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Old 01-14-2013, 04:22 AM View Post #1 (Link) The Day I Met Fruit Salad--first four chapters
Ansa88 (Offline)
Literary Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1
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This is my book I'm currently working on and wrote for winning NaNoWriMo. No, I'm not going to change the switching between 3rd person and 1st, so if you're going to suggest that, it'll be ignored. I'd just like to know how it works, since this is just my first real writing in a loooong time. I'm thinking about posting 4 chapters every week...so, let's see how this works out.
Warning: Cursing is in here.

Chapter 1
The howling stopped. I felt safe enough to raise uncover my head and uncurl from my fetal position. Surveying the classroom, I groaned.
The desks were splintered to pieces of varying sizes. Scraps of paper and pencils were ingrained among the wreckage. Some pieces of cloth poked out, ripped to shreds.
I was so screwed.

One Week Earlier
“It’s raining men!” I warbled into the afternoon, “and—.“
“That’ll teach you to cheek us!” There was a shout, then yelp. I backtracked to an alleyway where a circle of teens looked at a boy pressed against the wall. The boy ducked under his captor, twisting free, but another thug grabbed him, twisting him arm.
“Leave him alone!” I yelled, charging into the fight. Surprised, the one holding the boy stumbled back when I knocked into him, letting go of his captive.
“Go, I’ll handle this,” I told the boy, trying not to sound as feeble as I was feeling. The thug behind me grabbed my shoulder and knocked me into the wall.
“Cross one Snake, and you’ll get the whole nest,” he snarled, yanking my arms behind my back and twisting them.
“Ow,” I said, then clamped my mouth shut. He stared at me.
“Gonna play hero eh? Hey, this guy thinks he’s some vigilaaan-teee,” he scoffed. Fake laughter rolled in around me.
“Ginger too,” the goon said, twisting my arm some more, “trying to prove your soul, eh?” I clamped my mouth shut, trying not to scream.
“Well boy,” he breathed into my ear, “we have something we do to—ow!” He paused, pulling an almond from his sleeve.
“You behind this?”
I shook my head, then twisted against his arm, trying to get free. He scoffed, shoving me against the wall again.
“What’s this shorty got,” he sneered, “some—ow!” He let go of me. I looked at the ground to see walnuts rolling off him. Where did those come from? His grip loosening, I twisted again and came free.
“Get him! Jeez, where’s all them—ow! Nuts coming everywhere! Damn, these hurt!” The thug next to me pressed me against the wall as I tried to run. I stared at his face, trying not to breathe in as his putrid breathe rolled through the air.
“Be glad you got lucky this time, boy,” he said. Being able to see clearly now, I kicked him between the legs, breaking into a run as he made a squeaking sound and clapped his hands over his soft spot.
The cause of the commotion became apparent as I ran. Various nuts were bouncing from above, pelting the thugs. I could see lots of welts already forming. Thankfully, my thick jacket kept me safe. Rounding the corner, I saw the kid from earlier.7
“You’d better go now,” I told him, “while they’re…” My voice died off as I saw what he was doing.
Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans—all of them were streaming from his hands into an arc above the alleyway.
“Why didn’t you blast them earlier?” I sputtered. The boy looked me, irritation written on his face.
“I could have, but you jumped in, then I couldn’t shoot them without hitting you as well.” I felt my face warming.
“Ah…thanks for holding off the blasting then.” He nodded, then muttered something. An awkward silence prevailed. Realizing how little I knew about the guy, I started with the customary question.
“What’s your name?” He looked up.
“Fruit Salad,” he said, poker faced. I did a double take.
“Are you serious?” He sighed.
“Yes, I am.” I put a hand over my mouth to hide a grin.
“Sorry…about messing stuff up.”
He shook his head, then cut off the flow of nuts. Footsteps were heard in our direction.
“I might not have gotten away. Let’s make sure we’re scarce,” he said, pulling me into a small alcove. We watched the gang ran past us, cursing. Fruit Salad turned to me as their voices died away.
“If you had powers, what would you do?” he asked. I stared at a rotting plank.
“Be a vigilante, like Batman,” I said softly, “get stronger. Stereotypical hero stuff, minus the glory and drama.” He nodded.
“You are worthy,” he said, voice suddenly raspy and deep. I looked up and saw a white glow obscuring my vision. With a yelp, I tumbled out of the alcove. The white light followed me.
“The descendants follow through,” he said. I stared at him.
“What’re you doing? If this is about interfering, I’m sorry, but what’s going on?” The white light went into my chest. I felt a burst of warmth, then nothing.

“Hey Pat, how’d you get here?” I groaned and opened my eyes, resisting against the shaking I was going through. Blinking, I bolted upright.
“What the heck…how’d I get here…” I muttered, looking around the hotel room from the bed. My uncle laughed.
“That’s what I was asking you just now. I thought you’d gone off to look at the sights of San Francisco.” He shrugged. “Got tired, eh?” I nodded, trying to assess what exactly happened.
My uncle Alec isn’t a guy to call one crazy, but I doubted even he would believe what had just happened. I mentally sorted out what just happened.
I rushed into a gang activity, I started, got saved from being beat up by Fruit Salad. Fruit Salad asked me what I’d do if I had powers. I told him. White light came. I passed out. Now I’m at the hotel..tucked in bed?
“Patrick, you here?” A hand waved over my face before flicking my nose. I blinked out of my thoughts, rubbing my nose.
“Hey, Alec!” I yelled, springing onto him. He stepped back, but not before I grabbed onto his shoulder. We tumbled onto the bed.
“That’s for flicking me,” I told him. He grinned.
“And this,” he said, flicking my nose again, “is for ignoring me.” I rubbed my nose again and mock glared at him, then sighed.
“Touché,” I said.
The door creaked open and then slammed shut. I looked up to see my dad’s friend, Scot.
“Now ladies, let’s quit fighting,” he said, “I could hear you from outside.” My uncle and I exchanged looks.
“Did you just insult our manhood?” I asked. Scot quirked an eyebrow, grinning.
“I guess so, Pipsqueak.” Uncle Alec took on a look of mock anger.
“My son can’t help that his voice is high!” I stared at him.
“Thanks, Alec, thanks,” I said sarcastically, “I completely appreciate being reminded that my voice isn’t all manly yet. I also appreciate being reminded I’m only five four.”
Alec rolled his eyes.

When someone’s shaken awake at three o’ clock, they tend to be either wide awake or very groggy. I fell into the latter category.
“Patrick…the car hit him at 80 miles per hour. It was quick.”
“What?” I asked, then my brain processed the words Scot just said. I bolted upright.
“Wait, no…” I whispered. This can’t be happening. I stared in disbelief at Scot, leaping out of bed.
“You’re…you’re joking. Someone gave you the wrong information. He—he can’t be…he’s not…he’s not gone.” I sank to my knees.
“I wish I could say otherwise. I’m here, you’re here…I don’t know what to say that’s not stupid or useless,” Scot said, hugging me tightly. Tears leaked from my eyes.
Quit crying, I told myself, stop crying already! But I couldn’t stop…because my uncle was gone.
“There’s going to be arrangement,” Scot said, continuing to talk. I didn’t hear the rest because it all went by in a blur. Arrangements for the burial, what to put on the tombstone, legal stuff, my guardian, the trip, flying back to the extended families and being unable to cry.

