Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 23

I hate hospitals. I don’t think there are words that quite cover that. I don’t especially have a reason for it – no relative has died in a hospital or anything like that. But I just get creeped out every time I am in one. But everyone was taken to the Sisters of Mercy hospital, and so I went with them.

Emily and Dane were rushed quickly checked over and found to have nothing really wrong with them except for a lot of blood on their faces – the joys of Lisa’s handiwork. She had managed to get to the common room and stop a lot of the damage before anyone else arrived. She couldn’t help everyone however, no matter how hard she tried.

Chloe and I had stayed after everyone else had gone home, looking at the bed where Mr Harding and Ms Ellis were lying. Harding’s entire face was covered in bandages. Lisa had tried her best to heal the cuts that Chris had made all over his face, but had found some sort of resistance against them. Obviously Chris was strong enough to stop his wounds being healed. We had overheard the doctors say that he was never going to have sight again, and that as long as the cuts all healed on his face, he would be fine, but scarred for life.

Ms Ellis’ situation was a bit touchier. She had apparently taken a very bad blow to the back of her head. She hadn’t regained consciousness since we had left the school, which was not a very promising sign. I wanted to ask both her and Mr Harding so many questions – about their powers, about the school, about everything – and it looked as though my chance before I was going to be able to get any of them answered was going to have to wait.

Chris, well we had no idea what had happened to him. They had taken him to the psych wing of the hospital after he broke a paramedic’s hand and had to be sedated. Since Chloe and I were lowly members of the public, we weren’t allowed to go see him. We did however see Chris’ family go in a few hours after we arrived. They hadn’t emerged so we assumed that either he had killed everyone or he was calm enough to see people without hurting them. Or he was tied to a bed and rambling like a crazy person. There were definitely options.

“I’m sorry, visiting hours are over.” A nurse came to us eventually. “I’m going to have to ask you both to leave so that patients can start to get some rest.”

I looked up at the nurse, and then looked at Chloe. She was tired, and I felt not too far behind her.

“I don’t think their condition is going to change by the morning.” The nurse continued. “I think the most helpful thing either of you can do is to get a good sleep. They wouldn’t want you killing yourselves just because they’re in such a bad way.”

The nurse was right in a way, if Chloe and I didn’t sleep even if we got answers to our questions we wouldn’t be able to do much about them. We grudgingly got up and made our way to the front of the hospital. We brushed past the various staff and other visitors bustling around, even bumping into a nun as she rushed to talk to the nurse that had asked us to leave.

We ended up going back to Chloe’s house. Her parents were out of town yet again, and so we figured we both deserved a day off school. By the time we awoke the next morning it was well and truly day time, and well and truly school hours. But neither of us felt like moving. Chloe was still in a crappy place over Nathan’s death. I was surprisingly ambivalent over it. If anything Chloe’s reaction was concerning me more – I couldn’t help but think she shouldn’t be so distraught over the death of an ex who she has long since moved on from.

It was about midday before I emerged from bed, Chloe was still sound asleep, obviously worn out from the night before, or even worse, dreaming about the days to come. It wasn’t looking to be pretty. Aside from the obvious – Nathan’s funeral – the police had appeared to be quite interested in how Nathan had died, so unlike in Neil’s case there was going to be an investigation into the death. I suppose it’s a small kind of justice, but at the same time the last thing we needed was the police poking around. At least we didn’t have to worry about fighting for our lives with the police floating around.

I was about halfway through making pancakes when Chloe stumbled downstairs.

“I’m surprised you know where things are in my kitchen.” She said.

“I did just spend an hour looking for some things. Who the hell puts the saucepans under the sink? And a spatula in a cupboard as opposed to a drawer? This kitchen is not natural.”

“They’re both logical places for them!”

“No, they’re terrible places. Did your parents just put things in weird places to fool any guests who come into your house?”

“Maybe they just didn’t want my boyfriend making me pancakes. Maybe they knew how much of a terrible cook you are and tried to avoid the disaster that ensues.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my cooking!”

“You’re pancakes are burning....” She said.

“I hate having a psychic girlfriend sometimes.” I said.

“I don’t need to be a psychic to tell they’re burning, just have a sense of smell. You should try it some time!” She shouted after me as I ran to try and rescue my feeble attempt at cooking. “Besides, you love having a psychic girlfriend. Who else will inform you of impending crises that will compel you to act all noble, heroic and sexy?”

“I look noble? And heroic?”

“You forgot sexy...” She said.

“Well I know I look sexy. The other two I wasn’t so sure about.”

She just shook her head at me. “Okay well I do actually have a crisis that’s impending. So stop messing around.”

“Is it the kind of crisis you can tell me about while I try to make pancakes that aren’t burnt? Or are you happy with a burnt breakfast?”

“Go cook. I need a wholesome breakfast.” She ushered me back towards the stove.

“Okay so shoot.” I said, pouring more of the mix out.

“The school is going to fall apart.”

“What...metaphorically? Literally?”

“I’m not sure. I just know that things are going to get worse before they get better. Oh and we need to find Matt. “

“Oh that was definitely on my to do list...that weasel.”

There was a knock on the door. Chloe left me to attempt to cook in peace and answered it. A few minutes later Emily and Dane arrived.

“We met on our way here.” Emily said as she sat down at the kitchen table. “We both figured this was the best place to find you.”

“I actually went to school today.” Dane said, sitting down next to her. “It’s a bit crazy there.”

“Crazy how?” I asked.

“Well in addition to teachers in hospital and dead students, just people being all that little bit more on edge. And everyone is avoiding the atrium. It was completely empty.”

“It’s the ghosts...” Chloe said. Everyone turned to look at her with matching ‘huh’ expressions on her face. “Jacob...you said that where the ghosts come from is a room under the atrium right? And Ellis said that the game, all of us fighting, was something to do with who gets to stop the ghosts right? Well no one won that...so maybe that’s what’s going to happen at the school? And everyone there is getting the creepy vibe so they’re avoiding the atrium? It fits right?”

“Plus if Ellis and Harding are gone...they were like the senior people there when it comes to superpowers right? Maybe that’s throwing things out of wack?” Emily said.

“Makes sense.” I said. “Just what we need another crisis...”

“Well, I have news from the hospital.” Emily said. “Chris is getting transferred to Broadleaf.”

“Oh god..” Chloe said.

“Broadleaf? That’s the Asylum right?” Dane said. “That must mean that they don’t think he’s going to get better. And that he’s dangerous...”

“And he is a suspect in what happened to Nathan funnily enough. One of two prime suspects..” Emily continued

“Who is the other?” Chloe asked.

“Harding.” Emily said. “Apparently the fact that he was spending a lot of time with Chris and Nathan raised their attention.”

“Any word on Matt? Either of you?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Emily said. “Except that the cops want to talk to him too...”

“Nothing at the school either, he must be hiding pretty well.” Dane added.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 22 - The Fight

I had done all that I could do. I walked into the atrium and found Chloe sitting at one of the tables. She was unfortunately lacking a Lisa, but I wasn’t too surprised. Dane telling Lisa she should be more like Chris wasn’t going to encourage her to be helpful.

“Any luck?” She said to me.

“About as much as you. You think people would be more willing to help us stop people dying.”

“Apparently not. Now we need to move, everyone is wandering around and I think they’re going to run into each other in the common room.”

The common room was a ‘quiet study area’. Which meant that when teachers enforced such a concept, the room was perpetually empty, and when teachers didn’t care it was full of students. However since Mr Harding’s office had been moved next to the common room, the silence rule was enforced. It was probably a beneficial place for everything to go down since there wasn’t likely to be a lot of collateral damage. Chloe and I reached the area at the dramatically appropriate moment, Emily and Dane had just walked in from the doorway opposite to us and Chris, Nathan and Matt were standing in the middle of the room.

“This is going to get ugly isn’t it?” I said to Chloe.

“You have no idea. We need to hang back though. I don’t want to die today.”

The common room was full of tables and chairs, and bordered by lockers. So lots of things for Nathan to throw around when he gets in a bad mood, but also lots of obstacles to prevent anyone getting close enough to touch one another.

