A SPECIAL Simul-Publication
Podcast written by John Odam
Co-published in Audio Format by
This short story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or persons living or dead is completely coincidental. copyright © Ricky 2014 All Rights Reserved. Ricky the writer may be contacted at email@example.com
"Titan! You're gonna be late, come on or you won't have time for breakfast."
"Coming Mom!" He squeaked. Oh this is frustrating. He cleared his throat and tried again. He could hear his mom chuckle. It wasn't funny, it was frustrating. And worse, it signaled to everyone that his puppies were now doing their job. And that thought brought him to another realization, he'd have to rush a shower too. He couldn't go to school with that thing sticking out. He wasn't looking forward to another day of jokes about him becoming a man now. And the guys were relentless. Gym was a nightmare. Why did his voice choose the basketball game to break. And in front of the whole school. It felt like the whole room went silent. I mean, I know it didn't but it was like I could hear every thought, every mumble. It was crushing. He rushed his shower and took care of business before sprinting downstairs.
"I know. I just overslept!"
"Hey I didn't say anything. Sit, eat."
"No time, I'll miss the bus."
"Sit, eat, I'll drive you if you miss it. You need food, you're a growing boy."
"Well you are and your body needs nutrition. Your body is changing."
"I Know!" He squeaked. His shoulders dropped in frustration. His mom moved over behind him and ran her hands down over his shoulders and kissed the top of his head. "Relax, it'll pass soon enough. You'll see. And it'll go faster if you eat right, get lots of exercise and stay hydrated. Your body needs that now to make the changes. It's normal son."
"I know, but it's embarrassing to the max. And everyone knows and they can't shut up about it."
"That's pretty normal too. But Titan, if you don't want them to get your goat..."
"I know, don't tell them where the dang thing is tied." Mom was big on old sayings. He's heard it before. It meant that if they teased and he didn't react then they'd stop. But it just didn't work that way.
"Eat up, I'll take you." Her admonishment brought him out of his introspection and he dove in like he was a starving teenager.
"OK, now go in there and do your best, and don't let'em get to you."
"Right mom, love you." He leaned in and gave her a quick peck. But when he got close his lips arced a static spark. "Ooops sorry, love you mom." She laughed rubbing the sparks contact point.
"Be careful with those lips, they're a lethal weapon today."
He laughed, "See you at home." He bounded through the throngs of kids headed for the doors.
"Hey squeaky!" One of the kids from his gym class hollered out. He gave him a look that clearly showed his disapproval but said nothing. A squeak now would be disastrous. He continued on to his locker working the combination quickly.
"Hey." The boy said working his combination in the locker right next to his.
"Hey." He squeaked back. His shoulders slumped and he leaned his forehead against his locker door wishing he could fade away. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
"It'll pass. I went through it a couple months back. As soon as someone else breaks they'll focus on them. And in no time it'll be over. See, I'm passed it." His voice squeaked out the last word. He blushed and smiled and Titan couldn't hold back and soon they were both laughing and squeaking and that made them laugh even more.
"Hey Mark, thanks. I needed to laugh this morning."
"No Prob, see you in History."
"Ya, Later." He said with a fist bump and he split off of the flow of kids for his home room. It was also Science, his first period. His favorite subject. But it was a mixed bag, Carl sat behind him and the class would be his favorite except for that fact. Carl would spend the class poking him or thwacking him in the back of his head with his pen. And he wouldn't shut up. And after yesterday he was probably going to be unbearable. He headed for his seat, pleased to see the seat behind him was empty. There was hope!
Mr Barnet walked in and started to pull the door closed as the bell rang but felt resistance. It was Carl, running late as usual. Probably late because he was harassing another freshman.
"Sorry Mr B, couldn't get my locker open." His usual excuse.
"Take your seat Carl." He said with some annoyance. It wasn't worth the fight with this kid. He was there because they made him and he was more of a distraction than anything else. He rather wished they had a place to stick kids like him that refused to learn. "OK, Class. Today we are going to discuss methane and the atmosphere."
Carl wasted no time in starting his favorite pastime. He poked and then smacked Titan in the head with his pen. Titan leaned forward to try and get out of reach. It wouldn't stop him but it would limit his opportunities without increasing his chances to get caught. Carl was used to the game too and grabbed his wooden ruler out of his bag. Titan leaned forward more and in doing so, much to his chagrin ripped a fart. Giggles ensued and then gasps. It was a green cloud fart, the kind that you can even taste.
"Damn!" Carl yelled as he fanned the cloud away.
"Mr Dennison! Watch your language please."
"Sorry Mr B but squeaky here just ripped a fart that makes your eyes water. Jesus dude what did you eat? Skunk Sushi?" The class busted up laughing. Titan blushed furiously as he released a sister fart. And it wasn't even quiet. He turned around, "Sorry, it happens every time I get poked or slapped. I figured you wanted another."
"Mr Dennison. Perhaps you'd like to explain yourself."
