It’s finally out! The second installment of my series LEVELS, POWER PLAY, is finally available to read on amazon.com, and as a result I have some more good news, I am launching a mini series titled THE JOURNAL SERIES OF PRINCE, FLEANA, KATRINA, AND MARION at Wattpad.com under my screenname Levelskid. And I am going to share a chapter with you. To read more please visit Wattpad or if you want to read my second novel, go to amazon.com and search POWER PLAY by Xavier McDougle for $6.99, but if you act now until Oct 6, you can get it for free. Well, here comes another installment of the quirky adventures of Prince, Fleana, Katrina, and Marion:
I was studying for one of Mrs. Rosethorne’s exams with Prince, Katrina, and Marion, and I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge. English was never my best subject. Give me a gross Biology textbook any day. I guess I should’ve invited Zach, Alicia, and Asa over, especially since Alicia was Mrs. Rosethorne’s daughter, but I didn’t want them to see me struggling like this and I knew Mrs. Rosethorne wouldn’t help Alicia any more than us, in fact I think she might make it worse us for even thinking about it. Technically, we were supposed to take it a week ago, but considering we got busted for cheating the last time, the school had decided we should do all of our work from that week over again without the psionics so we were in the middle of catch up. It’s as exhausting as it sounds.
I heard someone knocking on the door.
Katrina lifted her eyes in annoyance. “Answer it.”
I inhaled a column of air, and blast the door open.
Some man with a raised hand stood at my doorway. He wasn’t someone I knew so I guessed he must’ve been new to our building complex. His eyes told me he was angry, but cautious as if he were afraid we might hurt him. It was a common thought among the humans here. At least that’s what Kat told me. I didn’t need to feel their emotions to validate that.
I continued writing. “My mom’s not home.”
“Yeah, I know. I, uh, talked to her in the hallway.” He told me.
I raised an eyebrow. “Did you? Are you surprised that’s she’s my mother?”
Even without looking I could tell he was blushing. My mom looked young, about twenty-six physically, but she’s actually over a hundred years old. I’m not making this up. BioticAbiotics age differently. I would be much younger, which is saying a lot since I look like a tall ten year old at eighteen, but apparently how you age depends on the environment around you, and the environment around me is way worse than when my mom was a kid.
Anyway, our rotund neighbor coughed in his palm. “Um, yes, well I moved in from across the door–”
“And I’m guessing you’re not here to deliver a fruit basket.” Katrina batted her eyelashes and put on her best fake smile. Her sarcastic looks are easy to pull off with how much eyeliner she wears.
The man’s face turned red. “Look! I heard the rumors about all the weird stuff that has been happening since you got here and I came to tell you to stay away from my room.”
I wanted to ask why did he move here in the first place but my mom taught me manners, but honestly, the rumors were all true. I don’t know why my friends’ and my families’ attract all the weird stuff we do, but we had all grown to accept it. Didn’t help much with neighbor relations though.
“Alright,” Prince said. “but I don’t think it’ll help much.”
“What’s that mean?” The guy looked defensive, but I could sense he was ready to crap himself.
“Didn’t you hear about the curse?” I added in my spookiest voice.
“Everyone who has ever lived across my door will always leave because something bad happened to them.” Then I changed my tone back to its normal sunny self. “Or something very funny!”
“Y-you’re full of it! There’s no curse!”
“Probably not, but weird things do happen, and lot’s of people have come and gone.” Marion told him. “Be careful man.”
“Y-you people stay away from me!”
He slammed the door behind him, and I heard his feet thump against the floor.
“He needs to lose some weight. Can’t be good for him.”
I would love to say that we were just screwing with our neighbor about the curse, but we were seriously not sure if the curse was fake or not. For as long as I could remember weird stuff has happened and it always strikes whoever lived across Fleana’s door and it always had something do with at least one of our families.
Trust me it didn’t take long to for it to strike the new guy. I was listening to some music, trying to keep the temptation to read someone’s mind out of mind when my sister walked into my room.
“I wasn’t reading you’re mind.” I told her.
Her tone sounded like she didn’t believe me. “This came for you.”
She dumped a package on my lap.
