the M E G A
“Dude… your shirt…”
Derek had to point out the spots of blood running down my chest for me to notice them. By use of pointing at my nose, he also drew my attention to where the blood had come from.
“Oh, sh–!” I yanked some conveniently places tissues out of the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt and started wiping away at my nostrils and upper lip. I didn’t usually get nosebleeds from anything outside of gross physical contact, so my concern over something that should have been a minor inconvenience was drastically higher. Thinking back, it had been a few days since using my powers had made me puke, and I had been exerting them quite a bit today; first there was Matthew in second period, who spent most of the class throwing balls of paper and firing spitwads at the other students — whose backpack zippers mysteriously disappeared, sealing the contents inside; then Mr. Daniels in fourth who “didn’t agree” with the free-response answers on my Economics test, and had quite a conniption when he couldn’t find a single working whiteboard marker that could write the rest of class…
While in front of my friends, I kept myself from having a nervous breakdown, but once I got to the bathroom and saw my bloodied reflection in the mirror, the shaking, twitching, and tears came by themselves. The runny stream of blood fluctuated in volume and consistency, with periods of small droplets escaping through my nostrils, and others where it looked as though entire chunks of flesh rolled down my lips. Ever so slowly, I regained my composure and stopped pulling from my own bottomless box of tissues. Instead, I found the paper-towel dispenser attached to the wall and retrieved a single brown sheet — the last sheet in the container. I cleaned myself up as best I could and let out a deep, heavy sigh into the mirror. Since learning about my powers, I hadn’t taken particular notice of how I looked, but I noticed something was subtly different about me. Not only my face, either; I could just barely make out a dim, yellowish glow emanating from my skin and weak vibrations pulsing throughout various parts of my body. I interpreted these symptoms as a surge — or even an excess — of energy stored inside me. I wondered when these side-effects began to take place, or if they were even noticeable by anyone else.
The lunch bell rang. Suddenly, I remembered that my next class was all the way on the other side of the campus, and I bolted out of the restroom. In my haste, I left the blood-soaked paper towel there in the sink and chuckled to myself at the thought of someone finding it. I started to feel bad, in case it would have made someone faint, but I figured it wouldn’t be the most horrifying thing the people at this school have ever witnessed in a high school restroom.
“How well is the data compiling? Do we have anything substantial yet?”
A thin old man with white stubble on his face kneels down beside a significantly younger uniformed man in a chair. Both men eagerly scan the computer screen in front of them, about ready to drool over the results from a highly complex program never released to the general public. The younger man grinned.
“It’s still got a few minutes to go, but I’m seeing some very promising patterns already. See here, where the energy spikes–?”, he points to the end of a graph among a multitude of different charts and slides of information, all overlapping on the little monitor. The older man nods.
“This one happened around noon yesterday: somewhere in the southern portion of Fremont High School, our sensors picked up sudden, minuscule increases in tectonic, gravitational, kinetic, and radioactive energy within about a mile or two mile radius of the area of triangulation. We still don’t have exact coordinates or a positive identification yet, but we’re more than 99% sure its the kid we’ve been keeping our eye on for the past five years.”
“The Adams boy… yes, I had a hunch he’d be the one.” The grizzled old man stood up with some difficulty and put a hand under his chin.
“Sir… how do you think we should proceed now?”
The old man looked right past his underling as he turned to try and get a response.
“Get another team together — an experienced one, this time… lord, it surprises me what a few ex-cons will do for a few hundred grand, but Jesus are they dumb…” The old man walked with a slight limp over to a keypad on the wall and punched in a series of numbers.
6 – 7 – 6 – 4 – 0 – 7 – 1 – 6
A green light came on just above the keypad and a sliver of light in the shape of a door’s outline appeared in the metallic wall, giving some illumination and character to the dark room full of angular equipment and the occasional blinking light. The old man stuffed a newspaper under his armpit and pushed hard against the wall. Bright sunlight flooded into the small chamber, and he stepped out into the contrasted outdoors. At the computer, the young technician turned his head back to the screen after hearing a distinct pinging sound and began examining the program’s finished results. As his eyes read the concluding line of information, he gasped and stood up to say something to his boss, but the firm click of the seamless wall coming back into place assured him it was too late to pass on his concerns. Distressed at the product of the compiled data, he grabbed the windbreaker hanging on his chair and started climbing down a ladder leading down into a circular hole in the floor.
The old man waited a minute for eyes to adjust to the glaring rays and continued walking across a grassy field occupied only by a few trees and a couple families out for a picnic in the park. A squirrel darted behind the man as he strutted away and came to a stop just before reaching the spot where the fellow had suddenly appeared. The critter sniffed the air briefly and put its tiny fingers against an invisible wall before returning to its quest for survival and sustenance.
By far, I’ve had stranger dreams, although I’d be hard pressed to remember when. Aside from being a silent observer, this seemed the be the first sequence to ever not directly include me. Worse yet, the people in my dream certainly sounded as if they were talking about me — and what was the deal with the technologically saturated theme? I was never too into all that robotic, future convenience mumbo jumbo… so why would it choose to show up where I have, more or less, complete control over everything going on in my subconscious? Chalking it up to yet another side-affect of these randomly spectacular powers, I shrugged off the weirdness and got out of bed to start my day.
When my tube of hair gel was suspiciously refilled and my comb appeared to have been wiped clean of all the loose strands and dandruff, I immediately checked my nose to see if I had somehow used my abilities without realizing it. I still wasn’t certain whether it was my over-exertion that caused the concerting symptoms, but it didn’t hurt to check anyways. When I came downstairs, I found my dad at the table, reading today’s newspaper with his reading glasses.
“How do you like your new comb, son?”
Reaching for a plate in the kitchen cabinet, I froze out of relief and let out a huge sigh.
“Works like a charm.”, I responded. I sat facing the window as I waited for my waffle to finish toasting. For just a moment, I closed my eyes and tried to reflect on everything that happened yesterday — to my frustration, everything up in my head was all jumbled around, and it was impossible for me to linger on any one thought for very long.
“My god, would you look at that…” My dad’s exclamation quickly returned me to my senses, and I stared out the window with him. For nearly fifteen whole seconds, the sky had turned a devilish light red, nothing like the early morning pinkish hue when the sun just began to rise over the mountains, no — the sun had already lifted high enough to showcase a clear blue landscape overhead. This phenomenon was no act of nature, and for some reason, I failed to acknowledge it as an act of mankind, either.
Both of us commented on how strange it was that the sky turned red for a while, and I grabbed my cooked waffle on my way out the door. Aside from the constant worry over possible repercussions and reasons for my powers, I started the day off feeling relatively good. And yet, just when I thought everything was fine, another whim of fate caught me by surprise.
I hardly even remember feeling the dark hood tightening around my neck as another gang of kidnappers hoisted me by my arms and legs up into some vehicle or another. All I could do was grunt in annoyance and hope these criminals knew just what they were in for.