[Estimated reading time: 4 minutes]

[This is a work in progress.]

Intros first. I'm Samantha Wally, junior in high school, runner, hockey player, and amateur photographer. I've got two moms, no siblings, and three Golden Retrievers: Queen, Gwen, and Timoty.

The striking fake-blonde is Chloe, my best friend since preschool. She's rocking torn-up black jeans, black jacket, black concert shirt underneath. Her makeup is minimal and very dark, her eye shadow looks like the void.

Last week was weird. My friends, family, even my freaking dogs, they all just started acting so strange. We would be in the middle of a conversation - or playing, in the case of my woolly beauties - and suddenly they'd change their mind. "Sorry, what were we talking about?" It's like the world shifted underneath their feet and they're surprised to see me.

I don't get it, but whatever, people are weird, and Mercury is in retrograde, so miscommunication is expected. But, still, weird.

The last time it happened was at school, this morning. Mr Hale, the biology substitute for the past couple of weeks, was really getting on my case. I was presenting my research on the regional varieties of mussels and he kept interrupting me to point out that I was doing something wrong. Every. Fucking. Sentence.

My eyes flared and Mr Hale got that far-away look.

"What... uh... was I saying?" He muttered.

"That my research was thorough and you're really impressed," I replied, sarcasm dripping from my mouth, and took my seat.

"Right... right. Um, next?" Hale wrote something in his notebook.

"I was the last," I replied quickly before anyone had a chance to speak up. Chloe was next on the chopping block, so to speak, but I knew that she was unprepared. So fuck it, I lied to Hale, he dismissed us eight minutes early, and that was that.

I realized that I had a power. I was able to derail people's thoughts. Even confuse them.

"Wake up!" Chloe is by my side, and I'm about to walk into a steel door frame. "What's with you? What happened with Mr Hale back there?"

"I... uh... You know how every racist joke starts?"

Chloe's eyebrows rise.

"By looking around," I reply and look around us. We're at the end of the Delectable Hallway, right by the exit door that I was about to smack into. The rest of the hallway is empty. We were walking outside, and I was lost in thought.

"OK, good, no one around. Um..." I rub my hands nervously and Chloe's eyebrows continue their ascension. "I can make people lose their train of thought. Or something like that."

"Seriously?" Chloe narrows her eyes. She's taking this seriously.

I nod. "Of course it's serious. I just used it on Mr Hale. And last week, I just remembered that. I thought people were acting weird around me. But it was this strange power."

Chloe's eyes grow big as she realizes what this means. Her face, as far as I'm concerned, should be nominated for every performance award there is, it's just that fucking expressive!

"Let's go for a walk around the school!" Chloe says and starts pulling me away from the exit, back into the school.

The bell rings, the hallways fill up. We have lunch next, so we hang back and watch the ebb and flow of the school. Chloe, I'm sure, is scheming, plotting, a new victim with every passing student. Then there's the second bell and just as suddenly, the hallways are empty. Chloe pulls me along.

The first person we run into is a janitor, Mrs Evers. She's OK. I ask about her daughter, she says that the daughter is presenting at a conference in Cleveland. Chloe pokes me in the side and I focus on Mrs Evers.

My eyes flare and Mrs Evers gets that far-away look.

"Oh, Mrs Evers! How's your daughter?"

"Debbie? Oh, Debbie's just the best. You know, she's presenting at the alternative fuel conference in Cleveland, at the end of the week. She's flying up there tomorrow..."

Chloe pokes me in the side again, I glare at Mrs Evers and we continue our little rampage.

We leave confused souls behind us: social studies teacher, a secretary, another janitor. The teacher started to ask for our hall pass but I put an end to that quickly.

"We could just walk into a bank vault!" Chloe stage-whispers to me as we once again find ourselves in an empty hallway.

"Won't the cameras see us?" I've been plotting out scenarios as well.

"Sure, but that's why we'd wear disguises. Oh, oh, and that gives me an idea! Does your glare work over video?"

That makes me stop and wonder. "Does it work over the phone?" I can think of a dozen experiments to run on this. I'm going to know a hell of a lot about this power in the next few days, if we keep goofing off like this.

The vice principal meets us and promptly forgets what he was doing. I hope it wasn't too time sensitive, he'll be wandering around a while. I'm still learning how to turn the juice up on this power, think I gave the poor bastard something like 8 out of 10.

Lunch is over, so we split up and go our separate ways for the rest of the day. Chloe is off to her AP classes, I've got photography and gym.

In photo, I ask Garrett for help with a "small test". I look into a camera, he looks into the video feed on the computer. I glare into the camera, give Garrett half power, about 5/10.

"What are we waiting for?" He asks. I'm a bit panicking now. What if my power is used up? I look over at Garrett and give him 7/10. He turns around and starts mumbling something. I'm writing the observations down in a shared notebook. Chloe started it during her AP Chem and listed the initial observations, then I added my experience, and now this curious conclusion: the power doesn't work over video.

One thought on “TBT

  1. Would the dog rather be named “Timothy” than “Timoty”? Just wondering.
    “acting so strange” – using the adjective form seems in keeping with the character, but I wonder if there is a way to play with it in a way that suggests she know better? Or maybe Chloe (on her way to AP class) might correct her only to have Samantha claim she was just baiting her.
    Telling the tale in the first person – of a teenager – can be difficult to sustain, but so far so good. Maybe the toughest will be to establish distinct personalities with the dialog between the two while still maintaining believable adolescent defiant conformity.

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