“Is this the–” I stammered.
“I don’t care what it is. Just keep out of my head.”
“Like I want to know what snack you’re in the mood for.”
I took the package and walked over to Marion’s room next door.
“Hey, Solar.” I knocked. “The package came.”
The wrong Solar answered the door.
“Oh, hi Flare.”
Marion’s dad was a pretty imposing guy. He was six feet tall, hardly blinked, and speaks in a low monotone. He was basically a taller, more stoic version of my friend.
He eyed my package. “So what’s inside this package?”
“Just an art project.” I said, hugging the package tighter than I meant to.
“May I see this project.”
“Sure, but it’s in pieces.”
I slid my finger across the tape, the electricity I generated cutting through it like a buzzsaw, and showed him the contents.
Flare sneered and poked at the bronze and golden gears. “What’s that supposed to be?”
If I could blush, my face would’ve been totally red. “A-a robotic servant.”
Flare’s sneer deepened, but he called his son
Marion came barreling to the door. A few strands of his hair were burned. Being a core, Marion was hard to burn, but given enough heat something was bound to get singed.
“Matthew gave you a fiery noogie?” I guessed.
He brushed the burned strands with his fingers. “Yeah. He thought I took his phone and wouldn’t stop until I give it to him. He laid off when I told him to try using the house phone to call it. It turned out that his phone was in his back pocket the whole time.”
“What does my sister see in the guy?”
“At least he said sorry. Anyway, the package here? Awesome! Let’s put it together.” He looked at the instructions and frowned. “Maybe we should let Prince put it together. We need a super brain just to read this.”
Prince fixed the servant up in no time. He put the thing together like it was a puzzle meant for kids. He didn’t even need to look at the instructions.
“And there we go. One servant up and almost running.” He finally said, clapping his hands together. “Now all we need is some power.”
Electricity began arcing across Katrina’s fingers as she prepared to fire.
“But not a storm sized one.”
Katrina dropped her palm. “You’re no fun.”
“So where do we get this power?” I asked.
“Lookie, Lookie!” Fleana found a power chord sticking right out of its…
“The thing gets power out of it’s butt!”
“What kind of machine gets nutrients out of it’s rear end!” Katrina complained.
“Hey!” Fleana sounded genuinely offended. “Don’t be rude! You’ll hurt its feelings.”
“So you’re empathic to machines now?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Anyway, I’m just gonna plug this in.”
Fleana shoved the chord into the socket and the servant’s eyes lit up, probably enjoying the meal he’s eating.
“Well, we got a minute,” I said. “now what?”
After a brief pause, Katrina finally said. “Wanna play some video games?”
“Eh.” I shrugged, and the four of us headed toward my room.
“Is it my turn yet?” Fleana whined.
Katrina didn’t look away from the screen. “You just lost. It’s my turn.”
Fleana groaned. “Can someone at least give me a drink?”
Just then I heard clanking down the hall, some ruffling in the fridge. I’d assumed it was my dad or Matthew, but last time I checked they didn’t make clanking noises, not that I know of anyway.
Something came marching down the hallway toward my room, and emerging from the darkness that is my hallway with a drink on a tray was the robotic servant. It was six feet tall with a golden body. It was a simple design, a human body with a top hat, but something about it just seemed…uncanny?
The servant hunched and pushed the tray toward Fleana. Fleana smiled, which even apathetically, I didn’t understand how she managed it, and took the orange juice.
“Thank you.” She said nervously.
“What are your orders?” It asked.
Katrina was trying hard to keep a smile on her face. “No, that’s okay. We don’t need anything.”
The servant just stood there motionless. It’s eyes were trained on Katrina as if it were waiting for another order.
Matthew peaked his head through my door, his eyebrows arched. “What in the world is that thing?”
Prince pushed passed him. “Excuse me.”
He sipped his orange juice and turned his head toward the servant. He didn’t seem bothered by the fact that there was a creepy robotic servant standing next to him.
When his glass was finally empty, he said. “The servant’s up.”
I rolled my eyes. “No duh genius. How long has it been up?”
“I don’t know about an hour or so.”
“What?!” Fleana snapped.