“How can we help?” I said to Chloe.

“We can’t. Not yet anyway. We just have to hope that Emily and Dane know what they’re doing.”

We were too far away to hear any exchanges of words, but the concept was pretty simple to understand. Within seconds Nathan had flung tables and chairs to either side, clearing the room between himself and my friends.

“Matt’s going to run.” Chloe said to me. “When he does you can get over there. He’s their weakest link.”

Surely enough that’s what happened. As Emily and Dane approached Matt broke away from Chris and Nathan, retreating to a safe distance at the side of the room. I took this opportunity to make a break for them. I barely got halfway across the room when Dane came flying towards me. Nathan had noticed me and thought my best friend made a good weapon.

“Dane...you need to go for Matt.” I said to him.

“And what about the others?” Nathan said.

“They’re about to get taken care of...” I said, looking across to the room, hoping that I wasn’t being overconfident.

Thankfully, I wasn’t. I spotted the increasingly familiar shadow standing next to Chris and Nathan. A split second later the shadow was a very solid, very human looking Neil. Before either of them realised he was there Chris and Nathan had both been taken down by a very impressive punch and an even more impressive spinning kick.

Dane didn’t miss his chance. He headed towards Matt, and Emily followed suit.

“I already killed you!” Chris shouted at the ghost of Neil. “Obviously I’ll need to do it again.” He reached an arm out, which went straight through Neil’s torso. Neil responded by grabbing his arm and with a loud crack smacking it with his other hand. If it weren’t for the fact that I knew Chris could heal it in seconds I’d have almost felt sorry for the guy.

Meanwhile, Matt had noticed people coming for him and tried to raise a barrier to protect himself. Emily simply touched it and it froze over, shattering seconds later. Before Matt knew what was happening Dane had grabbed him.

Although I couldn’t see exactly where they were, there was a faint movement in the air that appeared and disappeared across the room. Dane had made Matt’s power go crazy. Emily reached out and touched one of the walls. The extent of the barriers became immediately apparent as frozen walls appeared across the room, forming a maze of barriers stopping Nathan from throwing anything at Emily and Dane, and Chris from getting even remotely close to them.

The ice melted seconds later, and instead intense heat began to radiate from the room. I saw Neil hip and shoulder Nathan into one of the walls, and could hear the sizzle of his skin getting burnt. He responded by throwing a desk at Neil, which went through the ghost but hit one of the barriers Matt had unintentionally made. It shattered, and Matt screamed in pain.

By this stage I had rejoined Chloe...just in time to hear her say “Oh crap.”

Chris had recovered enough to reach out again towards ghostly Neil. However he didn’t even try to touch him this time. He just extended his palm in Neil’s direction. This time, it appeared to be working. Cuts began to appear on Neil’s face. The ghost vanished.

Chris and Nathan turned to Dane and Emily, who were making their way through the maze of walls towards them. Nathan threw all the assorted furniture that he could at Emily, knocking down wall after wall until they began to get close to her. As he threw a table Emily stood there, knowing she couldn’t move. She closed her eyes and the table froze, then shattered. She covered her face as shards of frozen plastic pelted her face, leaving tiny scratches and drawing blood as they went.

Nathan looked amazed, but quickly recovered, picking up chairs and throwing them at her. This time she at least had the foresight to dodge.

Dane however, was not faring as well. He had reached Chris, and managed to drive his power crazy. The only problem was that Chris was using his power on Dane. Burns and bruises and cuts were all appearing across Dane’s face, and then healing before they were fully formed. Both Dane and Chris were screaming in pain as Dane’s body and Chris’ mind were being torn up. The end result was plain to see though, unless Dane could do something Chris was going to kill him before he could do anything to Chris.

Then Chris flew across the room, slamming into the nearest set of lockers. I turned to see Mr Harding and Ms Ellis walking down the stairs into the common room. Chris looked up at Harding with disbelief on his face.

“Enough of this!” Ellis said. “This game ends now. You’re all going to stop before you hurt yourselves any more than you already have!”

Unfortunately, Nathan had a different idea about this, pens that had fallen out of one of the lockers were hurled across the room at the teachers. Neither of them flinched though, Harding waved a hand at the last minute and the pens changed course and lodged harmlessly in a wall.

“Really Nathan.” He said. “I taught you how to do that. Don’t think you can use it against me. But Ms Ellis and I have agreed. The fighting stops.”

“You told us never to stop until the game had been won.” Nathan said. “And we are winning. We’re going to be the Champions of this school.”

“You can be, but you’re going to stop trying to kill other students first.” Harding replied.

“I don’t think so.” Said Chris, who had manoeuvred himself next to Harding. He tackled his teacher to the ground. I felt sick as I heard my maths teacher scream, before I saw Chris fly across the room. Harding however, didn’t get up.

Nathan turned his attention to Ms Ellis, who was walking towards him.

“Nathan. Stop this.” Ms Ellis said. A chair that had been thrown at her melted into plastic then dispersed into steam. “I don’t want to hurt you.” A table froze, then shattered, then melted into droplets of water before they hit Ms Ellis. Much cooler than how Emily had done it.

Nathan kept throwing things at Ms Ellis, who calmly walked towards him, melting, freezing and generally destroying anything the increasingly panicked Nathan threw at her. As she eventually reached him, she put a hand out and grabbed his wrist.

“No!” Chloe said from next to me.

The next thirty seconds were some of the most intense emotionally that I had felt for quite a while. Chloe had seen enough of the future to know her ex wasn’t going to make it out of the fight, and she felt so strongly about that that I couldn’t help but feel jealous. Emily and Dane were dumbfounded, as was I to an extent, that our teachers had superpowers too, and were damn good at them. They had stood back from the fight, content to watch the events. They were also terribly exhausted, they had used everything their powers had and that took a toll on their bodies, especially in Dane’s case. Blood covered both their faces.

Nathan, he just felt cold.

That was because within seconds of Ms Ellis touching him, he had frozen solid. Ms Ellis didn’t intend to kill Nathan, or if she did she felt absolutely nothing even resembling remorse, but what she didn’t expect was Matt behind her. He dealt her a terrible blow to the back of her head with a chair, sending her falling forward into the frozen Nathan.

You don’t ever want to see a person shatter. It is one of the most frightening experiences. It is not cool, it just looks like there should be lots of blood, but there is none, because it’s all frozen.

Matt realised what he had done. He was gone from the room within seconds. Chris was sitting in a corner curled up in a ball. Obviously between what Frank and Dane had done to his mind, as well as the blows to his head from being thrown at wall by Mr Harding, had broken his mind in a new sort of way. I wished I didn’t have to feel what was going on inside his head at that moment.

Mr Harding just lay on the floor. He was most definitely alive. I could tell by the pain radiating from him. As Chloe and I approached him we saw why he hadn’t bothered to get up. When I thought that Dane and Emily’s faces were bloodied, they didn’t compare to Mr Harding. While my friends had red patches from minor cuts on their face, Mr Harding’s face was covered in blood.

And the bit that scared me the most was that his eyes were gone. I couldn’t be sure, but from the confusion and fear in his head, combined with his hands over his eyes, I could tell enough. It wasn’t something I wanted to see.

“I’m getting Lisa...she *has* to help now.” Emily said to us, as Chloe sat down on the floor where we stood, and Dane came over to survey the situation.

Chloe had shut down. She was so overwhelmed with everything going on, especially from having to experience it twice – both in her head and then watching it in reality – that she didn’t know what to do. I was in a similar situation. Of my old best friends, one was curled up in a corner, insane beyond recognition, and the other was scattered in frozen blocks across the common room floor. I know how I should have felt, and I was feeling something very different to that.

But at that point, it wasn’t about me. I walked over to Dane, and hugged him and helped him to one of the chairs that hadn’t been flung around in the fight. Then I sat down next to my girlfriend, wrapped my arms around her and stared blankly into space, trying to disconnect from all the emotions around me as she cried on my shoulder...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 21

So like clockwork, the musketeers assembled. Emily and Dane came without a moment’s hesitation. Chloe came because she’d seen herself come, and somehow, I even managed to convince Lisa and Kara to come.