"What, I didn't do it Squeaky here did."
"I assume you're referring to Titan? And perhaps you are referring to his voice breaking? Is there a reason to tease him over something he has no control over?"
"Well, ya. When he squeaks it's damn funny."
"Language Mr Dennison; once more and you'll be discussing it with me after school. Perhaps practicing your penmanship with a thousand or so lines?"
"No, sorry Mr B."
"Now, I would like to point out that when this happens to YOU it may not be so funny."
"Nah, mine broke ages ago."
Mr B looked amused, "Really? I find that hard to believe. You mean you've already entered puberty?"
"YA, I'm all done with that."
"Really? That's amazing and frankly hard to believe."
"What do you mean by that?" His tone a little surly.
"Well with puberty comes maturity and you still can't control the simplest things like your language. And you're still quite childish in planning for your future. While others are trying to get an education you seem to be trying to entertain yourself by disrupting others who are trying to see to their futures." Carl looked down embarrassed. The class was quiet. "Now if you'd like to resume your seat we'll get on with the lesson. And thank you Titan for the Segway into the next portion of our study; Flatulence!" He declared and the room broke up into laughter once again. "Cows do it, people do it and all dry land mammals do it. It's part of the absorption process. Bacteria build in the intestines to break down foods so the body can absorb the nutrition. Walking or exercise helps work the food through your digestive track and the gasses that are generated assist in moving things along. They can sometimes be very odiferous! As demonstrated here today with Titan's obvious contribution. Grains and vegetables tend to produce a lot of gas but less odors. Greasy foods, eggs, dairy and foods with oils like fried chicken and a lot of junk foods seem to add … bouquet! So Mr Flagstone, perhaps a more healthy diet is in order to spare your neighbors." He said smiling with a wink.
"Ya dude like no more skunk sushi!" Carl roared.
"And Mr Dennison, perhaps your voice will break in the next class?"
"Like I told you, mine broke ages ago."
"Right, then perhaps the maturity that comes along with it will appear soon too." The class roared and pointed.
The bell rang and Carl had looked like he could kill. He shoved Titan as he walked by, "This ain't over."
Titan collected his books and made for the door, English next but as he entered the hall Carl grabbed him and spun him against the wall. His head banged against the lockers and a rage built inside him. Will this EVER stop? He looked murderously at Carl who was advancing on him. "Make me look like a fool will ya and he swung at Titan who instinctively raised his hand to block and then push him away but when his hand hit flat against Carl's chest an explosion of energy blasted him across the hall into the lockers. Carl slumped to the floor staring and dazed. Titan just looked at his hand as Mr B came out in the hall to see what was going on. Titan and everyone else turned and walked on like nothing happened. Nobody was going to come to his rescue.
Mr B knelt down. "Carl, are you alright?" He helped him to his feet. "Looks like you bit off a little more than you can chew this time. Do you need to see the nurse?"
"No . . Yes . . . I don't know."
Mr B looked at him concerned, he'd never seen Carl like this, "Come on, I'll take you to the nurse, did you bump your head?" Carl just let himself be lead to the nurse's office. "Joan?" Mr B said walking into the office with Carl in hand. "I think this young man needs your talents. Seems he got into a scuffle in the hall and he's a bit dazed. I think he may have hit his head on the lockers." Carl was rubbing his chest, still wearing the dazed look.
"Carl? Where do you hurt?" She asked. Carl just looked at her dazed and continued to rub his chest. "Lift up your shirt Carl let me take a look." She lifted his shirt and saw a red hand print of a burn. Puzzled she said, I think we better get that looked at. She picked up the phone and dialed the emergency number and requested an ambulance.
"What happened Carl?"
"I slammed that Titan kid against the lockers, I was going to teach him a lesson but he placed his hand on my chest and it exploded." He couldn't believe he was telling her this. But he couldn't stop either. She just looked at him and turned and picked up the phone. "Mr Kelly, we have a situation. Could you come in here please?" Mr Kelly, the dean of boys appeared in her doorway moments later. She summoned him back into the office where she spoke explaining what she had seen and what was said. Mr Kelly stepped back into the examination room.
"Hi Carl, wanna tell me what happened?" He repeated his statement, again not able to avoid the truth. Mr Kelly looked at the red hand print on his chest. "Very well," is all he said as the paramedics arrived.
They strapped him to the gurney and pulled the sheet up to just below the injury and wheeled him towards the waiting ambulance. Kids were changing classes again by this time and they gawked at the flaming red hand print on his chest. Titan just looked at him and then back at his hand. Mr Kelly walked up and placed a hand on Titan's shoulder, "can we have a talk Mr Flagstone?" It wasn't a question. Titan followed him back to his office.
"Have a seat Mr Flagstone. Carl has told us his side of the story now I'd like to hear yours."
"I don't know what you mean Mr Kelly?"
