Ricochet and I shoved Huston into one of the few folding chairs to try to calm him down. Justin, Errin, Georgie, and Coy rushed over, dropping what they were doing to check on him. Huston began to thrash harder as the group crowded around him. He was shaking, struggling to keep his eyes open but barely daring to blink at the same time.
Errin pushed her way up to be close to Huston, grabbing his hand and looking into his eyes.
“Huston it’s me. It’s Errin. Please, calm down and talk to us,” she pleaded, squeezing his hand.
Huston went stiff, his eyes glistening, when he began to shake. He began foaming at he mouth, his tired eyes watering.
Then, in one abrupt leap, it just stopped. His body went limp, sliding deeper into the chair, his head hanging.
“Huston wake up!,” Errin cried, shaking his lifeless arm.
The group looked at their feet. We all seemed to know what happened. Tears began to fall from Errin’s face, splattering onto the concrete floor. We sat in silence for what felt like hours before a soft voice broke the silence.
“I’m sorry to have scared you,” Huston said lifting his head.
Errin wrapped her arms around his neck, silently sobbing, before Huston pushed her back.
“I’m not who you think I am,” he said, standing from the chair, looking carefully at his hands in wonder, “Huston Bridges is dead.”
He looked around at the astonished faces of the group before locking eyes with me, and giving me a quick smile.
“I should probably explain. My name is Noja. You would probably consider me a Canvas. However I am not like Klyptorian and his followers.
“As you have probably noticed, Canvas have a variety of different powers. Mine are telepathy, possession, and water manipulation. My physical being is on the Canvas planet currently, but my mental being is here, inside your friend. I caught him on the verge of death. The second I leave him, he will be gone.
“I’ve come to help you. I used to think of Klyptorian as a friend, but he is too power-hungry. He needs to be stopped. I can train you,” he said mystically.
Now that I think about it, you could almost hear that faint Canvas accent in his voice.
“This isn’t right; they’ve done something to him, I know it!,” Errin yelled.
I stood, looking at Huston. Or rather, Noja. I knew better than to trust him. I could hear that small part of myself begging me to turn him away. This was so ridiculous.
“I think we should let him stay and prove himself,” I said, before I even realized what I was doing. The crowd turned to me, all looking quite stunned. Well, all except Coy.
“I-I agree with Todd,” he muttered, barely loud enough for anyone to hear. He had a certain glint in his eyes, like he knew something no one else did.
They all turned to face him, a confused look on their faces. Coy was easily the smartest of the group. It didn’t make sense that he was siding with me.
“Well, I don’t think it’s safe to keep him here Coy. We don’t know what that thing inside of him is planning on doing,” Georgie said.
“Hold on a second,” Ricochet snarked, “I believe you told me that I didn’t have to listen to you anymore. You know, because I helped Todd.”
“You can’t seriously think that I meant you could take over. I meant I would let you sleep in! As much as I care about Huston, it isn’t safe to keep him here,” Georgie snapped.
“Well then. You’ve always been Mr. Democracy, so let’s have a vote. All in favor of letting Huston stay?,” Ricochet said, marching herself into the box.
Coy, Errin, Justin, Ricochet, and I raised our hands. Noja eventually put his hand up as well.
“Well it’s settled then. He’s staying,” Ricochet said, smirking. It seemed she was more excited about beating Georgie at something than Noja actually staying in the base.
Georgie stormed off to sulk in the corner, while Justin started trying to ‘get to know’ Noja. Although, to Justin, getting to know someone consisted of random questions and a chance throwing glitter.
Coy went back to his little corner, fished his journal out from his clothes, and began writing. Errin began dividing up the rations for the day. Ricochet went to her makeshift bed and fell asleep within minutes.
Noja eventually pulled himself away from the parasite known as Justin, making his way over to me.
“Child, let me see you,” he said calmly, touching my newly uneven hair and eyeing the birthmark.
He smiled, “Todd, isn’t it? You are meant for so much more than you could possibly imagine.”
“I’m really not that special. How did you take over Huston’s body, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“Oh, of course, I couldn’t expect you to understand Canvas powers. You see, I am physically very far away. I’m actually on the planet of Canvas. Now, I am currently in a weakened state; normally I could possess anyone I wish, no matter how far they are. But now? My physical body is beginning to fail me. I will probably live, as Kirp can heal me, but he too is weak. Anyway, I needed someone on the verge of death to take over. Huston seemed like a perfect match.”
“Who is Kirp?”
“Oh he is the other remaining Guardian. Klyptorian, Kirp and I were the original three Guardians of Canvas. We essentially created the planet entirely. Of course Klyptorian got greedy, as you probably figured out yourself, but Kirp and I are not like that at all.”
I sat in silence. There was so much information he was telling me, but I understood it without much thought.
“Todd, there’s a lot you don’t understand,” he said, seemingly reading my mind, “You are worth so much more than you realize. We will start training tomorrow.”