“Chris has gone off the deep end again. This game or whatever..it’s coming to an end...soon.” I said to them all.

“Great. We get to finish this.” Dane said.

“It’s not that simple.” Chloe said. “I know you’re happy for this to end in blood Dane. But we’re not.”

“Exactly. He might be my ex but I’d like him alive.” Kara said.

“They’ve tried to kill us. Quite a few times now. They’re going to be out for our heads now too.” Emily said. “What if putting them down for good is the only way to stop them?”

“I want to avoid that if we can. I have something that vaguely resembles a plan if that helps?” I said.

“This is exactly what I said would happen.” Lisa decided this was the perfect venue for an ‘I told you so’ moment. “You get these powers, and you use them, and you all of a sudden decide you can play God with other people’s lives. God gave you these powers to help people, not to settle school yard fights!”

“And that’s great for you to say. When was the last time someone tried to kill you with their power?” Emily said. “You sit back and help clean up the mess when it’s over, which we’re thankful for. But you’re so afraid to get your hands dirty that people are going to get killed just because you don’t act.”

“That’s not fair!” Kara said.

“No it is.” Dane said. “Lisa has the same power as Chris. We’ve all seen what he can do, and Lisa can do it to. She just chooses not to help us.”

“It’s not that simple.” Lisa said. “To hurt people you need intent, anger. I don’t think I’m capable of that even if I wanted to be.”

“You won’t even try! You’ll just let Chris kill us and hope you can put the pieces back together afterwards. Can you raise the dead Lisa? Because that might be the only way you can help me in this...” Dane said. I tried not to be worried at the fact that he was scared shitless.

“Dane. Stop.” I said. “You’re not helping.”

“And you never help Jacob. You just talk.” Dane said.

...okay so that hurt. Probably a little bit more than it should have. I think I was probably glad at that moment I didn’t have Nathan’s power otherwise Dane would have learned to fly. Instead I decided to just be mean in my own way. I could see Chloe wince at the comment, I wondered whether she was wincing over what Dane had said, or over what my reply was going to be.

“Oh grow up!” I said to Dane. “Okay, so people want you dead. This is different to the last six months how? You’re just afraid now because you’ve realised that you’re not as infallible as you thought you were. You’re afraid because all these little walls you’ve been putting in our heads all this time have been falling apart.”

“I don’t...”

“Don’t give me any of your bullshit denials.” I continued, I hadn’t been certain on that accusation but his surprise and guilt told me all I needed to. “We went through this when you first started hanging out with us. You do not use your power on us. You do not get to decide what parts of our mind get blocked off just because you have the power to. Having the ability to do something and the right to do it are two very different things!”

“Then what gives you the right to read our emotions?” Lisa said. “You’re constantly going around our heads, knowing what we’re feeling. You can do it, but who gave you the right to do it?”

“I...” I tried to think of a response that wasn’t hypocritical...it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

“I’ve said this all along. You use your powers because you think you’re better than everyone else. All of you do. You use them because you think you have the right to read people’s minds, mess with their heads, and you don’t. None of us do. If you want to make this fight happen, that’s your choice. I’m sick of trying to stop you. Give me a call when it’s over and I’ll heal the broken bones.” Lisa stood up and left. Kara followed.

“She is a little bit right you know.” Chloe said.

“Not now.” I said.

“Let her talk.” Dane said. “You keep acting like you’re the boss of us just because you were here first. Well Chloe has been doing this for just as long as you have, and she can see the future. I want to hear what she has to say.”

“You’re not going to like it.” Chloe said. “Mostly because I know what you did to Jacob. And to me. And to Sarah. Exactly what you put in our heads. And we don’t have the right to do that. Why do you think that I only tell you what I see in the future when it’s something big? Because I don’t have the right to mess with the future like that. And it’s the same for you. You do not have the right to decide what we think. Whether you open up people’s minds to encourage them to like you, or close off people’s heads to stop them feeling, it’s not your right.”

“I’m not going to deal with this anymore.” Dane said. “I have done everything because I’ve been trying to help people. Whether you agree with it or not. Hell, in your case Jacob, I even did it because you asked me to. So don’t give me any of that crap. I’m going to go mess with some crazy psychic kids. Put them down for good. If you want to join me feel free.”

Dane stood up and walked away.

“Jacob. I don’t agree with him. But if what Ellis is right, it’s about him and I. I’m not going to let him get killed on his own. Come help us if you find out how.” Emily said, running to catch up to Dane.

“Well. It’s just us.” I said.

“It is.” Chloe agreed.

“What do we do?”

“I’m glad you asked.” Chloe had the cheekiest smile on her face. I couldn’t resist leaning in and giving her a quick kiss. “Okay not the time.” I put my serious face back on. “We need backup. The two of them will be able to put up a good fight, but it’s not enough.”

“What do I do?”

“Exactly what you were planning to do.” She said. “Go see Ellis, she can help you with the rest of it.”

“And you?”

“I’m going to try the impossible...to get Lisa to actually do something useful.”

“Dear god...I thought I had the hard task...”

“Yeah. If I can do this I might be able to convince Ellis to give us a day off once this is all over.”

“Oh a day off...wouldn’t that be wonderful.”

“Dreaming of the future later...saving our friends first...if they are still our friends.”

“Good luck.” Was all I could say to her as we went out separate ways. I felt like there should have been something more dramatic in there. Maybe an ‘I love you’ or something. But...I was too busy being worried about Dane getting himself killed for that. That, and trying to figure out what I would have asked him to block off in my head.

I didn’t knock before I barged into Ms Ellis’ office. Which probably wasn’t the best idea. Harding was in there as well, and he and Ellis were arguing. I stood back for a moment to listen. Everyone loves a good eavesdropping...

“Laura we’re not supposed to do anything about this.” Harding was saying. “We train them...or in your case just give them powers and watch...and they fight it out. It’s how it was thirty years ago and it’s how it is today!”

“But kids are dying!”

“And they normally do! You’ve broken the rules enough by getting Jacob involved in this! What do you think the Shaman will do if *we* get involved?”


“They’ll kill us Laura! Or something worse! You know that!”

“But we have to do something! You know Chris is out of control, and that is not something that’s a part of the game.”

“What Dane’s power did is a part of it.” Harding said.

At that point Ellis noticed me.


“Jacob what are you doing here!” Harding demanded. “And have you heard of knocking?”

“I just thought you should know that everyone is about to start fighting. And dying. So if you’re going to actually do something. Now might be a good time.”

“And what do you expect us to do?” Harding asked.

“Besides locking people in closets with ghosts and mental patients? Well stopping this entire bloody game could be a good idea.”

“That’s not our choice Jacob.” Ellis said.

“That’s great. But you don’t get it. These kids are going to start dying very soon. Because you gave them powers and just let them run free with them.” I said to Ellis. “And because you decided to lock them in the room with something trying to kill them until they snapped. You’ve taken these kids and tried to fashion them into whatever weapons you can for some completely ridiculous purpose!”

“And what did you do with Emily?” Harding accused. “She’s become quite the weapon since she met you!”

“Because she learned by defending her life!” I spat back. “Now I have to go. If you two are going to lift a finger and actually prevent something from going terribly wrong in this school, now would be a good time. Otherwise, I hope you’re there to see the bodies. And the funerals. And I hope you realise the hell you have caused.”

I didn’t listen to either of them as I left. I didn’t even bother to turn around. Chloe had said that Ellis would have some help for me. She didn’t, possibly because I had done nothing but get pissed off. But I hoped I had made a difference. Regardless, I had one more person to see before all hell broke loose...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 20

Okay so I'm bringing the next part of this story to a close...hopefully in the next week or so (since after that I may be away for 6 weeks and unable to post). Once the bullies are taken care of we're on the home stretch of psychic schoolkids! W00! I might actually finish something! Until then here's a decent-sized update to keep things moving along.

“Okay, first thing’s first. Why the hell are Nathan and Chris trying to kill us, and why are there these...ghost things that seem to know your name?” I asked as I sat down opposite her.

“Well you certainly don’t pull any punches do you? The ghosts know my name because they are the ghosts of people I once knew. I’m assuming you know the rest of the protocol for dealing with ghosts?” Ms Ellis said.