Mr Kelly looked angrily at Titan, "If you have nothing to say then I'll have to assume that what Carl said was the truth. Fighting in school is not permitted. We have a zero tolerance to it, you know that.
"Mr Kelly we weren't fighting. I mean well he grabbed me and slammed me into the lockers and then he was coming at me. I just put my hand up to push him back to keep him from pounding me and the next thing I know he was across the hall on the floor. I never hit him."
"Did you use some sort of weapon? He has a hand print burned onto his chest."
"No sir, just my hand, I swear."
"Well your story matches what Carl said, and I'm sorry but laying hands on another aggressively is fighting in my books. You'll be suspended for three days. Since Carl has admitted to instigating it he will be suspended for five days. And he'll be on probation after that, any further fighting and he'll be expelled."
"But I didn't DO anything! That's not fair!"
"Mr Flagstone, the evidence does not support your claim. And frankly if I had any proof you used a weapon I would expel you this moment. Get your books out of your locker and return to this office until your mother comes to pick you up."
Titan stood, he was boiling at the injustice of it. He left the office quickly before he said something he'd regret. He went to his locker and stuffed his books into his bag and returned to the office waiting room where he sat down. He was angry. He sat and steamed. He wished his mom would get there so he could leave. He was just holding it together. The florescent lights of the office flickered.
After what seemed like hours his mother arrived. "What's going on son?"
He began to tell her, his indignation roiling. Mr Kelly came out, "Mrs Flagstone I assume Titan has filled you in on his altercation?"
Titan stood, "I was NOT fighting. I was being attacked and defended myself. Perhaps I was expected to stand there and let him pummel me?! All I did was hold my hand up and push him back!"
"Mr Flagstone! Control yourself. If THAT was all you did we would not have had to transport Mr Dennison to the hospital! The evidence does not support your claims! And if you don't sit down and behave you will find yourself in much more trouble then you are presently!"
Titan sat down fuming when a bulb above the secretary's desk exploded. Mr Kelly just stared at the fixture, glad that his secretary was getting coffee when it blew. She swept back into the office just as it happened. "Josey, call an engineer and see why we are having all these power fluctuations. I need to know if we need to send the kids home. If there's any danger we'll have to release them. Tell them to make it quick." He turned to Titan's mom. "We've had power fluctuations all morning. As I was saying, I've suspended Titan for three days. The other boy admitted to having instigated it so he will be suspended for five days and he will be on strict probation when he returns. Any more incidents and he'll be expelled."
"Is the other boy going to be alright?"
"I believe so. He had a burn on his chest the shape of a hand print. As I told your son, if I could explain it as some kind of weapon your son would be expelled this moment. So for right now we can't explain it so we'll proceed in this way. Now if you'll excuse me I have other matters to attend to."
She turned to Titan and motioned for him to come along. She said nothing. As they got to the car he started to speak, "Mom I" but he was cut off, "Just get in the car Titan.
She pulled out and headed north, away from the house. "Where are we going mom?"
"To get you some help."
"What kind of help Mom? I don't need any help."
"We're going to see your grandfather." She said flatly.
"Grandpa Flagstone? How's he gonna help. Why not Dad?"
"Dad can't help you in this one son. And it's Grandpa Morely, my father we are going to see." He looked at her in shock, he had never met his Grandfather Morely and he was never mentioned at home.
He thought for a while before he spoke. "Mom, what's wrong with me?"
She looked over then back to the road, "Son, you almost hurt that boy badly. You need to learn how to control it."
"Control what? All I did was hold my hand up and push him back."
"Your grandpa will explain it Titan. You're not in trouble, you just need to learn some things your dad can't teach you."
"I don't understand. Why can't Dad teach me whatever it is and why Grandpa Morely?"
His mom pulled into a fast food parking lot, she turned to Titan and held her hand palm up. Moving her thumb and index fingers together she arced a spark between the two fingertips. She looked at Titan, "Your father can not teach you to control it but my dad can." She pulled into the order lane. Titan just looked at her open mouthed. She ordered for them both and turned back onto the road. They drove for an hour or so in silence. Titan held his hand palm up and tried to do what his mom had done and sparks flew between his fingertips and as it did the car sputtered, " Stop it! " She said loudly and he did, the car resumed smoothly. "That's what I'm talking about Titan. You need to control it. If you don't it will affect things around you. You'll be spotted. You can't be found out! Today was too close. And Mr Kelly already suspects something. And that bulb in the office!"
"Mom, I didn't do anything."
"That's my point. You should have controlled it."
"How can I control it when I didn't do it?"
"UGH! You're just like your uncle."
"Wait, uncle Mac? He's like us too? Why didn't you tell me anything about this?"
"Because it doesn't appear in every generation. We didn't know if you would have it or not. But now that we know we'll have to work fast to teach you how to use it, to control it. It's very important that you do. It's very dangerous if you don't for a lot of reasons. But come on, I'll let Dad explain it to you. We're here."