I stared at the gravestone. Hours passed. Nothing registered—not the people that came and went, faces merging into one creature that patted my head and make sympathetic noises, some of them genuine, others not.
Not the food scents wafting through the air, not the bitter cold, or the bright sunlight. All I could focus on was the inscription.
Alec Inca Flahearty
1924-2012
I’ll mature when I die

I had smiled faintly at the quote, somewhere in the part of me that was hiding my grief. Now I stared blankly, trying to make it register that he was gone.
The grief was there. The belief wasn’t.
Voices started registering at first, then words.
“Poor thing…mother already ran away, then this…”
“…father or uncle didn’t deserve dying…”
“…might turn wild…”
“…yes, watch him.”
“Pat,” said a low voice, pulling at my arm, “Pat, you’ll need to leave sometime.” I resisted, trying to stay as still as the stone I was staring at.
Suddenly, I found myself hoisted in the air and flung over someone’s back. Replaying the speaker’s voice, I recognized him and tried to get off.
“Scot, lemme down,” I said, pulling myself up.
“Sorry man, but I’ve gotta do my duty as your guardian,” Scot said, starting to walk. He doesn’t bounce much, but it’s uncomfortable trying to get off his back while he was walking.
“Let me down or I’m calling rape,” I said, poking at his shoulder. He chuckled, gently lowering me.
“I used to say something like that when your uncle always tossed me up when we were small.” He spotted the look on my face at the mention of Alec. Pain crossed his features before they smoothed out.
“Pat, sorry, I won’t talk about him,” he said, hugging me. I held onto him before bawling my heart and pain out, feeling like a baby but unable to stop.
After a while, Scot pulled out an envelope and gave it to me. I wiped away the last of the tears, trying not to sniffle.
“Here, read this. Alec gave it to me…just in case.” My throat tightened up as I nodded, taking the envelope.
Pat, if you’re reading this, it began, it means I’ve kicked the bucket early, and I didn’t get to explain everything. To that, I kick myself and say oops…I honestly don’t know what to say, because I’ve never been good at comfort.
There goes ink. Anyway, there’s weird stuff going on. If something…unusual happens, tell Scot. Immediately.
I love you like a son.
“Uncle” Alec (oh gosh, I feel old writing uncle.)

Despite the situation, I had to giggle. Alec was always sensitive about being called an uncle, because he claimed it always made him feel old. Because of that, me and Scot called him an uncle at least once a day.
Alec usually showed his appreciation in his cooking.
Another wave of sadness roiled over me as I climbed into Scot’s car. I stared at the note. Weird stuff going on. If something unusual happens…I wondered if I should’ve told him about Fruit Salad. I opened my mouth to tell Scot something, but he stopped the car.
“Here we are,” he said quietly. I quickly shut my mouth.
“I’ll pick you up at the end of the week,” Scot said, looking sorry, “I’ve gotta fish through all the paperwork and transfer of bus stops and whatnot.” He made a face, then sighed.
“You’ll have to live on your own for a bit…or would you like me to come down?” I shook my head, then went inside the house.
If something…unusual happens. The letter’s words echoed in my mind. I shook it off. I’d tell Scot at the end of the week.