“And when were you planning on telling us that?” Katrina dropped the remote just as her character got killed.
“Right after he cleaned my bathroom!” Prince turned livid.
“Uh, guys?” Matthew interrupted, but Prince was on a roll.
“My dad told me we can’t keep it in our room–”
“But I couldn’t concentrate on anything if the bathroom is–”
“What is it Matthew?” Katrina glared at him.
He pointed at the space where the servant stood. “Robot’s just left.”
We spotted the servant heading to the next floor, apparently with a goal in mind. Matthew, Katrina, Fleana, Marion, and I didn’t stop it so much as watch it.
“What’s it doing now?” Matthew asked. “Spikes, did you give it another order?”
“No. Wait–” I thought for a second. “No.”
“Then what’s it doing?”
“I don’t know, bro,” Marion told him. “how about we try following it?”
A few sparks danced across Matthew’s fingers, but if Marion felt intimidated, he couldn’t show it.
We found our servant knocking on our neighbor’s door, the one who visited earlier. Our neighbor finally opened the door. He was dressed in a white tank top and boxer shorts.
He slanted his eyebrows. “What!”
The servant then snatched him by the ankle and started tossing him around the room like a pillow. Our neighbor was screaming in agony as his body got more battered and bruised.
“Oh my God, you’ve created a monster.” Matthew still had his eyes on our neighbor.
“We didn’t create it,” Fleana explained, shrugging. “We just sort of put it together. And by we I mean him.”
I glared at her.
“Somebody get over here and help me!” Our neighbor shouted, but his voice sounded like background noises.
My dad walked out of our room holding a sheet of paper. “Good you here. Son have you read this warning when you–” He finally noticed our neighbor being flung around. “Oh, I guess you have.”
“What warning?” I asked.
Dad held up the paper. “This product has been banned in over twenty-five countries and under the troposphere due to attacks on humans. You should never build your own servant.”
“Well, that explains why we got it dirt cheap.” Fleana giggled.
“Yeah and now we unleashed it in the apartment, and there’s nothing we could do to stop it.” I said.
“Yeah, unless, y’know you flip the off switch on its back.” Dad pointed at it’s back where an obvious switch labeled “on/off” sat. “Blowing it up works too by the way, but let’s spare the insurance this time.”
“Um, sure, just hold on a sec.” Marion fearlessly walked up to the servant and flipped the switch to off. Too bad he flipped it when the robot was in mid swing. Our neighbor went soaring into my door. I’m pretty sure his arm wasn’t supposed to bend that way.
“Oh God. Oh God.” He moaned.
“Hey, Ralph.” My dad said. “Are you alright?”
“Do I look like I’m alright?!”
I offered him my hand, but he recoiled at me.
“Do not touch me!” He shrieked. “I’ll get myself up.”
I’ll be honest that hurt a little bit, but I still kept my hand out, mostly because I knew he couldn’t get up. He couldn’t use his dislocated arm so he tried rolling on his belly, but I guess the size of his gut kept him in place. Finally, he relented and let me help him.
“So do you believe in the curse now?” Fleana asked.
Ralph’s face got red. “No.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I have the psionic ability to sense emotions. Though trust me, it doesn’t take an empath to see that.”
“That’s…even for you that’s weird, right?”
“Sort of.” Katrina told him. “So I guess you’ll be moving soon.”
“Oh no. That’s what you want me to do.”
“We do?” Fleana raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah, I bet you set this up just to scare me off.”
“We did?” Katrina knitted her eyebrows.
“Well, if you think I’m going to be scared off by you freaks, you have another thing coming. I paid for this room, and I’m not leaving until I want to.”
“Aight, cool.” Marion told him.
“We’ll try not to bother you.” My dad said politely.
“Yesssss.” Ralph hissed. He slinked back to his room, not taking his eyes off us until he was behind his door.
“So Ralph’s his name?” Katrina pondered. “He seems nice.”
So I am close to finishing editing my second novel, Power Play, so I thought I share an excerpt. Enjoy fellow readers, writers, and novelists.
