Chapter 19 – Lindsay
I clenched my fists, my fingers grabbing handfuls of cold earth. What happened? Where was I? I was with Nick, I remembered. And then he pushed me. The astronomy building! I pushed myself to my feet. There was a hollow in the ground where I’d fallen. I shook my head, trying to clear the clouds of my mind. Cal was up there and I had to get moving, but my body wasn’t cooperating. I focused on taking one step, then two. Then, when I felt normal enough, I broke into a run.
I sprinted up the steps to the tower. At the top, the door was locked. I banged on it, jarring the entire door. “Nick?”
“Stay out there,” I heard him say. I heard other voices, too.
“Who else is here?” a man’s voice asked.
“No one, no one,” Cal insisted.
“Let me in!” I pounded again on the door.
“STAY OUT!” Both Cal and Nick shouted.
It was like they were protecting me, and that pissed me off. I took a step back and readied myself.
“Like hell I will,” I shouted. I jumped up and slammed my foot against the door, kicking as hard as I could. I landed with one foot in the room, the door underneath me. Dust flew up and then cleared, revealing Cal and Nick, their jaws hanging open, and the gross man, his eyes steely and anxious.
Chapter 20 – Nick
I have to admit, that entrance was pretty cool. Maybe cooler than mine. But then when she got in, we were all like, “What now?” and the crazy dude was probably ready to drop us all out of the tower to get rid of us. I didn’t know what he had planned, but his eyeballs were as big and flat as nickels and they were swirling around his head, adding to his nutso factor.
“Lindsay,” I said. “You’re freaking nuts. Now what? You bust up in here and you don’t have a plan, right?”
“Shut up, Nick,” she said. But I could tell, she was wondering what to do next.
“Everyone stay calm,” Cal said. “I’m trying…” and then got that lost look on his face that he’d been getting lately.
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “You guys suck! I can’t believe I’m stuck having this crazy superhero experience with you losers!”
I turned to the creepy dude. “And you! Do you know you practically killed me earlier today? I mean, if you’re so afraid of ‘the monster’ you’ve become, then why not just leave us alone?”
“No, no,” Cal said. “This won’t go well. Don’t attack him verbally.” Then he scrunched up his face again and did more mental math.
The man took a step toward Lindsay, but she stamped the floor, shaking the tower.
“Think again, crazy. You so much as touch me and I’ll whip you around like a rag doll. These nitwits have gotten on my LAST nerve and I’m just begging one of you to step out of line. I have HAD IT with you boys.” Lindsay emphasized each point with a stamp of her foot.
“You’re a freaking psycho,” I said to her.
“I swear Nick, if we weren’t fighting a bad guy, I’d give you one little nudge to send you flying into the wall,” she said.
The guy lunged at me, quick and solid, and I didn’t have time to back away. I felt the cold, gooey freeze seep into my arms, then my torso, my legs, my neck. I was immobile.
Chapter 21 – Cal
The Jelly Man moved so fast that I didn’t see it coming. In less than a second, he had Nick in a bear hug, and I watched as the frozen hold traveled up and down Nick’s body.
“NO!” I cried and threw my arms around the Jelly Man. I wasn’t thinking, I didn’t do any calculations. I didn’t know what the result might be, but I had to stop him. My plan was to pull him off of Nick, but as soon as I made contact with the Jelly Man, I felt the icy grip clench my skin and bones. I was in a frozen embrace.
And just a second later, Lindsay had jumped toward us too. I wanted to warn her, to tell her to stay away of this frozen mass we were becoming. But I couldn’t move, couldn’t open my mouth, couldn’t turn my head.
I felt her arms grab around us, and I felt her strength weaken under the jelly-like stiffness that came to her.
And then, a darkness came over the room. The four of us were all balled up into one lump in the middle of the tower room, and, like the sun passing behind a cloud, the room grew blue, then grey, then black.
I felt my mind release the equations and calculations and numbers that had been constantly running through since the day with the meteor shower. I felt my eyes let go of the laser-like quality that I’d used to unfreeze Nick in the high school bathroom. I felt my arms go limp and my embrace became loose. I dropped to the floor.
Nick and Lindsay were also on the ground. Lindsay clenched her fist and pounded at the floor. Then she winced. The floor showed no damage. The Jelly Man was slumped against a wall, he touched his arm, and then rubbed at his face. There was no gooey residue.
“What happened?” Nick said. “I feel normal.”
“Me too,” I said. “I think we’re back to normal.”
Lindsay stood. “Let’s get out of here.”
“What about him” I asked, pointing to the Jelly Man.
We looked at him, the crazy guy that froze us and took me to the tower and followed us to our school. He didn’t look so crazy anymore. He looked like a normal man, maybe someone who needed to know that others had been going through the same thing he was. He looked like someone who could have used someone to talk to when crazy things started happening to him. He stared at us, looking scared of what we might do to him.
“Leave him here,” Nick said. “We’re all back to normal now. It doesn’t matter.”
So we left. And things went back to normal at school. For awhile we would eat lunch together or catch up in the hallways or after class. Then that stopped. Like I said, things went back to normal at school. But it was good, because we all knew that we had this bond. This unexplainable power was given to us and then an even more mysterious event took it away. It’s not normal and maybe it’s a bit magical. That’s just how life goes, sometimes.