Going back to school seemed surreal. Another bit of the routine to continue after this big event…funny how life around you plods on.
Isao stuck by my side, even though I kept snapping at him, then apologizing.
“You just lost someone,” he kept saying, “it is natural. Do not worry.”
“Use contractions,” I’d say, but I’d be cheered up until the next time I snapped.
I got a great chance to snap at the end of the day.
“Hey Patty, you old jailer finally kicked the bucket?” Dash called from across the hallway.
“Ignore him,” Isao said automatically, twirling in his combination. My knuckles were white on my books as I shoved them into my backpack before slamming my locker shut.
“C’mon Patty, aren’t you gonna cry? He’s kicked the bucket. Oh, poor poor Patty, all alone...I guess we might need some cake…to celebrate!” He grinned as I felt my face heat up. “Aw, he’s getting all mad.”
“Shove off Dash,” I said loudly. Next thing I knew, I was slammed against a locker with my head ringing, Dash’s breath fouling up my nose .
“What’d you say, Patty boy? Or should I say, girl?” I glared at Dash, this time not caring about the consequences or thinking about where my newfound courage came from. Usually, muttered comebacks or joking with Isao was as far as my nerve came.
“Leave him alone,” Isao said, trying to push past Dash’s bodyguards.
“Leave him alone,” Dash mocked, “what’re you gonna do, Patty?”
“Shut up and go away. Just shove off.” I said, pushing his arm off. Dash stumbled, surprised, then gave a snarl.
“You dissing me?” he asked, grabbing my shoulders and slamming me onto the floor. I saw bright spots dancing before my eyes.
“Hey, let go of me!” I heard Isao yell, then a pained scream.
“Leave my friend alone!” I yelled, clutching my head as I stood up. An instant later, I tasted the metal of lockers.
“Oh, it’s so sad. You finally got a spine.” I could feel Dash grinning. “Too bad I’m going to choke it out of you.” He wrapped his fingers around my neck. I could feel my breathing constricting. Attempts to kick him or pry off his fingers failed.
“Choke, Patty girl, choke,” he said maliciously. I turned my head to see Isao hanging limply from the arms of one of the goons as another one pulled back a fist.
“Get the hell out!” I screamed, feeling something snap inside of me as my breath ran out. Seeing an opening, I kicked Dash between his legs, and he let go, doubling over with a manly squeak. As I gasped for breath, my chest and limbs felt like they were windows shattering. A blinding headache pounded me, and I wavered between consciousness and passing out.
There was a loud howling in the air. I curled up tightly, expecting at any minute for someone to hit me as I closed my eyes. Blackness enveloped my vision, and sound was erased.
When I could see again, the howling had stopped. After a few moments, I felt safe enough to raise uncover my head and uncurl from fetal position. Surveying the hallway, I groaned.
In open classrooms, the desks were splintered to pieces of varying sizes. Scraps of paper and pencils were ingrained among the wreckage. Some pieces of cloth poked out, ripped to shreds. Twisted metal marked the remains of lockers.
Gunshots sounded from outside.
I looked around, heart beating frantically. What was this all about? Looking up, I saw a pattern rippling in the air, connecting in a dome shape. Before I could reflect on it, more gunfire sounded. Seeing bullets coming my way through the broken windows, I rolled away and covered my head. When it stopped, I cautiously raised my head and found no bullets had come around me.
“What on earth…” I wondered aloud. I saw more bullets coming. They suddenly stopped at the edge of the rippling air.
A force field…I made a freaking force field…cool and not cool. There was another wave of bullets against the force field, which rippled violently. I felt my energy draining and a twinge of pain.
This explains a lot, I thought, getting up.
“We’re weakening it! Keep firing!” came the shout from outside. I stared at the hallway where the bullets were coming from and made out a police car.
“The police are here,” I said dumbly. Omigods the police are here I’m in such big trouble…I’d better run. I went through the building, scanning for the limits of the field. Finding an edge where nobody was firing, I winced as more bullets ripped into my shield, making my chest ache as I felt energy swimming out. Something shattered behind me as the field flickered.
I looked through the window. It was a relatively short drop…relatively. And there were bushes below to shield. I gulped and tried not to remember what happened when I thought I could fly off the stairs when I was eight.
I jumped.
There were shouts from around me. I drew all my strength and aimed my legs, getting them bent in preparation for impact. When it came, it still sent shock waves all over my body. I gathered myself up from the bushes, nursing a scratch from a poky twig.
“He’s out, right here!” shouted a voice behind me. I ran, not bothering to look behind me. My bike came into sight. I shoved it through the bike rack, wincing internally as the pedals twisted to get through, and hopped on, pedaling furiously.
“Cover the streets, he’s on a bike!” I pedaled harder, tearing through a yard nearby. Thanking my uncle for buying a mountain bike, I kept going through until I reached the opposite street.
“Keep on pedaling, keep on pedaling,” I sang under my breath, fighting off the fear that was building up inside. Nearing my street, I passed by two joggers. I started to note random things to keep my mind busy.
Looks, the leaves are almost gone from Ester’s oak…and the Roberts have already cleaned up their yard…oh there’s Uncle’s…my house. I tried not to think about Alec either.
I hopped off my bike before it properly stopped, using the momentum to run into the house. Slamming shut the door, I frantically looked around, feeling my powers building up inside me. In my panic, I turned on the TV.
“…a supernatural accident at McKinley High School today,” said a female broadcaster, “here’s an aerial view of the scene from our helicopters.” The image switched to McKinley, the northwest part of the school collapsed. “There were no casualties or serious injuries, surprisingly,” continued the anchor, “however, reports say that Patrick Flahearty was responsible for this freak accident, reacting to a classmate. Police have been unable to penetrate the dome surrounding the area until it mysteriously disappeared. The whereabouts of Flahearty are currently unknown.” I shakily took the remote and switched off the TV.
Gotta pack, I thought. “Gotta pack, pack stuff, gotta pack,” I chanted under my breath, unzipping my backpack and dumping its contents out. I shoved some food in before going over to my room. Throwing up my stuffed animals out of the way, I grabbed a somewhat-clean change of clothes and raced to the back door, cursing myself at staring at the TV for so long. Rattling the doorknob, I remember that I’d locked it last night. Footsteps and voices sounded from the front. I rattled the doorknob harder in desperation. I didn’t have time to look for keys right now!
The voices grew louder and harsher. I picked out some words.
“He’s here!”
“…going to catch…”
“He scared…people…sure about…”
“Move in!” Crunching leaves echoed under cautious footsteps. A tap on the door.
I spotted the keys on the countertop as the sounds of breaking wood hit my ears. Instinctively, I reached out my hand and twisted. The keys flew to my hand. I quickly jabbed the right key in and nearly fell out. Racing to the woods, I heard more shouts and ran faster until I couldn’t see the house when I looked back.
Night was falling. I looked at the evening sky and sighed, slowing to a walk. Carefully picking my way through the leaves, I thought about where to go.
First to Scot’s, and get that explanation, then go on the run so he won’t have to shelter me…maybe I can go somewhere when he tells me everything. I’ll need money…oh darn. Should’ve taken my stash at home. No time for worrying about that…
A spotlight cut through the words.
“Surrender yourself,” someone shouted. I ran faster.
Not on your life, I thought, panic and adrenaline spurring me faster.
“He’s here!” I heard another voice shout. I gave a gasp and jumped over a log. Looking behind me, I crashed into something in front of me. I fell back and saw a man pointing a gun at me, hand shaking.
“Don’t move! Put your hands up!” he shouted, voice trembling.
“I won’t hurt you,” I said, scooting backwards, “I don’t know what’s going on!”
“Put your hands up!” he barked, hands having stopped shaking. He looked more determined.
“Bend down, hands over your head!” barked someone behind me. I heard a symphony of clickings as guns were prepared. I crouched into tornado drill position, feeling silly with my butt sticking up. But more seriously, I was scared enough to pee in my pants. As my hands went over my head, I felt the same ripping sensation from earlier, and my hands tingled.
“What?” I whispered.
“Stop that!” someone yelled. The same fire burned through me, and I felt power surging out. No, not again! I thought panickedly, trying to reel in whatever was coming out. Mixed results ensued—I heard shouts and gunshots while something ricocheted within me, then dissipated. In a few seconds, the shouts and gunshots stopped, and the burning feeling faded from my limbs. I peeked an eye out from the leaves and saw some bodies sprawled in various positions. They weren’t moving.
“Sirs?” I asked timidly. My voice sounded small in the woods. I stood up slowly, the realization slowly dawning on me.
I had killed them. Oh God, I killed them, I thought, I’m so screwed, they’re not moving, Patrick, you idiot, you should’ve let yourself be shot! Should’ve gotten better control of whatever they were, should’ve just told Scot earlier! Oh man, what am I—
One of the policemen sat up, clutching his head with a groan.
—wait, they are…not dead. One of them…okay, not completely screwed. Just kinda screwed. I backed up. You’re running, Flahearty…remember running. I snapped out of my thoughts as I remembered my objective. Backpedaling rapidly, I finally turned and ran, leaves crunching in the snow behind me.
Scot’s house came into view. Checking to make sure that no people were around, I knocked on the door. Scot opened it.
“Hullo, what can I do—“ he stopped, seeing my flushed face and ragged breathing.
“Get in, quick,” Scot said, yanking me in the house and slamming the door shut.
I turned around.
“You’d better explain, right now.”