Katrina raised her hand, her fingers arcing with electricity, and blasted one of the dummies we had set up around the junkyard. The blast had looked bigger than usual. I wondered if she had been eating her veggies or something and I was thinking that maybe I should try some of her mother’s cooking. It may have helped me out with my little problem.
Marion eyed another dummy and flexed his palm. Flames started to curl off the tips of his fingers and formed into a ball. He lobbed it at another dummy, causing it to erupt into a small bonfire.
Fleana smiled, reveling in the display of fireworks. I felt the wind picking up and my heart raced as the next dummy levitated five feet in the air. Fleana twitched her nose and the dummy went sky high.
You might be wondering why we were abusing a couple of poor, defenseless dummies. Even more importantly, you may be wondering how a couple of teenagers have superpowers. Well, its kind of a long story and it would probably take all day to catch you up on how all this nonsense, which quite frankly is still new to us, happened. Fortunately, I have time on my hands. We’re what you call BioticAbiotics—living nonliving things. This stuff sort of comes with the territory. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on. Technically, our “powers” were supposed to be used to support the planet so that everything including us could survive, but my friends and I use them kind of like a super power.
Fleana trained her eyes on me. “You sure you don’t want to try this?”
I shifted my feet. My pals had been trying to convince me for a week to try using my abilities. “I don’t know guys I’m just not feeling it.”
“It’s been three months now, Spikes. You have to try,” Katrina reasoned. “we need to practice for the new school we’ll be attending. I heard Level Placement is brutal.”
I guess I should explain. My friends and I would be attending Levels Academy in two days—A school that both our parents and older siblings had attended for BioticAbiotics. I shuddered thinking about a school full of hormonal teenagers that were just like us. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to it after what happened just three months ago. I just couldn’t imagine the reactions from the students and faculty.
What happened? Well, I’m going to make this short and simple: Three months ago, my friends and I had no idea what we even were, so when our powers (BioticAbiotics call them traits or characteristics) had actually showed up, we sort of panicked, not unlike anything else that happens during puberty. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool and all, but we managed to get into serious trouble with them. When our parents had finally told us what was going on with us, let’s just say that in hindsight, blowing up the lab we were born in was probably not the best way of getting information. Word of our actions had hit the local news across town and unless they had poor reception in the troposphere, I’m pretty sure most of the student body and faculty had heard of our blunder. And here I thought I was done with all the embarrassing stuff that happens in school.
Attending Levels meant that my friends and I were going to meet some challenges, but my biggest challenge would be getting my traits to work properly. What can I say? Some people mature slower than others even if you were born at the same time.
“Okay, I’ll try.” I told them.
I thrust out my palm but nothing happened. On my second try, my hand grew cold and a ball of steam condensed in my palm. It was the first solid ball I had made in the past two weeks. I lobbed it a dummy causing frost to cake over it. Despite it working sometimes, my power were pretty meager at that point. Nowhere near as big and powerful as my pals’.
I turned my head to my friends. “How’s that?”
“Not bad,” Fleana said encouragingly. “but it needs a little more oomph!”
Fleana was a part time cheerleader. She’s always positive and sometimes, if you’re not watching carefully enough, that’s how she often gets away with things. You wouldn’t suspect her to do any wrong. Thankfully, that part of her rarely shows up.
I went to try again with much better results. The next dummy turned into a popsicle.
Fleana clapped merrily. “There you go! Try again!”
So I did that for about three more times, which is more effort than I put in three months, and made the dummies I shot into miniature snowmen. My friends cheered, encouraging me to keep going, but the moment was short lived. On my next try, nothing happened. I tried several more times but no luck. I shook my head.
Kat came up to me and placed her hand on my back. “It’s okay. It’ll show up again. It’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.”
That’s Katrina for you. Always sensible, always responsible, and she always has a sweet spot when it comes to wounded puppies.
“I know, I know,” I said. “I just wish it would show up before school starts.”
“When it happens, it happens.” Marion reasoned. “You can’t rush these things.”
If you ever needed a level head to talk to then Marion’s your man. He always seems to be on top of things, never worried about anything.
Fleana looked at her watch and her eyes widened. “It’s late! I have to get home or mom will kill me!”
