Trust Your instincts

Submitted into Contest #48 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt



 The inside of the closet was dark, as the insides of closets often are. The girl sat with her back pressed against the wall, knees drawn up to her chest and arms wrapped tightly around them. The floor around her was scattered with boots and shoeboxes, hangers and pieces of clothing which had fallen from the rack overhead. There were shelves above her, three of them toward the top of the closet. The lowest was full of wellthumbed and much beloved books. The one above that held knickknacks, family photos and some glass ornaments. On the highest shelf there were dusty boxes containing card and board games, most of which she hadn’t touched since she was a child. It seemed like so long ago now, her childhood. 

By all accounts she was still thought of as little more than a child. She was not yet sixteen and as such considered a minor in both legal and social contexts. She was too young for a drivers license or even learners permit. She was not yet old enough to vote or to drink. Hell, just last month she needed a parent or guardian signature on her permission slip to attend her school‘s fieldtrip to the natural history Museum. Seriously! What did they think, the sweet, young, innocent girls of Briar Academy might be frightened or worse, somehow exposed to corrupt influences while surveying dinosaur bones?

She wondered if, even when she was older and finally consider to be one of them, the worries that plagued adults would seen any less preposterous. Right now the things that troubled them seemed to hurt to be utterly ridiculous.They worried about their children getting into college, or they worried about their children becoming addicted to drugs. They worried about their spouses who they thought might be having an affair, or they worried that they would never find someone to marry. They worried about getting fired from their jobs, or worried that the company they work for would close. In short, they worried about things they had no control over. And in doing so, in devoting so much time and energy to worrying, they only made already difficult tasks or frightening possibilities all the more difficult and frightening.

A loud crash came from beyond the closed closet door and broke into her train of thought. Sitting up straight she shifted so that she could pure out through the narrow gap between the slats of the door. She couldn’t see much, all the lights in her bedroom were off. She had done that on purpose. She‘d wanted no reason for Mrs. Tibbetts, her longtime nextstore neighbor and the one tasked with keeping an eye on her when her parents were away, to suspect that she was not securely tucked up in bed and fast asleep.

From the small amount of moonlight that filtered in through the gap in her curtains, she could just barely make out the outline of her dresser. It had been tipped onto its side and lay on the floor. She didn’t need to see the details to know what they would be. Clothes scattered across the carpet, the contents of her jewelrybox flung in all directions. The bedside table would be next, her clock would fall off at first, then her laptop and notebooks. Lamp would be third flying across the room until it hit the wall and shattered intom jagged shards of glass. Last, would be her bookcase, her beloved paperbacks and hardcovers, many first additions an author signed copies of her favorite novels. They would all be shredded into pieces, the magic their pages had once contained, the words witch had held the power to change minds, open hearts, and reveal worlds, would be reduced to nothing more then tiny bits of scrap paper.

It had gone on like this for as long as she could remember. As a little girl it had terrified her. She’d run down the hall to the guest room where whichever unfortunate soul her parents had hired to babysit her that night was sleeping. She’d wake them up, screaming and crying that there was a monster in her room. A monster she couldn’t see was tearing her books and breaking her lamp and nocking down her furniture.

The babysitter would, of course,assure her that there was no such thing as monsters. She would take her by the hand and lead her back to her room. “See,” she would say as they stepped through the doorway, “there’s nothing scary here. Nothing is broken or torn or nocked over.“ And incredibly, impossibly, she would be right. The moment she entered her room alongside the babysitter, or she learned later anyone else, the terrible destruction that had been there near moments before would be gone. The furniture would all be rrited. the drawers and shelves all in their proper places. The lamp would be whole and unbroken. And her books would be lined up in the same color-coded order she always used to organize them, completely unmarred, undamaged, untouched.

The first few times it happened her parents put it down to her being a child with an over active imagination. As she grew older they began going away more and more. They excepted nearly every offer they received to give a lecture or speak at a conference. And each time they did, it would happen again. She would run screaming and wake the babysitter, and they would enter her room to fined nothing amiss. 

They were just nightmares brought on by separation anxiety. That’s what the doctors told her parents, at least at first. By the time she was twelve though the labels they were tossing around like volleyballs had changed. Then they called them hallucinations. They’d tried medicines of course. That age old favorite remedy of physicians everywhere. None of the many drugs they’d experimented with had worked though. Nothing the doctors or her parents did made any difference. None of it changed the fact that whenever her parents went on one of their many work trips, whenever she spent the night at home without them, she woke in the middle of the night, at midnight to be exact, and found her room in ruins.

The sound of glass shattering interrupted her reminiscences. That would be the lamp, next would come the contents of her desk and then bookcase. Even after all this time, even though she was as used to this nightmare occurrence as she was to any other routine in her life, that was the part she hated the most. Seeing her books scattered across the room, pages shredded, binding ripped, covers torn…

“Megan, Megan are you in here? Please be in here. I know it’s late, but I need your help. You said I could come whenever I needed to end…“

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. That was Holly’s voice. Megan shot to her feet so fast that she banged her head on the overhead shelf. Barely noticing she threw open the closet door and darted out into the chaos beyond. The wind hit her immediately, buffering her body from all sides. It’s shrieked in every corner of the room, shaking the furniture and rattling the window frames. She ducked just in time to avoid being hit in the head with her desk chair.