Chapter 2
Zena sighed. Six minutes until the end of her shift and counting. It wasn't that she didn't love these little kids...but at the end of three hours, they really exhausted her. By Jove...5 minutes and counting.
A stifled sob made her alarms go off. She went off to a little corner, expecting to see a plump toddler with tear streaked face, but instead it was a thin boy whose ratty black coat nearly blended in with the dark corner he was stuffed into. Only two lines of tears marked his cheeks, and he hurriedly wiped them away.
"Hullo?" she cautioned. The boy turned away from her, curling up tighter. His brown eyes looked frightened as she crept closer.
"I won't hurt you," she whispered, "would you like for me to take you out from here?"
The boy hesitated, then nodded. She scooped him up, bridal style and gently deposited him in the open space around them. He looked around hungrily before looking down once more. Noting the look, Zena felt around her pocket for some organic candy. Fishing out the last piece, she offered it to the boy, who snatched it with a mumbled "thank you." Judging by his hoarse voice, he hadn't spoke for a while. He didn't tear into the candy either, so he had eaten recently or was really good at slowing himself down.
"What's your name?" Zena ventured, scooting him onto a bench. His dirty mop and ratty clothes were getting some weird stares from the customers. She scowled at them. Her shift was over soon anyway, so screw those judgemental idiots who let their kids be complete brats.
The boy didn't answer her all the while. When she repeating the question, he answered timidly, "Fruit Salad."
Her first instinct was to laugh, which she held in, though a smile may have crept across her face. She fought to keep a straight face, slightly ashamed of herself.
“Um…what’s your real name? I need to find your mommy and give you to her.” The boy stopped munching on the candy.
“I can’t remember,” he said, turning away, “I can only remember Fruit Salad!” His voice petered toward hysteria.
Zena’s eyes widened. Not the reaction she was expecting. Frantically perusing her brain for any parenting-book advice for situations like this, she offered, “Okay. I see that. Um…would you like to come with me?”
The boy nodded, saying “You’ve got a nice light. You’re a nice person.”
Zena blinked. What the heck does that mean? I don’t have any lights on me…don’t even got a flashlight or a phone to be a light. Shaking the thought away, she took Fruit Salad’s hand (There’s gotta be a better name, or she’s going to crack up each time she thought of him) and led him to her truck.
While she unlocked it, a bomb exploded.
At least, she thought it was. Something exploded around her. She pushed down Fruit Salad and covered him and put her hands over her head. After a few seconds, nothing happened, so she raised her head cautiously. McKinley High had been…decimated in one section. Students were flooding out, chattering excitedly, some scared looking, others full of the light of gossip. Zena unlocked the door of her truck and held Fruit Salad in before locking it again and going towards the building.
“Don’t!” she heard the boy cry. She gritted her teeth. Sorry to leave like this, but people might still be trapped inside. Just as the thought passed her mind, windows broke and doors crashed down through cracked frames as people were being pushed out by something. It looked like…a force field? She ran toward the school, but found she couldn’t go any further. Just at the property line, she couldn’t move. It was like running in place at a treadmill on high—you just didn’t go anywhere.
Cursing, she attracted some dirty looks from some teachers, but still couldn’t get through. So people can notice me…but they don’t notice I can’t get past. Or if they do, they’re not letting on.
Shaking her head, she let it go. She saw police and a fire truck coming down the road. Outta my hands now, she thought.
Going into the truck, she flopped into the driver’s seat and rested her head on the steering wheel. What was that whole force field in the school about? Was that what made it explode? Dangit, I was going to get my diploma there!
“Z-zena?” She jumped, knocking her head on the low ceiling. Clutching her throbbing head, she turned and remembered Fruit Salad. “Oh hullo,” she sighed out, “sorry I left you there.”
“What would you do if you got powers?” he asked, looking out the window. Zena stared at him.
“Random question, isn’t it?” she asked, somewhat uneasy. He stayed silent. Zena started the engine and looked through the windshield before answering.
“Well…help people, right? I dunno. It depends on the power…gotta get control first.” She looked back at the boy.
Fruit Salad looked at her in the face. His eyes were the yellowish color of old paper now.
“You’re worthy,” he intoned, a small red glow appearing in between them. His voice had changed to be deeper, more raspy. Zena unlocked the doors, trying to back away.
“What’d you mean—“ she started, then passed out, white light covering everything.

When she woke up, the whole “forgot everything for a few moments” didn’t happen. She was pissed. Off.
“Kid, you’d better have run really far or else I’d have…” she stopped, feeling her breath grow hot. Abnormally, stovetop, oil going to burn hands hot.
Slamming open the car door, she threw up fire into the sky. Staring at the flames before they dissipated, Zena took a shuddering breath and curled against her truck.
“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?” she yelled, shaking. She felt another heat wave coming up and forgot to direct away her face, setting a tree on fire.
“Crap. Crap crap crap,” she muttered, frantically looking for a way to get rid of the fire. And then the fire started going inside of her.
The fire. Went from the tree. To her mouth. Inside her mouth.
Zena screamed, and let the tree burn…what little fire was left on it. She scrambled back into the car and quickly ignited the engine, peeling out of the driveway.
She drove, trying to comprehend what had happened. She tried speaking aloud, which had always helped her thoughts reorgranize.
“One. I met a boy named Fruit Salad. Two, McKinley blew up. Three, I got a force field there that won’t let me in. Four, I threw up fire and set a tree on fire. Five, the fire sucked into me when I was trying to get flames off the tree.”
When she said it straight like that, it made no sense. Then she remembered something.
“I blacked out before the fire throw up,” she said, thinking furiously how this pertained to her as she pulled off the road into her cul-de-sac. She opened the door and walked towards the door, then froze. What if her fire thing activated and she burned down the house. She backed away from her house, leaves crunching underfoot. She looked longingly at her truck, but if she set her truck on fire, the gas tank would explode…and that would be even worse. How did she not consider this while driving?
This is such a crapshoot. I’m a walking fire hazard, she thought mournfully. Noticing how cold it was, she decided to collect a wad of leaves and put it into a pile on the concrete, just as a test to see if she wasn’t losing her mind. Making sure a wide ring of clear space lay between the pile and everything else, she breathed in and blew out.
Nothing. She tried again, still nothing.
“Oh come on! When I want you to work, why won’t you work?” she yelled. The fire didn’t come out, nor did she feel that urge to let it out like she had earlier.
“Zena? What are you yelling about out there?” a young girl called, appearing at the front door with her cooking apron on. Zena turned, quickly scattering the leaves.
“Nothing!” she yelled, collecting her backpack from the car.
Please let that have been some hallucination, she thought to herself, letting herself into the house. This was too weird.
The fatigue from chasing after kids for three hours (oh man, Serena was going to kill her for skipping school) caught up. She made it to the couch before zoinking out.

