Chapter 13 – Lindsay
We had about 10 minutes before homeroom to get all of the newspapers, so as soon as Cal stopped talking, I was off and running.
“Lindsay, wait,” Nick said, jogging after me. I slowed and let him walk beside me.
“We’re supposed to be splitting up to get this done faster,” I said. “You know, so we don’t die at the hands of an evil villain.”
Nick shrugged. “Whatever.”
“Nick!” I said, nudging his shoulder. He rammed into a wall and glared at me while he nursed his arm.
“Sorry,” I said. “Sometimes I forget that I’m a freak now.”
Nick rolled his eyes. “You just need to … harness the power.”
I giggled and let Nick pull me out of the crowded hallway and into a quieter stairwell. He pointed at the metal stair railing. “Do your best.”
“Bend it,” Nick said. “Or break it, or pull it up, or whatever you can do.”
I ran my hand along the railing. This was major. I mean, bumping people out of my way was one thing, but bending metal? This was serious.
I squeezed my hand tightly around the railing but nothing happened. I yanked at it with my right arm. Nothing. I looked at Nick.
He sighed. “You’re not even trying.”
I put both hands on the railing, and felt the cool steel under my fingers. I pushed my palms down and wrapped my fingers tightly. Then I pulled up with all my might.
There was no sound, but the railing, it wrenched under my fists. It let itself mold to my tug, like some malleable plastic. I let go and stared at the bulge.
Nick smiled at me.
Chapter 14 – Nick
It was maddening! First of all, the girl gets the super strength?! And then she’s too afraid or prissy or whatever to use it?!
But I was curious: exactly how strong was she? I found out, though. Strong enough to bend steel. Good to know.
So after that fun experiment, we decided to see if there were any materials that my special eyesight couldn’t penetrate. I already knew I could see through wood and bathroom doors, so we tried to see if I could see Lindsay when she was on the school’s second story while I was on the first (I could), and if I could still see her if she was on the third story while I stayed on the first (I could).
I was about to try to convince her to go out passed the football field to see how far my eyesight would reach when the bell rang.
“Oh no,” Lindsay said.
“Relax,” I said. “It’s just homeroom.”
“No, the newspapers, Nick,” she whined. Her face got all weird like when a dog thinks it’s about be slapped around.
She ran down the hallway and pulled newspapers out of kids’ arms, shoving them all over the place. It was kind of funny. I followed her and would pick up any pages she dropped.
Then she disappeared into her classroom.
I wandered around the hallway a little bit, keeping an eye out for any stray papers. But I wasn’t going to like, kill myself trying to get them. I’d thought about it all night, and this was the conclusion I’d come to: the guy, the freezer-sweat creepy guy, he probably only knows about Cal, right?
Let’s piece it together. Creepy guy somehow gets his gross power that night. He thinks back to the tower. He knows there were other people there. Maybe he heard us, or maybe he’s just wondering, or maybe he only found Cal’s jacket, so that’s how he knows. But he sure as hell never saw us, because he didn’t recognize me that day in the office.
At best, he thinks Cal is the only other person with powers. At worst, he heard voices and thinks it was Cal and a girl. Either way, he knows nothing about me.
So what do I care?
Chapter 15 – Cal
By lunchtime, my locker was filled with newspapers I’d confiscated.
“Hey,” some girl said, standing behind me, while I shoved some more papers into my locker. “Can I have a copy?”
“NO.” I said. I slammed the locker door shut and she frowned at me, but left.
At lunch, I was happy to see Lindsay’s arms full of pages. She dropped them on the table, and Nick even had a bunch.
“Do you think we got them all?” I asked.
Nick shrugged and Lindsay looked optimistic.
“Everyone was asking me about them,” Lindsay said. “They said they couldn’t find a paper anywhere. That’s good, right?”
I nodded. “That’s good.”
But even as I looked around the room, I still got a glimpse of a student holding a newspaper. I took a huge bite of my sandwich and stood up.
“I have a couple more to get,” I said.
Lindsay looked around and nodded, standing with me. Nick took a moment, but also stood. By the end of the period, we’d confiscated all of them in the room.
I didn’t even see another paper in any of my afternoon classes. In fact, I didn’t see any more papers at all. Until I walked out of school at the end of the day.
And there he was: the man Nick had seen in the office that day. He was standing at the end of the sidewalk, holding a newspaper in his hands and staring at each kid that walked past.
I didn’t see him until it was too late, until I couldn’t turn around without drawing attention to myself.
And so, as I stood motionless on the sidewalk while all the other kids pushed and shoved to get around me, I watched him see me. I watched his eyes flick back and forth from my face to my huge, dumb picture on the front page of the newspaper.
Then he was walking toward me.
How had I not seen this coming?