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The bookstore smelled of freshly ground coffee beans and the familiar scent of books. Tracy noticed only the magazine rack at the front of the bookstore. On the bottom, a brand-new copy of Jon's favorite video game magazine caught Tracy's eye. He picked it up and skimmed through it. There were strategy guides, reviews, letters, news, and an exclusive interview with Jonathan Pike, the best programmer in America.
On one page, there was a picture of Jon, looking rather smug. On the opposite page, there was the interview, asking questions about what he did and why he liked it. A picture to the left corner seemed to stand out. Tracy saw himself and Jon. The caption read: "Jonathan and his translator Tracy Stevens (left) work out plans for CrossWind Island V". To the side, in small print, "Courtesy Jon Pike".
Tracy shook his head and put the magazine back. He didn't want it. He didn't want to feel introspective. He didn't need Jon anyway.
He proceeded to the history section. Tracy looked at the Asian history books before realizing it would be hard for him to learn anything new. He noticed a girl looking at them as well. They reached for the book at the same time.
Tracy remembered her long, dark hair and exotic eyes. Dainty hands but a strong will. Was it her? He had been waiting his whole life for her... "Is it you?"
The girl looked at him strangely. She shook her head and trotted off.
It hit Tracy. Who was Jasmine? Why did he remember something that never happened? But it did, he was quite sure of it. He could never forget her. He waited such a long time for her to come back. Come back from where? His mind stopped working, because he couldn't answer. And yet the answer seemed so close, he could feel it.
He noticed a little piece of paper on the floor. He bent down to read it. It read, "Jasmine's soul, not Jasmine." Tracy stared at the words for a while, confused. He was known for his lack of depth. At least, that's what everyone else thought. It seemed that because he was promiscuous everyone assumed that he was dense as well. Somewhere inside there was depth, but he always tried not to think about it. If he did, he spoke. When he spoke, it fell on deaf ears -- no one cared what he thought about anything. Jon did, but...
Tracy stormed out of the bookstore, with anger and vengeance following him closely. Raw, useless anger, built up from twenty some-odd years of neglect. He walked quickly to the back of the bookstore; it was a grassy and empty lot. He walked on, not noticing the pair of eyes watching his moves closely from atop the bookstore.
Past the vacant lot was a skate park that Tracy had never seen before, with a few skaters trying out dangerous tricks. He watched, having nothing better to do.
Each move that one did was replaced by a more spectacular and cutthroat move. Some of the things they did didn't seem to be something that normal, sane people would attempt. Perhaps they were insane or suicidal. Tracy walked closer, keeping his eyes on them. The more he looked at them and their tricks, the more he began to realize that they were not normal at all. Various appendages would fall off as they did their tricks, leaving their legs and torso. They were zombie skate punks.
He raised his soda can. It was time for action. "Soda, henshin da! Sodapop Z ni naru yo! Iku ze!"
A rush came over Tracy. He was raised into the sky, transforming to the superhero. He gained each item of clothing, then posed. "I can't have death walking free! Solitary Assasin, go into action!"
The skate punks skated down, surrounding him. There was a black flash, and something flew from the sky and landed right in front of Tracy. It had disgustingly filthy black wings, a torn black trenchcoat, a black shirt, black pants with lots of zippers, and black rollerblades, the wheels a glistening clear. It seemed to study him carefully.
"Are you the head of the zombies?" Tracy looked at its nonexistant eyes. It seemed to grin, amuzed at something. Tracy looked at his uniform. It was a ballet tutu. "Wah! Ehe..." He flicked the wrist of the hand holding the soda can to reveal himself dressed as a black, white, and red skate punk, complete with red rollerblades. "Now, what were you saying?"
The zombie pointed behind himself, then spread his arms wide. He looked at Tracy and pointed to his chest, then his soda can. The two stared at the soda can, until the zombie snached it swiftly, skating off. The circle grew closer.
"Hey!" Tracy shouted. He held his hands forward, crossed at the wrist. "Carbon Explosion!" His arms spread wide. The can burst open as the zombie skated forward. Tracy looked around and began to attack the zombie punks himself, landing punches and kicks well. He knocked a zombie punk aside, skating to catch up with the head zombie. He snapped his finger and the can reappeared in his hand.
The head zombie slowed and skated in front of Tracy, taunting him and making grotesque faces. Tracy responded by throwing the can at his head, which made him fall to the floor. However, the floor began to give way to a black abyss. Tracy and the head zombie sank into the abyss. Its wings flapped a little, then it started to skate on an ebony road. Tracy follwed suit.
He began to think of the can of a rope, then a bubble. The can responded, turning to dark caramel liquid which seemed to stay in his hands. He quickly made it into a lasso, then threw it at the head zombie. The zombie was about to fly from the the road, but the lasso fit around him, causing its legs and arms to jerk forward, its hands and head flying off. The rope surrounded both Tracy and the zombie to become a bubble.
The two took up a fighting stance, growling. The zombie threw a punch, but Tracy saw it coming and blocked it. He rushed backward, holding its arm around his wing, and broke it off. He then used the arm to push him forward. The zombie turned around, looking crippled.
Tracy shook his head at the zombie and threw his own arms forward, crossed. "Carbon..."
As he stored up his energy, the bubble began to rise through the abyss. The more he glowed red, the higher the bubble went, and soon the bubble rose up from the abyss and up ten feet in the sky.
He threw his arms back. "EXPLOSION!" The bubble and zombie burst simultaniously, and Tracy fell to the ground. The wings of the zombie were the only thing left, floating to the ground as if they were a pair of feathers. He looked at the wings, which shrank to become a little black bouncy-ball, and rolled off.
From the top of the bookstore, the pair of eyes grew narrow in disgust, then vanished.