“Zena…Zeeeennaaaa,” hands tickled her belly. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.” Zena swatted at the hands tickling her, mumbling, “Too warm, later.”
“Off the couch you go then,” said the voice. Zena bolted upright.
“I’m up, I’m up! Quit tickling me, Serena! Muum, quit it!”
Serena Croa straightened, crow’s feet deepening in her smile.
“Well, as your foster mother, I have a duty to ensure you’re up and at ‘em!” Zena rolled her eyes, grinning.
“I’m up, don’t tickle,” she said, hopping off the couch. Serena nodded and sighed.
“Alright, go do your homework and I’ll cook.” She stifled a yawn. Zena poked her arm.
“I’ll cook and do homework while everything’s boiling. You sleep, or else you’ll burn something.” Serena hesitated.
“I don’t want to get you to do this again,” she said, “I’m sure I can go ahead—“
“And burn something?” Zena asked, struggling to keep her face straight as she remembered the last time Serena had cooked while tired. The foster mom grinned, looking abashed.
“Alright, you win,” she said, flapping a hand, “but you need to get your homework done.”
Zena nodded, grinning. Yes! Cooking and homework…my best work.
She ambled over to the stove, turning on the heat and pulling out a wok over it. Lugging her bookbag over, she sat at the island table and began her homework, keeping an eye on the stovetop rings.
“Can you play with me?” Amy, another foster child, tugged at Zena’s pants. Zena sighed. Every day, she thought mournfully, Every. Single. Day.
“I’m cooking right now,” she said brusquely. Amy sighed.
“But you never play with me.” Zena closed her eyes, feeling guilt tug at her.
“Amy…right now I don’t have time. In the summer…because you know on the weekends I still have schoolwork.” Amy stuck out her lower lip.
“Summer is so far away…play with me!” Zena squinched her eyes shut and counted to ten.
“Zena, play with me!” Another tug on her pants. Zena stood up and put in the oil and lowered the heat before crouching down to meet Amy’s eyes.
“Amy, I can’t play with you right now. You gotta wait—“
“But I always wait, and you never play! And we always used to play!” Zena wondered how to diffuse this.
“What about Harrison? Or Scarlett? Or…um, Phineas?”
“Harrison told me to leave him alone, Scarlett is outside with her friends, Phineas is reading and wants me to buzz off,” Amy recited. Zena knew better than to ask Serena to play with Amy. That would be torture for the already-exhausted foster mother.
“So…play with me?” Zena’s brain fried hearing that phrase again.
“Jeez, leave me alone!” Zena screamed. Amy’s lower lip started trembling. Zena calmed down immediately, regretting her outburst.
“Oh Amy, I’m sorry, it just…I get annoyed when you keep—ulgh.” Zena put a hand to her mouth, feeling like throwing up. Instinctively, she retched forward, and fire poured out of her mouth, seizing on the oil and roaring into a bonfire.
“Shit!” she exclaimed. Amy’s eyes got big.
“You said…”
“Bad word, I know! Oh man, get Mum,” Zena hurriedly took a dirty dish of water and threw it at the stove, which was starting to char as the fire spread from the wok. The water sizzled on the flames, dampening a small bit of the fire.
“Zena, what happened? Amy’s going on about you throwing up fire and—oh my goodness!” Serena’s exclamation came as the fire went inside the stove and sent a massive heat wave running throughout the kitchen.
“This, use this!” Amy thrust a pink watering can into Zena’s hand. Zena nodded her thanks, throwing the contents at the edge of the fire. The small portion sizzled before dying. On the other side, she saw Serena doing the same with a vase of drooping flowers and dirty water.
After using what seemed like all the water-filled items in the house (with the exception of Harrison’s fishbowl) the fire was put out, leaving only the burning oil in the wok.
“I’m so sorry! Oh Mum, this is all my fault…” Zena hurried dumped the burning oil down the drain, staring at the charred stove. Serena hugged her.
“It’s alright…well, not quite alright,” Serena amended, “but what’s done is done. I’m sure you’ll have learned something from this, and woks can be fixed.” She inspected the charred stove critically, face carefully blank.
“This thing was fifteen years old, it was due for a replacement anyway,” she said casually, but Zena could see the strain on her face.
That’s it. I’m moving out, this is too much to put on her, Zena thought. Then her face fell, because her next thought was, How am I going to break it to Serena?
She didn’t notice that her hand wasn’t burned from handling the blackened wok.

Chapter 3
A mousy-haired boy made the way between the streets. He stopped, seeing a pile of leaves. Being opportunistic, he dived in, glad he was small enough to fit inside it and still be completely covered.
Warmness, he thought, aaaaah. He curled up to get more warmth and summoned some food. A banana and some red grapes appeared. He quietly ate them, not wanting a passerby to wonder why the leaf pile had munching sounds.
He concentrated, but couldn’t summon candy. Not even the bland kind that Zena had given to him. Sighing, he contented himself on munching on the grapes.
“How’d I know her name was Zena?” he asked, poking a small opening for fresh air.
Her name was inscribed in her aura. You just had to look. The voice echoed around his head.
Fruit Salad leaned back. “Shuddup. I was being rhetorical.”
You asked. I gave the answer.
The boy grabbed his head violently, causing a small avalanche of leaves. “Why’d you have to be in ME? Why ME?”
You have asked me this many times, and I give you the same answer. I’ve been sent down to help mankind. My power has weakened to be like this, since people now worship false deities instead of working to improve themselves the way they used to. You are a perfect guise. Do you not like being immortal?
He snorted. “It sucks. Doing whatever you make me sucks. Having you in me sucks.”
I am sorry you feel that way. However, I cannot reside within another body. Your soul has grown dependent on me, and if I left, your soul may leave with me.
“Damn you,” he said vehemently, making a small nest within the leaf pile.
Such language in one so young.
“I could spout more if you’d like,” he muttered.
That would not be pleasing. You should sleep now. Fruit Salad swayed slightly, trying to fight against the sudden tiredness in his limbs.
I’m not…slee…py…,he thought, unable to get out the words. He collapsed, asleep before he hit the pile. However, the other part of him wasn’t tired.
I’m sorry, my child. You would not have slept otherwise.
Nobody saw the boy vanish in the pile of leaves.

