Ascend

By Charles Prime, Hector Jr.

Fantasy, Paranormal, Young adult

Paperback, eBook

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116
8 mins

The Beginning

I came in to work today at five in the morning, hoping there be a small truck load. My hopes were broken, as Mr. Flores came walking towards us with a “gun." He had a grim look on his face.

"900 boxes today sir...," he uttered. Mr. Flores, a man in his thirties, with a strong will and character. He sighed heavily as Tony enthusiastically stepped forward, cutting through the plastic wrap around the stacked boxes on the pallet. Mr. Flores gave me the "gun."

"Halludale, sir," he commanded me as he walked around the ensuing chaos and began to cut open the boxes rolling towards the end of the conveyor belt.

"We are going to finish in an hour, right?!" asked Tony with a little too much enthusiasm in the morning. He was shorter than I am—skinny—but lean with muscle. I could say with certainty that I had a crush on him, and on the silky-smooth hair he combed to the side.

"Sure..." I responded. Tony looked at me with a wild glint in his eyes.

"To the front?!" exclaimed Robert.

"Yeah!" responded Tony, as he threw the last box onto the belt. I waited for Robert to come forth with the next pallet, as Tony moved the wooden pallet out of the way. Robert carefully maneuvered before the belt and parked the pallet as close to the conveyor belt as possible.

"We need boxes guys!" exclaimed Mr. Flores. Quickly Tony cut through the plastic wrap and began unloading onto the belt. I pushed along the boxes as I scanned the bar-code, careful not to miss one.

One by one, Tony and I sliced through the plastic wrap and then loaded the heavy boxes into the conveyor belt. Personnel got their safety knives and took care of the merchandise within the boxes. Two to three people stood on one side and divided woman, men, and children clothing into blue bins. The other side, people searched the open boxes and took out products that belonged on the sales-floor.

"Five o'clock crew, go to break!" yelled Mr. Flores suddenly.

"What time is it?" I asked Mrs. Delamaris, a co-worker. She was a little pudgy and always had her hair tied in a ponytail. Her eyes were dark brown, and she had dark-colored skin. On occasion she limped from a fracture on her knee. Ever since I have been working here, she has been kind and considerate. We got along well.

We head for the break-room. Tony, I, and Robert washed our hands, then found a seat. Mrs. Delamaris, and many other people came strolling in with their own lunches and snacks.

"Ignore the world time," Tony told me as I plugged my headphones into my ears. Mrs. Delamaris sat next to Tony.

"Do you want some?" Tony asked me. I unplugged my ears to listen better.

"It's really good man."

"No, thanks," I responded. The small piece of chocolate caked looked scrumptious. He nodded with a hint of disappointment in his eyes, and an awkward frown. I was taken aback from his reaction. It’s not that I don’t want some, but my stomach hurts with solids so early in the morning.

“Woah!” I exclaimed. My alarm was suddenly blaring, our fifteen-minute break was over.

“Ya, se termino?” asked Mrs. Delamaris. I nodded. Everyone else followed suit and rose from their chairs. The few that didn’t bring lunch or snack, quickly left.

"Adian, go to linens," commanded Mr. Flores when he walked by. I nodded, then made my way towards the linen department. In the distance, all my co-workers were opening boxes, cleaning the product, and putting it on the grey carts.

"Good morning Tommy.”

"Que honda Adian" he responded, as he appeared in-between the pallets. He was built. Not lean, but he had that body-builder type of thing going on. He always fixed his hair into a mohawk, or other times he styled it straight. Yet, what I liked from him was his energy—warm and inviting. The total opposite from mine, which was reserved, introverted, and even cold at times.

"Ya te mandaron a break?" he asked.

“Sip,” I answered, stretching and messaging the nape of my neck.

"Que paso Adian?!"

"Ya se me enfrio el cuerpo Tommy.”

"Nombre Adian, no sirves," he responded. We both laughed, as I went on my way. I dodged other co-workers as they frolicked to and from the grey carts. I usually do not open the boxes, but instead head over to the isles and recover the merchandise from the grey carts. Today was no different.

"Good morning friend!" a co-worker told me. Mrs. Florence, a lady who has been here forever. She has done it all; cashiering, the floor, receiving, a sales person. She was a short lady, who always had her hair in a ponytail. I could feel her smooth skin as she took hold of my arm in greeting, her genuine smile warming my heart.