“Wait...there’s a protocol for dealing with these ghosts? This happens a lot?”

“Most certainly. I would assume ghosts are an equal problem at whatever site you are from, and that you’re doing your bit here in stopping them.”

“Whatever site I’m from? I don’t know how to stop them! Let alone ‘do my bit’!” I said, making air quotes at the appropriate moment.

“But...that’s impossible. If you have powers you must be charged with protecting a site from the ghosts. It’s...the rules!”

“Well...I appear to have broken the rules. Sorry.”

“Dear god...this changes everything.” She hung her head. “I just...assumed that because you had a power...if I had known I would never had arranged for Emily and Dane to come into your care...”

“Aha! So you made sure we met once they had their powers! I knew it was too much of a coincidence.”

“Yes well, I knew that with Chris, Nathan and Matt they would have a fight on their hands..they would need help. I purposely kept out of the loop so that you, Chloe and Lisa would be involved. But I assumed you knew the rules...how everything works.”

“Well I don’t. I mean...I know these powers are all kinds of cool, and in Emily and Dane’s case incredibly dangerous...but that’s as far as I go.”

“Well, the heart of it is quite simple. This school is one of seven sites in this city that are...special. A lot of activity in a certain area – death, learning, birth, high emotions – create sites where ghosts can make their way through from the other side back into the world. People with powers such as yourself are the ones who put the ghosts back in their place.”

“So because this is a school...lots of learning...the ghosts keep coming.”

“Oh that would be simple. But the people who built this school built it on a sacred Indigenous site. Learning *and* death. This school has the second highest level of ghostly activity in this area. Which leads us to the problem you and your friends are having. Someone a very long time ago decided that just giving people powers and training them here was not enough. They wanted people to have to prove that they could handle everything happening here.”

“By killing people?”

“Well..originally yes. Some of the ghosts possess powers, much like you and your friends, so the people disposing of them were given powers, and then put against another group with similar powers. The team that was able to defeat the others was deemed to be able to handle the challenges of this site.”

“And the losers?”

“Well...they died. Recent games have been less fatal, with the losers being simply stripped of their powers. That was to be the case here...”

“...until Neil got killed.”

“He was sloppy! Showing off his power when he wasn’t ready to use it properly. Chris and Nathan were pointed at him before I could arrange for you to meet him, and there was nothing I could do...”

“You could intervene! You’re supposed to be helping these people! Not me! I spend half of my time being told I shouldn’t be involved. But these are my friends...and...well my former friends! I’m trying to avoid everyone dying here, and people like you who insist on sitting on the side lines are not helping.”

“What do you expect me to do? You’ve shown them how to use their powers. Do you think me telling them not to kill someone will actually help? This situation goes well beyond my authority as a teacher you realise. I wouldn’t be surprised if they simply ignore me. No, I think the best course of action is for me to just...stay out of it. All the cards are already on the table, and you know yourself, this is going to all come to a head quite soon regardless of what I do.”

“Then what do I do?”

“What you have been. Be the voice of reason....oh, and figuring out how your group with relatively meagre powers can beat three incredibly powerful individuals would be good. I’m not much help there I’m afraid.”

“Can you be helpful at all?” I said sarcastically.

“The ghosts. Do not ignore them in this situation, and if you can, use them to your advantage. They have powers just like you guys, and unlike Chris and Nathan, you guys haven’t been pissing them off by plugging their leaks at every turn.”

“And if I need to get rid of a ghost?” I asked, standing up to leave.

“You’re an empath...I would think for you it’s a fairly simple process. Help them accept their own death. Now go, not only is it well past your time to go home, but I’m not supposed to be telling you any of this...”

“Because I’m not supposed to be involved?”

“Precisely. But at the same time, you’re the only reason Emily and Dane are still alive...”

“I can’t believe Ms Ellis has know what’s been going on all along.” Chloe said.

I went straight from my talk with Ms Ellis to Chloe’s house. I could have gone straight home but I felt the need to talk to someone, and I managed to do both that and see my girlfriend all in one.

“I can. I mean, she kept turning a blind eye to what we were doing. Letting us stay back at school, letting us use classrooms...all along she was letting me turn Emily and Dane into warriors...”

“But...if she had tried to help Dane from the start...Chris might not have gone crazy, you guys would still have been friends. Although...Nathan would still have broken up with me.”

There is goes again...she gets sad...I get jealous. It’s a vicious cycle.

“I don’t think I would have stayed friends with them. I’ve been so busy with you guys it almost feels like I was never friends with them to begin with....although maybe that’s also the fact that they’ve being trying to kill me...”

“Either way...we need to figure out what to do. Ellis was right, this is all going to come together soon, and there’s not a lot we can do right now against all three of them. Especially you and me...”

“Ellis said the ghosts might be useful...I’m not sure how yet though. Either way Emily’s really our only weapon.”

Chloe blinked, and then shook her head. “Woah, that was a nice trip. But I think I just figured out what we can do. But there’s a catch...”

“I never like catches...”

“Someone is going to die. There’s a few ways this can play out. Either way people end up dead and there’s not a lot we can do about it.”

“Great.” I said sombrely.

“Okay you need to go, I need to sleep and see what else I can figure out. I will talk to you at school tomorrow.”

“Jacob. Come with me.”

The next morning was English, yet for some reason Mr Harding was out to get me anyway, taking me from class and getting me to follow him.

“You know I haven’t actually done anything wrong yet today...”I said as I followed him down the stairs to the bottom level of the school. The level that was partially underground on our school building that had been built into the side of the hill.

“Oh I’m sure you have, but Ms Ellis told me to take you to room B11, and so that’s what I’m doing.” Mr Harding said. “The fact that I can dream up multiple terrible punishments for you means nothing when the higher power is telling me what to do.” He chuckled to himself.

Room B11 turned out to be directly under the atrium, and was essentially a small room that was almost entirely empty except for a set of shelves and a swivel chair.

“Ms Ellis said she would be with you shortly.” Harding said, guiding me into the room then shutting the door behind me.

Then I hear the lock turn...he had locked me in.

“Oh great. I have to put up with you too?” Came a voice from across the room. I turned around to see Chris sitting on the floor. “I was supposed to be here alone. Why on Earth are you here?”

“Mr Harding told me I was supposed to be here.” I jerked my thumb at the door.

“Oh great, probably another one of his jokes.” Chris said. “Well I would sit down, we have to wait until 11.52 before the ghost appears apparently. This one has been pretty clockwork.”

“There’ll be a ghost here? And you’re just going to stop it? Not try to kill me again or anything?”

“Yeah...sorry about that. Ever since I had someone rip my head open I tend to get a bit carried away. After Neil...well I got a bit carried away. But today I’m perfectly lucid and know that the only people who I may have to kill and Emily and Dane...and even then only as a last resort.”

“Oh...so it’s great to know that you’re only trying to kill my friends but not me.”

Chris shrugged. “I just follow the orders. I get told I have to beat them and I try. Plus they’re friendly competition. It’ll almost be a pity if we have to kill them.”

“I don’t understand why everyone feels so happy about killing people, don’t you guys remember that we’re all people, if we die it’s not some game?”

“Yeah, but I think what we’ve all realised is that this is serious. You seem so convinced these powers are like kids toys that you forgot that this is grown up stuff. These ghosts, the responsibility of these powers, it can only end in death. I guess someone forgot to mention that to you...”

“I disagree.”

“I know. That’s why you can only read emotions and I get to heal stuff. Oh, and unheal stuff. Ever seen if Lisa can do it? It’s pretty fun once you get the hang of it. By the way, you didn’t bring a snack did you? I’ve been locked in here since 8.30”

“Harding locks you in here too?”

“Yup. He’s our trainer...or however you want to call it. Says that locking us away in here is for our own good.”

“Harding is on your side. Makes sense...So this is where he locked you until you learned to un-heal?”

“Yup. I was a boring healer boy until he locked me in here with Carrie. She’s the one you and Emily met in the science lab. It was either get torched or learn to use my power...aggressively. It’s more fun this way though.”