Chapter 4
I stared at the floor. Another day gone by, another day wasted without helping someone.
It’s wonderful to be in America, the land of dreams and freedom.
Heh. Land of nightmares, more like. Don’t forget all the restrictions and stereotypes. Oh yeah, and the bullies and idiots.
I wish I could’ve been born in Japan instead of here, at least there’s proper respect for teachers over there. I sighed mournfully and looked at the sky.
One of my biggest dreams is to go to a place where there’s nothing blocking out the sky—no trees, no buildings, just blue sky, so I can see the endlessness of it, instead of having so many things blocking my vision.
Just like real life, with my parents disapproval of writing, among other things. Like my friend Patrick.
Jeez, I hope he’s okay. I picked out some glass from my hair, staring at it. Getting thrown out the window is not fun, especially when your best friend is passed out after a jerk slammed him against the wall and there’s something blocking me from getting back into the school.
“Mister?” A young boy tugged my sweatshirt, breaking the railroad my thought train was taking. I stared at him.
He looked at me pitifully. “Please, do you have any money? I need clothes.” That was certainly true. His shirt was poked with holes, and his ratty black coat seemed to be held together with some sort of paste.
Only problem was that I was broke.
“I don’t have any money,” I started, feeling horrible. Money…one of the prime needs and evils of the world.
The kid’s shoulder sagged. I knelt down to eye level, noticing how he turned away so he wouldn’t need to meet my eyes.
“I can go home and look for some old clothes though, if you don’t mind waiting.” The boy nodded, a small smile on his face.
“Thanks,” he said a small voice. I nodded, then took his grubby hand and raced home with him.
“Wait here,” I cautioned. I went through the door quietly and tiptoed up the stairs, dropping my backpack without a thump in my room. Rummaging through my clothes, I scrouged out a few shirts and a jacket my mum wouldn’t missed before digging out a too-small pair of jeans.
Running downstairs, I met Fruit Salad, who nodded.
“What would you do with powers?” he asked, pulling on the jacket. I looked at the sky.
“If I could, I’d fly, and do something worth doing. Something…something for others.”
“You are worthy,” he rasped, voice changing as he looked into my eyes. His eyes were piercing green.
That’s the last thing I remembered before passing out.
****
“Isao! Isao! Young man, wake up!”
“Mum…five more minutes….” I muttered sleepily, feeling my consciousness ebbing between sleep and awake.
“You’ve been out for who knows how long! Wake up!” Frantic shaking jerked my head against the floor, and I felt a bump rising. Bolting upright, I smashed into someone’s face. Clutching at my nose, I saw my mum stagger back, holding her cheek. I gave a sigh, preparing for the inevitable earful.
“What happened?” she screeched, “why did you be here on floor, not moving! And there’s cuts everywhere! Bruises on your skin! Glass in your hair, dirt all over your clothes—” I bit my lip. If I talked about giving away my clothes to a street boy, she’d freak out. And if she learned about what happened at school, she’d go ballistic and transfer me to some snotty-prep school.
“Earlier, I just went outside to get some fresh air because I was feeling queasy and that’s the last thing I remember,” I said, crossing my fingers behind my back.
Hey, it works.
I felt a breeze ripple around us. Mum looked startled. “It was still weather the whole day,” she said. I shrugged, but it was weird to have a breeze. I didn’t think much of it as I quickly went inside and lugged my backpack upstairs, with my mom behind me, starting to prescribe things for my cuts and fussing over me. Despite all her questions, I refused to elaborate.
Just a note here about my mom: she’s awesome.
I can’t believe I’m using a pop culture word to describe her, because she’s so much better than that.
She’s not perfect, of course, with her obsession about all things cultural and being a perfect family and trying too hard to make up for my dad’s death and having me be successful in life.
Regular parent stuff. But she knows how to listen and when to lecture, and she tells me about her own problems and treats me like an equal but knows how to be a mom.
She has some kind of telepathy for that, I swear.
*****
I sighed, looking longingly out the window. It was a beautiful autumn day, and it was actually warm for once. I sighed again, then went back to my bed, carrying The Jungle with me. Reading on my stomach on the bed is the best way for absorbing information. Just as I flopped on, I felt something rip out of my hand. It wasn’t unpleasant…it was a bit like having clay drying and flaking off.
Okay, that does feel unpleasant. Bad comparison…more like tearing dried glue off skin. I stared at the small cuts on my skin. Nothing had changed.
Anyway, next thing I knew, there was a massive wind roaring in my room, playing with my curtains and throwing my stuff around everywhere. Papers scattered around the room and were caught in the air.
“Stop!” I yelled, holding up my hands. Suddenly, I felt my heartbeat in my hands for a moment, throbbing painfully. The winds stopped, and everything dropped. Surveying the room, I groaned.
This is going to take forever, I thought, starting to gather up my paper.
“Isao, was that you yelling?” I heard my mom coming up the stairs.
“Yeah, I was just talking to myself,” I called, quickly stuffing my papers into a box and gathering up as many books as possible.
“Are you okay in there?” she asked. Her footsteps had stopped sounding, which probably meant she had stopped halfway up the stairs.
“I’m great, Mom, thanks. Just working on homework.” Her footsteps started up again, but dying away from me. I heaved a sigh of relief, clunking the books onto my desk. I stare at my hands.
Don’t think about it, I commanded myself, not until you have more information. Of course, my brain did the opposite and tried to analyze what had just happened. I shook my head in an attempt to clear it and began organizing.

It took an hour of determined sorting before everything was back in order. I took The Jungle again and looked outside. Twilight had fallen, and some stars were coming out. I stared at the early moon, wishing I could be an astronaut on there instead of staying here reading a book about Jurgis the Unfortunate.
Of course, the meatpacking descriptions didn’t help.
I put the book down and decided to tackle my French homework when another gust ripped out.
This time, I could track the wind coming out from my hands and the way it circled around. But holding my hands up in the same position didn’t do anything. Concentrating, I tried to redirect the wind toward me, but instead, it went through the cracks between my door and doorframe and whooshed downstairs.
“Crap,” I muttered, pushing away my chair when my mom called up to me.
“Isao, do you know where the wind is coming from?” I tried to hide my hands, but they only billowed the covers I put them under. More wind…just what I needed.
“Isao, do you hear me? Respond so I know!” My mother’s voice came closer to the door.
“Mum, I hear you. No, I don’t know where the wind’s coming from.” I hurriedly opened a window and picked up a book, making sure it wasn’t upside down. My mom knocked on my door.
“Honey? Everything okay?” I nodded, then remembered she couldn’t see me.
“Fine, Mom, I’m fine.”
“You sound strained. Have you drank enough water?” I resisted a smile. My mom’s answer to every ailment was “drink more water” then adding whatever herbal remedy corresponded to the ailment.
“Mom, I’m reading.”
“Can I come in?” I sighed. She took that as a yes and came in. seeing the open window, She exclaimed, “Isao, the window is letting the heat out! That is why it was so cold here!” I willed my hands to keep their breezes to themselves.
“Sorry Mom, it was stuffy.” She gave a huff and went to close the window.
“Next time, ask before open, okay?” I nodded, pretending to be absorbed in my book.
“Isao, look at me when I talk!” I looked up, hiding my hands under the covers. My mother studied my face.
“Is there something going on?” My eyes widened.
“No, no, everything fine!” I said, a bit too quickly. She caught onto that.
“Isao, what has happened?” I steadied myself, then bit my tongue.
“Ow!” She hurried over to me.
“What has happened?” she asked, examining my mouth as blood flowed out.
“Ah bi mah ton,” I managed as she used her fingers to keep my mouth open. Having a dentist/herbalist as a mom can come in use, and I know great ways to distract her.
“We’ll get you some salt water to stop bleeding,” she said, then started muttering herbs to herself, dragging me out.
The book I was holding fell to the floor, pages riffling as another breeze was loose from my hand—the one my mom was holding. She let go of it and looked around.
“You feel it too?” she asked, looking around curiously. I shook my head, looking down. Muttering more herbs to herself, I caught the words “hallucinations” and “feelings.” I gulped, hoping she wouldn’t start taking drugs for anti-hallucinogens.
Dragging me downstairs, she mixed a salt water treatment and made me gargle the water and spit it down, repeating it until the cup was empty.
As soon as I finished the salty treatment, I got a bitter-tasting paste stuck to my tongue. Having paste on tongue and not being able to lick it off is the weirdest thing in the world. Repressing instinctive action takes every bit of concentration you have.
Of course, my mom didn’t appreciate that and kept scolding me for accidentally wiping off the paste (…maybe not so accidentally sometimes. Hey, it tasted really bad. You don’t know bitter until you taste herbal medicines.)
Later, she relented and put some honey with the paste, which made me lick the paste off even more. Eventually, my tongue felt healed enough to eat some solid food.