"Help me friend. Help me with the comforters, please," she asked me as she dragged me along with her. For a short old lady, strength still flourished within her. All I could do was nod in agreement, then stickering the comforters, quilts, and pillows until eventually we had created a fort.

"Let me put them away friend," she told me. It was funny watching her trying to carry four bed comforters. There huge bundles of cloth huddled into a plastic-cube-like cases. One or two can be quite easy to carry, but once a third or fourth is added, it can be quite heavy.

"Let me help you," I said, taking some comforters and quilts with me. Back and forth we traveled, until at last all the comforters, quills, and pillows were put away.

“C'mon friend, help me put away, porque si no Flores nos va a reganar,” she told me. Again, all I could do is nod in agreement as I strived to catch up to her. In two quick steps we stood before a grey cart and began to pile within our arms as much as we could carry. We traversed the isles, in quick succession emptying out one grey cart after another. Our co-workers passed us as they too recovered the merchandise.

“Go to babies!” Mr. Flores screamed at us, watching us as he stood against the glass railing of the second floor. “To babies.”

“Can’t we finish this?”

“Florensa, terminara lo que resta.”

She and I looked at each other, Mrs. Florence giving me the faintest of nods. I strived to catch up to the others, who were once again frolicking back and forth between the merchandise and the grey carts. The baby’s department was just one pallet, so we finished quickly. They then sent us to Mens, which had only two pallets.

“Que estas haciendo aqui, Adian?” Tommy asked me with an evil grin, looking up at me with an evil glint too. I shook my head and smiled. Ever since we’d met, he has made fun of me, mocked me, and looked at me the way he is now.

“Me mando Flores. Ya terminamos linens y babies,” I answered.

“Bueno Adian, ve a poner. El careton esta lleno.”

I walked towards the grey cart and grabbed the handles, struggling for a few seconds, but at last pried it over the tiled floor. The coming and going customers made it difficult to navigate closer to the men’s sales floor but got close enough. Back and forth I went with as many things I could carry in my arms—underwear, dress shirts, socks, belts, headphones, car stuff, and even wallets.

“Ya mero?” Tommy asked me, appearing out of nowhere.

“Si, voy lo mas pronto que puedo.”

Tommy raised his eye-brow at me and nodded in acknowledgement. Back and forth I went as people began to fill the store, conversations eating away at the silence.

“Sir?”

The customer behind me, a chubby woman who was holding a little boy in her arms, while her left hand enclosed the hand of a little girl. The little girl shyly tugged closer to the woman, while the little boy turned away.

“Do you know where the restrooms are?”

“You will keep walking straight ahead, and when you come to an intersection you will turn to your right. The restrooms will be straight ahead,” I responded.

“Gracias,” she told me, then turned around, and tried her best to not bump into anyone. Barlington’s a shopping place where all kinds of nationalities come and shop to their hearts content. There is jewelry, clothing, home goods and appliances, and even a tailor. Receiving only stays up until eleven in the morning, and that applies to the seven o' clock crew. I am in the five o' clock crew, but in rare moments we are allowed an extra hour or so. Like today.

“Usted trabaja a qui?”

A lady with a shopping cart stood before me. She had highlights in her hair, all dolled up into a pony-tail.

“Me puede ayudar con una camiseta? A mi esposo le quedo un poco larga de los brazos,” she told me, an aqua colored dress shirt draping over her arm.

“Si mam, la puedo introducir al personal que se encarga de ser revisiones a la ropa, pero infortunadamente no esta disponible tan temprano,” I answered. “Pero, puedo lludarle a encontrar otra talla mas adecuada para su esposo?”

“No, gracias joven,” she answered. She turned around and began to skulk through the shirts. “Me espero. Mi esposo esta de terco que quiere esta camiseta.”

“Adian, ya mero?”

I turned around to find Tommy, sweaty and with a serious look on his face.

“Si Tommy, estas son las ultimas camisetas que tengo que poner patras.”

“Que fastidio es esto, vatallando con todo esto. Porque siempre me encargan ustedes cuando me mandan a Men’s,” he said. I tried to sympathize, fist-bumping him on the arm.

“Joven?”

The lady stared at us with such anger and disdain. She had several dress shirts in her left hand and belts hanging over right arm.

“Usted trabaja a qui?”

“Si," Tommy answered.

“Le estoy hablando al muchacho, okay,”she responded.

“Si, trabajo a qui,” I answered, with as much eloquence I could muster. The one reason I chose to work every day at five in the morning; to expose myself to sweat so early in the morning; and to have to deal with my superiors lacking in leadership; is because I did not want to deal with customer service.

