You Need To Fly Higher

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



“Maia, can you get me the cereal?”

“You can reach it Oma. The shelf isn’t even that high,” Maia complains after getting the box anyway, throwing it at Oma, who expertly catches it. Oma’s used to Maia throwing things around, so it isn’t a surprise that she’s mastered catching things by now. If she didn’t, well she wouldn’t survive being Maia’s best friend for this long.

Oma doesn’t look up from her Algebra homework, but grins at Maia’s exasperation. “But I’d have to stretch to get the cereal Mai. You, on the other hand, can just fly over and woosh, you got it.”

Maia drops herself onto the space on the couch next to where Oma was. “Hover, Oma. I can hover. I cannot fly. The highest I’ve ever gone was up a 10 story building, and that was terrifying.”

Oma looks for her ball pen, which fell when Maia unceremoniously dropped herself. Oma frowns and makes a face at Maia. “You know, you should really take me up on my offer.”

Maia snorts. It was ridiculous— they’ve had this conversation thousands of times. “What offer? Your offer to train me?"

Oma frowns at Maia. "Is that so bad? Do I need to remind you of my varsity player status?"

Maia groans, but she's smiling. Like she had to be reminded that Oma was Silver Queen High's star basketball player. Maia snuggles closer to Oma to hug her and get her Algebra worksheets out of her lap at the same time. "Nooo, not again. You love pulling the varsity player card."

"I worked hard for that! And that means I'll be great at training you. Besides, I’m already good at forcing you to get stuff for me. How is me forcing you to fly an extra mile any different?" Oma points out. She closes her folder with her Algebra worksheets since she's no longer in the mood to do anything school related, courtesy of Maia's physical, non-verbal coercion.

Maia stays silent. Talking about her power with Oma didn’t always end up well, so she decides to leave it at that. She buries her face in Oma’s arms, as if the deeper she went, the deeper she could bury their conversations about her power. Her curse.

Oma sits up and sets her stuff aside, earning a questioning look from Maia, who was enjoying Oma as a faux pillow. Oma points her head to the window, where the road the two of them often ran together lay, dry and bare as the weather finally decided to behave itself. It's been days since the two of them have been able to go out for a run. Oma knew Maia hated talking about her power, so she decided to let her off this time. "If you refuse to train, can we at least have one round?"

Maia sits up and floats up in the air excitedly, doing a somersault. "Oh, yes. Finally.”

The two take a break from school work and after an hour and eight kilometers of running, Oma wins their mini-race by three seconds. Maia throws a tantrum and refuses to get anything from the top shelf for four days. 

As it always is, all good things have their consequences. 

After Maia learned that she could fly, it was no surprise that she was excited to explore her power. Her father was ecstatic that his baby girl was different and extraordinary, and that was all that mattered to him. Maia’s mother, on the other hand, was quite hesitant when she learned that her five-year old could zoom across the room. No, not because it made it ten times harder to get her to finish her meals, but because she just knew that there was something wrong. Call it a mother’s instinct, or common sense really, but she was absolutely right.

Two days after Maia’s ‘glide fest’, she had so much difficulty breathing that she had to use a ventilator for a week if she didn’t want her next breath to be her last. 

That was part of the reason why Maia was hesitant to ‘train’ with Oma. Not that she didn’t trust Oma— she would gladly place her life in Oma’s hands. Still, that didn’t change the fact that she was terrified of pushing herself to the limit. 

Back in the present, Maia and Oma were both walking back to their shared dorm. It had just rained, which was a shame because it’ll be another few days before they can run again, and the concrete sidewalk was filled with muddy footprints and tiny puddles. 

Maia despised getting her feet wet. It wasn’t something that had an explanation behind it— she just didn’t like it. At times like these, she was extremely moody since she couldn’t just go and fly or even hover.

“Oma, do we really have to stop by the grocery? My socks are soggy,” Maia complains. She pulls her pants up, exposing her bright yellow socks underneath. They were her favorite, which made Maia’s mood worsen.

Oma was patient, but everyone had a boiling point and Oma was this close. Maia had been whining for fifteen minutes, and another minute more, Oma swore she would burst. “Boo hoo. It’s soggy socks or no dinner for the next three days Maia. Take a pick.” Maia watches as Oma enters the mini-grocery at the side of the street. The grocery happened to be the first floor of a tall building, so tall that Maia almost couldn’t see the top at times. All the other floors were abandoned, and everyone suspected that the building was a den for illegal activities. Still, it was the only grocery near her dorm with Oma, so they had no choice.

They make their way through the grocery quietly, ignoring the tension in the air. Even Oma was in a sour mood, so it was for the best that none of them had the inclination to converse. By the time they had to pay, both of them were just dead tired, wanting to go home. Maia grabs the eco bags with their groceries and points at the door. 

“I’ll wait for you outside,” Maia says. She needed to breathe, and the close quarters of the dimly lit establishment wasn’t doing much to ease any of their moods. Tiredly, Oma nods and stays back to pay the cashier. 