She jumped in the air and flew straight to our apartment. Flying’s become Fleana’s main source of transportation even when it’s not necessary. Our apartment was only a couple blocks away and Surrealton’s so small that driving from one place to another is seen as redundant.
“Show off.” Kat said. “But it is getting late. We should get going.” I heard her mutter. “Mom would be checking off supplies again.”
We began marching home, prepared to face the challenge of packing for school.
When I walked through the doors of my apartment room, my dad looked up from his paper and asked. “Where have you been?”
I told him. “With my friends at the junkyard.”
“Getting in some training before school, huh? Good thinking you might wanna bulk up. Standards are much higher now than from the time I went there.”
That didn’t make me feel much better. I had lied to my dad a week earlier about my abilities developing past latency. I was hoping they would’ve developed any day now so that it wouldn’t have to be such a lie. Obviously, that hadn’t been the case so it just left me in a worse spot.
The phone rang and dad picked it up. “Hello…yes…oh, okay. He’ll be there in the morning.”
He hung up. “That was Dr. Norman. He wants to do one final check up tomorrow morning. You okay going by yourself?”
“Sure.” I said.
Dr. Norman was the family doctor for my friends and me ever since the day we were born in Solarana Labs as asexual test tube babies. It’s kind of a weird story. A couple of months ago, I had accidentally frozen his arm when he tried to give me a shot, but thankfully he had forgiven me for that. Not a lot of people would.
As I walked down the hallway to my room, I bumped into my older brother, Nathan. He held my backpack in his hand.
He dropped it into my arms and it weighed a ton. “Here, everything’s accounted for.”
“Thanks bro. But I could’ve done that myself.” I grunted.
“Oh, I know. I just wanted to save you the trouble.”
Translation: he wanted me to reflect good on him. Nathan was going to be a teacher’s assistant at my new school for college credit and well, he’s a bit of an overachiever. He’s always pushing me to do my best. Not that I didn’t appreciate his help or anything, but it can be a bit overbearing sometimes and with my traits still on the fritz, I just wasn’t looking forward to one of his lectures about how eating more vegetables or ice cubes or whatever is essential to the proper functioning of traits. Older siblings can be a pain, even if they’re adopted.
After dinner, I slumped onto my bed hoping things would get better by tomorrow. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew things were about to get a whole lot worse somehow.
I know you must get tired of reading my friends and me entries. Trust me, we don’t like doing these any more than you do reading them, but, on the other hand, why are you read them? It’s not like a teacher is forcing you to read these are they? If they were then we could relate. Okay, before we continue this tale, I thought I should let you know that my friends and me are going to do something a little different while writing. Why? Because we’re artists…and we’re bored. So throughout this entry, we’ll give out little footnotes of useless information about our lives. It seems to me that our ADD has become an asset. Let’s begin
So if you had read the last entry, you would know that our parents had found out about our secret powers. (1. Let the record show that this is the fastest time we had ever caved) And…they were okay with it, and that’s what bothered me. I thought this would be one of those rare times mom would turn into a demon and start swearing on grandma’s grave that she would be the one to put her there, but she didn’t. She just leaned back into the couch and continued reading her paper. I knew that screaming and yelling wasn’t my mother’s style, and that something like that had happened before but…I don’t know. Maybe the fact that she was getting used to weird stuff that keeps happening to me is very unsettling. The one I should have been worried about is my sister, Susan whom my mom made me tell what happened.
“What?” She screamed.
“I can read people’s emotions, now. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary.” I explained hoping that would calm her down. Being an empath comes with the perk of knowing how to deal with people. (2. I can also make people not hate me, but I didn’t use it on her) “At least that’s what Spikes says.”
“How does Prince,” She turned toward him and raised an eyebrow. “know that?”
“You know Einstein?” Marion asked not shaken by my sister’s glare. (3. My ability does not work on Marion because apathy blocks empathy, fortunately it goes both ways)
“Smarter than that guy.”
A lot of mixed emotions emanated around the room, most of them same—confusion, wary, worry. Believe me it took a lot not to be overwhelmed.