They pulled into a driveway and up a very long hill to the front of a huge old Victorian home. She stopped the car and got out. Titan followed her cautiously taking it all in. She walked up to the door and opened it and walked in, "Dad?"
A frail looking older gentlemen appeared with a huge smile. He was well built but frail nonetheless. He hugged her and smiled, "I've missed you so much my dear how are you?" Then he noticed Titan and his smile got even bigger as he held a hand out to him, "Come here boy let me get a look at ya." He looked him up and down and smiled again, "Hello Titan, I'm your grandpa, I've waited for this day for a very long time." He hugged him and he felt a chill of warmth envelope him.
He hugged him back, "Hello Grandfather." He said quietly.
Come, sit he turned to the kitchen, "Angela come meet our grandson."
An older woman with a huge smile appeared and more hugging ensued all around. "Look at you! I haven't seen you since you were a wee baby. Let me get you something to drink. Would you like sweet tea or lemonade?"
"Yes please, either will be fine." Titan replied minding his manners. His mom lead them into the sitting room where they sat as she began telling her Dad about the day and the situation. Titan looked around the room and saw the mantle above the fireplace. There were pictures of him; Recent ones. It struck him that his mom must have supplied them regularly to them. He wondered why they had never visited.
His grandfather spoke to him, "SO young Titan, it seems that the gift has manifested itself in you. Tell me what you can do."
"I don't know for sure what I've done! All I know is the kid attacked me and I put up my hand and the next thing I know, he's across the hall on the floor and I'm on my way here. He had a big red hand print on his chest when the paramedics took him away and Mr Kelly was asking me what kind of weapon I used. I told him what happened but he didn't believe me."
Can you hear my thoughts? He thought as he took a sip of tea, "No of course not. Don't be silly. People can't hear other people's thoughts." His Grandfather smiled. "I didn't ask, I thought that to you."
He took another sip, "Just like I am now."
"How did you do that?"
"It's not me, it's you. It's just easier to hear because there is only me. If we were in a crowd you would have to focus. What can you do with power?"
"With what power?"
"The energy inside you; what can you do with it?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. I mean, on the way over here mom taught me to make sparks from my finger tips and it made the car sputter when I did it. And I guess there's whatever I did to Carl today. But I don't really know what that was. I mean I didn't try to do anything. I was just really afraid and when I put my hand up it burned his chest with my handprint. But I still don't know what it is that I did."
"Then let me enlighten you, catch!" And he tossed a plasma ball directly towards Titan who captured it deftly in his hands and absorbed it into his hands. "Very good, now can you do it back? Concentrate on forming the ball in your hands and then your target, then send it forward with your mind."
Titan focused on his hands and saw the ball of energy form and then launch towards his grandfather who in turn launched it back. Titan caught it, an ear to ear grin. "I did it!"
"You did and you did it very well. It's plasma energy. You draw it from the things around you. Now come with me." He stood and walked out the back door and into the barn. He walked in and closed the door behind them and flipped a switch that turned on a single light bulb. He walked over and picked up a can and set it on top of a post on a stall and walked back to Titan. "You see that can? Knock it off the post."
Titan focused and formed a ball and mentally launched it at the can. It hit and exploded blowing a whole through the wall and blasting back towards them. Grandfather stuck out his arm and made a shield which absorbed the energy and channeled it back to Titan through the arm across his shoulders. "Sorry" he thought to his Grandpa.
"That's ok. I figured you'd drive a tack with a sledge hammer the first time. Now try it using just enough to knock the can off of the other post. Think about it while I reset the target but wait until I get back here ok?"
"Sure Grandpa. Can I ask you a question?"
"Why haven't I met you before now?"
"Ah. Yes, well I hoped to get to that a little later. But, now is as difficult as later. Your Dad didn't approve of . . . your mom's gifts. He blamed me for it. Your mom buried her gifts for him. She promised to never use it again in his presence. He thought it was abnormal."
"Well it is isn't it?"
"That depends on how you look at things. For most of humanity it is indeed abnormal. But you see, there are more than one of us, so that means for us, it's normal. If there were only one then it would be abnormal because it was unique. So you see, we are normal to us. Abnormal to him; if he were the only human and the rest were like us, then he would be abnormal. But there's more than one of him so it isn't abnormal, it's just different."
"I don't understand Grandpa. I mean it's part of us and its really pretty cool. And being able to hear thoughts is even cooler."
"Titan, people fear things that they don't understand; especially if that difference might make them feel inferior or threatened. Do you think you'd like to have someone reading your thoughts whenever they wanted? Your secret thoughts?"
Titan thought for a moment, pictures flashed in his mind and he was sure that he didn't want anyone seeing those. Grandfather just smiled, "Ah, so you do understand." Titan realized he'd just been read and blushed.
"Uhm, Grandpa? You just read me didn't you?"
"Yep, can't help it. You can't turn it off, but you can learn to ignore what you see."
"Oh shit. Uhm, grandpa, we don't have to mention this to mom do we? I mean what you saw?"
