Another excerpt from my novel, The Power Club™. Very few people have seen this chapter. Let me know what you think.
“Damon! Don’t do that in public.”
Damon started at the sound of his mother’s voice. She had been standing over at the cash register of Anilora’s Grocery Store, talking to Anita, the elderly lady who owned the store with her husband, Loren. Damon had been way over by the pop cooler, chatting with Brandon, a boy he’d just met. Brandon had said, “If you show me your power, I’ll show you mine.”
So Damon exhaled, and the darkspace came.
The boy freaked out—sometimes they did—and tried to run away, but he couldn’t see where he was going. As soon as Damon’s night vision kicked in, he could see the boy fumbling his way past the cooler and the potato chip rack. Damon laughed—he didn’t mean for it to be funny, but it was.
And then he heard his mother’s voice.
He closed his eyes and inhaled. The darkspace vanished.
“I wasn’t doing anything!” he protested as his mother marched over to collect him. “I was just showing Brandon—”
“And was Brandon showing you his power?”
Damon glanced at the other boy, who lowered his head and snickered. Damon realized he’d been tricked again.
“You don’t even have a power, do you?” Damon accused the other.
Sheepishly, the other boy shook his head. “My sister does. She can see through metal.” He then took off, leaving Damon to face his mother alone.
She planted her hands on her hips. “Damon, you know you’re not allowed to use your powers in public. You don’t want the district police to send you to Alaska.”
Damon was too old to fall for this. Only the worst kids, the ones with powers they couldn’t control, got sent to the special facility in Alaska.
“What’s the use of having a power,” he protested, “if I can’t use it?”
A familiar cackle roared from near the cash register. Anita, who was much shorter than Damon’s mom and bent over, came out from behind the counter. “My Hector used to be the same way,” she said in that lilting drawl that indicated she was about to take over the conversation. “He used to be able to levitate things, you know, and he just had to show off. One day, the district police gave him a choice,” Anita said, looking directly at Damon so he couldn’t possibly miss the point of the story. “Either he could stop using his power or have the null operation.”
“What happened?” Damon said, eyes wide with terror. The null operation was a strictly voluntary procedure that kids with powers could undergo when they were older. The operation permanently stripped away a power.
Anita looked down at Damon with a hang-dog expression. “What do you think? Hector had the operation. He lives in Portland now with his wife and kids.”
Damon let out a breath of contempt for the injustice of it all: Being forced to lose one’s power was the worst thing he could possibly imagine. He had never met Hector, but he felt empathy for him.
“But you and Loren stayed?” Mom asked. Everyone knew that when a “special child” lost his or her power, the family was forced to leave the district.
“We were the only grocery store in the district then,” Anita said wistfully. “That was before the mall was built. The district let us stay because they wanted kids like Damon to grow up in a normal neighborhood.”
Damon winced. He hated the notion that things were done in the district just for him and for other kids like him. It reminded him that he wasn’t “normal,” after all.
“Tell you what, Damon,” Anita said, turning to retrieve something from the counter. Damon knew what it was before she turned back. Sure enough, she bore a jar full of flavored candy sticks. “Mind your mother, and I’ll let you have one of these. Is root beer still your favorite?”
Though Damon was too old to be bribed in this fashion, he didn’t want to hurt the old lady’s feelings. Besides, free candy was free candy. Even so, he carefully hid the root beer stick among the bags of groceries as he carried them out to the car, just in case Brandon or some other kid was watching.