The first thing Maia sees as she exits the grocery is someone being beat up right on the street, and no one was helping. See is an exaggeration though, because everything happened in a split second. 

It was instinct. The paper bags drop, some tomatoes spilling onto the sidewalk. It was like one of those things you would see in a movie, except it didn’t happen in slo-mo. Maia blinks, and then she realizes that the person she’s saved is in her arms. She lets go immediately, pushing the person away roughly. “Leafy?” Maia asks in a shout-whisper.

The guy stands up gracefully, not at all fazed by Maia’s hostility. As a matter of fact, he smiles widely. “Summers? Maia Summers? Ah, it is you. You’re pretty fast to save me, huh.”

Maia’s cheeks heat up, but she effectively hides her embarrassment with a menacing glare. “I wouldn’t have, if I had known you were the victim.”

Leafy chuckles, used to Maia’s fits of anger. He puts his hands up in front of him, partly to protect himself from any hits Maia decides to throw, and partly to calm her down as well. “Hey, chill ma amie. I’m not here to bother you. And it’s not like I wanted to get beat up on purpose.”

Maia sighs deeply. “You know what? Just go. Don’t even thank me. Now Oma’s going to get even angrier at me for spilling the tomatoes.”

Leafy’s face was blank, his green eyes staring questioningly into Maia’s. “...tomatoes?”

“Yeah, tomatoes. We went shopping for food and I was waiting for Oma to pay which speaking of, I have to get back and buy more. Goodbye, good riddance, please never show up again outside of school.” Maia then stalks off, leaving Leafy alone on the sidewalk at the other side of the street. 

Leafy watches Maia as she hurries to go back to Oma. He shakes his head and chuckles as he sees Maia waving her hands frantically, occasionally pointing in his direction, presumably describing the tragic fate of the tomatoes. 

When Maia’s completely out of his sight, Leafy brings out the tiny plastics from his pockets. He looks at them and sighs deeply. If it weren’t for Maia, he’d have been beat up by those street thugs again. Leafy looks up to the sky and wonders when exactly he’ll be able to leave the kind of lifestyle he was living. 

“Are you really still not going to train? Because, hell Maia, tell me that didn’t feel good.”

It felt good. It was amazing. Even if it was Leafy. Especially because it was Leafy. “What felt good?” Maia asks. Her mouth is full of chips, so the words that come out of her mouth sound more like ‘Wa fell ger?’

Oma groans for a really long time, and for a minute, Maia thinks she’s going to go on forever. When she finally stops (thank goodness, Maia stops to think because she honest to god thought that Oma was going to lose her breath before she stopped), Oma looks Maia dead in the eye. She points at Maia’s chest and presses her pointer to Maia’s chest on every word. “Tell. Me. That. Saving. Someone’s. Life. Didn’t. Feel. Good.”

Maia closes her eyes and bites her lower lip, taking in a deep breath. She clenches her fists and tells herself to calm down. She hated dealing with Sassy Oma, but she had to because aside from the obvious fact that she was her best friend, Oma had to deal with Prissy Maia every single waking moment. “Okay, I’m sorry. I know how much you want me to be a superhero Oms but we both know that I’m not. I don’t have the potential aside from my powers which, up until now, prove to be a curse more than anything.”

Oma’s face visibly softens, but she still stays firm in her stand. “Maia, who ever told you that you didn’t have potential? Not only because of your powers, but because of your personality and the intelligence you inherently have.”

“Leafy doesn’t think I have the potential,” Maia mumbles so softly, Oma wouldn’t have heard it if she weren’t listening as closely as she was.

“Leafy? As in, our blockmate? Your so-called rival that you sometimes banter with so much it looks more like friendly banter more than anything?” Oma eyes darken. “Also the guy who forced us back into that terrible grocer again yesterday.”

Maia does her calming technique again. This time, it’s not because she’s trying to reel in her anger. “Do I have to repeat it?”

Oma doesn’t react for a moment, and just stares at Maia. Maia stares back with a puzzled look. Oma points an accusing finger and jumps up after staring at Maia. “Aha! You’re embarrassed aren’t you?”

Maia’s face reddens, further proving Oma’s point. “No I’m not,” Maia attempts to say as casually as she could, but Oma catches the way Maia’s fingers dig into her palms.

“Why are you embarrassed when we talk about Leafy? And, I don’t get it. You believe him when he throws those insults at you? Hell Mai, if he believed half the things you say to him, he’d probably actually leave Silver Queen.”

Maia mumbles quietly as she tries to think of ways to avoid this topic because aside from talking about her powers, the one thing she didn’t like talking about was Leafy. 


Maia looks up and meets Oma’s expectant eyes. Oh right, Maia thinks, she’s waiting for an answer.Fine, I’m going to say it. Out loud,” Maia says, looking distressed. 

She doesn’t say anything.


Maia takes a deep breath. “IwannabefriendswithLeafybutI’mstuckinthisannoyingbanterslashrivalsituationwithhimsosometimesmaybeyeahIbelievehisinsultsisthatsobad?