"Oh course not. Why should we. She's just like us and I am sure has seen everything I have. Like I said, we can't turn it off. Titan, we are what we are. No better or worse than anyone else. We just have a couple extra senses or abilities, tools if you will to commit life with. And Titan, we don't know what else you may be able to do. There are always variants in our abilities. Manipulating energy is a constant as is hearing the voices around us. But we each seem to develop other attributes as well. Your uncle for instance can move things with his mind. As far as I know just small stuff like cups and pencils, my aunt Birdie could spot a bad person a mile away. If she didn't like them they were someone to be weary of, that's for sure. Lot's of little things over the centuries. So you may stumble onto something else you can do. If you do you have to be sure and call me ok?"
"Sure Grandpa." He was a little concerned about what his mom might know or have read. But there was nothing for it for the moment. "So my Dad was afraid of you and my Mom?"
"And still is; which is why you must learn quickly to control this so it's not noticed. If he were to find out I think it might destroy the marriage and your relationship with your father. Titan, think about it. In his mind even his fourteen year old son would be superior to him. Able to defeat him. Your Dad is a cop and a good man. But he has to feel like the protector of the family. To think otherwise might endanger him on the job and that would be very dangerous wouldn't it?"
Titan thought for a moment. "But I could help him."
"No, you can't. Not without being exposed. And that's another thing. You have to control this at school. If your abilities ever got out you would endanger us all."
"I don't understand Grandpa."
"I told you that people fear what they don't understand. Well there are those that might want to understand to try and acquire these skills for their own uses; and not all good. And they may just decide to see what makes your brain different. And they can't do that while you're still using it do you understand? So you see this cool thing as you put it is also a bit of a curse. And what do you think would happen if the government found out about these skills. They would be afraid they could not control you and that you might want to take over. And if they can't control you then you are a danger to them and in their minds the world. And if you agreed to do what they wanted then your life would be as a slave doing only what they wanted and then locked away to prevent someone else from capturing you and using you against them."
"That's pretty scary Grandpa."
"It is indeed. So you see you were very lucky today. And if you don't get a grip on controlling your anger and these gifts it can be very dangerous for all of us. So back to work. Try it again on that little rock over there on the floor."
Titan focused and shot a spark and just missed the rock.
"Try it again, in your mind just see the stone."
He did and this time the small spark made the stone jump.
"Excellent! Now let's go have some more of that tea. You'll need to find a place to practice safely at home. And never when your Dad is home. It's too risky. Focus on small and the big will take care of itself alright?"
"Sure Grandpa." He took his hand as they walked back to the house. His grandfather took it and smiled. And you can't tell Mark either. And Titan, be careful of your emotions. They can make you forget about your control.
Titan smiled and turned crimson, "Grandpa, nothing like that is going to happen. I barely even know him he just has a locker next to mine and I sorta like him."
His grandfather smiled a knowing smile, "Well just keep it in mind ok?"
They got back to the house and his mom and grandmother were sipping tea and talking at the kitchen table.
"How'd he do?" His mother asked.
"Stupendous! I think he's got a good dose of the gift and he understands how important it is for him to control it. Right?" He said looking at Titan.
His mother looked at him, "You know we have to get going right? Your Dad will be home soon. We'll be able to come back again but for now we have to scoot." Titan's smile left him as he went and kissed his grandmother's cheek and turned to his grandfather and threw his arms around him. "I'm so glad I got to meet you both. I love you Grandpa."
His grandfather's eyes welled a little as he pulled him back to look him in the eyes, "I love you too Titan. I always have. Your Grandma and me, well we've always been around and checking up on you. You're not alone. Your mom will make sure you have our number in case you get into trouble. And now you'll be back to see us a bunch. OK? So no more tears. You're going to have us around for a long time yet."
It was a long drive home, but not a quiet one. Titan had tons of questions. And his mom had tons for him as well. Many of the questions flew wordlessly as well. Titan felt her there in his mind and he started thinking, 'Don't think about Mark. Don't think about Mark'
"So when are you going to ask Mark over?"
Ohhhh! Damn. He thought.
"Hey, watch you language!" She said laughingly.
"That's not fair."
"Too bad, I'm your mom and I can't help being there in your head, it's my job."
"Uhm, does Dad know?"
"That I can hear thoughts?"
"No, that I'm . .gay?"
"How would he know? You haven't told him or me."
"But you can see inside my head."
"Telling anyone else would be wrong Titan. While it's true that we can't turn it off, we also can't let others know we can do it. Didn't Dad tell you all this?"
"Oh ya. So how long have you known?"
His mom was blushing now, "Do you really want to know when you first thought of him that way?"
Titan's jaw dropped as he read the pictures flashing in his mom's mind and he blushed. "Uhm, are you like there in my head all the time?"