“Well, how did this,” Matthew, Marion’s brother, waved his hand toward Katrina, Prince, Marion, and me. “happen?” (4. Matthew isn’t the sharpest tack in the box. He’s not dumb, but he certainly isn’t quick. Don’t tell him I said that)
“Well, Prince was thinking,” Kat began tying her long, blonde hair into a ponytail as she was preparing to paint that afternoon. (5. She literally knows what Prince is thinking) “our grandparents used solar radiation; you know that stuff that affects BioticAbiotics’ molecules, to enhance a specific part of our cerebral cortex.”
“Complicated. We know but that’s the small thing. The big thing is what are you going to do about it?”
“Well, what can we do?” Caroline, Katrina’s sister said. (6. Caroline is dating Matthew. Guess who has the brains?) “We’ll just have to wait for it to wear off like last time.”
And our families broke. While they all headed back to their rooms and apartments, my friends and headed downstairs to the front office and then down to the basement. The doorman gave a funny look, but otherwise didn’t bother us. Most of the humans didn’t. It was only until now that I knew why. Our family’s history and what we are.
(7. I’m not enjoying this.) Well, I was painting the perfect depiction of how I felt that afternoon: A moody Kat and her three closest friends being crushed under the word “expectation”. (8. Kat can also be my initials. Katrina Angela Tropical. Really creative, right? More than what my grandfather named mom)
“What do you guys think?” I asked not turning around.
Prince came over to act like he’s actually inspecting my painting. I knew he’s not “That’s an accurate depiction of trials and turmoil.”
“Don’t try to hard, Spikes.”
He shrugged and went back to what he was doing. He was hard at work building a lair for us underneath the apartment (We needed the privacy). Dr. Norman (9. Dr. Norman is the family doctor) gave us the equipment to build it. He didn’t ask us why we were doing it like any responsible doctor would, but then again we didn’t question him.
Prince, Fleana, and Marion had finally finished what they were doing. They were covered in grease and oil while my face was smeared with painting oil. Yes, I didn’t help them with the project but I did have my part in the process.
“Alright, everything is in order,” Prince said clapping his hands. “Now all we need is some power.”
I stuck out my finger, not really looking at where I was aiming, and shot lightning at the computer screen, starting it. (10. I’m packing major voltage. A thousand volts to each finger tip actually)
“Oh, yeah! Now we’re talking!” Fleana pumped her fist.
“What was that?” I heard Mom yell at the top of the stairs. The doorman must’ve told her we were down there.
“Nothing mom, just a project.” I told her.
“Okay, dear. Just come and eat dinner after you’re done with your project.”
(11. Mom doesn’t take my capabilities very seriously) (12. My friends and I haven’t given anybody much reason to take our capabilities seriously)
They say artists never amount to much. That we’re just wasting our time with “projects” and mean nothing to this world, but what is the meaning of life anyway? People live, they have experiences, they die. Simple as that. Art is what makes it fun, enjoyable, gives us movies, cartoons, and video games to occupy our time with. But alas, coming from someone like me, it is often ignored no matter how right I am. It seems like the only ones who ever did seem to take us seriously are the people we don’t like such as Mrs. Rosethorne and…
“Hello, darlings.” Our evil grandparents…sitting right there on the computer screen. They were all sitting in fancy black chairs. On the table in front of them sat tea and rice cakes like they were just having a nice conversation. Grandpa smirked at me, his mouth resembling mine.
“What do you want now grandpa?” I said pretending to paint.
“Just to say hello.”
“How in the world did you get on our computer monitor that we just set it up?” Prince asked in a more pondering tone than an angry one.
“That’s not important.” Clarissa, Fleana’s grandmother, sat back in her chair and aimed her eyes at Fleana. “Listen—“
“We’re not doing anything you say!” Fleana shouted. “We’re just going to end up screwed. Or experimented on.”
“Smart girl.” Thomas, Marion’s grandfather, acknowledged. “Maybe she is your granddaughter.”
Clarissa did not look amused. “You got it all wrong, dear. I was just going to tell you that we’ll be checking on you from time to time just to make sure everything is all right.”
“Geez, thanks for the concern,” I said sarcastically. “Don’t let monitor hit you where the Lord split ya.”
“Alright, love. I love you too.” Grandpa said.
