Read Part Three here.
CHAPTER SEVEN – Lindsay
After lunch, I shoved that notebook in the bottom of my book bag which hung in the depths of my locker. I had a little safe at home where I could store it, out of reach of my family or anyone else who might be snooping around.
“Lindsay, what the hell?”
I jumped and slammed my locker shut, leaving a small dent where I’d pushed too hard in my panic. It was Chloe, and her eyes widened when she saw the dent I was trying to cover up.
“Shoddy workmanship,” I muttered. “What’s up, Chloe?”
“So now you’re eating with Nick? And that other kid, what’s his name?” she shot at me.
I started to walk down the hall and she hurried to keep up. I braced myself for the buzzing I was about to endure. “Um, his name’s Cal. And we’re just, like, in a club or something.”
“I mean,” my mind raced. “We’re doing a project together. For Ms. Hudson’s astronomy group. For extra credit in science.”
Chloe frowned and crossed her arms, but it looked like she bought it.
“Good move getting Cal in your group,” she said, peering at me.
I shrugged. “Whatever.”
She stopped walking and stood in the middle of the hallway, letting other students brush by, and allowing the distance to grow greater between us.
“Yeah,” she said. “Whatever, I guess.”
Then she disappeared into the crowd of the hallway. I waved in case she was still watching, and ran off to my History class.
As class began, I sank into the deafened mode that had helped me get through all of my morning classes without hearing any of the buzzing around me, and I thought about our abilities:
- My truth serum hearing and Hulk-like strength
- Cal’s mind-mapping of the future and ability to see what might happen
- Nick’s seeing and moving through walls
It was interesting: I had a mixture of something physical and mental, while Cal’s abilities were completely mental and Nick’s were completely physical. Of course, Cal could affect the physical and Nick could certainly play with people’s minds using his abilities (what else was new?). That’s when I realized: our super-abilities were in some way related to our normal selves. I thought more and more about it, and while I made the connections, I also began to wonder: would we continue to discover more powers?
CHAPTER EIGHT – Nick
I was freezing. A chill swept through my body, its epicenter was my right arm. I stared at the arm, wondering what the hell was going on. I ran my left hand over my arm and some of my arm hairs broke off. Broke off—because they were actually tiny frozen icicles.
I raised my hand and my teacher sighed. “What now, Nick?”
“I gotta go,” I said, standing up.
A couple of girls giggled.
“I mean, can I please go to the bathroom?” I said, feeling like an idiot. Asking permission to go to the bathroom never made sense to me.
Some more girls giggled and the teacher flushed. “By all means,” she stammered.
I looked down, and my jeans had a dark, wet-looking spot on them by the pelvis. I touched it, and the fabric was hard, frozen, just like my arm was about to be.
“Oh my God,” I muttered.
“Nick, do you need assistance?” the teacher said.
Another flutter of giggles ran like a wave over the classrooms.
I didn’t answer, and instead spun around, jogging out of the classroom to the bathroom down the hall.
I turned the faucet to hot, as hot as it would go. Tepid water ran out, and I held my arm underneath the faucet until it grew warmer and warmer and neared a temperature that could be considered hot. I splashed some of the water onto my pants, where the frozen spot was on my thigh. Nothing happened. The water ran off the area as though it was weatherproofed. I watched the miniscule icicles reform on my arm hairs each time I pulled my arm out from under the water.
“No, no,” I said, trying to get more and more water. I was making a mess, water splashing onto the tile floor and all over me.
I finally sank to the ground in a puddle and stared at my arm which grew colder by the second. My pants were drenched everywhere, except for the part that was frozen.
My arm and my pants. There was only one that I could trace it back to today: the creepy guy in the office with the gooey sweat. He had touched my arm, and I’d wiped the gelatinous goo onto my pants.
Now my arm and my pants were freezing. Who was this guy?
I heard footsteps in the hallway coming closer, so I jumped up and went into a stall. I crouched on the toilet so no one could find me.
I heard the bathroom door swing open.
“Holy crap,” a voice said. “What happened in here?”
The voice belonged to Mario, and he was with Freddy. They were both on the soccer team with me. I watched them, through the stall walls. Mario picked his way around the puddles of water on the floor and went over to the urinal. Freddy leaned against a wall and pulled out a cigarette.
“The sinking of the Titanic,” Freddy answered sarcastically. “Whaddya think happened: some dumb freshmen had a water fight or something. Who cares?”
He took a drag on the cigarette. “Hurry up before the monitors check on this bathroom.”
We had hall monitors who walked around to make sure kids weren’t cutting class. Just like the whole, asking-permission-to-use-the-bathroom thing, they treated us like kindergartners in this place.
I bent my right arm to help hold myself in balance against the stall wall, and winced. The growing freeze was making things difficult.