“Hey doofus, where’s your friend? Oh yeah he’s on the run.” Dash snorted stupidly with his cronies. I balled up my fists and counted to ten. School just didn’t feel right without Patrick around. Of course, the Jock Cliché was still up and at ‘em.
“What’s wrong, Izzy? You don’t have anything smart to say?” Dash asked.
“You wouldn’t know something smart if it smacked your face and danced naked on your doorstep,” I said coldly, then slapped my hand over my mouth. Patrick was the one who came up with wisecracks.
“What?” Dash asked, looking confused. I ran before he could work out what I had just said.
“Son, can you spare a minute?” a policeman stopped me. I stared at him, trying to say “yes” but syllable kept getting lost on the way to my mouth.
“It’s alright, you’re not in trouble,” he said, smiling, “it’s about the incident yesterday.” I nodded, mystified. I followed the policeman into an empty classroom.
“We’re talking with the students to best piece together what exactly happened. This guy, Patrick, did you know him well?” I snorted.
“We’re best friends, are you kidding me?” The policeman nodded.
“The other students said as much. Has Patrick ever showed any tendency toward destruction?” An image of a glob of toothpaste exploding popped into my head. I shook my head though.
“Has he ever shown any sort of power like what he displayed yesterday?” I frowned.
“Wait, that was him?” I asked. The policeman looked surprised.
“Yes. Most of your peers knew it was him…how near were you when the explosion happened?”
I thought about that. “A few feet away. Look, you’ve got it all wrong. Dash was slamming him against the wall, and—“
“We have seen that and figured that out from other accounts,” the policeman interrupted me, “but we’re trying to figure out why exactly Patrick displayed his powers yesterday and in that manner.” I blinked.
“He’s never had anything like that before, and I’m sure he would’ve told me if he did,” I said, thoughts scrambling through my data banks and each time coming up blank.
The policeman looked disappointed. “Alright, thanks.”
I walked with him to my next class and saw Dash glaring at me as I sat down.
Oh great, I thought, he’s worked out what I said.

“Hey Izzy!” Dash called. I ignored him, slamming my locker door shut and glaring at it. I was not in the mood for his stupidity after the policeman.
Has Patrick ever showed any tendency toward destruction? The policeman’s voice echoed in my head.
“Only toward toothpaste,” I muttered to my notebooks, “homo sapiens, inclined to think the worst.” I slammed shut the locker.
“Izzy, wait up.” I walked faster, staring at the floor as I took a shortcut.
“You’re not going anywhere,” said a cronie, moving in front of me. I looked up and realized I’d walked into a trap.
“So, little Isaac, you like to play smart now,” Dash said, cracking his knuckles, “should’ve known you wouldn’t get away from us.”
It doesn’t take much brains for that, I thought, not brave enough to say that aloud. I tried to figure out a way to get away from the whole group, which was in a circle, hungrily watching Dash and me in the center.
Six goons plus Dash, I thought, need to rush one of them and then run like heck. My eyes darted back and forth.
“What is it, Japan? Gonna ninja me or something?” Dash asked. My hands tightened on my notebooks.
“Just because I’m Japanese doesn’t mean I’m going to be a ninja,” I said through clenched teeth, then ran at one of the goons. He grinned stupidly, arms crossed. At the last second, I slid under him through his legs. It’s a lot more painful and carries you a smaller distance in the movies. The cronie bent over, looking at me as I stumbled up and ran.
“What’re you waiting for?” Dash yelled as the minute bell rang, “get him!”
Adrenaline has a funny way of getting you to class before the tardy bell when there’s a pack of bullies after your blood.

End of the day, I thought, None of the stupid classmates, no Dash and cronies, nothing stopping me from investigating Patrick or the police, and time to work on homework. And I get to paint the house today and do outlandish patterns.
I grinned, imagining our neighbor’s expressions when they woke up tomorrow and hung the laundry on their side of the clothesline.
A hand grabbed my shoulder, with Dash’s voice whispering in my ear. “We’re not finished yet, so wipe the smile off.” I froze, then shrugged him off. Turning around, I saw he had stumbled backwards from shock.
“I’m sick of you,” I said, voice trembling with rage, “shut up, go away, and never show your face around.” Dash stared at me, mouth gaping open, then gave a little fake laugh.
“Yeah,” he snorted, “what’re you going to do about it, talk to me about it?” His cronies had appeared and laughed with him.
“Well,” I said, looking at the clearing hallway, “nice talking, gotta go!” A crony grabbed at me as I ran past, grabbing my backpack and pushing me back into the middle.
“Not so fast, pipsqueak,” Dash said, cracking his knuckles.
I’m taller than Patrick, give me a bit of credit for that, I thought, backing up. I tried to look for a place to slide between, but the idiots had learned (for once) from their past experience, and had gathered more people to form a tighter circle. With a sigh, I swung off my backpack and hurriedly unzipped one of the pockets, pulling out a sharpened pencil.
“Wow, that’s so lame,” Dash scoffed, “I’m so scared of—“ he broke off with a yell as I stabbed the pencil into his stomach. While he was doubled over, I smashed my backpack into his head. He fell onto the floor, stunned. I slung back on my backpack and backed up to run, but one of his friends slammed me against the wall. I tasted the paint as I peeled my face off, the world having gone blurry.
“You’ve got some nerve doing that,” Dash said from behind me. Dazed, I felt myself being turned around and having my arms pulled behind me. When the world sharpened into existence again, I found a fist slamming into my face to make it spin again.
“You like that?” Dash whispered into my ear, “taste another.” He pulled back his fist again.
“Boss, look out!” shouted one of the thugs. I heard a scream and felt a sudden wave of heat that didn’t subside. The arms holding me let go, and I backed up against the wall, clutching my head and willing the pain to go away.
“Yeah, that’s what you get!” a female voice yelled, “take that, you dogs! Yeah, I got this under control! Oh crap.” I heard a retch, then felt another wave of heat blistering near me. Opening my eyes, I saw a short blonde with her hands over her stomach, wiping her mouth.
“Crud,” she said, then convulsed as she leaned over, covering her mouth. Fire spilled through her fingers to sizzle on the floor. She swallowed and shook out her unhurt hands.
“Crud,” said the girl again. I looked around to see Dash and his gang were nowhere in sight among the dying flames.
“How…where did the flames originate?” I stammered. The girl turned to me and grinned.
“Well, there goes my rep,” she said mournfully, “I guess I have to transfer schools.” She shrugged. I stared at her.
“You do know they’ll be too scared to inform anyone,” I said, “and even if they did, nobody would believe their tale.” The girl stared curiously at me.
“Who’re you, and where’d the fire come from?” I asked. The girl put her hands behind her head.
“Name’s Zena, I breathe fire. Laugh if you want,” she shrugged, “the truth won’t hurt anyone.” She looked around and took a deep breath in. More flames disappeared into her mouth. I realized my mouth was hanging open and shut it. Luckily, Zena didn’t notice since she was busy eating the flames. When the last of the fire was gone, I realized that there were scorch marks all over the lockers and floor.
“This’ll make the custodian benevolent,” I muttered. Zena stared at me.
“Where’d your vocab come from?” she asked. I shrugged, numb with shock.
“I read,” I said simply, “and I read lots of books.” Zena grinned.
“I’m too ADHD to read,” she said, “I prefer movies and audiobooks.”
I nodded, then said, “Thanks.”
Zena stared at me. “For what?”
“For saving me from them,” I jerked a thumb in the direction I thought the bullies had gone.
“Actually, they went the other way,” Zena said, smiling. I felt myself blushing as I redirected my hand.
“Anyway, go home…what’s your name?”
“Isao,” I said quietly, “it’s Isao.”
This is some real food for thought, I thought.