Oma stands to put her hand on Maia’s shoulder to comfort her, but Maia moves away quickly, floating near the light bulb. “Maia, hey. Come down.”

Maia reluctantly floats down to Oma’s level without looking her in the eye. Her arms are crossed, and she’s so tempted to just glide away quickly to the room and lay under her covers, but she knows Oma’s not going to stop bugging her. 

“You believe Leafy’s insults? That’s okay, that means you're human. Let’s strike a deal. I’ll train you— “


“ — but this time, it’s to raise your self esteem. You don’t have to save people. Maybe you’re right, it’s not your thing. But please, let me help you. I’m your freaking best friend Mai.”

Maia looks up to Oma and then nods once. That seals the deal. Oma resists the urge to pump her fist in the air in victory, and instead, she offers to race against Maia today. Oma slows down, just a little, and Maia wins by a split second. 


Turns out, training actually did the two of them good. Oma found a way to mix her basketball training routine into exercises Maia could do, and when that wasn’t enough, they traveled to find places where Maia could further push her limits. Despite that all, Maia never went higher than that 10 story building, and whenever she went faster than her previous record, she immediately called her training to a halt despite not being tired at all. 

One day, while training to fly with a heavy weight (aka Oma), Maia felt the sudden urge to stop. 

She panics. It was like before, when she was five years old. She couldn’t breathe.

“Oms, I can’t.”

Oma looks up at Maia and her eyes widen in understanding. “Drop me! In the water now Maia!”

Maia drops Oma and a few seconds later, she allows herself to crash onto the prickly grass. She closes her eyes and tries to catch her breath. She feels a presence at her left side. 

“Mai, just focus on trying to breathe. I’ll get you to the hospital right away.”

By the time they reach the city, Maia’s lips are blue, despite Oma being the one who was dropped into the lake. Her breaths came in short intervals, sounding similar to hiccups. 

“Maia, just a little more,” Oma urges, trying not to let the tears spill out of her eyes. 

Maia doesn’t answer, and instead just allows herself to be dragged. She feels everything and nothing. Her eyes are watering, and her head is pounding. It was a thousand times way worse than last time. Curse, this is a curse.

Minutes of agony had passed, and still they weren’t at the hospital. Oma seems to have stopped, and it seems like even her breath caught in her throat. 

“Oh no Mai, they’re going to throw Leafy off the building.”

Maia looks up, takes a deep breath and tries not to die yet, and sees that Leafy was being held by the necktie of his school uniform. Her chest hurt, actually, everything hurt, but Maia was impulsive. No one was going to reach the top of that blasted grocery store building in time. 

Oma just blinked, literally, and the next second, Maia was flying as fast as she could to the top of the building. Faster than she’s ever gone, and it was all Oma could do not chase her up. 


Maia never thought herself to be a martyr, but here she was, racing her way to the top of a building with a height she’s never reached before. For Leafy, of all people.

When she reaches the top, Maia doesn’t waste any time grabbing Leafy, shocking his captors. She doesn’t allow Leafy’s captors to get a word in for she distances herself from them as fast as she can. 

“Are you alright?”

Maia blinks, and then she catches at Leafy staring at her. He’s lucky Maia doesn’t drop him out of surprise. Maia processes his question. Am I alright? 

The pounding in her head has dissipated, her body no longer aching. Instead, she feels a thrumming in her veins. Power. 

And then she realizes the most important thing. I can breathe.

She giggles, and then she laughs so much she’s shaking. Leafy’s just there, watching her, but he feels happy for her too. 

“I can breathe,” Maia finally voices out.

Leafy nods. “Damn right you can.”

They laugh together again, and this time, Maia feels like she’s really free. Free from the restraints that kept her from realizing her full potential, and free from the insecurity that kept her from being her best self. 

“Oms, I’m going to train today.”

Oma looks up from her Physics worksheet. She doesn’t know how on earth Maia always finishes faster than her but still gets good grades. 

“Really? How about, let’s race?” Oma offers, neglecting her worksheets once again in favor of spending more time with Maia. 

“Sure! Let me just get changed.”

When the two of them are on their usual starting spot, ready to start their race, Maia hears someone huff behind them. 

“Again? You guys are racing without me again? Such horrible friends.”

The two turn around to find Leafy in running attire, out of breath from trying to catch up.

“Me? A horrible friend? I literally scared those drug dealers away from you for good,” Maia says with a toothy grin.

Leafy smiles, an honest smile. “Yeah, sure, but hey, some new thugs have shown up around the block. They robbed the grocery just a few minutes ago. You guys gonna run, or…?” Leafy doesn’t finish his sentence, but his hand pointing at the direction of the grocery is more than enough.

Oma and Maia stand up from their position, while Oma brings out some three pairs of earpieces, comms. “We’re going to fly.

July 03, 2020 09:49

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Deborah Angevin
08:24 Jul 08, 2020

I like the way you carry the story with the dialogue. Good story; keep on writing! :)


Arie Toro
07:58 Jul 10, 2020

Thank you :) I appreciate it


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