First Name: Angelina
Last Name: May
Specialty: Electricity Manipulation--Still untrained
Power. It courses through my veins, tickles my skin.
My knee bounces up and down of its own accord and I let it, licking my lips. The red hands of the old-fashioned clock in the corner seem to move in slow motion, every second taking an eternity to pass. I tap the flesh of my finger against the chair I’m sitting in, gritting my teeth together. An old woman sitting in the corner snores, handbag at her lap nearly falling.
I could take it. If I wanted to.
I don’t though.
The woman at the desk yawns, throwing her head back and momentarily pausing whatever she’s doing, tablet-filled hands stopping mid-air. I blink and take another glance all around me. Two girls with identical brunette hair-presumably sisters- sit talking animatedly about something or another. One of them plays with droplets of water with her fingertips, and they get absorbed into her skin every couple of seconds.
My pinky twitches and I sigh.
Make it stop...oh my god just make. It. Stop.
Shivers run up and down my spine and I take shaky deep breaths as I stare at the clock. The minute hand moves.
My breath catches and I stand.
“Yes, that’s me.”
Almost there. So close. I walk to the desk and grip the edges of the table, blinking hard.
I glance at the clock again. My fingers graze over everything on the table as the woman gets the tablet ready for me to sign. I stare at the blurry little words and stylus, my fingers running over the smooth wood, books...I don’t stop it fast enough and it brushes over the wires of her computer. My hand jerks back, but it’s too late. I squeeze my eyes shut as sparks fly, electricity burning my fingers.
When I open them, everywhere is dark.
I huddle my knees closer to my chest. In the darkness, the stars are more pronounced, and I look up to them for comfort. They’re the only lights as far as the eye can see. Everything-cars, streetlights, house lights...it’s all off. Broken, because of me.
The power in me is a little less nagging now. A little tired.
“Angelina? You up here?”
I turn and squint, trying to make out the owner of the voice.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and gasp as someone slowly comes into view sitting beside me.
First Name: Margo
Last Name: Waters
“Margo! I told you to stop sneaking up on me like that.”
I gesture outward as I look over the darkness.
“What do you think happened? I messed up, like I always do.”
“That was you? Powers out all over the city. I mean all over.”
I turn to her, pouting.
“Stop saying it like it’s a good thing! I was just trying to have a normal Wednesday. Everything I touch gets messed up. Especially electric things, obviously. I touch one wire and boom. Lucky I got away before they caught me.”
“Don’t stress, they’ll fix it in no time.”
“If it was ‘no time’ the technos would have already figured it out by now. And they haven’t.”
I cross my arms and bring myself into a cross-legged sitting position. It’s not that I’m scared they won’t fix it. They’ll figure something out, someone will. It’s that I’ve waited so long to develop something, and now that I have it I can’t even control it.
“You’ll get the hang of it.”
“Easy for you to say!”
She tucks a strand of rich brown hair behind her ear, furrowing her brows.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means invisibility is...well it’s...it’s easy!” I sputter out, throwing my hands up in exasperation.
“Easy? Really? I’ll have you know invisibility is deemed one of the most prestigious abilities in the city. Ask anyone.”
“I know,” I soften, “I’m not doubting that. It’s just- all you have to do is think about being invisible and it happens. And plus- you were born with it too.”
She stands, visibly offended, though I can’t really see what I could’ve said that would’ve hurt her feelings.
“Well one would think that you would at least be able to just ‘think’ and at least actively try and not use your power, and yet here we are, in one of the biggest power outages the city’s ever seen!”
“Thanks for the support Ms. 'they’ll-fix-it-in-no-time’!”
She rolls her eyes.
“I shouldn’t have come.”
She turns and leaves, not even bothering to become invisible again as she disappears down the stairs leading back to my bedroom and then back outside. In truth, I’ve always envied Margo. Not just for her invisibility, which is, obviously, desirable, but also her wit and just carefreeness. She can do anything she wants. She already knows she won’t get caught. It’s hard to catch an Unseen if you don’t know where to look for them. She’s the one who taught me all my stealth, except she doesn’t really need any when she can just literally disappear.
People catch on though, so you can’t have the same victim twice.
That’s her motto.
I crack my fingers and sparks momentarily light my hands. I watch them fall to my knees and dissolve somehow out of sight.
I've heard it wasn’t always like this. That those with powers used to be few-rare, even. Sometimes I almost feel like it’s a virus. Like the powers themselves are alive. The fact that I can’t control mine is proof. Maybe those without are somehow immune?
Maybe...I’m just making excuses for myself.
My mother has told me countless times that it doesn’t matter what power you get or how long it takes, but how well you can control it.
We can see how well that worked out for me.
If I could control it, electro manipulation would be pretty cool.
But I can’t.
So it’s not.
It’s practically deadly. Who knows the damage I caused, besides the power outage, today. And I’m just sitting here instead of helping.
I sigh and pull myself up, walking to the stairs. I jump down them two at a time, closing the top door behind me. Forgetting that the motion sensor lights aren’t just going to turn on like they usually do, I trip on the last two steps in the darkness, falling hard on my knees.
I huff and stand back up, trying to make out the door. With my arms outstretched, I walk forward, looking for the wall.
I could try to control my power and turn the lights back on? I mean, the worst that could happen has already happened, right? Right??