I bet you were thinking that our grandparents popping up on computer screen freaked us out. Maybe just a little bit. It didn’t really. (13. Their checking up on us is the closest thing to loving us for as long as we’ve known them) Basically, we just went about lives like usual. Word got out about our abilities we couldn’t cheat anymore. Just as well, it started to leave bad tastes in our mouths. We were hoping the lair we built would help out in our lives but it turns out we didn’t need it. Mrs. Rosethorne handed us our next papers with what I thought was a smirk. We got B’s and in green text was “The journals have helping I see. Good that means I’m going to have to make things a lot harder from now on. P.S. you have three days of detention for cheating.” It was bittersweet and I’m pretty sure she’s smiling because she had busted us for cheating, but at least we knew that we’re were getting used to life here. We made life easier for ourselves. (14. For the first time in a long time, we felt like we were succeeding rather failing. Baby steps) Plus since we fessed up to our teachers about what happened, they understood and helped us understand our assignments better, they gave us a chance to redo our papers, and for the most part didn’t punish us as hard as we thought they would. We still had a lot more work to do to catch up with the other…more attentive students, but it was good to know that we were on the right track.
My friends there had told most of the story. Don’t worry as a writer I’ll think of something. Yeah, well, things are starting to look up. Instead of treating us like freaks like our old school would’ve done, people treated our condition like it was no big deal. We didn’t get a chance to see what their reaction would have been when we had the ability to combine our traits so I didn’t know whether to attributed it to open mindedness or the simple acceptance of our lives being abnormal due to being born in a test tube. Some were even sympathetic; others were curious. But personally, I think it’s cool we have these powers and I knew that we’ll enjoy it while it lasts. (15. This school is still a mystery) But, more importantly, I’m starting to warm up to the idea of writing in this journal. It’s pretty cool chronicling the everyday happenings in our lives. Anyway, until next time. (16. Our story isn’t over)
Have I ever told you the story of how our evil grandparents used us as science experiments and somehow ended up making us better. No? Well, have a seat. We’ve got a lot to tell you. It started off as a normal day of school at Levels Academy…and it was awful. I stared at the F I had gotten on a test that I should have easily passed. Everyone else did except for my friends which had been my only consolation. Mrs. Rosethorne’s writing echoed in my thoughts “You have to be smarter, more organized, and more prepared.”
Failure. A new friend of mine. My adopted sister, Susan, kept telling me to keep my head up, but how could I? It’s tough being the new kid. I say that not exactly because we were new to Levels but because of the embarrassing fact that we didn’t even know what we were until about a year ago, even though it had been so obvious and everyone and their mothers knew it. I had no idea I myself was a cloud. Yeah, you heard that right, a part of the atmosphere. And I didn’t even notice it. In my defense, us BioticAbiotics (The technical term for us living natural substances) do look like humans but we’ve should’ve known somehow down the line somewhere. It was like a not noticing the big red pimple sitting on your nose. We couldn’t have gone far enough just to check our names: Fleana Mammatus, Prince BorealisAustralis, Katrina Tropical, Marion Solar. How stupid could we be? Our new school was showing us. We were once B students. Now we had to hide our report cards. I’m telling you I’d much rather be human. At least I was descent at that. I digress. The story really begins with the actual new students. The ones that looked like lifeless robots sitting behind us in class staring intently at us with what looked to be glowing red eyes.
Yeah, reading from what my friend was writing I guess you‘ve discovered our dirty little secret. Well, here’s another thing she had forgotten to mention. We were also the first asexual test tube babies that our grandparents, with our parents’ approval of course, made (Too long and gross a story to tell). The problem was that our grandparents saw us as nothing more than a science marvel and would be more willing to probe us than give us hard candy and talk about what life was like in the old country. They also turned out to be pretty twisted. They had once turned a bunch of people into monsters for reasons I don’t quite understand. We had to clean it up of course, but that was for another reason that involved blowing up a chemistry lab. As you can see, all of that really hurts your reputation. People are really suspicious of us since then. Oh, if you were wondering, we have bellybuttons. Don’t ask me how it got there. The best I can assume is that it’s a genetic copy of my father’s.
