the M E G A
I worked at trying to control my powers every day, but there was only so much I could accomplish through strict concentration. Still, there was no way of knowing exactly how I was able to do the things I could do or why, but I reveled in pushing my limits and seeing just what I could pull off. Until I got good enough to completely predict what happened when I exerted myself, it was a good idea to leave it a secret. Even after weeks of attempting to hone my abilities, I still felt woozy every time, and the more strenuous feats made me vomit. So far, I hadn’t noticed any adverse effects of these powers, although I had a feeling trouble was right around the corner. Everyone knows from comic books and other media that once you get powers, you’ll have to use them in some way other than just helping yourself eventually. “With great power comes great responsibility.”, or something like that.
As I got better, I became more bold with the execution of my talents; in class, occasionally, I would strongly imagine writing on the board, and whatever I thought would appear… usually. This led to quite a bit of amusement at the expense of my instructors and the other students, since I would try to rewrite a classmates answer or insert typos into teachers’ lectures — and all the while, I was never suspected. Who or what could incriminate me? The way I pulled off my little pranks left no evidence. I started to wonder what else I could get away with…
And to think I wouldn’t even be alive to enjoy these gifts if I had been braver in February…
Even so preoccupied with mastering these powers, my heart and mind kept coming back to Katrina. I would see her walking with Tyler every passing period and at lunch, and I tried not to stare too long, but sometimes it was just too tempting.
One of my friends waved his hand in front of my face while the other two snickered and started throwing ketchup packets at each other.
“I said, Ms. Carter knows so much about the dinosaurs because she is one!” Derek had a knack for making lame jokes, and unfortunately, my attraction to them was just as bad.
“Ha! That’s so funny I fell off my dinosaur.” We fake laughed at each other to the point that other kids around us started to give us weird looks. We finished joshing each other, and I set my eyes on Katrina again. She and Tyler were sitting under an awning in the quad, about to dig into their lunches. God, she even ate in a way that made me crazy for her. Suddenly, I had a mischievous idea.
“Hey, guys, hold on a second…”, I said, which was enough to make Robert and Nate hold off on challenging each other to see how much of their hot dogs they could fit in their mouth.
“You see that guy sitting with Katrina over there?” A trio of nodding heads bobbed behind me.
I waited for the perfect moment to begin focusing in on the milk pouch in Tyler’s hand, hoping to make it burst right in his face when he brought it up to take a drink. After a few grueling seconds, the jock lifted his beefy arm and opened his mouth, preparing to squeeze a stream of liquid dairy down his gullet, and I closed my eyes to help to process along.
The result was far from anything I had hoped or expected.
“AAAAAAAAAUUUUUGGGHH!!!” A scream of pain echoed through the school — a sound so violent and gut-wrenching that, for the first time in recorded history, the school fell dead silent at lunchtime. I opened my eyes as soon as I heard the yell, and what I saw filled me with fear and regret. Tyler was standing over the bench where he had been sitting with steam rising off his body; his face was an unnatural shade of red, and several boils covered his skin. The leather from his varsity jacket melted instantly. My first thought wasn’t, “Hey, who threw a pot of boiling water on Tyler Gorman?”
No — it was, “Oh my god, what have I done?”
What hit me the hardest was the worry and despair in Katrina’s eyes as she watched a pair of volunteer proctors take Tyler by his arm and lead him to the nurse’s office. I felt to terrible for something I didn’t even want to happen. All I wanted to do was take petty revenge on the kid by embarrassing him in front of his friends, but it was clear something went wrong. Until then, I never
had any problems playing out exactly what I imagined — whenever I failed to concentrate hard enough or something distracted me, the powers just didn’t activate. Maybe that was the problem: this time, I was thinking too hard.
Without any indication to my friends, I left to follow Tyler, hoping I could help somehow. Inside the nurse’s office, I overheard an assistant in the storage room gasp when the nurse told him about Tyler’s condition and remark how under-stocked they were. In the office, Tyler continued to pant and breathe manically, grimacing at the disfigured monster staring back at him through the mirror. When the nurse returned to the room, she bared down at me with a fierce look.
“What are you doing here!? I’m busy treating someone right now — if its not life-threatening, please wait outside!” She didn’t even wait to make sure I had left before returning to Tyler’s attention with a bag of ice wrapped in a towel.
“No, hold on — i’m his brother! Zane… Gorman! He has a medical condition, let me see him first!” As the words escaped my mouth, I realized I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt like the right thing to do. Before I had finished talking, the nurse opened her palm toward me and resumed her stern glare.
“Identification?”, she said in her most authoritative voice, to which I panicked and told her to wait a second while I dug through my pockets. Now I really felt I was in deep; without any proof, there was no way she would leave me alone with Tyler…
But hello, there was something in my front pocket after all — the fingers on my left hand touched the thin edges of a pair of plastic cards and I carefully tugged the objects out to show them to her. The nurse lowered her glasses and stooped down to get a better look, then sneered and walked back toward the door in her flashy heels.
“Alright, you have a look at him, “Zane”… but if you need anything, I’m right around the corner.” She slammed the door as she left, bestowing me with an odd sort of reassurance. I sighed and turned the cards around to see for myself. One was a medical information card with Tyler’s picture on it and various bits of information concerning his health insurance policy and contact information; the other was a school I.D. card not too different from my own authentic I.D., except the name clearly read “Zane Gorman”. I indulged in a celebratory gesture and put both cards away as I walked in front of Tyler. He was sitting on the table in the middle of the room crying in a deep voice with his big hands covering his face. I hesitated grabbing his arm and tried to find just the right approach to the situation.
“Tyler, here — let me see.” After noticing my fingers on his elbow, he relaxed slightly and lowered his hands.
“Ooh, this isn’t good… we’re gonna need something pretty strong to dull the pain.” I tried sounding as professional as possible, all the while praying Tyler didn’t see through my ruse. I started fumbling through the cabinets in the office to either find or create something to put the kid to sleep.
“H-hey… you’re Zane, right?”
I gulped and paused my rummaging for half a second.
“Since when did you start working for Miss Bowen?”
I closed my eyes momentarily and lifted a syringe out from the drawer. Of course there was no way of knowing exactly what liquid was inside the needle, but right now, I had to be sure.
“I know you get all the best grades in English class, but what makes you qualified to–!” Without warning, I stuck Tyler with the syringe and slowly squeezed the mystery fluid into his bloodstream. Within seconds he was down for the count, and I was free to take a swing at fixing what I had done to him. I took a deep breath and put my hand over Tyler’s face.
“Put him back together,”, I chanted.
“he was never burned. Put him back together…”
On my way out, I paid Ms. Bowen a visit. She sat comfortably in the swiveling chair at her desk, reading a women’s magazine.
“Nurse Bowen?” I tapped on the door as I entered her personal office. She glowered at me under mascara-drenched eyelids.
“I think you’ll find my brother won’t be needing any further treatment. You can see for yourself if you like — but if he asks what happened, just tell him you’re the best nurse in Sacramento.” I shot her a wink and a smile before slinking back outside through the patient room. I kept the image of Tyler’s perfectly restored face to cheer me up — which was little more than a dent in the gnawing memory of his horribly burnt visage. Above all else, I would definitely have to be more careful with my abilities in the future.
“Power and responsibility.“, I reminded myself.