“I can imagine...” I said. I slumped down on the wall.

“You know..I miss you sometimes dude.” Chris said. “We used to be good. Then all of this happened. You could have helped us out...we could have used a brain like yours when we first got our powers...but you were too busy worrying whose head Dane was messing with and what Emily was setting on fire to even notice that we were in trouble...”

“I guess I had to stop caring after a while.” I said. “You guys wouldn’t even talk to me.”

“Yeah...” Chris said.

There was an awkward silence. In fact, about half an hour of awkward silence. I kept looking at my watch, wondering when Chris was going to start slitting my wrists open, or something was going to happen.

At about 11:48, I noticed the shadow. It was the same one as the science lab, the same emotions. The surprise, the fear. Chris obviously didn’t notice it. I wanted to react, but knew if I did anything Chris would start with the decapitating and ask questions later, and I knew this ghost wasn’t out to get us.

“Why do they come here?” I asked Chris, trying to distract myself.

“This is right above the big hotspot. Wherever the ghosts come from, it’s right under this spot. So the ghosts end up in this random broom closet.”

I then noticed two more presences. One, was almost a void of emotion. I knew it was there, because I could feel that it had emotions, but they were emotions so foreign that I had no words that could actually describe them.

“Showtime..” Chris said, pointing to the opposite wall to where my shadow was standing.

Suddenly, where there was previously nothing, there was a boy standing there.

“Ooh, it’s Frank.” Chris said. “We call him that because he acts like a zombie most of the time...like Frankenstein.”

Chris wasn’t lying. Frank just stood there, blankly. But unlike the other ghost, the one I couldn’t see, he wasn’t confused or afraid. He wasn’t even angry. He just seemed, at peace almost, but like he had something he had to do.

“I’ll deal with him Jacob, don’t bother getting up...” Chris said. “He didn’t even react last time when Nathan threw a table at him...”

As Chris put his hand out to touch the ghost, to do something horrible to him I assumed, his hand went right through him.

“That’s new...” He said.

Frank then looked up and Chris, and plunged a hand into his forehead.

“Someone has been in your head.” Frank said. “Making walls where there needn’t be. It’s a very confusing place...a head with too many walls.”

I felt the pain Chris was in, and from what Frank was saying I could tell that it was about to get quite scary for me. Frank was doing to Chris what Dane had done...except now Chris had a scary power and I was locked in a room with him.

“Jacob! Get inside Frank’s head!” I heard a voice shout out. I looked to the other shadow, and for a very brief moment, saw what I was almost certain was Neil.

“Hey!” I said to the ghost. “Stop!”

“There’s too much confusion in here.” Frank said. “I can’t stop til I’ve fixed it.”

“But you’re breaking him!” I said.

Frank looked up at me, Chris’ pain appeared to stop momentarily, but I could still feel his mind falling apart. “Your mind is the same, someone keeps poking around, making you stop feeling things. I can help, that’s what I do.”

“I’m fine...really.”

Frank shrugged. “Your choice, this one is the one who needs my help the most.”

“Why do you need to help people?”

Frank looked at me, confused. “Because...that’s what I do with my power. I take away the walls that other people put in there. It’s how it’s always been. There was a bad man, he made Tobias, Laura and I forget so much. I fixed them, but, I could never figure out how to fix me. But he keeps doing it. I keep fixing people.”

“What if the people don’t need fixing? What if the walls in their heads help them?”

I could feel him beginning to soften a little bit, I was reaching him.

“The walls in your head stop you caring about people. You should always care about your friends.” He said.

I was of course, confused about what he was talking about...but I had to stop him breaking Chris. That was all I needed.

“I do. And he is my friend.” I said to Frank. “And I can feel that you’re hurting him. I need you to stop. I have a friend, he can fix the walls in his head, and he’s alive...he can help him.”

“Someone else...can fix people? I don’t have to anymore?”

“No. I know you feel like you have a duty to people, to help them. But you don’t need to. There is someone else who can.”

“I can...take a break now?”

“Of course...you should leave my friend and take a break.” I said.

I could feel Frank’s emotions begin to fade. Where there had been this desire to help people, there was now, a void, like Frank himself was barely there anymore.

“I think I might. I’m tired.” Frank said.

Then he was gone. The only problem was, the part of Chris that was sane also appeared to be gone. He turned around and looked at me. I could feel the anger in him.

“You’re lucky Jacob.” He said. “I’m not supposed to kill you. But it’s time your friends got what was coming to them. I’m sick of holding back, and now...I don’t have to anymore...”

I felt sick to my stomach. I watched as Chris kicked the door until the lock broke and it swung open, then left the room. I wanted to sink down onto the floor. But I didn’t have time. I had to go and mess with things that weren’t my business and yell at people....two things I’m best at.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 19

Half-Update this time...got interrupted halfway through but will continue soon...figured I should jsut post what I have to kill this roll going haha.

The next day, I tried for about the tenth time to see Ms Ellis. My previous attempts had been stopped by a secretary telling me she was in a meeting elsewhere in the school and would be back later. She always seemed to be coming back later.

“She’s in a meeting with the principal.” I was told on this visit. It was the second time the excuse had been used, clearly I was being avoided. That and I could feel that little niggling feeling people get in their heads when they’re lying only because they’ve been told they have to.

“Will she be back later?” I asked, exasperated.

“She said she would be. Although she said that yesterday too.” The secretary said.

“And the day before.”

I left the office and went back to my free period. I went outside to the tree to sit on my own. Even though most of my friends shared my free periods, I was in a solitary thinking mood, and the big tree behind the science block was a good place to sit and be nostalgic and convince myself that I didn’t have to kill my old friends in order to ensure my own survival.

Of course solitude is a great ideal, and one that rarely works, especially at a place where groups of friends used to hang out a lot.

“Needed some thinking time too?” Came a voice from behind me.

I turned around to see Matt walking down the hill. Thankfully alone, but I stood up and almost started to run out of instinct.

“It’s okay.” He said. “I would say I’m not armed but that’s not true. But I didn’t come here looking for a fight.” He sat down on the bench. “I guess I needed to think about things just as much as you did.”

“Trying to think up new ways to get me killed?”

“Hey! I’m not killing anyone. That’s Chris’ thing. I’m just tagging along so I don’t get excommunicated.”

“Yeah I’m sure you’d hate to get the whole ‘you’re still our friend but we don’t want to talk to you or hang out with you anymore’ speech from a crazy person.” I said bitterly.

“Yes, that was harsh. Again, not my idea. But no...I’m not looking to piss Chris or Nathan off right now. Although in case you didn’t notice Chris hasn’t come to school today...you guys did a good job of messing him up last night.”

“He started it.” I sat down on the seat next to him. “So what’s your plan anyway? Just follow Chris and Nathan to that terrible end where everyone is dead and you guys are sitting in a jail cell? Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Well that’s assuming that I get to live that long and don’t get turned into an icicle. Your friend Emily certainly packs a punch lately. Do you know what it feels like to have one of my barriers frozen? Dear god it’s the worst ice cream headache. And one of these days she’s not going to stop at that...”

“...which is my problem. My new friends are going to kill my old friends. Or get killed by them. And noone’s even sure of why were actually fighting. On my side anyway.”

“Yeah it’s not too clear on my side either. We’re just following orders, playing the game and all. And let me tell you...it sounded so much cooler when we first got the job description. I mean, stopping random ghosts around the school...that’s a cool thing.”

“And now it’s all about beating us and it’s just going to end up with someone dead isn’t it?”

“Exactly. I mean we weren’t even supposed to kill Neil, just scare him. But then that kid could fight, like Chuck Norris only not quite as awesome, and then Chris got a bit too excited and bam...there’s a corpse and blood. And it’s the same with you guys. That night in the locker room, it started off as Chris just trying to cover his ass, and then it became this thing, we can beat you guys so we’re going to. Of course I don’t think they expected you guys to fight back, so everyone’s just trying to get stronger to beat each other...”

“Yup that’s how I read it. It sucks doesn’t it?”