Anyway, it turned out the new students really were robots and when they had cornered us on the way to the bus, they had beaten the snot out of us before we had the chance to defend ourselves, gagged and blindfolded us, and then dragged us silently away.
The robots planted us in chairs. We had spent a short while so I guessed that we were somewhere in Juxtapose City, a large city just a couple of miles from the town we lived.
When someone removed my blindfold, the first thing I noticed was the lab. It was perfectly suitable for people our kind. Everything seemed to be either solar powered or air powered. Some scientists were watering huge Venus fly traps before being snapped up by the beasts. On the wall there was a recycling symbol with a little Earth in the middle and the words below it read “Eco-corp. Making the world a better place, one less human atrocity at a time”, and there sitting in front of me was my grandfather; Fleana’s grandmother, Clarissa; Prince’s grandfather, Boreas; and Marion’s grandfather, Thomas. Truth be told, my mom told me that they didn’t used to be so bad, not pleasant or attentive, but not bad, but ever since their spouses deaths, they became even more recluse. I hadn’t met even met them since I was born, but that was because grandpa made mom nervous. She said he had this hungry look on his face when he looked at me, and she didn’t want me near him. Now I understood why in a not so pleasant way…
Grandpa smiled at me. I returned a frown.
Clarissa chuckled as the Venus fly trap spat out a shoe from the scientist it had eaten.
Normally, regular teenagers in this moment would be like “What do you want?” “Why do you have us tied up?”, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be let go before something bad happens.
“What the Styx do you want now?” I said a little annoyed.
“Oh, just to help.” Clarissa answered.
“With what?” Prince said cautiously. No doubt he was remembering what they did to us last time (Another long story).
“Life.” Boreas told him. “It’s tough enough as it is, isn’t it? What is this your fourth F this semester? I know how much you hate to fail.”
“You’ve been watching us?” Fleana asked, she tried sliding out of her chair.
“Always.” Grandpa George said. “We have to keep an eye on our darling young grandchildren.”
I shifted in my seat. “Darling? Yeah, right. Okay I’ll bite, how, other than being stalkers, are you going to help us?”
“Simple.” Clarissa said.
She motioned for someone to hit a switch, and four helmets with blinking lights landed on our heads from the ceiling. From the corner of my eye, I faintly saw a machine with an Eco-corp symbol on it start up. In the middle of it was something glowing. I knew instantly it had to be powered with solar radiation, the only thing that could affect our kind.We had been hit with the stuff before, and it altered our molecules for about a week or so. I began to panic. I summoned a clump of electricity in my hand, but grandpa gripped my wrist and caused me to lose. I felt the energy drain from my body as if he were stealing it from me.
“Now, dear, we’ll have none of that today.” He reprimanded.
“Don’t call me ‘dear’.” I spat back.
“This is what we call the Cerebral Enhancer. It should help you with your…problems. Think of it as a studying technique.” Clarissa explained.
Prince nervously poked at one of the lights. “And…you think this will help?”
“I guess we’ll see.” Thomas said. He walked over to the machine and reached for the switch.
“Wait!” We shouted. But we were too late.
He flipped the switch, and searing pain began erupting in my skull. The four of us shouted in pain for about a minute and then all was well because we passed out.
I woke up in my bed that morning, and grabbed my head still thinking that the Cerebral Enhancer was still on me. My shoulders slumped when I found out it wasn’t. I didn’t know how I got back home, and I thought maybe it was all a dream.
I strolled down to the kitchen and met up with the gang for breakfast. My dad and my brother, Matthew, had left a note telling me they went to work so I had the apartment room to myself. They had to wonder where I went when I didn’t come back home after school. But they didn’t. Was it all a dream?
While we were eating, we noticed something that convinced me that wasn’t just a dream. Something had changed about us. I couldn’t quite explain it, but something did change.
Prince showed us the card he found laying in his hand when he woke up this morning. It read “If there is ever a problem, contact us at Eco-corp.”
He tucked the card back in his pocket and we looked at each other. Two thoughts passed between us. One was that our grandparents were going to pay for what they did to us. The second was a silent thank you to them.