“Megan? Megan what is…“ Holly’s voice trailed off and was replaced by a scream as one of the dresser drawers, seemingly of its own accord, flew through the air and hurtled straight towards where she stood frozen with shock in the doorway.

She‘d never tried intervening before. As a child she’d been far too terrified to even think of doing so. But now that she was older, now that this strange event was as familiar to her as any other of life’s rituals, she found that the urge to hide herself away in the closet came more from habit then fear. That aside, she’d be lying to herself if she said that she wasn’t afraid as she watched her furniture and other possessions be thrown across the room by an invisible force. But fear or no fear, routine or no routine, she had no choice but to interveen now. If she did nothing Holly would be caught in the maelstrom of flying furniture and the howling phantom wind that swept the room all around them.

Keeping herself low to the ground so as to avoid as many of the flying objects as possible, Megan made her way toward the door. Holly was still standing there, rooted to the spot with shock and terror. She watched the dresser drawer as it tore through the air coming closer and closer to her. Her gaze was fixed on it with a kind of horrified fascination and Megan got the feeling that no matter how much she might have wanted to she couldn’t look away.

The drawer was inches away from Hollys face when Megan reached her. Stop,” she shouted and, acting totally on instinct she flung out a hand. Did she actually think that the simple gesture and a word from her would be enough to stop the flying projectile? And yet, impossibly, it was. The drawer came to a shuttering hault, no more than a hairs breath away from Megan‘s outstretched fingertips. “Wow,“ she said in an awestruck tone. “I really didn’t think that would work.“

Glancing around the room Megan found that the drawer wasn’t the only piece of furniture to have stopped moving when she‘d told it to. Indeed, each and every one of the formally flying objects were now frozen in the exact position they had been in when she’d spoken. “Wow,“ she repeated. “It stopped when I told it to. Everything stopped when I told it too.“

“Megan,“ Holly said in a barely audible wisper. “Megan what is going on? What is happening? How is any of this possible?“

Ignoring her friend’s questions Megan stepped further into her room, fixing her gaze on her bookshelf she held out a hand. “I wonder if it will work without me speaking,“ she muttered to herself. “Maybe I can just…“ Her voice trailed off as she flicked her fingers and the bookshelf rrited itself. Both ends were now firmly on the ground and as Megan willed it each book straightened itself and formed a perfectly neat, color-coded line. “This is amazing,” she said her tone full of equal parts wonder and astonishment. “I can control it. I can control all of it.” 

Never in her wildest imaginings, never in all the times she had hidden in her closet or run screaming from her bedroom because of the invisible force, had she even briefly considered the possibility that she could control any of it, let alone all of it.

If I can control the chaos, if I can organize it, then maybe…I can create it too. No sooner had she formed the thought then both of her tall bedroom windows exploded outward. Glass showered onto the roof and cold night air blew into the room. Holly screamed and stumbled backwards through the bedroom door and out into the hallway. Megan barely noticed. Her every thought, every breath, every fiber of her being, was consumed with the incredible feeling of being full to bursting with raw power. 

All her life she’d been at the mercy of others, their judgment and criticism, their wims and demands, their opinions and desires. Her parents, her doctors, even her so-called friends, they all thought they new what was best for her. And they all thought that this gave them the right to control her. Yet none of them, not a single one had believed her. They hadn’t believed the terrified child who came crying in the night about monsters. They hadn’t believed the stubborn teenager who told them again and again that what she had seen was real, that what she said was happening, was happening. Instead of having enough faith in her to believe that she was telling them the truth, what had they all done? 

 They’d treated her as though there was something wrong with her, something broken that needed to be fixed. They’d acted like it so often, with such certainty, that after a while part of her even started to believe it. But now she knew. Now she knew that she’d been right all along. She wasn’t broken. She did not need to be fixed. What she was was powerful and angry at all those who had doubted and disbelieved her. She was powerful, and she would show them all just how real something unseen could be. 

 She hadn’t meant to cause so much damage. She’d gotten swept away in the exhilaration of finally learning that she could control the invisible force. She hadn’t meant to hurt anyone or anything. She’d simply been exploring what her power could do. She’d just wanted to test the limits of her newfound abilities, she hadn’t meant to bring destruction down on everything around her. This was what she told herself, and sometimes she even believed it.

The invisible force had never before strayed beyond the boundaries of her bedroom, but that night it did. That night, for once, her bedroom was left untouched. It was the only place in the house that was. 

The phantom wind swept Through the house, bringing utter distruction in its wake. Furniture was flung every which way careening into walls and countertops. All the windows shattered and picture frames smashed to the floor. Wholes appeared in the walls, so many that their was little left of them but broken bricks and cracked plaster. 

The destruction didn’t stop at the house‘s threshold. Instead, it continued on, a phantom wind flowing out into the streets. Roofs were torn from buildings, trees and telephone poles scattered, cars picked up and throne clear across town as if they were no more then children’s toys. Any one of the many people caught in the sudden storm of distruction would have said that it was just that, a storm. A tornado, that was what all the news reports would say about the devastating event, a natural phenomenon they‘d call it. And they would be right. After all, if there’s one thing people are good at it’s labeling what they can see, and utterly discounting what they can’t. 

June 28, 2020 15:59

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