“Why are you even doing this though? I mean, you’re not supposed to be involved. Hell, I don’t think they knew about you and Chloe and Lisa until that night in the locker room. You could just walk away from this. I’m stuck here, I got put on a team and I’m Mister Invisible Wall and if Nathan and Chris go down I go down with them.”

“What’s to stop you running away? Like, skip town for a few weeks, let this blow itself over?”

“Dude, I have parents. They would flip if I suggested that. And even if Chris and Nathan understood, this thing is bigger than them. I don’t want to know what would happen if I try to leave this. I’m stuck being the guy who can’t really hurt anyone, but can very much be hurt.”

“At least you can do something...”

“Yeah, I used to think you had this cool thing you could do. Same with Chloe. But it seems like you guys got the short psychic straw. I mean, telling how people are feeling is a pretty neat party trick, but...I can do forcefields, and Nathan can float stuff with his mind...”

“And all these wonderful powers are the reason that you guys are all killing each other. I think it would all be nice and simple if you had these lovely passive powers. Couldn’t hurt a soul. Hell, I’d give you a week with my power in a situation like this and you’d be a wreck, feeling all the anger and pain and shit...but I think as crazy as she is Lisa’s got it right. The less we use our powers the better off things are.”

“HA!” Matt said. “She’s just an idealist. Plus you can’t exactly use your power less. You’re stuck with it on full all the time, knowing exactly what these people are doing. The only upside is you can’t actually do anything to anyone with your power...Plus Lisa can do a lot more than she lets on. I’m sure if she was stuck in a confined space with a ghost who could rip her eyes out her power would end up like Chris’...”

“Chris couldn’t always do that?” I said.

“When he first got his power. He was our healer. Our first few ghost fights were pretty rough, but Nathan and I could handle them. Until they locked Chris in a room on his own. He screamed and banged on the door to be let out...and then...he was doing what he can do now. He says sometimes he’s just bringing old wounds back out, re-opening scars, and other times...he can feel he’s making all kinds of new hurt on a person. At first he hated the feeling...but now...”

“Wow...okay so who the hell is doing this? Who locked him in a room with a ghost? And who the hell told you guys about them in the first place? I just keep bumping into them and no one has locked me in a room with one..”

“We started not long after we stopped talking to you guys. And as for who’s in charge...you really should have that conversation with Ellis...”

The bell rang, Matt got up.

“Well...was nice chatting. At least I know you’re not trying to kill me.” He said. “Look...I’ll try to have your back, make it so you don’t get killed in this mess. But Emily and Dane just put Nathan and Chris through a world of hurt...so I don’t know how far they’re going to go..”

“Same on my side. I don’t want anyone to get killed, but I’m not the one making the decisions when the time comes...”

I know it might be considered stalking by some people, waiting a safe watching distance from the door to their office to see when they go home for the night. I like to think of it as affectionately following. It took a good few hours after school finished, but Ms Ellis finally left her office.

“You’re avoiding me.” I called out to her as she went to leave the building.

I could see her shoulders sag as she recognised my voice. “I was doing a good job of it too.”

“Which is odd considering how much you could help me. Apparently you know what’s going on here.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She said, and then looked at my expression. “Dear god, they were right. You empaths are a pain in the ass. Human lie detection...”

“Well at least you know what I can do. It’s a good start. Know about anyone else being able to do things?”

She sighed and started walking back to her office. “Come on, you should sit down for this, it might be a while.”

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 18

Previously on Psychic Schoolkids

Jacob is an Empath. He reads people's emotions. He has many psychic friends such as Chloe (his premonitive girlfriend), Dane (his best friend who messes with the walls in people's heads), Emily (a girl he met in detention who freezes/melts things). He also spends lots of quality time with former friends Lisa and Kara (Lisa can heal people)...as well as his brand new frenemies Chris (Kara's ex...he unheals people), Nathan (Chloe's telekinetic ex) and Matt (the wimpy guy who makes forcefields). They also have a principal whose name mysteriously appeared in Chloe's visions, and a Maths teacher who is out to get them. Also...there may be something to do with ghosts.

And now for our next installment...

The bus ride to dinner was...exhilarating. The three of us left the school in a whirl of excitement, taking off as much of our school clothing as was appropriate and getting changed as we walked.

For the first time we had had a fight with Chris, Nathan and Matt and won; and this time it wasn’t a win by the skin of our teeth like the science lab, or where we had ran away battered and bruised. We had walked out of the room with one of them injured, and most importantly I hadn’t suffered any blows to the head after being thrown against solid objects by Nathan.

I don’t think it hit any of us that every time we got into a fight with the Trio (authors note: who need a much catchier name than that), our lives were at stake. Poor Neil could attest to that, but there was something...powerful about being able to kick ass with our powers in the way we were. Okay, so *I* wasn’t personally kicking ass, but Emily was, and more importantly, Dane was. And I was vicariously living through that. The joys of being an empath.

It was when we sat down on the bus that it first sank in. The three of us in our typical youth style sat up the back of the bus, where we could look down on the other passengers and were as far away from the driver as possible.

“We did just win didn’t we?” Emily said. “Like...they ambushed us and everything and we came out on top?”

“Did you see what I did there. I just went ‘POW’ and Nathan’s power started to go crazy. That was awesome!” Dane said.

“Will it last forever?” I said. “Cuz...that would be cool if he was stuck moving things around with his mind for a while. Would solve our problem.”

“I don’t know to be honest. Depends on how quickly he can rebuild all those little walls in his mind that stop him from randomly moving objects. Could be a few hours, could be a few weeks.”

The three of us sat back on the bus and exhaled. I leaned back and wrapped my arms around the backs of Emily and Dane’s seats. I think I felt closer to my friends at that moment than I had before. They were both so...different since I had first met them, and I couldn’t help but feel responsible for some of the change.

But as I sat there, with Emily and Dane going over all their cool moves frame-by-frame. I realised how much I wanted Chloe to be there with me talking it all over. And then I felt that terrible guilt for not even thinking about her before then. I guess things just felt more...comfortable with Dane and Emily. They didn’t have anywhere near as much personal baggage invested in this. Every time I was with Chloe and we talked about Nathan I felt that little flutter in her heart, and the remorse because she knew exactly where our confrontations with them were escalating.

I don’t know what’s worse...feeling how much your girlfriend has it in for her ex or knowing how much it’s going to hurt her when...

“Jacob, are you even paying attention dude?” Dane said, waving a hand in front of my face.

“...does it make me look bad if I say no?” I replied.

“We were just saying how we hope Chris isn’t getting up from under that pile of desks any time soon. But if he can heal...can he heal himself? Can Lisa heal herself?” Emily asked.

“I don’t think she’s ever needed to...but, if Chris is dead or something...that means we’re responsible. Can we handle that we killed a guy?”

“Well...he tried to kill us. It’s only fair really.” Dane said.

“And he killed Neil.” Emily added.

“But, they’re kids. Just like us. And they have these powers and they don’t know what to do with them. They just have someone pushing their buttons and turning them against us...But they’re probably just as confused and scared about what they can do...just like us.” I said.

“I’m not confused or scared anymore.” Emily said with a scary level of confidence. “I mean, you’ve seen what I can do. I fought off that ghost girl with total control, and I can freeze anything I can touch now. I know exactly what I can do...”

“And I know my limits...exactly what I can do to a person without driving them crazy...” Dane said.

“But what if you get it wrong? And you scar someone’s brain for life? Or Emily...what if you freeze a person solid? These powers...especially yours...they can hurt people. If we kill the Trio, that’s got consequences outside of anything else. Sure, the cops can’t exactly arrest us for freezing someone to death with our bare hands, but we have to live with killing people...”

“I think I already mentioned this....but...they started it.” Emily said.

“Lighten up Jacob. You’re starting to sound like Lisa.” Dane said.

“Oooh...we’re here.” Emily said, her and Dane bounded up and headed for the door.

“Maybe she is right...” I said, following them out the door.

“Hip hip”


Kara managed to blow out all the candles in a single breath. The entire restaurant clapped with applause. Some out of politeness, some to join in, and some because they actually had a bit of pride for the girl they didn’t even know who was turning 17.