She smiled, "No I just happened to be putting towels away in your bathroom one night and it sorta overflowed into the hallway. Titan, it takes practice but you can sorta build filters to filter out stuff. You'll have to or you'll go crazy with all the thoughts around you and not all of them will be good thoughts. So you learn to filter out certain ones. You just sorta mentally note ones of interest and ones to disregard. It's sorta like when you sleep in a new place and you make mental notes about sounds you hear that are normal to that place. Like the house settling, or a water pipe. You learn to know those sounds are normal and ok so you sorta tune them out. They're still there but you just don't pay attention to them."
"You know mom, somethings been bugging me. The Dean said that Carl told him the truth about what happened. Why do you think he told him the truth? It's really out of character for him. He usually lies about everything."
"I don't know honey. Perhaps you scared him or maybe he was in shock so he forgot to lie. It's hard to tell with that kind of boy. And look while we're talking about him, I think you need to tell your Dad that you hit him in the chest hard enough that he slammed back against the lockers and hit his head. And that's why he had to go to the hospital. Let's leave the burning handprint out of the explanation ok? Dad's pretty smart and can add pretty well too. I think until we can break it to him easily we need him to come up with 5 instead of 4 when he puts 2 and 2 together. You know what I mean?"
"You want me to lie?"
"No, of course not. I mean they were going to check his head too at the hospital and you obviously did hit him in the chest with your hand. It's just leaving out the part that your Dad will freak over."
"Ya, you're right. And it is basically the truth. I mean as far as I know for sure that might be exactly what happened. I don't recall a ball of energy or anything, it just happened."
"That'll also mean you're going to get into trouble for fighting, but I'll see what I can do to soften that a bit ok?"
Titan sighed, "Ya, ok. Mom?"
"I love you. Thanks for taking me to see Grandma and Grandpa."
"Well I'm glad too. It's really bothered me that they could not be involved in your life."
"Thanks for being alright about Mark, you know?"
"It's alright Titan. I'm your mom and you are who you are."
"Do you think Dad will be alright with it?"
"Ya, I do. He's not real comfortable around the really girly types of gays or like drag queens and stuff but for the most part he seems ok with it. Now whether having a gay son is going to be ok right off the bat I can't say. We may have to ease into it a bit to let him get used to the idea. But once he settles in with it I'm sure he'll be just fine. Your Dad's a good guy son. It's just this energy thing that freaks him out because he doesn't understand it and it scares him."
"Thanks Mom, I was really worried about that."
"Well don't everything will be alright. Hey, do you have Mark's number? Maybe he can bring you your homework and you can have him spend the weekend over here if he's allowed."
"I don't know him that well. His locker is right next to mine and we have history together. He has the same English and math teachers but different periods."
"Well call the school and ask them to pass a message along to him then and maybe you guys can be friends."
Titan smiled and blushed. I'll do that first thing in the morning.
"Titan, what's this I hear about you fighting in school?"
"Sorry Dad the guy just wouldn't leave me alone. He's a gorilla and he just wouldn't stop. All I did was hit him in the chest with my flat hand and push him away from me when he took a swing at me. He had been poking me and slapping me all during class and he wouldn't stop even when Mr B called him on it. I guess I pushed him a little harder than I thought and he fell back against the lockers and hit his head. But honest Dad, I didn't start it. I was just trying to get him away from me and trying to make him stop."
"Well I guess he'll think twice about it the next time. You have to stand up to bullies. Just don't let me hear that you're becoming one yourself."
"No worries there Dad. I'm too small to be a bully and it's not in me anyways."
"Well just for the record son I've known some small guys that really liked to fight and were bullies. They don't ship nitro in fifty-five gallon drums you know. And as you've seen for yourself, big don't make you bad. So why were you suspended then?"
"The school has a zero tolerance for fighting. When there's a fight both parties get suspended. It's the rule. Even though Carl told them he started it."
"Well that really sucks. Maybe I should have a talk with Mr Kelly. It's hardly fair that you miss school when all you were doing was defending yourself."
"It won't do any good dad. It's the rule and he won't change his mind. But Carl is suspended for five days and will be on probation. When I asked why I was being suspended too he said anytime someone lays hands on another aggressively it's a fight whether you were defending yourself or starting it."
"Well I can see his point and life isn't always fair. But I'll not punish you for defending yourself. In fact I'm glad to see it. A dad always worries about his kids being able to take care of themselves; especially when your child isn't the aggressive jock type. I think that's why some dad's push their kids to be that way. My dad did it to me and I hated him for it. So I made up my mind that if I ever had kids I wouldn't force them to do sports if that's not where their interests lie. I'm glad you play some though. They're good lessons to be learned about pushing yourself and teamwork. And those are important lessons; but not if they're forced on you. I know I don't say it often enough son but I love you and I'm proud of you."
Titan hugged his dad, "Thanks Dad. I'm proud to have a dad like you. I love you too. And thanks for understanding."
"Off to bed with you. Stay up on your homework ok?"
"Sure dad. Love you, g'nite."