“Porque le ponen estas cosas a las camisetas?” she asked, fumbling with the security sensor we put on the back of every dress shirt.

“Son procesos de la compania que nosotros tenemos que implementar.”

“Poliza de la compania…,” Tommy uttered under his breath.

“Hey, she is talking to the fat ass here,” said the gentlemen who had arrived just a few moments ago. Tommy scoot closer to me, his presence a comfortable reprise.

“Horita, la persona encargada de el departamento de entallar no esta disponible. Pero puede ir a preguntarle a una de las cajeras,” I answered.

“Quiero hablar con un manejador, porfavor,” the lady told me. I flinched as the guy pointed at me. He was built; the muscles throughout this forearm flexing.

"I want you to go, and him to stay,” he said, watching Tommy. Tommy had a dark expression on his face as I passed by him, making my way towards the manager's office. The group of people still working on the last pallet, were about to finish. I weaved through the clothing racks, until I turned right onto a hallway. The manager's door was closed, and no light was visible under the door. Damn, she was not here. I then head for the main office, but the door is locked with a sheet of paper taped to the door that read—"Survey in Progress.” Damn! I returned to Tommy, snaking my way through the shoe racks, and weaved through clothing racks of the Men's department.

“Well?” he asked with a smirk on his face.

“Apologies, but the manager is not present at the moment—”

“What?! Why the hell did you not just say so. Wasting our time!” she exclaimed, walking by us. The guy with the clearly-to-tight grey shirt tried to bump into me, but I moved out of the way. Tommy too.

“Por fin, estava comensando a pestar…”

The guy suddenly was in front of me. The contact was immediate; white and black spots clouded my vision. I fell onto my knees, unable to breath. A crowd gathered around the scuffle between the guy and us. Tommy had the advantage, greedily punching the guy on the face.

“Adian, look out!” someone in the crowd exclaimed.

I blocked the ladies kick just in time. She recovered quickly and got the cart next to her. I willed my power to rise; the cart hit the barrier. The lady came at me with a sneer painted on her face, her purse raised at me.

“Kneel…”

The lady exclaimed loudly as she was forced on her knees. The guy threw Tommy off him and came at me. I stood; the stranger fell to his knees too. Customers and workers alike were watching us. I released a wave of energy, and in a single whoosh they all fell back, unconscious. Tommy stood.

“Adian, que estas haciendo?” he asked me. I was taken aback at the emotion in his eyes. The guy used that moment to get the better of me. He almost had me with that sneaky upper-cut. Once more he was on his knees. This guy was looking out for blood. He was angry and frustrated at the world for some reason.

“GET-AWAY-FROM-HIM…,” the lady said through clenched teeth. I waved my hand, her eyes rolling back as she lost consciousness.

“M-o-m…” the guy uttered.

“Adian, no se lo que esta pasando, pero para esto. Estoy bien. Tu estas bien, te salvaste,” Tommy told me, walking towards me. “Adian, por favor, para esto.”

I gently lay my hand against his ribs and focused; the bone settled back in place. Tommy looked at himself and then at me in wonder. Before he could react, I reached into his mind and knocked him out. Tommy’s fall was cushioned by my power. The air cushioned his fall.

“Fa-ggot.”

The guy rose into the air, then violently was slammed against the ground at my behest. I knelt beside Tommy and rummaged through his pockets, pulling out his phone. I could go into his mind and discover his password, but I really didn’t need to. Instead I accessed the 911 feature, then putting the phone back into this pocket. I tried my best making my way through the people strewn all over floor, careful not to step on anything. My father was waiting for me in the parking lot.

“Mucho trabajo hoy,” he asked me when I got in.

“Si, casi mil cajas.”

He pulled out of the parking space and began driving towards the expressway. I looked out the window. A chill these days clung to the valley. This kind of weather was extremely rare in Texas in the middle of April. It was usually hot.

“Me sorprendio que nadie salió hoy a las nueve. Siempre que vengo, están todo los chamacos sentados en el pavimento comiendo y fumando,” my father told me.

"Es que hoy huvo mucho trabajo, father, bastante.”

He nodded, then focusing on the increasing traffic in the expressway. The police will take some time to arrive, and by then everyone should have already woken up. No one will remember anything, and the cameras… were disconnected from the network. So, tomorrow when I go in for work, no one will be the wiser.



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