I sat next to Chloe, holding hands under the table as subtlety as we could manage. Our late arrival had given us brief scolds from the girls who had all arrived earlier and significantly more dolled up than we were, but our explanation had earned us redemption from all except Lisa, who simply glared at us.

“For the record. You’re at least partially right.” I said to Lisa, who was on my opposite side.

“I normally am, what about?” Lisa said.

“Our powers. This is going to end badly.” I said. “Chris and Nathan keep on coming, and Emily and Dane are getting strong enough to take one, or all three of them out.”

“Well I would say I told you so....but instead I’m going to ask how you think I can help.” She said, I had a feeling she knew I could feel her smug indignance as she said this.

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what’s going to happen. I just know that one day soon we’re going to give our head of school a very stern question session so we can find out why our little Carrie ghost was screaming her name.”

“Well that part is easy. What if the Trio have other ideas? What if they kill someone? Or worse...you kill someone.”

“I don’t want it to come to that...”

“You’re their leader Jacob. You’ve always been the leader of this little power posse, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. It’s up to you to stop this becoming an even worse mess than it already is.”

“Jacob.” Came Chloe’s voice from behind me. I turned around to be greeted by a kiss. “Stop talking shop and spend some time with your girlfriend.”

“If you need me Jacob. You know where I am.” Lisa said, getting up and going to get another round of soft drink from the bar.

I wanted to speak to Kara as well, but I felt her birthday while she sat surrounded by her parents wasn’t exactly the best venue for conversation on her now homicidal ex-boyfriend, so I figured that too would have to wait for another day. The waiting game was beginning to do my head in.

“I’m going outside for some air.” Chloe announced to the table from next to me. “Come for a walk Jacob?” She said to me.

You don’t need to be a psychic to know that when your girlfriend wants to go for a walk outside that you’re in trouble. But it definitely helps.

As we sat on the bench out the front of the restaurant, I could feel that little edge of annoyance in her.

“Jacob, do you know what yesterday was?” She asked.

“Thursday?” I ventured. As soon as I said it I knew it was the wrong answer.

“It was our three month anniversary...”

“I didn’t think we were going to celebrate three months..” I said. We had pre-agreed on several anniversaries that were going to merit celebration, I know because I had marked them in my phone so I wouldn’t forget them.

“We weren’t. But...some kind of acknowledgment of it would have been nice.”

“I was a bit...busy yesterday.” I said.

“I know. You’re always busy lately, running around trying to get yourself killed.”

“Okay...I’m not trying. It’s other people trying to kill me. And I thought you weren’t afraid of them?”

“I wasn’t. But this is getting too big for us Jacob.” She said. “They can hurt people, Emily and Dane can hurt people, and you’re still that same kid who can read people’s emotions...”

“...and you’re still that girl who can see the future. Is that what this is about? What did you see?”

“What didn’t I see. Why do you think it took me so long to come up with anything useful in my dreams? Because the more I focus on Chris and Nathan the more I see every outcome of what could happen to us because of them. I see what might have happened if we never met Dane.” There it was again...that old flame for the ex, but I decided this wasn’t the best time to mention it. “And then I see what happens when you become a killer, or a thousand different ways you get yourself killed.”

I wrapped my arms around Chloe in a big hug, as tears started to stream down her face. I almost started crying out of sympathy.

“I wasn’t afraid of anything, ever. And now all I see in the future is pain to the people I care about.” She stood up, full of anger, tears still running along her cheeks. “I care about you too much Jacob to lose you to this world full of powers and ghosts. You need to stop. We need to stop. I want it to be just us again, the guy who can read what’s going on in people’s heads and the girl who can tell what’s going to happen a few minutes in the future.”

“You know we can’t...” I said.

“I know, and I hate it. You don’t get it. I can now see that little bit further into the future. I’m not a sentence ahead in conversation anymore, I’m minutes or hours or days ahead. Sometimes it’s days where you’re here, or sometimes it’s a day when I’m attending someone’s funeral. I don’t know how much time we have together before something happens to either one of us, and what I hate is that whatever we have left before Nathan throws your off a bridge of Chris rips my heart out is going to be spent with you running around trying to fight them.”

“Someone has to fight them.”

“No. You don’t. Haven’t you been paying attention? It’s not about you. “It’s about the three of them, and Emily and Dane. Let them all sort out their own issues and fight their own battles. You know that you can walk away and yes, people might die but you’ll be okay and I’ll be okay and we can be happy together.”

I opened my mouth to speak, but Chloe just put a finger in front of my mouth to silence me, and then stood up on her toes to kiss me.

“I know what you’re going to say. Just...give me some time. It would be nice if you could remember four months...even if we don’t do anything.” She wiped her eyes. “Why did I have to date the guy who wants to be the hero?”

“Because you needed someone to rescue you..” I said as I ushered her back inside.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Psychic Schoolkids - Part 17

Previously on Psychic Schoolkids

Jacob is an Empath. He reads people's emotions. He has many psychic friends such as Chloe (his premonitive girlfriend), Dane (his best friend who messes with the walls in people's heads), Emily (a girl he met in detention who freezes/melts things). He also spends lots of quality time with former friends Lisa and Kara (Lisa can heal people)...as well as his brand new frenemies Chris (Kara's ex...he unheals people), Nathan (Chloe's telekinetic ex) and Matt (the wimpy guy who makes forcefields). They also have a principal whose name mysteriously appeared in Chloe's visions, and a Maths teacher who is out to get them. Also...there may be something to do with ghosts.

And now for our next installment...

Sometimes I don’t entirely understand the point of birthdays. Okay, so they are a reason to get all your people together, and get presents, but do we really need to celebrate being a year older? So many people get so very excited about it, but it seems that the older people become the more they don’t seem to give a damn about it anymore.

In fact in the case of Mr Harding, he seemed pretty bloody pissed off about his birthday. We only found out about it by accident, when we overheard Ms Anderson congratulating him on his advancing years, and from then we couldn’t help but giggle every time we saw him. The glares we got in response only served to make me giggle a little bit more when I felt his combination of anger and shame.

However if we were smart little psychics, we would have remembered the double maths that we had at the end of the day. If we’d had the foresight, we’d have baked a cake. Mr Harding however, had the foresight to be extra angry at Dane, Emily and myself as we sat down in the classroom.

“You three! I want you sitting on opposite sides of the room today. That way you might actually get some work done.” He shouted at us, herding us across the room from each other.

Okay, so that’s not too terrible, as much as I would like to talk to my friends, I could live without them.

“Now everyone, I have a present for all of you. Suprise quiz. I hope you’ve all studied...”

Note to self: Do not piss off vindictive maths teacher. I almost wanted to misbehave and get sent to Ms Ellis’ office, but Ellis was either avoiding us or incredibly busy because when Chloe tried that earlier in the day she got to spend 20mins with the school chaplain telling her that God encouraged us to turn the other cheek when people start fights and not punch them in the face. Normally I would agree, but when dealing with Nathan turning the other cheek would only serve to get you thrown across the room again, and punching him in the face would be much more fun.

The quiz was hard too. I think some of the stuff he was testing us on he hadn’t even covered yet. Knowing Harding it was the test that every other class would be doing at the end of the chapter, and he was giving it to us halfway through as a part of his three-quarter-life crisis.

The only upside to such a Maths class was that it was missing Chris and Matt, who normally sat in the chairs next to where I had been placed. I couldn’t help but think that Mr Harding was trying to get me killed, something which had thankfully back fired.

Twenty minutes of class passed. The test I was certain I had not passed. In the end I just started punching random numbers into my calculator and guessing that at least randomly generated numbers would be closer to the answer than empty paper.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Chris saved me.

“Happy Birthday Mr Harding!” He shouted to the entire class as he burst through the door.

Matt trailed behind him, grinning ear to ear and holding a huge cake in his hands, complete with sparklers and candles and even a little wax figure standing on his own in the middle of the cake. I felt a little bit happy that even if I hadn’t decided to bake a cake, my former best friends had performed the vindictive act for me.

Mr Harding was not so impressed. He slammed his fist down on his desk, sending random stationary items to the floor.

“As much as I appreciate the well wishes boys...”

