Chosen Powers

By Kay Hau

A terrified girl hugged her legs tight close to her chest in a corner in the dark bedroom. Her eyes were squeezed shut, but tears still ran down her face. She could hear them coming. Shouting voices, pounding feet… Why did this have to happen?

Footsteps came right up to the door and stopped. The door swung open.

It was all she could do to keep from screaming. Her heart pounded in panic.

Nothing happened.

She opened her eyes a crack, then all the way. A boy, probably around her own age, stood just inside the door. He looked so… weird. The light from the hall shown off his hair as if it was silver, but somehow not like the hair some elderly people had. He seemed to be waiting for something, standing as if he was bored, with his arms folded across his chest and his face turned towards the doorway, in the direction the pounding footsteps and shouting voices were coming from.

He turned his head slightly and their eyes met. The girl bit back a gasp at noticing that his eyes seemed to glow golden. The weird boy nodded politely and averted his gaze back to the hall.

Footsteps thundered towards them, approaching all too fast and underlying the terrifying jumble of angry voices and shouts. The girl tried to squeeze more into the corner of the room, wishing she was invisible. She glanced at the boy, who looked exactly the same. Bored.

As the footsteps drew just outside the room, he seemed to suddenly glow white.

Three men burst into the room and swung flashlights around, sweeping them right over the girl's terrified self and the stoic boy.

"Not here!" shouted one, and they all charged out to rejoin the mob still outside the room, thundering down the hall.

The girl nearly fell over from relief. But what had happened? She glanced down at herself and squeaked in fright. She was bathed in the same white light as the weird boy!

The boy snapped around and mouthed the words "Shut up!" His eyes still glowed an eerie golden that only scared the girl more. He glared straight at her and his expression strangely softened from annoyance to mild curiosity.

Soon all sounds of the manhunt were gone. The boy nodded and the white light around him and the girl instantly disappeared.

"Wh-who are you?" whispered the girl, staring.

The boy stared at her with those glowing golden eyes, then the glowing disappeared. He switched the small gas lamp on and, when he turned back to her, his eyes were a normal soft gray.

He saw her shrink back from the light. "It's safe," he said simply, tilting his head as he watched her. "So they didn't know about your vision?"

"What?" asked the girl, confused.

"You saw my eyes and my shield. And you seemed surprised."

With absolutely no effort at all, he pulled at the mirror on the wall and it smoothly came off in his hand, though the girl knew it had been screwed tight in place. A blackish glow had shown around his hands and the mirror when he pulled… Did that have something to do with it? The boy held the mirror in front of him, towards the girl, and she looked down at her own reflection and gasped.

HER eyes were glowing golden. As she stared, they faded back to their normal dark brown.

"J-just like your eyes!" she gasped softly.

The silver-haired boy tilted his head, his grey eyes sweeping over her. Then he shook his head dismissively and his eyes began glowing golden again. "No. You can see special abilities, yes, but you are nowhere in my league."

"Who are you?" the girl asked the boy for the second time.

"I was sent to retrieve a healer. I can 'see' that I have found her." The way he emphasized 'see' made it clear that he was talking about what he could see when his eyes were glowing.

"I… I mean, what's your name?"

The boy frowned and tilted his head. "Phenomenon."

She stared at him, clearly not even sure if she could pronounce the word without getting tongue-tied, and certain that he was playing some sort of game with her… except he looked too serious.

The silver haired boy helped her up. Her legs were shaking, but after a moment she managed to stand on her own. He quickly looked her up and down, measuring her against the stats he had in his head of what he'd been sent to find. About his age and height, long black hair, thin figure, dark brown eyes. Very Asian features. Quite pretty, not that he cared. She was just another victim of an ability that made her an outcast.

"That's not a name," the girl said, frowning, her mind going in a very different direction from the boy's. "My name's Jackie…"

He ignored her and turned to leave. "Let's go."

"Wait! Where…?"

"Training School," he explained, sounding bored, still walking toward the door.

The girl quickly shut off the lamp and hurried after him, scared to be alone. "I can't just leave! My…"

"Home? Get real." Without even glancing around to check that they were still all alone, he continued down the hall. "You don't belong here anyway. Besides," he glanced at her, apparently curious to see her reaction, "you have no choice."

The girl thought it over as she followed him. She really couldn't stay. She had nowhere to go. And this boy who called himself Phenomenon had just saved her.

"I'd rather not use any more abilities than necessary." The boy said coldly, his curiosity apparently dissolved completely. "Keep up."