Saturday, April 12, 2014

"False Alarm": A Power Club Short Story

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, but I want to thank everyone for stopping by and checking out the blog. Here's the first part of a Power Club prequel I wrote about a year ago. Enjoy.

            The tiny spider inched its way across the bathroom sink, up the faucet, down the faucet.  It circled the drain twice before it must have realized it was being watched.
            Denise laid her hand in front of the spider, as much to block its path as to say hello.  “Don’t be afraid,” she said softly.  “I won’t hurt you.”  She hoped the spider would crawl into her hand.  She could almost feel its tiny legs crawling into her palm, like little mechanical arms, working together.
            “Who are you talking to?” came her brother’s voice from outside the open bathroom door.  “OOH, SICK!”
            Something blurred past Denise, creating a gust of wind that blew her golden hair into her face.  There was a loud SLAM! against the counter.  When Denise looked for the spider again, all she saw was an ugly black mark.
            “VEE!” she screamed.  “How could you?”
            Vee, who had already left the bathroom, reappeared in the doorway.  “It was just a spider,”  he said with a shrug.
            Denise rolled her eyes and brushed past her brother.  If she had to explain it to him, he would never understand.
            Vee, never one to let matters drop, not even for a nine-year-old, followed her into the kitchen.  “I was doing you a favor.  How come you’re not scared of spiders like normal girls?”
            Denise turned to face him.  At eleven, she towered over her brother.  Her height gave her a sense of superiority, even though Vee could be on the other side of the house as soon as she uttered a syllable.  Mostly, though, she bristled at the phrase “normal girls.”
            “Vee, you’re so ignorant,” she said, using a word she’d recently learned in school—the normal school she went to, not the special school Vee had to go to.  “Mom’s not afraid of spiders.”
            “Mom’s not a girl.  She’s a scientist,” he said, plopping down in his favorite chair at the breakfast table.  “When are we going to eat?  I’m hungry!”
            Denise checked her watch—the new one with the pink band and glittering hands, a gift from her father for getting an A on a science quiz.  She had just enough time to fix Vee breakfast before her school bus arrived.  Vee would loiter for awhile and then run to his special school, which was only two blocks away. He could be there in a few seconds.  Denise didn't mind waiting on the bus though. She could talk to her friends on the ride to school, which took her through the old downtown, past shops and office buildings that stood several stories high. She got to see things her brother couldn't, because he wasn't allowed to leave the district.
            She pulled the breakfast cereal out of the pantry and the milk out of the fridge.  It wasn’t her job, Denise’s mother had told her, to feed Vee.  He was old enough to take care of himself.  But Denise loved the ordinary tasks of taking care of the house and making food.  They gave her the feeling of being normal while living in the district among kids who had special powers.
            “Are you going to clean up that mess?” she said as she sat down at the head of the table, a spot normally reserved for her father.
            “What mess?”
            “The mess you left in the bathroom.  The spider?”
            Vee looked as if it were already a distant memory.  “You’re the one who likes to clean house.  You do it.”
            “Vee,” she said in her strongest mother-voice, the voice Mom would surely use if she didn’t have to go to work so early.
            “Oh, all right.”  Vee blurred, vanished, and then reappeared a split second later.  “Done!”
            Denise thought she should check to make sure Vee had disposed of the spider’s remains, but decided against it.  Mom and Dad wouldn’t check.  They had told Denise they trusted her and Vee to do as they were told.  Denise thought they should be stricter, especially with Vee. 
            “No, you can’t go to Taylor Gardner’s house after school,” she said absently.  “You have to come home and do chores.”
            Vee, stuffing a spoonful of Raisin Bran into his mouth, hadn’t said a word.
            “How’d you know I was going to ask if I could go to Taylor’s?”
            Denise felt uncertain.  It was like she’d heard the conversation before it had happened.  She could hear it all, from Vee’s high pitched first request to his whining in protest and her ultimate refusal.         
            “I just knew,” she said, refusing to look him in the eye.  “Finish your cereal.”

Click here for Part 2. 

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