Sage felt weird running the tracks. When she ran, it was in a battle or fleeing a monster too powerful to overcome. Here, there was no danger, so she had to stay in shape the boring way. Fortunately for her, she was taught how to use earbuds to play music right into her head, giving herself a nice distracton while running around. Of course, she had one ear free. Some people used their super speed to whizz right past her, causing her to lose balance and fall. Others brought their bikes to ride around the tracks and almost hit her. It was important for her to stay on guard.
Today, not many people were around, so she was able to run in relative peace. People usually kept to themselves when running as well. Sometimes that was nice, other times it led to a very boring day.
Initially, Kal thought the island would be something like Hawaii. Not that he'd been to Hawaii. Still, the expectations he had for Manta Carlos was... wrong. It wasn't disappointing. If anything, it was far stranger than he expected it to be. The school was full of strange humanoids. In the town, even stranger people walked the streets. It was like walking into the X Mansion, truthfully.
Everything was unfamiliar to him--almost. The somewhat cloudy sky remained the same at least. The oval track still smelled like stale rubber the few moments the sun pour through to heat it up. The wind, albeit it was a little heavier here, would still meet his face when he ran.
The first thing Kal did when he reached the track was to look around at the people on it. He wasn't all too ready to face the strange people in the school. He certainly didn't want to make himself part of the crowd if there were a ton of them here. Luckily for him, only a few were using the track. Some students, he assumed, jogged at their own paces--normal, absurdly fast, and somewhere between a walk-jog. For some reason, there were those who used their bikes on it too but he wasn't too bothered as long as they stayed in their lane.
After a bit of stretching, Kal stepped into the track and began to jog at a normal pace. He took note of the people around him as he made his rounds. One particular person who caught his eye was a girl. Dark-haired and dark-skinned. She looked relatively normal. Bored, even. At first, Kal hadn't thought of approaching her. He was here to jog and likely so was she. When he jogged close enough behind her though, he had suddenly blurted out. "Hey."
Sage initially moved away from a man running near hear called out a greeting. It took her a couple of seconds of realizing that no one else was around that the greeting was likely to her. After turning down her music, she slowed down and turned her head towards him.
Kal hesitated. He hadn't thought she would actually turn to him. He hadn't even thought about what he would say if she did. Then again, he had no one else to talk to here. If he planned to stay longer in this place, he knew he needed more than a handler to talk to.
"Nothing's wrong. I only thought you looked familiar. Guess I'm wrong."
And he was backing out as quick as he'd come in already. Kal threw a slight smile at the younger woman before he began to step away.
A different dimension. How the world had been so small outside of this island, Kal thought. He let his pace match hers as she slowed down. He hadn't even meant to say that in earnest. He'd only needed a quick way out of that conversation. Of course, he imagined that if he heard of a similar version of himself from a different dimension, he'd be interested in hearing about him too.
"Uh, no. I don't think I know of a 'you' from here. I just thought you looked like someone else. My mistake," Kal said. With a bit of a chuckle, he added, "Although, if you're from a different dimension, I guess it makes sense that you look like you don't fit in here."
"What do you mean by that?" she replied with a tilt of her head upward. Judging from the other humans here, she looked just like everyone else. The only weird part of her appearance was her pink-tinted glasses. Something that made them look more like sunglasses than something to correct her vision. "I thought I looked like any other human here. I hope something's not wrong with my appearance today.
"It's just that... there are so many strange people here. Outside of Manta Carlos, most others only look like me. Plain and definitely not as colorful as the others," Kal answered helpfully. He gave her a little smile as he said it. "Oh, and I'm not saying you're plain, too. I just thought you were kind of an outlier."
Kal saw one of the other strange plant people by the edge of the field. He hadn't seen many humanoids on his arrival. Most of the people he saw looked like humans but had only seemed strange because he'd seen that most of them were actively using their abilities. He reckoned that if the welcome sight was a little more Sky High and less X-Men: The Last Stand, the whole place would seem a whole lot more familiar.
"Or maybe I just haven't spent enough time on the island yet and I'm not used to the idea that people have magic powers or strange abilities," he added with a shrug. "I don't know about you but where I come from, nobody did anything magic. The most of what we--er, they could do that resembled magic was chemical experiments and fancy sleight of hand tricks."
Sage found amusement in how the man was trying to cover up his mistake. He was awkward for sure. Was this his attempt at flirting with her? To strike up a conversation with a pretty lady?
"I'm alright with being plain," she said matter-of-factly. "It sounds like you came from what people here call the Narrow Reality. Where I came from, magic and the 'supernatural' was a thing, but not like this. Technology is very advanced here, and there are so many intelligent lifeforms."
For a second, she went quiet. Then, she smiled. "Why did you view me as an outlier?"
The Narrow Reality, huh? To think of it, Kal saw how fitting a name it was for the world he left behind. The plant person in the edge of the field began to walk out of sight. He still couldn't help but think how strange the actual world was. His mind went to UFO sightings and supernatural events. Had people like him been the cause for them too?
He glanced at her when she spoke again. He noticed she was smiling, a stark contrast from what seemed to be her resting face. He gave a small shrug. "I don't know. I guess, from my perspective, you looked... normal," he uttered. "I'll be honest, I've been here a week and I still very much have that Narrow Reality mindset. Unlike the other humans I've seen so far, nothing seemed supernatural about you. It's a kind of comfort, kind of like a touch of home in this really unfamiliar place, you know?"
For all his honesty, he was hoping she didn't take offense in his words. Or interpreted them the wrong way. "I guess I'm just looking for a friend, really," he added quietly. He wouldn't say it but talking to others still made him uneasy. It wasn't so much their looks or race or whatever else that made them different. Mostly it was a sense of wanting to be left alone. Now that he thought of it, he wondered if she had wanted to be left alone too.