But it was too late, the class, spotting weakness in a teacher and knowing that he couldn’t put the entire class in detention, had begun to sing “happy birthday” at the top of their lungs. It was a sight that with my happiness, combined with that of the entire class, almost made me shed a tear of joy.

“THAT’S ENOUGH” Mr Harding shouted. The singing stopped.

“Chris, Matt, you will be staying back incredibly late tonight for detention.” He said much more calmly. The day was getting better. “Jacob, Emily, Dane, you will be joining them for disrupting the class with your terrible singing.”

...okay so maybe not. I suppose having fun has to have his price.

Of course the three of us didn’t want to stay back that late. Through some miracle we’d all been invited to Kara’s birthday party, which was dinner somewhere fancy and then a movie. Detention would make us late for a fancy dinner, something which Kara would not enjoy. What scared me was the feeling that Mr Harding knew this somehow, and was deriving extreme joy from the thought of it.

Although what scared me equally was the idea of being stuck in a room with Mr Harding, Chris, and Matt for an extended period of time.

The crappy thing about detention after a class you’ve just been in is that there is no escape. You can’t just not show up and hope the teacher forgets. You can’t wait for the teacher to be the traditional ten-fifteen minutes late and have your detention time cut in half...you have to just wait in the classroom and watch everyone else go home.

At least we had cake?

“Okay boys...Emily. I’m going to be marking papers in my office. I want you all sitting at your desks doing work. My office has a lovely window into this room, so if you try to slack off, I will know. If I hear any of you talking, the amount of time you will be here will be increased by fifteen minutes. Don’t try my patience either, I have a lot of papers to mark...”

“Umm sir.” Chris raised his hand. “I miss the start of that last maths lesson, could you tell me what I missed so I can catch up.”

“Chris, open the book, start at Chapter one. We’re on Chapter Nine. Since you haven’t done any work all year so far, you have a lot more catching up to do than that last lesson.”

Dane and I exchanged glances. Did Mr Harding just make a joke? It was a mean joke so it might have just been a dig at Chris, but if it weren’t for the crushing feeling of doom I probably would have laughed at it.

Harding then retreated into his office, leaving the five of us in a mostly empty classroom with our maths books and the expectation of silent work.

“So Jacob.” Chris started talking as soon as he felt the coast was clear. Not wanting to invoke the wrath of Harding I didn’t respond. “It’s okay...his office is pretty sound proof, as long as we don’t yell he won’t hear us.” Now I just wasn’t responding because it was Chris talking. “I hear you and Emily had a bit of a ghost problem in the science lab the other day?”

That got my attention, and Emily’s.

“Yeah that one has been giving us a lot of grief lately. She shows us, tries to set people on fire, and then vanishes. Even when we try to stop her, she keeps coming back. Would have been nice if she’d finished you off for us, it would have been all legit and everything.”

“I could’ve taken her.” Emily said.

“Yeah Nathan showed me the burn you gave him. Pretty nasty. Of course it took about five seconds for me to heal but since you guys have Lisa doing the same for you I think we’re pretty even.”

“And if I freeze you solid can you heal that?” Emily was taking his bait

“And if I cut you arm off does it grow back? Do you really want to play that game with me? The only reason you could even touch me last time is because we didn’t get told what power you had.”

“She hurt Nathan without even touching him though Chris. I’d be careful of her...” Matt said.

From where I was sitting, the room was interesting. Chris was confident. He felt that he was completely in control of everything, and that whatever he wanted to do was going to happen. Emily felt pretty much the same. Which was kinda scary. A few months ago she would have been hiding from her power. Now, she was embracing what she could do and how much people couldn’t touch her. Matt was scared shitless. Which was good, he might be able to put walls up, but he knew there was nothing he could do to Emily.

Dane was just waiting for his moment to speak...which he took.

“Even if you stop her Chris, I’ll pull your mind apart.”

“Oh yes. Dane. That worked so well for everyone last time. You broke our little friendship group into tiny little pieces. And of course you made me a little bit crazy. Even though Lisa did a bang-up job of putting everything in my head together again, there’s still all these little bits missing. Like the bits that tell me to stop when the screaming starts.”

Of course in all the dramatic posturing over who would win in a fight, I couldn’t help but notice that Dane and Emily were missing a few important points.

“Who told you about the ghosts? And that Emily had powers?” I asked.

“Oh wow...it is true. You guys are going solo. Noone to point your smoking guns and tell you what’s going to happen next. That must suck. Although we keep getting told it’s none of your business anyway Jacob so I’m not sure why you’re even asking. At best you should be stopping the ghosts that cross over and let these two wackos get on with the game.”

“This is a game to you?” Emily asked.

“Oh it’s not just a game to me. This is a game to many people. The fact that you don’t even know you’re playing just makes it a bit harder. I mean with no Neil your team is already one man down even. Now if you don’t mind...our backup has arrived.”

We looked behind us to see Nathan standing outside the classroom window.

“At least a detention is easy to fake.” Just got to get the teacher out of the way.

We turned around and saw the blinds on Mr Harding’s office window fall down. Matt had his eyes closed too, which I had a feeling meant even if Harding wanted to leave his office, he wouldn’t be able to.

“God you’re crazy.” I said. “This is the middle of the afternoon. Every teacher is still here.”

“And it won’t matter once Emily and Dane are no longer around. We’ll have won. Everything will be back to normal, the ghosts will go away.”

“Yeah we might have something to say about that.” Emily said, standing up. Dane stood up next to her.

“I don’t think you guys get it. There are three of us with spiffy killy powers. You might be the ice queen...or the burns queen depending on your mood. But you’re still out gunned. And I’m betting that Dane isn’t going to be doing a lot except drive me crazy. Which really...too late!”

He lunged forward, his hand almost touching Emily, who moved away from it. The door swung open with Nathan who charged in. This time I had the presence of mind to move that little bit out of his line of sight and not get thrown against the wall. Dane did as well. Where I failed was that I ended up walking into an invisible wall. I turned to see Matt grinned at me.

Nathan didn’t care about me though, I felt his focus on Emily as he flung her against the wall. However before Chris could get to her helpless figure Dane grabbed Nathan’s hand.

“Let’s dance.” He said, and closed his eyes.

I don’t think I had ever felt more proud of Dane than at that moment. His power was, at best a tool for helping people’s problems, and at worst a way to totally destroy people. Yet somehow...he had turned it into a weapon.

Well..as much as he was going to. Objects begun to fly themselves across the room. The chairs, tables, all started zooming around. Nathan looked at his hand with absolute horror.

“Don’t you just love how we build up all these walls to stop our powers going crazy?” Dane said. “and how wrong things go when those walls go away.”

Of course, Dane was too busy enjoying his moment to notice Chris had trained his sights on him though. Thankfully, Nathan had, which in his current state meant two desks and half a dozen chairs zoomed into Chris. My skin crawled at the crunching noise that they made, but at the same time I had no sympathy for Chris, since he’d just be healing himself...if he could get up.

“Right so I think we’ll be going.” Emily said. Dusting herself off and walking towards the door.

“Umm...” I turned to look at Matt. Emily walked into a wall in front of the doorway. It lasted about three seconds before it became icicles on the ground.

“We have a party to go to don’t we?” Dane said.

I closed the door behind us, leaving Matt to deal with the crush of furniture that was Chris and the object flinging mess that was Nathan. I even poked my head to look through the window to see Harding asleep on his desk (he was breathing...unfortunately).

“So do we need to wear a tie to this thing?” Dane said as we left.

“I’m wearing a dress...so yes, dress up so I don’t feel out of place.” Emily replied.

“Yeah I wear a tie at school, no tie for Kara I think.” I said.

“Well I barely know her. So I’m dressing to impress.” Emily said in her best posh accent.

“I think you’ll need all the impressing clothes you can get” Dane said. “Her first impression of you is you setting a science lab on fire, we’re going to be late, and you’re showing up with me and I’m definitely her least favourite person on account of me brainwashing her boyfriend.”

“Yet she invited you and not him...which shows you’re at least a step up from a homicidal maniac in her books..” I said.

“Do you think she flipped a coin or something to decide who to invite?” Emily said to me.

“Definitely...” I nodded.