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The Intangible

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Fourteen was a strange number for Alan Winter. All throughout his life, he saw

the number fourteen. Everything he did and everything he saw was fourteen. He thought

he was just noticing it because he was paying attention to the fact that it appeared so

often to him, but even his attempts to stop noticing the number did not reduce it’s

abundant appearance in his life. He eventually ceased all attempts to forget it. Reality

seemed to be grinding it into his head…

On the day of his fourteenth birthday, Alan expected nothing more than the

number fourteen swirling around in his head in his head every minute of the day. He was

correct. On his walk to school he noticed the number fourteen on every street address and

street sign he saw. It did not matter if the street was named Walnut, he still saw the

number fourteen. As if that wasn’t enough trouble, Anthony Johnson yelled at him from

across the street.

“Hey, Spaz, you gone crazy or you just seen the number fourteen again?”

Alan ignored this poorly stated remark. It wasn’t difficult. All he heard was “fourteen!”

Anthony did not like Alan’s lack of response.

“Hey, I’m talkin’ to you, Spaz.” He crossed the street and Started walking right

next to Alan. “You gonna say something? Huh? Alright, if that’s how you want to play

it…” Anthony rolled up his sleeve. Alan flinched. He received much abuse from

Anthony and the other stocky brutes at his school. He prepared for the blow.. He closed

his eyes and waited for severe pain to kick in.

After a minute of no pain whatsoever, Alan opened his eyes again. He looked at

the place Anthony had recently occupied. He wasn’t there. He looked around him and

saw Anthony lying on the ground behind him. Alan saw blood underneath the bully’s

nose. He stooped down to see what happened. He could not tell what had occurred. It was

as if Anthony had lost his balance and fell face first onto the asphalt. Anthony was

definitely unconscious, but he was breathing. Alan saw his fist; his knuckles were

aligned perfectly to strike Alan’s cheek. What had caused him to fall? The number

fourteen was gone from his mind now, and Alan was appreciative of this fact. The oddity

of the situation was letting his mind wander beyond the infernal number.

Alan decided to let it go for now. Nothing seemed to be a reasonable solution. He

continued to walk down the sidewalk in the direction of school. He would leave Anthony

on the sidewalk; he deserved to wake up confused and in pain. As Alan turned to walk

away, he saw something flying toward him. He squinted, trying to make out what the

object was. When it got closer, Alan realized that it was a small stone that was either

being thrown at him or shot out of some sort of apparatus. He yelled and attempted to

duck, but the stone was moving too fast. It struck him in the chest; or, at least it should

have. Alan noticed right away that the stone passed right through him like hot knife

would pass through butter. Amazed, Alan whirled around and stared at the stone. It

seemed to be glowing. He rushed over to it and picked it up. There was text on one side

of it. Alan wiped the stone on his shirt and read the words engraved on it.

Gift of 14: Intangible

Alan stared at the rock and realized the power that had just been granted to him. With this

knowledge, he stuffed the stone in his pocket and ran all the way to school. He was

thinking of the endless possibilities that had come with his “gift of fourteen”…

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reader5 said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 8:10 am
I want to hear the rest of this story...
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