“Did you hear that?” Mario said. He zipped up and washed his hands. Both of them grew silent and cocked their heads like dogs listening for their can of food to open.
I stayed motionless.
“Is someone here?” Freddy whispered. He flicked his cigarette into the sink.
Mario pushed open the stall door three stalls down from me, then the one two down from me.
I weighed my options: open the door myself and try to explain to my two friends why I’d been completely silent while one of them urinated and the other smoked a cigarette, or let them find me.
Mario was one stall away.
I reached out, ready to open the stall door myself when I heard the main bathroom door swing open.
“Gentlemen,” the hall monitor said smugly. “Don’t you have somewhere you’re supposed to be?”
The three of them trudged out of the bathroom and I was left alone once again.
I ran my fingers over the frozen spots on my arm and jeans.
“What the hell?” I whispered.
CHAPTER NINE – Cal
I found Lindsay after school in the commons area again, hanging around the cool kids. I wanted to talk to her about … well, everything. When I found her she was actually tip-toeing through the crowd.
“What’s the matter with you?” I said.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” she hissed. She took another careful step and then leaped out of the way when a girl ran by on her way out.
“Lindsay, you’re not going to hurt them. Don’t worry,” I said.
I could see her shoulders fall as she allowed herself to relax.
“This was the weirdest day,” she said softly to herself. Then she rolled her eyes. “I guess I better get used to it.”
“Hey,” I said, looking around the room. “Where’s Nick?”
A scene flashed through my head that made me drop my backpack on the ground. “Oh no,” I said.
“What?” Lindsay said.
“Oh no, Lindsay,” I said. I turned around in a circle trying to figure out which bathroom resembled the one in my flash. In our high school, they all looked the same. “We gotta find him. He’s in trouble.”
Lindsay ran after me as I stormed through the halls. It was probably a strange image: me aiming my diminutive body to try to force people out of my way, and Lindsay—who could have easily cleared the halls with a small shove—gliding around everyone so as not to hurt them.
We checked two bathrooms before we found him. I knew it was the right one as soon as I opened the door, and I walked straight to the third stall and swung the door open.
There was Nick, perched on top of the back of the toilet, and scrunched into a ball with his arms and legs wrapped as closely to his body as possible. He was shivering and his lips were blue. He looked like he couldn’t move at all.
“Holy cow,” Lindsay said softly. She had given up waiting outside the bathrooms after we’d checked the first one. “What happened to him?”
“I have no idea,” I said. I pulled off my jacket and threw it over Nick, who blinked.
“You okay, Nick?” I asked. He blinked again.
“Does that mean yes or no?” Lindsay said.
I shook my head.
“I have no idea,” I said again. “But he can hear us, so that’s something.”
I tried to unwrap his arms from around his legs but they wouldn’t move. His skin chilled my fingers. “I think he’s frozen,” I said.
“What do you mean?” Lindsay said, her voice reaching up and out.
Nick blinked again. I covered his skin with my jacket and started rubbing, trying to create heat.
“This happens in movies,” Lindsay began, her voice shaky. “And they have to take their clothes off and get close to each other so the body heat warms them up.”
I stopped rubbing Nick’s arm and turned to stare at Lindsay.
“So maybe you should…” Lindsay said, her eyes wide.
Nick made a small grunt that made me turn back. “Hell, no,” he managed through blue lips.
“Try to get behind him and rub his back,” I said to Lindsay. She maneuvered around us to get closer to the other side of the tiny stall.
“Come on, Nick,” I muttered. “Warm up, warm up.”
I stared at his eyes while I worked on his arms and shoulders, trying to generate some warmth. No blinking. His skin was hard as ice and a cerulean hue crept from his lips to the rims of his eyes.
“C’mon. Heat up, man,” I said.
I peered at him, trying to find the right mathematical equation in my mind that would solve this problem. I tried to prompt a flash of the future that would tell me how this emergency panned out. Nick’s eyes glazed over, as though a thin layer of frost spread over them.
My eyes focused on his skin—that blue chilly color—and I felt my eyes go hot. It felt like my pupils were on fire, and I thought I was having some psychological adverse reaction to Nick’s freeze.
But then Lindsay gasped. “Cal! What are you doing?”
A white beam shot from my eyes to wherever they were pointed, wider and broader than a laser, but it seemed to have that effect. I swept the beam over Nick’s face, over his arms and legs. And something in me just knew, understood perfectly, that I was helping him. I knew that I could make the beam more focused or more broad, and that I could bore through objects with the laser-like ray. But I concentrated on just letting the heat of the beam radiate into Nick’s skin and blast away the frost.
A minute later, Nick was flexing his arms and bending his legs, rubbing at his skin that had been frozen just a moment ago.
“What the heck happened to you?” I said.
He looked at me, then at Lindsay. He took a deep breath and picked at a spot of ice on his pants. “I think we found our villain,” he said.