I bring my hands to my face, and I can just barely make them out in the darkness. I try to remember how I felt when I was in the waiting room at the PD. and close my eyes, further drenching myself in darkness. Something twists inside of me. I swallow hard on my dry throat, coaxing it out. Whatever it is. No one told me having a power felt like having a thing inside of you. Everyone says it’s just like another limb. Just a thought. A flick of the wrist.
“Come on…” I whisper, imagining sparks being pulled from my insides to my fingertips. I imagine electricity coursing through me instead of blood, the taste of it tangy on my tongue. I focus on the vision until it’s real, until goosebumps run up my legs and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I open my eyes slowly to see my fingers doused in white, lighting up the room a little. A small smile plays at the edges of my lips. Focus.
My eyes dart up, where, with the help of the light on my fingers, I can make out the thin light strips going through the room. I squeeze my eyes shut again, pointing my fingers upward and imagining the electricity traveling safely through the air and back into the light. I open one eye and see the lights flicker a little.
There’s a crack and they fizz back out. I open my other eye and my arms drop to my sides defeatedly.
So much for that.
I walk a couple steps forward and feel around the wall until my hands hit the smooth knob. I twist it and open the door, slowly stepping forward into more darkness.
I swear I won’t be able to get through to the door without dying. How did Margo do it?
I walk in tiny steps, arms still outstretched, wincing when my foot hits a table.
Not this way.
I sigh exasperatedly and turn, squinting as I swivel my head in every direction.
You would think our house could have windows, to let the light of the stars and the moon slip through.
I let out a small string of curses under my breath when my stomach is impaled by a low coffee table.
Not this way either, apparently.
I hear a creak and freeze in my place.
Keys jingle and are dropped somewhere near me. I turn my neck and gasp as a bright flash of light nearly blinds me.
First Name: Clementine
Last Name: May
“Angelina? My goodness, you’re a mess,” my mom says, looking me up and down, her brows furrowed in worry.
I sigh, glancing around my position in the newfound light, coming from the phone in her hand.
I’ve walked straight into the living room, which is the opposite way I was supposed to go.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” I mumble, avoiding eye contact.
Does she know it was me yet?
“What are you doing?”
“Well um, I’m trying to get outside, but it’s a bit dark…”
I look up at the light fixtures, annoyed that they didn’t light up when I wanted them to.
“Quite the power outage, isn’t it.”
She doesn’t say it like a question so I don’t answer. Rather, I push past her and to the door, setting myself down on the steps leading to our house. I look up at the stars and sigh. My mom comes out after me, shutting the door and sitting down next to me. She turns the flashlight off and puts a hand on my shoulder.
I assume it’s supposed to be comforting, but I feel the sparks inside me center around that area, making me shiver at the touch.
“I know it was you. That’s why I’m going to help you fix it.”
I laugh, pushing her hand off. She tilts her head to the side and frowns. I rub my face with my hands.
“If you can’t tell, I can’t control my power very well. It won’t be fixed, not by me at least. Did the technos look at it yet?”
She shakes her head, bringing her hand back to her side.
“I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. I believe in you.”
I scoff, stifling an eye roll.
“Of course you do- you believe in everyone.”
“Have you even tried?” she challenges, narrowing her eyes.
“Yeah, I have, and it’s hopeless.”
I scratch my nails at the stairs, staring at the dust underneath my fingernails.
“You’re going to try again. Come on, stand up.”
“Ah, ah, ah- I’m still the mom here. Up up up.”
I groan and pull myself up, crossing my arms in defiance.
“You still can’t make me try. I don’t want to ruin anything else!” I protest, whine lacing my voice.
“Why do you think it didn’t work? Tell me how it feels, how it felt when you did it, and when you tried to fix it.”
I shrug, trying to remember the feeling without calling it back again.
“Like an...I don’t know, like a thing spreading around me on the inside. Like, well, electricity, but inside of me.”
She hums, tapping her foot at the ground. I look at her, waiting for some sort of guidance. But slowly, her features distort, and she changes into a cat. Just as fast, she’s back as a human.
I roll my eyes.
“Seriously, are you showing off or something?”
“I’m just trying to see how it feels for me. Don’t roll your eyes at me young lady- I am still the mother.”
“So you keep saying,” I mumble, averting my eyes.
“You’re overcomplicating it,” she concludes, “Stop focusing on what it is and how, and just focus on controlling it. Close your eyes.”
I do as told, a small part of me hoping that it does work. I’m about as powerless as an Ungifted right now.
“Okay. Now, you need to believe that you have the power to turn all these lights on. Do you believe it?”
I nod, convincing myself and gulping my saliva hard.
“Okay. Imagine all the lights turning on, one by one. Don’t think about the force behind it, just think about it being as easy as flipping the switch. Imagine them all powering on.”
I do, imagining whatever electricity that I somehow stole from the wires returning to them, the generators powering on and things starting to work again. I open my eyes slowly, turning around to see if anything’s changed. I hold my breath and pull open the door to see if the lights turned on.
They have! Artificial light floods the room. I’m about to start cheering when I see them flicker a little.
I narrow my eyes at the lights, walking in.
They flicker a couple times before flicking out, just as the door closes behind me, leaving me in darkness once again.