"Mark Twain Jr High, this is Josey Sweeny how may I direct your call?"
"Hello Mrs Sweeny. This is Titan Flagstone, could you look up Mark Ward in your computer and give me his mobile so I can ask him to get my homework assignments for me?"
She punched in the computer for a moment while he was speaking. "Well I can get him a message but I can't give out his personal information I'm sorry. But I'll get him a note, will that do?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I should have thought of that. Perhaps you could send him a text asking him to call me? You do have his mobile number don't you?"
"Why of course I do but like I said we can't give that information out. And you know he can't use his cell phone in school." But it was too late, she had said his number in her head looking at the screen and he got it.
"You know what, that's alright Mrs Sweeny, I'll just catch him at home. I don't want to bother anybody I know you're busy. But thanks anyways."
He hung up the phone and pulled out his cell. I sure hope this is his number and not my imagination he thought to himself as he typed. 'Hello Mark? This is Titan, could you get my assignments so I can keep up with them? Call me at lunch and I'll give you all my classes. If you can't it's ok. I don't want to bother you. I was just hoping . . .' he pushed send.
A few minutes later his phone chirped alerting him to a message. B happy 2. Howd U get my number?
Oh shit he thought. He typed back, call me at lunch. He had until then to figure out an answer. He just screwed up. Maybe he'll forget it. Titan headed into the kitchen for a snack. "Hi Mom."
"Hi Titan, you here to fill up that tiny teen tummy? Seems it empties pretty fast these days."
"Hey, these are your genes. You have only yourself to blame." He opened the fridge and started to forage. "Mom, this stuff is really hard to use."
"What stuff Titan?" He looked around to make sure his dad wasn't around. "This mind reading stuff. I mean it's easy to get stuff and difficult to look ahead and see what the consequences are in using it."
"Ohoh, that sounds like you've stepped in it already. Wanna talk about it?"
"Ya, I called the school to get Marks number and Mrs Sweeny told me she couldn't give it too me but she was reading it off her screen in her head and I got it. So I texted him, not thinking about it and the first thing he asked was how I got the number. Now I'm in a fix. I put him off by telling him to call me at lunch. And now I have to figure out an excuse."
"Wait, you got that from her over the phone? Impressive. And you're right. Having information you're not supposed to is always going to raise questions. So what are you going to tell him?"
"Ugh, I don't know. I hate to lie and there's no way I can tell him the truth."
"Be happy it's a little one. It could be worse. You have to be really careful Titan."
"Ok, think where you might see his info like on a form at school. Just tell him you saw his."
"Ya but why would I remember it?"
His mom smiled, "I think you can figure out an answer to that one yourself."
"Mom, there's no way I can tell him that. I mean what if he's not like that . . like me, you know?"
'Well read him and see what you get. Play it by ear."
'What if he's not thinking anything like that?"
"Easy, suggest something that would make him think about it. Then read him. Invite him over."
"Right, he'll think I'm some kind of weirdo. I don't even know him other than having lockers next to each other."
"Well how do you get to know each other. Ask him over, make a friend."
Titan thought for a moment, "Ok, I will. Now, do we have any food in here?" His mom smiled.
"Hey Titan, this is Mark. I heard that you got suspended, what's up?"
"You heard right that freaking Carl, man he's just such an idiot."
"Ya, nobody was sad to see him on a stretcher. And what did you do to him? That handprint was like perfect."
"No clues, I just shoved him back. It must have been the adrenalin or something I was just so scared."
"Well you're a bit of a hero around here now. Even the guys he hung out with are nicer. Seems he was the bad apple."
"Cool, so where do you live?"
"About two blocks from you?"
"Wait, how do you know where I live?"
"Uhm, I don't know, how do you know my number?"
"Oh, uhm I don't know. Look can you come by tonight with my assignments? We can hang out and talk."
"You didn't get grounded for being suspended?"
"Nah, my Dad told me he was actually proud of me for sticking up for myself."
"That's too cool. My dad would have been totally pissed."
"So how about it, tonight after school?"
"Deal. See ya then."
"So how'd it go?"
"Good I think. I'm not sure. I know he followed me home one night to see where I lived but I couldn't get a why out of him. But he's coming over after school. And Mom, no reading ok?"
She smiled, "No on or off switch remember?"
"Ok but filters on ok?"
"I'll try. You really like him don't you." His blush was her reply even though it really wasn't a question.
"Hi Mrs Flagstone, I'm Mark, I'm here to see Titan. I have his homework." But he no sooner got the words out when Titan appeared.
"Hi Mark, come on in, this is my mom. Mom, Mark." Then he turned back to Mark, "Come on up and see my room."
Mark smiled at Titan's mom, "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"That's just because you don't know her yet, come on." His mother smiled but was slack jawed at the same time as they both disappeared up the steps. "Hey, how'd you get here so fast. The last bell just rang like 10 minutes ago."