I was sneezing the whole time when I came home, and my mom determined I had a cold.
“I can’t miss a day of school!” I exclaimed.
“Tomorrow’s Saturday,” she said, suppressing a smile.
“Oh yeah…” I mumbled. She looked outside at her herbal garden.
“Going to need some goldenrod,” she muttered, then took out a piece of paper and quickly began writing down a list of plants to put in the soup. I stared at the painting supplies in the corner of the room.
“But what about the pain-ACHOO!” I said, grabbing a napkin to blow out the snot from my latest sneeze.
“We’ll doing the painting tomorrow,” my mother said.
“We ARE. We’re. It’s not ‘we’ll doing’, it’s ‘we’re doing.” Or say ‘we’ll do.’” I said automatically. My mother nodded and started repeating the latest English grammar lesson.
“Oh, I’ll be bringing up the soup later,” my mom said, then went on repeating what I had just said.
I groaned and went upstairs as the water began boiling.

My mom likes having the chance to experiment with some herbal remedies and soups that don’t relate to chicken (they all work though.) One such bowl was right next to me.
Feeling good enough to get out of bed, I sat up, seeing the bowl of soup on the bedside table. It stank horribly, though with my nose full of mucus I couldn’t smell it too well. It still stank enough for me to be put off from tasting it.
I wrinkled my nose at the soup and got up, trying to ignore my stuffed up nose.
My nose decided it didn’t like being ignored. I had just reached my desk when the biggest sneeze in history hit me. Instinctively, I put my hand over my face (yeah, supposed to be arm. It’s instinctive,) and all the snot in my nose hit it.
Yes, it’s disgusting. No, just because I’m a boy doesn’t mean I like disgusting things.
I stared at the snot pile in my hand. Attempts at being positive failed.
(All the snot is out of my nose! But now it’s all on my hand, and I don’t feel like walking all the way to the bathroom to wash it off. Wow, I’m so lazy. This is too gross.)
Wonderful. Just great, I thought, why can’t you just march away? The mucus bulged. I gave a yell of shock and tried to swing it off. It gave a little, a shape forming as it swung partially away from my skin. I swung around my hand again, trying to get it off. It flew off and landed on my table with a loud plop. I cautiously approached and inspected it. It was a vaguely humanoid shape. While I stared at it, it stood up.
I scrambled backwards. The snot-thing marched off the table and started up the wall toward the window.
“Why can’t you just march away” my thoughts echoed back. I shook my head.
“Just my luck,” I muttered, “the one time I ask something to be done that gets done.” The mucus-humanoid continued marching up the wall.
“Hey, stop,” I said, not sure what I was doing. It stopped, the upper half sagging a little towards the floor as it stayed still on the wall.
“Um…come stand on the desk,” I commanded uncertainly. It obeyed, squelching down the wall but leaving nothing behind. There was an awkward silence as I tried to figure out what to do. Staring at my hand, I noticed none of the mucus had stayed on it.
“You don’t have to obey me, you know,” I finally said. The figure shrugged. I stared at it, then looked down, remembering it was alive, then went back to staring at it.
“Are you able to talk?” It shook its head. I racked my brains for more questions, but it seemed to be frozen. Finally seizing one, I asked, “Would you like to go off by yourself?” It emphatically shook its head, making its whole body wobble. I gulped.
“How do I take care of you?” The mucus formed the shape of a water drop. “Just add water?” It nodded. I stared at it some more. “Um…what should I call you?” It shrugged. I seized the first name I could think of.
“Does Carter work?” It nodded. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“First wind, then…you,” I said, “not that you’re not cool, but it’s just…” Carter turned into a myriad of shapes that crisscrossed each other. I smiled.
“Yeah. Something like that.”
This might be pretty cool after all. I sniffed in, feeling mucus building up, then went to the bathroom. One minion was enough.
*********************************
I'm aware that Alec's death is really sudden, but I've got no idea what to do for more character development since I've had him killed in the first chapter. And I'm aware that this is pretty rough, considering Fruit Salad...but not quite sure how to fix either problem. Please give detailed critiques! Having a percentage of how many people like it or not is nice, but I want to know specifically what's liked and what I can improve on.
  
						Last edited by Ansa88; 01-14-2013 at 04:28 AM.
					
					 Reason: Formatting need to be fixed
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:57 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
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Ansa, this is not the proper place to post your work. You want this forum, which you can find by going to the top-left of the page and clicking on "writing".

In order to post your own stories you need to first write some critiques. You see under your name, on the left there, where it says "Points"? Next to my name it probably says 30. That means that I have gained 30 points from critiquing other people's work, and can use 10 of those points to post a story. So you have to critique something before you can get critiqued. This way we don't get new members posting their stories then vanishing after our very helpful members offer advice.

Please take the time to introduce yourself here

Also take a look at our guide on how to navigate the forum, our FAQ, and this critiquing guide.

Additionally, statements like:
No, I'm not going to change the switching between 3rd person and 1st, so if you're going to suggest that, it'll be ignored
Are pretty close-minded and suggest to me you're not really open to an actual critique. I'm not reading this text until you do some critiques of your own, so I don't know what the "switching between 3rd and 1st" thing is, but if I read it and find it's a problem, I'm going to tell you, and I'd hope you'd listen to me. If several people (enough to make you post a disclaimer asking us not to focus on it) have told you this is a problem, then maybe you should listen to them?

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Pro-tip: because my first instinct is to procrastinate anything I see as an obligation or responsibility, asking me for a critique is a good way to make sure I never give you a critique.
  
						Last edited by Infinity_Man; 01-15-2013 at 12:02 AM.
					
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