stood some paces away from the stone door.

“They refused to let me come here” the boy said enthusiastically “but I pleaded with dad and he allowed me. I wanted to see the one that would save the world. I wanted to see the hero my teachers talked about”

Jeff sat up properly not knowing what to make out of the boy. His oversized clothe had patches all over, making it difficult to discern the original fabric. His happy eyes glint with the white light, those budging bright eyes that held an angelic grace in them. It reminded Jeff of the first time Matt was given his H-Board.

“What’s your name?” Jeff asked and smiled warmly.

“Alexander” the boy replied proudly.

“What a wonderful name, now tell me Alexander, do you know the meaning of your name?” Jeff asked not knowing how best to keep the conversation amid his wandering thoughts. He watched the boy’s happiness dropped as he shook his head with ignorance.

Jeff felt bad; he was hurting the boy unintentionally.

“It’s okay if you don’t know, until I was twelve I never knew that my name means Peace.”

“Really” Alexander brightened up. He walked slowly to sit beside Jeff on the bed.

“Yea,” Jeff said; glad to see the happiness in the boy’s eyes returning. “Alexander…” Jeff continued “…means defender of men, it’s a name befitting for someone who is brave and fearless, someone like you.”

Alexander nodded his head enthusiastically

“I want to be brave and fearless like you Jeff. Last year, we watched that race you won in the entrance exam. Everyone here was saying that you would lose, but I was the only one who believed that you would make it first to the finish line. And you did, you were amazing!!”

Jeff chuckled and stroked the boy’s hair. It’s funny when you think you are a failure and people are looking up to you as someone successful.

“Thanks for believing in me Lex. Hope you don’t mind if I call you Lex?” Jeff asked

“I don’t” Alexander said still smiling “you are not the first, most people call me Alex or Alec, and you are Just the first who did not start with the ‘ah’ vowel.”

Jeff opened his mouth to say something but closed it when someone else walked into the room and disrupted their little conversation.

It was the girl he had seen earlier that day, the one that had given him the medicine. She wore the same patched cloth as Lex and had blond hair which was cut short like that of a boy.

“Alex, what in the hero’s square are you doing here? Go meet the others and stop troubling him.” She impatiently, the quick smile that followed barely hid it. A black bag was dropped on the table, Jeff’s bag.

Alex smiled at Jeff and ran out of the room without dropping another word.

“I apologies if my brother disturbed your peace, he’s sometimes troublesome and always goes around looking for people to worry. Anyway, how is the headache?”

Jeff rubbed his brow as if that was a way to check for the symptoms. He was fine now and he knew it. His action was just an act to remember the girl’s name.

From the word VA…N… yea I remember. Vanessa. Her name is Vanessa.

“I’m fine now Vanessa, whatever it was in that bottle did a great job in taking away the headache. The taste was horrible but I’m fine now” Jeff watched Vanessa smiling at his words so he added “You won’t make a bad physician you know?”

“I would explode with pride at your words if I was the one who made the medicine, but now I am not. The credit goes to Teresa; you can thank her when you see her.” Vanessa said smoothly and strode towards the exit.

“I will wait outside for you to get dressed, everybody is eager to see you now.” She finished and walked out of the room.

“Okay” Jeff murmured and picked up his bag.
Everything in the bag was still intact and he was glad, but his happiness was not complete until he had picked up the two envelopes that were just close to the bottom pocket of the bag.

One of the envelope was a gift from Matt, and the other, well he wished he could tell who had sent it or its content.

He had not tried opening the envelope ever since that day he had struggled with it back in the Heroes city.

Wait a minute

Both envelopes are similar.

How can that be or had Matt gotten the same envelope from the mystery sender? But he never said anything about it.

Jeff stared with bewilderment at the similar colors of envelopes, with silver embodiments streaking on both sides. Taking a close observation he noticed that both embodiments had different patterns on the base of the envelopes, just opposite the red seal that held it in place.

He felt a sensation, first from the muscles of his cranium, to his cervical region, down to his spine and circulating his whole body.

Jeff shivered as if cold and dropped the envelope out of reflex from the electric shock he felt holding it.

“What are you” he asked himself feeling curiosity piquing his inner self and urging him to collect the envelope, open it and see what’s inside.

But I have tried to open it before.

Jeff picked up his trousers and a shirt from his bag, avoiding the envelope as much as he can. Though curious, his fear was overwhelming.

He struggled quickly into the trouser and had finished fastening the last button into his shirt’s hole when he realized that something was missing, his H-board.

“You can come in now Vanessa” He said

Vanessa walked in and nodded as if impressed

“Nice outfit, I think you are ready to met the others”

“Thanks so much” Jeff smiled “you did well in keeping all my belongings intact, but I can’t find my H-Board.”

“Don’t worry; it is kept in the warehouse where the others are kept.” Vanessa said and watched Jeff shoulders relaxing.

“Please if you don’t mind, I think we should meet with the others now”

“Okay” Jeff said “After you”

Vanessa led the way and Jeff followed behind nervously, still thinking of the envelope and how best to carry his posture.

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