"Oh, uh got out a little early. Mr Franks had to leave early today so he let us go. We were supposed to stay on campus but I just decided to pop out. I mean, why stay when there's no more school?"
"Cool, thanks for bringing me my homework. Well this is it. Like it?"
Mark walked in and looked around looking at the posters of One Direction and Roanan Parke and Jack Vidgin on the walls. He smiled. "You listen to all the ones I do."
"Sweet. So you were going to tell me how you knew where I lived."
"No, I wasn't . . . I followed you home because I like you." He paused and the look on his face was one of terror. "I can't believe I just said that. I mean I didn't want to and I just blurted it out."
"It's ok, I have that effect on some people, you just can't hold back the truth. And it's really ok. I sorta like you too."
Mark's eyes went from terror to toothpaste commercial in seconds. "Wait. Sorta; what's that mean. He was back to terror."
Mark, having read him moved forward and kissed him. It was electric. No, really electric. Mark's hair stood on end like he had a hand on a Van De Graaf generator. They broke away from each other and they arced from their lips. Static was jumping around in Mark's hair as he covered his moth and said "ouch!" Titan realized what was happening and put his hand on his shoulder to absorb the energy back into himself.
"Sorry," he said. It's the carpet. Static build-up, you know?"
Mark smiled, "Ya, so ground yourself and let's try that again." Titan approached him much more mindful of the control. It was a much better kiss.
Titan heard a throat clearing in his head, 'Watch yourself, you almost blew it. Why not ask him if he'd like to stay for dinner.
"Call your folks, see if you can stay for dinner."
"Uhm, don't you think you ought to ask your mom first?"
"Her idea, she just suggested it." Mark looked at him strangely.
"Oh, uhm just before you got here."
"Before she even met me?"
"Uhm, ya. I told her about you."
Mark's eyes smiled with his grin, "You told her about me? Wait, so why now. All year long we've been neighbors and you've not said anything more than hi to me. What changed?"
Titan thought for a moment, "I'm sorta shy and you were always hard to talk to. I could think of a million things to say to you but when you were standing right in front of me it's like my lips wouldn't work. And the other day when we had our uhm squeak fest well it sorta broke the ice, you know what I mean? Anyways, you wanna call and see if you can stay?"
Mark pulled out his cell phone and dialed. He spoke to his mom for a minute and then hung up smiling. "I'm allowed."
"Cool" and he kissed him again.
"Shouldn't we tell your mom?"
His eyes were focused on Marks, "She knows." Mark looked at him again and raised an eyebrow. "I mean, I told her you would probably be allowed. Uhm, ya, let's go tell her." He took Mark by the hand and lead him back downstairs to the dining room where the table was set for four.
"His parents said yes mom… uh just like I predicted… before he got here."
"Great! Your dad should be home any moment. Why not have a seat in the living room until he gets here. Then get washed up." She looked down at Titan still holding his hand and smirked as she thought to him. Better let go of his hand unless you plan on coming out to your dad tonight. Titan blushed and let go.
"Come on, we'll turn on the cartoon network while we wait." They turned on the cartoon network but each kept sneaking glances at the other and catching each other looking. Their grins were infectious.
"Hi Titan, who's this?" Mr Flagstone asked holding out his hand to shak Mark's.
"This is Mark Dad. He brought me my homework. He's staying for dinner."
"That's great, glad to meet you Mark. Let me take my gear off and we'll see what your mom has for us." He headed for the closet where he removed his service revolver and his back up weapon and placed them on the shelf and then took off his uniform shirt and vest leaving him in a T-shirt. And they all made their way into the dining room. The table was set for four, the boys sitting across from each other. They sat and passed the bowls. There was silence as they loaded their plates and began to tuck in to dinner. "It was nice of you to bring Titan his homework. Thanks for that."
"No problem. After he blasted Carl I thought I'd never get to kiss him."
The room was silent, Mark looked across the table at Titan who's eyes were as big as saucers and then the bulb in the light blew and the room went dark.
"Uhm, you guys ought to consider changing the carpet. . .Oh, look at the time. I gotta go."
"Let me get a new bulb." Mrs Flagstone said standing and flipping the switch on in the hall so the light spilling into the room would provide some ambient light. She turned around and Mark was nowhere to be seen. "Where'd he go?"
They looked around and he was just gone. Titan called out, "Mark?" but there was no answer.
"Hi honey. How went the dinner?"
"Oh Mom, it was a disaster! I don't know what it is but when I'm around Titan stuff just falls out of my mouth. I told his dad, that I was afraid that after he blasted Carl I thought I would never get to kiss him."
"Honey I'm sure his parents know he's a plasma conduit but the kissing thing . . . how did it end? Were his parents ok with it?"
"I don't know. I couldn't stay."
"What? Mark! Tell me you didn't teleport! I told you that you have to get control over that!"
"We'll it was just after the room went dark. I said I had to go. Nobody saw me pop out. Trust me, it was completely safe."